IUCN’s highest conservation award, the John C. Phillips Memorial Medal, recognizes outstanding service in international conservation and commemorates the life and work of Dr John C. Phillips, a pioneer of the conservation movement.

Born in 1876, Dr Phillips specialized in Medicine and Zoology and made significant contributions to science, particularly in taxonomy and genetics. He was vitally concerned with international cooperation for the conservation of nature being closely involved with developing the early wildlife treaties. In his memory his friends established a Memorial Medal and entrusted the awarding of this recognition to IUCN. The Medal has been presented at every General Assembly and Congress since 1963.

Distinguished recipients of the Award have included HRH The Prince of the Netherlands, Indira Gandhi, HM Sultan Qaboos Bin Said of Oman, Professor E. O. Wilson, Dr Luc Hoffmann (pictured on the right receiving his award from former IUCN President, Yolanda Kakabadse in 2004) and Dr José Aristeo Sarukhán Kermez, each of whom have contributed their vision, wisdom and perseverance to furthering the global conservation cause.

Sir David Attenborough was honoured with the John C. Phillips Memorial Medal at the 2012 World Conservation Congress. The prize was awarded by the IUCN Council, on the recommendation of an award jury consisting of five serving members of the IUCN Constituency Committee.

A British naturalist and broadcaster, Sir David has reached the masses with his captivating programmes on natural history, creating awareness of the natural world and its vulnerability, and, over the course of the last fifty years, inspiring generations to protect and conserve our planet.

“IUCN is an organisation of enormous importance for all of us who care about the natural world. There is no other international organization quite like it, none which is quite so scientifically based, none whose compliments I would value more highly”, says Sir David in a video message to the IUCN Congress.