The Durban Legacy – the previous IUCN World Parks Congress

The previous IUCN World Parks Congress, held in Durban, South Africa in 2003, produced a lasting legacy which continues to inform protected area conservation efforts today. With its patrons being Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, the WPC 2003 was a success from the start, delivering a number of substantial outcomes that are now integrated into the everyday work of protected areas agencies worldwide. For example, the message from Durban to the Convention on Biological Diversity resulted in the adoption by 188 countries of the CBD’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas, which currently is considered one of the most successful programmes managed by the CBD. In addition, the revised IUCN System of Protected Areas Management Categories stems from work initiated in Durban. This document is increasingly used at the national level today.

Durban’s achievements are still influencing protected policy and practice worldwide today. Of particular importance was the recognition of the vital role of good governance, especially involving indigenous peoples and local communities, which has led to profound changes in the way nature conservation is conducted globally. This legacy will inform the objectives and achievements of the World Parks Congress 2014.

For more information on the Durban achievements and a list of its policy documents and statements, please visit 5th IUCN World Parks Congress, Durban, South Africa 2003.

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