On 13 November 2017, coinciding with the third anniversary of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014, IUCN and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) concluded a new partnership agreement that will contribute significantly to delivering the Promise of Sydney. Following many years of mutual support between IUCN, the World Commission on Protected Areas and BfN’s International Academy for Nature Conservation (INA), based on the Isle of Vilm in the Baltic Sea, the new partnership will promote implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA), the achievement of the Aichi Targets and delivering the Promise of Sydney.
BfN is highly committed to supporting multilateral environmental agreements as an important component of Germany’s international cooperation for the environment, and in particular through their work on Protected Areas and World Heritage. Since the founding of INA more than 25 years ago, many thousands of participants in workshops and seminars have visited the special retreat island of Vilm to explore innovative approaches to conservation issues, and to develop case studies and best practices for wider dissemination. Committed to professionalising the governance and management of protected and conservation areas, the Academy has worked closely with IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas to bring experts together to develop and provide advice on a range of contemporary themes and topics.
The new Partnership Agreement makes provision for a three year renewable work programme, where BfN and IUCN will cooperate to scale up this mutual support. Initial proposals for the work programme include:
- Supporting delivery of the Promise of Sydney by advancing and promoting key concepts, including on Privately Protected Areas; Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas; Transboundary Conservation; Nature-based Solutions for Disaster Risk Reduction; and Benefit Assessment Tools.
- A special focus on providing input into the Post-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, including accelerating ambition and progress on Aichi Target 11.
- Developing a five year vision for work on World Heritage, that will include a focus on the relationship between nature and culture.
- Building on Vilm’s long-term role as a centre for capacity development, work will continue towards professionalising protected area management and developing appropriate curricula, training and learning resources.
The agreement proposes to use Vilm as a venue for a world class conservation think tank every few years. As a part of the partnership, IUCN and BfN will conceptualise the first of these events, to be held in 2020.