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The Solutions for Protected Areas closes with great success in Medellín, Colombia

Posted Tuesday 27 June 2023
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During the week of May 29th till June 2nd, in Medellín, Colombia, IUCN held the Closing Workshop for the “Protected Area Solutions (PA Solutions)” project, funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and implemented since 2015 in Colombia, Kenya, #Perú and  Vietnam.

In three days of intense work, representatives and authorities of protected area systems at the global and national level discussed ways to strengthen the IUCN Green List Standard, and the integration of the #OneHealth approach into protected area management projects.

With panels and presentations on the work carried out by each of the project countries; discussions with heads of areas on environmental policies with a focus on One Health and PCA; and, an interesting panel with representatives of the EAGL (Group of Experts of the Green List), the event managed to focus the closure of a multi activity project with in a frame set of actions that amplified the possibilities that the Green List contemplates for regions such as South America, Asia and Africa. In addition, it allowed all participants to visualize the similarities between the regions and the opportunities that contemplate a coordinate work between regions and the exchange that helps amplify the work between protected and conserved area managers.

We visited Cerro el Volador on the sencond day. A urban conservation area where we could see first hand, the challenges of conservation of urban spaces and the different strategies and tools that are used in situ to resist the growing pressure of the city of Medellín, the second largest in Colombia.

Among the main lessons learned from the project, it is important to highlight six axes: Inclusion, Gender and diversity, Communication, Communities and Financing.

Within these axes stand out:

Inclusion:

  1. Include scientific and local knowledge in the IUCN Green List process, valuing local knowledge about nature and its representation in communities.
  2. Use of tools such as 3D mapping to achieve processes with greater inclusiveness in their planning, seeking the participation of different actors.
  3. Align the IUCN Green List standard with global goals and objectives, such as the Sustainable Development Goals. This implies considering diversity and social aspects in the Standard, ensuring that it does not become too complex in its application in the field.

Gender and diversity

  1. The gender perspective and the diversity of local actors is key to effective management. It must be recognized that some sites do not have a developed gender approach and that is why it is important to address this issue. In addition, it is proposed to expand the consultation beyond experts, including other actors and ministries to better socialize the Green List and make it a transversal axis of public policy.

Communication

  1. Strategic communication is key to the successful implementation of the IUCN Green List. The need to improve communication at all levels, from mass dissemination to the integration of communication into the Green List process, was identified, considering its importance, and allocating adequate resources.
  2. This should be implemented from three main lines of work:
    1. Socialization and strengthening of communities. This involves sharing progress, lessons learned and good practices among participating countries.
    2. Tools to understand the importance and benefits of the Green List at local, national and global levels.
    3. Risk communication protocols. Green List is a Standard that involves several actors and several visions, so it is important to always have communication crisis management protocols that allow the process to flow, identifying possible conflicts on time.

Expert Communities

  1. The role of the EAGL is important and the difficulties they have faced in their work are recognized. It is suggested to provide them with greater support and to promote meetings and experience exchange among countries to strengthen their work.

Financing

  1. Address financing as a challenge in the implementation of the Standard, seeking sustainable economic models.
  2. Comprehensive approaches that consider socioeconomic, environmental, and public health aspects.

The PA Solution project has integrated several aspects like the pieces of a puzzle, where each of the components has had its main objective in strengthening the effectiveness of protected and conserved areas. In this workshop, we were able to visualize how, each piece, fed this strategic vision and how each result accelerated long-term work opportunities in the areas and institutions that manage them.

“Some processes are so long that we cannot say that we have reached immediate solutions but that we can say that we have  the approach and  opinion of all those involved for the generation of collective and effective solutions”

. – Zornitza Aguilar, Regional Coordinator for Protected and Conserved Areas

To learn more about the project and the Green List you can enter our page and/or contact María Belén Valenzuela, Project Officer and Zornitza Aguilar, Regional Protected Areas Coordinator at IUCN South América.

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