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IUCN World Cons ervation Congress presses for all protected areas to be ‘no go’
At the World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i this September, IUCN members called for a halt to industrial developments that could negatively affect any protected area or key biodiversity area. For industry, the best counter-argument to blanket ‘no go’ provisions is to demonstrate with real examples that a case-by-case precautionary risk-management approach can achieve better conservation outcomes.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN) brings together government and civil society organisations around the world with a shared goal of nature conservation. Every four years IUCN members meet to discuss motions on pressing conservation issues and adopt these as IUCN resolutions or recommendations. These IUCN decisions have no legal force and are not binding even on IUCN members. Nevertheless they frame the conservation community’s aims and expectations, and can be widely influential on policy and practice.
In Hawai’i, two key decisions covered ‘
no go’ areas for development and biodiversity offsets. Adoption of the IUCN Biodiversity Offsets policy received wide support from members, attesting to extensive prior consultation and robust technical content. The policy is a concise and accessible summary of good offsetting practice and will help IUCN members to understand and apply the mitigation hierarchy. However, the policy defines impacts in any ‘no go’ area as non-offsettable.
What constitutes a ‘ no go’ area is set out in the recommendation on “ Protected areas and other areas important for biodiversity in relation to environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure development”. This motion was contentious but ultimately approved by both Government and NGO members.