TheIUCN World Conservation Congress, taking place in Marseille, France and online from 3 to 11 September 2021, will drive action on nature-based recovery, climate change and biodiversity through events, exhibits and forums. 

The IUCN World Conservation Congress comes just months before CBD will be adopting the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, setting the international biodiversity agenda for the next decade. The IUCN Congress is a unique opportunity to shape the ambition and galvanize the necessary action at levels commensurate with the global environmental challenges we are facing—halting the loss of biodiversity while tackling climate change.

UNESCO World Heritage Centre will participate in several events during the Congress. Key events include the ones below.

Saturday, 4 September

Sunday, 5 September

Monday, 6 September

Tuesday, 7 September

Close up: No-Go commitments in World Heritage sites

The session ‘No-Go in World Heritage sites and other protected areas: success stories in leveraging the private sector and remaining challenges’, will explore actions that can be taken by the private sector to encourage enhanced conservation of areas that are important for biodiversity and people. The session will be held online on Monday, 6 September 2021 from 4:00 to 5:30pm CEST.

An IUCN Recommendation on Protected Areas and other areas important for biodiversity in relation to environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure development was approved during the previous IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in 2016.  The Recommendation focuses on ensuring that protected areas maintain their significant biodiversity and cultural values and that industrial activities and infrastructure developments do not impact negatively on those values. A key element of the Recommendation is a call for the “business community to respect all IUCN categories of protected areas as 'no-go' areas for environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure development, to withdraw from those activities in these areas, and not to conduct future activities in protected areas”. It also calls on Governments, financial institutions, and others to make similar commitments.

A number of certification schemes and industry organizations have taken initial steps in integrating a “no-go” commitment in their systems (IRMA, ASI, ICMM, and financial coalitions such as Equator Banks). Other extractive industries, banks and insurers have made specific commitments related to World Heritage sites. However, these do not reach the level intended in IUCN’s Recommendation. There seems to be increasing interest from the private sector in making commitments regarding World Heritage sites, but there is an ongoing need to ensure that all conserved areas, including those governed by indigenous Peoples and local communities, are included to address the biodiversity crisis.  

The session on 6 September will be structured as a guided conversation with a group of stakeholders from business, conservation interests and other stakeholders.

Following the opening presentations and comments by the World Commission on Protected Areas, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, ICMM, Shell, WWF, International Indigenous Peoples Forum on World Heritage and the International Hydropower Association, the facilitator will engage in discussion with the panelists and the participants. The meeting will also cover the main issues remaining and what could be the next steps to address these issues.

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre thanks the on-going support of the Government of Flanders in promoting No-Go commitments in World Heritage sites.

Learn more about UNESCO at the IUCN World Conservation Congress here: UNESCO at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

Read about the International Hydropower Association's announcement about its new commitment to World Heritage sites and protected areas (announced at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France)