Abu Dhabi has been chosen to host a major international gathering in 2025, aimed at promoting efforts to safeguard nature and the environment around the globe.
The World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature - held every four years - brings together thousands of decision makers from governments, business and the academic world, as well as representatives of indigenous communities.
The UAE's bid was submitted by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi and the event will be held in October 2025, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
The Emirates was selected following the recommendations of a bid evaluation committee at the IUCN's latest governing council meeting in Switzerland, the environment agency said on Friday.
“Winning the bid to host the IUCN Congress in 2025 is significant and a reflection of the vision of our President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed," said Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, chairman of the environment agency.
"It will be an opportunity to showcase UAE’s conservation leadership in protecting and restoring endangered species, both in the country and globally.
“We will make the IUCN 2025 Congress one of the most impactful, effective, and decisive congresses to date. We will work with the conservation community to protect our planet to avert biodiversity and climate crises.”
'Crowning achievement' for UAE
The UAE's selection comes as it prepares to host the crucial Cop28 UN climate summit at Expo City Dubai in November.
"Since its inception, the UAE has prioritised environmental conservation and has made tremendous local and international efforts to enhance biodiversity and protect endangered species," said Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
"Hosting this conference is a crowning achievement for the UAE and underscores our leading global status in taking on larger responsibilities in these areas."
The UAE's role as host of Cop28 reiterates its influential position as a leading global partner in steering efforts to tackle climate change and promote environmental preservation, the Minister said.
"We look forward to the successful orchestration of the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conference in 2025 and extend our warm welcome to delegates from diverse nations across the world to converge in the UAE and find practical and decisive solutions for the challenges of biodiversity and the protection of living creatures," she added.
"This will contribute to preserving our natural heritage for future generations and building a sustainable future for humanity."
Razan Al Mubarak, who is president of the IUCN and also serves as UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Cop28, welcomed the UAE's selection.
“As a president of the IUCN, I am delighted that my home country has won the bid to host the next IUCN Congress," she said.
"Global biodiversity loss and climate change impacts are unprecedented environmental emergencies and need an equally unprecedented response. The IUCN with its global experts, convening power and knowledge products has a major role to shape such a response.”
The IUCN comprises both government and civil society organisations, calling on the support of 1,400 members and more than 18,000 experts to help protect the natural world.
The UAE has full membership of the IUCN, with bodies such as the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, the Mohamed Bin Zayed Conservation Fund, Emirates Environment Group and Emirates Nature and the International Fund for Houbara Conservation helping to steer its global agenda.