Session 571

Session Overview

Border areas are often isolated by their geographies, with their respective territories subject to often-contradictory policies and administrative arrangements on different sides of the border. Even where political boundaries divide peoples with close cultural, ethnic and/or linguistic ties, manmade borders can exacerbate perceived differences and historical grudges. Border areas frequently experience high levels of competition over ownership of natural resources and supplies of basic human needs like productive lands and waters. Where such conflicts stagnate or escalate, they can trigger new waves of displacement and migration.

On the other hand, many transboundary areas around the world share major ecosystems, high levels of biodiversity, and powerful cultural, spiritual and historical associations. Areas that have been less accessible to the public for reasons of remoteness, politics, conflict and/or defence may be in a favorable state of conservation that can open exceptional possibilities for sustainable social and economic development.

Against a backdrop of rising regional tensions, environmental degradation and economic precarity, well-designed and funded transboundary cooperation initiatives can become a critical 21st century tool to support inclusive and sustainable regional development. Such initiatives can lead to collaborative governance structures even between divided societies, protecting critical ecosystems and biodiversity to support human livelihoods.

The Parks for the Planet Forum, a ten-year leadership and action platform launched by Salzburg Global and IUCN in 2015, took transboundary conservation for biodiversity, economic development and human security as its key theme for its 2016 session. The primarily focus was on fresh water and land resources, expanding in 2017 to transboundary cooperation for coastal and marine ecosystems. Discussions and practical outcomes were built on the Forum's successful launch in 2015 which focused on "Nature, Health and a New Urban Generation", as well as relevant outcomes of the IUCN World Conservation Congress (Hawaii, September 2016).

The 2016 session, The Next Frontier: Transboundary Cooperation for Biodiversity and Peace, convened a diverse range of on-ground practitioners and innovators with policymakers and influencers, bridging sectoral, generational and regional divides. Participants identified the most promising approaches, catalyze collaborations and pilot projects and deliver practical tools that deliver benefits for inclusive and sustainable development, regional economic growth and cohesion and peace-building. Such outcomes will concretely advance implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Goals 13, 14, 15 and 16 which commit all countries and stakeholders to collaborate on nature conservation, climate change, peace-building and sustainable societies.

Useful Resources

The following readings are recommended to review

WCPA Transboundary Protected Areas for Peace and Co-operation

WCC Hawaii Transboundary Conversation Resolution 2016


Additional resources submitted by Fellows:

1. Transboundary Conservation: A Systematic and Integrated Approach

Practice Guidelines compiled by the IUCN WCPA Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group

2. Global Transboundary Conservation Network

3. Hands Across Borders - Transboundary Conservation Practitioners Workshop

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

4. CBD - Website

5. Peace and Biodiversity Dialogue Initiative - Brochure

Please scroll down and see the Profiles of Participating Transboundary Conservation Initiatives.  


If you wish to add links to this list, please see Antonio Riolino