Changing the way we look at protected areas

28 September 2012 | News story

Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich is the new Chair of IUCN WCPA  

Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich, who has been elected as new Chair of WCPA at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, is a Professor and Dean for Sustainability at Monterrey Tech, Mexico. He is a well-known Mexican conservationist, environmentalist and researcher, specialized in parrots‘ ecology, biodiversity stewardship and policy. Recipient of several awards including a Packard and a Miller, Ernesto has worked for civil society organizations since his youth and co-founded Amigos de la Naturaleza and Pronatura Noreste before joining the National Commission on Protected Areas (CONANP) of Mexicoby presidential appointment. During his tenure, Mexico increased its protected area coverage by almost 50% adding over 8 million hectares in different protected area categories. CONANP tripled its field staff, incorporated 26 new sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and received recognition for over 125 wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Additionally, Mexico incorporated Islands and Protected Areas of the Sea of Cortez (2005) and Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries (2009) as natural sites under the World Heritage Convention.

A man of many talents, Ernesto is innovative with a modern collaborative, multicultural and interdisciplinary approach to leadership. He has refreshing ideas on how to work better with indigenous and rural communities and a solid base of traditional and scientific knowledge to lead, follow or adapt to new situations.


Ernesto’s vision for WCPA

Building on past success and innovations, Ernesto wants WCPA to do more, faster, better and larger and to reaffirm its role in assisting IUCN members and governments so protected areas truly become "hope spots" for sustainability. His vision is to move away from the “doom and gloom” to pride and pragmatism, well reflected through the projected "Green List of protected areas". In Ernesto’s view, WCPA should also ensure that the message that, while protected areas continue to be the most cost effective, efficient and reliable tool for biodiversity conservation, they are not by themselves sufficient to stem biodiversity loss. WCPA with the five other Commission and our dedicated IUCN staff need to position protected areas as providers of ecosystem services and as a significant component and contributor to other societal values. In his words: "It is not only about conservation but about the future of life and the quality of life."

He is also planning to bring additional recognition to indigenous and rural communities governance types as key to the future of conservation. Under his leadership, protected area managers and staff will continue to be at the centre of WCPA efforts with an enhanced agenda for capacity building. WCPA’s membership will be diversified, expanded and better integrated with more members, expert members and secretariat from all over the world to enable improvements in law, governance, capacity building, institutional reform, economic valuation, effectiveness evaluation and conflict resolution.

Ernesto, as WCPA Chair, will catalyze all actions based on the mandate approved at the IUCN Congress in Jeju. In particular, setting the stage for the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia in 2014 will be a major focus of WCPA’s activities. Results must begin right away and go beyond espescially contributing to the AICHI Targets.