The World Protected Areas Leaders Forum (WPALF) is a network for sharing knowledge and solutions for protected area systems. WPALF offers a unique space for the leaders of protected areas agencies to discuss priority issues, driving global conversations and shaping the future of protected and conserved areas.


Participation in WPALF is by invitation and serves as an important networking opportunity and peer-to-peer exchange mechanism for global leaders, most often at the Executive Director level. WPALF is actively working to expand the geographic diversity and reach of the forum. 

Established in 1999 in partnership with IUCN, WCPA, and in collaboration with various international protected areas agencies, WPALF organizes an annual event hosted by one of its member agencies. The most recent WPALF event was hosted by the Nature Conservation Agency of Czechia and the Administration of the Krkonoše Mountains National Park from 26-30 June 2023. 

Participants at the 2023 WPALF in Czechia

The objectives of WPALF are to: 

  • Provide a knowledge exchange forum for protected areas leaders to learn from the experiences of their international peers and counterparts;
  • Allow opportunities for the heads of protected areas agencies to discuss topics and concerns of mutual interest; 
  • Identify emerging issues and trends in protected areas management; 
  • Discuss and strategise opportunities for protected areas agencies to contribute to the global conservation agenda, including through IUCN fora, CBD and UNFCCC events and meetings; and to 
  • Enhance and expand professional networks.


The mission of WPALF is to promote dialogue and exchange of experiences amongst the principal global agencies overseeing protected areas, and to explore ways, through leadership, to improve the effectiveness of these protected areas.

WPALF Membership 

WPALF is open to all leaders of area-based conservation authorities and agencies. It is a semiformal network convened annually by a host country, with support of IUCN and WCPA. The host and organiser is agreed on a yearly basis and commits to develop and convene the next WPALF forum. 

WPALF Events

2024: Finland, July 1-6, 2024

2023: Krkonoše Mountains National Park and Jizera Mountains Protected Landscape, Czechia,

26-30 June, 2023. Read the Report here. (Embed) https://iucn.org/sites/default/files/2023-08/krkonose-jizera-wpalf-report_compressed_0.pdf 

And watch the summary video here: (Embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZh7p4keueI&ab_channel=AOPK%C4%8CR 

2020-2022: Online (due to COVID-19 Pandemic)

2019: Wilson’s Promontory National Park, Victoria, Australia, 25-29 March, 2019.
Embed this Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQdMvsiDuZE&ab_channel=ParksVictoria