Director General’s India mission: Strengthening IUCN’s presence in the country
In endeavouring to balance its rapid economic growth with environmental and social sustainability, India stands as a natural partner for IUCN. The visit of Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General, capitalised on the many opportunities provided by the country’s development journey, especially with India’s 2023 presidency of the Group of Twenty (G20). From 21-25 February, the Director General met with IUCN Members, high-level officials in the government and private sector executives, while also raising the Union’s public profile.
Of key importance was Dr Oberle’s meeting with IUCN’s Members in India, where he stressed that IUCN’s national presence needs to be strengthened to reflect the country’s importance to global conservation. Already through the 40 Member organisations now in India, there is much scope and available expertise to enhance IUCN’s engagement.
Separately, the Director General had productive meetings with Shri Bhupender Yadav, India’s Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC); Ms Leena Nandan, Secretary of MoEFCC; and Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena, the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor. Thanks to these constructive discussions, IUCN looks forward to increased support and collaboration on joint projects and initiatives.
From the private sector, Dr Oberle met with Mr NG Subramaniam, Director, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Foundation and Chief Operating Officer of TCS Ltd; and Ms Deeksha Vats, Chief Sustainability Officer, Aditya Birla Group. These two organisations are among the largest business conglomerates in India. In addition to exploring joint avenues for collaboration, Dr Oberle invited them to join and take active roles in the ‘Leaders for Nature’ platform, which brings together corporate leaders in India to integrate natural capital into their core business strategies.
Lastly, Dr Oberle was also invited to speak at the annual World Sustainable Development Summit, organised by the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). This event brings together thought leaders, heads of state and government, scholars, corporates, youth groups, and civil society representatives from across the world. During his speech he stressed the need to mobilise funds from multiple sources, and also mentioned the role for India to play in achieving global biodiversity and climate targets.