The Promise of Sydney: Innovative approaches to Responding to climate change

It has become clear that the same approaches will no longer enable us to achieve our bold ambitions for protected areas.  In order to ensure a healthy future for protected areas and the millions who depend on them, we must embark on a new direction.  That means that we must change.  But we cannot simply agree that change must happen; we must find promising new ways to change the status quo and demonstrate to the world with a new range of partners and stakeholders how we can together carry out these changes

Each of the twelve Streams and Cross-cutting themes of the World Parks Congress has drafted Innovative approaches to change in consultation with numerous experts and stakeholders in preparation for the World Parks Congress.  Based on real, innovative solutions, these documents posit a set of promising fresh approaches – focused around each topic area – to the challenges facing parks, people and the planet today.  They will each be deliberated and populated during the Congress with the boldest solutions for change at scale, and, by the final days of the Congress, revised by the stream and theme leaders for stakeholder endorsement.  They will serve as a central source of information and inspiration for the Vision for the Promise of Sydney.  Our hope is that these Innovative approaches will be activated by promises, pledges, and commitments by individuals, communities, non-governmental organizations, private companies and governments.  

The Innovative approaches articulate hypothetical bold steps we can take to achieve the greatest transformations in decision-making, in practice, in policy, in capacity and in financing for protected areas.  They source the most innovative solutions within protected areas to the world’s challenges to:

  • Demonstrate the value of protected areas to humanity
  • Advance innovative approaches based on evidence from inspiring solutions
  • Significantly augment broad sectoral collaboration around protected areas
  • Transform a full range of global, regional and local policies, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, to reflect the essential contributions of protected areas  

The Innovative approaches comprise two parts:

Part 1:

  • Vision: an ambition for a promising future
  • Analysis of the current situation
  • Recommendations for the most important ten-year transformation to achieve this ambition

Part 2:

  • Targets reflecting the pathway towards this transformation
  • The stakeholders, new and existing, needed to achieve this ambition 
  • Crucial considerations


What are your innovative approaches to change?  Join the conversation!


I present some inputs and suggestions for the innovative approaches to reaching conservation goals, they are included in the proposal text.

A promising future

From this vantage point, Protected Areas (PAs) represent an investment in the world’s future as a matter of world security with economic possibilities and as affordable and scalable solutions to leapfrog to more resilient ecosystems, societies and economies.

The current situation

Concepts such as ecosystem connectivity, resilience, adaptation, restoration and blue and green carbon, which have the best chance of helping nature and people manage in this new world, are being converted into concrete actions by innovative countries, decision-makers, and climate change communicators in an effort to secure food and water supply and reduce climate change emissions.

Annex to a strategy of innovative approaches and recommendations for responding to climate change in the next decade

Interim specific targets: 2016-2025

1. Convergence has been achieved between the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. The UNFCCC recognizes the importance of ecosystems and especially protected areas as key agents to enable the world to adapt and mitigate climate change.

2016: The immediate future 2-3 years (IUCN World Conservation Congress, UN conventions)

………..At the end of 2015, the 21st COP2015 UNFCCC recognizes the value of resilient PA systems for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

2. Protected areas are amply valued for their exceptional ability to help society mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, figuring clearly into societal and governmental decision-making processes, especially those related to climate change and sustainable development.

2020: The endpoint of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity

By 2020, parks and protected areas are valued for their economic contribution to strengthening food, freshwater, risk protection for local communities, and urban areas, and other ecosystem services supply in the face of climate change.

4. Current international financial mechanisms have consolidated an investment in protected areas systems.

2016: The immediate future 2-3 years (IUCN World Conservation Congress, UN conventions)

By 2018, existing financial mechanisms, such as the Green Climate fund and the Global Environment Fund have increased in 30% their investment in PA systems

Yesterday, in the climate change streamdiscussion, studies show that most species of flora & fauna are not able to shift geographically fast enough to keep up with where their climate niche will be in the expected accelerated rate of climate change, particularly in the tropical zone. It was raised that Managers should deliberately mix genetics of populations on the edge of distribution (and genetic variation) through relocation and use of non-local providence seeds. This would assist maintenance of genetic diversity and a species' capability to adapt.
This got me evaluating what I have been taught of wildlife management fundamentals. We are at a crisis and have to take some non-traditional management actions - outside our conservation comfort zone - to be effective!

Whilst protected area management can help safeguarding ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change, it must be recognised that climate-change-induced risks add another element of risk to management effectiveness. Under a framework of rapid change and growing uncertainty - caused by uncertain climate change itself, and even more uncertain responses of ecosystems and sciety - there are limits to evidence-based conservation. Protected area managers need more enabling resources to fully embrace principles and tools of risk and vulnerability management. Risk-robust management of protected areas goes beyond vulnerability analyses focusing just on climate change. Best practices of proactive adaptive management need to be documented, further developed and shared. A fully adaptive, risk-robust management of conservation sites provides opportunities, but also calls for more resources and capacity development.

Where is the money for redd+ there must be a call for legislative support for individual, company and government emissions to contribute financially to the great project which already exist. It seems we have come through the hard phase of planning an dimple tattoo without finances, but the money still has not come.