The Promise of Sydney: Innovative approaches to World Heritage

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!


Greenpeace believes it is the IUCN's role to set aspirational targets based on the science and also take into account public opinion and values.

Regarding: A strategy of innovative approaches and recommendations to enhance
implementation of marine conservation in the next decade - recommendation 3 we would suggest a revised paragraph 3 bis as set out below:

Countires, civil society, industry and the scientific community work together to achieve a target of at least 40% coverage by no-take marine reserves for each habitat type and ecologically sustainable management for 100% of the world ocean by 2030, in order to build resilience in the face of increasing threats to the oceans including climate change and ocean acidification.

This is justified by the science - we understand a forthcoming meta-analysis by Prof Callum Roberts suggests that to acrue the maximum benefits over 30% should be set aside. Public opinion polling conducted by ZSL shows that across the continents people would like to see 50% of the ocean protected. I have just attended the High Seas Alliance session which demonstrated the gorowing understanding of the importance of the marine life of half the planet to the survival of the planet where Sylvia Earle spoke eloquently of how protecting the ocean is our insurance policy and vital for safeguaring what we already have.

IUCN must set aspirational targets, quite frankly we might as well go home if we settle for what at the moment seems politically expedient.

Thanks, Richard