Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Protected areas and the future: How do we move forward?

1 December, 2009 - 16:48 -- John Burton

Most conservation organisations are good at producing reports, but how many actually get read? I tried to read a report published today by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), but it was so imbued with navel-gazing report-speak that I gave up.

When the best recommendation this report came up with is as quoted below, I am not surprised that there is little support for the conservation of protected areas.

In consultation with the WCPA, the Biodiversity Conservation Group in the Secretariat should lead a process to achieve a stronger technical understanding and consensual commitment within the Secretariat regarding the core and cutting edge roles of protected areas in the pursuit of IUCN's mission through implementation of its Programme.

With active support from the Biodiversity Conservation Group and the Global Communications Unit in the Secretariat, the WCPA and the CEC should elaborate and implement their work plan for rehabilitating the perception of protected areas.

You can read the IUCN report here:
Strategic review of the IUCN Programme on Protected Areas (PDF, 2.02MB, opens in new window.)

I confess to not reading the report line by line, but I did fail to find any mention of actual actions that would increase the number and effectiveness of protected areas. Even more surprising was the failure to mention anything about Netherlands Committee for IUCN, which is one of the more significant funders for a whole range of issues relating to the management of protected areas -- and no one from the Netherlands seems to have been among those consulted over the preparation of the report.

My major criticism of all such reports, is the failure to identify actions which members of IUCN can undertake, which really will change things. Time is running out.

How can new areas be protected?
How can governments and NGOs source funding to protect areas?

These and many other questions need addressing urgently. But IUCN simply reporting on how the Programme for Protected Areas has failed does not move anything forward. We need not only to learn from mistakes, but do something as a result.

The publication produced by WLT and the Netherlands Committee for IUCN earlier this year gives a far more concrete and action-orientated approach to protected areas. And it shows not only what is being done, but what can be done in the future.

You can download our report here:
Land Purchase for Conservation (PDF, 9.23MB, opens in new window.)


Submitted by Anonymous on

I worry how much time goes into thinking up this jargon. I also wonder if you think like that can you ever DO anything? I wonder what psychometric testing shows.

I am afraid I could never read the stuff let alone write it so could I never apply for a job in that field. I started my own business, much simpler.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Where do people learn that jargon
I came across this distance learning module and as I have often wordered what was taught in these courses I took a look

Ok I dipped in but I loved no 6 from the sections below

6 • Order underlying the seemingly random behaviours of some complex systems can be explained in terms of movements a