Countries of the Region

American Samoa, Australia, Christmas Island, Cocos, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gaum, Kiriabati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States, Minor Outlying Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna Islands

WCPA work in Oceania

Oceania currently has members from all levels of government, resource agencies as well as conservation agencies; non government organisations in nature conservation, indigenous organisations, private land trusts and wildlife conservation. It has academics across ecological sciences conservation, public policy and law, tourism and natural resource management, resource economists and environmental consultants from various disciplines. Many members are very active in specialist groups and task forces.

Oceania currently has three Vice Chairs on the International Steering Committee - Penelope Figgis as Regional Vice Chair for Oceania, Dr. Graeme Worboys Vice Chair for Connectivity and Mountains and Prof Marc Hockings Vice Chair for Science and Management.

Knowledge Networking

  • We continue to recruit members so our current numbers are well over 300.
  • We compiled 7 newsletters carrying approximately 210 separate stories – these can be viewed or downloaded from www.aciucn.org under Resources.
  • Distributed an additional 45 substantial posts to share protected area knowledge.
  • Connected many individual experts to others through email referrals.
  • Responded to numerous international and national requests for information.


  • Continued to promote the centrality of the Australian National Reserve System, as the key mechanism of biodiversity conservation and the core lands of connectivity conservation.
  • Continued to promote the concept of protected areas and nature conservation as ‘natural solutions’ to both climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  • Played a central role in the adoption of large scale integrated conservation as a national goal in Australia and also in New Zealand.
  • Supported marine conservation nationally and in both NSW and SA.
  • Championed the protection of sharks.
  • Promoted the Cairns Communique - a statement of the key directions needed in policy and management to enhance Australia’s performance within its World Heritage Areas.
  • The Vice Chair has mobilised the support of IUCN DG on several key issues.

Meetings and events

  • In recent years WCPA Members including the Vice Chair participated in the very significant National Wildlife Corridors Workshop in Canberra in 2011.
  • Participated in discussions in Tasmania for an Australian Protected Areas Institute.
  • Organised a day seminar with Greening Australia, Great Eastern Ranges and NSW OoE on national connectivity conservation with Olivier Chassot, leader of the Meso American Corridor.
  • WCPA supported and promoted the ACIUCN Symposium on Innovation for 21st Century Conservation and is contributing to the publication of proceedings.
  • This ACIUCN symposium was turned into a substantial book Innovation for 21st Century Conservation – many of the writers were WCPA members.
  • In 2012 assisted in organising a presentation of the Dr. Stephen Woodley, Chief Scientist of Parks Canada to DSEWPaC and Canberra based WCPA members.
  • In August 2012 the ACIUCN symposuium Keeping the Outstanding Exceptional – the Future of World Heritage in Australia involved many Commission members who also contributed to the book which resulted.
  • In February 2013 the visit to Australia of Prof. Dan Laffoley, WCPA head of marine conservation afforded an opportunity to convene three meetings to benefit members and allow the production of a short film – which is available on the ACIUCN website: www.aciucn.org.au
    • An IUCN members’ round table in Sydney was held on the 13th February at the offices of the Office for Environment and Heritage NSW.15 member representatives attended for a good collegiate discussion which was warmly welcomed.
    • A public forum Communicating Marine Conservation at Parliament House was held on the 14th. Over 80 people attended this very vibrant and engaging forum. This meeting in particular brought new young creative voices to ACIUCN. Dan’s presentation as well as a short film is on our website.
    • Commonwealth government meeting of some 100 public servants was held in at DSEWPaC on Monday the 18th February followed by a lunch with additional senior DSEWPaC staff.
  • WCPA co hosted a Reception on Goat Island 21st March 2013 for two most senior officials of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Chair Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich and Deputy Kathy MacKinnon and Director of the IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme Trevor Sandwith – all members of the International Organising Committee of the IUCN World Parks Congress.
  • Many WCPA members attended ACIUCN’s major symposium for 2013 , True Blue: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities for Australia’s Marine Environment Symposium June 12-13th 2013 attracted over 100 delegates with a good mix of academia, government and non-government. The discussion was robust and engaged and feedback was very good.
  • The symposium on Marine Conservation generated a significant policy input.
    Conserving Australia’s Marine Environment: Key Directions Statement provides a succinct overview of the key steps required to address current and emerging challenges facing the conservation and sustainable use of Australia’s marine environment. Members are encouraged to use the Statement to continue to build the marine conservation efforts of Australia especially the continued building aof marine protected areas.
  • The last meeting of a very marine year was held on the 7th November on Developments in Global Oceans Governance and Conservation to discuss effective conservation of ocean biodiversity. Speakers included Robert Hill, ex-Canadian Prime Minister and GOC Commissioner Paul Martin.

