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Maldives: The 4th Chair of Asia Protected Area Partnership
The Asia Protected Area Partnership (APAP) Secretariat is pleased to announce that the Government of the Maldives has assumed the role of Co-Chair effective December 2023. APAP is co-chaired between a partner country and the IUCN Asia Regional Office (ARO). The Co-Chairs steer the regional partnership platform in enhancing capacity of national institutions for scaling up governance and effective management of protected and conserved areas (PCAs). The Ministry of Climate Change, Environment and Energy, Republic of Maldives, takes over the chairmanship from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC), Government of India, which recently completed its two-year tenure. Japan and the Republic of Korea had also previously served as country Chairs.

APAP member countries renew commitment to Global Biodiversity Framework at technical meeting in India
Asia Protected Area Partnership (APAP) was established in 2014 to facilitate improved conservation outcomes for protected and conserved areas (PCAs) in Asia, in accordance with the Sendai Charter for Asia’s protected areas and in support of national and regional efforts to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. It has since then served as a model for regional collaboration, showcasing the power of partnerships in driving progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

APAP meeting agrees on future priorities as run-up to Technical Workshop
The IUCN Asia Regional Office (ARO) hosted the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) planning workshop in Bangkok, Thailand, between 23 – 24 January. Participants, representing the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Wildlife Institute of India, as well as the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) , discussed and prepared APAP’s strategy for the period 2023 – 2030, particularly on synergizing with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) and its Target 3 outlining the “30x30” approach. At the same time, the workshop prepared the detailed programme of the next APAP Technical Workshop planned in March / April 2023.

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.

Korea National Parks for All: Visitor Services Using Sign Language
The Korean National Parks Visitor Services has adopted sign language to cater for the deaf and hard of hearing community. Illustrated encyclopedias and nature commentary videos using sign language have been produced to help deaf visitors learn about the different plants and animals in the national parks.

Achieving Co-Existence: Restoration of Endangered Species in the Republic of Korea
Since 2002, the Ministry of Environment through the Korea National Park Service (KNPS) has re-introduced 51 Asiatic bears (Ursus thibetanus ussuricus), 22 long-tailed gorals (Naemorhedus caudatus) and 118 Korean red foxes (Vulpes vulpes peculiosa) in Jirisan, Woraksan, and Sobaeksan National Parks, respectively. The successful re-introduction of these endangered species in the wild has promoted biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.

Korea National Park Service (KNPS) develops innovative techniques to restore seaweed habitats
Seaweed habitats have been successfully restored in the Republic of Korea (RoK) by using a new and innovative technique on the shores of Dadohaehaesang National Park.

Republic of Korea celebrates First National Park Day
The Republic of Korea (ROK) held its first “National Park Day” commemoration at the headquarters of the Korea National Park Service (KNPS) in Wonju City on 3 March 2021. The event was conducted through online, real-time streaming, with the participation of the general public.

Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) welcomes India as new Co-Chair
Following last year’s open call for expressions of interest to all APAP country members, IUCN is delighted to announce that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, has become the new APAP Co-chair, for a three-year period up to November 2023.

Asia Protected Areas Partnership builds Members’ capacities on Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs)
Sixty-six representatives from the members of the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) and other Protected Areas (PA) staff from the region learned ways of identifying, recognising, supporting and reporting Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) through the 6th APAP Technical Workshop, held virtually on 13 August 2020 with funding support from the Korea National Park Service.

Protected Areas respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of society and protected areas are no exception. In this difficult time, it is critical that protected area managers share their experiences and best practices in responding to the coronavirus, in order to minimise the negative impacts of the pandemic on conservation and enhance the resilience of protected areas in the future.

MEMBER UPDATE: Korea National Park Service Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic
As one of the first countries to be affected by the COVID 19 pandemic, how did the Republic of Korea’s national parks respond to the outbreak? The Korea National Park Service (KNPS) has adopted a wide range of strategies on visitor management, community outreach and staff safety management in order to respond to the challenges of COVID-19.

