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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parks Stewardship Forum

UC Berkeley

Strengthening the global system of protected areas post-2020: A perspective from the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas


Protected areas are the cornerstones of biodiversity conservation and have never been more relevant than at the present time when the world is facing both a biodiversity and a climate change crisis. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) has been helping to set global standards and best practice guidelines in protected area planning and management for 60 years. Following this guidance, many countries have made significant progress toward their Aichi Target 11 commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The global community will be coming together at the 15th Conference of the Parties of the CBD to set new biodiversity conservation targets for the next decade, as milestones to 2050 and a vision of “a world living in harmony with nature.” This paper lays out the WCPA perspective on priorities for supporting effective protected and conserved areas for the post-2020 era.

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