Addressing Children’s Nature-Deficit Disorder: Bold Actions by Conservation Leaders Worldwide

The 2012 World Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Jeju, South Korea turned out to be a big boost for the worldwide movement to re-connect children and nature.

At the prestigious and influential Congress, which convenes every four years, more than 10,000 people representing 150 nations and more than 1000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) came together, resulting in many approved declarations and actions.

The three most important declarations concerning the children and nature movement are:

  • IUCN adopted the resolution, “Child’s Right to Connect with Nature and to a Healthy Environment.” The resolution calls on IUCN’s government members and NGOs to promote and actively contribute to the international acknowledgement and codification of this right within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Leaders of national parks and protected areas throughout the world resolved to work collectively to strengthen people’s engagement with nature by approving the “Jeju Declaration on National Parks and Protected Areas: Connecting People to Nature.” This declaration commits to creating a global campaign that recognizes the great contribution of these natural treasures to the health and resilience of people, communities and economies.
  • The Children & Nature Network, one of the signatories to the Jeju Declaration, along with the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC), jointly released the landmark “Children and Nature Worldwide Summary of Research.” This annotated bibliography of peer-reviewed research and studies from scholars throughout the world provides an evidence-based resource to dramatize the critical reasons for connecting children and youth with nature.

Richard Louv, Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) praised the IUCN for supporting the movement:

“All of these actions are significant. I particularly commend Dr. Annelies Henstra, IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands, for her leadership and effectiveness in crafting the motion on the child’s right to nature, which received such strong support. We welcome the next steps to take this forward to the United Nations.”

The Children & Nature Network (C&NN) advocates for children, their families and communities to enhance their health and well-being and that of the Earth itself through direct experiences in nature. C&NN is leading a worldwide movement to re-connect people with nature through innovative ideas, evidence-based resources and tools, broad-based collaboration and support of grassroots leadership. For more information see www.childrenandnature.org.

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN CEC, the Commission on Education and Communication, is a network driving change for sustainability. More than 1000 members volunteer their professional expertise in learning, knowledge management and strategic communication to achieve IUCN goals. See www.iucn.org/cec.

To obtain the full Children and Nature Worldwide Summary of Research download a copy of the Report at www.childrenandnature.org/documents or www.iucn.org/cec.