At UN General Assembly, Razan Al Mubarak addresses climate and biodiversity crises

During Climate Week and the UN General Assembly in September, Razan Al Mubarak championed initiatives to address climate change and biodiversity loss at a series of seminal events in New York City. 

Ms. Al Mubarak started her week off in New York at a panel discussion on conserving, restoring, and sustainably using nature, aimed at securing the highest level of commitment from global leaders to an ambitious biodiversity framework at COP15. Held this coming December in Montreal, the COP15 talks aim to give biodiversity the same international protection as the climate. In an address that encouraged optimism, Ms. Al Mubarak highlighted the importance of establishing more protected areas, calling for at least 30 percent of land and marine territories to be set aside by 2030–50 percent by 2050. 

“There is overwhelming evidence that conservation works where measures are effective and sustained,” said Ms. Al Mubarak. “Indeed, absent these efforts, trends in species extinction risk would be at least 20% worse. We have an amazing and resilient planet – it will heal if we let it.”

Ms. Al Mubarak was also a panelist that addressed doing business in a changing world. She championed an integrated approach to the climate crisis as the world faces multiple simultaneous threats – a global pandemic, a biodiversity crisis, a water crisis, and an energy crisis. In her remarks, Ms. Al Mubarak prioritized the importance of reversing biodiversity loss, and championed nature-based solutions to address the climate and biodiversity crises. 

“When it comes to climate change,” she added, “nature-based solutions have the potential to supply up to 37 percent of climate change mitigation needs and create many more green jobs per million dollars invested than industries such as coal, oil and gas.”

To cap off a busy week, Ms. Al Mubarak took part in a multi-stakeholder panel discussion on the pivotal role of renewable energy. There in her capacity as a representative from the UAE, she spoke about the country’s bold net-zero ambition by 2050, touting it as an effort to limit emissions, not progress. She highlighted the UAE’s commitment to ramp up renewables like solar and wind, energy efficiency, and clean technologies like hydrogen, and its practical plan to assure both economic and environmental well-being. 

Looking forward, Ms. Al Mubarak eagerly anticipates her participation in the first-ever IUCN Council meeting to be hosted in Abu Dhabi, in her homeland of the United Arab Emirates, and the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to be hosted in Dubai in November 2023.

Razan Al Mubarak marks one year anniversary as IUCN President

Just over one year ago, Razan Al Mubarak was elected IUCN’s new president. Her first year in office marks an important milestone and a great opportunity to update you on the progress that IUCN, under her leadership, has made in implementing the resolutions and decisions agreed upon during the Congress, while also laying out goals for the year ahead. 

Ms. Al Mubarak said: “It is more important now than ever to ambitiously advocate on behalf of our planet with the urgency that this moment deserves. The work we do for IUCN and the conservation of nature is vital – and it is not solitary work: together we can contribute to a healthy future for our planet.”

Highlights of the Council’s work of the past year include:

  • The establishment of a Climate Change Commission and the appointment of Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the former Minister of the Environment of Peru, as the Commission’s Interim Chair. In this position, Mr. Pulgar-Vidal will lead the commission in mobilizing and coordinating efforts to address climate change across the Union.
  • In September, 2022, Ms. Al Mubarak represented IUCN at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York; engaged with UN Climate Change High-Level Champions at COP26 to advocate for Nature-based Solutions; interfaced with the World Economic Forum on planning for UNFCCC’s COP27 and COP28; and stood with world leaders in a pledge to commit to conservation goals for COP15 in Montreal.
  • The acceleration of efforts to pursue, monitor, and adapt integrated approaches to solving the biodiversity and climate crises, including advocating for the adoption of Nature-based Solutions to climate change at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in November and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal, Canada, in December. 
  • IUCN Council has made great progress on the development of a 20-year Strategic Vision, inclusive of a Financial Strategy and Strategic Plan for the Union, as directed by Union Members during the World Conservation Congress in Marseille (WCC-2020-Dec-147-EN). So far, Council has developed and approved the Terms of Reference for the intersessional working group and the Bureau has received expressions of interest from Union Members to become members of the Council working group and recommended names for appointment by council.  

Looking ahead, Ms. Al Mubarak eagerly anticipates the first-ever IUCN Council meeting to be hosted in Abu Dhabi, in her homeland of the United Arab Emirates, and the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to be hosted in Dubai in November 2023. 

As the first Arab woman to serve as IUCN President, Ms. Al Mubarak especially values the imprint that her role as President has left on countless young women across West Asia, North Africa, and around the world, inspiring them to play an active role in conserving nature and biodiversity.