The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 completed with “The Promise of Sydney”

Head of the Association Sunce Nature Conservation Programme, Zrinka Jakl, participated in the IUCN World Parks Congress, held in Sydney, Australia, 12 to 19 November 2014.
It was an opportunity for Sunce to compare its “local efforts with global circumstances and trends” in protected areas management. A series of presentations, workshops and activities for a total of 6000 gathered experts from 170 countries guaranteed intense Congress.
The main topic was how to achieve effective protection by 2020 of at least 17% of land and 10% of Earth ocean surface, the Congress ended in the spirit of “The Promise of Sydney”, which strives towards this goal.
The key focus of the Congress was on economic benefits and cost effectiveness of preserving the world’s natural resources, while contributing to the reduction and climate change adaptation. Innovative financing models and combination of public and private funding sources for nature conservation were intensively discussed.
Despite the fact that Congress participants came from all over the world, different political and cultural environments, impression is that the problems of nature protection are similar in almost all countries. But also are common many solutions, some of which we will certainly try to apply in our work.
In the time of growing struggle for resources and climate change it is sometimes easy to be pessimistic about natural resources conservation. However, Congress has once again shown that optimism has no alternative if we want to continue to live on this planet and that positive change is possible.
Many countries, from Australia over Gabon to Russia, pledged to make great strides in increasing the surface area and the effectiveness of protected area management. Examples of countries like Palau provide optimism that with the knowledge, the political courage and commitment major changes are possible.
This country has protected more than 50% of the territorial sea, 80% of its marine exclusive economic zone and 20% of land. Because of his commitment to effective management of Palau, their president Tommy Remengesau this year received the UNEP “Champions of the Earth” award.
Also interesting are the new technological solutions that were presented by Google and NASA. Tools such as Oceans Street View (underwater Google Earth), Earth Engine, Ocean Data View, Global Fishing Watch, Values open up many new opportunities for more effective planning, monitoring and surveillance of protected areas.
“IUCN Protected Planet Report 2014”  which was launched during the Congress, gives an overview of where we are on a global scale in terms of achieving the objectives of nature conservation set out in The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
In order to promote examples of best practices and management effectiveness of protected areas IUCN “Green List of Protected Areas” was also presented, as the first global standard of efficient management, an indicator of excellence of individual protected areas. This award was granted to 23 sites in Australia, China, Colombia, France, Italy, Kenya, Spain and South Korea. Croatia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nepal, Peru and Russia expressed their commitment to undergo the IUCN Green List assessment in the next phase of the initiative.
We thank MAVA Foundation and IUCN, which enabled Association Sunce to be part of this global community through the participation of our representative Zrinka Jakl. We will do our best to implement our part of “The Promise of Sydney”.