MEMBER UPDATE: National Park Day in the Republic of Korea
The Republic of Korea (ROK) has announced that the 3rd of March each year will be National Park Day. The annual commemoration will raise public awareness about the importance of national parks and help to strengthen public support for the conservation and sustainable use of national parks.

Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs): Exploring the Potential in Asia
Other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) are becoming an increasingly important topic in the discussions leading up to the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. As a contribution to the dialogue, the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) chose OECMs as the topic for its very first webinar, held on the 23rd of April 2020.

APAP emphasizes regional collaboration to strengthen protected areas management
The Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) was highlighted as a model for regional collaboration for biodiversity conservation during the ‘’International Symposium on Cross-boundary Cooperation for Biodiversity Conservation in Asia Under Global Change’’ held from 29 to 31 July 2019 in Kaifeng, Henan, China.

Release of new Guidance on Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures 
29 November 2019: The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) has published a guidance to assist Parties in interpreting and operationalising CBD Decision 14/8 and to start to develop a body of good practice around recognising and reporting OECMs.

Experts call attention to the key role of World Heritage in meeting biodiversity objectives
29 November 2019: Experts convened by IUCN have issued a statement on how World Heritage contributes to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. This includes recommendations specific to World Heritage and its relevance to biodiversity. Negotiations to develop the framework, which will be adopted by the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) next October, are currently under way, involving governments and expert groups from around the world.

Innovative solutions for protected areas promoted at Asia’s largest conservation forum
29 November 2019: 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. 

APAP explores opportunities to contribute to global agendas
29 November 2019: The 5th Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) Steering Committee meeting, held in Bangkok on 24 and 25 July 2019, reaffirmed that the Partnership is continuing to make significant headway, not just at the regional level, but in the global arena as well.   

APAP welcomes two new Country Members
29 November 2019: The Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) has welcomed two new Members since June 2019: the Department of Protected Forest Management (DPFM) under the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), Thailand.

Tourism in Protected Areas – A Double-edged Sword
14 November 2019: Tourism in many of Asia’s protected areas is growing rapidly, often leading to a range of environmental and social impacts. The importance of mitigating the impacts of tourism and enhancing its benefits has consistently been identified as a high priority by the members of the Asia Protected Areas Partnership.

MEMBER UPDATE: Developing China’s national park system
26 June 2019: In recent years, China has been making great strides in developing its national park system, which now includes 10 pilot national parks in 12 provinces across China. These parks cover an area of more than 200,000 square kilometers, which is almost the size of Yunnan province.

MEMBER UPDATE: A space for healing: overcoming environmental diseases in national parks
6 June 2019: To help prevent and manage environmental diseases, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea and Korea National Park Service established Health Improvement Camps in 2009.  

MEMBER UPDATE: Woven from nature
5 June 2019: In the Maldives, Aminath lives close to a vast protected wetland area within the Fuvahmulah Nature Park on Fuvahmulah Atoll. Aminath goes to the wetland at least once a month to harvest taro from her allocated field. Occasionally, she also takes a dip in the freshwater lake surrounding the wetland.

Translation of IUCN publications on protected areas into Asian languages
5 June 2019: Under the auspices of APAP, and with the generous financial support of the Korea National Park Service (KNPS), a number of IUCN publications on protected areas are currently being translated into selected Asian languages.

Korea and China share visitor management experiences at World Protected Areas Leaders Forum
30 May 2019: Effective visitor management practices in protected areas were highlighted at the 11th Meeting of the World Protected Areas Leaders Forum (WPALF) held in March 2019 in Victoria, Australia. 

APAP welcomes new Country and Associate Members
28 May 2019: APAP has welcomed three new Members and Associate Members since December 2018: the Protected Area Management Division of Lao PDR’s Department of Forestry; the Maldives’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).

MEMBER UPDATE: Saving wild Asiatic black bears in Korea
28 May 2019: In the late 1990s, the Republic of Korea government launched the Asiatic Black Bear Restoration Project, with the aim of protecting and expanding the small remaining population of wild Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus ussuricus) in Jirisan National Park.

