World Parks Congress, Sydney, 12-19 November 2014

The World Parks Congress, held every ten years, brings together protected area agencies, managers, practitioners and researchers to chart a path forward for improved coverage, management, support and financing for protected areas throughout the world. The Sydney Congress was attended by Heads of State, government ministers, representatives of development agencies, universities and citizen groups. More than 6,000 people attended the Congress, which was centered around seven “streams”, as well as showcasing many exhibitions and related events.



Spike Millington, Chief Executive of EAAFP, attended the Congress and participated in two streams “Reaching Development Goals” and “Reconciling Development Challenges.” His first presentation highlighted the inadequacy of the current formal protected area network to protect migratory birds in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway (particularly at key staging sites) and the need for a more flexible system of conserved areas – the Flyway Site Network – to promote effective conservation for different groups of migratory waterbirds. The second presentation was on the role of connectivity in a changing climate: clearly connectivity is a key feature of waterbird migration and the challenges of promoting connectivity are amplified by the impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise, making migratory waterbirds especially vulnerable to increased extinction risk.

The Congress is organized by EAAFP Partner IUCN and many other EAAFP Partners and colleagues were present. Spike participated in events held by Russia, Myanmar and China. There was a strong focus on marine and coastal protected areas, indigenous and community participation and governance, sustainable financing and partnering with the private sector, and many meetings were held around these themes.

The Congress culminated with “the Promise of Sydney” highlighting commitments to improved protected area conservation in the next ten years.

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