KEYNOTE SPEAKER: MR TREVOR SANDWITH – Raising the bar: achieving quality, justice and solutions in protected and conserved areas

(Monday 6 November 2017)

Progress in the establishment of protected areas around the world has accelerated in the past 15 years as countries seek to fulfil their commitments to conserve biodiversity. However, progress on achieving coverage targets masks the failure to protect areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, ineffective management and most importantly, the inadequacy of governance at all scales. Addressing these concerns systematically should be among the highest priorities of nature conservation agencies, many of whom have shown leadership and resourcefulness towards these ends. At a global level, the question remains of how these standards for effective conservation can be positioned and resourced to support more effective implementation. Drawing on the inspiration of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 in Sydney, Australia, IUCN has been developing a new standard for what constitutes effective conservation in protected and conserved areas. The new IUCN Green List builds on existing measures to assess and evaluate management effectiveness and governance quality, and to validate outcomes against specific independently verified criteria.  Aimed at enhancing recognition and progress in all protected areas, it can be applied in any jurisdiction to diagnose gaps systematically and to determine how these can be overcome. Supported by a new global register of competences for development capacity, the IUCN Green List Standard aims to advance the professionalization of governance and management, achieve inclusivity across the diversity of governance and management arrangements, enhance the relevance of protected area systems for addressing development challenges, and most importantly to offer a mechanism for increasing investment by both public and private funders.

Trevor Sandwith is an ecologist and nature conservation strategist who promotes the integration of protected and conserved areas in sustainable economic and social development.  He has experience in the governance and management of protected area systems, and in mainstreaming biodiversity considerations into development policies and planning.  At international level, he has specialized in transboundary governance of protected areas and in seeking recognition of ecosystem-based approaches to address climate change. Formerly Head of Planning for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, he is now Director of IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme, and was Director of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 in Sydney.  His immediate priority is to promote the fulfilment of the Promise of Sydney, including commitments to secure effective and equitably governed protected area programmes that contribute significantly towards addressing global challenges.