Protected areas

Cornerstones of biodiversity conservation

Programme of Work

The Programme of Work on Protected Areas includes an introduction and 16 goals, divided across 4 programme elements. Click on each element to view the actual text of the Programme of Work. You can also learn more about each goal by clicking here.

Programme Element 4: Standards, assessment, and monitoring

Goal 4.1 - To develop and adopt minimum standards and best practices for national and regional protected area systems

Target: By 2008, standards, criteria, and best practices for planning, selecting, establishing, managing and governance of national and regional systems of protected areas are developed and adopted.

Suggested activities of the Parties

4.1.1 Collaborate with other Parties and relevant organizations, particularly IUCN, on the development, testing, review and promotion of voluntary protected areas standards and best practices on planning and management, governance and participation.

4.1.2 Develop and implement an efficient, long-term monitoring system of the outcomes being achieved through protected area systems in relation to the goals and targets of this work programme.

4.1.3 Draw upon monitoring results to adapt and improve protected area management based on the ecosystem approach.

Suggested supporting activities of the Executive Secretary

4.1.4 In collaboration with the key partners and based upon the best practices promote available guidance for parties minimum standards for planning, selecting, establishing, managing and governance of protected area sites and systems.

4.1.5 Compile information on best practices and case-studies on effective management of protected areas and disseminate it through clearing-house mechanism and facilitate exchange of information.

Goal 4.2: To evaluate and improve the effectiveness of protected areas management

Target: By 2010, frameworks for monitoring, evaluating and reporting protected areas management effectiveness at sites, national and regional systems, and transboundary protected area levels adopted and implemented by Parties.

Suggested activities of the Parties

4.2.1 Develop and adopt, by 2006, appropriate methods, standards, criteria and indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of protected area management and governance, and set up a related database, taking into account the IUCN-WCPA framework for evaluating management effectiveness, and other relevant methodologies, which should be adapted to local conditions.

4.2.2 Implement management effectiveness evaluations of at least 30 percent of each Party's protected areas by 2010 and of national protected area systems and, as appropriate, ecological networks.

4.2.3 Include information resulting from evaluation of protected areas management effectiveness in national reports under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

4.2.4 Implement key recommendations arising from site- and system-level management effectiveness evaluations, as an integral part of adaptive management strategies.

Suggested supporting activities of the Executive Secretary

4.2.5 Compile and disseminate information on management effectiveness through the clearing-house mechanism and develop a database of experts in evaluation of protected area management effectiveness and consider the possibility of organizing an international workshop on appropriate methods, criteria and indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of protected area management.

4.2.6 In cooperation with IUCN-WCPA and other relevant organizations, compile and disseminate information on best practices in protected area design, establishment and management.

Goal 4.3: To assess and monitor protected area status and trends

Target: By 2010, national and regional systems are established to enable effective monitoring of protected-area coverage, status and trends at national, regional and global scales, and to assist in evaluating progress in meeting global biodiversity targets.

Suggested activities of the Parties

4.3.1 Implement national and regional programmes to monitor and assess the status and trends of biodiversity within protected area systems and sites.

4.3.2 Measure progress towards achieving protected area targets based on periodic monitoring and report on progress towards these targets in future national reports under the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as in a thematic report at COP-9.

4.3.3 Improve and update national and regional databases on protected areas and consolidate the World Database on Protected Areas as key support mechanisms in the assessment and monitoring of protected area status and trends.

4.3.4 Participate in the World Database on Protected Areas maintained by UNEP-WCMC, and the United Nations List of Protected Areas and the State of the World's Protected Areas assessment process.

4.3.5 Encourage the establishment and establishment use of new technologies including geographic information system and remote sensing tools for monitoring protected areas.

Suggested supporting activities of the Executive Secretary

4.3.6 Develop and consolidate working partnerships with appropriate organizations and institutions that have developed and maintained monitoring systems and databases on protected areas, in particular with the UNEP-WCMC and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.

4.3.7 Explore establishment of a harmonized system and time schedule for reporting on sites designated under the Convention on Wetlands, the World Heritage Convention, and UNESCO MAB programme, and other regional systems, as appropriate, taking into account the ongoing work of UNEP-WCMC on harmonization of reporting and the IUCN protected area management category system for reporting purpose.

4.3.8 Prepare an updated format for the thematic report on protected areas covering, inter alia, integration of protected areas and national systems of protected areas into relevant sectors and spatial planning taking into account decision VII/25 on national reporting.

Goal 4.4: To ensure that scientific knowledge contributes to the establishment and effectiveness of protected areas and protected area Systems

Target: Scientific knowledge relevant to protected areas is further developed as a contribution to their establishment, effectiveness, and management.

Suggested activities of the Parties

4.4.1 Improve research, scientific and technical cooperation related to protected areas at national, regional and international levels.

4.4.2 Promote interdisciplinary research, to improve understanding of the ecological social and economic aspects of protected areas, including methods and techniques for valuation of goods and services from protected areas

4.4.3 Encourage studies to improve the knowledge of the distribution, status and trends of biological diversity.

4.4.4 Encourage collaborative research between scientists and indigenous and local communities in accordance with Article 8(j) in connection with the establishment and the effective management of protected areas

4.4.5 Promote the dissemination of scientific information from and on protected areas including through the clearing-house mechanism.

4.4.6 Promote the dissemination of, and facilitate access to, scientific and technical information, in particular publications on protected areas, with special attention to the needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition, in particular least developed countries and small island developing States.

4.4.7 Develop and strengthen working partnerships with appropriate organizations and institutions which undertake research studies leading to an improved understanding of biodiversity in protected areas.


Indicative list of partners and other Collaborators


  • Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species

  • Food and Agriculture Organization

  • Global Environment Facility

  • InterGovernmental Oceanic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  • International Coral Reef Initiative

  • International Maritime Organization

  • International Association for Impact Assessment

  • IUCN - The World Conservation and its World Commission on Protected Areas, Commission on Ecosystem Management, and Species Survival Commission

  • International Whaling Commission

  • Man and Biosphere Programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  • Ramsar Convention

  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

  • United Nations Development Programme

  • UNEP - World Conservation Monitoring Centre

  • United Nations Forum on Forests

  • World Heritage Centre of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • World Bank

Other Collaborators

  • BirdLife International

  • Conservation International

  • Fauna and Flora International

  • The Nature Conservancy

  • Wildlife Conservation Society

  • World Resources Institute

  • WWF

  • Indigenous and local communities

  • Private sector

  • Other relevant national, regional and international non-Governmental organizations and other organizations