World Commission on Protected Areas

Who are our members?

We are a voluntary network of protected area professionals with a trust-based relationship that depends on our own ability but is fostered by the sense of belonging and camaraderie that our commission represents. The success of WCPA very much depends on the individual commitment and capabilities to mobilize society and lead change in the respective areas of expertise and influence. Many of our members have been a significant part of the global movement and force driving protected areas to become as relevant as they are in meeting our global challenges and intergenerational responsibilities. We are called to make this tradition continue and expand while maintaining an excellence in the standards of conservation practice and/or the frontiers of conservation science.

The WCPA membership comprises close to 2500 individuals from over 140 countries. In the past WCPA membership was by invitation but we need to expand to meet the increasing demands globally. We now accept self proposals, both are on the basis of individual skills, responsibilities, leadership and experience in relation to protected areas and similar area based conservation measures. The purpose of membership is to support IUCN and WCPA’s mission and objectives. It represents a commitment to assist in a voluntary capacity with the work of WCPA in advancing protected areas conservation in the context of societal aspirations and wellbeing. In general, seven types of people are members of the Commission:

  • managers of protected areas, typically directors of individual protected areas and senior officials of protected areas agencies, but also field practitioners with leadership qualities;
  • experts in relation to the fields of WCPA's interests;
  • academic specialists in areas relating to protected areas such as: resource economics, conservation biology; biogeography, wildlife management, marine conservation, sociology, anthropology and other related fields;
  • IUCN commission members from other commissions who are involved in the interface of other fields and interests as they relate to protected areas conservation;
  • Community, indigenous, private and other land owners or users with responsibilities and leadership in various forms of area based conservation;
  • officials and leaders from relevant non-government organisations involved with protected areas; and
  • ex-officio members from key partner organisations
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