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COP 10 Decision X/31

X/31.Protected areas

The Conference of the Parties,

A.Strategies for strengthening implementation

1.National level

1.Invites Parties to:
(a)Enhance the coverage and quality, representativeness and, if appropriate, connectivity of protected areas as a contribution to the development of representative systems of protected areas and coherent ecological networks that include all relevant biomes, ecoregions, or ecosystems;
(b)Develop a long-term action plan or reorient, as appropriate, relevant existing plans, taking into account national circumstances and priorities, involving all relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, for the implementation of the programme of work on protected areas, including appropriate implementation mechanisms, and, where appropriate, detailing list of activities, timelines, budget and responsibilities, based upon the results of key assessments of the programme of work on protected areas, with a view to contributing to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and requests the Executive Secretary to submit a report on the preparation of such plans to the Conference of the Parties at its eleventh meeting;
(c)Integrate the action plans of the programme of work on protected areas into revised national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and into relevant sectoral plans and budgets, as soon as possible and no later than six months before the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties and requests the Executive Secretary to submit a report on the integration of protected area action plans into national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and into relevant sectoral plans and budgets, to the Conference of the Parties at its twelfth meeting;
(d)Promote the application of the ecosystem approach that integrates protected areas into broader land and/or seascapes for effective conservation of biological diversity and facilitate, in accordance with their management objectives, sustainable use within protected areas;
(e)Expedite establishment where appropriate of multisectoral advisory committees for strengthening intersectoral coordination and communication to facilitate the integration of protected areas in national and economic development plans, where they exist;
(f)Increase awareness of the programme of work on protected areas especially among decision makers, in the context of communication, education and public awareness;
(g)Carry out communication plans to promote information sharing on, and the understanding of, the importance of protected areas so as to increase support for them among decision makers and stakeholders of key sectors at all levels of government, community and non-governmental organizations on the benefits of protected areas to national and subnational economies, securing ecosystem services, public health, maintenance of cultural values, sustainable development and climate change adaptation and mitigation;
(h)Consider standard criteria for the identification of sites of global biodiversity conservation significance, when developing protected-area systems drawing on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, established criteria in other relevant processes including those of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme, the World Heritage Convention, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, threatened ecosystem assessments, gap analysis, Key Biodiversity Areas and Important Bird Areas, and other relevant information;
(i)Take note as appropriate of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples66 in the further implementation of the programme of work on protected areas;
2.Invites Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to develop and implement research and monitoring programmes for conservation and, in accordance with their management objectives, sustainable use within protected areas at any relevant scale as well as assess the efficiency and effectiveness of various kinds and categories of protected areas complying with the three objectives of the Convention;

2.Regional level

3.Notes progress in regional initiatives67 and invites Parties to foster the formation of such initiatives and formulate regional action plans, where appropriate through national focal points for the programme of work on protected areas in collaboration with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and other conservation organizations, based on country action plans for implementation of the programme of work on protected areas and other relevant programmes of work, and through regional technical support networks, to coordinate funding, technical support, exchange of experiences and capacity-building for implementing the programme of work on protected areas;
4.Invites countries in a position to do so, non-governmental organizations and other funding organizations to support regional initiatives, related to protected areas and in particular marine protected areas;
5.Invites Parties to actively explore the potentially suitable areas for transboundary protected area cooperation and by effective means to create an enabling environment for transboundary cooperation in regards to planning and management practices, connectivity as well as to development across national borders;
6.Encourages Parties to use existing guidelines, best practices and tools and, as appropriate, develop regional guidelines, best practices and tools, to improve the effectiveness of transboundary protected area cooperation, as well as to explore the ways and means to evaluate the quality of such cooperation;

