Global conservation platform awarded $5m in new funding

Major new funding will support an ongoing initiative to provide critical data and knowledge to raise global ambition and accelerate action on the coverage, connectedness, effective management and equitable governance of protected and conserved areas around the world.

The Protected Planet initiative will be supported by a USD 5m grant by Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin – to deliver a step-change in the way global progress on protected and conserved areas is mapped, monitored and shared, to support progress towards new ambitious conservation targets due to be agreed later this year.

Protected Planet is a joint initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Union for Conservation of Nature that combines databases on formally protected areas, as well as information on the location and contribution of other notable conservation areas.

It is managed by the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), working with a host of global stakeholders, data providers and users, including governments, non-governmental organisations, indigenous peoples and local communities, academia and industry.

Protected Planet is a collaborative open-access platform updated with the best-available data at national and global scales. Building on its 40 years of development, Protected Planet provides a global commons of area-based conservation knowledge and information at local, national and global levels and enables the tracking of progress towards international biodiversity targets.

As well as the knowledge platform itself, the initiative produces authoritative biennial reports on the global status of protected and conserved areas. Protected Planet provides transparency on the actions taken by governments to implement global conservation commitments.

Protected Planet provided the definitive report on progress towards Aichi Target 11 – the global 10-year target on protected areas, which included the aim of protecting at least 17% of land and inland waters and 10% of the marine environment by 2020.

The 2020 Protected Planet Report, released last year, revealed that while the international community met targets on terrestrial coverage, it fell far short on commitments on the quality of these areas, and called for urgent action to improve effective management, equity and the recognition of the extensive contribution of territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities, which are substantially under-valued and under-reported globally.

The Arcadia donation will go directly towards improving reporting input and accuracy across the Protected Planet stakeholder community, as well as enabling crucial indicators to be developed to improve understanding of the effectiveness of protected and conserved areas.

WCMC Chief Executive Officer Jonny Hughes said: “Protected and conserved areas are absolutely critical to securing a positive future for nature across the world. The Protected Planet initiative provides regular updates to maps and status assessments of these areas.

“With this vital and timely support from Arcadia, UNEP-WCMC will be able to ensure the most accurate data on protected and conserved areas is available to all, providing transparency on actions to achieve updated global biodiversity targets.”

The next UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP15), due to take place in Kunming, China later this year is expected to agree on new global targets to expand protected and conserved areas to cover 30% of the planet, and improve their effectiveness, by 2030 (the so-called “30 by 30” ambition).

As with previous target monitoring, Protected Planet will be the authoritative monitoring mechanism of international progress against this ambition.

Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, founders of Arcadia, added: “The clock is ticking and it is vital that humanity takes the most effective action we can to safeguard biodiversity. The Protected Planet initiative exists to make sure we have the best possible data to track our progress.

“We are delighted to be able to support its mission to provide insight and drive efforts to protect nature.”

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