• Non-ICIMOD Publication

2003 United Nations list of protected areas

  • Blyth, S.
  • Fish, L.
  • Chape, S.
  • Fox, P.
  • Spalding, M.

The UN List is compiled by the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre working in close collaboration with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). Information is provided by national protected areas authorities and the secretariats of international conventions and programmes. However, the 2003 UN List also benefits from the establishment in 2002 of the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA - the database that underpins the UN List) Consortium. In June 2002, the WCPA, IUCN, UNEP-WCMC and other organisations agreed to progress the development of the WDPA through the formation of a Consortium of co-operative stakeholders. The Consortium currently comprises membership of intergovernmental and non-government organisations, including the major global conservation organisations. Since the formation of the Consortium, members have made valuable contributions to the WDPA, including data that has improved the quality of information in the 2003 UN List. The format and content of the 2003 UN List is a significant departure from the previous editions that have been produced. The UN List has been an evolving process since its inception in 1962, moving from the iconic national park "roll of honour" concept that characterised the earlier UN Lists to one that reflects the range of protected area objectives and values relevant to the late 20th and early 21st century. Criteria and definitions for inclusion have changed, although both the 1997 and 2003 UN Lists use the IUCN Protected Areas Category System as the basis for analysis. Globally the numbers of protected areas have increased substantially, and their conservation values and role in the provision of ecosystem services and sustainable development has broadened considerably. The recent emphasis (relative to the time period of the UN List) on ecosystem approaches, ecological corridors and the function of protected areas as "core" sites within wider landscape conservation frameworks calls for a more inclusive approach to presenting protected areas in the UN List. 

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    IUCN – The World Conservation Union and United Nations Environment Programme UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre http://www.unep-wcmc.org/wdpa/unlist/2003_UN_LIST.pdf