3.Global level

7.Requests the Executive Secretary, subject to available funds, to:
(a)Continue to hold regional and subregional capacity-building workshops, with special attention to element 2 (Governance, participation, equity and benefit-sharing) of the programme of work, and other identified priorities with specific timetables for planning and funding, developing cooperation with regional and subregional convention agreements, the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, technical networks and other partners;
(b)Provide additional technical support through the development of toolkits, best practices, and guidelines on themes of the programme of work on protected areas in collaboration with Parties partners and international organizations, in particular techniques and instruments to assess and communicate values of ecosystem services and cost benefits, planning and institutional strengthening of protected area systems, improving protected area coverage of under-represented ecoregions, biomes, and ecosystems, and implementing element 2 of the programme of work on protected areas;
(c)Increase awareness of the benefits resulting from the implementation of the programme of work on protected areas to health, water, fisheries, industry, tourism and other sectors, the importance of ecosystem services provided by protected areas, for the achievement of climate change adaptation and mitigation and the Millennium Development Goals including poverty alleviation, by holding workshops to bring key actors from these sectors to discuss ways of collaborating to promote the implementation of the programme of work on protected areas in order to reach mutual benefits;
(d)Support the global Friends of the Programme of Work on Protected Areas network including through the involvement of, among other actors, indigenous and local communities, relevant international organizations and technical networks;
(e)Support coordination and communication to strengthen synergies with regional conventions and global conventions as well as national policies and strategies in the implementation of the programme of work on protected areas;
8.Invites the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, and other relevant organizations to develop technical guidance on ecological restoration, monitoring and evaluation of the status of biodiversity in protected areas, governance of protected areas, connectivity, representativity with a regional approach, management effectiveness, conservation corridors, and adaptation to and mitigation of climate change;

B.Issues that need greater attention

1.Sustainable finance

9.Recalling paragraph 1 of its decision IX/18 B, further urges Parties, in particular developed country Parties, and invites other Governments and international financial institutions including the Global Environment Facility, the regional development banks, and other multilateral financial institutions to provide the adequate, predictable and timely financial support, to developing country Parties, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing States, as well as countries with economies in transition, to enable the full implementation of the programme of work on protected areas;
10.Invites Parties to:
(a)Develop and implement sustainable finance plans in accordance with national legislation and systems, for protected area systems by 2012 and support individual protected areas, based on realistic needs assessments and a diversified portfolio of traditional and innovative financial mechanisms, such as, inter alia, payments for ecosystem services, as appropriate;
(b)Timely and appropriately use the protected-area biodiversity allocations of the fifth replenishment period of the Global Environment Facility, as well as bilateral, multilateral and other financial support relevant for protected areas using their action plan for implementing the programme of work on protected areas as the basis for accessing funds;
(c)Develop and implement additional means and methods of generating and allocating finance, inter alia, on the basis of a stronger valuation of ecosystem services, taking into account the findings of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity study, as appropriate;
11.Encourages developing country Parties, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing States, as well as countries with economies in transition, to express their protected area system-wide and project-funding needs based on their national biodiversity strategies and action plans and action plans for the programme of work on protected areas, including through the LifeWeb Initiative and urges donors and countries in a position to do so to support funding needs, , taking into account the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness;
12.Encourages donors, Parties and countries in a position to do so, subject to available funding, to hold subregional and national donor roundtable meetings to support mobilization of funding for implementing the programme of work on protected areas involving relevant funding institutions in collaboration with the LifeWeb Initiative if desired;
13.Urges the Global Environment Facility and its Implementing Agencies to streamline their delivery for expeditious and proportionate disbursement and to align the projects to national action plans for the programme of work on protected areas for appropriate, focused, sufficient and harmonious interventions and continuity of projects;

