What is the Green List of Protected Areas?
The IUCN Green List of Protected Areas (Green List) is an initiative that encourages, measures, celebrates and shares the success of protected areas in reaching good standards of management and governance. It is designed to assist national governments and their community partners in conservation to meet the commitments embodied in the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and particularly Target 11. A requirement of this target is the effective and equitable management of protected areas.
Protected areas considered for the Green List meet internationally agreed standards for established and successful management, with consideration for the local and national context, and demonstrate successful outcomes for biodiversity conservation, effective management and equitable governance. Overall, the IUCN Green List provides a focus on celebrating PA management success and sharing best-practice, as opposed to solely recognizing PAs on the basis of the significance of their values or attributes. It is important to emphasise, that this not a pass or fail process. If there is something that needs strengthening before a certificate is likely to be given to a candidate PA, then the feedback should be used to make the improvement.
What is the difference between the Green List and the World Heritage?
The World Heritage is about the value of the site itself and, although World Heritage sites are expected to be well managed, some are actually not as they have lost part of the value for which they have been initially listed due to inefficient management and/or governance patterns. Those sites would not meet the Green List criteria.
The Green List is recognizing not the intrinsic value of the site, but the quality and effectiveness of its management and governance system, which enable the PA to reach its conservation goals. Many good places are therefore able to be Green listed while they would never be on the World Heritage list. In that sense, Green List and World Heritage are quite complementary. The Green List is targeting all the PAs and will celebrate the effort of all categories of PAs in achieving conservation goals.
Where are we in the development process of the Green List in Africa?
Nine pilot countries (namely Korea, France, Spain, Italy, Kenya, China, New South Whale Australia and Colombia) have tested the Green List process during the two-year pilot phase that ended on November 14th, 2014 at the World Park Congress. This pilot phase has enabled to prepare the Green List tools including the standards towards which each candidate protected areas measures the effectiveness of its management and governance patterns. At the end of this pilot phase, 24 protected areas have Green Listed around the world. Two of them are from Kenya: Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Lewa Conservancy.
We are now entering the 2 years long “Development Phase” of the Green List, starting in January 2015. This new phase will enable to strengthen and deepen the teachings of the pilot phase while including new countries and new PAs into the worldwide GL process. Its objective is to come up to a comprehensive finalized process that will have been tested in the field in different part of the world and will therefore be improved and adapted to ensure its sustainability in the future.
Tools and methodology used throughout the Green List nomination process
IUCN GL standards determine the thresholds of good management and governance practices that the protected areas should fulfill to reach the nomination threshold.
The Assurance Procedure describes the steps that a candidate protected area has to follow throughout the Green List nomination process. The Assurance procedure also details the roles of each operator involved in the nomination process, as well as the rules of transparency and credibility of the GL process.
Four different types of operators are involved throughout the GL nomination process:
- Mentors assist the candidate PAs in the preparation of their GL application in compliance with the requirements of the Assurance Procedures. Once the mentor considers that the PA application is complete, this application can be transmitted to the Reference Group of their geographic jurisdiction.
- Reference Groups are in charge of stating on the compliance of a candidate protected area with the Green List standards. The Reference Groups are made up of experts that have a strong knowledge of protected areas’ issues in the considered region. Once the applications have been analysed by the RG and if it happen to meet the GL standards, it can be transmitted to the GL reviewers. If not, the RG will request the PA to improve some aspects of its management and/or governance to be able to present another application in the future.
- Reviewers are independent experts (non IUCN) qualified in certification processes. Their role is to check the transparency and the fairness of the process of preparation and analysis of the PA applications by the mentor and the RG. They also check the relevancy of the content of the applications before transmitting them to the IUCN Green List Committee.
- Eventually, the IUCN Green List Committee is in charge of making the final statement on the nomination applications in regards to the recommendations of the reviewers. In case an application do not yet meets the GL standards to be Green Listed, the committee will provide the candidate PA with adequate recommendations to enable a future new application when these improvements will have been made.