Welcome to the first in our 'focus' series profiling the key themes of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014. The Congress will look at what has been achieved and what still needs to be done to reach global conservation goals. It will profile the countries, people, places and organisations that are leading the way to conservation success.
In 2010 governments agreed on a series of conservation targets. One of the goals is that by 2020, 17% of land and 10% of oceans are protected - up from today's 14% and 3%. Another target is that by 2020 no known threatened species goes extinct.
Protected areas are the best known tool to conserve biodiversity. Many threatened species today find safe haven in these areas. With the MesoAmerican Parks Congress taking place 18 to 21 March in Costa Rica, as part of the preparations for the World Parks Congress, we're focusing on Meso-America and the Caribbean which are among the world's most biodiverse regions.
Safe haven: threatened species that have a refuge in protected areas