Protected Planet Report 2016

Ppr2016 Front CoverIn 2010, the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2010-2020 and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. It has since been endorsed by multiple Multilateral Environmental Agreements as a global framework for biodiversity. In 2015, the members of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These constitute two of the most important environment and sustainable development commitments ever made by governments in the international fora, and both recognize the important role of protected areas as a key strategy for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the targets they contain, for example, Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, SDG goals 14 and 15. The global protected areas estate is therefore an important contribution to achieving these commitments.

The Protected Planet Report 2016 assesses how protected areas contribute to achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and relevant targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, and highlights current research and case studies as examples of the role protected areas play in conserving biodiversity and cultural heritage.

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  • Ensuring a more sustainable future for people and the planet will require greater recognition of the important role that protected areas (PAs) play in underpinning sustainable development. Strengthened communications of the benefits of protected areas across all sectors of society will help to demonstrate the economic and social values of PAs to existing and future generations (Aichi Biodiversity Target 1).
  • Making PAs a key part of national and local responses to address harmful incentives to biodiversity (Aichi Biodiversity Target 3), biological invasions (Aichi Biodiversity Target 9), anthropogenic impacts and climate change challenges (Aichi Biodiversity Targets 10, 15) will help to halt biodiversity loss (Aichi Biodiversity Targets 5 and 12), improve food and water security, increase the resilience of vulnerable human communities to cope with natural disasters, and promote human health and well-being (Aichi Biodiversity Target 14).
  • PAs also play a key role in enhancing fish stocks and strengthening sustainable management of fisheries (Aichi Biodiversity Target 6), and protected areas in landscapes can promote sustainable production of natural resources in areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry (Aichi Biodiversity Target 7). However, although there are a number of good examples demonstrating how protected areas and sustainable production co-exist, there is still limited information on the factors affecting their success or failure.
  • Just under 15% of the world's terrestrial and inland waters, just over 10% of the coastal and marine areas within national jurisdiction, and approximately 4% of the global ocean are covered by PAs (Aichi Biodiversity Target 11).
  • Nevertheless, PA coverage alone is not a measure of the overall effectiveness of protected area performance or conservation success, and other elements of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 are equally important. For example, the contribution of other effective area based conservation measures may contribute significantly to the important conservation elements of representativeness and connectivity.
  • In terms of the representation element of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, less than half of the world's 823 terrestrial ecoregions have at least 17% of their area in PAs and only one third of the 232 marine ecoregions have at least 10% of their area protected. Less than 20% of Key Biodiversity Areas are completely protected, and therefore further efforts are needed to expand PA systems to ensure that the global PA estate adequately covers areas important for biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services to people.
  • More Protected Area Management Effectiveness Assessments (PAME) are also needed to better understand the impact and contribution of the world's protected areas. By 2015, 17.5% of countries had completed and reported at least one Management Effectiveness assessment for 60% of the reserves within their protected area estate. Analyses of the broad impact of protection on biodiversity indicates that protected areas have, on average, been successful in reducing habitat loss (Aichi Biodiversity Target 5), have had positive impacts on a broad set of species and have lowered the risk of extinction for species whose most important sites were protected (Aichi Target 12).
  • Assessing the full range and value of services and benefits arising from protected areas (Aichi Biodiversity Target 14) will strengthen support to biodiversity financing mechanisms and strategies for protected areas networks (Aichi Biodiversity Target 20), including payments for ecosystem services, allocation of additional government budgets and financing through major development.
  • Countries are increasingly integrating PAs in the national biodiversity strategies and action plans(NBSAPs (Aichi Biodiversity Target 17)) to achieve a range of Aichi Biodiversity Targets. A preliminary analysis of 45 revised NBSAPs indicated that protected areas are framed within NBSAPs as part of broad goals and objectives, as key aspects of national targets.
  • Welcoming indigenous peoples and local communities into shared governance structures and management of protected areas can be an important strategy to ensure PAs respect and integrate traditional knowledge into governance and management measures (Aichi Biodiversity Target 18).
  • Protected and conserved areas will be fundamental for achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and protected areas are used to track progress towards the achievement of SDG goals 14 (Life under water) and 15 (Life on land).