2019 is officially done and dusted. Now is the time to look forward and to kickstart this brand new decade. Are you ready? 3.2.1! Let’s have a look at what is already giving us reasons for optimism in 2020.

2020 will be an important year for nature and will provide various opportunity to address the pressing challenges that we are witnessing around the world. Now is the time to push decision-makers to take crucial action. Here are some of the key moments that are on the environmental agenda this year:

  • UN Oceans ConferenceThis is an important date for marine conservation and it will take place in June in Lisbon, Portugal. The overarching theme of the conference is Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions.


  • IUCN Conservation World Congress: Taking place in June in Marseilles, France, the IUCN World Conservation Congress, is the “only international conservation forum that brings governments, civil society and indigenous people’s organisations to the same table to take decisions”. Conservation and sustainable development priorities will be set during this meeting with the aim to mobilise action to reach them.


  • UN Biodiversity Conference, COP15: The UN will review the achievement and delivery of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and will decide on a new 10-year framework for biodiversity under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in October in Kunming, China. This will be a crucial meeting to create goals and targets that will hopefully set the path for nature recovery worldwide.


  • The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP-26: This meeting will take place in November 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. It will be a key meeting for countries to set more ambitious plans to ensure that the goals of the Paris Agreement are achieved.

Innovation will be needed to solve the challenges that are facing the natural world. And the good news is that a recently-announced prize will reward people coming up with innovative ways to tackle those challenges! 

  • Earthshot Prize: Prince William and a global alliance launched on January 1st the “most ambitious and prestigious global environmental award in history”. The Earthshot Prize is set around five challenges including climate, nature and biodiversity, water and oceans, and air pollution. It will reward each year, for ten years, five winners who will have come up with the “most impactful solutions to meeting these challenges to the natural world”.



Need a boost to start the decade on an optimistic note? Here are some exciting news and events on our radar:  

  • Earth Optimism Summit: 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the Smithsonian will celebrate by hosting the 2020 Earth Optimism Summit in Washington, DC. Head there to get your dose of “stories of both small- and large-scale actions that frame the conversation and demonstrate that success is possible”. In the UK, Earth Optimism will also be organising a day of activities to celebrate Earth Day so keep an eye on their website to get the latest updates.


  • Good Natured – A Conservation Optimism Podcast: We are launching a podcast! On Good Natured, we will acknowledge the challenges of conservation, but also remind ourselves that it can be funny, uplifting, surprising and successful. We will learn from people and projects who are working hard and changing things for the better, who have managed to persist through difficulty. Because problems exist, but there are ways of staying upbeat. Our first episode will be released in March so make sure to register to our newsletter to get the latest updates.


  • Conservation Optimism Toolkit: Many of our ConservationNOW members have expressed a strong interest in getting support on how to frame conservation messages in an optimistic way and have stated that a how-to guide on that topic would be useful to their organisation. We are excited to announce that we are now in the process of developing that guide and are working with a communication expert to bring it to life!


We’re looking forward to growing the Conservation Optimism community and hearing more stories from you in this new decade. Happy New Year from all of us at Conservation Optimism!

I joined ICCS and Conservation Optimism in January 2019. My role focuses on outreach and communications and involved the organisation of the Conservation Optimism Summit. I’m also a multimedia journalist with a passion for constructive journalism and solutions-oriented reporting who loves showcasing what people from all over the globe are doing to make the world a better place.