Nature’s contribution to sustainable development takes centre stage in Geneva

As part of a series of events marking its 70th anniversary, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) held a public lecture in Geneva, Switzerland, outlining the crucial role of nature in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The speakers at the event included IUCN Patron of Nature HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Swiss Confederation, UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay, Simona Scarpaleggia, CEO, IKEA Switzerland and IUCN Director General Inger Andersen.

Through the SDGs, the world has committed to an ambitious vision for a more equitable, sustainable and healthy planet by 2030. The speakers highlighted nature's contributions to achieving the vision of the 2030 agenda, and IUCN's role in delivering on that vision.  

“For the past 70 years, IUCN has been the indispensable ally of all those who are concerned about the state of our environment,” said IUCN Patron of Nature HSH Prince Albert of Monaco. “IUCN has been able to work in a doubly positive dimension. Positive for nature of course, which should not be destroyed for human development. And positive for humanity which will be able to continue to benefit from the ecosystem services that nature offers.” 

“My best wishes to the International Union for Conservation of Nature on its 70th anniversary,” said Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Swiss Confederation. “The International Union for Conservation of Nature belongs to the seven planets of multilateralism. It encourages and assists societies in the conservation of the integrity and the diversity of nature. The parsimonious and sustainable use of natural resources is one of the great challenges of our time.”

"The creation of IUCN in 1948 was the founding act of our common history that has been growing ever since, " said UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay. "What is often needed is a delicate interface that involves experts, civil society and also governments in making the decisions we want. It is precisely with this type of collaboration with multilateral institutions and networks such as IUCN that we can build this interface between science, expertise and political decisions.” 

“Sustainability is no longer something interesting or nice to have, sustainability is a must; a matter of survival,” said Simona Scarpaleggia, CEO, IKEA Switzerland. “At IKEA we are aware that we are part of the problem and we want to be part of the solution. ... Sustainability is not a luxury, it is for the many, and it is a human right.”

“As we hurdle towards 2030, Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 15 cannot be overlooked, because that’s where biodiversity and nature reside – life below water, 14, and life on land, 15. And to get to 2030 we need to get biodiversity right,” said IUCN Director General Inger Andersen. “IUCN is young at 70. We are dynamic and engaged. I am absolutely persuaded that with support like this and voices like these, we can get biodiversity right.”

The event titled ‘Nature’s Contribution to the 2030 Agenda’ took place at The Graduate Institute on 22 October. It was organised by IUCN in partnership with The Graduate Institute and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Discussions were moderated by Liliana Andonova, Professor of International Relations and Political Science at The Graduate Institute.

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