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Innovative solutions for protected areas promoted at Asia’s largest conservation forum

As part of the 7th IUCN Asia Regional Conservation Forum held in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 6-8 November 2019, the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) presented its achievements, priorities and opportunities during a side event organised by IUCN Asia and supported by the Korea National Park Service and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan.

Ms Minsum Kim presents a summary of the recent APAP technical workshop © IUCN Asia

At the recent 7th IUCN Asia Regional Conservation Forum held in Islamabad, over 70 representatives of government agencies, NGOs and the private sector participated in the ‘’Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP): Promoting regional collaboration, best practices and innovative solutions for Asia’s protected areas” side event.

Organised by IUCN Asia and supported by the Korean National Park Service and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, the side event aimed to highlight APAP’s key achievements, priorities and opportunities.

APAP has functioned as a pivotal hub that enables information exchange among countries in the Asia region - known as the ecologically richest region in the world. To protect the most blessed land of the planet holds great significance and so does the work of APAP. I am pleased to see APAP evolving so rapidly, from just an idea in 2013 to a fully-fledged, Asia-wide partnership in 2019,’’ said Dr Jong-Soo Yoon, Former Vice Minister of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea (MoEK) during his opening remarks delivered on behalf of MoEK.

''Through its technical workshops, steering committee meetings and translation of best practice guidelines, APAP has already demonstrated that it can serve as a regional platform for building capacity and sharing best practices, APAP has great potential to build on these foundations and help countries achieve the new targets in the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework,” said Dr Scott Perkin, Head, Natural Resources Group, IUCN Asia Regional Office, when he was providing an overview of APAP at the session.

 Mr Scott Perkin, Ambassador Masahiko Horie and Mr Dr Jong-Soo Yoon attending the APAP side-event © IUCN Asia

Boasting a diverse range of speakers, participants learned about some of APAP’s key capacity-building activities, as well as key trends and challenges related to protected areas management. 

Ms Minsun Kim, Programme Officer, Korea National Park Service (KNPS), presented a detailed summary of the recent APAP technical workshop on tourism and visitor management in protected areas, which was held in October 2019 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. 

Dr Maklarin Lakim, Deputy Director, Sabah Parks, then introduced the plans for the 2nd Asia Parks Congress, which will be held in Kota Kinabalu from 24 to 28 May 2021.

Participants also had the opportunity to share their perspectives on what APAP could focus on in the next few years. The suggestions included youth engagement, indigenous peoples’ rights, species conservation, conservation of biodiversity outside protected areas, private sector engagement, as well as the control of development in and around protected areas.

Ambassador Masahiko Horie, IUCN Regional Councillor, congratulated the Partnership on its rapid growth from just six Members from six countries in 2014 to 21 Members from 17 countries in 2019. He also acknowledged Professor Hoshino, the co-chair of the 1st Asia Parks Congress held in Sendai, Japan in 2013 and the originator of the APAP concept.