New Transboundary Conservation Guidelines

A few weeks ago a group of transboundary conservation specialists met in Thayatal National Park in Northern Austria.  Thayatal National Park, on the Thaya River along the old Iron Curtain, is part of a transboundary protected area with its neighbor, Podyji National Park, in the Czech Republic. We gathered to craft a new IUCN (World Conservation Union) Best Practice Guideline on transboundary conservation in the 21st Century.  Our mission included revising prior recommendations last revised in 2001 as well as begin to take a more holistic view of transboundary conservation and extend this beyond past notions of conservation = national park-style protected areas.

The project brings together a nice blend of scholars, NGO representatives,  conservation practitioners and park officials from around the globe.  We had 20 participants from 17 different countries discussing a range of issues from management and governance to diverse types/styles of transboundary conservation (formal protected areas, mixed land use types, informal collaborations at international and sub-national scales, etc).  Participants gave talks on case studies covering transboundary conservation projects from around the globe.  We also managed to hammer out a first draft of key terms in the field.  In the coming months we will draft a book on that builds on state of the art knowledge on the subject for a launch at the World Parks Congress next year in Sydney.  I will follow up with a post on developments as the guidelines get closer to approval.

The final day included a nice excursion of rafting along the Thaya River and hiking back through the park.

Czech Castle near Thayatal NP

Czech Castle near Thayatal NP

The Thaya River
The Thaya River

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