IUCN Otter Specialist Group . . . leading global otter conservation Last Update: Tuesday August 9, 2011
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  • Founded in 1948 as "International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources" and now known as "The World Conservation Union", this organisation brings together States, government agencies and a diverse range of non-governmental organizations in a unique world partnership: over 980 members in all, spread across some 180 countries.


  • 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.
  • As a Union, IUCN seeks 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. A central secretariat coordinates the IUCN Programme and serves the Union membership, representing their views on the world stage and providing them with the strategies, services, scientific knowledge and technical support they need to achieve their goals.


  • A just world that values and conserves nature.
  • The World Conservation Union builds on the strengths of its members, networks and partners to enhance their capacity and to support global alliances to safeguard natural resources at local, regional and global levels.


Facing the extinction crisis

  • The extinction crisis and massive loss in biodiversity are universally recognised as a shared responsibility, resulting in action to reduce this loss of diversity within species, between species and in ecosystems

Ecosystem integrity

  • Ecosystems are maintained and where necessary restored and any use of natural resources is sustainable and equitable.


  • The IUCN Programme comprises several different components:
    • Global Thematic Programmes that work around the world on particular themes of conservation.
    • Regional Programmes that are centred in the Secretariat regional offices around the world. Some of the regional offices also have country offices that run country programmes. Most Regional Programmes have regional thematic programmes, similar to the global thematic programmes.
    • Commission Programmes which are run by the IUCN Commissions, usually in close collaboration with the global thematic and regional programmes.
    • Corporate Strategies Group that provides global oversight of membership, communications, conservation finance, information management and donor relations.
    • The Administrative and Financial Infrastructure that exists to support the effective development, implementation and evaluation of the Programme.
  • At the heart of IUCN, the President, Director General and Council are surrounded by the Commissions and Offices around the world. Moving outwards, the commission networks span 181 countries and regions. Regional and National Committees interact with State and Government Agency Members in 98 countries as well as national and international NGO members in 126 countries.
  • Through its six Commissions, IUCN draws together over 10,000 expert volunteers in project teams and action groups, focusing in particular on species and biodiversity conservation and the management of habitats and natural resources. The Union has helped many countries to prepare National Conservation Strategies, and demonstrates the application of its knowledge through the field projects it supervises. Operations are increasingly decentralized and are carried forward by an expanding network of regional and country offices, located principally in developing countries. The six Commissions of IUCN are:
    • Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM)
    • Commission on Education and Communication (CEC)
    • Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP)
    • Commission on Environmental Law (CEL)
    • Species Survival Commission (SSC)
    • World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA)


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  • or visit the IUCN website