Rainforest Trust Hosts Inaugural Meeting of IUCN United States National Committee

Ethan Freedman

Jul 12, 2017


This June, Rainforest Trust hosted the inaugural meeting of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) United States National Committee. The conference took place at the Airlie Conference Center across the street from Rainforest Trust’s headquarters in Northern Virginia. Attendees included scientists, communicators, policymakers and experts from conservation and environmental organizations across the U.S. and elsewhere. The meeting featured panel discussions, presentations and conversations on the role of IUCN in the U.S. and the new IUCN United States National Committee.

  • The participants of the inaugural meeting of the IUCN US National Committee. Photo by Rainforest Trust.

IUCN is a global network of conservation organizations and governmental bodies. Founded in 1948 and based in Gland, Switzerland, IUCN oversees publications including the Red List, facilitates knowledge-sharing and convenes events such as the World Conservation Congress.

Dr. Paul Salaman, CEO of Rainforest Trust, welcomed participants to the meeting, recalling the decades-old relationship between Rainforest Trust and IUCN. “Our roots with IUCN extend back almost 30 years, but as we moved to collaborate with more U.S. organizations, we discovered no platform or avenue for dialogue between like-minded environmental groups in the U.S.,” Dr. Salaman said. “With over 100 U.S. Members, it is apparent that the national committee will provide that path to facilitate dialogue.”

  • Dr. Paul Salaman, CEO of Rainforest Trust, addresses the meeting. Photo by Rainforest Trust.

Inger Andersen, the Director General of IUCN, opened the proceedings remotely from IUCN headquarters and noted that IUCN members in the U.S. have been consistent leaders in conservation, highlighted by Hawaii’s hosting of last year’s World Conservation Congress.

Andersen thanked Rainforest Trust for hosting the event and, in her closing remarks at the end of the event, recognized Dr. Salaman for his “tireless effort” to create the committee. In addition, John Robinson, IUCN Councillor for North America, recognized Dr. Salaman’s work to bring in members to IUCN U.S. and host the inaugural meeting with a copy of The Paper Zoo, a book of animal art covering the last 500 years.

Regarding the importance of the meeting, Dr. Salaman said, “We believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts — that as a collective, the IUCN family in the U.S. can have a more effective voice for nature, both domestically and internationally.”