The second day of the IUCN World Conservation Congress was devoted to the Forum. Participants attended an opening session and then split into seven plenaries, addressing the meeting’s themes. During the day, numerous events took place, inter alia on novel technologies, spirituality, and rebuilding following the pandemic. The spirituality plenary took the topic, Spirituality and Nature Dialogue: responsibility, inspiration, and behavior change.. The Outcomes of the World Summit of Indigenous Peoples are also summarised.
This session was moderated by Grethel Aguilar, IUCN Deputy Director General.
Cardinal Peter Turkson of the Dicastery for promoting Integral Human Development, said humanity has gone wrong in trying to control and dominate the Earth, rather than conserving and protecting it to ensure it can continue to support human life. Olga Letykai-Csonka, Ethnologist, said all nature is animated and alive, and stressed the need to live spiritually in harmony with nature. Noting the majority of the world’s population is spiritual or religious, Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General and CEO, World Evangelical Alliance, said the required societal change needs spiritual and religious backing, promoting the understanding that protecting nature is part of faith.
Matthieu Ricard, Founder, Karuna Shechen, said everything is interconnected, and humanity must work towards increased social justice and sustainable harmony with nature. Fazlun Khalid, Founder, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, lamented that humans have turned the Earth from a source to be nurtured to a resource to be exploited. He said society must delink from consumerism, away from a growth agenda that raids the Earth of its natural resources. Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Parmarth Niketan, India, stated society needs to recognize oneness instead of separation, to shift from “I to We, from illness to wellness.” Multiple speakers pointed to the golden rule of treating one’s neighbor as oneself as essential to conservation.
Cardinal Turkson closed the session, reflecting on the need to shift from a dominion to compassion mindset. He reminded the audience that it is essential to respect the dignity of nature and work together to take care of our common home.
Outcomes of the World Summit of Indigenous Peoples
The press conference on the outcomes of the IUCN World Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nature, which took place on 3 September 2021, focused on the adoption of the Global Indigenous Agenda for the Governance of Indigenous Lands, Territories, Waters, Coastal Seas, and Natural Resources. It featured a panel, comprising representatives of the Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations (IPO), and underscored the importance of recognizing and including consideration of the Indigenous Agenda when developing policy and implementing conservation measures. They also discussed: Indigenous Peoples and local communities’ (IPLCs’) adaptive management capacity; ensuring participation of indigenous women and youth; and recognizing IPLCs’ right to free, prior, and informed consent.