Time for an updated global agenda for protected areas - IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney (12 – 19 November)

IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) is a landmark international forum on protected areas, taking place every 10 years since 1962. It is a global agenda setting event for protected area policy and management, including emphasising the approaches towards improving protected area effectiveness in 1992 and drawing focus on good governance of protected areas in 2003. The theme for 2014 is nature and ecosystem services, linking protected areas with broader socio-economic development and demonstrating good practice to do so. The event will bring together around 3 000 people from over 160 countries and the key messages arising from the congress will be collated into an outcome document called ‘The Promise of Sydney’. This document will set out the direction to achieve a healthy future for protected areas over the next 10 years.

The congress will host a wealth of thematic sessions and events organised by a range organisations. A dedicated side event “Valuing natural capital: protected areas and water security” organised by IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and IEEP will take place on the morning of the 17th November, bringing together a range of international key experts to discuss the role of protected areas in delivering water security. Inspired by concrete examples and lessons learned, the aim of the event is to explore how socio-economic assessment and valuation of water related benefits can support creating sustainable solutions for protected areas management, while at the same time creating cost-effective and equitable solutions for water management. The side event form a part of the WCPA Natural Solutions Specialist Group and - as its concrete outcome – it aims to collect ideas and suggestions from the participants to steer the future work of the group towards the next World Conservation Congress at Hawaii in 2016.

Marianne Kettunen will be attending the conference as a member of the IUCN WCPA and representing both IEEP and the delegation of Finnish national experts. You can follow Marianne’s updates from the event via @IEEP_eu (#WorldParksCongress and #WPCHuman).