Sixth IUCN World Parks Congress Opens
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The sixth International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress (WPC) opened on 12 November, in Sydney, Australia with a ceremony that transitioned the role of Congress host from South Africa to Australia.

The eight-day event is expected to attract 5,000 participants from more than 160 countries, and culminate in the ‘Promise of Sydney Vision,' a document highlighting the importance of protected areas (PAs), listing promises made during the WPC, and proposing steps for its fulfillment.

logo_wpc201412 November 2014: The sixth International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress (WPC) opened on 12 November, in Sydney, Australia, with a ceremony that transitioned the role of Congress host from South Africa to Australia. The eight-day event is expected to attract 5,000 participants from more than 160 countries, and culminate in the ‘Promise of Sydney Vision,’ a document highlighting the importance of protected areas (PAs), listing promises made during the WPC, and proposing steps for its fulfillment.

Convening under the theme ‘Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions,’ WPC 2014 will take place over several parallel sessions, including plenary meetings, ‘Stream’ and ‘Theme’ sessions, ‘World Leaders’ Dialogues,’ e-poster presentations, field trips and other events. Stream sessions will be held on eight themes, namely: reaching conservation goals; responding to climate change; improving health and well-being; supporting human life; reconciling development challenges; enhancing diversity and quality of governance; respecting indigenous and traditional knowledge and culture; and inspiring a new generation. Cross-cutting themes, addressed within the Streams, are: marine issues; world heritage; capacity development; and a ‘New Social Compact.’

The main outcome document, the ‘Promise of Sydney Vision,’ is expected to include, inter alia: commitments to enhance implementation of conservation and development goals; a web-based resource of inspiring case studies; a capacity-development plan of action; a ‘New Social Compact for Effective and Just Conservation;’ and pledges or announcements by countries, organizations and other partners.

A ‘World Parks Congress Road Map for Capacity Development’ will also be presented and discussed during two sessions. The Road Map will seek to establish a foundation for long-term PA capacity-development programs and products for effective and equitable PA systems management, and enhanced ability for countries to meet their commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The IUCN WPC will convene from 12-19 November and serve as the once-a-decade gathering for multiple PA stakeholders to take stock of PAs, appraise related progress and setbacks, and set the global policy agenda for PAs and other area-based conservation. [IUCN Press Release on Capacity Development] [IUCN WPC 2014 Website] [IISD RS Coverage of IUCN WPC 2014]


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