International Union for Conservation of Nature

international organization

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is an international organization set up to protect plants, animals and habitats. It was first called the "World Conservation Union." It was started in 1948, with its main office in Gland, Switzerland. The IUCN brings together 83 states, 108 government agencies, 766 Non-governmental organizations and 81 international organizations and about 10,000 experts and scientists from countries around the world.[1]

Company typeInternational organization
IndustryNatural resource conservation
FoundedOctober 1948, Fontainebleau, France
HeadquartersRue Mauverney 28, 1196 Gland, Switzerland
Key people
Mr. Valli Moosa
Ms. Julia Marton-Lefèvre
RevenueSFr 99,348 (2005)
Number of employees
approx. 1,100 (worldwide)

IUCN's purpose is to influence, encourage and assist countries around the world to conserve the quality and diversity of nature. It also has to make sure that any use of natural resources is fair and sustainable without harming the earth.[1]



The first Director General of UNESCO, (Sir Julian Huxley) wanted to give UNESCO a more scientific base. He set up a meeting to start a new organisation to protect nature.[2]

At the first meeting at Fontainebleau, France, on 5 October, 1948, 18 governments, seven international organisations, and 107 national nature conservation organisations agreed to form the International Union for the Protection of Nature.[2]

From the start the most important task has been to explore and develop arrangements that can allow development as well as helping people and nations to better preserve their flora and fauna.[2] The ICUN has always argued that needs of local communities, people and nations have to be the main part of a conservation plan.[2] Areas needing protection and threatened species would be best protected:

if local people considered it in their own interest to do so. Working with rather than against local people became a major working principle for IUCN.
— Page 61

The IUCN now has offices in many of the nations around the world. It is able to provide the services of a large group of mainly voluntary specialists, providing local level advice and conservation services.[2]




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