2.Climate change

14.Invites Parties to:
(a)Achieve target 1.2 of the programme of work on protected areas by 2015, through concerted efforts to integrate protected areas into wider landscapes and seascapes and sectors, including through the use of connectivity measures such as the development of ecological networks68 and ecological corridors, and the restoration of degraded habitats and landscapes in order to address climate change impacts and increase resilience to climate change;
(b)Enhance scientific knowledge and the use of the ecosystem approach as well as traditional and indigenous knowledge to support the development of adaptive management plans and to improve management effectiveness of protected areas for addressing impacts from climate change on biodiversity;
(c)Evaluate, recognize and communicate the value and the benefits of comprehensive, effectively managed and ecologically representative protected area systems in climate-change adaptation and mitigation;
(d)Identify areas that are important for both biodiversity conservation and for climate change mitigation and/or adaptation, including carbon sequestration and maintenance of carbon stocks, and where appropriate protect, restore and effectively manage and/or include them in the protected areas systems with the aim to increase co-benefits for biodiversity, for addressing climate change and human well-being, while recognizing that biodiversity conservation remains the primary objective of protected areas;
(e)Support and finance the conservation and management of naturally functioning ecosystems and in particular, protected area systems in contributing to carbon sequestration and maintenance of carbon stocks as well as to ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation to climate change, while recognizing that biodiversity conservation remains the primary objective, and to link improved design and management approaches for comprehensive and integrated protected area systems (including buffer zones, corridors and restored landscapes) into national strategies and action plans for addressing climate change, including through existing national adaptation strategies and plans;
(f)Further develop tools applicable for use by relevant national authorities and stakeholders for the planning of protected-area networks and climate-change mitigation and adaptation measures, that combine among other issues, biodiversity, natural carbon storage and other ecosystem services and as appropriate, vulnerability assessments for terrestrial as well as marine and costal protected areas;
15.Invites Parties to explore how funding opportunities under climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies could contribute to the implementation of the programme of work on protected areas, while enhancing co-benefits for biodiversity and climate change adaptation and mitigation;
16.Reminds the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to pay attention to the impact on and the role of protected areas in adaptation and mitigation strategies with the appropriate social and biodiversity safeguards and support projects related to adaptation and mitigation in protected areas ensuring that national mitigation and adaptation actions that involve expansion of protected area networks can receive financial and technical assistance through climate-related financial mechanisms;
17.Invites the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to consider ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation and in particular on the role of protected areas as an effective mechanism/tool to build the resilience of vulnerable communities and ecosystems;
18.Requests the Executive Secretary to ensure inclusion of the role of protected areas when conveying a proposal to develop joint activities between the three Rio conventions to the secretariats of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, as contained in decision X/33, biodiversity and climate change;

3.Management effectiveness

19.Invites Parties, taking into account the target for goal 1.4 of the programme of work, which calls for all protected areas to have effective management in existence by 2012 using participatory and science-based site planning processes with full and effective participation of stakeholders, and noting that to assess the effectiveness of the management, specific indicators may also be needed to:
(a)Continue to expand and institutionalize management effectiveness assessments to work towards assessing 60 per cent of the total area of protected areas by 2015 using various national and regional tools and report the results into the global database on management effectiveness maintained by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP WCMC) ;
(b)Include information on governance and social impacts and benefits of protected areas into the management effectiveness evaluation process;
(c)Consider climate-change adaptation and mitigation in management effectiveness assessments;
(d)Ensure that the results of assessments are implemented and integrated into other assessments of the programme of work on protected areas (e.g., sustainable finance, capacity);

4.Invasive alien species management

20.Noting the role of invasive alien species as a key driver of biodiversity loss invites Parties to consider the role of invasive alien species management as a cost effective tool for the restoration and maintenance of protected areas and the ecosystem services they provide, and thus to include management of invasive alien species in the action plans for implementation of the programme of work on protected areas, taking into account decision X/38, on invasive alien species;

5.Marine protected areas (MPAs)

