UAE wins bid to host world’s biggest gathering of conservationists
Abu Dhabi: The UAE has won the bid to host the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2025 in Abu Dhabi.
The Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi (EAD) submitted the bid on behalf of Abu Dhabi and the UAE government. The results were announced on May 25, following approval of the IUCN’s bid evaluation committee recommendations to the IUCN Governing Council at its meeting held in Gland, Switzerland. The IUCN Council is chaired by the president and consists of elected members from across all the regions as well as a Chair of Commissions and is the body responsible for the oversight and general control of all IUCN affairs.
The successful bid to host the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2025 further reaffirms the UAE and its leadership’s commitment to environmental conservation, climate change action and sustainability.
Abu Dhabi continues to be at the forefront of nature conservation by building strong relations with key international environmental organisations such as the IUCN.
The agency’s Managing Director, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, is the current President of the IUCN, while the EAD’s Secretary-General, Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, is a Global Councillor.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of EAD, said: “Winning the bid to host the IUCN Congress in 2025 is significant and a reflection of the vision of our President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It will be an opportunity to showcase UAE’s conservation leadership in protecting and restoring endangered species, both in the country and globally.
“We will make the IUCN 2025 Congress one of the most impactful, effective, and decisive congresses to date. We will work with the conservation community to protect our planet to avert biodiversity and climate crises.”
Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, affirmed that the selection of Abu Dhabi as the host city for the 2025 International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conference is another honour added to the UAE’s record full of accomplishments, particularly in the field of environmental, natural, and climate preservation, during the Year of Sustainability.
Almheiri said: “Since its inception, the UAE has prioritised environmental conservation and has made tremendous local and international efforts to enhance biodiversity and protect endangered species. Hosting this conference is a crowning achievement for the UAE and underscores our leading global status in taking on larger responsibilities in these areas. Our role as host of this year’s Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) reiterates the UAE’s influential position as a leading global partner in steering efforts to tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our times — climate change, environmental preservation, and the prevention of natural resource wastage.
Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs and Vice Chairman of EAD, said: “I am delighted with the news of Abu Dhabi winning the bid to host the IUCN Congress in 2025. Our work on species conservation over the last four decades in Abu Dhabi and globally is exemplary and helped us improve the status of some of the most threatened species, a testimony to the commitment and support of our leadership.”
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak said: “As a President of the IUCN, I am delighted that my home country has won the bid to host the next IUCN Congress. Global biodiversity loss and climate change impacts are unprecedented environmental emergencies and need an equally unprecedented response. IUCN with its global experts, convening power and knowledge products has a major role to shape such a response.”
Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri said: “To win the bid to host the biggest gathering of conservationists, leaders, decision makers is a major milestone in Abu Dhabi’s and the UAE’s conservation journey. This is a big win for the UAE, and I would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Abu Dhabi Executive Office, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism and Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre for their partnership and support throughout the bid process. This support and cooperation from over 20 Abu Dhabi government entities and the hotel and airline industries were key to us winning the bid"
Saleh Mohammed Algeziry, Director-General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, said: “As a key partner in this bid process we are delighted with the outcome. We will work with EAD and other partners to ensure its successful organisation. The Congress will further add to Abu Dhabi’s growing reputation as a leading tourism and business destination in the region.”
IUCN is a membership-based organisation, composed of both government and civil society organisations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of more than 1,400 member organisations and the input of over 18,000 experts. This diversity and vast expertise make IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.The body is a democratic union that brings together the world’s most influential organisations and top experts, in a combined effort to conserve nature and accelerate the transition to sustainable development.
The World Conservation Congress of the IUCN, held every four years is the highest organ of the Union and sees duly accredited delegates of the members of the IUCN meeting in session. One of the key functions of the Congress is to elect the President, Treasurer, Regional Councillors and Chairs of Commissions, who will make up the IUCN Council.
The agency’s relationship with IUCN began in 2000 as an IUCN Framework Partner. In addition, EAD has supported the work of its Species Survival Commission and has hosted the Reintroduction Specialist Group Chair for over 15 years. In 2013, EAD became an official IUCN member and continues to work and support IUCN’s biggest commission: the Species Survival Commission.
The UAE has full IUCN membership. It has the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) as State Member and Mohamed Bin Zayed Conservation Fund, Emirates Environment Group and Emirates Nature as NGO members. Dubai Desert Conservation Centre (DDCR), International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) and EAD are government members. All these members make up the UAE IUCN National Committee.
The IUCN WCC bidding process is very stringent and runs for almost a year through three phases, including a site visit by an international panel of evaluators to evaluate the infrastructure, transport, government support and other services. The bid submission process was earlier approved by the Abu Dhabi Government and was also included among 24 national initiatives, approved by the UAE Cabinet.
To win the bid to host such a major global event is the culmination of efforts by EAD’s partners and supporting entities and is a validation that Abu Dhabi offers world-class facilities and infrastructure to such an important global event. The IUCN WCC 2025 will be held in Abu Dhabi in October 2025 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
The IUCN Congress, where IUCN Members set the global conservation agenda by voting on motions and guide the Secretariat’s work by passing resolutions and the IUCN Programme. The last Congress was held in Marseille, France in September 2021.
The IUCN WCC in 2025 in Abu Dhabi is expected to bring an estimated 10,000-15,000 delegates from over 160 countries across the globe and will be an event which could galvanise conservation actions to protect our planet, amid local and global challenges.
Established in 1948, IUCN has evolved into the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network. Today the organisation is well known for its knowledge products, such as the Red List of Species, Red List of Ecosystems, Key Biodiversity Areas and the Green Lists which are widely used in setting conservation priorities for threatened species, ecosystems and in identification of important areas for protection.