The Legal Aspects of Connectivity Conservation

Connectivity is the dynamic paradigm for conservation and land use. The IUCN Environmental Law Centre (ELC), in collaboration with the Protected Areas Programme (PAP), the Commission on Environmental Law (CEL) and World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), have produced a draft concept paper, “The Legal Aspects of Connectivity Conservation” , which reviews and analyzes the range of legal mechanisms that currently exist to support connectivity conservation and draws out key messages for the future of connectivity conservation law.


The connectivity concept emerged in conservation science in the 1970s and in conservation policy and law over the past three decades. It is one of the goals of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas and an integral part of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11. A preliminary assessment undertaken in 2007 indicated that connectivity conservation initiatives are ongoing on five continents, with Europe and Latin America leading the way.

The workshop “Connectivity conservation, law and beyond: For an environmentally and socially resilient planet”, held on 10 September during IUCN’s World Conservation Congress (WCC), showcased connectivity in the work of several of IUCN’s members and partners. The workshop was sponsored by Parks Victoria, Australia, with the collaboration of three IUCN Commissions – the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), Commission on Environmental Law (CEL) and Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP), and the WCPA/CEESP joint Theme on Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities, Equity and Protected Areas (TILCEPA).

During the workshop, the IUCN Environmental Law Centre, CEL and WCPA introduced the draft concept paper and invited comments on it. The final version of the concept paper, to be completed in December 2012, will include five case studies: three that describe legal regimes that enable connectivity conservation in specific jurisdictions; and two that explain the legal mechanisms that underpin individual connectivity conservation areas.

At the 2012 World Conservation Congress, IUCN members adopted a Resolution reaffirming the increasingly important role of connectivity conservation, particularly as a mechanism for adapting to a changing climate, and WCPA launched the International Connectivity Conservation Network to share information and support professionals in a range of disciplines who are working on connectivity conservation.

As IUCN’s support for developing the science, law, and implementation of connectivity conservation continues, the challenges will include, among many others: how to ensure connectivity in the oceans; how to appropriately integrate flyways and other migratory routes; and how to involve individuals and communities to make sure that connectivity contributes to sustainability for people and their planet.

Work area: 
Environmental Law
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