IUCN – Statements of Compliance for UK protected area 2023 review

February 7, 2024 Published by Alex McCoskrie

This independent, evidence-based assessment and technical report by the Protected Areas Working Group (PAWG) of the IUCN National Committee UK (IUCN-NCUK) reviewed 23 types of designation of land and sea for biodiversity conservation against IUCN definitions of ‘protected area’ and ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECMs).

This review updates the IUCN-NCUK publication Putting Nature on the Map, with the current Statements of Compliance replacing those published in 2014. It reflects changes since the original assessments were published in 2014, resulting from current evidence being set within the context of the interpretation of new and improved international guidance and evolving overarching assessment frameworks and uses the best publicly available data that PAWG could find. It is the intention of PAWG to revisit these assessments on a periodic basis, and PAWG invites comments and the submission of data to inform subsequent revisions. The aim is to assist and work with UK decision-makers and stakeholders to improve the status of nature through effectively conserved and managed areas, using internationally agreed standards as an authoritative benchmark of excellence.

The findings have relevance to the UK’s implementation of Target 3 of the Global Biodiversity Framework, in particular the expressed intention to establish a network of protected areas and OECMs that, by 2030, will cover 30% of the UK land area and 30% of its territorial marine area (30×30). The assessment is offered as a contribution to the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations’ obligations to identify and ensure the effective management of protected areas and OECMs across 30% of land and seas in the UK.

Click here to read the review.

The IUCN NCUK PAWG does not believe the World Heritage Site designation itself qualifies as a Protected Area but defined areas within them could qualify as an OECM as a component of the 30×30 target for the UK following case by case assessment against OECM criteria and subject to evidence of effective management. PAWG recommends that the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations invest urgently in improving the management effectiveness of all World Heritage Sites to ensure qualifying areas effectively contribute to the 30×30 target.