The Population & Sustainability Network joins world’s largest environmental alliance

August 31, 2016


The Population & Sustainability Network is proud to announce its membership of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Created in 1948, IUCN is the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of 1,300 member organisations and some 15,000 experts.


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In becoming an IUCN member, the Population & Sustainability Network aims to influence global conservation policy, to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights are given due prominence by the conservation sector. Almost invariably it is rural communities in the developing world which face the greatest barriers to unrestricted access to contraceptive services. These same rural areas, where the conservation sector operates, are those where the inextricable links between poor health, unmet family planning needs, population pressures, environmental degradation, vulnerability to climate change and food security are most obvious.

David Johnson, the Population & Sustainability Network’s Chief Executive, said, “In a world with a population projected to increase by a third, from today’s 7.4 billion, to 9.9 billion in 2050, unrestricted access to family planning information, rights and services are not only critical for women’s health and empowerment, but also many other development issues too. That includes environmental and conservation challenges.” The Population & Sustainability Network questions whether many existing traditional conservation programmes can possibly be successful in the long term, unless these demographic realities are taken into account in conservation programme design. One way to take them into account is to create new partnerships between the conservation and health sectors.

The Population & Sustainability Network is the international programme of the Margaret Pyke Trust, a UK charity founded nearly fifty years ago. The Trust has been at the forefront of contraceptive developments since its foundation, from provision of clinical services in its early days, to academic research, programme delivery and international reproductive health advocacy more recently. Carina Hirsch, Advocacy and Policy Manager said, “We believe we are the first IUCN member, of the 1,300 existing members, with a primary mission focussed on reproductive health. We’re excited about using our specialist expertise to help shape the conservation policies of the future”.

The Trust launched the Population & Sustainability Network in 2004, at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and has promoted reproductive rights as part of sustainable development ever since. David Johnson concluded, “Having already built a reputation in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change processes, such as at the recent COP21 in Paris, IUCN membership builds on the Trust’s advocacy strategy of promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights to a broader audience.”

The IUCN provides a neutral space in which stakeholders including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples organisations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development. The Population & Sustainability Network’s IUCN membership will bring a new and distinct voice to discussions about how to implement those solutions.