Delegates to the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) met in morning Plenary to hear keynote presentations and a panel discussion on "Benefits beyond Boundaries." Two afternoon symposia were held to address "Benefits to People" and "Managing with Change." Numerous side meetings and special events on, inter alia, the UN List of Protected Areas, the Biosafety Protocol, and the sacred dimension of protected areas (PAs) were held throughout the day.
PLENARY: BENEFITS BEYOND BOUNDARIES
KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS: Abdulaziz Abuzinada, Saudi Arabia National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, chaired the session. David Sheppard, WPC Secretary General, introduced the WPC process and aims, its organisation and key outputs. He recommended participants focus on issues of concern, including marine PAs and the role of indigenous communities, and expressed hope that the Congress’ outputs would influence other processes.
Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Society, presented a video on the challenges posed by global change at the local level, highlighting that community conservation initiatives can be used as models. The video described a project on studying the effects of global warming on native plants in the South African Karoo desert, and small scale community action to address drought in Rajasthan.
Drawing on key aspects of the Caracas Fourth World Congress on National Parks and PAs, Angela Cropper, IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, evaluated progress made. She recalled the appeal for a comprehensive approach to PA management to support sustainable development and conservation. While stressing progress achieved in PAs’ establishment, biomes representation and PAs’ integration into wider planning frameworks, she called for effective implementation, increased financial support, and increased protection of marine, freshwater and dryland ecosystems.
Kenton Miller, Chair of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), emphasized the need to manage PAs cooperatively. He said managers should use science and traditional knowledge to maximize PAs’ value, and identified the need for new financial mechanisms and knowledge distribution networks. Miller recommended using marketing to raise political, financial and citizen awareness regarding PAs and suggested that voluntary management standards be adopted.
UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer presented on the state of the world’s PAs. He said that although the total PAs surface area has doubled in the last decade, some geographical categories, notably oceans and lake systems, are still largely under-represented. Underlining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) regarding eradicating extreme poverty and ensuring environmental sustainability, he called for quantitative targets and timetables.
Bob Scholes, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), presented a progress report on the MA, focusing on the Southern African MA and the links between biodiversity and human well being. He explained that biodiversity is a necessary condition for ecosystem services rather than an ecosystem service in itself. He presented two scenarios on biodiversity’s future, possible responses and a list of preliminary findings for Southern Africa. He said that ecotourism is a quantifiable index of biodiversity’s economic value.
Russel Mittermeier, President of Conservation International, stressed the need for: taking a strategic approach to PAs’ creation, with a focus on hotspots, and high biodiversity and wilderness areas; expanding marine and freshwater PA networks; demonstrating PAs’ social and economic values; building sustainable economies around PAs; recognizing ecosystem services provided by PAs; and partnering with indigenous people.
HM Queen Noor of Jordan, IUCN and Congress Patron, warned that the future of PAs is uncertain due to physical, social and political change. Noting the need to move beyond organizational and national boundaries, she asked participants to focus on: promoting PAs as vital for biodiversity and sustainable development; recognizing their true value; increasing financial support and stakeholder involvement; and strengthening PA management.
PANEL DISCUSSION: Moderator Vuyo Mbuli (South Africa) urged panelists to focus on how to optimize the benefits from PAs, and presented a video on future challenges and scenarios for PA management. On behalf of Sayyaad Soltani (Iran), Aghagia Rahimzadeh described the traditional and sustainable livelihood of her pastoral nomadic community. She spoke of how their pastures have been seized and degraded and their migration routes obstructed, and emphasized the benefits to conservationists from cooperating with indigenous peoples. She urged participants to help building capacity and preserving cultural heritage.
Stressing the importance of conservation beyond PAs, Andre van der Zande, Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, introduced the concept of ecological networks, which connect PAs through corridors and stepping stones, and are surrounded by multi-use land. Ernesto Hoeflich, President of Mexico’s National Commission on Protected Areas, called for enhanced recognition of PAs’ benefits. He suggested using a percentage of PA revenues for conservation purposes. John Makombo, Bwindi/Mgahinga Conservation Area, Uganda, advocated stakeholder partnerships and the empowerment of local communities to generate sustainable revenue from PAs. Esterine Lisinge Fotabong, WWF, cautioned against the concept of PAs as biological islands, which could result in local people losing rights and control over their resources.
SYMPOSIUM: BENEFITS TO PEOPLE
Hamid Zakri, Director of the UN University, chaired the symposium on Benefits to People. Ian Johnson, World Bank Vice President, said that the current system of financial valuation fails to capture all biodiversity benefits. He advocated the valuation of ecological services and the recognition of direct benefits, such as employment generation and amenity exploitation. Regarding the governance frameworks for PAs, he emphasized the need for: reducing corruption; integrating conservation into other policy areas; increasing transparency; and strengthening political commitment.
Carlos Rodriguez, Costa Rica’s Minister for Environment and Energy, noted that, besides their intrinsic value, PAs in Costa Rica provide important economic services, including water for consumption and energy generation, and ecotourism. He stressed the need for education and for market mechanisms to fund conservation. Emeka Anyaoku, WWF International President, emphasized that PAs are crucial to Africa’s future. He noted that resources in Africa are decreasing rapidly due to escalating poverty, illness and conflict.
