Inclusive conservation: towards a better management of protected areas

Scientists have recently confirmed the risk of losing one million species, confirming the enormity of the challenge of biodiversity loss. Protected areas such as national parks and natural reserves are a very important tool to address this challenge. Ensuring that these areas deliver adequately for biodiversity is therefore fundamental. For this purpose, the voice of all relevant stakeholders involved in the protected area life needs to be heard: a new brochure from IUCN sheds some light about the use of this inclusive approach.

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IUCN Europe, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and other partners have recently launched a fact sheet  on the concept of inclusive conservation, focused on policy. A first draft of this paper was already presented in the context of a successful webinar earlier in September, where Alberto Arroyo Schnell, IUCN Senior Policy manager, discussed on the importance of protected areas and provided an overview of the EU and US policy landscapes.

The policy brief provides an overview on the current status and concepts of biodiversity conservation within both the European Union and the United States of America. Among the many challenges, one of the common ones for protected area management in both regions is the need to extend and broaden the stewardship of protected areas, by including the diversity of stakeholders’ vision. Inclusive conservation is an approach for accommodating and balancing different visions for protected area management and for achieving socially relevant, economically productive and environmentally sustainable outcomes in protected areas, and it has the potential to integrate multiple visions for growth, development and the conservation of protected areas.

ENVISION is a 3-year research project funded through the 2017-2018 Belmont Forum and BiodivERsA joint call under the BiodivScen ERA-Net COFUND programme, which aims to demonstrate the benefits of inclusive conservation. The timeline of ENVISION project coincides with the ongoing development of the post-2020 global biodiversity policy framework; the project also aims to support this process by investigating evidence-based approaches and support policy makers to promote the integration  of a more inclusive approach to the management of protected areas in the EU biodiversity policy framework, and U.S. protected area management frameworks.

IUCN is very engaged in efforts towards a better management of protected areas, through its work on the Green List of Protected and Conserved areas. In particular, in the EU, a recent project run by the IUCN European regional Office has evaluated how the Green List can help enhance the management of the EU Natura 2000 sites.

 

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