Following the external review of the IUCN Programme on Protected Areas (PPA) in 2009, 30 participants met together in Rolle, Switzerland, to provide input into the IUCN’s management response that will shape the future of the PPA.
The discussions benefited greatly from having participants from around the world representing many sectors such as the World Protected Areas Leadership Forum, WCPA, other global programs of IUCN, protected area representatives from the IUCN Regional Offices, and the protected area program staff from Headquarters.
The 2 days saw extensive exchange of information, brought to light many issues that require urgent attention including a lack of clarity on the complete portfolio of work carried out by IUCN/WCPA on protected areas worldwide. Key outcomes were comprehensive affirmation statements of the need for a strengthened IUCN Protected Area Programme at the heart of IUCN’s work, an overall vision for the PPA, detailed responses to the review’s recommendations, and ideas that could lead to the development of an Action Plan even though no plan was agreed for strengthening the resources and capacity of IUCN work on protected areas both in HQ and the regions, over the short term as well as identifying priority actions for 2010.
Having so many protected area people in the one room also provided the basis for future networking. The need for better collaboration and communication across IUCN on protected areas issues became evident and will be addressed by a PPA communication strategy including mapping of protected area professionals throughout IUCN.
All in all the meeting was a great success, allowing for better understanding of the opportunities and obstacles of IUCN work on protected areas, reenergizing the commitment from IUCN protected area staff and proposing a way forward for the program on protected areas. The outputs of the meeting will be one of the inputs used to develop an IUCN management response that will be presented by Jane Smart, Director of the Biodiversity Conservation Group, to the Director General of IUCN.