IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, believes that protected areas lie at the heart of all effective biodiversity conservation strategies. They offer much more as well: clean water, food security, health and wealth; protection against natural disasters; carbon sequestration; recreational opportunities; sacred natural sites; homes and employment. The Programme of Work on Protected Areas is one of the great successes of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and has helped stimulate rapid growth in both the number and effectiveness of protected areas throughout the world. This is a vital initiative, but there is still a lot to do. IUCN and its World Commission on Protected Areas, in partnership with many governments, intergovernmental bodies and NGOs, has played a major role in crafting the agenda for the Programme. IUCN remains committed to supporting the CBD as the work on protected areas enters a new phase after Nagoya. The latest research shows that without significant investment, protected areas may not be able to continue to provide the multiple benefits which have been enjoyed up until now. This booklet tells you why investing in protected areas is important and lays out IUCN's commitments to making the vision of the Programme of Work on Protected Areas a reality.