The CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity through Aichi Target number 11 sets specific targets for countries to increase protected areas coverage and conserve areas of particular importance for biodiversity. It is therefore essential to inform decision-makers, both within and beyond the conservation community, where the most important areas for biodiversity are and hence where safeguard is necessary. Over the last three decades, numerous approaches of conservation practice have been developed in response, including Important Bird Areas, Important Plant Areas, the Alliance for Zero Extinction, and many others. While these various approaches have delivered substantial benefits, they are neither sufficient not unified and have also resulted in some policy confusion and duplication of efforts.
The IUCN WCPA/SSC Joint Taskforce on Biodiversity and Protected Areas (www.iucn.org/biodiversity_and_protected_areas_taskforce) is leading a wide consultation process to develop a new globally agreed approach to consolidate the criteria for identifying areas of global significance for biodiversity. This standard draws and builds on existing approaches in a way that best advances the biodiversity conservation agenda, while responding to end-users needs for a scientifically-rigorous and pragmatic methodology for practitioners.This harnesses IUCN´s credibility and legitimacy in establishing conservation standards, as exemplified by the IUCN Red List and the World Database on Protected Areas, as well as the data standardized in these two global standards.
Documentation of areas of global significance for biodiversity is important to many different sectors of society. It supports implementation of many intergovernmental agreements, such as the Ramsar and World Heritage Conventions, and the CBD´s PoWPA, as well as its Aichi Biodiversity Targets. It also guides country policy in national gap analyses. For the private sector, it provides watchlists of sites requiring development safeguards. And for local and indigenous communities, it inspires civic pride and attracts green economic investment. But for all these different end-users, to be able to take informed decisions and to integrate biodiversity into their planning process, need to have access to reliable data on where globally significant areas for biodiversity are.
This workshop will provide and update on the work carried out by the IUCN WCPA/SSC Joint Taskforce on Biodiversity and Protected Areas and describe case-studies of identification of such important sites, through national (and regional) processes and ownership and their relevance for different stakeholders. It will involve a moderated panel discussion, with participation balanced across sectors, geography and gender. The aim is to, building from different approaches to identify areas of global significance for biodiversity used to date, discuss and identify end-users needs and potential applications of the new IUCN standard.