Razan Al Mubarak featured as one of Mongabay's “Conservation Players”

Razan Al Mubarak was interviewed by Mongabay editor-in-chief Rhett Butler as part of the news outlet’s Conservation Players. The series explores nature and sustainability issues and trends with notable conservation leaders from around the world such as The Nature Conservancy’s Jennifer Morris, WWF Africa’s Alice Ruhweza, and Jinfeng Zhou of the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation. 

In the interview. Ms Al Mubarak discusses a range of issues including the impact of COVID-19 on conservation, the role of technology in protecting biodiversity, and her vision for leading IUCN.  

Asked why she is optimistic about the future of conservation, Ms Al Mubarak said:

“I am an optimist because we know that conservation is effective. And every day we learn more about what we can do to protect nature. 

There is no doubt that nature is being challenged, just by our sheer population alone. But despite that, nature is not dead; it just needs our help. 

When I am overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenge we face, I like to think of it this way: there are 7.8 billion people on this planet, and we have 10 billion species. If just one individual out of 10 is empowered to protect a potentially endangered species, we have addressed the problem. So be interested, be curious, and use that energy for good. There are incredible individuals that are protecting nature. Get in touch with them and be part of something that is very fulfilling.” 

Read the full article on Mongabay.

In IUCN 2021 presidential candidates debate, Razan Al Mubarak offers optimistic message for future of Union

Razan Al Mubarak articulated her vision for the Union in the recent IUCN 2021 presidential candidates’ debate which was moderated by the former Prime Minister of France, Laurent Fabius.

The debate was conducted in advance of the electronic vote which will open to all IUCN members no matter their location on September 4, 2021.

In her closing statement, Ms. Al Mubarak offered a message of hope for the future of conservation: 

“IUCN has so much to offer at this critical moment, especially as more and more people recognize that protecting nature is critical to solving the current challenges we face, and that nature-based solutions are gaining more ground.

This is our opportunity to bring back the grand vision of the Union, where nature is elevated as an existential crisis on the global agenda. 

Now is the time for us to step up to this challenge and redesign and reimagine nature conservation. The time for procrastination is over. We must be bold. We must be fast. We must innovate. And armed with optimism and humility, we need to enable the IUCN to be a more active and effective advocate for Nature Conservation globally. I am convinced we can do it collectively. We will succeed, for nature needs us and we need nature.”

Watch the first presidential debate in the IUCN’s YouTube channel.

Razan Al Mubarak calls on donors to increase unrestricted funding to conservation organizations

Biodiversity loss is one of the greatest existential crises of our time. Current estimates suggest that the planet is losing more than ten thousand species to extinction per year — a thousand times faster than at any other point in history.

While stopping biodiversity loss requires long-term strategies, Razan Al Mubarak says that the work of IUCN and other conservation organisations is being hampered by the predominance of restricted funding — monies that are earmarked for specific, often short-term projects. In fact, restricted funding now accounts for 70 percent of IUCN’s revenue. 

In an op-ed published in Eco-Business, Ms. Al Mubarak argues that addressing the biodiversity crisis requires long-term research, field projects, advocacy, and education, as well as institutional overhead like rent and salaries, that can best be maintained through unrestricted monetary donations.

She writes:

As the world recovers from the pandemic, we must seize the opportunity to reimagine and rethink how we fund conservation for the long term. Stopping biodiversity loss takes decades of sustained effort, and right now we can ill afford to increasingly rely upon short-term, project-specific grants.

Governments, foundations, and philanthropists must take the lead in prioritising effective, consistent support in the form of unrestricted funding for the conservation organizations fighting on the front lines of the extinction crisis.

Read Razan’s full op-ed in Eco-Business here.

Razan Al Mubarak calls on policymakers to put indigenous groups at forefront of sustainable development agenda

Today is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which honors the rights of indigenous groups while celebrating their contributions — including their central role in preserving biodiversity throughout the world. Razan Al Mubarak recently took part in a discussion spotlighting how insights from indigenous peoples can teach policymakers and scientists about resilience and living in balance with nature.

The panel on indigenous communities and climate change was part of Voices of Sustainability, a fireside chat series hosted by the Zayed Sustainability Prize.

Ms. Al Mubarak talked with Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), about how indigenous women, as their communities’ knowledge bearers, are crucial to managing nature and resources in the face of an extinction pandemic. 

The two women noted that indigenous peoples’ direct reliance on the environment and its resources makes them better at finding a holistic approach to conservation. 

Noting that indigenous peoples make up five percent of the world’s population but are protecting over 80 percent of Earth’s biodiversity, Ms. Al Mubarak said: 

“It is high time that we purposefully empower indigenous communities by design, not just pay lip service to the issue. I call on the nature conservation community to put indigenous communities at the forefront of the sustainable development agenda.”

Ms Ibrahim agreed:

“Indigenous people are everywhere — from the arid deserts, savannas and high mountains to glaciers, tropical forests, oceans and islands. When you go to an indigenous land, it is more fertile than a national park that is protected by the government. And that is because we know how to keep balance with nature. It is the wisdom of the indigenous people that makes this possible.” 

Ms. Al Mubarak’s participation in the event reflects her commitment to ensuring diverse voices, including indigenous peoples, women, and young people have an active and equitable role in IUCN governance.

Watch the full conversation on YouTube.