Values, policies and procedures

IUCN's mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. In delivering the IUCN Programme we are committed to good governance and accountability:


  • in delivering our work,
  • by responding to the needs of our Members, our funding partners  and the wider public and
  • by caring for our employees and partners with whom we work on the ground. 

Governance and accountability

We are proud and privileged to work across a wide range of countries and cultures, with a diverse range of peoples, and in varied economic, social and political systems. Our reputation and credibility are derived from the quality of our work, and the recognition of the people with, and for whom, we work. We recognise that to maintain our reputation and credibility we must demonstrate good governance and accountability from the highest level of the organisation. This is supported by the following principles that underpin and exemplify good governance and accountability: 

  • Transparency – in decision making, both internally and externally;
  • Access to information – accurate, effective and open communication;
  • Access to justice – fair mechanisms for accountability and protecting rights;
  • Public participation – genuine involvement in decision making;
  • Full respect for human rights – commitment to protect and promote them wherever possible interwoven with good environmental governance;
  • Rule of law – fair, transparent and consistent enforcement of legal provisions at all levels;
  • Promoting gender equality and empowerment of women – as an integral element of the good governance principles and a cross-cutting theme in all of IUCN’s work;
  • Commitment to excellence – efficient and wise use of funds entrusted to us by donors and a commitment to strive for highest performance and impact;
  • Environmental responsibility – striving to minimize the environmental impact of all aspects of our operations through efficient and effective use of resources;
  • Integrity and ethical behaviour – the highest standards of conduct and professional ethics;
  • Data privacy – IUCN is committed to safeguarding and protecting Personal Data of private individuals. IUCN is aware of the risks involved, and of the importance of having appropriate data protection standards in place.

IUCN policies and procedures

These principles are further elaborated in form of policies and procedures which enable IUCN to put these principles into practice IUCN. These are:

The IUCN Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics for the Secretariat – that provides guidance towards compliance with ethical standards (including environmental responsibility), and to demonstrate best practice in action, consistent with IUCN’s core values, Vision and Mission, and statutory instruments.


The IUCN Carbon Offset Policy – that provides guidance on the basic operative principles and procedures needed to ensure that the IUCN Secretariat is effectively offsetting the unavoidable Greenhouse Gas emissions it generates through its operations.


The IUCN Evaluation Policy – that establishes the evaluation principles, evaluation criteria, and the evaluation commissioning framework that govern the application of effective evaluation across the IUCN Secretariat.


The IUCN’s Enterprise Risk Management Policy and subsequent annexes aim at enabling and maintaining good risk management processes, practices and information management at all levels of the organisation.


The IUCN Policy on Gender Equity and Equality - that signifies IUCN’s ongoing commitment to integrating a gender perspective in policies, programmes, and projects, as well as in its institutional structure.


The IUCN Policy on the Protection from Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment (SEAH) - that explains the steps IUCN will take to provide a safe environment free from sexual harassment and violence. IUCN recognises the need to challenge any tacit or explicit acceptance of sexual harassment or sexual violence to prevent escalation.


The IUCN Whistleblowing and Anti-retaliation Policy – aims to support IUCN to ensure safe reporting mechanisms to IUCN Secretariat Staff Members and stakeholders. It also aims at providing protection and a safe working environment to IUCN Staff Members and stakeholders who raise concerns in good faith.


The IUCN Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) - that provides a systematic procedure to check IUCN projects for potential adverse environmental and social impacts and ensures that negative impacts are avoided or minimised to the extent possible while positive impacts are stimulated.

Read more about ESMS

The IUCN Anti-Fraud Policy – that aims to safeguard the reputation and financial viability of IUCN through improved management of fraud risk by setting out explicit steps to be taken in response to reported or suspected fraud, as well as measures that will be taken to prevent or minimize the risk of fraud.


The IUCN Investment Principles and SRI Framework – that outlines the investment principles adhered to by IUCN and the associated Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) framework used to guide investment decisions. 


The Data Protection Policy for the IUCN secretariat – that outlines the general principles and guidelines applicable to the protection of personal data by all staff members worldwide.


The IUCN Procurement Policy and Procedure - that ensures IUCN conducts its procurement to a high standard and adheres to best practices at all times. 


The IUCN Travel Policies  - provide guidance to IUCN and non-IUCN staff when travelling on behalf of IUCN. The policy for non-staff is provided below.

Project accountability

IUCN has developed a number of systems and processes to ensure project quality, accountability and transparency.