21.Encourages Parties, other Governments and competent international organizations to cooperate, as appropriate, collectively or on a regional or subregional basis, to identify and adopt, according to their competence, appropriate measures for conservation and sustainable use in relation to ecologically or biologically significant areas, and in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, including by establishing representative networks of marine protected areas in accordance with international law and based on best scientific information available, and to inform the relevant processes within the United Nations General Assembly;
22.Noting the slow progress in establishing marine protected areas in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and the absence of a global process for designation of such areas, emphasizes the need to enhance efforts towards achieving the 2012 target of establishment of representative network of marine protected areas, in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and, recalling the role of General Assembly in this respect, invites the Assembly to request the Secretary-General to convene during 2011 a meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to expedite its work on approaches to promote international cooperation and coordination for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, and consideration of issues of marine protected areas, and urges Parties to take action as necessary to advance the work in that group;
23.Encourages Parties to establish and/or strengthen a range of measures for long term appropriate management of marine protected areas under national jurisdiction or in areas subject to international regimes competent for the adoption of such measures and to incorporate good governance principles;
24.Also encourages Parties to establish marine protected areas for conservation and management of biodiversity as the main objective and, when in accordance with the management objectives for protected areas, as fisheries management tools;

6.Inland-water protected areas

25.Further encourages Parties to increase the coverage, quality, representativeness and connectivity, where appropriate, of inland water ecosystems and their key hydrological features in their protected area systems through the designation or extension of inland-water protected areas and to maintain or enhance their resilience and sustain ecosystem services including through the use of existing designation mechanisms available and being applied under biodiversity-related conventions, such as the World Heritage Convention and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands;

7.Restoration of ecosystems and habitats of protected areas

26.Urges Parties to:
(a)Increase the effectiveness of protected area systems in biodiversity conservation and enhance their resilience to climate change and other stressors, through increased efforts in restoration of ecosystems and habitats and including, as appropriate, connectivity tools such as ecological corridors and/or conservation measures in and between protected areas and adjacent landscapes and seascapes;
(b)Include restoration activities in the action plans of the programme of work on protected areas and national biodiversity strategies;

8.Valuing protected area costs and benefits including their ecosystem services

27.Requests the Executive Secretary in collaboration with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and other partners, including indigenous and local communities, in supporting the programme of work to explore and evaluate existing methodologies and guidelines for measuring the values, costs and benefits of protected areas, bearing in mind the characteristics of the different biomes and ecosystems, building on existing work, including on the findings of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study, and disseminate the results of the evaluation for Parties to apply if need be;
28.Further requests the Executive Secretary, subject to availability of financial resources and on the basis of conducted assessments to develop guidelines and indicators to determine the costs and benefits of protected areas;
29.Invites Parties to:
(a)Increase understanding of and communicate the role, importance and costs and benefits of protected areas in sustaining local livelihoods, providing ecosystems services, reducing risks from natural disasters, adapting to and mitigating climate change, health, water and other sectors, at all levels;
(b)Advance innovative measures to instil in park visitors and the general public a deeper understanding of the values of biodiversity, and to inspire their support and commitment for its protection;

