Thursday, 14 November 2013

The voyage to Sydney 2014: 8 essential things you should know about the World Parks Congress

This is the first of an occasional series of blogs that will keep you up to date with what is happening on marine issues in the lead up to the Parks Congress in 2014. Check back for latest updates.

Eight essential facts:

1. What is the World Parks Congress?

The IUCN World Parks Congress is a landmark global forum on protected areas held every ten years. As the world’s most influential gathering of people involved in protected area management, it sets the global agenda for the following decade. Please see for more information.

2. Why is it important?

More than a meeting place, the Congress will set the protected areas agenda through its design to achieve outcomes that have global and local impact, and influence the direction and trends involved in contemporary protected area management. To achieve real impact, the Congress aims to bring together not only leaders in the parks and protected areas field, but also business, government and influential individuals that depend on or impact protected areas. It will also strive to engage a diversity of young people around the world as the main proponents of a new vision and perspective on the role and value of protected areas. This holistic view will ensure the Congress results in outcomes that last, and that will influence policy, practice and perspectives for conservation and development in the decade that follows.

3. What are the details for the 2014 World Parks Congress?

The IUCN World Parks Congress will take place 12 - 19 November 2014 in Sydney, Australia. As with previous Congresses it is organised by IUCN in close collaboration with the country hosts: Parks Australia and New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. This Congress will take on special significance as it falls right before the mid-point of the ten year timeframe of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, agreed upon at the CBD meeting in Nagoya, Japan in 2010. Target 11 calls for at least 17% of the world’s terrestrial areas and 10% of the world’s marine areas to be equitably managed and conserved by 2020. The Congress will effectively serve as a mid-term Target 11 summit, providing conservation leaders the opportunity to take stock of progress and suggest new, bold approaches for moving forward on protected areas and biodiversity conservation. The Congress is expected to attract more than 3,000 participants

4. What is the theme for the Congress?

Parks, People, Planet – Inspiring Solutions at the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress

As challenges in sustainable development and sustainable use of the earth’s natural resources accelerate, the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress will play a key role in ensuring that protected areas can contribute towards addressing them. The ultimate aim of the Congress is to position parks and protected areas firmly within broader goals of economic and community wellbeing. The theme of the Congress has therefore been selected as Parks, People Planet: Inspiring Solutions.

In Sydney, meeting the challenges of sustainable development and contributing to community wellbeing will be achieved by increasing understanding of the vital role of protected areas in conserving biodiversity and delivering ecosystem services. This progress will contribute substantially to realizing IUCN’s overall vision of a “just world that values and conserves nature.”

5. Who is organizing the Congress?

The World Parks Congress is being organized by IUCN, Parks Australia and the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

6. How will the World Parks Congress be organized?

The World Parks Congress program consists of eight streams and four cross-cutting themes. These streams and themes will look ahead to anticipate and address prominent issues and challenges faced by parks and protected areas, vital to positioning them firmly within the broader goals of economic and community well-being through the next decade and beyond. Stream leaders are responsible for designing the content of each stream and contributing to the overall program content for the plenary and sub-plenary sessions, as well as facilitating the achievement of the Congress outcomes and deliverables.

Reaching Conservation Goals
Responding to Climate Change
Improving Health and Well-Being
Supporting Human Life
Reconciling Development Challenges
Enhancing the Diversity and Quality of Governance
Respecting Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge and Culture
Inspiring a New Generation

Cross-cutting themes are relevant to and will be incorporated within each stream. They will also allow delegates to the WPC 2014 to follow a particular thematic journey across the different streams, and inspire bold new directions for each theme.
World Heritage
Capacity Development
New Social Compact

7. How will the ocean be featured? Who's running the marine cross cut theme?

The ocean will be brought into the World Parks Congress as the Marine Cross-Cut Theme that, as its name implies, will intersect the main eight streams of the Congress to ensure at least one marine session per stream. Additionally, marine-themed meetings, special events, capacity building opportunities, and field trips are being planned. The development of the Marine Theme is being led by a partnership among WCPA-Marine, IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Program, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and National MPA Center.

8. How will the Marine Theme program be developed?

The Marine Theme will be developed in a framework formed of three primary components: The overarching Congress theme of Inspiring Solutions; the Marine Theme's three objectives of Protect More, Involve More, and Invest More; and the commitment of the Congress and theme organizers to building a rich legacy of real and practical products and projects of immediate benefits to the MPA community and the Ocean planet. The theme organizers are working with stream leaders and engaging with a host of other partners to build champions for marine sessions, events, workshops, and products.