Protected Areas

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 well as to the numerous publications by IUCN and the WCPA that contribute to protected area capacity development.

The establishment of protected areas and protected area systems does not guarantee that their objectives are achieved. To fulfil their purpose, protected areas must be managed effectively, requiring appropriate institutional and governance arrangements and competent professionals providing a range of skills at site and system levels, including for the marine and freshwater environments. The global analysis of management effectiveness assessments yields the insight that a large proportion of designated protected areas are inadequately managed. Since its inception, IUCN has produced a large volume of highly regarded protected area standards, such as the IUCN Protected Area Categories and Governance Types, and many supporting capacity development resource materials and training programmes.

Yet, there remains a poor linkage between (i) the production of resource materials, (ii) the education and training of competent professionals and (iii) the achievement of certified high standards of PA management effectiveness and (iv) the measurement of conservation outcomes. For national governments to meet targets and goals for effective management, a focus on all of these elements is required.

Working in close association with IUCN WCPA, UN agencies, convention secretariats, including the CBD and the World Heritage Convention, , and partner organizations, the GPAP and WHP will develop a comprehensive capacity development program of activities involving IUCN Regional Programmes, Commissions and Members. The core rationale for this would be to support capacity-building for the implementation of the CBD’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas and the achievement of Aichi Target 11 (although there are several Aichi Targets that depend on the achievement of protected area conservation goals).

Below, Mike Appleton, Vice Chair of the IUCN WCPA Capacity Development Thematic Group, explains what capacity development for protected areas is about:


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