With 14.7 per cent of the Earth’s land and 10 per cent of its territorial waters under protection, the world is on track to meet a major global conservation target, according to a new report by UN Environment and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.
But the 2016 Protected Planet report (pdf) also shows that crucial biodiversity areas are being left out, key species and habitats are underrepresented, and inadequate management is limiting the effectiveness of protected areas, UN Environment and IUCN said in a statement about the report.
“The huge gains in the number and size of protected areas made in the last decade have to be matched by improvements in their quality,” said UN Environment Head Erik Solheim.
“The world needs to do more to effectively protect our most biologically diverse spaces. Protected areas need to be better connected, to allow populations of animals and plants to mix and spread. Also important is ensuring local communities are involved in protection efforts. Their support is fundamental to long-term conservation.”
“Today, the world is facing critical environmental and societal challenges, such as climate change, food and water security,” said IUCN Director General Inger Andersen. “Protected areas play a major role in conserving species and ecosystems that help us confront these challenges. Ensuring that they are carefully mapped and effectively managed is crucial if we want to continue to prosper on this planet.”