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About IUCN

What is IUCN?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization. Watch this video to learn more!

Celebrating Biodiversity

IUCN at a glance

  • Founded in 1948 as the world’s first global environmental organization 
  • Today the largest professional global conservation network
  • A leading authority on the environment and sustainable development
  • More than 1,200 member organizations including 200+ government and 900+ non-government organizations
  • Almost 11,000 voluntary scientists and experts, grouped in sixCommissions in some 160 countries
  • IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. The Union’s headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.
  • A neutral forum for governments, NGOs, scientists, business and local communities to find pragmatic solutions to conservation and development challenges
  • Thousands of field projects and activities around the world
  • Governance by a Council elected by member organizations every four years at the IUCN World Conservation Congress
  • Funded by governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, foundations, member organizations and corporations
  • Official Observer Status at the United Nations General Assembly 
October focus small

What does IUCN do?

Conserving biodiversity is central to the mission of IUCN. We demonstrate how biodiversity is fundamental to addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges: tackling climate change, achievingsustainable energy, improving human well-being and building agreen economy.

To deliver conservation and sustainability at both the global and local level, IUCN builds on its strengths in the following areas:

  • Action – hundreds of conservation projects all over the world from the local level to those involving several countries, all aimed at the sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources.
  • Influence – through the collective strength of more than 1,200 government and non-governmental Member organizations, IUCN influences international environmental conventions, policies and laws.
Young people gather in reserve outside Lusaka to discover biodiversity in their backyard

How does IUCN work?

All of our work is framed by a Global Programme, developed with and approved by IUCN member organizations every four years. Our current programme runs from 2009 to 2012.

IUCN's Global Programme is coordinated by IUCN’s Secretariat and delivered in conjunction with IUCN member organizations andCommissions. It has five priority areas of work - biodiversityclimate changesustainable energyhuman well-being and green economy-  and is implemented by IUCN's theme-based programmes: