60th birthday of the World Database on Protected Areas!

The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is the most comprehensive global database of protected areas, updated on a monthly basis, and is one of the key global biodiversity data sets used widely by scientists, businesses, governments, Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), and many more, to inform planning, policy decisions and management. The data are made available online through the Protected Planet website, where the data is both viewable and downloadable.

Hermit crab Santa Cruz Galapagos Archipeligo

The WDPA is a joint project between UN Environment and IUCN. The compilation and management of the WDPA is carried out by UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), in collaboration with governments, non-governmental organisations, academia and industry.

To celebrate the 60th year, throughout April at least one protected area per day will be shared by the social media handle @protectedplanet, showing just how valued protected areas are around the world.


The WDPA was established in 1981. The mandate for the database dates back from 1959 when the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council called for a list of national parks and equivalent reserves in recognition that 'are valuable for economic and scientific reasons and also as areas for the future preservation of fauna and flora and geologic structures in their natural state' Resolution 713 (XXVII). The first UN List of Protected Areas, as it became known, was subsequently published in 1962. Since then, there have been several decisions of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, encouraging Parties to share and update relevant information on their protected areas system in the World Database on Protected Areas.

Data Uses

Information from the WDPA is used for reporting on progress towards reaching the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (particularly Target 11), to track progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, for core indicators for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and other international assessments and reports including the Global Biodiversity Outlook, and the publication of the United Nations List of Protected Areas. Every two years, UNEP-WCMC and IUCN releases the Protected Planet Report on the status of the world's protected areas and recommendations on how to meet international goals and targets.

Join us in celebrating the WDPA’s 60th birthday, by sharing information about protected areas by following and tagging @protectedplanet on social media.

For more information, please contact Natasha Ali [email protected] and Heather Bingham [email protected]


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