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The IUCN Green List

What is the IUCN Green List?  

The IUCN Green List is a global campaign for successful nature conservation. At its heart is the Green List Sustainability Standard, which provides a global benchmark for how to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century.

The IUCN Green List offers locally relevant expert guidance to help achieve fair and effective nature conservation results in protected and conserved areas. It can help guarantee that wildlife and ecosystems can survive, thrive and bring value to communities everywhere.

A protected or conserved area that reaches the IUCN Green List Standard is certified and recognised as achieving ongoing results for people and nature in a fair and effective way. Any site can join and work its way towards achieving verified success, and then maintain the Standard or further improve.

Any protected or conserved area that gains ‘Green List’ status demonstrates:
-    Respect: for the local community through fair and meaningful engagement of rights-holders and stakeholders
-    Design: planning that identifies the needs to secure the important values of the area
-    Effective management: monitoring of the status of these important values
-    Successful conservation results: for nature and for people
-    Clear contribution: to climate change responses, health and well-being and other challenges

 A Globally Applicable Standard   
At the heart of the IUCN Green List initiative is a globally applicable Standard. It provides an international benchmark for quality that motivates improved performance and achievement of conservation objectives. By committing to meet the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas Standard, site managers must demonstrate and maintain performance and deliver real nature conservation results.  

The IUCN Green List Standard is organised into four components. Each component is supported by criteria and indicators to measure achievement. There are 17 criteria covering all four components. The 17 criteria collectively describe the efforts needed to fully achieve the global Sustainability Standard and all must be achieved for green-listing. The indicators can be adapted to suit the local context.

The IUCN Green List Process – How does it work?
The Green List implementation process starts with a voluntary commitment from a site or organisation at a jurisdictional level. New jurisdictions (country, regional or sub-country level) demonstrate their commitment and capacity to engage in the Green List Programme.


An Expert Assessment Group for the Green List (EAGL) is then formed, trained and accredited to oversee site evaluations and the Standard’s indicator adaptation. EAGLs are typically composed of 8 to 15 experts, representing a range of backgrounds, interests and stakeholder groups.

An Independent Assurance Provider is assigned to ensure that the rules and procedures are applied consistently throughout the Green List process and ensure the independence of standard-setting and evaluation. These services are carried out by Assurance Services International (ASI).

The whole process can take anywhere from six months to a maximum of five years, depending on the readiness of the site. (For more information, please visit: https://iucngreenlist.org/how-does-it-work/).

Once sites are enrolled in the IUCN Green List programme, they can benefit from expert guidance on how to improve performance and impacts. They also become part of a network, fostering exchange and learning among conservation practitioners.

The IUCN Green List in Asia
As of November 2021, six countries in Asia are formally engaged in the IUCN Green List (Bhutan, China, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam), and discussions are underway with four additional countries. Ten protected areas have already been inscribed on the IUCN Green List, and at least 25 additional sites are working towards their certification. The IUCN Green List is also being incorporated into several large regional projects, such as the implementing phase of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME), which will be applying the Standard to marine protected areas.

The Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) accords high priority to the IUCN Green List, as a key tool for enhancing management effectiveness, improving governance and promoting the achievement of conservation outcomes. A dedicated APAP Working Group on the Green List has been established to facilitate an exchange of experience and lessons among those countries already using the Standard, and to help promote uptake of the Standard in new jurisdictions.    

IUCN Guidance
The key reference document on the IUCN Green List is the Global Standard. This contains comprehensive information about all aspects of the Standard, including a detailed description of the criteria and indicators. For more information, and to read and download the Standard, please click here: https://iucngreenlist.org/standard/global-standard/.

The User Manual describes the process for inscribing a site on the IUCN Green List, the roles of different organisations and stakeholders (including third party quality assurance) and much more. For more information and to download the User Manual, please click here: https://iucngreenlist.org/how-does-it-work/

IUCN Support

The IUCN Asia Regional Office can offer guidance, technical assistance and training to APAP Members interested in adopting the IUCN Green List Standard. For more information, please contact Mohammad Khalid Sayeed Pasha, IUCN Green List Coordinator, Asia, at the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Additional Links and Resources

IUCN Green List Official Webpage

IUCN WCPA Green List Specialist Group

IUCN Green List Videos
Lebanon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoTx4j0eO5I&t=14s    
Malaysia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVHDC4KuoIU

The Expert Assessment Group for the Green List (EAGL) Established in Lao PDR for the IUCN Green List
The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas (GL) is an initiative that encourages, measures, recognizes and shares the successes of protected areas that meet the standards of good management and governance practices.
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