IUCN 2012 - The year in pictures

2012 was a hectic year for the IUCN network as it strived to make sure that nature is at the heart of efforts to tackle global challenges.

Here we take a look at some of the highlights of the year as we forged ahead with our efforts to achieve a just and sustainable world.


Gorillas, cockatoos and frogs are just a few of the many threatened species to receive a helping hand from SOS (Save Our Species), a global species conservation fund of IUCN, the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility.

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Philippine Cockatoo




IUCN welcomes the Republic of Iraq as a new State Member. This ecologically-diverse country covers a range of habitats from dry mountains and forests in the northeast to the alluvial Mesopotamian marshes in the south.

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Cross-border water management not only boosts water security but also promotes dialogue, peace and cooperation even in geopolitically unstable regions says IUCN reporting on its work at the 6th World Water Forum.

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mekong sunset




IUCN joins forces with the prestigious America’s Cup sailing event to encourage the world to rediscover our oceans and make greater efforts to protect them.

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Octopus hunting




After years of international negotiations, the world saw the establishment of IPBES, a global platform that will regularly assess the state of biodiversity, our fragile ecosystems and the essential services they provide to all of us.

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While governments left the UN Rio +20 summit with a big deal but little action, civil society and business proved they can lead the way towards a sustainable future.

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Woman washing dishes near a rice field in Belimbing, Bali, Indonesia. She is using the water canal used to irrigate the rice fields.




2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, to which IUCN gives advice on all natural and mixed sites of Outstanding Universal Value. At the annual World Heritage Committee meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, six new natural wonders were declared World Heritage Sites.

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Lakes of Ounianga in Chad




Threatened natural areas in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific will benefit from a unique partnership created between IUCN, the European Commission and German Development Cooperation.

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Fisherman in Vanuatu




As economic difficulties continue to dominate international debate, IUCN’s World Conservation Congress put nature back centre stage in the quest to recover our natural assets and use nature to solve a growing list of economic and social issues.

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Congress opening




Efforts to conserve nature must be urgently scaled up if we want to meet the 2020 deadline to save all life on earth – said IUCN at the UN biodiversity summit in India which saw the release of the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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Tiger in Ranthambore National Park in India




IUCN signs an agreement with the Cook Islands Government to help establish the world’s largest marine protected area. The Cook Islands Marine Park will help conserve the region’s marine biodiversity and boost local economic growth.

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mitiar - southern cook islands


The global movement to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 – known as the “Bonn Challenge” – reached a new level at the UN Climate Talks in Doha as Costa Rica and El Salvador each commit up to 1 million hectares. 

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Forest restoration Rwanda