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Hawaii to host World Conservation Congress

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 12:46 p.m. HST, May 21, 2014

Hawaii has officially edged ahead of Istanbul, Turkey and will host the 2016 World Conversation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The event, which will bring 8,000 delegates from 160 nations to the isles in September of 2016, is significant to Hawaii. It's the state's first large global meeting on the scale of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, which brought heads of state from more than 20 member nations to Hawaii in November of 2011. Likewise, the Hawaii Tourism Authority estimates that the event will bring $37.7 million in visitor spending and $3.6 million in tax revenue to the isles. It's also significant for the U.S. since it marks the nation's first time to host the global conference since the organization's creation in 1948.

"This is both an honor and opportunity for us to show the entire conservation community, the world over, how Hawaii has adopted a leadership role in preserving and protecting resources, developing sustainability programs on multiple-fronts, and addressing many of the issues associated with global climate change," Gov. Abercrombie said in a written statement. "The IUCN World Conservation Congress is the largest and most prestigious of all gatherings of the conservation community. Hawaii was widely recognized as an ideal venue, including a strong expression of support from President Obama."

Hawaii's selection, which was announced on Wednesday, followed a weeklong visit early last year from an IUCN selection committee, which had whittled its list of international contenders to two from eight.

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