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:

    The IUCN Green List

    The IUCN Green List now counts 15 new sites, bringing the total number of sites listed to 40. The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas is the first global standard of best practice in area-based conservation. It certifies natural sites that are effectively managed and fairly governed.

  • 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:

    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.

News

  • IUCN World Heritage Panel December 2017 (minus tarek) Photo: IUCN

    IUCN reviews nine new World Heritage nominations for 2019

    12.12.2018

    The IUCN World Heritage Panel met last week to evaluate site nominations proposed for the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2019. Proposals for seven new natural heritage sites and one ‘mixed’ natural-cultural site have been submitted by state parties, as well as...

  • ACT! 30 IUCN Young Professionals met in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Site prior to WPC 2014 Photo: Rebecca Koss

    Apply now - WCPA and CoalitionWILD Mentorship Programme

    11.12.2018

    CoalitionWILD and the WCPA are accepting applications to the 2019 Global Mentorship Programme, pairing conservation veterans with emerging leaders for a 12-month intergenerational exchange. Apply to be a Mentor or Mentee by 15 January.

  • A monk blesses Muansila FCZ in Kho Tai Village as part of the official designation ceremony A monk blesses Muansila FCZ in Kho Tai Village as part of the official designation ceremony Photo: © Living River Association

    Fish Conservation Zones lead to stronger communities, fewer conflicts and more fish

    06.12.2018

    Fish Conservation Zones (FCZs) are areas that are closed to fishing in order to protect habitats and restore fish populations. Besides their use for conservation, FCZs can also be a valuable tool for strengthening local communities and reducing local conflict...

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Publications

Learn more

IUCN Green List map Photo: IUCN

IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas

The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas is the first global standard of best practice for area-based conservation. It is a programme of certification for protected and conserved areas – national parks, natural World Heritage sites, community conserved areas, nature reserves...

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...

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...

IUCN Protected Area Publications

From time to time, IUCN together with WCPA and other partners produces books and journal articles on topics related to protected areas. Some of these titles can be accessed here.

 

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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