The Australian Committee for IUCN
EVENTS / SCIENCE INFORMING POLICY SYMPOSIUM SERIES / INNOVATION FOR 21ST CENTURY CONSERVATION
Science Informing Policy Symposium Series
Innovation for 21st Century Conservation
The Innovation for 21st Century Conservation symposium was the second in the ACIUCN Science Informing Policy Symposium Series.
The symposium took the position that the retention of Australia’s unique and rich terrestrial and marine species and varied ecosystems is an urgent challenge which requires – perhaps more than any other single factor- innovative partnerships across sectors.
The last decade has brought forth a richness of examples of innovation, generating new partnerships and models of establishment, management, financing, policy and governance by Australians from many sectors. This innovation has taken place across our strong public system of protected areas, but also generated a very significant estate of indigenous protected areas and private conservation initiatives. However with more than 70 per cent of Australia’s land in private ownership, we need to work with all managers of substantial areas of land - the pastoral and mining industries and departments of defence for example. The potential of emerging ecosystem and carbon markets need to be harnessed for maximum benefit to our lands, seas, waters and wildlife.
The symposium looked at ways to build the protected area system - the core habitat for our species - and large scale landscape scale initiatives as supported by the National Wildlife Corridor Plan. It provided case studies of new models, partnerships, and governance arrangements. By highlighting and discussing these examples we hoped to spread good practice and inspire new ideas for further ecosystem and biological diversity partnerships to achieve outcomes at the scale needed to stem our losses and recover health and resilience.
The partners in this publication share a profound belief that the retention of Australia’s unique and rich terrestrial and marine species and varied ecosystems is an urgent challenge which requires – perhaps more than any other single factor- innovative partnerships across sectors.
Despite many substantial efforts of all sectors to address these challenges, most indicators of species and ecological health suggest that our current efforts are inadequate to stem serious species losses, especially in the face of increasing threats, especially climate change. This has driven a commitment to seek integrated conservation management across many tenures to support our protected areas and, to make this happen, a willingness to explore more effective means of achieving conservation at scale with many different land managers, Indigenous and local communities.
Guiding policy advice:
The symposium publication illustrates a richness of examples of innovation – new partnerships and models for establishment of protected areas, for the management, financing and governance of both protected areas and initiatives on other tenures. Its key purpose is to both illustrate that new approaches are possible and workable and to give impetus to these directions. However the book has also illustrated that the path to new approaches will not be without challenges and the occasional blockage.
Not all innovative approaches to conservation survive, however the need for a whole of landscape approaches is clear. The international strategic direction is fully endorsed in the Aichi Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The full range of national bipartisan documents has endorsed this direction. We hope readers, from decision makers to students, will be inspired and renew efforts to ensure that the future of Australia’s conservation effort in this critical 21st century sees real innovation for real outcomes.
The symposium was held in partnership with the South Australian Government, The Nature Conservancy and IUCN WCPA.