World Parks Congress

For news about the IUCN World Park Congress click here.


IUCN ELP had a strong presence at the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress held in Durban, South Africa from 8-17 September.

The IUCN team included representatives of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law (CEL), the IUCN Environmental Law Centre (ELC) and IUCN Members with an interest in environmental law. The following participants participated:

Professor Nicholas Robinson USA CEL Chair
Professor Michael Jeffery Canada/Australia CEL Deputy Chair
Professor Koh Kheng Lian Singapore CEL Regional Vice Chair
Dr Grethel Aguilar-Rojas Costa Rica CEL Regional Vice Chair
Professor Antonio Benjamin Brazil CEL IUCN Member: LGPI
Professor Ben Boer Australia CEL
Professor Robyn Stein South Africa CEL/MoU Partner
Pedro Solano Peru IUCN Member: SDPA
Professor Michael Kidd South Africa CEL
Francois Joubert South Africa CEL/MoU Partner
John Scanlon Australia Head ELP (ELP focal point)
Tomme Young USA ELC
Maria Socorro Manguiat Philippines ELC (focal point support)
Daniella Montag Belgium ELC/IUCN Logistics
Katerina Sarafidou Greece CEL/ELC (logistics support)

IUCN ELC was designated to take the lead for the IUCN Secretariat in the organisation of the Governance Workshop Stream, which follows on from the lead role played by the IUCN ELC with governance issues at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Kyoto 3rd World Water Forum. The papers for the International Governance Session can be found below under LATEST NEWS.

IUCN ELP actively participated in the Opening Plenary and numerous Workshop Sessions, including those dealing with governance (including sessions on international governance and protected areas and high seas), linkages in the landscape (including a session on mining and protected areas), sustainable financing, building broader support and capacity building.

IUCN ELP took the lead in organising three particular sessions:

1. A session held during the Governance Workshop on 'Globalisation and Decentralisation and the Role of Legal Frameworks'. This interactive session focused on the trends and tensions surrounding globalisation and decentralisation and how this manifests itself in the context of protected areas. For a copy of the programme click here. See full story below under LATEST NEWS.

2. A side meeting on 'Recent Innovations with Protected Areas Law: A Comparative Analysis', was developed by IUCN ELC in partnership with Professor Antonio Herman Benjamin and Professor Michael Kidd. This session focused on recent innovations in the field of protected areas law.

Side meeting flyer - Side meeting programme
Final session Report: Rapporteur, Professor Michael Kidd

3. A side event to announce the launch of the new South African Water Law Centre of Excellence, which has been recognized by IUCN CEL as a regional 'centre of excellence'. See full story below under LATEST NEWS.

For more information on IUCN ELP at the IUCN World Parks Congress contact Katerina Sarafidou, IUCN CEL Liaison Officer.


3 March 2004

Is there an international governance regime for protected areas, and if so what is it? How are emerging issues such as: management effectiveness and standards, certification, new financial mechanisms, and new ways of creating and supporting partnerships, being addressed at the international level? These questions and more are addressed in the latest publication in the IUCN Policy and Law Series (Paper 49) produced by IUCN Environmental Law Programme. The publication, 'International Environmental Governance - An International Regime for Protected Areas', described by IUCN Director General Achim Steiner as providing "…an excellent platform for critical thinking and debate", collects a series of papers produced for the V IUCN World Parks Congress. IUCN is most grateful to Parks Canada for funding this research and the publication.

Down load a free copy of 'International Environmental Governance - An International Regime for Protected Areas' here.

22 September 2003

The Vth IUCN World Parks Congress, held in Durban, South Africa from 8-17 September has been hailed a great success. The Congress, 'Benefits Beyond Boundaries', succeeded in addressing protected areas and biodiversity conservation in the context of the Millennium Development Goals, the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and sustainable development more generally. On the final day, Congress participants adopted by acclamation the Durban Accord and the Message to the CBD CoP 7, and noted and acknowledged the Durban Plan of Action and the Recommendations adopted through the various Workshop Streams. Copies are available in the three Congress languages on the IUCN WPC website. IUCN ELP contributed to both the substance and the smooth running of the event, with substantive contributions being made on International environmental agreements (global and regional), globalisation and decentralisation, high seas, financial instruments, mining and protected areas, and the Africa Convention. IUCN ELP also led the Secretariat input into the Governance Workshop Stream.

