Protected Area Indicators

Wildlife Protected Area © Nic McPhee

Protected area indicators measure policy response to biodiversity loss. An increase in protected area extent and improvements in the management of protected areas indicate enhanced efforts to protect land and sea areas that can provide multiple benefits for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is used to report progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), specifically Goal 7, which aims at ensuring environmental sustainability. One of the indicators used to measure progress towards this goal is the proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected. For this, UNEP-WCMC carries out an updated analysis of protected area coverage at the beginning of each year, using the latest version of the WDPA available. The results of this analysis are published in the annual MDG report, its statistical annex, on the MDG Indicators webpage and on the WDPA Statistics webpage.

The WDPA is also used to report progress towards the 2010 Biodiversity Target of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and subsidiary targets set by the CBD and its Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA). These targets include protecting at least 10% of each of the world’s ecological regions, protecting areas of particular importance to biodiversity, and evaluating the management effectiveness of at least 30% of each Party’s protected areas. UNEP-WCMC carries out corresponding analyses in cooperation with a wide range of partners. The results of these analyses are being published in peer reviewed papers, technical reports and in the Global Biodiversity Outlook.

All the above analyses underpin the protected area indicators that form part of the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (2010 BIP). This global Partnership is a CBD-mandated initiative bringing together a suite of biodiversity indicators, allowing for a more comprehensive and consistent monitoring and assessment of global biodiversity, with a view to measuring progress towards the CBD's target to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. For more information on biodiversity indicators visit the 2010 BIP Indicators webpage. The following factsheets contain information on the three protected area indicators that are currently included in the 2010 BIP suite of indicators.