May 21, 2014


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono applauded today’s announcement that Hawaii will host the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress, a major international event that brings together a wide range of stakeholders to tackle environmental and conservation challenges. Beginning with the 1948 Congress in Fontainebleau, France, Congresses are now held every four years, with Hawaii serving as the first American host.

“It makes perfect sense to host this significant environmental and conservation conference in Hawaii,” said Hirono. “Hawaii is a top global venue for high profile international events. Just a few years ago we welcomed many top world leaders to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. Hawaii also faces challenges as our nation’s only island state with unique ecosystems and the highest percentage of threatened and endangered species in the country. Our track record as a gathering place, and in balancing conservation with economic growth, make us a solid choice for the first U.S. host of IUCN. Mahalo to the leaders in Washington and Hawaii who helped make this momentous announcement possible, including Senators Inouye and Akaka.”

The Hawaii Congressional Delegation has long fought for Hawaii to host the 2016 IUCN Congress, beginning with Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, who wrote to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010. Then last August, when it appeared that Hawaii might lose the bid, Hirono joined a bipartisan effort with Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Tom Udall (D-NM) to call on Secretary of State John Kerry to reconsider.