Strong core of leaders selected for IUCN World Parks Congress

A strong core of leaders has been decided for the main programme streams at the IUCN World Parks Congress, to be held in Sydney, Australia in November 2014. Held under the theme ‘Parks, People, Planet: Inspiring Solutions’, the Congress will help set the agenda for protected areas for the next ten years.

“For over fifty years, the IUCN World Parks Congresses have been the driving force behind conserving some of the world’s most unique and inspiring natural places for the benefit of humanity," said IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre, announcing the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress stream leaders. "IUCN is delighted to have a strong show of leadership from governments, businesses, youth, indigenous peoples and the international community who will continue to mobilize global attention and action in support of our global protected areas estate.”

The Congress and its eight streams will be vital in positioning parks and protected areas firmly within the broader goals of economic and community well-being. They will bring together business, youth, indigenous people and others from outside traditional conservation circles to work together on future conservation priorities and generate breakthrough solutions, commitment and action.

“We want to emphasize hope,” said Marc Hockings, Vice-Chair (Science and Management) of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), and Professor of Environmental Management at University of Queensland in Australia, in regards to the Reaching Conservation Goals stream, which he will assist in leading. “We will examine the progress with protected areas and their contribution to conserving biodiversity and contributing towards sustainable development across the world. The stream will profile those countries, peoples, places and organizations that are leading the way to conservation success, while also examining the significant challenges facing protected areas and exploring ways to successfully meet these challenges.”

The Congress streams and institutional leaders selected are as follows:

  1. Reaching Conservation Goals – led by the World Commission on Protected Areas, the Species Survival Commission, the Zoological Society of London, and the United Nations Environment Programme
  2. Responding to Climate Change – led by the United States National Park Service, the Mexican National Commission for Protected Areas (CONANP) and Australia’s Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)
  3. Improving Health and Wellbeing – led by Parks Victoria (Australia) and the United States National Park Service
  4. Supporting Human Life – led by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Ministry of Environment-Japan and the World Commission on Protected Areas
  5. Reconciling Development Challenges – led by the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and Conservation International (CI).
  6. Enhancing the diversity and quality of Governance – led by the German International Development Agency (GIZ), UNDP, the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) Secretariat, and the ICCA (Indigenous Peoples' and Community Conserved Territories and Areas) Consortium.
  7. Respecting Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge and Culture – led by the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), the United Nations University (UNU), SOTZ’IL (Mesoamerica Indigenous Leaders Coalition) and the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC).
  8. Inspiring a new generation – led by Parks Canada, WCPA Young Professionals and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC).

There will also be cross-cutting themes that deal with marine protected areas, World Heritage, capacity development and a new social compact for conservation.

Cross-cutting themes are those that touch on several or all Congress streams, and which will play prominent roles throughout the Congress.

Held only once every decade, the IUCN World Parks Congress will take on special significance in 2014 as it will take place just before the world agrees on new Sustainable Development Goals, and will address milestones for climate change, biodiversity and poverty alleviation. The Congress will assemble world leadership on how protected areas can be central to addressing the challenge of implementation, recognizing and involving a diverse constituency of governments, business, civil society and especially youth, to achieve conservation success for sustainable development. It will develop the roadmap for implementation, and recognise and celebrate the inspiring places, people and solutions that offer hope for the future.

The Congress is expected to attract more than 3,000 participants, and will take place in Sydney’s Olympic Park from 12 – 19 of November 2014.

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