The IUCN Council is the principal governing body of IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, in between sessions of the World Conservation Congress - the general assembly of the Union's members.
Subject to the authority, direction and policy of the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the role of the IUCN Council is to set strategic direction and policy guidance for the work of the Union, provide oversight and guidance on the performance of the components of the Union as a whole and of the Director General in particular, fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities to the Members of the Union and render account to them, and support the Director General in communicating IUCN’s objectives, policy and Programme to the world community.
The 2012-2016 Council is composed of:
- Four Vice Presidents (elected by Council from among its members)
- The Treasurer;
- The Chairs of IUCN's six Commissions;
- Three Regional Councillors from each of IUCN's eight Statutory Regions (Africa; Meso and South America; North America and the Caribbean; South and East Asia; West Asia; Oceania; East Europe, North and Central Asia; and West Europe);
- A Councillor from the State in which IUCN has its seat (Switzerland).
The elected members of Council hold office from the close of the World Conservation Congress to the close of the next ordinary session of the Congress.
The Bureau of the IUCN Council acts on behalf, and under the authority of the Council between meetings of the Council. The members of the Bureau (2013-2014) are indicated in the list of Councillors with an asterisk (*).