Author Archives: sant1977

Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions

With more than 6.000 participants from 170 countries the VI World Park Congress, Sydney 2004 has finalized. The event was the opportunity to encourage the WPC participants try to achieve the Aichi biodiversity targets, that says: By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

First of all, the number of Protected areas has increased during the last years, as the number of communities settled around them. In addition of this, we have to consider that communities depend of the natural resources to overcome poverty and increase their economic development.

The increase of Protected areas is enough to achieve the Aichi target? . Well, the latest available information shows that, protected areas cover around 12.5% of land and 3% of oceans. These are no optimistic rates. We could take these percentages as an indicator the lack of compromise that several countries demonstrate until now regarding this compromise or we could analyze in detail this situation. A new approach about Protected areas says: Protected areas are now created not only to conserve iconic landscapes and seascapes and to provide habitat for endangered wildlife, but also to contribute to the livelihood of local communities, to bolster national economies through tourism revenues, to replenish fisheries and to play a key part in the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change, among many other functions (Watson, J., et al. 2014).

The only way to achieve these objectives is through an effective of the Protected areas. However, preserve natural resources and be effective in the mission require important funds. According a recent research by WWF and Credit Suisse has shown that investment in biodiversity conservation needs to be around $200- $300 billion globally per year, 20-30 times the current level. The only way to ensure that Protected areas hold the ecosystems and species into of them is convincing the decision makers that in addition of the not tangible value the Protected areas, healthy and biodiversity ecosystem offer economic benefits to countries and their people (The solution of this dilemma could be recognizing “nature capital” as a financial tool in favor to the Protected areas).

The time that we have for do something in favor to the conservation and restoration of the natural resources could be not enough, is necessary the diversification of the financial sources in favor of the administration the Protected areas. It is time that the nature advocates talk the same language that decision makers understood: money.

They have to understand that the cost of return (opportunity cost) on investment that well managed protected areas provide by conserving natural heritage and increasing the social and economic wellbeing of their citizens. Countries need to start quantifying the services provided by protected areas and recognizing the costs of protected-area degradation it should be. Estimations of the annual cost of adequately managing an expanded network of marine and terrestrial protected areas range from $45 billion to $76 billion, the lower of which is just 2.5% of the global military expenditure.

Finally, we have to recognize that protected areas are essential to the future of life on our planet. The WPC provided us a good new in this context the creation of the Green List of Protected Areas as an attempt to encourage the best-practice examples of equitable governance into them.

Santiago G.

The World Park Congress and a model.

Here we are: The VI World Park Congress Sydney 2014- “Parks, people, inspiring solutions” is currently happening in Australia. Since the last WPC that was in South Africa, 11 years has passed. This period of time seems like a long pause to talk seriously about the future of the protected areas, especially if we think how many things have changed during this period.

During Durban 2003, I was in my last year of university. So, then as in now I couldn’t assist to the World Park Congress. Then, I tried to know more about the things that were happening in South Africa; just as I am trying it now, with the current congress in Australia. But with the difference of hours between South Africa and Ecuador, in addition of the chaotic Internet connection (DSL-Connection), all of my attempts failed.

Now, 11 years after, the manners to ccommunication between us have changed drastically. Now, thanks God we have high speed, Facebook (2004), Flickr (2004), Youtube (2005), Twitter (2007), Tumblr (2007), Instagram (2010) and all of the traditional media as newspapers or television. With all these tools, it may seem to be bit weird to spend time, money (create an significant ecological foot print (even for one person)) for to move to Sydney just to know on first hand about new advances in the context of protected areas that have been achieved.

I made a quickly review about the number of followers that the World Park Congress has had until now (November 17), but the number of followers between Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram less than 16,000 (This is not an impressive number if we think that a photo of a model on the internet in the same day of the of the WPC beginning had thousands of likes or retweets). Could it be that the people who are more concerned about the nature prefer use the traditional medias to access information. Under this assumption, I was looking for the impact of the WCP on the cover of the three most read newspapers around the world: Daily Mail (UK), The New York Times (USA) and The Guardian (UK). Surprisingly I couldn’t find any news regarding WPC on their front pages.


These results looks like nature is not so important to them. This short assessment about the diffusion of the event on medias have given a poor outcome and could have two meanings: first, a lack of interest by the people (medias) about these events or maybe the people behind WPC have not found a more efficient way to make viral the WPC congress among people and medias. I prefer to believe the second option because I don’t want to believe that some environmental issues that have been successful in the public eye such as global climate change are just a new fashion for them.


Santiago G.