The IUCN European Regional Office represents 344 Members (2019), to include 32 Governments, 312 CSOs, Zoos, Academic Institutions, Foundations, Research Institutes and Museums. IUCN provides regional and global services to the Union, by providing vital linkages to EU institutions and other stakeholders in Brussels. Its  primary role is to connect and engage in policy dialogues with European institutions, governments, civil society, NGOs, science and the business communities to improve conservation policy and action. As a science-based organisation, IUCN provides essential knowledge products for a broad range of policy debates. The Brussels office focuses on issues such as biodiversity, climate change, nature conservation and supporting business, governments and civil society to integrate ecosystem services in decision making and practice. IUCN provides knowledge and tools to create awareness of the values of nature and capacity building. Nature-based solutions (NbS) are a key component of IUCN European Regional Office’s work, actively raising awareness of the many socio-economic and environmental benefits of NbS and their contribution to sustainable development, as well as providing support and guidance on their implementation. Currently, IUCN is developing a global Nature-based Solutions Standard – to promote the upscaling of NBS across sectors and in partnership with business, governments and civil society. IUCN also advocates for Members at the EU level in case of urgent policy developments at national or local level. IUCN is a founding partner of the Natural Capital Coalition which unites the global natural capital community. The Coalition is made up of over 300 organizations who together represent all parts of society and span the global economy. Coalition organizations have united under a common vision of a world that conserves and enhances natural capital. The European Regional Office is engaged in a range of policy areas and projects. For instance, the well-known European Red List of Threatened Species helps to inform policy makers as well as the general public on the status of species in Europe. Cooperation with local and regional authorities helps promote NbS, highlights the pioneering role of IUCN in attracting new audiences to biodiversity conservation. Behind and in front of the scenes, IUCN continues to support and push for a rapid implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement as well as the UN Sustainable Development Agenda.

Globally, the IUCN Business and Biodiversity Programme focuses on three key areas of work to drive the changes required to deliver on IUCN’s global conservation and sustainable development goals. These include:

1. Valuing biodiversity

2. Promoting biodiversity net gain

3. Investing in nature IUCN seeks to build an action-based relationship with business that goes beyond Corporate Social Responsibility obligations, addressing the root causes of environmental degradation.

The Global Business and Biodiversity Programme provides a wide range of expertise. It builds bridges between stakeholders, carries out independent scientific assessments, and develops conservation policy standards and tools. IUCN's Business Engagement Strategy and its related Operational Guidelines help outline and monitor IUCN’s engagements. IUCN provides knowledge products and tools to help businesses and policy makers adopt practices that conserve nature and generate benefits for people who depend on natural resources.

Nature is essential to the future of the planet, however the loss of nature in the last 50 years has increased drastically. In addition, natural resources are being used up faster than the Earth can replace. More attention is needed for the value of natural capital. According to the latest Global Risk Report 2020 of the World Economic Forum, environmental risks continue to dominate the global business and economic agenda, with the top five risks extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and human-made environmental disasters. Given the environmental crisis and the different challenges we face nowadays, we need to fundamentally change our relationship with nature from exploitation to sustainable use. Economic development which disregards nature conservation is self‐defeating. Generally the understanding and focus of economic development is narrowly conceived and fails to recognise that all economies are dependent on living within Earth’s planetary boundaries. There is a mismatch risk associated with the survival of the business model and its corresponding sustainability in the medium and long term. These changing global climate risks (Climate Change, nature degradation, biodiversity loss etc.) are not currently considered as a principal risk to the business model and just the most significant impacts, environmental legislations and extreme weather conditions have been identified. All businesses rely on natural resources for their production processes and depend on healthy ecosystems, therefore through understanding and considering the risks and opportunities created by nature, businesses can make better decisions that benefit themselves, society and the planet as a whole. Considering the growing risk of climate change and natural disasters, there is a clear sense of urgency to integrate nature into the decision making processes of the public and private sector, accelerating the mainstreaming through different approaches such as natural capital assessment, natural capital accounting (NCA), Nature-based Solutions (NbS), Green infrastructure (GI) and ecosystem-based approaches, which can contribute to a sustainable and resilient economy. The global economy in general and the business community in particular are part of the problem and they are also part of the solution, therefore the business community has a critical role to play in demonstrating that the safeguarding of nature makes economic sense and the global economic prosperity relies on a healthy planet. Without a strong commitment from the business sector, nature conservation becomes more difficult. To foster a sense of shared ownership over the agreements and outcomes, the conservation community and private sector can benefit pursing a joint action.

Globally, more than 38,500 species are threatened with extinction or 28% of all assessed species:

  • Cycads 63%
  • Amphibians 41% (34-51%)
  • Selected Dicots (birches; cacti; magnolias; maples; oaks; protea family; southern beeches; teas) 38.5% (34-45%)
  • Sharks, rays & chimeras 37% (32-46%)
  • Selected reptiles (marine turtles; seasnakes; chameleons; crocodiles & alligators) 34% (29-45%)
  • Conifers 34% (34-35%)
  • Reef-forming corals 33% (27-44%)
  • Selected crustaceans (lobsters; freshwater crabs; freshwater crayfishes; freshwater shrimps) 28% (17-56%)
  • Mammals 26% (23-37%) 
  • Birds 14% (13.5-14%)
  • Selected gastropods (cone snails) 7.5% (6-20%)
  • Selected bony fishes (anchovies; angelfishes; billfishes; blennies; bonefishes; butterflyfishes; cornetfishes; croakers & drums; denticle herring; dragonfishes, lightfishes & relatives; filefishes; ghost pipefishes; groupers; gulpers, snipe eels & relatives; jacks, pompanos & relatives; ladyfishes; lanternfishes; lizardfishes & allies; pristigasterids; pufferfishes; round herrings; sardines & relatives; seabreams, porgies & picarels; seahorses, pipefishes & relatives; shrimpfishes; sturgeons; Sundaland noodlefishes; surgeonfishes, tangs & unicornfishes; swordfish; tarpons; trumpetfishes; tunas; wolf herrings; wrasses) 6% (5-22%)
  • Cephalopods (nautiluses; octopuses; squids) 1.5% (1-57%).

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