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Perspectives on area-based conservation and the post-2020 framework

17 April 2020
Monteverde  Costa Rica Isabella Juskova 258910 (1)

Photo: Isabella Juskova

A new paper published this week helps to further inform the debate on the role of area-based conservation in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. 

As work to develop the framework proceeds, there is a lively international discussion about what role area-based conservation can play. This paper gives key insights into the four broad perspectives in this debate.

The paper, ‘Perspectives on area-based conservation and what it means for the post-2020 biodiversity policy agenda’ is published in Conservation Biology and is co-authored by scientists from the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), The Natural History Museum, University of Copenhagen (CMEC) and Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL).  

It is anticipated that the next Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will agree on a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, a new plan for nature with associated targets for the next ten years.  The conference, originally scheduled for October 2020, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, work on developing the framework continues apace and decision-makers are encountering a range of perspectives on the role area-based conservation can play in protecting biodiversity. 

Area-based conservation encompasses geographically defined areas that are designated or regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives, including protected areas. Such measures are effective in reducing habitat loss, maintaining species population, and helping to provide a healthy environment for people.

Yet, there are differing views on their role in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and how these approaches should be reflected. In order to further debate and facilitate understanding, this paper summarises various views on area-based conservation under four broad perspectives:

The authors are clear that the four perspectives are not mutually exclusive, and that all have components that can contribute to the development and future implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. However, understanding the perspectives, their commonalities, differences and implications can help to inform discussion and encourage Parties to pursue an ambitious global commitment.

Dr Nina Bhola, Senior Programme Officer, UNEP-WCMC, says: "The next ten years will be key to tackling the global nature crisis, and the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is essential to achieving that challenge. I hope that this paper fosters a greater understanding of different perspectives on area-based conservation as well as helping to further inform the debate in developing future targets."

Read the full paper here (DOI:10.1111/cobi.13509)