Cudmirrah National Park on the South Coast NSW

Cudmirrah National Park on the South Coast NSW

Photo: Penelope Figgis


Priorities in the Region


Securing the systems
WCPA supports and endorses the Aichi Target of the Convention on Biological Diversity especially

Target 11: By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascapes.

Our goal is to be an advocate for the pursuit of strong comprehensive, adequate and representative protected area systems in both the land and sea as the core lands of any conservation effort.

Building Resilience in the face of climate change
The continued expansion of these most cost effective extant ecosystems has become even more crucial in the face of climate change as healthy functioning natural systems will both secure carbon (mitigation) and provide the key refugia and offer the greatest prospects for resilience for human well being and all species (adaptation).

‘Islands to Networks’- Landscape Scale Connectivity Conservation
WCPA is having a key role in promoting and achieving the international consensus that biodiversity conservation requires connecting protected areas with other lands and seas under conservation, or ‘conservation supportive’ management into large-scale ecosystem networks. The imperative to achieve landscape /seascape wide initives has become more urgent in the face of the many challenges protected areas will face from climate change.

Socially inclusive Conservation
Such networks involve a more socially inclusive form of conservation involving many sectors of society. This will involve an innovative approach to provide a broad range of governance types covering the lands of indigenous people, traditional local communities, forestry lands, private land owners involved in sustainable land uses, tourism operators, local governments, private trusts and corporations. The issue of traditional community governance is especially important in our region where in many cases community law and management is a strong and recognised instrument of resource management.

Marine Conservation
Expansion of conservation in the marine environment is a clear international direction which WCPA in the region can promote. It is central to the peoples of the Pacific not only to maintain the rich cultural and livliehood resources of the sea but to provide the means to more sustainable economies. Improved high seas governance is particularly iimportant in the Pacific.

Building the Conservation Community
WCPA needs to broaden the constituency of both support for, and active involvement in, conservation through building partnerships and alliances. Social sustainability is increasingly understood as a fundamental need. In all Oceania nations there are strong indigenous and local communities and major tourism industries who, in both cases, are key and logical partners in conservation. Sustainable agricultural and landowner initiatives are also emerging as key issues.

Management Effectiveness
WCPA has already established a powerful Task Force on Management Effectiveness. The excellent work done by the Task Force could be disseminated more widely through the enhanced regional WCPA network. The management of invasive species could be a particular focus given its increasing toll on regional terrestrial and marine biodiversity and potentially serious impacts on both indigenous people and tourism. A major product could be the preparation of best practice guidelines to states and protected area agencies on the most effective means of managing this highly significant and multi faceted threat.

Sustainable financing
The area of sustainable financing is a critical bottom line in achieving all other goals. WCPA will seek to identify, promote and communicate innovative ways of sustainably financing protected areas and land and seascape scale initiatives. 

Grose Valley Blue Mountains

Grose Valley Blue Mountains

Photo: Penelope Figgis

Penelope Figgis AO
  • Penelope Figgis WCPA Regional Chair for Oceania

WCPA Regional Vice Chair for Oceania 

Email: penelope.figgis@ozemail.com.au