Protected areas are the cornerstones of biodiversity conservation and their numbers have grown rapidly over the past 20 years. However, the extent to which the world’s protected areas are conserving species, ecosystems, and ecosystem services is poorly understood. How effective are they, and how will they shape the future of conservation?
Protected Areas - are they safeguarding biodiversity?
was held at the Zoological Society of London to help in part to answer this question
Held over two days on the 8th and 9th of November, the symposium was organised by Lucas Joppa (Microsoft Research), John Robinson (Wildlife Conservation Society) and Jonathan Baillie (Zoological Society of London). Several members of WCPA and GPAP participated as speakers and panelists, including Ernesto Enkerlin (WCPA Chair), Kathy MacKinnon, Nigel Dudley, Trevor Sandwith (GPAP Director) and Stephen Woodley.
The symposium provided information for understanding the global, regional and national status and trends of the world’s biodiversity, which is essential for development of a strategic response to the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2020 Aichi targets on biodiversity, and to identify new tools and technologies essential for conserving biodiversity within the global protected areas network. The successful two day meeting had approximately 150 participants drawn from a wide conservation spectrum, from practitioners to graduate students. The topics covered were diverse, ranging from the needs for expanded PA coverage, conservation successes and failures, PA design and monitoring for areas under different governance arrangements, and potential financing for conservation. The need for protected areas was dramatically illustrated with examples from Southeast Asia, where they are the last hope for many of the larger mammal species in the region, which are no longer found outside of PA boundaries. The symposium concluded with a lively panel discussion on necessary next steps and the way forward to ensure that protected areas are relevant to meet our future conservation needs.
The symposium proceedings will be published as a book.