United Plant Savers at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

Caption: Danna Leaman (co-chair, IUCN Medicinal Plant Specialist Group); Susan Leopold; Alison Ormsby; Anastasiya Timoshyna (TRAFFIC)
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Susan Leopold and Alison Ormsby from United Plant Savers/Sacred Seeds attended the 2016 International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in September in Honolulu, Hawaii. The World Conservation Congress is only held every four years. This year’s gathering brought 9,000 people from around the world together to discuss conservation successes and challenges, and set goals for the future. The IUCN is a well-known global conservation organization, based in Switzerland, that sets international conservation policy and produces the Red List publication that assesses that status of species.


United Plant Savers became an official member of the IUCN this year. As an official voting member of the IUCN, UpS was able to take an active role in the WCC as part of the Members’ Assembly, where only members can vote on motions put forward during the Congress. For example, UpS was able to vote in favor of motion 48, support for “Protection of primary forests, including intact forest landscapes.”

In addition, Susan and Alison helped facilitate a workshop, “Better Deals for Nature and People: Collaborations for Responsible Sourcing of Wild Plant Ingredients.” This workshop was a collaboration of UpS/Sacred Seeds, TRAFFIC, Traditional Medicinals, AERF, and FARM. Susan and Alison gave a talk, “Conservation Through Cultivation: A Focus on American Ginseng” (see photo). Details about the workshop are available online at https://portals.iucn.org/congress/session/10224

Outcomes from the Congress include a fruitful collaboration with the IUCN’s Medicinal Plant Specialist Group (MPSG) (see photo). Susan and Alison will be helping to re-launch the MPSG newsletter that has a global readership.

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