IUCN Best Practice Guidelines on Governance of Protected Areas
September 2013, Volume 11-4

Governance of Protected Areas: From understanding to action‖ – a new publication produced by IUCN, the ICCA Consortium, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the CBD Secretariat, provides an important tool to help enhance governance diversity and quality of the world‘s protected area systems.

Addressing an issue that was barely recognised until recently, the Guidelines “Governance of Protected Areas: From understanding to action” represent an important step towards integrating good governance into the conservation agenda. Over the past decades there has been a dramatic change in understanding about how governance of protected areas impacts on the achievement of their conservation goals. IUCN has defined four different forms of governance of protected areas. Along with the familiar state-run protected areas, managed by government employees, there are protected areas established and managed by indigenous peoples, local communities, ecotourism organisations, nonprofit trusts, private individuals, commercial companies and religious institutions, as well as a wealth of shared-governance arrangements between them. Finding the right mix of governance types within a protected area system and improving the quality of governance of individual sites remains one of the key challenges for bridging the implementation gap in CBD‘s Programme of Work on Protected Areas, particularly in relation to effective participation, human rights, equity and benefit sharing.

Part 1 of the publication deals with concepts and principles to understand the four main protected area governance types recognised by IUCN, featuring numerous examples from all over the world, and their role in the wider conservation landscape; as well as outlining criteria for quality of protected area governance. Part 2 offers practical guidance for countries willing to embark on the process of  assessing, evaluating and improving governance for their systems of protected areas or for individual protected area sites.

The publication can be downloaded here, where additional material related to governance of protected areas and interactive tools to submit case studies are provided. The Guidelines are available in English language, Spanish and French translations will follow.

Eva Kandlinger
Division 47 Environment and Climate Change
Section 4710 Biodiversity, Forests, Natural Resources
Programme “Implementing the Biodiversity Convention”
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Postfach 5180 / P.O. Box 5180
65726 Eschborn