George Wilson was one of over ten thousand participants including many Australians who attended the WCC in Hawaii in September. The overall theme was ‘Planet at the Crossroads’ building on the Paris Agreement on climate change, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the ‘Promise of Sydney’, Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Earth Charter, and The Honolulu Challenge on Invasive Alien Species. During the 10 days of both the discussion sessions and then subsequent voting assembly.
In particular the Congress discussed
- The nexus between biological and cultural diversity, and how their conservation and sustainability requires a combination of traditional wisdom and modern knowledge.
• Indigenous rights to hunt clashed with animal rights opponents
- The significance of the world’s ocean for biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods.
• Ocean conservation issues were prominent because the Congress was in middle of the Pacific Ocean. President Obama announced enlargement of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to 2 million sq km
- The threats to biodiversity from habitat loss, climate change, invasive alien species, unsustainable exploitation, and pollution.
• Invasive weeds, cats and mongooses huge problem in Hawaii
George had a particular focus on the Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) chaired by Rosie Cooney.
He also met with the leader of the Great Elephant Census, Mike Chase and the funders of the project. The results were announced during the Congress. Melanie Edwards and he had reviewed aerial survey data from 10 regions of Africa. The results concluded there are some 370000 elephants in the 18 countries surveyed. A few populations had increased but most were suffering from poaching and competition from the expanding human population
The resolutions passed by the General Assembly are at congress/assembly/motions
The Congress concluding statement was the ‘The Hawaiʻi Commitments’. They propose solutions covering
1. Culture and conservation
2. Youth engagement
3. Sustainable food supply
4. Health of oceans
5. Wildlife trade
6. Engaging the private sector and
7. Climate change