IUCN Members

IUCN brings together governments and civil society organisations, united under the common goal of protecting nature and conserving life on Earth. 

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IUCN harnesses the knowledge, resources and reach of over 1,400 Member organisations. These include States and government agencies at the national and subnational levels, NGOs large and small, indigenous peoples' organisations, scientific and academic institutions and business associations.

IUCN membership is composed of governments and civil society organisations, which are united under the common goal of protecting nature and conserving life on Earth. There are different categories of IUCN Membership, these categories are comprehensively explained below.

Note: Companies and businesses are not eligible for consideration as members of IUCN. However, IUCN has a variety of partnerships with businesses in many countries. If your business would like to explore a partnership opportunity with IUCN, please contact the IUCN business engagement unit.

Individuals with conservation expertise can join one of our expert Commissions. Learn more about Commission membership.

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Member categories
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State and government agency Members Opens in the same window Opens in the new window

State and government agency Members make up approximately 14% of IUCN’s Membership, affording them a unique platform to collaborate with subnational governments and civil society organisations to advance their conservation objectives.

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Subnational government Members Opens in the same window Opens in the new window

In September 2021, IUCN Members voted to introduce a new category for local governments to the IUCN Membership, recognising the critical role subnational governments and cities have in creating a sustainable future. 

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National and international non-governmental organisation Members Opens in the same window Opens in the new window

International and national non-governmental organisations form the largest and most diverse category of IUCN membership. 

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Indigenous Peoples’ Organization Members Opens in the same window Opens in the new window

In 2016, IUCN Members voted to create a new category of IUCN membership for Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations, strengthening the recognition of their rights, participation, voice and role in IUCN. 

Through their affiliation with IUCN, Member organisations convene and influence diverse stakeholders at the highest level, all in support of nature conservation. They are also part of a democratic process, voting Resolutions, which drive the global conservation agenda. Furthermore, as an official United Nations Observer, IUCN ensures that nature conservation has an influential voice at the highest level of international governance.

IUCN’s expertise and extensive network also provide a solid foundation for a large and diverse portfolio of conservation projects around the world. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, these projects work to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being. They also produce a wealth of data and information which further feeds into IUCN’s analytical capacity.

The value of working together as a Union cannot be understated, or reproduced. IUCN’s history is built on the results of Members putting knowledge, influence and execution to work for a more sustainable future. 


Member support

A network of dedicated staff, based in IUCN Regional and Country Offices, supports Members.

IUCN awards

Three prestigious awards: the Harold Jefferson Coolidge Memorial Medal, the John C. Phillips Memorial Medal and Honorary membership of IUCN are presented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress.

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John C. Phillips Memorial Medal

The John C. Phillips Memorial Medal recognises outstanding service in international conservation and commemorates the life and work of Dr John C. Phillips, a pioneer of the conservation movement.


Harold Jefferson Coolidge Memorial Medal

Established during the 2004 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Thailand, the Harold Jefferson Coolidge Memorial Medal goes to a conservation professional who has made outstanding contributions to the conservation of nature and natural resources.


Honorary membership of IUCN

Honorary Membership of IUCN, which recognises outstanding services to the conservation of nature and natural resources, is presented to two or three individuals at the World Conservation Congress who have made exceptional contributions to furthering the goals of IUCN.

Unite for Nature : IUCN Members' Magazine

Unite for Nature - IUCN Members Magazine cover - July 2023

We are thrilled to introduce you to a new magazine for IUCN Members. Its name is Unite for Nature in recognition of the need to work together to create a just world that values and conserves nature. Throughout the pages we will show you past successes, current activities and future possibilities for conservation, from across the diverse and enormous environmental network that makes up the Union of the IUCN.


IUCN’s Crossroads blog is an “open letter to IUCN Members”, providing a platform for Members and selected partners to influence the Membership on key conservation and sustainable development topics.

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Crossroads blog | 15 July, 2022
Applying the lessons of climate change to halting biodiversity loss
By Manuel Pulgar-Vidal