Thematic Vice Chair, Science and Biodiversity Policy. Stephen Woodley is an ecologist, who has worked in the field of protected areas for 35 years. He worked as a consultant, a field biologist ...
IUCN WCPA Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures Specialist Group
Overview and description
The OECMs Specialist Group promotes inclusive and effective conservation by providing guidance on identifying, recognising, supporting and reporting ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ ...The OECMs Specialist Group promotes inclusive and effective conservation by providing guidance on identifying, recognising, supporting and reporting ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECMs).
Dr Stephen WOODLEY
Thematic Vice Chair, Science and Biodiversity Policy. Stephen Woodley is an ecologist, who has worked in the field of protected areas for 35 years. He worked as a consultant, a field biologist, manager of a national fire restoration program and forest ecologist before becoming the first Chief Scientist for Parks Canada in 1992. In that position he worked on a number of issues related to protected areas, including ecological monitoring, species at risk, wildlife disease, ecological restoration and science policy. In July, 2011, Stephen began working as Senior Advisor to the Global Protected Areas Program of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and continues that work as Co-Chair of the Task Force on Biodiversity and Protected Areas, jointly established by the World Commission on Protected Areas and the Species Survival Commission.
What is an ‘OECM’?
‘Other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECMs) are areas that are achieving the long term and effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity outside of protected areas. From 2015 to 2018, IUCN provided technical advice to Parties on OECMs to the CBD through a WCPA Task Force on OECMs. In 2018, Parties to the CBD agreed guiding principles, common characteristics and criteria for the identification of OECMs (CBD Decision 14/8). An ‘other effective area-based conservation measure’ is defined by the CBD as:
A geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in-situ conservation of biodiversity, with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio–economic, and other locally relevant values (CBD, 2018).
Governments, relevant organizations, Indigenous peoples and local communities are invited to apply the voluntary guidance on OECMs to identify, recognise and support OECMs, and report data on OECMs to the World Database on OECMs.
Identification of OECMs offers a significant opportunity to increase recognition and support for de facto effective long-term conservation that is taking place outside currently designated protected areas under a range of governance and management regimes, implemented by a diverse set of actors, including by Indigenous peoples and local communities, the private sector and government agencies.
By enabling and enhancing the appropriate identification, recognition, support and reporting of OECMs across landscapes and seascapes, we aim to:
- Promote equitable governance, effective management and positive conservation outcomes.
- Increase coverage of ecologically representative areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services.
- Support the recovery of threatened species.
- Enhance connectivity between protected and conserved areas and across landscapes and seascapes.
- Foster engagement with a diverse range of rights-holders and stakeholders who contribute to area-based conservation outside of protected areas.
- Support sustainable livelihoods and provide a framework to help transform sectoral practices.
- Address climate change by contributing to net-zero climate targets and building resilience to the physical impacts of climate change through nature-based solutions.