Since the late 1970s the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has delivered services that support implementation of international biodiversity-related agreements at global, regional and national levels. These services not only support the work of the agreement secretariats, but also of the advisory and governance bodies, and of governments party to the various agreements. The aim of this paper is to illustrate this work through examples of work we have undertaken.
The support that UNEP-WCMC provides is based on expert understanding of the agreements and how they work, resulting from many years of experience and close relationships with secretariats.Resource Type: Reports
Marine conservation lags behind terrestrial in the establishment of protected areas. This was recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity, whose members, in 2004, agreed to establish “comprehensive, effectively managed, and ecologically representative” systems of marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2012. Halfway toward this target date, we look at the coverage of the world’s 5045 MPAs from a biogeographic perspective.Resource Type: Journal Papers
In order to build on the momentum created by the 2010 target of the Convention on Biological Diversity, we propose a shift away from a large set of static targets towards a smaller number of specific targets. Specifically, we present three categories of targets (red, green and blue) with examples of each. These relate respectively to (1) those biodiversity outcomes that must be avoided to avert situations that are deleterious for people, (2) the highly valued biodiversity conservation priorities, and (3) an improved scientific understanding necessary for adaptive management now and into the future.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Aquilaria spp. are the main source of gaharu, one of the most valuable non-timber products harvested from tropical forests. In order to assess the impact of gaharu harvesting on populations of Aquilaria spp. in Indonesia, the activities of gaharu collectors were assessed by accompanying them on collecting expeditions.
Given current harvesting practices, it is unlikely that gaharu is being sustainably harvested at present. The results suggest that the gaharu trade may have had a substantial impact on the population size of Aquilaria spp. in Indonesia, and their implications are discussed in the context of setting harvest quotas for regulation of trade, as required by CITES.Resource Type: Journal Papers
In 2008 UNEP-WCMC produced a report with a consortium of Chinese and international partners on research needs for reducing poverty through better ecosystem management in China. This work was for DFID, NERC and ESRC of the UK government, as a contribution to their design of a proposed international research programme on ecosystem services for poverty alleviation (www.nerc.ac.uk/research/programmes/espa/) The China ESPA report identified that China’s great progress in poverty reduction has slowed, as the remaining poor tend to be found in environments of low productivity or high risk of ecosystem degradation, such as mountains, grasslands and deserts. The government of China is investing heavily in poverty reduction and environmental management, with opportunities for improving the synergies between these activities. Research needs include better understanding of ecosystem functioning for multiple services, and development of methods to analyse policies and projects for both poverty reduction and supply of ecosystem services.Resource Type: Reports
Biologists view Protected Areas (PAs) as natural areas established and managed primarily for the conservation of nature. However, many early Pas were established for aesthetic or socio-economic reasons and received little scientific input to their design. More recently, scientists have identified gaps in PA networks and various contemporary PAs have been established to provide for habitats and species in need of protection.
Scientists have also modelled minimum areas and population sizes that should be protected to prevent extinctions arising from demographic or chance causes. However, these theoretical ideals are difficult to put into practice, particularly as PAs increasingly face more immediate external threats. If scientists are to influence future PA design, and if PAs are to succeed in the long term, these concepts must be applied in practice. Therefore, sufficient protection must be integrated with human needs and aspirations in the design of future protected areas.
This paper reviews the current global extent of protected areas in terms of geopolitical and habitat coverage, and considers their value as a global indicator of conservation action or response. The paper discusses the role of the World Database on Protected Areas and collection and quality control issues, and identifies areas for improvement, including how conservation effectiveness indicators may be included in the database to improve the value of protected areas data as an indicator for meeting global biodiversity targets.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 was adopted at the 10th Conference of the Parties in Nagoya, Japan. The plan outlines 20 Aichi Targets to achieve global biodiversity conservation. A fundamental global approach to biodiversity conservation is the use of protected areas. Arguably all 20 Aichi Targets have implications for the establishment and management of protected areas, but only Target 11 addresses them directly. This paper carries out a clause by clause analysis of Target 11 and makes recommendations to countries on interpreting each clause in order to best achieve biodiversity conservation using protected areas. Despite containing only 61 words, Target 11 is surprisingly dense. It applies to both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and sets goals for spatial planning (representativeness, ecological connectivity and areas of importance for biodiversity); protected areas management (including management effectiveness and social equity); and criteria about what counts toward being a protected area under Target 11. The authors argue for a holistic interpretation of Target 11 as a way for the global community to use protected areas to change the current unacceptable trends in global biodiversity loss.Resource Type: Journal Papers
A European Study on protected area management effectiveness assessments was carried out between May 2009 and March 2010, to provide an overview of existing studies, evaluation methods and results. This study was initiated in response to the Global Study’s insufficient coverage of the European sub-region, and as protected area governance in Europe has distinct characteristics that justified a separate analysis. The study was led by the Universities of Greifswald and Queensland, in partnership with UNEP-WCMC, EUROPARC Federation and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).Resource Type: Reports
The Global Study into management effectiveness evaluation was conducted between late 2005 and 2010. In cooperation with many people across the world, it aimed to strengthen the management of protected areas by compiling the existing work on management effectiveness evaluation, reviewing methodologies, finding patterns and common themes in evaluation results, and investigating the most important factors leading to effective management.Resource Type: Reports
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