Broadscale conservation

Guidance on “Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures”, a new category of area-based conservation emerging from the Convention on Biological Diversity, is now complete. The definition was approved at a CBD Conference of Parties in November 2018 and the technical guidelines published by IUCN at the end of 2019.

With WWF, Nigel is advising on the development of a global grasslands initiative, and with Global Wildlife Conservation is coordinating a survey of user’s attitudes to the proposed IUCN Green List of Species. Nigel is also involved with WWF in a revision of the study on deforestation fronts that we originally produced in 2015. We continue to work with WWF’s Landscape Lab, currently on a paper looking at sustainable sourcing of raw materials at a landscape scale.

Protected areas

In February 2018 we published the first in a planned series of Equilibrium Dialogues, Protected Areas: Challenges and responses for the coming decade, laying out priorities in the run-up to the CBD Conference of Parties later in 2018 and in 2020 when new global targets will be debated. We spent 2019 developing these ideas into a book, Leaving Space for Nature: The Critical Role of Area-Based Conservation, to be published in 2020. We hope the book will be of interest to those attending the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Conference of Parties at the end of 2020 where new decadal targets for conservation will be set.

Sue continues to be involved in development of Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS), a capacity building and accreditation scheme for tiger reserves; some 70 sites are now part of the scheme in seven countries. The concept of Conservation Assured is being extended to other endangered animals, with currently Sue working with WWF Mexico on draft standards for jaguars.

Much of our protected area work reflects on ecosystem services, particularly through the Natural Solutions specialist group of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, which Nigel co-chairs. In addition, a revised version of the Protected Area Benefits Assessment Tool will  be published early this year by IUCN and we are working for the Secretariat of the CBD to collect case studies on financial benefits from protected areas.

Protected area categories and definitions continue to be challenging; Nigel has been heavily involved in revising IUCN’s best practice guidance on marine protected area management categories, and has been advisor on categories to the governments of Denmark and Iceland during 2018. We are also continuing to work on Protected Area Management Effectiveness (PAME), running a workshop in Myanmar in December 2018.

We also continue to work on Protected Area Management Effectiveness (PAME).  We attended a workshop on linking the two most widely used tools in protected area management around the world (the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool or METT and the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool or SMART) in Singapore in December 2019. One result is we are aiming to produce a new revised version of METT (METT 4) in early 2020.

Sue has been particularly involved in drawing up best practice guidance for privately protected areas with IUCN. The guidelines were published in November 2018 and in early 2019 the IUCN WCPA Specialist Group on Privately Protected Areas and Nature Stewardship held an international workshop to discuss training and dissemination. As a result, funding was obtained to run a series of conservation campuses as the Latin America and Caribbean protected areas congress in Peru in 2019 and in 2020 at the Third Global Congress of the International Land Conservation Network and IUCN’s World Conservation Congress.

Nigel is part of the team putting together a technical guide on integration of climate change into protected area planning in association with the Luc Hoffmann Institute and Parques Naturales Nacionales in Colombia, also due for publication in 2020.

Society and Environment

Working with the Wildlife Conservation Network and the Lion Recovery Fund, we carried out a major study on the ecosystem services derived from lion landscapes, The New Lion Economy, in Africa in 2019; we will continue this work in 2020 with a more detailed look at the opportunities for using carbon funds for lion conservation.


During 2019, we wrote course material for an online course being developed by the Zoological Society of London and National Geographic.


Finally, but perhaps most importantly, a major focus for our work in 2020 is the planned major new project that will research and produce a comprehensive guide to how protected and conserved areas contribute to achievement of SDGs, and how they could contribute even more in the future.