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Diversity and Quality of Protected Area Governance

As threats to biodiversity spread worldwide, protected areas are increasingly in the spotlight of conservation agencies and advocates. In parallel, “governance of protected areas”, a concept that was not well recognized until about a decade ago, is coming into focus.

The 5th IUCN World Parks Congress, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2003, dedicated for the first time an entire stream of events to it. Since those pioneering efforts, the topic has evolved into an expanding field of enquiry. In parallel, governance models in the field also kept evolving. Government-established protected areas are now often governed and/or advised by multi-party Boards. Many conserved and protected areas are established and run by indigenous peoples, local communities, NGOS and family or corporate landowners. And the World Parks Congress 2014 in Sydney, Australia, November 2014, will again dedicate an entire stream of events to the concept, namely Stream 6 entitled Enhancing the diversity and quality of governance of protected areas”.

A publication produced by IUCN, the ICCA Consortium, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (via GIZ) and the CBD Secretariat provides today a resource that reflects the growing importance of governance issues in conservation. The publication is designed to address at least in part the challenges of the CBD’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA), whose component 2 (”Governance, participation, equity and benefit sharing”), remains still largely unimplemented. The publication is also most timely in light of the CBD Parties agreement to pursue the 2010-2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and Targets 11, 14 and 18 in particular.

Governance of Protected Areas: From understanding to action – Volume 20 of the IUCN Best Practice in Protected Areas Guidelines Series – is dedicated to enhancing the capacities of professionals, rightsholders and stakeholders to govern protected area systems and sites. In Part 1, it offers concepts and tools to understand the four main protected area governance types and the set of principles of good governance recognised by the IUCN, on the basis of examples from all over the world. In Part 2, it offers practical guidance for those willing to embark on the process of assessing, evaluating and improving governance for their systems of protected areas or for individual protected area sites.

This page of the IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme site is dedicated to governance issues. It hosts Guidelines no. 20 and its Annexes in the original English version and it will soon host also the foreseen translations (please note that the Annexes will only be available through this page). The page is also designed to include relevant comments and contributions from the users of the Guidelines no. 20 and reports from the countries and sites that apply its Assessment, Evaluation and Action methodology.

Readers are invited to use this page as an information hub for protected areas governance, sharing experiences, comments and examples and engaging in discussion with others. If you would like to upload a contribution please refer to the box at the bottom of this page.

We hope this page will be useful to enhance governance diversity and quality and – overall – the equity and effectiveness of protected area systems and sites.

An executive summary of the Guidelines, its two main parts and individual chapters as well as the speaking cases can be downloaded separately in the following:

Executive Summary and Part 1

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Part 2: Towards effective action

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Main sources

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Download the Guidelines
  • Best Practice Guidelines Governance of Protected Areas

    Best Practice Guidelines Governance of Protected Areas

    Photo: IUCN

Download the annexes
  • PPP Part 1 Title Slide
The main partners
  • WCPA Logo
  • logo ICCA Consortium
  • BMZ
  • GIZ
  • CBD
  • BIOPAMA logo
  • WPC logo
  • Transboundary handshake between conservation professionals of Burkina Faso and Ghana

    Transboundary handshake between conservation professionals of Burkina Faso and Ghana

    Photo: Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend

  • A protected area manager in Ecuador maps out a decision making process engaging different rightsholders and stakeholders

    A protected area manager in Ecuador maps out a decision making process engaging different rightsholders and stakeholders

    Photo: Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend

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