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By Nigel Dudley
The Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA) was agreed in 2004 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and reaffirmed with additional elements in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. PoWPA aims to encourage parties to the CBD to develop and manage ecologically representative networks of protected areas on land and sea. Unusually for the CBD, it contains many (over 90) specific actions for countries or others to take, with deadlines. It includes many social safeguards and promotes a range of management approaches and governance types within protected areas.
The PoWPA is agreed to have been one of the most successful parts of the CBD, although many target deadlines have not been met and in consequence been extended. IUCN played a key role in determining PoWPA, through the Durban Action Plan emerging from the Vth World Parks Congress in 2003, which closely mirrors the final PoWPA. IUCN is named several times in the Programme, and requested to carry out specifications, and was also closely involved in the PoWPA revision in 2009, including organising a major international workshop to discuss options in Jeju Island, Republic of Korea.
The Programme lays emphasis on the role of transboundary conservation: Goal 1.3 requests Parties: “To establish and strengthen regional networks, transboundary protected areas (TBPAs) and collaboration between neighbouring protected areas across national boundaries”. The associated target is to “Establish and strengthen by 2010/2012 transboundary protected areas, other forms of collaboration between neighbouring protected areas across national boundaries and regional networks, to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, implementing the ecosystem approach, and improving international cooperation”. This deadline will be extended. Actions suggested include collaboration to establish regional networks of protected areas, particularly in barrier reef systems, large scale river basins, mountains, large forest areas and critical habitat for endangered species; collaboration through the United Nations Informal Consultative Process on the Law of the Sea to establish and manage marine protected areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction; establishment of new TBPAs where appropriate and more generally collaboration across national borders with respect to protected areas. The CBD Executive Secretary is also requested to compile and disseminate information relating to transboundary protected areas.
This emphasis is likely to remain during the second phase of PoWPA, starting in 2010. One of the targets in the new CBD strategic plan is: “By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water, and 10% of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascapes.”