From May 7-11 2007, IUCN-WCPA held a major meeting on the IUCN Protected Area Management Category system in association with the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation and the IUCN Programme on Protected Areas. The Categories Summit was sponsored by the Consejería de Medio Ambiente de la Junta de Andalucía in collaboration with la Fundacíon Biodiversidad.
This Summit is a step in a broader consultation process that started in preparation for the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress (Durban 2003) and led to the passing of a resolution at the IUCN World Conservation Congress (Resolution 3.048, Bangkok 2004) seeking the review and update of the 1994 guidelines for the application of the Category System.
The Summit provided a unique opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders to discuss how best to improve the application of the system. The Summit was an expert gathering rather than a decision making meeting. Its objectives are to: clarify the existing problems on the guidelines governing the application of the systemfind consensus on solutionscome up with recommendations, which will be considered initially by the WCPA Steering Committee and then by the entire IUCN membership at the World Conservation Congress in 2008.
Mindful of the mandate from the IUCN Bangkok Congress, included in the resolution mentioned above, the starting point for the Summit discussions is the recognition of the 1994 system and in particular that the six-category objectives based approach should remain the foundation of the system. Therefore the Summit does not intend to change this foundation, including the protected areas definition that governs the system, but to define ways on how to improve the application of an updated system including through capacity building.
The Summit will be discussing the interpretation of both the definition and categories and delegates are free to raise any issues they feel are pertinent to the debate.
Due to limited spacing, participation at the Summit was by invitation only. Selection of participants was done by the Summit’s Organizing Committee, chaired by Nik Lopoukhine. The criteria for inviting participation to the Summit were as follows:
- track record of competence in relation to protected areas issues
- knowledge/understanding of the application of the category system
- geographic and gender coverage
- broad range of stakeholders coverage
In view that not all those interested could attend, an online consultation process was set up before the Summit. This allowed people to submit their feedback, by commenting on the working papers or providing general comments . Summit discussions will be based on about fifty different working papers, most of which were already posted on this website. Others were added as they became available.