Priority area 3: Protected areas .... achieving quality
Much of the Global Protected Areas Programme’s efforts in the past have focused on the need to build capacity to manage protected areas effectively. Management effectiveness assessment itself has grown to the point that assessments are being undertaken using a multitude of methods in nearly every country and national governments have committed in Decisions of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to expand the degree to which Management Effectiveness Assessment is applied. The assessments themselves yield important information about the challenges that protected area managers face in addressing weaknesses, including the need for more advice and guidance on new and emerging topics, like dealing with climate change or restoration, but also what kinds of skills managers need when responding to the weaknesses that are identified.
But assessing management effectiveness using these methods is not enough to address the core question: Are protected areas achieving a sufficient quality of management that they actually meet their objectives. Many governments and agencies are asking IUCN to provide the basis for an independent measure of whether protected areas are achieving quality standards, that can be used for rewarding effective management or for stimulating further investment in addressing the weaknesses that have been identified.
This the focus of GPAP’s priority, to facilitate the development of a new international standard for the minimum level of achievement that all protected areas should attain in order to meet their objectives. This standard is being referred to as the IUCN Green List of Well-Managed Protected Areas. Realising that this standard needs to meet the needs of users and be built from the ground up, IUCN WCPA, together with some national partners and other agencies is currently piloting the application of the IUCN Green List, with a view to being able to provide more concrete proposals for its launch at the 2014 6th World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia.
Fisherwomen in an ecotourism project in Central America.
Photo: Eric Hidalgo