For more information on the IUCN ELP at the WPC click here and for more information on the WPC generally click here.

15 September 2003

The IUCN Commission on Environmental Law (CEL) has used the occasion of the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress being held in Durban, South Africa, to announce the first CEL regional 'centre of excellence' in Africa. The Mandela Institute, School of Law, University of Witwatersrand, is being specifically recognised by CEL as a 'centre of excellence' in water law, a first for CEL. Commencing in 2004 the centre will be hosting certificate and Masters level courses in water law, designed for African lawyers and non lawyers. In announcing the 'centre of excellence' Professor Robinson praised the University for undertaking this initiative, which now joins a network of CEL recognised centres from across the globe. Professor Robyn Stein expressed great thanks to IUCN for all of its support and described the centre as representing a major capacity building initiative for Southern Africa. The centre will be officially launched at the University in November this year. The establishment of the centre has obtained strong support and endorsement from the South African Minister of Water Resources and Forestry, Ronnie Kasrils MP and the Food and Agriculture Organisation - Legal Office.

To find out more about CEL 'centres of excellence' click here (deactivated).

26 August 2003

We are all experiencing the impacts of globalization, no matter where we are. At the same time there is an increasing push for greater decentralization of authority. How are these trends and tensions manifesting themselves in the context of protected areas? How have different countries attempted to manage these trends and tensions through legal frameworks - or failed to do so - in the context of protected areas? On the morning of 12th September highly regarded speakers from six countries will gather in Durban to present their own perceptions on these critical questions and share their ideas on where we are headed over the next ten years. The views of the speakers will not be allowed to stand unchallenged - they will be put to the test by an expert panel together with all session participants in a lively interactive session that will follow the presentations.

Programme. Speakers notes: Brazil, Costa Rica (English/Spanish), Peru, Philippines, South Africa, USA
'Peru: PowerPoint presentation'

4 August 2003

Is there an international legal regime for protected areas, and if so what is it? How are emerging issues such as: management effectiveness and standards, certification, new financial mechanisms, and new ways of creating and supporting partnerships, being addressed at the international level? These questions and more are addressed in the paper prepared by IUCN Environmental Law Programme on 'International Environmental Governance' for the V World Parks Congress. Experts from across the globe will address this insightful paper as they gather in Durban to debate 'International Designations and Global Governance' on 11th September. IUCN ELP leads the Secretariat's contribution to the Congress Governance Workshop Stream and is most grateful to Parks Canada for funding this paper. For more information on IUCN ELP at the WPC click here.

'An International Legal Regime For Protected Areas'
Section 1: Executive Summary (English/French/Spanish).
Section 2: An International Legal Regime for Protected Areas.
Section 3: Protected Areas and Certification.
Section 4: International Funds, 'Partnerships' and other Mechanisms for Protected Areas.

18 July 2003

The revision of the 1968 'African Convention' was adopted by the Assembly of the African Union (AU) on July 11, 2003 in Maputo. IUCN played a major role in the drafting of this important regional treaty, as adviser to the Organization of African Unity (now the AU), and IUCN and UNEP provided advisory services in the preparation of the revision. The new text makes the African Convention the most comprehensive and modern regional treaty on environment and natural resources conservation, and the first to deal with an array of sustainable development issues. It covers a wide spectrum of questions, ranging from biological diversity conservation, sustainable use of soil, air, water and land, and provides for procedural rights and mechanisms serving its implementation. The revised convention also incorporates the IUCN Protected Areas Management Category System in its totality - the first time any international or regional convention has done so. The Convention will enter into force once 15 States have ratified it.

