Skip to main content

This browser is not supported. Please upgrade your browser.

International Union for Conservation of Nature World Parks Congress

"Your team's involvement moved way beyond what we expected of a venue - in fact, Sydney Showground was absolutely pivotal to ensuring the event’s ultimate success. To co-ordinate so many parties, keep on top of all the updates, ensure seamless delivery throughout and keep smiling at the end of the day takes a rare level of professionalism. If it wasn't for your team's flexibility to roll with the changes and your ability to provide fresh solutions for every unexpected turn, I am not sure how we would have pulled it off!"

James Lotherington - Senior Manager, IUCN World Parks Congress

A Congress with strong sustainability message case study

The IUCN World Parks Congress, a once in a decade, seven-day gathering to discuss the world's national parks, marine reserves and other protected areas, involved over 6,000 participants from 170 countries. Dignitaries included five heads of state, one Vice President, 15 international environment ministers, seven heads of UN organisations and six senior Australian politicians.

Key challenges

The environmental impact of the conference had to be carefully considered in order to drive the message of sustainability. All facilities, including 63 venue spaces and 198 side events across 15 hectares, were required to be tailored to the needs of the IUCN. Other events would be taking place in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct at the time of the Congress, including performances by super-group The Rolling Stones. This meant the Sydney Showground team had to work closely with other event teams to ensure smooth, secure operations. A grand total of 931 dietary requirements had to be catered for.

What we did

A team of 340 staff executed this career-defining, seven-day event.

Opening and closing ceremonies were planned. Countless rooms offering flexible functionality were set up for groups of delegates, VIPs, media, interpreters, staff and more. Exhibition space of 5000sqm was utilised to showcase the variety of the world's parks in one location.

Sydney Showground had existing green credentials in venue design, rainwater catchment and sourcing of local quality produce. This was enhanced with a partnership with Momentum Energy to supply green power, significant reductions of packaging on site, no bottled water but instead reusable bottles, and multiple water refill stations.

Sydney Showground experts dealt with numerous VIP security teams to set up site visits, holding rooms and individualised evacuation and crisis management plans.


The opening and closing ceremonies attracted global media attention, topping and tailing a flawless seven-day event. The degree of difficulty of every aspect of organisation, from food to security to exchange rates to venues and venue transport (which included a highly appreciated bicycle hire service) was extremely high, but the Sydney Showground team made it seem effortless.

The food and beverage achievement was extraordinary, with over 21,000 canapés for the welcome ceremony, catering for 198 side events, 2,300 cheese platters, 4,600 cocktail packages and 14,000 beverage packages.

The client was able to focus on the delegates, knowing they could rely on Sydney Showground to deliver all behind the scenes requirements with efficiency and accuracy. The team felt personally invested, ensuring the clients' customers had the best experience possible at a world class event.