Other effective area-based conservation measures

The World Database on other effective area-based conservation measures

From this page you can download the first ever release of the World Database on other effective area-based conservation measures (WD-OECM), published in December 2019. This database is being developed to store data on areas that meet the following definition:

“a geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the insitu conservation of biodiversity, with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio–economic, and other locally relevant values” (CBD, 2018)

Geodatabase download

Shapefile download

CSV download

OECMs complement protected areas through sustained, positive conservation outcomes, even though they may be managed primarily for other reasons. The WD-OECM can be combined with the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) to provide a more comprehensive picture of the world’s conservation network.

Points to note before using the WD-OECM:

  • The WDPAID is the unique identifier for both the WD-OECM and WDPA. It remains unique even when the two databases are combined;
  • When the two databases are combined, the PA_DEF field can be used to distinguish protected areas (1) from OECMs (0);
  • The WD-OECM has two fields not present in the WDPA:
    • CONS_OBJ (conservation objectives): this field refers to the primacy of conservation objectives. The field provides an indication of whether an OECM is managed with biodiversity conservation as a primary objective, secondary objective, or without conservation as an explicit objective. It should not be considered binding, and the primacy of conservation objectives may change over time without affecting an OECM’s status. A move to conservation as a primary objective may, however, coincide with an OECM being reclassified as a protected area, with the consent of the governance authority.
    • SUPP_INFO (supplementary info): link or reference to information supporting the categorization of the site as an OECM.

The December 2019 release

Because OECMs were only formally defined in 2018, many countries are still working to identify and map them. As a result, the data in the first release of the WD-OECM is very limited, covering just two countries and territories:

  • Canada has added 137 OECMs to its 8,161 protected areas. As a result, the country’s marine coverage has increased dramatically, from 2.9% to 7.7%, with OECMs now constituting more of Canada’s marine conservation network than protected areas. The extent of Canada’s terrestrial conservation coverage has also increased from 10.7% to 11.3%.
  • Guernsey has added ten OECMs to its four protected areas. In addition to marginally increasing its marine coverage, Guernsey has significantly raised its terrestrial conservation coverage from 4% to 10.6%.

Although it covers only two countries and territories, this dataset provides a first indication of the dramatic impact that documenting OECMs may have on conservation networks around the world. While increasing the coverage of area-based conservation measures is important, it is essential that OECMs are identified in accordance with CBD and IUCN-WCPA guidance, and that they are appropriately supported and incentivised, enabling them to maintain the long-term conservation benefits for which they are recognised.

We look forward to working with governments and other data-providers to expand the WD-OECM. Please get in touch if you have data you would like to contribute: [email protected]

Guidance on providing data

Guidance on providing OECM data: English

Guidance on providing OECM data: Français

Guidance on providing OECM data: Español