Full story
Full Convention text: English/French
IUCN News Release

14 March 2003

More than forty officials and experts from member countries in the East African Community (and those engaged with them in transboundary negotiations relating to conservation) met last week in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, at the Mweka Wildlife College in Moshi, Tanzania to develop basic recommendations for Regional co-operation in the creation and implementation of TBPA's in the region. These recommendations will be also be showcased at the IUCN World Parks Congress, to be held in Durban on September 8-17, 2003. IUCN-ELC was a co-sponsor of the workshop with the IUCN-WCPA Task Force on TBPAs and the German Agency for International Development (INWENT.) This high-level meeting featured expert input on all levels, including detailed discussions of a variety of innovative approaches to addressing legal issues. One week before, IUCN-ELC participated in another conference, this one of global scope, sponsored by IUCN and the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO). Held in Uban Ratchathani, Thailand, this meeting addressed the special concerns of TBPAs in forest areas, with particular emphasis on community involvement issues. Field trips allowed the participants to learn more about the role of community forest participation in a transboundary forest area spanning Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

For more information about other seminars and workshops in the INWENT series click here.

For information on the ITTO/IUCN workshop click here.

16 January 2003

Forty of the world's leading experts on high seas biodiversity, and on the laws that protect it, met in Málaga, Spain to develop an action plan for the development of high-seas protected areas - a key element in the conservation and sustainable use of these important biological resources. Although not a lawless area, the high seas have traditionally been thought of as areas of unrestricted use. This concept of "the freedom of the high seas" has led to unsustainable behaviors and attitudes, in many cases. The WSSD recognized the need to restore ocean fisheries and to develop a globally accepted approach to ocean conservation. In response, IUCN, WWF and other partners have agreed that the development of high-seas protected areas - in which important species and fragile ecosystems can be protected - may be an important first step, as it was in the evolution of sustainable management of terrestrial natural resources. IUCN ELP presented an initial information paper identifying the complex web of laws that touch on elements of high-seas conservation, and considering the various ways in which those laws can support the development of protected areas. Legal development and policy-related advocacy were identified as important components of the action plan, and will be a focus of the ELC's work in the future.

For further information on the Málaga meeting, click here.

African Officials Initiate the Development of Recommendations on TBPAs for the World Conservation Congress
5 December 2002

A team of 34 officials and experts from Southern and Eastern Africa met in South Africa's Golden Gate Highland National Park to develop an initial outline of key recommendations regarding creation and implementation of transboundary national parks in Southern and Eastern Africa. These recommendations will be addressed to a variety of forums (especially the SADC, EAC, NEPAD and national governments) through IUCN's Fifth decennial World Parks Congress, to be held in Durban on September 8-17, 2003. IUCN-ELC and South Africa National Parks (SAN Parks) were co-sponsors of this workshop which was primarily sponsored, organised and funded by the IUCN-WCPA Task Force on TBPAs and the German Agency for International Development (Deutsche Stiftung für Entwicklung - DSE, now a part of the new agency INWENT.) The intensive work of this dedicated expert group was facilitated and guided by a team of African and European experts in TBPA law and policy, including Trevor Sandwith of IUCN-WCPA and Tomme Young of IUCN-ELC. The participants based their work on background presentations addressing the manner in which key issues of PA management, law and policy take on unique characteristics and require unique solutions, when the PA crosses international boundaries. As part of its deliberations, the group was able to obtain first-hand information from official, residents and other stakeholders in the planned Maloti-Drakensberg Transboundary Protected Area, which will encompass protected, private and community lands in Lesotho and in several South African provinces.

More information about other seminars and workshops in the series is available from DSE Land Development website

2 December 2002

Governance of protected areas in the Mediterranean region has come under close analysis in the lead up to the World Parks Congress (WPC) to be held in Durban in 2003. Organized by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Co-operation, with support from the Province of Barcelona, experts from across the region met in Barcelona, Spain on 29-30 November to identify and analyze governance of protected areas. The results of the meeting will be fed into a follow up event to be held in Murcia, Spain and then into the WPC. Head of the IUCN Environmental Law Programme, John Scanlon, was invited to present to the workshop on recent international 'governance' developments, including the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Find IUCN ELP Governance Paper abstract here and IUCN Governance for Sustainable Development Position Paper here


Principal author: John Scanlon. Last updated: 3 March 2004



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