Governance and Rights

The fulfilment of IUCN’s mission requires the Union to address and effectively integrate key social issues in its conservation programmes.


How we engage

Social justice, equity, transparency and inclusion are vital to achieving IUCN’s vision and mission. Rights-based and socially inclusive approaches to conservation are fundamental for effective natural resource management and its contribution to human wellbeing and biodiversity.

In advancing this work in conservation, IUCN focusses on these key areas:


  • Women fetching water in Rajasthan, India Two women are lugging water pots on their head in Rajasthan, India. Due to the lack of piped water, women and girls in many parts of the world have to fetch water from its natural sources, exposing them to the threat of gender-based violence. Photo: Shutterstock

    Environmental degradation driving gender-based violence – IUCN study


    Gland, Switzerland, 29 January 2020 (IUCN) – The degradation of nature can lead to gender-based violence including sexual assault, domestic violence and forced prostitution, according to a new IUCN study published today. Competition over increasingly scarce...

  • Cambodian women who work with forest products Photo: NTFP-EP Cambodia, Kouy Socheat

    Gender and the environment: What are the barriers to gender equality in sustainable ecosystem management?


    Gender equality and women’s empowerment are matters of fundamental human rights and prerequisites to meeting sustainable development goals around the world.

  • A man is filling water cans at a well After a drought in 2017 related to an El Niño event, food and water resources became scarce in parts of Somalia, affecting millions. Photo: Muse Mohammed/IOM

    IUCN Acting Director General’s Statement on International Migrants Day


    When it is a deliberate choice, migration can be a powerful source of new opportunities. Yet for many people, migration is not a choice. Many are forced to leave their homes, fearing conflict and violence, or fleeing from persecution and human rights...

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Indigenous people Photo: Colectivo Sinestesia - UICN América del Sur

Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous peoples hold and manage a significant part of the Earth’s most biodiverse regions and play a vital role in conserving lands, seas and resources. They cultivate strong economic, cultural and spiritual relationships with their natural environments and have developed and often...
Women in Community Garden, Uganda Photo: Maggie Roth

Gender equality and women's empowerment

Gender equality and equity are matters of fundamental human rights and social justice, as well as a pre-condition for sustainable development. IUCN is committed to furthering gender equality and equity in order to build a Union that understands the importance of equal opportunity and...
Producers clubs in Mozambique practice climate-smart agriculture Photo: Maria Ana Borges

Governance and Rights-based Approaches

Securing rights and sharing power and responsibilities through strengthened natural resource governance benefits both people and biodiversity.  Effective and equitable governance is a necessary foundation for a just world that values and conserves nature and contributes to the achievement...

Quick reads

Aimed at policy-makers and journalists, IUCN Issues Briefs provide key information on selected issues in a two-pager format.

Thumbnail_CC and Gender issues brief Photo: IUCN

Gender and climate change

Across societies the impacts of climate change affect women and men differently. Women are often responsible for gathering and producing food, collecting water and sourcing fuel for heating and...
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