Our Work

WCPA is the leading global network of protected and conserved areas experts who provide scientific and technical advice to IUCN members, government agencies, and other stakeholders on protected and conserved areas establishment and management.



WCPA works by helping stakeholders plan protected areas and integrate them into all sectors by:

  • Providing strategic advice to policy makers
  • Strengthening capacity and investment in protected areas
  • Convening the diverse constituency of protected area stakeholders to address challenging issues

For more than 60 years, IUCN and WCPA have been at the forefront of global action on protected areas.

WCPA Members engage in a variety of projects taken on by WCPA, including working in our Regions, Specialist Groups, Task Forces, or our ongoing WCPA Publications. We have also built a Young Professionals network and have Youth forums that aim to support future leaders in this field.

Learn more about our Specialist Groups and Task Forces here

Learn more about our Publications here

Our objectives for 2021–2024 are to:

1. Catalyse and support global efforts to expand and improve systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) that result in successful conservation outcomes and are a critical solution to halting biodiversity loss by 2030;

2. Promote and guide the design and management of protected areas and OECMS to deliver as natural solutions to global challenges, such as climate change, land degradation, food and water security health and well-being;

3. Advocate for management of all lands, freshwater and seas, including polar regions and areas beyond national jurisdiction, that support the conservation of biodiversity and the role of protected areas and OECMs in contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being; SDG 13 Climate Action; SDG 14 Life below Water and SDG 15 Life on Land;

4. Make the case for institutional, public and private investment in ecologically connected and effectively and equitably managed protected area systems, supported by public policy, incentives, and capacity development;

5. Inspire a new generation of conservation leaders, across geographies and cultures to experience and value the wonder of nature through protected areas so that they support and promote the conservation of nature;

6. Recognise and acknowledge the diversity of stakeholders and governance arrangements, which contribute to the success of protected and conserved areas and systems and promote strengthening of such collaboration, as well as the appreciation of associated benefits by larger parts of societies;

7. Use our acknowledged role as a key global knowledge-broker and standard setter for protected and conserved areas to support efforts to improve governance equity, sound management and good ecological design that lead to successful conservation outcomes.

Recent Updates and Highlights (2022): 

  • Co-hosted the 2nd Asia Parks Congress (APC) 2022 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and sponsored nine Young Professionals from Asia to attend the conference. Read the Declaration from that Congress here.
  • Co-hosted the 1st Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda and sponsored 3 Young Professionals from Africa to attend the conference. Read the Call to Action developed from that Congress here.
  • Hosted the Ranger Awards; the 12 recipients included the leader of a team of Chiquitano and Guarani rangers from the Grand Chaco of Bolivia, plus K9 anti-poaching tracking handlers and an all-female ranger team from Zimbabwe, and more. For more information, click here
  • Engaged with the CBD Post 2020 processes through participation in the Open-Ended Working Group meetings in Geneva and Nairobi, with a focus on Draft Target 3 (protecting and conserving 30% of the earth’s surface by 2030)
  • Held the first in-person WCPA Steering Committee Meeting of the quadrennial to discuss key priorities for the Commission.
  • Engaged with the UNFCCC SBSTA 56 conference in Bonn, Germany

WCPA Members will receive more detailed updates on the Commission's work through our new Bulletin. Learn more about how to become an IUCN Commission Member.