At the crossroads of conservation and development

Transboundary cooperation among adjacent countries epitomizes the ambition of the Rio +20 conference. As discussed during the side event organized by IUCN and the Italian Government (DGCS) at the UN Conference on sustainable development (Rio+20), it offers some early results and insights into the relevance of natural resource management for the green economy.

Tropical rainforests of Talamanca /La Amistad Reserves

International policy and strategic goals can indeed be institutionalized and translated into effective practice applied at regional to local levels. A panel debate involving national and regional leadership addressed the critical questions determined by the Rio +20 Conference of establishing cooperation between countries and sectors within countries to pursue sustainable development goals.

The event addressed voices of government, protected area management agencies, local government, and NGOs. Deliberate investments in transboundary situations in Africa, South Eastern Europe and Mesoamerica highlighted the opportunities, conditions for success and likely outcomes of cross-border natural resource governance.

“Transboundary conservation areas are natural solutions that may provide opportunities for a better institutional framework and green economy”, says Kathy McKinnon, Vice Chair World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). In particular, the lessons spoke to the potential, risks and options associated with using conservation action as a foundation for employment, food security, watershed management and disaster risk reduction while maintaining ecosystem integrity and biodiversity conservation outcomes: “transboundary connectivity conservation initiatives in Nicaragua and Costa Rica have addressed many challenges and issues brought by the context and prospect of a green economy, through the promotion of ecotourism and payments for environmental services”, says Olivier Chassot, Tropical Science Center, IUCN WCPA Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group.

Transboundary cooperation is an essential cross-cutting theme that resonates with different realities across time and regions.“It’s symptomatic of how similar the issues we deal with are when it comes to transboundary nature conservation initiatives in the three different continents,” states Tomasz Pezold, IUCN Programme Office for South Eastern Europe.

The event also stressed the utility of north-south investment and exchange, and south-south technology transfer and capacity development. ”Nature as a neutral platform makes for a powerful message that conveys the idea of transboundary conservation and collaboration in general,” concluded Cyrie Sendashonga, Global Director, IUCN Policy and Programme Group.

By Jérôme Duberry, Global Communications.

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Brian Thomson, IUCN Media Relations, m +41 79 721 8326, e;
Jérôme Duberry, IUCN Media Relations, t +41 22 999 0127, e;

Work area: 
Climate Change
Global Policy
Protected Areas
Social Policy
Protected Areas
Environmental Law
World Heritage
Rio + 20
South America
North America
East and Southern Africa
West and Central Africa
West Asia
South-Eastern Europe 
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