World Wilderness Congress

How can you protect what doesn’t even have a name?

In many countries around the world, wilderness lacks institutional status. Sometimes it even lacks a formally recognized word. In such a context, how can a society truly appreciate the wild nature upon which all life depends?

The World Wilderness Congress (WWC) launched over forty years ago, sparked by Magqubu Nthombela – a Zulu elder and one of WILD’s two founders – and his sense of urgency that “more needs to be done.”

Since then, the WWC has given rise to an international community that places the protection of wild nature front and center before world leaders. Occurring ten times in four decades, it has produced hundreds of practical outcomes, including:

  • Pioneered true partnering between global conservation and traditional / indigenous communities
  • Initiating the process that would lead to the World Bank’s Global Environmental Facility.
  • Dozens of new public and private protected areas covering millions of acres of land.
  • Multi-lateral efforts to restore and protect wilderness across national boundaries.
  • Numerous new organisations to address new and urgent needs in conservation communications, regional protected areas and global  policy issues
  • Launched Nature Needs Half, the global vision and practice to protect and restore half of wild nature on land and sea, the necessary human-nature relationship called for by both contemporary and traditional science.

The 11th World Wilderness Congress was planned for India in March 2020.  WILD11 was necessarily postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic - just two weeks before convening with 2 000 delegates and a programme shaped to produce many practical outcomes through the format of  high-impact story-telling and new global alliances.  For now, some of the outcomes that proceeded from the planning are here (, and the executive Committee meets to assess the best opportunities to reschedule.  Stay tuned!

A Global Network

Wilderness Foundation UK
Trinity House, 2 Whitbreads BC, Chelmsford, Essex
T: +44 207 183 0689   I  Email Us
CEO | Jo Roberts
WILD Foundation
717 Poplar Avenue, Boulder, CO 80304
T: +1 303 442 8811   I  Email Us
President | Vance Martin
Wilderness Foundation Africa & Wilderness Foundation Global Executive Office
11 Newington Str, Richmond Hill, PE
T: +27 41 373 0293   I  Email Us
CEO | Andrew Muir