IUCN World Parks Congress 2014

Event date: 
2014-11-12 (All day) to 2014-11-19 (All day)


Introduction and background
Theme and message
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Introduction and background


Deputy Environment Minister Ms Barbara Thomson addresses the 6th World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia on behalf of South Africa.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress (WPC) 2014 is a landmark global forum on protected areas held every 10 years. The 5th Congress was held in Durban, South Africa, in 2003. The Durban Action, adopted at the end of the 2003 Congress, was accepted by the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of Parties (CBD COP 7) as the Programme of Work on Protected Areas. 

Building on the theme "Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions", it will present, discuss and create original approaches for conservation and development, helping to address the gap in the conservation and sustainable development agenda.

Delegates will consider ways to address the gap between conservation and the sustainable development agenda. Delegates will in the coming days articulate the vital role of protected areas in conserving nature while delivering essential ecosystem services; position protected areas within goals of economic and community well-being, and demonstrate how this can be achieved in practice.

The WPC has substantially influenced the way in which the world has viewed the systems of protected areas. The series of congresses have influenced the perspectives of many people on the role of protected areas in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development among others. Each congress has been vital to conservation policy worldwide, addressing global challenges and opportunities, establishing standards to ensure that protected areas are effective and are sources of inspiration and innovation for the next following decade.

South Africa is a chair of IUCN South African National Committee which is chaired by the outgoing Deputy Director-General: Biodiversity and Conservation, Mr. Fundisile Mketeni.

As the hosts of the previous Congress, South Africa participated in the symbolic handover of a torch to the Congress host during an opening ceremony on 12 November 2014 by four young rangers – two from South Africa and two from Australia. Tribute was also paid to Nelson Mandela, one of the patrons of the 2003 Congress, by his great grandson, Luvuyo Mandela.

South Africa will host a side event on rhino conservation on 13 November.  Hosted by the Minister, the event is aimed showcasing how South Africa has increased its efforts in protecting this endangered species, and highlighting the challenges encountered in protecting this species.


The 2014 Theme


The theme of the 2014 Congress, being held at the Sydney Olympic Park, is “Parks, People Planet: Inspiring Solutions”.   





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