From January 30 to February 1st, 2006, a meeting was held in Paris to consider actions in support of the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity's Programme of work on Protected Areas (CBD PoWPA) in natural World Heritage sites.
To this end, the World Heritage Centre invited the Convention on Biological Diversity secretariat, representatives of six of the largest international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) focused on natural heritage issues, the World Conservation Union - IUCN, and various other international experts to inform the debate. Also present as observers were several natural heritage experts from various States Parties of the World Heritage Convention.
The meeting adopted a tactical approach towards the continuation of the relationships built up through the successful United Nations Foundation-NGO-WH project based partnerships over the last 5 years. The strategy adopted in the meeting had three major elements; (1) PoWPA Implementation - Challenges and Opportunities; (2) Assembling the Elements of a Joint Response; and (3) Maximizing the benefits of our cooperation.
These sections were considered consecutively over the three days in the context of the added value of actions with the various organisations working in a collaborative and coordinated manner. This resulted in the identification of a range of concrete activities under six broad headings (below) that could be followed up in the short, medium and longer term.
1. Contributing to the implementation of PoWPA elements in World Heritage sites;
2. Supporting the implementation of the World Heritage Convention;
3. Supporting the World Heritage Centre in providing training and capacity building opportunities to World Heritage site stakeholders;
4. Information exchange;
5. Developing large scale initiatives suitable for external financing;
6. Reporting to the World Heritage Centre and the Convention on Biological Diversity secretariat;
This meeting resulted from several preparatory workshops: at the March 2005 World Heritage Forests meeting in Nancy, France and at a short side gathering at the Montecatini Protected Areas Working Group - CBD meeting in June. Since Montecatini, the World Heritage Centre actively exchanged ideas with our conservation partners and based on their feedback, called for a dedicated working meeting in order to strengthen resolve and agree on concrete future actions.