The Ministry for Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs of the Spanish Government, the Department of Environment and Housing of Catalonia, the City Council of Barcelona and the Provincial Government de Barcelona are kindly hosting the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2008. IUCN thanks all of them for their generous support in the preparation for the Congress.
Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs
The Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs is the governmental institution responsible for proposing and executing policy relating to the fight against climate change, protection of the country’s natural heritage, its biodiversity, seas, water, rural development, agricultural resources, livestock and fishery resources, and its food.
The Ministry is an active member of IUCN and will represent the Spanish government in the Members' Assembly of IUCN.
The Department of Environment and Housing
The Catalonian Department of Environment and Housing is the main government agency responsible for planning and managing specially protected natural areas, as well as for drafting and implementing policies for biodiversity conservation in Catalonia. Currently, the ministry manages a total of 12 specially protected areas, with an area of approximately 300,000 hectares (1160 square miles). Most notable among these is the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. This 50-year-old park is the only national park in Catalonia.
The Department, which is a member of IUCN, also develops policies in many other areas of concern to IUCN. Many of these areas will be dealt with at the Congress, such as the fight against climate change and environmental education.
The City of Barcelona has demonstrated its special commitment to the environment by promoting Local Agenda 21. The Agenda was worked out through a citizen’s participatory process involving more than 100 civic and environmental organizations from the world of business, the university, and politics, as well as other institutions. There are currently more than 500 signatories to the Pledge for Sustainability.
The Barcelona City Council has developed numerous environmental improvement initiatives. These include the Solar Thermal Ordinance, a pioneering effort in Europe; the expansion of park lands and the maintenance of more that 152,000 trees of various species; the treatment of 100% of waste water; programs for the protection of urban biodiversity, including the reintroduction of the falcon and the swallow project; the continued increase in recycling, and the reduction of domestic water consumption to 116 liters (31 gallons) per person per day, one of the lowest levels of any European city.
The Provincial Government of Barcelona has extensive experience in the environmental field in general, and in the conservation of nature in particular. In 1972 it approved the establishment of Spain’s first national park (Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac) and in 1976 it became the first Spanish member of the IUCN.
The Provincial Government of Barcelona, together with its municipalities, develops, elaborates, and promotes numerous environmental action campaigns at the local level related to sustainable development, the fight against climate change, territorial balance, and biodiversity conservation. It also manages a network of twelve protected natural areas of more than 100,000 hectares (386 square miles) in the province of Barcelona, involving approximately one hundred municipalities.