Creating a Nature Positive Future: The Contribution of Protected Areas and Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Environment Programme—World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) recently published a report “Creating a Nature Positive Future: The Contribution of Protected Areas and Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures” which calls for an essential focus on the quality aspects of Protected and Conserved Areas. 

According to this report, more equitable, representative, and effective Protected Areas (PAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) are imperative elements for stopping and reversing the continuing loss of global biodiversity.

The top 5 leading drivers of global biodiversity loss shown in the report are:

  • changes in land and sea use
  • direct exploitation of organisms
  • climate change
  • invasive alien species
  • pollution

Nature positive future

It is clear that the contribution of PAs and OECMs is a crucial component for achieving a “nature positive” future, but what does it exactly mean?

Nature positive refers to actions that increase resilience of the planet and biodiversity, as well as societies, with the aim of creating a paradigm shift to reduce the loss of nature, secure nature’s contributions critical for humanity, and enhance sustainable socio-economic development.

Biodiversity and conservation benefits from Protected Areas and other effective area-based conservation measures

As shown in the report, PAs and OECMs contribute to biodiversity conservation and other benefits including water and food security, climate mitigation, disaster risk reduction, livelihoods, health, and human well-being.

The direct benefits and co-benefits provided by PAs and OECMs and the contribution of these towards the Sustainable Development Goals

The direct benefits and co-benefits provided by PAs and OECMs and the contribution of these towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Image from the report: CREATING A NATURE POSITIVE FUTURE THE CONTRIBUTION OF PROTECTED AREAS AND OTHER EFFECTIVE AREA-BASED CONSERVATION MEASURES  

Moreover, in order to achieve a nature-positive future, the report highlights three important considerations that can improve the quality of the PAs and OECMS:

  • Increase coverage, prioritizing representativeness, connectivity, and the conservation of areas important for biodiversity; equitable expansion; and effective management and quality outcomes in PAs and OECMs
  • Scale-up recognition of the contribution of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) territories, lands and waters and secure tenure rights
  • Embed PAs and OECMs into national policies and decision-making frameworks

Shifting the focus on the quality of protection of Protected and Conserved Areas can significantly contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Finally, by collectively working on issues highlighted by this report, we can achieve the CBD’S 2050 Vision of living in harmony with nature:

“By 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.”

The report in several languages can be found and downloaded here.

Next EUROPARC Webinar: Restoring our marine environment to tackle Climate Change

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Next EUROPARC webinar on marine restoration: 21st of December, 11:00 CET.

Register here

Our oceans and seas play an indispensable role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, deterioration of the marine and coastal environment is reducing its ability to do so.

Implementing measures that restore the natural capacity of the environment to mitigate and adapt to climate change can help “turn the tide”. Restoring our marine environment and improving its biodiversity is imperative if we want to maintain all the ecosystem services it has to offer.

In this webinar, we will look at nature restoration projects in two Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas. We will discover how different environmental factors are inventoried and how natural conditions are restored across the Mediterranean. The webinar will address the challenges and solutions of using nature restoration for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Webinar Programme

Welcome and Introduction to the webinar
By Isa Vroom, EUROPARC Policy Assistant.

LIFE ADAPTABLUES project: Adaptation to climate change through management and restoration of European estuarine ecosystems
By Inés Mazarrasa – Researcher at the Environmental Hydraulics Insititute, IHCantabria, of the Universidad de Cantabria (Spain).

The project aims to support the conservation and restoration of estuarine ecosystems in Europe as a strategy to enhance adaptation to climate change in coastal areas of the Atlantic coast. To do so, they are developing technical methodologies and tools to estimate coastal protection and carbon sequestration services provided by estuarine habitats across five different estuaries in Europe, including an inventory of carbon deposits and burial rates. The project includes the restoration of a saltmarsh in Portugal.

ROC-POPLife and ReLife
By Lorenzo Merotto – Marine Biologist.

ROC-POPLife is a project aimed to trigger the restoration and growth of the Cystoseira, a type of brown algae. Cystoseira plays a key role in marine conservation supporting biodiversity, food webs, and sequestrating large amount of CO2. ROC-POPLife has strong links with the ReLife project, which aims to bring back the Patella ferruginaea, a mollusk species. Lorenzo will speak about the impacts of both these projects.

Lets talk about it
All participants will have the chance to ask questions

Get to know the speakers

Inés Mazarrasa
Inés has a PhD in Marine Ecology. She works as a researcher at the Environmental Hydraulics Insititute, IHCantabria, of the Universidad de Cantabria (Spain). Her research focuses on assessing the capacity of coastal ecosystems (mainly seagrass meadows and saltmarshes) to act as carbon sinks and the potential of their restoration and conservation for Climate Chang mitigation.

Lorenzo Merotto
Lorenzo is a marine biologist. Since 2017 he has been working for Portofino Marine Protected Area as a Science Technician. His work is focused on EU projects, both from the technical and administrative point of view. He works on different climate change projects such as Interreg Med MPAdapt, Interreg Med MPEngage and FutureMares. He also carries out field work on monitoring and community engagement.

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EUROPARC events are supported by the European Union, in the framework of the European Commission’s LIFE funding programme of operating grants for European Environmental NGOs. The content of this website does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed lies entirely with the EUROPARC Federation.


Can we learn from each other, sparing time and money? We believe so. EUROPARC Webinars are a good opportunity to share good practices and learn from your peers from across Europe: in each edition, there will be an opportunity to hear about practical examples arising from EUROPARC network