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Showcasing Important Plant Areas (IPAs) across the globe

Plantlife seized the opportunity presented by the global gathering of world leaders at COP 15 to inspire conservation action for plants and fungi.

Snow is falling on a 3D colourful sign that says COP15 outside of a colourful glass building

We made the most of an unmissable opportunity to inspire conservation action for plants and fungi when world leaders gathered for UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Canada. 

 Held in Montreal, December’s event gave us the chance to showcase the significance of our Important Plant Areas (IPAs).  

We spent several months before COP15 working with the Global IPA Network to gather stories and data. Information from every national IPA programme was brought together into a single global resource. Its aim was to inform stakeholders, answer their questions and inspire further action for these special sites and species. 

From our joint exhibition stand with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, we then spoke passionately about the value of IPAs. Our audience included governments, non-government organisations, researchers, youth groups and indigenous communities, who listened enthusiastically as we explained:  

  • the role which our botanically-rich IPAs play in protecting threatened species and habitats and helping restore nature, 
  • their importance in tackling climate change and 
  • the positive impact they have on community wellbeing. 
Close up image of a hand holding a dark brown bottle and a leaflet talking about Important Plant Areas

We also held a COP15 side event, called ‘IPAs – A tool for implementing the Global Biodiversity Framework’. Speakers from Armenia, Bolivia, South Africa and the UK were all invited to share their experiences and discuss the impact of their country’s IPAs. This demonstrated first hand their value in tackling the ecological, climate and societal crises we currently face. 

Ian Dunn delivering a presentation wearing professional clothes stood in front of a Kew roller banner and a PowerPoint is being projected onto the wall.

Our partnership with Kew  

As a result of the interest and enthusiasm shown by so many delegates at COP, Ian Dunn, Plantlife CEO, was invited to give a keynote speech at the Global Centre for Biodiversity and Climate conference at Kew. This focuses on progress and perspectives on IPAs and their role in avoiding plant blindness on conservation.  

Our close partnership with Kew also continued as we began collaborative research into the past 20 years of the global IPA programme. We hope that this work will help us to better understand its impact and challenges, as well as pointing the way forward so that we can expand this valuable programme across the rest of the world.

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