The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s largest conservation network, bringing together 82 states, 111 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and some 10,000 scientists from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. IUCN’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
Parks Canada has been the Canadian state member for IUCN since 1968 and for more than 40 years has been a leader in Canada’s contribution to the IUCN’s work. During this time, it has had the responsibility to lead the Government of Canada’s delegation at the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress, held every four years. On behalf of Canada, Parks Canada hosted the 1996 World Conservation Congress in Montreal.
The IUCN also organizes the World Parks Congress every 10 years. Parks Canada has played an active role in all five parks congresses organized in the last 40 years, and especially at the 2003 Congress when it organized and led two of the seven workshop streams. Through involvement in the World Conservation Congresses, the World Parks Congresses, and other IUCN activities, Parks Canada is able to showcase and share its expertise and capacity in many fields related to national park management. For example, Parks Canada is now working with the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas to promote its Guidelines for Ecological Restoration as ‘best practice’ for the world.