Will the COP15 Targets Influence Protected Area (PA) Management?
On December 19, 2022, the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) concluded in Montreal, Canada, with a historic accord that would direct international environmental action through 2030. The pledge to ensure the effective conservation and management of at least 30% of the world’s lands, inland waters, coastal areas, and oceans — with a focus on areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and services — was one of the primary outcomes of the recently concluded COP15 meeting in Montreal. Presently, 10% and 17% of the world’s marine and terrestrial areas are protected. The GBF (Global Biodiversity Framework) prioritises ecologically diverse, interconnected, and reasonably controlled networks of protected areas and other efficient area-based conservation strategies while honouring indigenous and traditional territories and ways of life. Additionally, there are goals to restore at least 30% of the degraded terrestrial, inland water, coastal, and marine ecosystems and almost completely stop the loss of habitats of high ecological integrity and biodiversity importance. How these targets will be achieved, and indeed whether these will be achieved, remains to be seen. As Jeffery Archer once said, only time will tell. However, for me, the focus on indigenous and traditional territories really stuck out. This potentially could mark a change in both protected area management and biodiversity
Conventional Protected Area Management:
The idea of setting aside protected areas to conserve natural resources has a long history that dates back to ancient civilizations. For example, the ancient Egyptians set aside areas for the protection of game animals, and the ancient Greeks established hunting reserves for the nobility. In the 19th century, the concept of protected areas began to take on a more modern form with the establishment of national parks and nature reserves. The first national park, Yellowstone, was established in the United States in 1872. This was followed by the creation of other national parks in the United States and Canada, as well as the establishment of national parks and nature reserves in other parts of the world.
The creation of protected areas was primarily driven by the desire to preserve natural…