Habitat destruction and pollution pose increasing threats to Odonata throughout the world, especially in the tropics to which most species are confined. In 1980 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) set up an Odonata Specialist Group to advise its Species Survival Commission on conservation priorities for Odonata. The outcome of the inaugural meeting of the Group at Kyoto, Japan in August 1980 is described. Its first project (on Epiophlebia laidlawi in Nepal) was financed by the World Wildlife Fund and completed in 1981. The Group seeks the active support of the Societas Internationalis Odonatologica.