Story | 28 Apr, 2017

Setting the WCPA agenda

The Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia (PNNC) hosted this year’s annual WCPA Steering Committee meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.  The meeting was the first since Kathy MacKinnon was elected Chair and focused on the Commission’s achievements and challenges, the 2017-2020 Joint Work Programme with the IUCN Global Protected Areas programme, the WCPA, and the World Heritage programme.

Presentations and discussions focused on regional and thematic WCPA priorities, cross-Commission support with the Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), Marine priorities including the upcoming IMPAC4 meeting in Chile, Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECM), The CBD – Aichi targets and post- 2020 priorities, Key Biodiversity Areas, Natural Solutions and the RedParques Initiative, capacity development, Nature for All, youth engagement in the WCPA,  WCPA publications, and the follow-up of the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 motions.

Parque Nacional Natural Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia      
The WWF-IUCN partnership brought a focus on the positive impacts that the IUCN Green List of protected and conserved areas in the region will have through IUCN, WWF and Parques Nacionales. Sandra Valenzuela from WWF Colombia illustrated how the PNN Gorgona is a science island, described the potential of the Santuario de Flora y Fauna Galeras networks with private reserves to improve management effectiveness, and explained how the PNN Tatamá is a unique combined Andean and Pacific protected area with an important indigenous and African descendant population as well as peasants.

New opportunities for increased cooperation and integration of the World Database on Protected Areas were also proposed, taking into consideration the rapid changes in protected area coverage, and the need to cover marine issues in the Protected Planet report.



Luis Gilberto Murillo, the Colombian Minister for Environment in his opening address welcomed the WCPA to Colombia, taking the opportunity to reiterate his commitment to fulfill the goals established by the CBD, including the declaration of 2,500,000 hectares of new protected areas by 2018, with the support and the commitment of President Santos and all the institutions of the National Environmental System. 

Colombia's Minister of Environment opens the WCPA Steering Committee in Cartagena       Photo: IUCN/Valerie Batselaere

Murillo pledged to participate in IUCN's Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas to inspire other parks with their effective management. The signing of Colombia’s peace agreement and its implementation, Murillo said, will allow Colombia to recover degraded natural areas, link local communities to restoration, improve the quality of life of communities in rural areas, and promote well-managed ecotourism, which is booming in Colombia.

Colombia is one of the richest countries in biological and cultural diversity in the world. This diversity is represented by 59 natural areas as part of the National Natural Parks Systems, with a total of 621 protected and conserved areas, translating into over 14 per cent of its continental and two per cent of it is marine area (Protected Planet 2016).

The WCPA team was invited to visit the Corales del Rosario y San Bernardo National Park as well as the Aviario Nacional de Colombia, giving the WCPA Steering Committee members a unique opportunity to discover some of Colombia’s outstanding biodiversity.

The WCPA wishes to give special thanks to Julia Miranda Londoño and her team from Parques Nacionales for organising the Steering Committee in Colombia. Julia is the Parques Nacionales’ General Director as well as WCPA’s Deputy Chair.


Special thanks to:

WCPA SC logos       Photo: IUCN