How often is The IUCN Red List updated?
Red List assessments are constantly being compiled and submitted for publication on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, and the underlying database is constantly expanding and changing as new species are brought in and existing species undergo taxonomic revisions. To ensure a regular flow of assessments on to the website, The IUCN Red List is updated at least twice each year.
IUCN often tries to time IUCN Red List updates to coincide with major events in the conservation calendar (e.g., CBD CoP meetings, CITES meetings, the IUCN World Conservation Congress, etc.) to maximise its power to inform international conservation efforts. In years when there are many such events scheduled, The IUCN Red List may be updated more than twice.
Every update of The IUCN Red List follows a standard timeline to allow submissions, quality checks, data export, and website editing to be completed. You can read more about the full IUCN Red List assessment process here.
When are the next IUCN Red List updates scheduled?
Upcoming IUCN Red List updates planned for 2021 are outlined below; please note that these schedules may be subject to change. Specific dates will be added to the table below as soon as these have been confirmed. The "Submissions Target Date" indicates the date by which submissions for each Red List update should reach the IUCN Red List Unit, but see the information in the Submissions Target Dates section below.
IUCN Red List Publication Date
Submissions Target Date
|25th March 2021||31st December 2020|
Additional updates may occur in 2021 targeting specific taxonomic groups. Dates for these bespoke updates have still to be confirmed.
Submissions Target Dates
The "Submissions Target Dates" noted above should not be interpreted as strict deadlines for submissions. When assessments are submitted for publication on The IUCN Red List, they are added to a submissions queue. Assessments may be submitted and added to the queue at any time. The IUCN Red List Unit processes assessments (i.e., runs quality checks and decides whether they meet the appropriate standards for publication or whether further work is needed) in order of when they were submitted. So, assessments submitted earlier, and therefore are higher up the queue, are checked first.
Important Note: The IUCN Red List Unit cannot guarantee that assessments submitted before the submissions target date will be published in the next Red List update. This depends on how many assessments are already in the queue and on whether any issues are found in the submitted assessment. If Assessors wish to maximise the chance of their assessments being published in a specific update, then it is wise to:
Ensure the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria are applied appropriately.
Ensure your assessments include the minimum supporting information (including the distribution map) and the species accounts are written clearly.
Submit your assessments as early as possible (i.e., do not wait until the submissions target date before submitting your assessments).
Full guidance on how to apply the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, minimum supporting information requirements, how to write species accounts, etc. can be found under the resources section.
IUCN Red List press releases and media enquiries
For major updates of the IUCN Red List, IUCN prepares press releases summarizing the main stories from the Red List, including an update of overall figures for the number of threatened species, good news stories, and the status of specific groups of species on The IUCN Red List. All media enquiries about IUCN Red List updates and press releases are handled by the IUCN Media Centre.