The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress (WPC) 2014 has concluded in Sydney, Australia, with the release of “The Promise of Sydney” which outlines an agenda for the protection of the Earth’s natural assets over the next decade, and positions protected areas (PAs) as effective and in-place efficient solutions to many of the world’s critical developmental and environmental challenges.
This collaborative outcome document recognizes that human life on Earth depends on ecosystems, and that recalibrating the core relationship between human society and nature is essential. Key messages from the Congress’ streams and cross-cutting themes, presented as
“Innovative Approaches to Transformative Change” include:
– responding to climate change
– improving health and well-being, supporting human life
– enhancing diversity and quality of governance
– respecting indigenous and traditional knowledge and culture; and
– inspiring a new generation.
An online portal launched during the Congress, allows the sharing of studies and success stories regarding issues related to PAs, aimed to “Inspiring Protected Areas Solutions” (IPAS), around the world.
Action pledges in support of the Promise of Sydney were made by nearly 100 governments and other entities including:
– UN Development Program (UNDP), to mobilize at least US$100 million to support the diversity and quality of governance of Pas;
– Australia, to provide AUS$14 million to conservation;
– Brazil, to protect 5% of its marine waters;
– China, to increase its PA coverage by at least 20%;
– Kiribati and the US, to jointly conserve nearly 490,000 square nautical miles; and
– Madagascar, to triple its marine protected areas.
This document also includes an outline for achieving the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Biodiversity Target to protect -17% of land and 10% of oceans by 2020.
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General, called “parks by far the best investment the world can make to address some of today’s biggest challenges” and this World Parks Congress has “propelled major commitments from leaders across all levels of society to secure the benefits protected areas provide to humanity and ensure a sustainable future.”