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New IUCN WCPA Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines on transboundary conservation now available online. Read the news here and download the Guidelines here.


TRANSBOUNDARY CONSERVATION >> Definitions
Defining transboundary conservation

Although transboundary conservation areas (TBCAs) have existed for some time, there has been little attempt to standardize the terminology until the late 20th century and beginning of the 21st century. Terms such as ‘transfrontier protected areas’, ‘transboundary natural resource management areas’, ‘peace parks’, ‘parks for peace’, ‘transfrontier conservation areas’, have been used interchangeably, leading to often confusing results.

Throughout the recent decades, IUCN has led the way in gathering experts with a specific aim to define terminology on the subject of transboundary conservation. Based on the outcomes of the workshops in Bormio, Italy in 1997, and Gland, Switzerland in 2000, IUCN published a landmark guideline titled ‘Transboundary Protected Areas for Peace and Co-operation’ in 2001, in which it proposed definitions of a Transboundary Protected Area (TBPA) and a Park for Peace. As the transboundary conservation initiatives worldwide have been evolving in their complexity and methods of implementation, further meetings were organised to sharpen the terminology. In 2003, IUCN and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) partnered to convene experts in Thailand at the ‘International Workshop on Increasing the Effectiveness of Transboundary Conservation in Tropical forests’. Proposals to extend the terminology were made at this workshop, followed by further debates during a meeting on the island of La Maddalena (Italy) in 2004. The results of this discussion were published two years later, in 2006, in IUCN’s publication ‘Managing Protected Areas: A global guide’. However, these definitions have not stood the test of time. IUCN updated its definition of a protected area in 2008, making the need for updates of definitions of types of transboundary conservation areas. Also, the focus on sub-national boundaries was found to be unhelpful.

In 2015, IUCN WCPA proposed a revised typology of transboundary conservation areas in ‘Transboundary Conservation: A systematic and integrated approach’ (Vasilijević et al., 2015), consisting of: Transboundary Protected Area, Transboundary Conservation Landscape and/or Seascape, Transboundary Conservation Migration Area, and a special designation that can apply to the three types - Park for Peace.