Broadscale conservation

With the Lion Recovery Fund, we produced a report on ecosystem services derived from lion landscapes, The New Lion Economy, backed up by a practitioner’s leaflet on using REDD+ to fund conservation in African savannahs. For IUCN, Nigel worked with Hannah Timmins to interview potential users of the Green Status list for recovering species to find out their opinions and needs from this emerging approach. Our work on tiger conservation and Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards continues, with Sue taking a more active part in the secretariat for the next few months. Conservation Assured has also been extended to river dolphins, with new standards drawn up for WWF in association with Mike Baltzer and Khalid Pasha.


For the Luc Hoffmann Institute, we have investigated the options for a coexistence standard to address human-wildlife conflict issues. Safeguards has more generally become a major part of our work, through collaborations with WWF and Re:Wild. For the Landscape Lab, Commonland and Wetlands International we wrote a paper on restoration and the 4 returns framework for the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. And we have recently finished editing a special 50th anniversary issue of the Global Wetlands Outlook for the Ramsar Convention.

Protected areas

Just before the pandemic, we published a book, Leaving Space for Nature: The Critical Role of Area-Based Conservation, which summarises 20 years of experience in working in this field.
During 2021, we finished a project for the Convention on Biological Diversity, to collect case studies of financial benefits from protected areas, a harder job than expected, working with Hannah Timmins.


A major focus of effort has been development of a report on the role of area-based conservation in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals, a multi-organisational task coordinated by the Institute for European Environmental Policy, collaborating with Marianne Kettunen, see associated webinar. Additionally, a revised edition of the Protected Area Benefits Assessment Tool was published during 2021 in the IUCN technical series, led by Kasandra Ivanic and also collaborating with Carolina Figuera.


Area based conservation has now extended to include Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Mechanisms (OECMs) and Equilibrium remains closely involved with their development. In 2021, we collaborated with Harry Jonas and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre to analyse options for implementation within the European Union, in a project led by Cristina Lazaro.


The IUCN protected area management categories continue to be a focus. Nigel recently started collaborating with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council to revise ASC standards with respect to protected areas, work is ongoing.


We continue to work on Protected Area Management Effectiveness (PAME). During 2021 this included an analysis of the methodology used by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in Australia. We recently completed a revision of the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool, working with partners including particularly Marc Hockings, and thoroughly revised the accompanying METT Handbook. Throughout lockdown, we have continued online training related to the METT around the world.


For URSA, a coalition aimed at supporting the world’s protected area rangers, we are currently carrying out work on best practices for building good relations between rangers and local communities.


We both remain committed to supporting the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. Sue continues to be closely involved with the IUCN WCPA Specialist Group on Privately Protected Areas and Nature Stewardship, the work having a major focus on capacity building around the WCPA best practices published a few years ago and the continued need for better reporting of PPAs (as outlined in a recent paper Sue was a co-author on for Frontiers in Conservation Science, and Sue and Nigel recently took over editorship of the WCPA publications.

Society and Environment

Working with Giulia Costa Domingo of the Institute for European Environmental Policy, Nigel produced a report on biodiversity footprints for the European Commission, to help establish options for measuring the EU Green New Deal.


Equilibrium carried out a major study for a European government pension fund, assessing whether any of their portfolio of investments impacted negatively on biodiversity, assessing a massive 1,800 companies with Hannah Timmins.

Sue is also on the working group of the Wilder Institute Calgary Zoo’s  community-based conservation horizon scan, which aims to identify emerging opportunities and risk to support development and strategy for effective community conservation over the next 15 years.

Finally, we stepped outside our usual area, although in a project closely linked to our work on PPAs, to collaborate with Kiragu Mwangi of BirdLife International to collect information from BirdLife partners around the world on attracting members and supporters. The resulting report, which taught us a great deal, was designed by Helen Miller and Jonathan Gledson of Miller Design, as is the case with many of our publications over the years.