Rio+20, 20 - 22 June 2012
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Protected Areas Hold Hope for Wildlife, Ecosystems

Innovative projects that focus on Protected Areas to link forest corridors, promote sustainable land-use, conserve endangered species, develop responsible tourism, and engage community support are at the heart of the Spain-UNEP Partnership for Protected Areas in support of LifeWeb, which will be featured at a side-event during the ongoing Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
“Protecting the Protected Areas: Partnering to Expand the Most Precious 17 Percent of the Planet” will be held June 20 at 1 p.m. in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Pavilion Auditorium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Spain-UNEP Partnership for Protected Areas in support of the CBD LifeWeb Initiative was launched in 2010 to address key issues in traditionally low-income countries, such as a lack of sustainability, capacity, and governance. Spain-UNEP LifeWeb focuses on improving the management of existing Protected Areas and creating new Protected Areas. This Partnership assists countries and regions to integrate an ecosystems management approach into development and planning processes and to realign their protected area programmes to reverse the degradation of priority ecosystem services through innovative ecosystem management tools and direct support activities that address the lack of capacity and resources to manage these areas.

“The Government of Spain believes that biodiversity is a main component of human well-being,” said Federico Ramos, Spain’s Secretary of State for Environment. “Spain is very proud to support a project like LifeWeb. This project will help in the management of Protected Areas in developing countries. The Spanish support to this project could also encourage other countries to participate.”

Spain-UNEP LifeWeb currently operates 11 projects on three continents, encompassing marine mammal corridors in the Pacific Ocean, monk seal and sea turtle protection in West Africa, and orangutan habitat in Sumatra. Iconic species such as elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, whales, and tigers help define targets within the Spain-UNEP LifeWeb projects.

Six of the Spain-UNEP LifeWeb projects are managed by the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and focus on great apes in Asia and Africa, including critically endangered orangutans in Indonesia and Eastern Lowland gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

GRASP produced a promotional video – narrated by GRASP patron Richard Leakey -- and resource materials for the Rio+20 side event.

Implemented activities are designed to promote public policies at local and regional level that may contribute to a sustainable development with the direct participation of local communities within those processes, strengthening institutional capacities within environmental management and the processes of action and social participation to reduce socio-environmental vulnerability and to help an efficient and sustainable environmental management. Also, these activities are promoting (i) the conservation and the sustainable use of the natural resources and the increase of capacity building for development, (ii) the diversification of economic initiatives respectful with the environment to help the sustainable development, and (iii) legal frameworks and regional coordination mechanisms regarding the sustainable management of the natural resources.
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