The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is a vital component of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), being one of the seven Commissions of voluntary individual specialists appointed for their expertise and their willingness to contribute that expertise to global conservation goals.

WCPA Mission
To develop and provide scientific, technical and policy advice and advocate for global and
national systems of marine, freshwater and terrestrial protected areas and other effective
area-based conservation measures (OECMs) that result in successful outcomes for the
conservation of biodiversity, based on principles of sound design, good management, and
equitable governance.

The IUCN Statutes make provision for the election and appointment of a Commission Chair at each IUCN
World Conservation Congress. The Commission Chair is a member of the IUCN Council. The Chair is
responsible for selecting a Deputy Chair, and for establishing a Steering Committee of members who are
approved by the IUCN Council. Worldwide, WCPA is organized by regions with each region represented
by a Regional Vice Chair. WCPA also has nine Thematic Vice Chairs leading on topics of particular
concern for the commission. See our Steering Committee here.

WCPA regional membership is based on the member’s country of residence. This is the case even when
a member’s expertise may be principally directed to a specific area of expertise. You can find a list of
regions and their component countries, as well as Regional Vice Chair contact details here.

Themes are larger groups of members working on key directions set up by the WCPA Steering
Committee. To contribute to any theme please contact the Thematic Vice Chair. Further information
about WCPA’s themes can be found here.