World’s Largest Conservation Gathering Coming to Hawaii in 2016

Posted on May 21, 2014 in Featured, Latest News, Newsroom, Press Releases
IUCN Announcement

Gov. Neil Abercrombie with Hawaii IUCN 2016 Steering Committee Co-Chairs Chipper Wichman and William J. Aila, Jr.

HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie today applauded the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) decision to hold its 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) in the State of Hawaii. This will be the first time a U.S. location is hosting the WCC since IUCN’s inception in 1948.

“This is both an honor and opportunity for us to show the entire conservation community, the world over, how Hawaii has adopted a leadership role in preserving and protecting resources, developing sustainability programs on multiple-fronts, and addressing many of the issues associated with global climate change,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “The IUCN World Conservation Congress is the largest and most prestigious of all gatherings of the conservation community. Hawaii was widely recognized as an ideal venue, including a strong expression of support from President Obama. We look forward to welcoming as many as 8,000 delegates to Hawaii in 2016.”

In February 2014, a four-person delegation from IUCN visited Hawaii for one week. The delegation toured natural and cultural sites on three islands (Hawaii Island, Oahu, and Kauai) and held meetings with government, non-government organizations, non-profit and private industry representatives who will be involved in the planning and execution of the 2016 gathering. The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will continue to lead a multi-agency, private-public sector team up to and through the 2016 World Conservation Congress.

“Hawaii’s unique culture, location and environment are the perfect attributes for this worldwide conference,” explained William J. Aila, Jr., chairperson of DLNR. “We have a lot to offer in how we manage our limited resources and integrate indigenous knowledge and practices in our changing world.”

Chipper Wichman, director and CEO of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and co-chair of the Hawaii IUCN 2016 Steering Committee said: “This is a massive undertaking that will require the kokua (cooperation) of dozens of organizations and hundreds of people, from those in the travel and hospitality industry, to convention planners, and of course the members of the public-private planning team. We are up to the challenge and eagerly look forward to showing representatives from more than 160 nations what Hawaii has to offer in terms of conservation leadership, sustainability initiatives, and addressing of critical issues surrounding global climate change.”

IUCN World Conservation Congress’ has two main parts. The Forum is a hub of public debate bringing together people from all walks of life to discuss the world’s most pressing conservation issues. There will be many types of events, which will enable participants to explore the depths of conservation and innovation. The Members’ Assembly is IUCN’s highest decision-making body. A unique global environmental parliament, it involves governments and NGOs (non-government organizations) – large and small, national and international – making joint decisions.

The WCC is held every four years and is considered the only global summit that represents every aspect of conservation. It aims to improve management of our natural environment for human, social and economic development. The event is considered a place to set aside differences and to work together to provide the means and mechanisms for good environmental governance, engaging all parts of society to share both responsibilities and the benefits of conservation.

For more information on the International Union for Conservation of Nature, visit:

Navigating Change

Read Navigating Change, Hawaii’s Approach to Adaptation, a report presented by Gov. Abercrombie at the first meeting of the President’s Task Force for Climate Preparedness and Resilience in December 2013:

# # #

Photos | Video