Edit ModuleShow Tags

The World’s Greatest Environmental Superstars Are Speaking in Honolulu

The 2016 World Conservation Congress brings environmental power players from around the world to Honolulu this month.


Published:

It’s the first time the World Conservation Congress, the premier conference of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is being held in the U.S. in the event’s 68-year history.

Photo: Big Island Visitors Bureau (BIVB)/Kawika Singson

 

The Olympics of the conservation world arrives in Honolulu this month, bringing visitor traffic and dollars, along with 8,000 to 10,000 ecological delegates from 160 countries, including heads of state, scientists, politicians and climate experts, to discuss a “planet at a crossroads.” Celebrities scheduled to speak include Jane Goodall, the world’s foremost chimpanzee expert, Prince Albert II of Monaco and Sylvia Earle, world-renowned marine biologist, lecturer and National Geographic explorer.

 

It’s the first time the World Conservation Congress, the premier conference of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is being held in the U.S. in the event’s 68-year history. How did Hawai‘i win the selection, beating out eight other international contenders?

 

First there’s our status as an island chain on the front line of climate change, coastal erosion, ocean acidification and invasive species. “Hawai‘i is recognized globally for the unique species that are found here and nowhere else on Earth. We’re also known as one of the extinction capitals,” says Chipper Wichman, co-chair of Hawai‘i’s 2016 steering committee and director and CEO of the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kaua‘i.

 

On the other hand, Hawai‘i’s response to this dubious distinction has led to what Wichman calls “some of the most cutting-edge biocultural conservation programs on Earth.” These efforts will be showcased to the delegates as positive examples of what’s possible in challenging regions.

 

The Congress itself will be split into two main sections: a voting session called the Members’ Assembly (Sept. 6–10), in which IUCN members will set international policies for the next four years, and the Forum (Sept. 2–5), where the public can choose from more than 600 sessions addressing a wide range of environmental issues. Sample session titles: “Don’t Call Me a Conservationist,” “Young Leaders of the Pacific” and “Conserve Diversity—Grow Native Plant Varieties.” Kama‘āina day passes are available for $75 ($150 for two days); you’ll need to register for each session ahead of time at iucnworldconservationcongress.org.

 

For those looking for something a little less time-consuming, the Exhibition Hall—on the first floor of the Convention Center—will feature a variety of booths highlighting the latest and greatest in conservation work Sept. 2–9 (from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily). 

 

The gathering is forecast to generate as much as $45 million in delegate spending and another $6 million to $8 million in tax revenue. Randall Tanaka, president of the WCC National Host Committee, says, “Having the Congress here will raise the positive awareness of Hawai‘i as a tourism destination that is concerned about sustainability and conservation, which will help us to draw future visitors who want to learn more about our diversity of nature, culture, conservation and sustainability as part of their vacation experience.” 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine April 2018
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Trending

 

Colin Nishida, Beloved Chef and Restaurateur, Leaves a Culinary Legacy

Colin Nishida

An entire community remembers the owner of Side Street Inn.

 

Closing of Popular Lanikai Pillbox Hike Delayed Until Further Notice

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

The state asks for public input as it works to repair the old concrete observation stations on the trail, commonly known as “pillboxes.”

 

First Look: Panda Dimsum in Kalihi

Panda Dim Sum

Frogs, hedgehogs and bees, oh my! This spot dishes up cute, Instagrammable dumplings.

 

Kaimukī Gets da Shop, a New Kind of Bookstore and Event Space

Da Shop

It takes guts to open a brick-and-mortar bookstore in the days of instant online gratification, but in da Shop, local publisher Bess Press has found a way to allow fickle/loyal readers to have their cake and eat it, too.

 


20 Great O‘ahu Hikes

Explore 20 great adventures that offer beautiful vistas, waterfalls and more.

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags