Razan Al Mubarak Elected to IUCN President

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On September 8, 2021 Razan Al Mubarak was elected IUCN President for a 4-year term. Watch Ms. Al Mubarak’s acceptance speech at the conclusion of IUCN World Conservation Congress 2021 or read the transcription below.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, and my fellow IUCN members,

I am truly humbled and honored to stand before you this evening at the closing ceremony of the 2021 World Conservation Congress as your newly elected president and I pledge to live up to this great responsibility and to earn your trust at this critical moment for the planet.

As I begin my address, I'd like to first thank the great city of Marseille and our gracious host, the country of France for their truly amazing hospitality and for prioritizing our health and safety for those who were able to attend in person. Thank you. And on behalf of us all, I'd also like to thank and raise our hats to the incredible team at the IUCN Secretariat for making this Congress a great success.

As we've heard, this hybrid Congress exceeded all of our expectations, both in terms of turnout, but also in terms of voting participation. In fact, more members cast their votes in these elections than during any of the past three three Congresses. Thank you. This would not have happened without your relentless dedication and effort. Chapeau!

But this success, in turn, is a reflection of the extraordinary dedication of our members, who despite the challenges attended virtually or in person to reconnect with colleagues, to reconnect with the IUCN extended family, and who voted virtually or in person to advance the democratic values of the IUCN and who contributed in person or virtually to unite and galvanize our collective efforts to protect nature. Shukran. Merci. Thank you. Y muchas gracias.

Mr. Bruno, the IUCN director general. You have successfully navigated our beloved organization in the eye of a global pandemic storm and I strive to take on the reins of the presidency as quickly and as efficiently as you have done. It is our joint responsibility to complement each other's strengths, to ensure that the roles and responsibilities of the president and the director general are clear and well defined and to work hand in hand to bring harmony to the council, to the secretariat, to the regional offices, and of course, to the regional and national committees. This will help ensure that we all work together synergistically, efficiently, effectively, with transparency and integrity, with a sense of urgency and never losing sight of what nature demands of IUCN. 

I also, too, want to take this opportunity to recognize the nine years of service of our former president, Mr. Zhang Xingsheng, who joined us virtually from China throughout this Congress and continues to show his commitment through his words and through his actions.

And for the newly elected council, congratulations. Our work starts now. Tomorrow is our first council meeting, and it will be critical to establish from the very beginning our common commitment to protecting nature, our duty to all our members, and our obligation to cooperation, to professionalism and to authenticity. 

Our members have not only put their trust in us to serve the union, but ultimately they have put their trust in us to serve nature. Ladies and gentlemen, we've all agreed that nature needs IUCN to step up. We need an IUCN that is visionary, willing to take strong, bold, ambitious steps. And let us not forget that it was IUCN that was at the foundation of what we know nature conservation to be. It is time to reignite the spirit of innovation, a nothing-is-impossible attitude whilst embracing the values of compassion, inclusivity, respect and diversity.

Ladies and gentlemen, caring for nature and biodiversity is our ethical duty, not just a scope of work. We need to accept in our core the contribution of nature to humanity. It is our duty to fight for nature, not only because of what it does for us, but for its own sake, its own intrinsic value.

And finally, I stand before you as the first Arab woman president in IUCN history. And for this, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for entrusting me with this great responsibility and in doing so, inspiring the countless women and young people of West Asia, North Africa and around the world who aspire to accomplish their dreams. You are our future and our greatest hope for a better tomorrow.

As we depart from here, both physically and virtually, I wish you and your loved ones to be safe and healthy, and I also wish that you take the spirit of this event with you to the next quadrennium to ensure that the IUCN community progresses its mission with a sense of urgency, with a sense of purpose, and with a sense of hope that this moment demands.

Thank you very much.