Green Groups Guide Investors to Protected Areas
GLAND, Switzerland, December 1, 2015 (Maximpact News) – Two of the world’s largest and most influential nonprofit groups have made a new 10-year commitment, combining their strengths to enhance the role of protected and conserved areas in achieving sustainable development.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have pledged to expand the number of protected areas reaching IUCN Green List quality standards to at least 1,000 protected areas in 50 countries.
The partnership will look at how challenges to protected areas such as poaching, illegal logging and other destructive activities can be addressed through new financing and investment.
The two organizations have promised to seek the application of US$2 billion of new investment funding for the enhanced performance and sustainability of these Green List protected areas.
And the groups say they will generate at least 20 new ambitious protected area commitments for biodiversity and United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals from communities, governments and other organizations.
The two groups, both based in Gland, believe that by combining their strengths they will multiply their chances of making a major contribution towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The IUCN-WWF partnership was announced on the first anniversary of the IUCN World Parks Congress, which took place in November 2014 in Sydney, Australia and culminated in the Promise of Sydney.
The Promise of Sydney commits signers to invest in protected areas, which help to halt biodiversity loss; mitigate and adapt to climate change; reduce the risk and impact of disasters; improve food and water security, and promote human health and dignity.
The Promise of Sydney encompasses four elements:
A Vision that reflects a set of high-level aspirations and recommendations for the change needed in the coming decade to accomplish conservation and development goals for parks, people and planet.
Twelve Innovative Approaches to transformative change to: achieve conservation goals, respond to climate change, improve health and well-being, support human life, reconcile development challenges, enhance the diversity and quality of governance, respect indigenous and traditional knowledge, inspire a new generation, protect World Heritage sites, conserve the marine environment, develop greater capacity for effective action and create a new social compact.
The third element of the Promise of Sydney is a Panorama of Inspiring Protected Area Solutions to overcome obstacles to the stability of people and protected areas. Supported by IUCN, its Commissions and members, they can serve as reference points and resources for conservation practitioners around the world.
The fourth element is Promises. These are pledges by countries, groups of countries, funders, organizations and other partners to chart the path forward for the world by stepping up or supporting accelerated implementation.
For instance, the U.S. National Park Service committed to setting up a program to engage 100,000 youth in protected areas across the United States.
South Africa committed to more than triple its ocean protection over the next 10 years, from less than 0.5 percent to five percent of its Exclusive Economic Zone within Marine Protected Areas. South Africa will do this to ensure environmental sustainability because MPAs deliver ecosystem services that underpin South African livelihoods, food security and ecotourism.
Russia committed to grow its protected area network by establishing at least 27 federal protected areas and expanding 12 others, increasing the total area of federal protected areas by 22 percent, or 13 million hectares.
Critical habitats for important threatened species, including the Amur tiger in the Bikin River watershed in Russia’s Far East, the polar bear in the Novosibirsk Archipelago, the Siberian crane in Yakutia, and the Beluga whale in the White Sea near the Solovetsky Archipelago, among others, will be granted protection.
Japan’s Ministry of the Environment committed to working with the IUCN Asia Regional Office to enhance collaboration among Asian countries on protected areas management through the Asia Protected Area Partnership, which was officially established during the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014.
China committed to increase its protected areas territory to at least 20 percent by 2020, and to match Chinese categories of protected areas to global standards.
The Promise of Sydney is the foundation for pathways the WWF and IUCN can take over the next 10 years to ensure that protected areas can be perceived as one of the best investments in the planet’s future.
The 10-year partnership aims to make the case for direct investment in protected areas and protected area systems that demonstrate enhanced conservation outcomes.
Award-winning journalist Sunny Lewis is founding editor in chief of the Environment News Service (ENS), the original daily wire service of the environment, publishing since 1990.