On 27 November, UNEP-WCMC and IUCN China hosted a workshop on protected areas databases in China, “China National Workshop on Protected Areas”. The workshop is part of UNEP-WCMC’s project to strengthen the information base in Asia, held in the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), through review by experts. The objectives of the workshop were to discuss the application of IUCN Management Categories in China and to initiate a process of more sustainable data flows, including updates to the WDPA.
Over 25 representatives from governmental departments, research institutes, and NGOs attended the workshop. The workshop served as an informative meeting on databases and protected area categories established in China and internationally. Dr. Zhu Chunquan, Country Representative of IUCN China, opened the workshop by launching the Chinese translation of the IUCN publication “Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories” by Nigel Dudley. The translation will contribute considerably to capacity building of local PA managers and hopefully enable the application of IUCN categories in China.
Delegates from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), the State Forestry Administration (SFA) and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD) discussed the recent developments in PA management and policies. Because PAs in China are administered by several different governmental bodies, depending on their specific objective, applying international comparable categories to all PAs needs considerable coordination efforts. All attendees actively participated in the discussion sessions. The main focus of the discussions was how to match Chinese PA categories with IUCN’s categories and what processes need to be in place to ensure consistency in applying the IUCN categories across thousands of protected areas in China.
The delegates to the workshop all agreed that China made great efforts in PA management and that it is important to show this to the international community by actively contributing to the WDPA. It was agreed upon that IUCN China and the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) will coordinate the process of updating the WDPA. Moreover, all attending government representatives ensured their personal commitment and that of their agencies. The workshop can be seen as a milestone for PA management in China.