Sep 10

In the second blog of this series, we find out more about the latest news coming out of the IUCN World Conservation Congress on Jeju Island, South Korea, where more than 8,000 people from around 170 countries have gathered.

Coral reef image

Coral reef

New guidance on MPAs

Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs, are being given a new lease of life, as IUCN releases ‘Guidelines for Applying the IUCN Protected Area Management Categories to Marine Protected Areas’. This new guidance comes in the wake of increasing concern surrounding the state of natural resources and the degradation of the world’s oceans, and aims to clarify what is most significant and of highest priority when it comes to MPAs.

It is time to stop pretending more of the ocean is protected than it actually is. Understanding what is protected in the ocean and how it is protected is of paramount importance in driving global conservation efforts forward,” said Dan Laffoley, Marine Vice-Chair of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas. The guidance we are issuing aims to make clear the most important aspects of marine protected areas and will help countries more accurately detail their successes. Without this information it is difficult to hold the process of determining marine protected areas accountable.


More information:


Jeju Opening Ceremony

World Conservation Congress Opening Ceremony

IUCN Green List of Protected Areas

Following in the footsteps of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species comes the IUCN Green List of Well-Managed Protected Areas. Preparations are gathering pace on this exciting new initiative prior to its official launch in 2014 at the next IUCN World Parks Congress in Australia.

The IUCN Green List will celebrate protected area successes, with those wishing to be included on the list having to meet certain criteria, including achieving effective management and meeting their conservation goals. Inclusion on the IUCN Green List will provide protected areas with greater international recognition and increased political support, as well as an elevated interest in quality tourism.

The IUCN Green List will make a valuable contribution to the more effective conservation of protected areas,” said Trevor Sandwith, Director of IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme, which is overseeing the initiative in partnership with the World Commission on Protected Areas. “The Green List will serve as a powerful motivator, inspiring protected areas to meet the standards and be shining examples of global best practice.


More information:

  • Read the full press release here


World Leaders' Dialogue Jeju

World Leaders’ Dialogue, Jeju, South Korea

Boosting nature’s hotspots

A unique partnership between IUCN, the European Commission, and the German Development Programme (GIZ) has led to the creation of an exciting new venture: the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA).

BIOPAMA has been created to develop conservation capacity in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. These are areas of rich natural and human diversity which house 11 of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots and at least 220 different indigenous groups; however, a current lack of information and effective management has placed the sustainable use of these regions’ natural resources under threat. BIOPAMA is set to address this challenge by providing skills, tools, training and information to conservation managers, policy makers and indigenous and local communities, enabling protected areas in these countries to be more effectively managed.

Better conserving and valuing our biodiversity can help reduce poverty and provide benefits for local and national development,” said Grethel Aguilar, Director of the IUCN Regional Office in Mesoamerica, which will be helping to implement BIOPAMA’s Caribbean efforts. “BIOPAMA will, for example, help provide protected area managers and conservation staff in the Caribbean with the skills, knowledge and networks they need to conserve biodiversity, in turn benefiting the region’s diverse communities.


More information:

  • Read the full press release here
Sand dune image

Sand dunes

Moving forward with the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems

Modelled on the influential IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the new IUCN Red List of Ecosystems aims to assess the status of a variety of ecosystems worldwide, from coral reefs to rainforests and deserts. This new initiative will identify the threats to these vital natural areas, and the potential impacts the threats have on both ecosystems and human wellbeing.

Much like its species counterpart, the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems will use an internationally accepted set of criteria to determine if an ecosystem is vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. It is hoped that this assessment standard will enable the Ecosystem Red List to help guide conservation action on the ground, as well as influence the policy process of international conventions.

Natural environments are under increasing pressure from unsustainable use and other threats,” said Jon Paul Rodriguez, Leader of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management’s Ecosystems Red List Thematic Group. “Functional ecosystems are essential to our livelihoods and wellbeing. We will assess the status of marine, terrestrial, freshwater and subterranean ecosystems at local, regional and global levels. This, in turn, will help inform on the link between such systems and the livelihoods of those who depend on them. The assessment can then form the basis for concerted implementation action, so that we can manage them sustainably if their risk of collapse is low, or restore them if they are threatened and then monitor their recovery.


More information:


Check back soon for more exciting news and outcomes from the World Conservation Congress!


Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Species Text Author