(May 7, 2021) The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has added 10 additional protected areas to its “Green List”—a growing list of nearly 60 sites that meet IUCN’s 17 globally applicable standards for protected areas, which focus on good governance, planning, management, and preservation of nature. The standards are developed and monitored by the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), one of six specialized IUCN commissions. In addition to the Green List protected sites accredited across the globe, 80 additional sites are currently candidates to be granted Green List status. The Green List, which was established by the IUCN in 2012, follows IUCN’s better-known Red List of Threatened Species, which was established in 1964 and is the world’s most comprehensive source on the conservation status of animal, fungi, and plant species.
The IUCN is an international organization that was established in 1948 and currently has over 1,400 members, including states, government agencies, national and international nongovernmental organizations, indigenous peoples, and affiliate organizations. The IUCN has played a key role at the global, regional, and national levels in drafting and implementing the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (2011–2020), and the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization. The IUCN has also participated in the process of developing the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which will be confirmed in October 2021 at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Convention on Biological Diversity and a “Triple Planetary Emergency”
The Convention on Biological Diversity and the global standards developed and implemented by the IUCN can be seen in the context of what the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has described in a recent report, Making Peace with Nature, as a triple planetary emergency, encompassing the climate, biodiversity, and pollution crises. Following the COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity later this year, the signatory states to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will convene COP26, which will then be followed by the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) in early 2022.
In addition to activities regarding biological diversity within the United Nations frameworks, various intergovernmental groups and international NGOs are also focused on protecting ecosystems and halting the loss of species globally. For example, the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People has the central goal of protecting at least 30% of the world’s land and oceans by 2030 (30×30). The World Wildlife Fund, for its part, recently produced its 2020 Living Planet Report, “Bending the Curve of Biodiversity Loss,” which provides concrete suggestions for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.