9.Programme element 2 on governance, participation, equity and benefit-sharing

30.Encourages Parties to:
(a)Enhance coordination at the national level between the programme of work on protected areas and other related processes under the Convention on Biological Diversity, including, inter alia, the programmes of work on forest biological diversity and marine and coastal biological diversity, the work on access and benefit-sharing and Article 8(j) and related provisions of the Convention, and the processes related to the Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for the Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity69 and the Akwé: Kon Voluntary Guidelines for the Conduct of Cultural, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment regarding Developments Proposed to Take Place on, or which are Likely to Impact on, Sacred Sites and on Lands and Waters Traditionally Occupied or Used by Indigenous and Local Communities70 for exchange of information on implementation of these programmes and recommendations on possible joint actions for enhanced implementation;
(b)Promote integration of the provisions of access and benefit-sharing in regard to the third objective of the Convention in the governance of protected areas and support initiatives on the role of protected areas in poverty alleviation as well as for indigenous and local community livelihoods;
31.Invites Parties to:
(a)Establish clear mechanisms and processes for equitable cost and benefit-sharing and for full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, related to protected areas, in accordance with national laws and applicable international obligations;
(b)Recognize the role of indigenous and local community conserved areas and conserved areas of other stakeholders in biodiversity conservation, collaborative management and diversification of governance types;
32.Recalling paragraph 6 of decision IX/18 A, further invites Parties to:
(a)Improve and, where necessary, diversify and strengthen protected-area governance types, leading to or in accordance with appropriate national legislation including recognizing and taking into account, where appropriate, indigenous, local and other community-based organizations;
(b)Recognize the contribution of, where appropriate, co-managed protected areas, private protected areas and indigenous and local community conserved areas within the national protected area system through acknowledgement in national legislation or other effective means;
(c)Establish effective processes for the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, in full respect of their rights and recognition of their responsibilities, in the governance of protected areas, consistent with national law and applicable international obligations;
(d)Further develop and implement measures for the equitable sharing of both costs and benefits arising from the establishment and management of protected areas and make protected areas an important component of local and global sustainable development consistent with national legislations and applicable international obligations;
(e)Include indigenous and local communities in multi-stakeholder advisory committees, in consultations for national reporting on the programme of work on protected areas, and in national reviews of the effectiveness of protected area system;
(f)Conduct, where appropriate, assessments of governance of protected areas using toolkits prepared by the Secretariat and other organizations, and conduct capacity-building activities for protected area institutions and relevant stakeholders, with support from international organizations, non governmental organizations and donor organizations, on the implementation of element 2, and especially on governance aspects of protected areas, including issues such as environmental conflicts;

10.Reporting

33.Invites Parties to:
(a)Consider as part of national reporting, a simple and effective reporting process that tracks the overall status of the conservation of biodiversity within protected areas, as well as actions and outcomes of the programme of work on protected areas;
(b)Adopt the reporting framework on national implementation of the programme of work on protected areas annexed to the present decision. This format will foster periodic updates using standardized, user friendly, web-based frameworks;
(c)Consider voluntary in-depth reporting using standardized indexes and taxonomies including the proposed global registry of indigenous and community conserved areas, where applicable;
(d)Establish transparent and effective mechanisms for stakeholder input and review;
(e)Ensure that reporting on the programme of work on protected areas is clearly integrated with reporting on progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and associated indicators;
34.Requests the Executive Secretary to explore and communicate options for enhancing the review of progress and achievements of the implementation of the programme of work on protected areas by considering additional information to what is provided in national reports as well as by considering the response of Parties that utilize the reporting framework;
35.Encourages Parties to share and update relevant information on their protected areas system with the World Database on Protected Areas, which includes the United Nations List of Protected Areas;
36.Requests the Executive Secretary subject to the availability of financial resources to prepare a comprehensive manual on the use of the reporting framework, and integrate the online reporting tool with the World Database on Protected Areas, in order to facilitate the reporting process and promote the joint use of both tools by the Parties;

C.Target and timetable issues

37.Requests the Executive Secretary to align the targets of the programme of work on protected areas with specific indicators and timelines that are based on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020;
38.Invites Parties to link these indicators and timelines to their national targets and indicators and use this framework to focus monitoring on the progress in the implementation of the programme of work on protected areas.
The annex of this decision is available in PDF format.

66 General Assembly resolution 61/295 of 13 September 2007, annex.
67 Such as the Micronesian Challenge, the Caribbean Challenge, marine conventions, the Dinaric Arc Initiative, the Amazonian Initiative, the Coral Triangle Initiative, the Natura 2000 and Emerald Networks, the Alpine Convention and the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas, the Trans Frontier Conservation Areas Intiative in Southern Africa, the Barents Protected Areas Network (BPAN) in the Barents Euro Arctic Region, Le Réseau des Aires Protégées d'Afrique Centrale (RAPAC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Réseau des aires protégées d’Afrique de l’Ouest (RAPAO), Programme d’Actions Prioritaires pour les Aires Protégées en Méditerranée and the Tropical Eastern Pacfic Marine Corridor.
68 In the context of this programme of work, a generic term used in some countries and regions, as appropriate, to encompass the application of the ecosystem approach that integrates protected areas into broader land- and/or seascapes for effective conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use.
70 Decision VII/16F, annex.

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