TARGET 11 - Technical Rationale extended (provided in document COP/10/INF/12/Rev.1)

Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity

Target 11: By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascape.

Technical rationale: Well governed and effectively managed protected areas are a proven method for safeguarding both habitats and populations of species and for delivering important ecosystem services.37,38,39,40,41 Currently, some 13 per cent of terrestrial areas and 5 per cent of coastal areas are protected, while very little of the open oceans are protected. The current target of 10 per cent protection for each ecological region has been achieved in approximately 55 per cent of all terrestrial eco-regions.42 Therefore reaching this target implies a modest increase in terrestrial protected areas globally, with an increased focus on representivity and management effectiveness.43 It further implies that major efforts to expand marine protected areas would be required. A focus on representivity is crucial as current protected area networks have gaps, and some fail to offer adequate protection to many species and ecosystems. These gaps include many sites of high biodiversity value such as Alliance for Zero Extinction sites and Important Bird Areas44,45,46. Particular emphasis is needed to protect critical ecosystems such as tropical coral reefs, sea-grass beds, deepwater cold coral reefs, seamounts, tropical forests, peat lands, freshwater ecosystems and coastal wetlands.

Implementation: Protected areas should be integrated into the wider land- and seascape, and relevant sectors, bearing in mind the importance of complementarity and spatial configuration. In doing so, the Ecosystem Approach should be applied taking into account ecological connectivity and the concept of ecological networks, including connectivity for migratory species (through, for example, “fly-ways” for migratory birds). Protected areas should also be established and managed in close collaboration with, and through equitable processes that recognize and respect the rights of indigenous and local communities, and vulnerable populations.47 These communities should be fully engaged in governing and managing protected areas according to their rights, knowledge, capacities and institutions, should equitably share in the benefits arising from protected areas and should not bear inequitable costs. IUCN’S Guidelines for applying protected area management categories recognizes four broad types of governance of protected areas, any of which can be associated with any management objective. These categories include governance by government, shared governance, private governance, and governance by indigenous peoples and local communities. These cut across all categories of protected areas. Other effective area based conservation measures may also include restrictions on activities that impact on biodiversity, which would allow for the safeguarding of sites in areas beyond national jurisdiction in a manner consistent with the jurisdictional scope of the Convention as contained in Article 4. Work towards this target could also be linked to the more specific targets under the programme of work on protected areas and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. The World Parks Congress is a further resource which can be drawn upon when taking actions towards this target. Protected areas could be complemented by limits to processes and activities harmful to biodiversity that are under the jurisdiction or control of Parties, including in areas beyond national jurisdiction, while ensuring that such limits do not infringe on the rights of indigenous or local communities, or vulnerable populations.

Indicator and baseline information: Relevant indicators to measure progress towards this target are the coverage of sites of significance for biodiversity covered by protected areas and the connectivity/fragmentation of ecosystems. Other possible indicators include the trends in extent of selected biomes, ecosystems and habitats, the Marine Trophic Index, the overlay of protected areas with ecoregions, the governance and management effectiveness of protected areas, trends in the extent of selected biomes, ecosystems and habitats, and water quality in aquatic ecosystems. Strong baseline information, from sources such as the World Database of Protected Areas, Alliance for Zero Extinction, Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, already exists for many of these indicators.


Milestones for this target included in the Programme of Work on Protected Areas are:
  • By 2012, in the marine area, a global network of comprehensive, representative and effectively-managed national and regional protected area systems is established;
  • By 2012, all protected areas are effectively and equitably managed, using participatory and science-based site planning processes that incorporate clear biodiversity objectives, targets, management strategies and monitoring and evaluation protocols;
  • By 2015, all protected areas and protected area systems are integrated into the wider land- and seascape, and relevant sectors, by applying the Ecosystem Approach and taking into account ecological connectivity, likely climate change impacts and, where appropriate, the concept of ecological networks.

37Ervin, J, et al. 2010. Making Protected Areas Relevant: A guide to integrating protected areas into wider landscapes, seascapes and sectoral plans and strategies. CBD Technical Series No. 44.
38Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2008). Synthesis and Review of the Best Available Scientific Studies on Priority Areas for Biodiversity Conservation in Marine Areas beyond the Limits of National Jurisdiction. Technical Series No. 37.
39Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2008). Protected Areas in Today’s World: Their Values and Benefits for the Welfare of the Planet. Technical Series No. 36.
40Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2008). Implementation of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas: Progress and Perspectives. Abstracts of Poster Presentations at the Second Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Protected Areas, 11–15 February, 2008 in Rome, Italy Technical Series no. 35.
41Langhammer, PF. et al. (2007) Identification and Gap Analysis of Key Biodiversity Areas: Targets for Comprehensive Protected Area Systems. IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines Series No. 15. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
42There are several classification schemes for ecoregions. One of these schemes is that developed by the WWF which identifies 825 terrestrial, 426 freshwater ecoregions and 229 coast and shelf marine ecoregions across the world.
43Fiona Leverington, Marc Hockings and Katia Lemos Costa (2008). Management effectiveness evaluation in protected areas: Report for the project ‘Global study into management effectiveness evaluation of protected areas’, The University of Queensland, Gatton, IUCN WCPA, TNC, WWF, AUSTRALIA.
44Some 20% of 3,896 threatened vertebrates are not included in any protected (Rodrigues et al 2004, Bioscience 54: 1092-1100) and only 39% of the area of Important Bird Areas (10,993 sites critical for conservation of the world’s birds) and 42% of the area of Alliance for Zero Extinction sites (561 sites holding the last remaining population of highly threatened mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile or conifer species) currently have any formal protection (Butchart et al 2010, Science 10.1126/science.1187512).
45Ricketts, T.H. et al. (2005) Pinpointing and preventing imminent extinctions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 102: 18497–18501.
46Butchart, S.H.M. et al. (2010) Global biodiversity: indicators of recent declines. Science 328: 1164–1168.
47The In-depth review of the implementation of the programme of work on protected areas (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/14/5) identified, inter alia, slow progress in the implementation of the Programme, and particularly of Element 2 concerning governance, participation, equity, and benefit-sharing.