Inclusive and Equitable Voting is a Must for a Better Future

Jun 10, 2021

Inclusive and equitable voting is a must for a better future. In September of 2021, when the world convenes to solve important conservation challenges, we urge the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to allow electronic voting for all members, especially those who cannot physically attend the World Conservation Congress due to COVID related precautions and challenges. 

Please join the WILD Foundation in sharing your views with the IUCN leadership on this matter in advance of their June 22 meeting. WILD is providing the simple letter template below for you to copy and paste and/or add your own comments!


Zhang Xinsheng
President, IUCN
Via email:

Subject: Voting procedure at the next World Conservation Congress

Dear President Zhang:

Thank you for all your work on behalf of our Union and your leadership during this challenging time of the Covid 19 pandemic.

This brief letter is a matter we IUCN Members wish to raise with Council at its 22 June 2021 meeting.  We understand the Council’s decision to move forward with a hybrid Congress, but are aware that the pandemic will significantly affect both who will be able to attend the WCC in-person, and how the voting is conducted.   As committed IUCN Members, we therefore need to formally register our concern at the decision not to allow virtual voting on motions or elections. We feel that it is in the best interests of the Union, equity, and good governance that all Members can exercise their vote electronically so that decisions are truly representative of the entire Union.

  1. Enfranchisement of Members is the bedrock of our Union, as both a core foundational principle and process. Due to our extraordinary circumstances, we need to take unusual measures to ensure direct enfranchisement. It would be a grave problem if in-person attendance, and thus voting rights, were limited to highly vaccinated areas of the world such as Western Europe and North America.
  2. Equity is of utmost concern and, of course, a principle of human rights. Decisions taken at Congress must be seen to be equitable as they will be central to promoting more effective nature conservation at a time of global change and rapidly escalating threats. We cannot afford to risk any lack of credibility and veracity at this perilous time.

Additionally, and directly related to the above, we draw your attention to the matter of effective participation in contact groups for motions that are debated at congress.  There must be a strongly supported, technologically-enabled manner in which remote Members can fully participate in this very critical aspect of negotiations and resolution.  This has been made possible in other international meetings/processes.

In closing, we urge Council to understand the seriousness of this matter and act accordingly. In our view, this means:  invoking Article 29 of the IUCN Statutes to amend the WCC Rules of Procedures to allow for electronic, remote voting (with which we are already well experienced), and;  to structure adequate means of participation in contact groups for Members attending WCC virtually. The ramifications of not doing so may cause serious harm to our Union and the global issues we face at this perilous time.

With sincere best wishes,




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