Climate Change Commission


We are excited to have the Council make a historic decision at its February, 2020-22 Board meeting and appoint the interim chair and the interim steering committee of the Climate Crisis Commission.

See excerpts from Resolution 110, Establishing a Climate Crisis Commission below.


Read the full Resolution 110 by clicking here.

"The IUCN World Conservation Congress, at is session in Marseille, France calls on IUCN Members to agree on establishing a new Commission with the working title of 'The Climate Crisis Commission' with the aim of mobilising and coordinating the Union and engaging with Regional and National IUCN Committees and broader civil society efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change..."

"...enhanced action on climate change adaptation, mitigation and resilience is necessary to protect communities from the irreversible impacts of climate change..."

"...the world is at a crossroads with the convergence of several crises: catastrophic climate change, the sixth mass biodiversity extinction event, the modification of geological processes, loss of geological heritage and natural resources such as soils and water..."

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Why a commission?

IUCN will likely cease to exist within forty years when the earth heats to two degrees. The damage to life sustaining ecosystems and extreme weather events will create chaos and instability that will make impossible the attainment of IUCN’s mission to protect nature.

Frequently Asked Questions

What would the Climate Change Commission do?

The commission would create a rallying point from which IUCN members could shape the global response to climate change. Specifically, a commission would create a platform to:
● Leverage IUCN’s collective expertise while coordinating to prevent duplication
● Achieve global consensus on climate-related projects and proposals
● Spread these ideas worldwide and inject them into policy-making efforts

In short, we envision a Climate Change Commission which would, in time, implement a climate protection plan to protect the earth from warming to 1.5 degrees. To achieve these goals, the Climate Change Commission would take the following actions:
● Raise new funds to support itself instead of relying on IUCN’s core budget or detracting from the funding of other commissions.
● Design its work plan to leverage IUCN’s collective expertise for maximum impact while avoiding duplication of the work of other commissions by:
o Asking each existing commission to provide a liaison
o Coordinating with other commissions to leverage their existing expertise
● Create teams of experts from IUCN member organizations to study and map out the pathways for the just transition to a fossil fuel free green economy. These experts would be nominated by IUCN member organizations and then appointed to the Commission.
● Disseminate climate change mitigation and adaptation advice to IUCN member organizations and the international community generally.

For more information, please see our draft mandate for the Climate Change Commission. It is still a work in progress, and we welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions.

Why must Motion 003 be amended to regain its original intended meaning?

As an IUCN member, it is your right to vote on the original intent of Motion 003 -- establishing a Climate Change Commission (click here to read the original language of Motion 003). During the IUCN motions review process, Motion 003 was amended to call for another Climate Change task force instead of the Climate Change Commission that we so desperately need (click here to read the bracketed language of the new version of Motion 003). As an IUCN mechanism, a task force is a feeble alternative to a new commission composed of thousands who are united by a clear purpose. Based on our careful legal analysis, amending Motion 003 so drastically is not consistent with the IUCN’s own Statutes, Rules, and Regulations. Motions can and should be amended, but the amendments must retain the original intent of the motion.

Now that the motion review process has concluded and the IUCN has no formal appeal process for us to share our concern with the IUCN Council, we must act during this critical time to amend the motion during the Congress in September, then vote to pass it. This is our Congress, and we have the right to vote on the motion as originally proposed to create a climate commission. As we prepare for Council elections, we must show those in power that we will no longer maintain the status quo. Our voices are drowning.

Why must IUCN have a Climate Change Commission, not a task force or some other type of group?

IUCN will likely cease to exist within forty years when the earth heats to two degrees. The damage to life sustaining ecosystems and extreme weather events will cause chaos and instability that will make impossible the attainment of IUCN’s mission to protect nature. A fourth task force on climate change will be a useless distraction from the need to take action within the next seven years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and place us on a path to carbon neutrality within the fifty years. A climate crisis commission will organize IUCN to protect nature from the ravages of climate change.

IUCN already contributes to the global climate change discussion in many ways. Many IUCN members believe that IUCN should increase its involvement in climate change issues. The facilitator for the discussion of Motion 003 noted that, “It is clear that there is a consensus about the urgency and importance of IUCN reinforcing its action in relation to climate change.” During the commenting period for Motion 003, IUCN members suggested several alternative organizational vehicles through which IUCN could engage with climate change. Our Drowning Voices believes that none of these alternatives provide focus and resources commensurate to the size of the problem. Some of the specific proposed alternatives included:
● Task Force: IUCN has had three previous climate change task forces. These have repeatedly highlighted the importance of climate change, but they are too ad-hoc to take any serious action.
● Specialist Groups within other commissions: Although each IUCN commission has contributions of expertise to make to climate change issues, they each have their own mandates which focus on other important conservation issues. Their specialist groups are each too focused and specific to make the necessary cross-cutting collaboration possible.
● A cross-commission super task force: that there are so many different voices outside of IUCN globally fighting climate change that the format of a Commission is ideally suited t to making the diverse links and partnerships between IUCN and these many other efforts.
● Rely on UNFCCC as the forum for an international response to climate change: Climate change is an “all hands on deck” problem. IUCN must focus and find the ways that we can contribute. For example, UNFCCC cannot bring the same expertise to the table on Nature-based Solutions that IUCN can.

We disagree with some of our fellow IUCN members who argue that a brand-new Climate Change commission is not the right vehicle for IUCN to engage with the climate issue. They claim that creating a commission would place climate change in a silo divorced from the work of the other commissions. We agree that climate change is a cross-cutting issue that requires collaboration. However, so are species survival, ecosystem management, protected areas, and economic, environmental, and social policy. Did the need for holistic solutions stop us from creating the Species Survival Commission, the Commission on Ecosystem Management, the World Commission on Protected Areas, or the Commission on Economic, Environmental, and Social Policy, for example? Do we regret forming those commissions because they foster focused effort on important issues? No indeed!

How would the Climate Change Commission avoid duplicating the work of other parts of IUCN?

The Climate Change Commission will not duplicate the work of the other 6 commissions, but will establish coordinating links with each and channel their studies to contribute toward the design, crafting and support of projects for action designed by the Climate Crisis Commission. The Commission will link the Climate work of IUCN with that of its NGO and State Members, in focused projects for action. Most often Commissions only work with experts and not with IUCN Members. The Commission will create a platform to link Climate action and focus it on projects for action, and make the links to stakeholders and actors that are not in the IUCN, strengthening the coalitions working on projects for action. The Climate Change Commission will also provide outreach to secure new funding sources to enable the design of projects for action with recourse beyond those that other commissions or IUCN’s Secretariat presently have. IUCN has no available staff in the secretariat or other commissions to do this fund-raising. The Commission will record and channel success stories through its platform so that others can emulate the successes in mitigation or adaptation, ASAP, to build resilience, and refine and improve the effectiveness of projects for action.


the Proposed

Climate Change Commission

The IUCN Climate Change Commission will be the central headquarters from which diverse and dedicated IUCN members will vet and implement the climate protection plan.


How we get there: Pass Motion 003

An international coalition of IUCN members has proposed Motion 003 - Establishing a Climate Change Commission for the World Conservation Congress happening this September in Marseille.


Meet the


Meet the individuals and IUCN Member Organizations committed to establishing a Climate Change Commission.

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All the Latest Updates

Stay up to date with the effort to create a Climate Change Commission and read deep dives into different aspects of the commission.