Iucn protected Areas Categories Summit Almeria, Spain May 2007

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powerpluswatermarkobject3IUCN Protected Areas Categories Summit – Almeria, Spain – May 2007


Front page: Title, authors and logos

Publication details

Executive summary



1. Introduction

2. Background

2.1. A short history of the international system of protected areas management categories

Adrian Phillips

2.2 A commentary on the origins of the category system

Kenton Miller

3. Challenges

3.1. Clarifying the IUCN definition of a protected area

Nigel Dudley

3.2. What does IUCN’s protected area definition actually mean?

David Harmon

3.3. What do we mean by wild?

Deborah Bird Rose

3.4. In defence of protected landscapes: A reply to some criticisms of category V protected areas and suggestions for improvement

Josep Maria Mallarach, John Morrison, Ashish Kothari, Fausto Sarmiento, José-Antonio Atauri and Bobby Wishitemi

3.5. From management objectives to biodiversity objectives

Luigi Boitani and Carlo Rondinini

4. The IUCN categories

4.1. Category Ia

Kent H. Redford and Nigel Dudley

4.2. Category Ib

Cyril Kormos

4.3. Category II

Craig Groves

4.4. Category III

Nigel Dudley

4.5. Category IV

Nigel Dudley and Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend

4.6. Category V

Adrian Phillips and Jessica Brown

4.7. Category VI

Cláudio C. Maretti

5. Assignment

5.1 Process of assigning IUCN protected area categories

Nigel Dudley, Charles Besançon and Roger Crofts

5.2. Principles underlying the category systems and principles for assignment

Adrian Phillips

5.3. The role of zoning in protected areas and the IUCN categories

Charlie Falzon

5.4. IUCN protected area management categories and the World Database on Protected Areas

Charles Besançon, Neil Burgess, Lucy Fish and Liesbeth Renders

5.5. Restoration and protected areas

Nigel Dudley, Daniel Vallauri, Stephanie Mansourian and the Society for Ecological Restoration

5.6. Protected area categories and management effectiveness

Marc Hockings and Nigel Dudley

5.7 Names of protected areas

Nigel Dudley and Adrian Phillips

5.8 Verification and certification of protected areas using the IUCN management categories system

Roger Crofts

6. Using the categories

6.1. Using the IUCN categories in policy decisions

David Sheppard

6.2. IUCN categories and conservation planning

Jeffrey Parrish, José Courrau and Nigel Dudley

7. Perspectives

7.1. Marine protected areas

Dan Laffoley, Jon Day, Louisa Wood and Brad Barr

7.2. Inland water protected areas (1)

The Skukuza Freshwater Group

7.3. Inland water protected areas (2)

Robin Abell

7.4 Perspectives regarding the IUCN categories system of protected areas

International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) /Oil and Gas Producers Biodiversity Working Group

7.5. Urban protected areas

Pete Frost

8. Categories and conservation conventions

8.1. Wetlands of international importance and the IUCN system of protected area management categories

Ramsar Secretariat

8.2. World Heritage and IUCN categories

Marc Patry

9. Governance

9.1. The “IUCN protected area matrix”: A tool towards effective protected area systems

Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend

9.2. Community Conserved Areas

Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend and Nigel Dudley

9.3. Private protected areas

Brent Mitchell

9.4. Sacred sites and protected areas

Bas Verschuuren, Josep Maria Mallarach and Gonzalo Oviedo

10. Regional workshops

10.1. Southern and Eastern Africa

10.2. South East Asia

10.3. Europe

10.4. Cross-industry meeting

10.5. E-forum results

Compiled by Kari Lahti

11. The Categories Summit

11.1. Key issues for the IUCN Categories Summit: Spain 2007

11.2. Minutes of the Categories Summit


Appendix 1: Protocols for translation

Nigel Dudley

Appendix 2: Summit agenda

Appendix 3: Participants at the Categories Summit

Appendix 4: Notes on the authors


Executive summary

The IUCN Summit on Protected Area Management Categories was held in Almeria, Spain in May 2007. It aimed to test the opinions of key thinkers and policy makers regarding the revision of guidelines to interpretation of the six IUCN protected area categories. The meeting was generously supported by the Junta de Andalusia, the Spanish Ministry of Environment and the foundation Biodiversidad.
The meeting operated through plenary sessions and a series of specialised workshops, with many presentations and time for detailed discussion. There were two field trips, midway through the meeting and at the end. More than a hundred people attended from over fifty countries around of the world.
The summit reached either consensus or overwhelming majority support on several key points; workshops agreed on other issues without dissent in plenary. While the summit was not a decision-making forum, which is the role of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Steering Committee, it did give IUCN a clear mandate to incorporate the conclusions in the draft IUCN protected area guidelines for further discussion. This has now been done and the main conclusions have so far been supported by IUCN members. The following proceedings outlines the main outputs and a summary of decisions regarding process and next steps.
Most significant plenary outputs

  • The IUCN definition should be retained, with wording changes to broaden the description of main purpose (e.g. nature conservation rather than just biodiversity) and with a more precise clarification of cultural links: the proposed definition should be widely debated within IUCN.

  • The definition should be clarified with a series of principles, including the concept that: “many sites … can have other goals as well, at the same level, but in the case of conflict nature conservation has to be the priority”.

  • The six current categories should be retained but with more clarification and tighter standards, in line with the proposals outlined in the current volume. Some specific modifications were agreed at the meeting and some areas that needed further discussion were also outlined.

  • All categories can make an equal contribution to conservation but not all categories are equal in every situation and management objectives should therefore be chosen with respect to the particular circumstances.

  • There was strong support for linking category with management effectiveness but some confusion about how this might be achieved.

  • There was also strong recognition of the need to reflect a wide range of governance types within the new category guidelines.

Main agreed workshop outputs – the guidelines should:

  • Define a protected area system as well as a protected area

  • Provide advice on where particular categories are suitable

  • Incorporate the governance matrix and recognise other governance types

  • Explain the role of categories in conservation planning

  • Explore voluntary verification or certification of categories to ensure that the management objectives match those of the assigned category

  • Identify category-specific criteria for management effectiveness

  • Look at ways to integrate company reserves into protected area systems

  • Refine guidelines to zoning large protected areas into different categories

  • Clarify names of protected areas (but in general there was support for these being retained)

  • Agree common mechanisms and appeal options for assignment

  • Improve links between categories and conventions including in particular World Heritage, Ramsar and the Convention on Biological Diversity

  • Focus the management matrix more on freshwater issues and include specific guidance about categories in inland waters

  • Clarify limits of forest protected areas re plantations, commercial forestry and category VI

  • Mainstream marine issues in the new guidelines rather than produce separate guidelines

  • Develop a principle to integrate species and protected areas

A revised version of the category guidelines is being developed and will be presented to the World Conservation Congress in late 2008 at Barcelona, Spain.

From Nik Lopoukhine?


The fact that IUCN was able to hold a major meeting to discuss the protected area management categories was due entirely to the generosity of various government and non-governmental institutions in Spain, which provided the funding for the meeting, along with a great deal of the logistical help.
We would like to thank in particular Fuensanta Coves Botella and Maria Rosario Pintos Martin of Junta de Andalusia; Serrano Rodriguez of the Ministry of Environment in Spain; and Antonio Serrano of Biodiversidad; along with their staff, for the fantastic support and welcome that IUCN received in Spain.
The complex and time-consuming logistics for the meeting were coordinated from the IUCN Mediterranean Office in Malaga by Andres Alcantara and Sophie Moreau and in Gland by Kari Lahti, on secondment from Metsahallitus Natural Heritage Services in Finland, assisted by Delwyn Dupuis, both of whom put in a huge amount of time and energy to make the event a success. Pedro Rosabal and David Sheppard at the Programme of Protected Areas at IUCN headquarters gave generous support to the ideas and practicalities of the meeting and the overall work of the task force.
The intellectual content of the summit was supplied through the medium of an impressive volume of papers, reprinted here, written mainly on a voluntary basis by task force members and other experts from around the world.
We would like to thank in particular: Robin Abel; José-Antonio Atauri; Brad Barr; Charles Besancon; Harry Biggs; Luigi Boitani; Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend; Jessica Brown; Neil Burgess; José Courrau; Roger Crofts; Nick Davidson; Jon Day; Charlie Falzon; Lucy Fish; Pete Frost; Dave Harmon; Marc Hockings; Craig Groves; Cyril Kormos, Ashish Kothari; Dan Laffoley; Josep-Maria Mallarach; Stephanie Mansourian; Kenton Miller; Brent Mitchell; John Morrison; Gonzalo Oviedo; Jeffrey Parrish; Andrew Parsons; Marc Patry; Adrian Phillips; Kent Redford; Liesbeth Renders; Carlo Rondinini; Deborah Bird Rose; Fausto Sarmiento; David Sheppard; Sue Stolton; Daniel Vallauri; Bas Verschuuren; Bobby Wishitemi; and Louisa Wood.
Finally, we would like to thank the people who took time to attend the summit, contributed their ideas and were prepared to meet the often demanding timetable set by the organisers. A list of people attending the summit is given in Appendix 3 at the back of this volume.

1. Introduction

Twenty years ago, IUCN developed a preliminary system of protected area management categories. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the IUCN Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas (now known as the World Commission on Protected Areas - WCPA ), reviewed these, the IVth World Parks Congress in Caracas confirmed a number of changes, and the IUCN General Assembly approved them in 1994. They were published as IUCN Guidelines in the same year (IUCN/WCMC, 1994). Below we summarise the 1994 WCPA definition of a protected area and definitions of the six associated management categories of protected areas.

An area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means.

  • Category Ia: Strict nature reserve/wilderness protection area managed mainly for science or wilderness protection – an area of land and/or sea possessing some outstanding or representative ecosystems, geological or physiological features and/or species, available primarily for scientific research and/or environmental monitoring.

  • Category Ib: Wilderness area: protected area managed mainly for wilderness protection – large area of unmodified or slightly modified land and/or sea, retaining its natural characteristics and influence, without permanent or significant habitation, which is protected and managed to preserve its natural condition.

  • Category II: National park: protected area managed mainly for ecosystem protection and recreation – natural area of land and/or sea designated to (a) protect the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for present and future generations, (b) exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area and (c) provide a foundation for spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and culturally compatible.

  • Category III: Natural monument: protected area managed mainly for conservation of specific natural features – area containing specific natural or natural/cultural feature(s) of outstanding or unique value because of their inherent rarity, representativeness or aesthetic qualities or cultural significance.

  • Category IV: Habitat/Species Management Area: protected area managed mainly for conservation through management intervention – area of land and/or sea subject to active intervention for management purposes so as to ensure the maintenance of habitats to meet the requirements of specific species.

  • Category V: Protected Landscape/Seascape: protected area managed mainly for landscape/seascape conservation or recreation – area of land, with coast or sea as appropriate, where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant aesthetic, ecological and/or cultural value, and often with high biological diversity. Safeguarding the integrity of this traditional interaction is vital to the protection, maintenance and evolution of such an area.

  • Category VI: Managed Resource Protected Area: protected area managed mainly for the sustainable use of natural resources – area containing predominantly unmodified natural systems, managed to ensure long-term protection and maintenance of biological diversity, while also providing a sustainable flow of natural products and services to meet community needs.

Categorisation by management objective

Protected areas are categorised according to their primary management objective.
Further explanation: This type of classification system serves a number of valuable purposes as it:

  • Emphasises the importance of protected areas;

  • Demonstrates the range of purposes protected areas serve;

  • Promotes the idea of protected areas as systems rather than units in isolation;

  • Reduces confusion of terminology;

  • Provides an agreed set of international standards;

  • Facilitates international comparison and accounting; and

  • Improves communication and understanding.

Assignment to a category is not a comment on management effectiveness. This distinction is often overlooked. For instance, where category II areas are poorly managed, there is a temptation to re classify them as category V areas. This is not the intent of the IUCN guidelines, which categorise by management objective. There are, in fact, two questions: [1] “What is the aim of management?” leading to assignment of a category; and [2] “How well is the area managed?” leading to an assessment of management effectiveness.
The IUCN categories system has been designed for global use. The guidance is therefore broad and general rather than being prescriptive and specific. The system should be interpreted flexibly. Because it is based on broad guidelines, regions or countries should interpret them for their own applications.
There are hundreds of different national names for protected areas. The IUCN guidelines are not intended to result in the re naming of these reserves. All categories are equally important and equally relevant to conservation. It should be noted, however, that some countries may not contain the potential for using all categories. The categories imply a gradation of human intervention, ranging from effectively none at all in the case of some category I areas, to quite high levels of intervention in category V areas. Since category VI was added to the system later it does not fit neatly into the general pattern, but lies conceptually between III and IV.
As the system is based on management objective, it is essentially neutral about the managing agency or landowner. More particularly, there is no presumption that any category will be owned or managed by the State. Categories represent a compromise between the needs and situations of different countries. They are not a perfect fit for all areas, but serve as a guide for interpretation and application at the regional and national levels. Further, no classification system is perfect, and its value really depends not so much on whether each protected area can be 'allocated' to one of the six categories without doubt or difficulty, but on whether the objectives of categorisation are met. Experience since the publication of the 1994 guidelines suggests that this process has certainly led to increased assessment of the roles of protected areas, and better informed debate about how protected areas with different roles and objects relate one to another.
The task force has been established to address a number of urgent issues relating to the IUCN protected area management categories. The IUCN “summit” on the categories, was held in autumn 2006. The task force devoted a year in preparing for the summit, by developing a series of tools, analyses and policy positions that helped build up revised and more comprehensive guidance on use of the categories. Wherever possible, consensus was reached on key points before the meeting, enabling the latter to focus on the most critical issues and where necessary to negotiate on these more formally. The results have been used to develop new guidance on the application and use of the categories.

2. Background

The “Categories Summit” reflects a major milestone in a lengthy process of assessing IUCN’s management categories for protected areas. Agreed in their current form in 1994, the categories are both a powerful instrument for managing and collating information on protected areas and a major manifestation of the philosophical approach to protected areas as reflected in the IUCN membership. As such, they attract interest and passion far beyond what might be expected for something that started out as little more than a statistical tool.
The categories have already been through various earlier iterations and have been the subject of a lengthy assessment coordinated by the University of Cardiff in Wales, UK, in association with IUCN. Understanding the current debate becomes much easier if a little of the history is also available.
To provide some background, the first two papers provide perspectives on the history of the categories from Adrian Phillips and Kenton Miller, both former chairs of WCPA and perhaps the two people who were most closely involved in their development.

2.1. A short history of the international system of protected areas management categories

Adrian Phillips
The background to categorisation

The origins of the modern system of protected area management categories adopted by IUCN in 1994 can only be understood in the context of the history of protected areas themselves. Protected areas are cultural artefacts and their story is entwined with that of human civilisation. Over 2000 years ago, royal decrees in India protected certain areas. In Europe, rich and powerful people protected hunting grounds for a thousand years. Moreover, the idea of protection of special places is universal: for example, it occurs among the communities in the Pacific (“tapu” areas) and in parts of Africa (sacred groves). However, the modern protected areas movement had nineteenth century origins in North America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Other countries were quick to follow suit. While the idea of protected areas spread around the world in the twentieth century, the driving force was different in different regions. Thus, in North America, protected areas were about safeguarding dramatic and sublime scenery; in Africa, the concern was with game parks; in Europe, landscape protection was more common,
By now, nearly every country has adopted protected area legislation and designated sites for protection. Many public, private, community and voluntary organisations are active in creating areas for protection. And many different terms are used at the national level to describe protected areas: for example, there are about 50 used in Australia alone. There are also international networks of protected areas created under global conventions (e.g. World Heritage and Ramsar Conventions) and regional agreements (e.g. Natura 2000 sites in Europe). In all, over 100,000 sites meet the IUCN definition of a protected area (see below).
Already this very short history hints at some of the issues that gave rise to the development of the categories system. Thus protected areas have been set up for different reasons, exist in wilderness areas and in long-settled landscapes and are present in all kinds of terrestrial and marine habitats. They have been given many different names at the national level, and usually derive from national legislation or international agreements. They have come about through various types of governmental and other initiatives. Protected areas are owned by different interests and are run by different kinds of organisation.
The start of an international framework for protected areas

As protected areas were set up in one country after another, each nation developed its own approach, and there were initially no common standards or terminology. The only shared idea was that important scenic, wildlife or outdoor recreation areas should be identified and protected for the public good.
The first effort to clarify protected area terminology was made in 1933, at the International Conference for the Protection of Fauna and Flora, in London. This set out four protected area categories: national park; strict nature reserve; fauna and flora reserve; and reserve with prohibition for hunting and collecting. In 1942, the Western Hemisphere Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation also incorporated four types: national park; national reserve; nature monument; and strict wilderness reserve (Holdgate, 1999).
The emergence of a world-wide conservation movement after the Second World War encouraged the idea of a global framework for protected areas. In 1959, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) recognised that “national parks and equivalent reserves are important factors in the wise use of natural resources”. In response, IUCN’s newly formed protected areas commission – now the WCPA - prepared a “World List of National Parks and Equivalent Reserves”, the first version of the now familiar “UN List of protected areas”. It was presented at the First World Conference on National Parks in Seattle (1962), along with a paper on the ‘nomenclature’ of protected areas by C. Frank Brockman (Brockman, 1962).

In 1966, IUCN published the second version of the UN list, using a simple classification system was used: ‘national parks’, ‘scientific reserves’ and ‘natural monuments’. The IUCN General Assembly in New Delhi in 1969 defined ‘national park’ as: “a relatively large area where one or several ecosystems are not materially altered by human exploitation and occupation”. The assembly called on countries “not to describe as national parks” those areas that did not meet the definition.
IUCN’s Senior Ecologist, Dr Ray Dasmann, proposed the following system of protected area in a paper for the Second World Parks Conference (1972):

  1. Protected Anthropological Areas (Natural Biotic Areas, Cultivated Landscapes, Sites of Special Interest)

  2. Protected Historical or Archaeological Areas (Archaeological Sites, Historical Sites)

  3. Protected Natural Areas (Strict Natural Areas, Managed Natural Areas, Wilderness Areas)

  4. Multiple Use Areas

  5. National Parks

  6. Related Protected Areas (Provincial Parks, Strict Nature Reserves, Managed Nature Reserves, National Forests and Related Multiple Use Reserves, Anthropological, Archaeological or Historical Reserves) (Dasmann, 1974; IUCN, 1974).

The 1972 Conference called on IUCN to “define the various purposes for which protected areas are set aside; and develop suitable standards and nomenclature for such areas” (Elliott, 1974). Between 1971 and 1975, IUCN published further editions of the UN List, and the World Directory of National Parks and Protected Areas in 1975.
By the mid-1970s, several trends were apparent. More protected areas were being set up, but there was confusion over the meaning of terms like ‘national park’ and ‘nature reserve’. While some people favoured a focus on national parks, with other types of protected areas covered by catch-all phrases like ‘equivalent reserves’ or ‘other protected areas’, others advocated a variety of approaches to protected areas to complement the attention on strictly protected areas. New international programmes and treaties were making an impact (e.g. the Man and Biosphere Programme, and the Ramsar [1971] and World Heritage Conventions [1972]), while there was an emerging debate on the need for an international terminology for protected areas.
The 1978 IUCN report on categories, objectives and criteria for protected areas

This was the background to CNPPA’s1 decision in 1975 to develop a categories system for protected areas. The work was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and led by Dr Kenton Miller, chair of the CNPPA Committee on Criteria and Nomenclature. He had already developed a matrix to illustrate his idea of classifying protected areas by management objectives and successfully developed this in field work in Latin America (pers. comm.). His group’s final report was issued in August 1978 as a “discussion paper”, but it quickly became seen as IUCN guidance, offering clarification where there had previously been much confusion (IUCN, 1978).
The committee incorporated the 1969 New Delhi definition of a national park, but recognised that this was only one approach among many to protected areas conservation. It advocated using a range of categories, based on management objectives rather than national names.
The report argued that this categorisation system would: show how national parks can be complemented by other categories of protected area; help each nation to develop management categories to reflect its needs; and ensure that “regardless of nomenclature used by nations …. a conservation area can be recognised and categorised by the objectives for which it is in fact managed”. It would also: help remove ambiguities and inconsistencies due to different “administrative, institutional, legal and political mechanisms among nations”; help IUCN assemble and analyse information on protected areas, which could then be “stored, recalled, udpated and printed”; and give the scientific community access to better data on conservation.
The key points to note about the 1978 system are these:

  • It involved ten categories (see Box 1)

  • Apart from Group C, the categories derive from management objectives

  • All categories are important; no category is inherently more valuable than another

  • Governments were encouraged to develop systems of protected areas based on a range of appropriate categories

  • It was assumed that land in certain categories was likely to be owned or managed by government, but recognised that other interest groups might also be involved,

  • The system aimed also to influence land use planning in areas not usually considered as being protected.

But limitations in the system soon became apparent. It did not contain a definition of a ‘protected area’, so the ‘universe’ covered by the categories as a whole was not clear, and it caused confusion that several terms were used to describe the entire suite of ten categories: ‘categories for conservation management’, ‘conservation areas’ and ‘protected area categories’. Also it included two international categories (IX and X), while acknowledging that many such sites might also be classified under another category. Some of the distinctions between the categories were unclear; and the system was terrestrial in its concepts and language, and lacked a marine dimension.
Box 1: The protected areas categories system advocated by IUCN in 1978
Group A: categories for which CNPPA will take special responsibility

I Scientific Reserve

II National Park

II Natural Monument/National Landmark

IV Nature Conservation Reserve

V Protected Landscape
Group B: other categories of importance to IUCN, but not exclusively in the scope of CNPPA

VI Resource Reserve

VII Anthropological Reserve

VIII Multiple Use Management Area
Group C: categories that are part of international programmes

IX Biosphere Reserve

X World Heritage Site (Natural)

The adoption of the 1994 system of protected areas management categories

The 1978 system was used to compile the 1993 UN list of protected areas (which set out protected areas under categories I-V). It was also taken up in some national legislation. However its shortcomings soon became evident. In 1984, therefore, CNPPA established a task force under the chairmanship of Hal Eidsvik to consider up-dating the categories system. It had to take on board not only concerns about the 1978 system but also subsequent IUCN General Assembly resolutions on topics like wilderness areas, indigenous peoples, and protected landscapes and seascapes. The task force conducted a wide-ranging debate, initially amongst Commission members, then more extensively. It reported to CNPPA members in 1990, advising that a new system be built around categories I-V of the 1978 system, whilst abandoning categories VI-X (Eidsvik, 1990). The report was adopted by CNPPA at its meeting in Perth (27 November, 1990) and tabled for information at the IUCN General Assembly next day. However CNPPA referred it to the upcoming 1992 World Parks Congress for review before any action was to be taken.
This Fourth World Congress on National Parks and Protected Areas (a title that suggests that even then that national parks were seen as somewhat different from other protected areas), was held in Caracas, Venezuela2. It included a three day workshop on the category system. Participants addressed the task force’s recommendations, and were informed by a paper from an IUCN consultant (Foster, 1992). A major feature of the workshop debate was a move, led by several experts from developing countries, to add a new category to the first five of the 1978 system, so as to accommodate the idea of protected areas for sustainable use of natural resources.
Acting on the workshop’s conclusions, the Caracas Congress adopted Recommendation 17. This called on CNPPA and the IUCN Council to endorse a system of six protected area categories based on management objectives, recommend this to governments, and explain it through guidelines. In fact, the IUCN Council referred this matter to a higher level. In January 1994, ten years after the review of the 1978 system had begun, the IUCN General Assembly, meeting in Buenos Aires, approved the new system, commended it to governments and called on CNPPA to finalise guidance to explain it.
Later in 1994, IUCN and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) published “Guidelines for Protected Area Management Categories”, in English, French and Spanish (IUCN, 1994). The guidelines provide an introduction to the system, explain each category in turn and set out a number of worked examples of the application of the system to existing protected areas.
The system explained – the main points from the 1994 guidelines3

Introducing the 1994 guidance, the then Chair of CNPPA, P.H.C. (Bing) Lucas wrote: “These guidelines have a special significance as they are intended for everyone involved in protected areas, providing a common language by which managers, planners, researchers, politicians and citizens groups in all countries can exchange information and views”.
The guidelines aimed to alert governments to the importance of protected areas and encourage them to develop systems of protected areas with management aims tailored to national and local circumstances. The also aimed to: reduce the confusion around the use of many different terms to describe protected areas; provide international standards for global and regional accounting and comparisons between countries, using a common framework for the collection, handling and dissemination of protected areas data; and generally to improve communication and understanding between all those engaged in conservation.
The 1994 categories system was not originally intended to set, or drive up, management standards, nor to lay down a template for use at the national level. The idea was that protected areas should be established to meet national or local needs and then “labelled with an IUCN category according to the management objectives”.
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