Who are our members?

We are a voluntary network of protected area professionals with a trust-based relationship that depends on our own ability but is fostered by the sense of belonging and camaraderie that our commission represents. The success of WCPA very much depends on the individual commitment and capabilities to mobilize society and lead change in the respective areas of expertise and influence. Many of our members have been a significant part of the global movement and force driving protected areas to become as relevant as they are in meeting our global challenges and intergenerational responsibilities. We are called to make this tradition continue and expand while maintaining an excellence in the standards of conservation practice and/or the frontiers of conservation science.

The WCPA membership comprises close to 1700 individuals from over 140 countries. In the past WCPA membership was by invitation but we need to expand to meet the increasing demands globally. We now accept self proposals, both are on the basis of individual skills, responsibilities, leadership and experience in relation to protected areas and similar area based conservation measures. The purpose of membership is to support IUCN and WCPA’s mission and objectives. It represents a commitment to assist in a voluntary capacity with the work of WCPA in advancing protected areas conservation in the context of societal aspirations and wellbeing. In general, seven types of people are members of the Commission:

  • managers of protected areas, typically directors of individual protected areas and senior officials of protected areas agencies, but also field practitioners with leadership qualities;
  • experts in relation to the fields of WCPA's interests;
  • academic specialists in areas relating to protected areas such as: resource economics, conservation biology; biogeography, wildlife management, marine conservation, sociology, anthropology and other related fields;
  • IUCN commission members from other commissions who are involved in the interface of other fields and interests as they relate to protected areas conservation;
  • Community, indigenous, private and other land owners or users with responsibilities and leadership in various forms of area based conservation;
  • officials and leaders from relevant non-government organisations involved with protected areas; and
  • ex-officio members from key partner organisations.

How to become a WCPA Member

The membership database is held in IUCN HQ in Gland (Delwyn Dupuis; delwyn.dupuis@iucn.org).

All WCPA members are proposed by the Regional Vice Chairs and approved by the WCPA Chair. To that end Vice-Chairs, Thematic Chairs, other WCPA leaders and current members are asked to identify appropriate potential new members from within their region and theme areas and recommend them to the Chair. Individuals can also apply directly for WCPA Membership (see below procedure).

We strongly encourage protected area professionals and leaders of all age groups, areas of specialization and world regions interested in contributing to protected areas conservation by committing to the aims of WCPA to apply for Membership.

To be inscribed as members of WCPA, interested individuals must:

  • complete an online survey, in which they specify their interests and expected time commitment. The survey is available under the following links:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WCPAmembership https://fr.surveymonkey.com/r/CMAPadhesion https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/cmpamembresia


  • inform and send their CV to delwyn.dupuis@iucn.org once he/she has completed the survey.
  • the complete application (CV and survey responses) is sent to the Regional Vice Chair responsible for the applicant’s region (for a list of WCPA Regional Vice Chairs, please refer to this page).
  • If the Regional Vice Chair supports the application, the applicant is accepted as a new Member on authority of the Chair.
  • If the Regional Vice Chair fails to review the application or advises against admission of the applicant, the application is forwarded to the WCPA Chair for additional information and a final decision.
  • On approval, the new Member is added to the WCPA database and a confirmation email as well as an information package is sent.

Each member is responsible to advise his/her Regional Vice Chair with cc to the IUCN GPAP Secretariat (delwyn.dupuis@iucn.org) of any changes in contact details, future membership depends on this.


Terms of Reference of WCPA Members

Members must contribute actively and constructively to the mission of IUCN and WCPA at the level determined by individual possibilities and in a voluntary capacity. Some possibilities for involvement may be to:

  • contribute as a spokesperson on the value and role of protected areas and other area-based conservation measures to meet human aspirations, livelihoods and well-being;
  • serve as the two way communication link between in country professionals and the Programme on Protected Areas at IUCN headquarters to provide information and ideas relevant to protected areas;
  • serve as a link between their organisation/constituency and WCPA, to foster a two way flow of information and ideas;
  • serve as a focal point for collaboration with the UNEP/ WCMC to assist updating of the World Protected Areas Database and the preparation of the UN List of Protected Areas and Protected Planet Report;
  • provide support for national, regional or international initiatives relevant to protected areas in their country, region, or theme area;
  • foster professionalism and capacity development in all aspects relating to the establishment and conservation of protected areas;
  • promote as appropriate science and traditional knowledge in decision making in protected areas conservation;
  • respond to requests for information or advice from WCPA Steering Committee members and PPA on issues such as World Heritage Evaluations;
  • participate fully, where possible, in relevant WCPA working sessions or other activities organised by WCPA;
  • work cooperatively with IUCN regional and country offices (RCO's) to support their work in protected areas;
  • provide advice on requests from people competent to serve in protected area position where IUCN advice is sought.

Indigenous Woman, Ecuador
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WCPA Guide for Members