A Recap of the 2nd Official IUCN Leader’s Forum (11 -13 October 2023)

Entering the CICG (International Conference Centre Geneva) was exciting for me, knowing that IUCN would be discussing pertinent issues with its global partners in the dynamic realm of biodiversity protection and climate change governance.

The theme revolved around the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework 2022 and IUCN’s nature-positive aspirations with its several collaborators.

Photo: IUCN Leaders Forum Opening Ceremony


Indigenous People and Local community members emphasized that in developing plans for implementing GBF in the region, it is important to involve communities and to take into account traditional and cultural wisdom. The young leaders and specialists discussed fairness, equality, and kindness, stressing the significance of involving young people in the policy-making and application stages.

Pictured is Zaya Guarani, a Brazilian Indigenous youth activist, and

The Sessions

The conference kicked off with an array of sessions and panel discussions. I went to talks about community involvement and young people. Indigenous People and Local community members, young leaders, and experts from the business sector talked about how to start an inclusive and fair transition into the Global Biodiversity Framework in relation to people and nature.

Noteworthy Youth Changemakers!

The changemakers created a vibrant atmosphere at the end of Day 1 and Day 2 as they spoke of their innovative projects. Each changemaker showcased their local projects to an eager audience and received valuable advice and constructive criticism from an audience of industry experts and potential investors.

Pictured is Sherherazade (Co-executive Director, PROGRES) made a compelling pitch about her passion for her work in Indonesia. She used her story-telling abilities to captivate the audience and received a positive response from the experts in the room.

As this valuable three-day event drew to a close, the echoes of the information and relationships that were exchanged resonated among participants. IUCN highlighted the importance of youth and commended the changemakers and leaders’ ability to steer the event in a passionate, inspiring, and optimistic direction.

Written by Samantha Sithole (IGD, UNIL). 10 November 2023.

© G. Walters, La Garandie, Auvergne, France

At the 2021 World Conservation Congress, UNIL along with colleaugues at IUCN, the University of British Columbia, The Forests Dialogue, African Leadership University, Tanah Air Beta, Wageningen University, and APRIL organised the Campus Session Landscape governance: learning from the field.

In December 2020, UNIL graduate and IUCN World Heritage Scientific Advisor, Jean-Baptiste Bosson, gave a TEDx talk in Zurich, on glaciers and their conservation in the context of an IUCN World Heritage Study.

© Jussi Puikkonen, KNAW

In 2018, UNIL awarded an honorary doctorate to the late Prof. Georgina Mace of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, with associated full day colloquium, organised by Faculty of Biology and Medicine.