Protected areas are essential to reach conservation goals
IUCN World Parks Congress focus: balancing development and conservation
Respecting indigenous and traditional knowledge


Programme streams

Programme streams will make up the heart of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014.  The complementary suite of Streams will address current prominent issues and challenges facing parks and protected areas, which will be vital to positioning them firmly within the broader goals of economic and community well-being and helping set the protected areas agenda for the next ten years.  Leaders for the streams will be instrumental in organizing a successful Congress and setting the agenda for future conservation priorities and action. The following eight streams have been selected. 

Reaching conservation goals

This stream will demonstrate that a well-planned, effectively managed and connected system of protected areas is an essential component of achieving conservation goals. It will profile those countries, people, places and organisations that are leading the way to conservation success. Highlighting hope for the future, it also will profile global examples of leadership, creative thinking and optimism to show that conservation goals are achievable. It will propose new global standards for what constitutes an effective protected area and protected area system. The stream will conclude with a look at the future. If the Aichi Targets are meant to be interim targets for 2020, what should the ultimate targets for nature conservation look like? It will ask the questions such as , what does a truly sustainable protected planet look like, and what science and evidence is available to inform the answers?

Led by: The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, the IUCN Species Survival Commission, the Zoological Society of London, and the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), together with a consortium of ten partner organisations

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Responding to climate change

This stream will explore new needs for planning and managing protected areas to conserve biodiversity in the face of climate change, including a greater focus on carbon storage, landscape connectivity and restoration to maintain ecosystem resilience. It will also explore the role of protected areas as “natural solutions” helping communities to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. It will include new knowledge and case studies in the field of ecosystem-based adaptation, to outline a broad and bold vision which emphasises the key role of protected areas in climate change strategies at both national and local level.

Led by: United States National Park Service, the Mexican National Commission for Protected Areas (CONANP) and Australia’s Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)

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Improving health and well-being

This stream will be designed to encourage exchange of ideas, build partnerships, review achievements and develop new alliances between diverse sectors on the role of healthy ecosystems in protected areas for supporting human health and well-being. It will contribute to solutions for global challenges associated with human health, disease regulation, medicines, mental/physical/cultural well-being. Australia’s successful hosting of the first international conference on Healthy Parks Healthy People in 2010 initiated a new engagement with the health sector, including the medical profession, public health management and the health insurance industry. The mental, physical and intrinsic benefits of engagement with nature and green space are of great value to communities, and the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 will provide the opportunity to build on the “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” approach and apply these principles more universally in practice.

 Led by: Parks Victoria (Australia) and the United States National Park Service

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Supporting human life

This stream will examine the socio-economic benefits of protected areas through providing water, food security, and services for disaster risk reduction. It will translate these into the “how to” of implementation, sharing many innovative approaches, such as water funds, payments for environmental services, and public works programmes for restoration to achieve beneficial “win-win” outcomes. Protected areas in diverse governance arrangements are one of the most secure mechanisms developed over centuries to maintain the integrity of ecosystems, critical to human well-being and survival. By involving people and institutions in ecosystem management, the stream will examine successes and challenges in maintaining societal resilience, both for ensuring life support, and in preventing, minimising impact or ensuring recovery from challenges.

Led by: the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Ministry of Environment-Japan and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas

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Reconciling development challenges

This stream recognizes that protected areas contribute enormously to addressing the development challenges of the 21st Century. Governments are focused on maintaining food and water security, ensuring jobs and sustainable livelihoods, maintaining the productivity of fisheries, forestry and agricultural sectors, and making key trade-offs with sectors such as mining, energy, and infrastructure development all in the face of rapid climate change. This stream will focus on the intersections between protected areas and these many development goals and challenges facing national governments. It will do so by providing concrete guidance and examples of how protected areas can be designed, managed, assessed and utilized to achieve both ambitious conservation goals, such as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and development plans, taking these challenges into account. In particular, the stream will look at the way in which governments, at national and local levels, and businesses integrate protected areas and conservation into development policy, planning and programmes to ensure sustainable development decisions and business practices.

Led by: The World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and Conservation International (CI)

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Enhancing the diversity and quality of governance

This stream will build on the achievements on protected areas governance made at the 5th World Parks Congress in 2003, which led to emphasis on the key role of governance in the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA). Globally, improvements in governance have contributed significantly to strengthening the protected areas systems of many countries. This stream will, examine both the diversity and quality of governance of the world’s protected areas, as well as other areas that are contributing to biodiversity conservation. The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 will take stock of achievements, share experiences and present practical governance approaches and tools, illustrating progress to enhance the diversity and quality of governance in national protected areas systems.

Led by: the German International Development Agency (GIZ), UNDP, the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) Secretariat, and the ICCA (Indigenous Peoples' and Community Conserved Territories and Areas) Consortium

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Respecting indigenous and traditional knowledge and culture

This stream will engage members of indigenous and local communities, governments, non-governmental and international organisations, and the private sector to collaborate in recognising the role of indigenous peoples and local communities in the management of protected areas, sacred natural sites, and surrounding landscapes and seascapes. It will explore the role of traditional and indigenous ecological knowledge and management systems, as well as cultural and spiritual values, in protected areas, to increase the resilience of both people and biodiversity. At a landscape/seascape level, the stream will look at the management of cultural landscapes (e.g. sacred natural sites), and their contribution to biodiversity conservation and livelihoods both within and beyond protected areas. Ultimately, the stream will seek to review achievements and build long-term partnerships that will demonstrate how cultural landscapes and indigenous management systems contribute to the achievement of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, as well as to the long-term well-being of communities around the world.

Led by: The North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), the United Nations University (UNU), in conjunction with SOTZ’IL (Mesoamerica Indigenous Leaders Coalition) and the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC).

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Inspiring a new generation

The goal of this stream is to make “connecting people to nature” a priority over the next decade, as a means to ensure that future generations care about, and take the necessary steps to conserve, nature both within and beyond protected areas. It is well-known that a love and understanding of nature stems from early experiences in the environment. However, many young people and city dwellers are becoming disconnected from the environment in an increasingly urbanized world, and this can ultimately have negative implications in the political and policy arena. This stream will support the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014’s aim to creatively build the global engagement of children, young people and urban communities as advocates for protected areas by exploring the use of new technology and digital platforms, such as social media and virtual participation.

Led by: Parks Canada, WCPA Young Professionals and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC)

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