CBD COP-11 Hyderabad, India 8-19 October 2012

Protected areas achieve great strides at CBD COP 11 in Hyderabad, India 8-19 October 2012

Protected areas received considerable attention at COP11, beginning with a direct call from the Executive Secretary, Braulio de Souza Dias, for parties to make rapid progress on Target 11 as a tangible way to show global progress on the full suite of the Aichi Targets. In their opening statements, many Parties singled out progress on both marine and terrestrial protected areas as highlights of their work. While Target 11 is specifically about protected areas, the establishment of protected areas has strong linkages with virtually all of the other Aichi Targets.

Policy directions

The draft decisions from CBD SBSTTA 15 and 16 on Protected Areas were discussed at COP11 in Working Group 2. There were no major controversies regarding the substance of the draft decision, but most Parties were concerned about the financial implications of implementation, a topic that became prominent in most discussions at COP11 and that became the pivotal point of negotiation.

The substantive decisions regarding protected areas were as follows. Parties agreed to:

  1. In implementing Targets 11 on protected areas, to ensure linkages with other Aichi Targets, in particular Targets 6 (sustainable management of fish stocks), 10 (stresses on coral reefs) , 12 (halting species loss), 13 (crop wild relatives), 15 (restoration of degraded ecosystems) and 18 (traditional ecological knowledge);
  2. Integrate national action plans for the programme of work on protected areas into updated national biodiversity strategies and action plans;
  3. Improve the focus on marine protected areas;
  4. Meet the entire text of Target 11, specially to ensure that networks comprising both such marine protected areas and terrestrial protected areas are: representative (by completing ecological assessments and implementing the results); inclusive of areas important for biodiversity; managed effectively and equitably; connected and integrated into wider land- and seascapes; and inclusive of diversified types of governance for protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures;
  5. Improve inter-agency and inter-sectoral coordination, especially for mainstreaming protected areas and biodiversity and integrating protected areas into wider land- and seascapes, including using protected areas as natural solutions in ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and for filling policy gaps in this area;
  6. Give due attention to the conservation of wild relatives of cultivated crops and wild edible plants in protected areas and in community conserved areas, in accordance with the Convention on Biological Diversity and national legislation, thereby contributing to achieving food security;

To finance protected areas, parties agrees to align the protected area projects already approved in the fourth, fifth and sixth replenishment periods of the Global Environment Facility, as well those supported by bilateral and other funding sources, with the actions identified in national action plans for the Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA), in order to achieve a holistic impact. Parties also agreed to establish subregional and regional networks of national focal points for the PoWPA to exchange best practices, lessons learned and tools. They also agreed to renew efforts to establish multi-sectoral committees that include representatives of indigenous and local communities in support of the PoWPA, and to continue to conduct assessments aimed to improve the governance of protected areas. To supplement GEF funding, parties were encouraged make use of the CBD LifeWeb Initiative, with the intention of bolstering this initiative.

CBD Parties make specific requests to IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme

IUCN and its partners were front and centre in the COP11 decisions on protected areas. The decision formally recognizes the planned IUCN World Parks Congress (Sydney, 2014). The IUCN , the World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme were all specifically mentioned several times in the decision text, as key to achieving:

  • regional cooperation partnerships and implementation strategies, so as to support the implementation of national action plans for the programme of work, through developing professional capacity, making available tools and best practices, providing advice, and promoting the development of better enabling environments;
  • capacity-building so as to further support implementation of national action plans for the programme of work on protected areas;
  • to continue to develop technical guidance to achieve the full scope of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11.

Parties also requested IUCN to work in partnership in carrying out its work. For example parties invited the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre and IUCN to continue to report progress on targets through the Protected Planet Report, including information on the size of the protected area estate, its representativeness and its effectiveness, and on other elements relevant to Aichi Biodiversity Target 11. There was also a call for voluntary use of the Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas Registry managed by the UNEP-WCMC as part of the World Database on Protected Areas. Other named partners that IUCN was called to coordinate with include the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme, the World Heritage Convention, Birdlife International and organizations of indigenous and local communities. There was specific reference to IUCN’s Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Project (BIOPAMA) supported by the European Union and the Joint Research Centre to develop the analytical tools for the Digital Observatory for Protected Areas.

Parties asked for continuing involvement of the CBD Secretariat, in partnership with IUCN and other relevant organizations, to continue supporting implementation of national action plans for the PoWPA, and progress towards achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 and other related targets. Supporting implementation includes e-learning, workshops for the training of trainers, online courses in different languages, tools and technical guidance on those areas where progress is lacking, such as mainstreaming protected areas and defining other effective area-based conservation measures.

A full slate of protected area side events

The protected areas stream in the negotiations was reinforced by several side events in which IUCN was a lead organizer or participant:

  1. There was a full day on protected areas at the Rio Pavilion jointly organized by IUCN WCPA (Kathy MacKinnon, Deputy Chair) and CBD Life Web; Presentations
  2. A side event on BIOPAMA organized by the BIOPAMA project partners;
  3. A side event organised by the WCPA-SSC Joint Task Force on Biodiversity and Protected Areas, on interpreting Target 11;
  4. IUCN and UNEP-WCMC presented a side event on the Protected Planet Report, that was followed by a UNEP Press Conference, picked up by several international and Indian media, as well as UN-NEWS;
  5. IUCN was involved in the Colloquium arranged by the Executive Secretary on Indigenous and Communities Conserved Territories and Areas, together with the ICCA Consortium, and presented in a Side Event on the Protected Area Governance Assessment Methodology arranged by GIZ.
  6. IUCN through the WCPA Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas was involved in the full day Colloquium on the Green Kumbh Yatra, attended by the Executive Secretary and faith leaders, focussing on Pilgrimages, Sacred Natural Sites and the Spiritual Significance of Biodiversity.
  7. IUCN was invited to present a “TED Talks” style presentation on Aichi Target 11.

In addition, speaker, panelist or chair contributions were made to events arranged by the GEF, UNDP, the European Parliament, and The Nature Conservancy.

One very important side event was the launch of UNDP’s new Biodiversity and Ecosystems Global Framework “The Future We Want”. This framework has 3 flagship programmes, including “unlocking the potential of protected areas”.

All taken, it was an excellent COP for protected areas. Parties seem to be focused on seeing protected areas as solutions to many problems and also seem intent to growing the protected area estate on land and marine systems.

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