IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Membership Guide (2017)

related: IUCN, TAPAS

The World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is one of six Commissions of individual experts who are part of the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization - the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

English - WCPA Membership Guide

Key Links



Thank you for your interest in becoming a member and contributing to the work of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN Quadrennial Programme 2017-2020. If you would like to know more about the WCPA and the benefits and duties of membership, please visit our website and also read the WCPA Members’ Guide.

Please take a moment to complete the following short application that will enable us to better understand and serve your interests and to indicate the direction and level of your proposed voluntary commitment. The application will only take 5-10 minutes of your time. In addition, you will be requested to provide the name of a WCPA member who supports your application and to upload a letter of recommendation. You will also be asked to upload a short Curriculum Vitae that summarises your skills and experience and can serve as the basis for our consideration of your membership. Please have your letter of recommendation and CV ready to upload.
The purpose of this form is to:
- Confirm you accept the Code of Conduct of the Members of IUCN Commissions;
- Record your membership in the IUCN central records;
- Ensure that we have up-to-date contact details;
- Be helpful to analyze the IUCN Commissions' demographics.

More Background
IUCN is a unique cross sectoral organisation. Its members come from some 160 countries. They include more than 1,200 member organizations: 200-plus government agencies and 900-plus non-government organisations (NGOs). Its 1000 staff members in 45 offices around the world are working on various conservation projects. The parties to the Convention on Biodiversity acknowledge IUCN as the pre-eminent global conservation body.

While the members of the IUCN are governments, organisations and institutions, the Commissions are composed of individual specialists appointed for their expertise and their willingness to contribute that expertise to global conservation goals. More than 11,000 internationally recognised scientists and experts from more than 180 countries volunteer their services to IUCN’s six global commissions. The Commissions specialise in important areas of policy, such as the Commission on Environmental Law or the Commission on Environmental Education. For more than 50 years this ‘Green Web’ of partnerships has generated environmental conventions, global standards, scientific knowledge and innovative leadership. The World Commission on Protected Areas is the world's leading global network of protected area specialists.

The current Chair of WCPA is Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich (Mexico); WCPA Deputy Chair is Kathy MacKinnon (UK).

More information about WCPA is available at http://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/gpap_home/gpap_wcpa/.

The WCPA mission is:

"To promote the establishment and effective management of a world-wide representative network of terrestrial and marine protected areas, as an integral contribution to the IUCN mission."

The organisation has the following objectives:

  • to help governments and others plan protected areas and integrate them into all sectors, through provision of strategic advice to policy makers;
  • to strengthen capacity and effectiveness of protected areas managers, through provision of guidance, tools and information and a vehicle for networking;
  • to increase investment in protected areas, by persuading public and corporate donors of their value; and
  • to enhance WCPA's capacity to implement its programme, including through co-operation with IUCN members and partners.
In recent years WCPA’s global work has centered around assisting countries to implement the Programme of Work on Protected Areas under the Convention on Biodiversity.

The work of the Commission is vital. Protected areas are the core lands and waters in the global effort to conserve biodiversity on earth as well as contribute multiple services and values to both urban and rural communities. Such areas are massively threatened around the world and climate change is creating new challenges. While protected areas are the core focus of the Commission’s work, WCPA covers the broad agenda of modern biodiversity conservation, which includes conservation networks on all land tenures and marine environments, working with communities and generating benefits beyond the boundaries of protected areas.

The WCPA is a global network, which facilitates the sharing of information and professional experience. It mobilises effort and initiatives across sectors and participates in IUCN inter-state and regional activities. Many members in particular regions join forces to:

  • develop the major tool of protected area classification in the world, the IUCN Protected Area Management Guidelines
  • contribute expertise to international processes such as World Heritage assessments, project evaluation
  • contribute expertise to national programs such as implememntation of the CBD PoW on Protected Areas and national biodiversity strategies
  • produce publications, such as the internationally acknowledged Best Practice Protected Area Guideline Series
  • organise workshops, conferences and online networks to share knowledge
  • participate in international exchange of knowledge through such forums as the World Parks Congress and IUCN World Conservation Congress
  • contribute substantive work in areas, such as management effectiveness.

Membership Guide (2015)

WCPA Structure

WCPA has over 1700 members spanning 140 countries. WCPA is centrally coordinated by a Steering Committee and works closely with and is supported by the IUCN Programme on Protected Areas (PPA). At IUCN’s General Assembly a Chair is elected.

The Chair then appoints global Vice Chairs. They represent three areas: IUCN regions, key PA themes (Task Forces and Specialist Groups) and the biomes of marine and mountain ecosystems. The Vice Chairs make up the International Steering Committee of WCPA. They usually meet once yearly to discuss strategy and key policy issues. Every ten years IUCN/WCPA holds a World Congress to debate the key issues of protected area management. The next World Park Congress will be held in 2014 in Australia.

Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group

Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS) is one of WCPA structural divisions which is committed to support sustainable tourism in protected areas.

The mission of the TAPAS group is to provide a forum where people collaborate, stimulate dialogue, share expertise, develop and disseminate knowledge, and enhance learning, in order to enable the planning, development and management of sustainable tourism in PAs. TAPAS supports the WCPA in matters related to tourism, and collaborates with other IUCN and WCPA groups. The TAPAS Group has six key objectives which are to:

  1. 1. Provide strategic advice to governments and others on the optimum approaches to sustainable tourism in protected and natural areas.
  2. 2. Strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of protected area managers and policy makers and others in relation to sustainable tourism.
  3. 3. Enhance the level of tourism contribution to the goals of protected areas and protected area systems.
  4. 4. Enhance the capacity of WCPA, including through co-operative ventures with networks and partners and, in particular IUCN members, and recognize their contributions.
  5. 5. Develop and disseminate knowledge on tourism and protected areas, including case studies and best practice syntheses.
  6. 6. Provide an interactive forum for individuals working on protected areas and tourism, which allows them to network, communicate, collaborate and develop partnerships.

Please find below the link of the final Agenda for the WCPA Members meeting.
For your information we are also sending a information on important WCC logistical issues that requires your attention.

Link agenda: https://portals.iucn.org/union/sites/union/files/doc/draft_agenda_wcpa_members_meeting_1_sep_2016.pdf

Link Logistical information: https://portals.iucn.org/union/sites/union/files/doc/wcc_logistics_information_for_wcpa.pdf

Code of Conduct for all members of IUCN Commissions

Much of what the IUCN achieves is a collective contribution. Membership in IUCN’s Commissions confers a high level of recognition and respect to professionals who volunteer to join in IUCN’s overall efforts to achieve its important mission and vision. This document is designed to ensure that all members of IUCN’s Commissions consistently conduct their work and interactions in an ethical, professional, impartial, unbiased and tolerant manner. Please ensure that you take the time to read and familiarize with this Code of Conduct.

English - Code of Conduct of Members of IUCN Commissions
Français - Code de Conduite des Membres des Commissions de l'UICN
Español - Código de Conducta para los Miembros de las Comisiones de la UICN

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