Massive Online Open Course on Peace Park Development and Management

Are you interested in exploring the intersection between biodiversity conservation and community peacebuilding? Would you like to know how to establish a Peace Park using innovative methods based on the most contemporary research and projects actually taking place on the ground? Do you want to become more skilled at tackling the challenges of Peace Park management?

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Peace and Biodiversity Dialogue Initiative in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme invites you to learn how to do just that in our upcoming Massive Online Open Course on Peace Park Development and Management. This free three-week course will be offered in five languages: English, French, Russian, Spanish and Arabic. Financial support is provided by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Peace and Biodiversity Dialogue Initiative funded by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea.

This course will:

• offer a comprehensive guide on Peace Park establishment;

• teach participants to make a strong case for Peace Park development;

• develop the skills to effectively plan, establish and manage Peace Parks;

• address the challenges associated with the creation and management of these transboundary protected areas.

The course is designed for Peace Park development practitioners and environmental peacebuilding enthusiasts but is open to everyone.

Registration link: Click here.

Key dates:

• Registration Opens: 25 November 2018

• Course Runs: 4 February through 22 February 2019

The Secretariat has also developed additional concise learning modules which take approximately an hour each, providing an overview of key terms, concepts, resources, and approaches. To access the module “Transboundary protected areas and regional networks”, other online courses as well as exercises, additional learning materials, and discussion forums, click here.

International boundary areas often contain large, intact and remote ecosystems. Yet because they are dissected by international boundaries, these areas are often subject to different and incompatible management and land-use practices.

This module covers aspects related to transboundary protected areas and regional networks, including the establishment, planning, management, assessment of transboundary areas as well as the lessons "Guidelines for managing tension and armed conflict". See a sample below.

There are some issues in management of transboundary protected areas, such as conflict, that require special attention. Conflicts between countries often occur along international boundaries in remote areas, exactly the places where transboundary protected areas are often located.

Transboundary protected areas may also involve the removal of international boundary fences, further heightening security and safety concerns. In some cases, there may be on going disputes about who owns land, either between countries (border disputes) or within countries (land tenure disputes).

Transboundary protected area managers should develop plans for emergency situations, including armed conflict. This may include developing environmental guidelines related to rules of military engagement, agreement to follow international conventions on environmental and humanitarian issues, and identifying high-priority areas within the transboundary protected area that are considered demilitarized zones under the Geneva Convention.

If armed conflict does arise, protected area authorities should appeal to all parties to respect the agreements of the transboundary protected area, and to abide by international conventions. Where armed conflict threatens internationally-protected biodiversity, protected area authorities may also appeal for international sanctions.

There are a number of international conventions on environmental and humanitarian issues to which governments may appeal. These include instruments for the conservation, sustainable use and restoration of biodiversity across boundaries (e.g., Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar Convention, Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals); instruments concerning respect for human rights (e.g., ILO Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Indigenous Countries, Universal Declaration of Human Rights); and instruments prohibiting environmentally damaging means of warfare (e.g., Convention on the Prohibition of Military of any other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques; IUCN Draft Convention on the Prohibition of Hostile Military Activities in Protected Areas).

If a transboundary protected area becomes a designated area for housing refugees or displaced people, the protected area authority should cooperate closely with outside agencies, such as the UN High Commission on Refugees, to minimize impacts.

After tensions and armed conflicts subside, there will likely be a need for restoration and rehabilitation. These plans should be developed by local and national government agencies, in close collaboration with local communities. The priority should be to restore habitats of rare, threatened and endangered species, and to biodiversity elements that are critical to the overall functioning and integrity of the system, such as corridors.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme