New Green List of Protected Areas applauds effective conservation

Two protected areas in Kenya – Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy – as well as others in Australia, South Korea, China, Italy, France, Spain and Colombia, are the first to be listed on the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas.

The Green List, launched at the World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, is the only global standard of good practice for protected areas, and aims to recognise and promote success in managing some of the most valuable natural areas on the planet. The first 23 successful sites were selected from 50 put forward by the eight countries as part of the first phase of the new initiative.

Giraffe at Ol Pejeta. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.

Ol Pejeta offers a vital refuge for Kenya's iconic wildlife. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.

Paul Hotham, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) Eurasia Regional Director and head of FFI’s delegation at the Congress, said, “The Green List will define success for protected areas in much the same way that IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species has highlighted the species most urgently in need of action.

“Conservation challenges in the 21st century continue to grow and we as a global community need to respond to these challenges, and contribute positively, both to the lives of others and to our natural world. The Green List will ensure that protected areas have real conservation impacts that benefit people, economy and the environment.”

Each site has been evaluated against a set of criteria, including the quality of protection of natural values. They should demonstrate fair and transparent sharing of the costs and benefits of conservation, effective management and long-lasting conservation outcomes. These criteria are tailored and measured according to the challenges and opportunities faced in each country.

FFI supporters will probably recognise both of the Kenyan conservancies honoured by inclusion on the list. “FFI has been working alongside both Ol Pejeta and Lewa for many years,” said Ros Aveling, FFI Deputy CEO and Ol Pejeta board member.

“FFI purchased Ol Pejeta, which sits at the foot of Mount Kenya, in 2003 and transferred it from FFI to a Kenyan non-profit entity under a long-term management agreement in 2005. It is now a vital part of the Laikipia ecosystem in northern Kenya, protecting critical migration corridors.

“As well as safeguarding the conservancy’s diverse wildlife (it now has the largest single population of black rhinos in East Africa), Ol Pejeta also provides a sanctuary for chimpanzees and generates income through wildlife tourism, which is reinvested in conservation and community development,” Ros said.

Black rhino at Lewa. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.

Lewa has been hugely successful in conserving the native black rhino. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI.

“Neighbouring Lewa Wildlife Conservancy acts as a catalyst for conservation through the protection and management of species, as well as its support of community development programmes,” Ros continued. “FFI is very proud to be associated with both and is thrilled by their inclusion – the only two in all of Africa – in the inaugural Green List.”

Countries next in line for Green List assessment include Mexico, Croatia and several countries in North Africa and Micronesia.