Protected areas leaders met in Cape Town recently to discuss how to get the most out of the huge progress made since the landmark IUCN Worlds Park Congress in 2003. The challenges facing the successful management of protected areas call for innovative approaches and increased role of local communities, according to South Africa Minister for the Environment and Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk.
“The bond of humans with nature has a central role to play in life on earth. We need to promote nature because it is just the right thing to do, “ said IUCN President Valli Moosa in his opening address.
"Durban + 5" review meeting stressed the importance of protected areas in the larger context of conserving biodiversity and the need to ensure that their value is recognized by decision-makers and indigenous peoples alike. Madagascar, Micronesia, South Africa and Mexico are among many others, who have successfully implemented the recommendations from the 2003 World Parks Congress.
IUCN has put in place a system to assess management effectiveness and strengthen the capacity of existing national parks worldwide. This system is being applied in 6500 protected areas globally and is looking at how to improve the way these areas are managed over the next years, taking into account the new challenges. “We are now facing the challenge of promoting the values of protected areas as contributors to solving major problems preoccupying the world, from climate change, human well being, to the provision of clean water and other key ecosystem services, “ said Nik Lopoukhine, WCPA Chair.
The next IUCN World Parks Congress is anticipated to be held in 2014.