World Commission on Protected Areas


IUCN WCPA Wilderness Specialist Group
Golden Pheasant : Wild wonders of China

Working within the IUCN WCPA and the World Wilderness Congress, the Wilderness Specialist Group establishes linkages between the World Wilderness Congresses, IUCN’s World Parks Congresses and IUCN's World Conservation Congresses.

Vance MartinWCPA Wilderness Task Force Leader John Waithaka Photo: John Waithaka Sarah Casson
Specialist Group Co-Chair Specialist Group Co-Chair Specialist Group Manager

The Wilderness Specialist Group also provides coordination and a connecting point within IUCN for wilderness-related issues including the strengthening of Category 1b.

Originally initiated as a task force at the Jordan IUCN General Assembly (2000), the Wilderness Specialist Group was formally instituted in 2003 and convened its first formal meeting at the World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, in 2003. The objectives of the Wilderness Specialist Group include promoting research and discussion on the importance and role of wilderness, helping integrate wilderness-related issues into WCPA publications, proceedings and meetings, and providing expert referral service to the WCPA for wilderness-related issues.

In 2016 the Wilderness Specialist Group produced “Wilderness Protected Areas: Management Guidelines for IUCN Category 1b Protected Areas” []. These guidelines were launched at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

The Wilderness Specialist Group is co-chaired by Vance Martin and John Waithaka and managed by Sarah Casson.


Go to top