World Commission on Protected Areas

WCPA East Asia

Gokyo and its associated lakes with Nogjumba glacier in Everest Region

Yoshitaka Kumagai, WCPA Regional Vice Chair for East Asia

IUCN WCPA Regional Vice-Chair East Asia

Yoshitaka KUMAGAI

Countries of the Region
China, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Macao Special Administrative Region China, Mongolia

General description and key issues

The membership of WCPA East Asia along with the wider protected area community who operate within the Region are well aware of the intersection of contextual factors that produce such a challenging yet stimulating operating environment for anyone working on protected areas. East Asia provides the ‘perfect high-density storm’ of above average population density, large numbers of people highly dependent on natural resources coupled with a major concentration of the world’s biodiversity. Adding to this mix is rapid economic transition, emerging global influence, urbanization and the fluid dynamics of ancient cultures which are quickly adapting to a world without boundaries, a world where the relevance of nationalism is increasing under question. East Asia’s rising affluence will place even greater strains on its natural systems. The Asian Development Bank in its 2012 publication ‘The Asian Century’ forecasts that if the current trends continue Asia will see by 2050 a six-fold increase in per capita income and approximately 3 billion additional people considered affluent by today’s standards. These facts imply that more water, land, timbers, minerals, energy sources, and food would be needed to accommodate the rapid growth of population and economy, bringing enormous pressures to PAs in East Asia.

Goals from 2017-2020

The 1st goal of WCPA-Asia (not just East Asia) is to stage the next Asia Parks Congress in 2018. The 2013 1st APC was one of the crowning achievements from the 2011-2014 period. A groundbreaking event bringing together the PA constituency from across Asia. It would be a wasted opportunity if it were to be a one-off event.  As planned for 2018 APC II will realistically consume large amounts of WCPA’s time and energy if Commission members engage fully. APC II provides a reason and point in time to mobilize a larger WCPA membership.

WCPA support to this is critical to provide core technical substance for the programme and outcomes.

The 2nd goal is to strengthen partnership on PAs management among relevant government officials, researchers, NGO/NPO in all countries/regions in Asia. Such attempt has been reiterated by our predecessors. Accomplishing this goal, however, is still a long way to go, as Asia is so vast and diversified in many ways. Some developing countries in Asia might not be ready to allocate various resources for improving PAs management in their countries due to existence of other higher priorities, such as, eradicating fatal infectious disease, providing safe drinking water/sewage system, establishing adequate educational/social welfare system, etc. It is important to share among all Asian countries the fundamental notion that maintaining and improving PAs is vital to sustaining livelihood of people. Robust partnership among Asian countries facilitates us to share knowledge and experience on PAs management. In addition, above-mentioned goal is also in conjunction with the attempt to achieve the Aichi Target.

The 3rd goal is to increase WCPA membership and promoting a series of capacity building for government officials, site managers and NGOs/NPOs. We will also tackle these goals and challenges vigorously.

The 4th goal is to strengthen our capacity on priority themes for East Asia. Special emphasis will be given to areas such as Eco-DRR, Human-wildlife conflict, Governance (particularly shared governance, Management Effectiveness Evaluation and the IUCN Green List, Transboundary PAs, and Tourism in PAs. 


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