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UICN 2020 World Congress

Marseilles (France) 11-19 June, 2020

Motion on the inclusion of natural cavities in nature protection policies

Underground environments have a high environmental value internationally, having regard to their interests from a biological, geological, cultural or heritage point of view, but also strategic in terms of drinking water resources.

However, they are subject to increasing anthropogenic pressure, which affects their integrity and their good state of conservation.

However, unlike other biotopes such as the mountains or the coast, they are almost absent from public nature conservation policies, if not through a few thematic entries (chiropters, archeology in particular), due to the fact their invisibility, their difficult access, their ignorance.

Reflecting this situation, at no time have they been approached by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 72 years of world congresses.

The organization in France in Marseille in June 2020 of the next world congress of this international NGO is an opportunity to put underground environments on the agenda, to raise awareness of their challenges and their vulnerability.

By a motion submitted to the vote of IUCN members, it is therefore a question of : 

  • to encourage states to take better account of the underground environment in their nature conservation policies
  • d’insister sur l’enjeu d’amélioration de la connaissance des processus dynamiques complexes entre la surface et le sous-sol plus particulièrement en milieu karstique
  • to encourage the actors concerned to develop more global, more collaborative and more sustainable approaches to the underground environment both in its study, its protection, the management of its resources, its development
  • to invite managers of protected natural areas, touristic sites or resources, to adopt exemplary approaches and to carry out actions to raise awareness of the preservation of the environments concerned.

The motion, prepared within IFREEMIS, will be brought by Natural Reserves of France. It has given rise to significant work in mobilizing networks on an international scale so that it can be retained by the IUCN General Secretariat as draft resolutions submitted to the vote of members.

Organizations supporting the approach :

Federation of Regional Natural Parks of France Biodiversity Commission (France), Federation of Conservatories of Natural Areas (France), French Federation of Alpine and Mountain Clubs (France), National Museum of Natural History (France), Awely animals and of men (France), International Center for Comparative Environmental Law (France), French Interprofessional Association of Ecologists (France), France Nature Environnement (France), Biotope Company Foundation (France), French Society for the Law of Environment (France), Humanity and biodiversity (France), Progeo European association for the conservation of geological heritage (Sweden), SEDGPYM Sociedad Española para la Defensa del Patrimonio Geológico y Minero (Spain), Sociedad Geológica de España, Istituto Pangea – Onlus (Spain), WWF Italy (Italy), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italy), Benin Environment and Education Society BEES (Benin), Center R Regional Research and Education Center for Integrated Development – CREDI (Benin), Tropical Nature (Benin), Intervillage Association for the Management of Natural Resources and Fauna of Comoé – Léraba AGEREF / CL (Burkina Faso) Conservation of Marine Species CEM (Côte d’Ivoire), Cameroon Environmental Watch CEW (Cameroon), Environment and Rural Development Foundation ERUDEF (Cameroon), Sylvia Earth Alliance – Mission Blue (USA), Fundación Antonio Núñez Jiménez de la Naturaleza y el Hombre (Cuba), Foundation Antonio Núñez Jiménez for Humanity and Nature (FANJ – Cuba), National Association of Operators of Cavities Developed for Tourism ANECAT (France), French Federation of Speleology (France), International Union of Speleology (Italy), Association Païolive (France), ACKMA Australian Cave and Karst Management Association Incorporated (Australia), Nicolas Hulot Foundation (France), Opie Office for insects and their environment (France), Nature and Discovery Foundation (France).