Governance of protected areas from understanding to action

As biodiversity becomes rarer and increasingly precious, protected areas— the jewel ecosystems, species, genetic
diversity and associated values that societies agree to conserve— are becoming an ever more important focus of interest and concern, delight and conflict. In parallel, we have discovered “governance of protected areas”, a concept that was barely recognised until a decade or so ago. Some early, innovative ways of making sense of it emerged on the eve of the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress (Durban, 2003)3 where, for the first time, an entire stream of events was dedicated to the topic. Since then, concepts and practices have evolved and consolidated into a new, rapidly expanding and developing field of enquiry. Building on these pioneer efforts, this volume 20 in the IUCN Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines series argues that governance that is both appropriate to the context and “good” is crucial for effective and equitable conservation. This applies to all kinds of protected areas and other conserved areas, in terrestrial, inland waters, coastal and marine environments.