Every four years IUCN hosts a World Conservation Congress (WCC) which brings together thousands of leaders and decision-makers from government, civil society, indigenous groups, business and academia from around the planet to discuss the most pressing environmental issues of our time.

This is the introduction to the special issue published in “Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems”, related to the 2016 Hawaii World Conservation Congress. Selected papers published in this special issue will be included in this and future MedPAN Science Watch editions.

The authors of this introductory text highlight as main “take-home” messages from the 2016 WCC:

  • Evidence presented at the Congress showed the rapid and widespread impacts of climate change, and that the impacts are not evenly distributed.
  • There was widespread acknowledgement of MPAs as a tool for climate resilience.
  • The Congress showcased the increase in number of very large scale MPAs, the islands and EU Overseas’ leadership in bold commitments and the need for tailored management guidance for these areas.
  • A key issue stressed on many occasions was the need for fuller integration of nature and culture, which should not be managed separately.
  • Members voted in recognition that the 10% ocean protection goal is not enough. A new “at least 30%” target emerged as a result.
  • There was an increasing focus beyond spatial coverage into connectivity, resilience and strong management, as well as a growing evaluation and use of innovative tools for management.


Laffoley D, Lundin C (2017) Introduction. Aquatic Conserv: Mar Freshw Ecosyst 27:4-5