World Commission on Protected Areas



IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is the world's premier network of protected area expertise. It is administered by IUCN's Global Programme on Protected Areas and has over 2,500 members, spanning 140 countries.      

WCPA works by helping governments and others plan protected areas and integrate them into all sectors; by providing strategic advice to policy makers; by strengthening capacity and investment in protected areas; and by convening the diverse constituency of protected area stakeholders to address challenging issues. For more than 50 years, IUCN and WCPA have been at the forefront of global action on protected areas.

WCPA Steering Committee meeting in Colombia, March 2017

WCPA's Mission

The Mission of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is:

To develop and provide scientific and technical advice and policy that promotes a representative, effectively managed and equitably governed global system of marine and terrestrial protected areas, including especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services. 

WCPA Objectives

The objectives of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas for 2017-2020, aligned with the Promise of Sydney, are to:

  1. Catalyze and support global efforts to expand and effectively manage systems of protected areas  to achieve the Aichi Targets for halting biodiversity loss, in particular through meeting Aichi Target 11;
  2. Recognise and mainstream protected areas as natural solutions to global challenges, such as climate change, land degradation, food and water security, health and well-being;
  3. Make the case for investment in protected area systems, supported by public policy, incentives, capacity development and sustainable funding;
  4. Inspire all people, across generations, geography and cultures to experience and value the wonder of nature through protected areas and to promote more support for conservation of natural ecosystems;
  5. Use our acknowledged role as a key global knowledge-broker and standard setter for protected areas to support efforts to raise the standards and practices of protected area governance and management globally.


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