Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA)

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat has developed concise learning modules for each goal of the Programme of Work on Protected Areas. These modules are like short courses which take approximately an hour each, providing an overview of key terms, concepts, resources and approaches.


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This course covers aspects related to the design of a national protected area network (PoWPA Goal 1.1), including instructions on how to conduct an ecological gap assessment.

Duration: 2 hours

This module covers aspects related to integrating protected areas into the wider landscape, seascape and strategies (PoWPA Goal 1.2), including the development of conservation corridors, and mainstreaming protected areas into other sectors.

Duration: 2 hours

This course covers aspects related to transboundary protected areas and regional networks (PoWPA Goal 1.3), including the establishment, planning, management and assessment of transboundary areas.

Duration: 2 hours

This module covers aspects related to management planning (PoWPA Goal 1.4), including instructions on how to integrate climate change adaptation into management plans.

Duration: 2 hours

This module covers aspects related to protected area threats (PoWPA Goal 1.5), including the prevention and mitigation of invasive species, and conducting threat assessments.

Duration: 2 hours

This module covers aspects related to governance, equity and benefit sharing (PoWPA Goal 2.1), including best practices for promoting innovative forms of governance.

Duration: 2 hours

This module covers aspects related to protected area participation (PoWPA Goal 2.2), including participation of indigenous and local communities.

Duration: 2 hours

This module covers aspects related to the protected area policy environment (PoWPA Goal 3.1), including protected area policies, incentives, and legal frameworks.

2 hours

This module covers aspects related to appropriate technology (PoWPA Goal 3.3), including the use of GIS and remote sensing.

2 hours

This module covers aspects related to sustainable finance (PoWPA Goal 3.4), including business planning, assessing finance needs, and developing a sustainable finance plan.

2 hours

This module covers aspects related to education and awareness (PoWPA Goal 3.5), including how to design an effective awareness campaign.

2 hours

This module covers aspects related to monitoring (PoWPA Goal 4.3), including how to monitor biodiversity status and strategy effectiveness.

2 hours

This module provides recommendations and guidelines for incorporating climate change aspects into protected area design and management, and highlights the role that protected areas can play in climate mitigation and adaptation.

2 hours

This module shows how the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas applies in a marine environment, and enables protected area planners to increase marine protection, improve the marine protected area network, and reduce threats to the marine environment.

2 hours

This module covers aspects related to PoWPA implementation, including forming a multi-stakeholder advisory committee, and developing a strategic master plan.

To help ensure protected area effectiveness, a firm and supportive legal framework must be used to secure individual protected areas, as well as protected area systems. This module presents the fundamentals of contemporary protected areas law. The module is designed for protected area managers and conservation practitioners.

Protected areas are often viewed as islands of biodiversity — they are managed as isolated units, separate from the surrounding landscape and seascape. In addition, other sectors, such as agriculture, forestry and land-use planning, rarely take into account the goals of protected areas. As a result, protected areas are increasingly isolated within a fragmented landscape, and are managed in complete isolation from other economic and natural resource sectors. Isolated and fragmented protected areas will be less able to provide the ecosystem services upon which humans depend, and to provide a natural buffer against a changing climate. Clearly, protected areas alone are not sufficient to safeguard natural and human communities in the future; we need to have a broader strategy that integrates protected areas into the wider landscape and seascape, as well as into sectoral plans and strategies.

The objective of this module is to provide you with an overview of the process for integrating protected areas into the wider landscape and seascape, and into sectoral plans and strategies.