Protected Areas

IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme and

IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas

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Protected and conserved areas are the foundation of biodiversity conservation. They safeguard nature and cultural resources, improve livelihoods and drive sustainable development. 

IUCN works to establish best practices and standards that maximise the effectiveness of protected and conserved areas and advances justice and equity in conservation, including the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. 

In its work on protected areas and conserved areas, IUCN focusses on three key areas:


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  • In the spotlight:

    BIOPAMA

    The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme aims to improve  the long-term conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, in protected areas and surrounding communities.

  • In the spotlight:

    The IUCN Green List

    The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas Programme (the ‘IUCN Green List Programme') aims to encourage, achieve and promote effective, equitable and successful protected areas in all partner countries and jurisdictions. In line with IUCN’s core mission of ‘A just world that values and conserves nature’ the aim of the IUCN Green List Programme is to improve the contribution that equitably governed and effectively managed protected areas make to sustainable development through the conservation of nature and provision of associated social, economic, cultural, and spiritual values.

  • In the spotlight:

    PANORAMA - Solutions for a Healthy Planet

     

    Explore applied protected area solutions from around the globe!

    PANORAMA is a partnership promoting examples of inspiring, replicable solutions across a range of conservation and development topics, to enable cross-sectoral learning and upscaling of successes. Read more about IUCN's engagement in PANORAMA.  

  • In the spotlight:

    MOOCs and protected areas capacity building

    Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are now an undeniable part of the education landscape and a revolutionary opportunity for everyone across the world with an Internet connection to access free courses and to receive a certificate or academic credits. The IUCN Papaco MOOCs on 'protected areas management' and 'ecological monitoring' have cumulated a number of 12,700 registrations so far from more than 120 countries. Two more MOOCS have just started, on 'law enforcement in protected areas', and 'species conservation' in African protected areas. Read more about the origins, the participants, and success rates of IUCN Papaco's MOOCs to date.

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IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas

The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas Programme (the ‘IUCN Green List Programme') aims to encourage, achieve and promote effective, equitable and successful protected areas in all partner countries and jurisdictions. In line with IUCN’s core mission of ‘A just world...

Capacity development

Capacity development touches upon all aspects of IUCN's Global Protected Areas Programme. Below you will find links to the BIOPAMA page, the massive open online courses (MOOC) that the Programme on African Protected Areas and Conservation (PAPACO) organises, and the PA Law course, as...

World Database on Protected Areas

The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is the most comprehensive global database on terrestrial and marine protected areas. It is a joint project between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), managed by UNEP...

Protected Area Categories

IUCN protected area management categories classify protected areas according to their management objectives. The categories are recognised by international bodies such as the United Nations and by many national governments as the global standard for defining and recording protected areas...

Quick reads

Aimed at policy-makers and journalists, IUCN Issues Briefs provide key information on selected issues in a two-pager format.

Thumbnail_Oceans MPA issues brief Photo: IUCN

Marine protected areas and climate change

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – areas of the ocean set aside for long-term conservation aims – are the only mainstream conservation-focussed, area-based measure to increase the quality and extent of...

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