World Conservation Congress: a major international event for biodiversity


From 3 to 11 September 2021, France will host the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Marseille.

This event is one of the biggest international events in support of biodiversity. Organized every four years, it brings together conservation experts from the worlds of politics, research, non-profits and major international organizations, as well as businesses and citizens.

This congress will be a testament to global commitment on seven major issues:

  • landscapes,
  • freshwater,
  • oceans,
  • climate change,
  • rights and governance,
  • knowledge, innovation and technology,
  • economic and financial systems.

Protection of biodiversity and ecosystems: a priority for France

By organizing this congress, France confirms its commitment to support the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems, and more widely, its driving international role on environmental and climate issues.
This meeting of States, local governments, scientists, private sector and civil society representatives provides a unique opportunity to maintain international mobilization in support of biodiversity at the highest level. It will be one of the first large-scale events on the environment since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ahead of the COP15 Biodiversity Conference in Kunming and the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

The congress therefore provides the opportunity to take stock of the initiatives launched at the One Planet Summit in January 2021 in Paris, dedicated to biodiversity (especially the Great Green Wall and “The Mediterranean: A Model Sea by 2030” initiatives).

It also prepares for the COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which should be for biodiversity what the COP21 in Paris was for the climate, by defining the post-2020 global framework for biodiversity. The World Conservation Congress will foster discussions between participants on the major objectives of this global framework (protecting 30% of the planet, restoring ecosystems, protecting species, raising financial resources, etc.).

In the context of the public health crisis, the ties between biodiversity and health, and the matter of a nature-based economic recovery will be central to discussions, reflecting the One Health approach, which France actively supports through the High Level Expert Panel and the PREZODE initiative (PREventing ZOonotic Diseases Emergence).

Discussion and exhibition areas to discover the diversity of the world and cultures

The congress will be held from 3 to 11 September 2021 in the Parc Chanot, Marseille, in a hybrid format enabling the public to take part in a series of events in-person, or attend certain events remotely.

Areas open to the public

The Nature Generation Areas: 4 to 11 September 2021

A new addition by France, this biodiversity village will be open to the public free of charge and without registration. It will shine a spotlight on more than 300 events and projects by French actors and citizens working to preserve biodiversity. The participants present at the Nature Generations Areas will raise awareness among the public on a number of topics, such as the oceans, climate change, agriculture and soils, innovation and citizen science.

The Exhibition: 4 to 9 September 2021

The Exhibition, a meeting place and discussion forum for the public, congress participants and special guests, is a space for exhibitors to present their research, innovation and other studies. There will be pavilions and stands with participants from a large number of countries.

The French Pavilion will host more than 80 events that highlight France’s strategic priorities in biodiversity, such as the national strategy to combat imported deforestation, agroecology, fighting environmental crime, funding the protection of biodiversity, and the relationship between biodiversity and climate.

Areas reserved for congress participants and IUCN members

The Forum: 4 to 7 September 2021

The forum is a hub of public debate, bringing together people from around the world to develop and create sustainable development and conservation solutions. Notably, the High-Level Dialogues will involve heads of State, ministers, directors of international organizations, heads of non-governmental organizations, private sector representatives and scientists.

Members’ Assembly: 8 to 10 September 2021

The Members’ Assembly brings together more than 1,300 members, representing more than 160 States, government agencies, economic development agencies, scientific and university institutions, businesses, civil society and indigenous peoples, to take joint decisions.

The members will negotiate motions that aim to guide the IUCN’s work and present the members’ positions on major environmental issues. France is submitting around ten motions, namely on environmental crime, light pollution, mature forests, the relationship between climate and biodiversity, great apes, etc.