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World Commission on Protected Areas


The World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is one of six Commissions of individual experts who are part of the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization – the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

English – WCPA Membership Guide

Key Links




The WCPA mission is:

“To promote the establishment and effective management of a world-wide representative network of terrestrial and marine protected areas, as an integral contribution to the IUCN mission.”

The organisation has the following objectives:

  • to help governments and others plan protected areas and integrate them into all sectors, through provision of strategic advice to policy makers;
  • to strengthen capacity and effectiveness of protected areas managers, through provision of guidance, tools and information and a vehicle for networking;
  • to increase investment in protected areas, by persuading public and corporate donors of their value; and
  • to enhance WCPA’s capacity to implement its programme, including through co-operation with IUCN members and partners.

In recent years WCPA’s global work has centered around assisting countries to implement the Programme of Work on Protected Areas under the Convention on Biodiversity.

The work of the Commission is vital. Protected areas are the core lands and waters in the global effort to conserve biodiversity on earth as well as contribute multiple services and values to both urban and rural communities. Such areas are massively threatened around the world and climate change is creating new challenges. While protected areas are the core focus of the Commission’s work, WCPA covers the broad agenda of modern biodiversity conservation, which includes conservation networks on all land tenures and marine environments, working with communities and generating benefits beyond the boundaries of protected areas.


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