Recognizing success provides inspiration and constructive feedback. Through the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas (GLPA), IUCN is seeking to provide an innovative tool for managers and protected area systems to assess and monitor PA values, identify existing possibilities to improve performance and demonstrate how effective management can lead to positive conservation impacts. A milestone meeting held in Switzerland marked the beginning of the “GLPA Development Phase”. The development of the global GLPA standard has shifted into a higher gear, building on the lessons from the pilot phase.
The feedback from the pilot phase confirms perception of the GLPA as an engaging and inclusive approach with the necessary flexibility to be implemented in different contexts. The progress so far has been stable and adapted to existing capacity; nonetheless, improvement in each step of the process is still a priority. With this in mind, the technical team of the GLPA is currently refining the procedures in order to assure and maintain reliability.
The meeting in IUCN’s headquarters, held in June 2015, brought together experts working on the standard and the assurance mechanism, key IUCN staff from headquarters and regional offices, as well as GLPA committee members, key external partners, and representatives from 4 existing and future GLPA implementing jurisdictions.
Participants gained an overview of the proposed process for the GLPA Development Phase (2015-2018). Important objectives will be the promotion of experience exchange and lessons learned from GLPA countries, as well as looking for synergies with other PA conservation programmes, tools and initiatives. “Here we have a great potential to promote new partnerships”, says Trevor Sandwith, director, Global Protected Areas Programme. Tim Badman, Director of IUCN´s World Heritage Programme, emphasized the opportunity for collaboration with the World Heritage Outlook initiative.
A key activity during the Development Phase will be the conduction of a global, public consultation, in order to consolidate the second version of the GLPA Standard. WCPA members and experts from different backgrounds are encouraged to participate in this exercise by giving inputs on the 4 Standard Pillars comprised by 20 criteria, which are intended to measure conservation outcomes. The consultation period will launch with a webinar session, to be announced shortly.
In addition to the first jurisdictions that were involved in the pilot phase, new countries are initiating the process for listing sites, and with the start of the Development Phase, some important issues need to be anticipated. The GLPA orientation meeting initiated the elaboration of regional/national action plans.
By defining detailed jurisdictional strategies, countries and IUCN are adhering to an important commitment: to improve protected areas management in order to achieve best results. Effectively managed protected areas are key to achieving global policy goals, such as the CBD Aichi Targets, particularly Target 11. Lastly, through its positive message of hope and encouragement, the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas can help inspire a new generation of protected area experts.