Kathy MacKinnon, United Kingdom

16 April 2012 | Article

Protected areas are the cornerstones of biodiversity conservation; as such they are central to IUCN’s mission of promoting ecological sustainability. Having spent more than 30 years working on conservation issues in developing countries, I believe that there is good understanding of protected area management needs and challenges.

Nevertheless political support is still weak due to lack of appreciation of the multiple social and economic benefits that conservation can provide. Recent reviews show that protected area systems can be effective natural solutions to help people cope with climate change and other global environmental challenges such as food and water security.

The new quadrennial IUCN Programme provides an exciting opportunity to create greater awareness on the links between biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and human welfare. Delivering the Aichi targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity, including substantial expansion of the global protected area network, will require enhanced support for protected areas under a range of appropriate governance and management regimes.

If elected, I would seek to enhance collaboration between WCPA and IUCN regional programmes and national partners to expand the protected area programme and develop the knowledge and tools to mainstream conservation into climate change strategies and sustainable development plans.

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