IIED and partner events at the World Conservation Congress 2020


This page summarises the activities of IIED and our partners during the 2020 World Conservation Congress, focusing on side events and Post-2020 Pavilion events.

Marseille, France and online
Last updated 14 September 2021
Motmot bird in Costa Rica

IIED nature-climate policy lead Ebony Holland outlines IIED's activities at the World Conservation Congress 

A host of events took place at the delayed 2020 World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France, from 3 to 11 September 2021.

It was organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the French government, and the global nature conservation community – including top international experts in conservation science, policy and practice, States, civil society and Indigenous Peoples – came together to decide the most pressing issues and how to address them, including the development of a new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

The conference was a key milestone in the 2021 ‘super year’ and IIED researchers and partners were present both in person and virtually to contribute to the GBF and ensure that the final framework is not just good for nature, but good for people too.

Throughout the congress IIED showcased a number of projects that focus on biocultural heritage, ecosystem-based adaptation, social assessment of protected areas, debt management, food systems and forests.

IIED was an organising partner in the Post-2020 Partnership from 4-9 September. This is a collaborative partnership of many of the world’s largest environment development NGOs and foundations plus several UN organisations and representatives of youth, Indigenous Peoples, local communities and the business sector. 

This 'pavilion' hosted six days of in-person and online events throughout the IUCN congress. Read the full programme (PDF).

IIED’s experts and partners attended the following key events:

The Post-2020 Partnership

Post-2020 Pavilion

Equity and Rights On-site Session 2

Date: Sunday, September 5

IIED principal researcher Phil Franks joined a panel of experts to discuss equity and rights: are equity and rights imperatives sufficiently integrated in the Global Biodiversity Framework?

Related reading: Does the Global Biodiversity Framework offer a plan B for protected areas? | Global Biodiversity Framework: equitable governance is key | Assessing social impacts of protected and conserved areas (SAPA)

Global Synergies Morning Virtual Session

Date: Tuesday, September 7

IIED chief economist Paul Steele joined a panel of international experts to discuss strengthening global synergies: is the GBF sufficiently aligned with the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals and other biodiversity conventions?

Related reading: Supporting the LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR)

Whole of Society Mobilisation Morning Virtual Session

Date: Wednesday, 8 September

IIED principal researcher Dilys Roe moderated a panel of international experts who will discuss strengthening whole-of-society mobilisation: is the GBF sufficiently ambitious with regards to whole-of-society mobilisation to ensure effective implementation?

Related reading: Supporting a nature positive, equitable Global Biodiversity Framework

Official IUCN side events

Accelerating nature-based solutions for adaptation to climate change

Date: Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Organisers: Joint event with Global Center on Adaptation, IISD, IIED and OroVerde
Speakers include: IIED senior researcher Xiaoting Hou Jones, IIED principal researcher Duncan Macqueen

Nature-based solutions (NbS) for adaptation are receiving growing attention for their potential to reduce people’s vulnerability to a range of climate change impacts and provide significant co-benefits for biodiversity and people. However, project implementation has revealed that successful NbS has yet to reach its full potential.

This session focused on showcasing current success stories from the ground and tools used in planning and implementing NbS while also critically exploring what is needed to scale up the implementation of NbS. The session also shared the results of a global systematic review of evidence for the socio-economic and ecological effectiveness of NbS.

Related reading: Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation | Forest and Farm Facility Phase II | 

Natural capital and green economy: embedding biodiversity in decision-making from business to policy

Date: Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Organisers: Joint event with Capitals Coalition, GEC, GGKP, UNEP WCMC and WBCSD
Speakers include: Green Economy Coalition policy director Najma Mohamed

Several tools are available to help business, finance and policy embed natural capital into their decision-making, and the recent integration of biodiversity within these tools has strengthened the case for biodiversity. However, integration of biodiversity into decision-making is less mature.

This session focused on that gap by discussing several Economics for Nature’s projects, including new biodiversity guidance on integrating biodiversity into natural capital assessments by business, the integration of natural capital in COVID-19 economic recovery packages and ecosystem-focused natural capital tools that include biodiversity conservation as a key component. Experts from businesses, finance and governments focused on the value, robustness and maturity of the approaches, techniques and assessments, particularly regarding the integration of biodiversity.

Related reading: Lessons for building a natural capital legacy

SAGE: A new tool for assessing protected and conserved area governance and equity

Date: Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Organisers: IIED
Speakers include: IIED principal researcher Phil Franks

The Site Assessment for Governance (SAGE) is a tool designed to improve the governance and equity of protected and conserved areas. It is based on the relatively simple SAGE methodology, which enables stakeholders to assess the status of governance and equity, plan actions to improve, and monitor progress.

Related reading: Site-level assessment of governance and equity (SAGE) | Assessing the social impacts, governance and equity of conservation: SAPA, GAPA or SAGE?

Congress speaker pitches

Throughout the congress, speaker pitches will allow participants to showcase conservation work and achievements (for example innovations and solutions), community and local level initiatives, policy and governance reforms, traditional and Indigenous knowledge, new and more sustainable business models, initiatives that inspire ethical behaviour, latest technologies, and much more.

These sessions featured posters/presentations with and without narrated audio that can be viewed at any time.

Social impacts of protected areas – some myths and realities, with IIED researcher Francesca Booker

There have been growing calls over the last 15 years for assessment of protected area impacts on human wellbeing (social impacts). IIED's Social Assessment for Protected Areas methodology assesses how protected areas affect the wellbeing of local people from their perspective.

This session explores which benefits of protected areas contribute most to wellbeing, who tends to be winners and losers and why, and whether conservation should invest in alternative livelihood options. It addresses the question: is this all about fine tuning or do we need a paradigm shift?

Related reading: Assessing social impacts of protected and conserved areas (SAPA) | Social Assessment for Protected and Conserved Areas (SAPA) Methodology manual for SAPA facilitators

Biocultural branding for Indigenous landscapes: towards a global labelling system, with Krystyna Swiderska, IIED principal researcher

Indigenous Peoples' labelling initiatives – such as the Potato Park in Peru, the Maori Organics label and Karen branding in Thailand – have generated significant revenue and met biodiversity, cultural and poverty alleviation goals, without costly third party certification. Building on these experiences, IIED, ANDES (Peru), Leeds University and the International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples have been exploring the development of a global biocultural labelling scheme that is accessible to Indigenous Peoples worldwide.

Join this session to learn about innovative bottom-up branding solutions to address the interlinked crises of biodiversity and cultural diversity loss.Related reading: Why traditional knowledge and Indigenous Peoples’ rights must be integrated across the new global biodiversity targets | Building a global biocultural brand to support Indigenous landscapes

Promoting equitable governance of protected areas: what, how and why?, with IIED principal researcher Phil Franks

This session will comprise a presentation on the equity framework for protected and conserved areas that was endorsed by the Convention on Biological Diversity at the last COP, the theoretical basis for this framework, its relationship to protected area governance, and results from some recent governance and equity assessments of protected areas. 

This will be followed by a discussion on why this should (or should not) be a priority issue for conservation and in particular the CBD post-2020 framework. Franks has led the work of the partnership that developed this equity framework.

Related reading: Does the Global Biodiversity Framework offer a plan B for protected areas? | Assessing the social impacts, governance and equity of conservation: SAPA, GAPA or SAGE? | Global Biodiversity Framework: equitable governance is keyGovernance Assessment for Protected and Conserved Areas (GAPA). Methodology manual for GAPA facilitators | Site-level assessment of governance and equity (SAGE) 


Anne Schulthess ([email protected]), marketing manager, IIED's Communications Group