Speaking on behalf of Eduardo Braga, Governor of the State of Amazonas, Brazil, Virgilio Viana spoke of PA management in a context where the majority of the population live in urban areas, and called for funding to establish and manage PAs in developing countries.
Eulalie Bashige, Director General of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature, spoke about the effects of armed conflicts on PAs, including deforestation, poaching and assaults on park rangers. She emphasized the need for sustained funding to secure employees and provide equipment for park management during periods of conflict.
Hamdallah Zedan, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), identified challenges, including: involving local people in PA management; evaluating PAs’ effectiveness; integrating PAs in the broader land- and seascape planning process; creating markets for ecosystem and PAs’ products and services; and providing financing for PAs. He stressed that PAs can be tools for achieving the CBD objectives, the MDGs and the WSSD targets.
Irene van Lippe-Biesterfeld, Princess of the Netherlands, highlighted the need to restore humans’ relationship with nature, noting that PAs can help achieve this. Denise Hamú, Chair of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication, introduced a video on communication and education instruments related to PA management.
During the panel discussion moderated by Peter Bridgewater, Ramsar Convention Secretary General, María de la Torre, indigenous representative, said indigenous peoples are no longer excluded. Thomas Lovejoy, President of The Heinz Center, stressed the need to consider PAs’ benefits at all levels. Rili Djohani, The Nature Conservancy, highlighted the difficulty of advocating long-term benefits from PAs in front of immediate needs, and of managing the expectations of people living in and around PAs. Alan Latourelle, Parks Canada Agency, emphasized the need to engage all communities in PA management to develop a common ecological and social vision. Aroha Te Pareake Mead, indigenous representative, stated that the misplacement and cultural alienation of indigenous peoples are the legacy of PAs created without the consent of local people. She noted that benefits are minimal when indigenous communities do not manage licensing and concessions in PAs.
SYMPOSIUM: MANAGING WITH CHANGE
Claude Martin, WWF Director General, presented on the effects of climate change on PAs. Stressing the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to implement damage control plans, he called for: a switch from coal to clean power; energy efficiency measures; adequate resource transfer; and a broader scientific knowledge base. Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank, said key drivers of change include demographic and urban transition, income growth and globalization, and emphasized the need for ecological, social and financial sustainability. She advocated: mainstreaming PAs into development projects; ensuring community participation in management; branding biodiversity for business benefits; and paying for ecological services.
Cristián Samper, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, described how PA management is affected by social, economic and climatic changes on various spatial and temporal scales. He said successful PA management requires the empowerment of local communities, improved access to new markets, and a reduction in armed conflicts.
Kheng-Lian Koh, National University of Singapore, presented the history of environmental cooperation among Asian countries. Highlighting the Agreement on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, she outlined nature conservation programmes, soft law instruments, and related ministerial and working group meetings.
Marija Zupancic-Vicar, WCPA, explained how the move to market-driven economies and private ownership affected PAs in Central and Eastern Europe. She noted the integrity of PAs was maintained in most countries, and stressed the following challenges: compensating owners for land loss; enforcing legislation; addressing conflicts over resources; and establishing management plans and partnerships.
Steven McCormick, President of The Nature Conservancy, described an integrated vision of PAs, and called for an ecosystem approach that incorporates both ecological and economic needs.
Julia Carabias, Ministry of Environment of Mexico, outlined the standards necessary for achieving the 2010 target to significantly reduce biodiversity loss, including: raising PAs as a strategic priority; establishing specialized management institutions; adopting a financial strategy; promoting stakeholder participation; and developing communication, education and public awareness raising strategies. Adrian Phillips, IUCN/WCPA, stressed the benefits of the IUCN PA categorization, noting that although the system is widely supported, understanding of it is still limited. He highlighted the need to integrate excluded groups, and to address technical questions.
John Turner, US Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, supported the protection of natural areas for their intrinsic value and for future generations. He outlined positive conservation principles, including: protection beyond PAs’ boundaries; science-based decision making; partnership building; public participation; and good governance.
Jeffrey McNeely, IUCN Chief Scientist, moderated the panel discussion. Juan Gambarotta, Vice President of the International Ranger Federation, called for increased recognition of the dangers facing rangers. Ton van der Zon, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called for wider PA networks, good governance, addressing corruption and illegal resource use, poverty alleviation strategies, and access and benefit sharing. Graeme Kelleher, WCPA, stressed the need for a zoning process and integrated ecosystem management. Ratu Osea Gavidi, President of the Fiji Tourism Resource Owners Association, noted the link between development and nature conservation, and called for partnerships.
Participants raised questions regarding, inter alia, the role of PAs in protecting freshwater ecosystems, the legal implications of zoning the Earth as a PA, and the involvement of recreational and user groups in PAs.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
SYMPOSIA: At 9:00 am, Symposium C on “Community and Parks” will convene in the Main Hall. Symposium D on “Working at Scale” will be held in Hall 3A.
PLENARY: Plenary will meet at 2:00 pm in the Main Hall to hear a briefing on the workshop streams and cross-cutting themes.
RECOMMENDATIONS: WPC participants are reminded that all recommendations should be discussed and adopted during workshop sessions.
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