05 Dec 2023 What future for other effective conservation measures (OECMs) in the context of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030?
The panel of experts discussed the role of OECMs as an essential tool to achieve Europe’s nature conservation targets, specifically with regard to the target of protecting 30% of EU’s land and seas by 2030. As OECMs are a relatively new policy tool in many Member States, the webinar discussed how OECMs can be used to conserve biodiversity in a more pragmatic way while recognising and respecting the needs of local communities.
Opening the event, Cy Griffin, FACE Senior Conservation Manager, welcomed the audience and stated that: “It is important to identify areas with land management practices that deliver conservation benefits, whether these are protected areas or not. OECMs offer a means to complement protected area networks, and secure favourable land uses in the long-term”.
Dr Stephen Woodley, co-chair the IUCN-WCPA Specialist Group on OECMs, highlighted that: “OECMs are an opportunity for the EU to build a more comprehensive system to help halt and reverse biodiversity loss. OECMs can work with upgraded and expanded protected areas systems to build conservation networks that conserve nature and help it adapt to a changing climate”.
Mr Frank Vassen from the European Commission stressed that: “The Commission’s Staff Working document on Criteria and Guidance for protected area designations provides a definition for ‘Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures’ that covers legislative and administrative acts, but also contracture arrangements, provided such areas are governed and managed in ways that achieve a positive and sustained long-term outcomes for biodiversity conservation. The document thereby indicates how OECMs could contribute to the target for achieving a 30% coverage of protection in the EU and its biogeographical regions by 2030”.
Dr Olivier Hymas, senior researcher at the University of Lausanne, who is currently establishing a European OECM working group with IUCN, stated that: “In order to realise the full potential for “Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures” (OECMs) in Europe we need to recognise that many of the most cost-effective biodiversity protectors are invisible to policy makers and defenders of biodiversity. This invisibility makes appropriate policy creation difficulty, however without such policies we will continue to unknowingly loose biodiversity that has been effectively protected for hundreds of years.”
The event was successful in providing the opportunity for participants and stakeholders to discuss the role of OECMs, which form an important part of Europe’s conservation agenda. With a high attendance of almost 200 online participants from a wide range of organisations and institutions, the meeting also hosted a wide-ranging Q&A discussion.
See the IUCN Guidance on OECMs adopted in the context of the Convention on Biological Biodiversity (CBD):
European Commission document:
- EC Staff Working Document Criteria and Guidance for protected area designations SWD(2022) 23 final
The webinar can be watched here: https://www.facebook.com/FACEforHunters/videos/1043968716806701/