MEMBER UPDATE: Sharing experiences on marine national park management and promoting further cooperation between Korea and Thailand
16 May 2019: The Korea National Park Service (KNPS) and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation of Thailand (DNP) recently enhanced their knowledge about marine national park management.

Elephants and people: Exploring options for co-existence in Asia
6 March 2019: Analysing and understanding the complexities of human-wildlife conflicts and applying appropriate implementation methods and processes adapted to the local context, are critical in the prevention and mitigation of Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC).

Protected Planet Report 2018 goes digital
25 December 2018: The latest Protected Planet report – produced by the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, IUCN and the National Geographic Society – was released at the 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference (COP14).

IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas launches sustainable tourism guidelines
25 December 2018: The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) has published the latest guidelines in its well-known “best practice” series. The new guidelines aim to help protected area professionals achieve sustainable tourism.

“Other effective area-based conservation measures” defined at CBD COP 14
24 December 2018: Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 calls for “at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas” to be “conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.”.

MEMBER UPDATE: Cambodia and Thailand cooperate on transboundary biodiversity conservation and landscape management
23 December 2018: In an important new development, transboundary cooperation on protected areas and landscape management has begun between Cambodia and Thailand to enhance biodiversity conservation and sustainable development of connected ecosystems.

MEMBER UPDATE: Cambodia Ministry of Environment launches Zoning Guideline for Protected Areas
23 December 2018: To ensure the effective management of protected areas and sustainable use of natural resources, Cambodia has launched its first Zoning Guideline for Protected Areas based on the Protected Areas Law.

APAP Steering Committee Meeting confirms partnership is on track
23 December 2018: The 4th APAP Steering Committee meeting, held in Bangkok from 12 to 13 July 2018, affirmed that the partnership is continuing to make significant progress. The Steering Committee meeting was the largest in APAP’s history, with participants from 11 Member countries in attendance, as well as IUCN Regional Councillors and representatives from the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and Global Protected Areas Programme, amongst others.

MEMBER UPDATE: Local communities bring markhor back to Chitral Gol National Park, Pakistan
11 December 2018: Pakistan lies at the crossroads of three zoogeographic regions, and its diverse geography, soil, and climate give the country a rich diversity of fauna and flora. Located in the lofty mountains of the Hindukush, the Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is famous for supporting the largest wild population of markhor, classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Chitral Gol National Park was established in 1984 to protect this species and others.

Sabah Parks, Malaysia, joins APAP
11 December 2018: APAP welcomed Sabah Parks of Sabah, Malaysia, as its newest Member in September. The 54-year-old organisation brings to APAP a wealth of experience in managing a range of different landscapes and ecosystems and is considered a role model in tropical biodiversity management.

Raising APAP’s profile on the global stage at 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference
4 December 2018: On 21 November, APAP organised a side event at the 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP14) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. At the event, APAP shared some of the lessons learned from the partnership and explored its role in helping achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Despite the late hour and distant venue, the side event drew a packed crowd of some 60 people.

MEMBER UPDATE: Skills-based Volunteering in Korea National Parks
26 October 2018: A Skills-based Volunteering Programme has been launched in Korea National Parks to promote involvement in national park management. Volunteers who have knowledge, skills, talents and experience in park management participate in pro bono activities in Korea National Parks, and are called “Honorary Park Rangers.”

MEMBER UPDATE: National Park Citizens’ College an education programme for local people
26 October 2018: National Park Citizens’ College, the education programme that aims to enhance local people’s understanding of their neighbouring national parks, has been run by the Korea National Park Service (KNPS) since 2008. The two-month programme consists of a field experience component and ten lectures on the various aspects of national parks. These range from management systems and policy to natural and cultural resource management. Since its first delivery at Seoraksan National Park in 2008, 16 Korean national parks have adopted this programme and now run it annually. Between 2008 and 2017, 3,605 people participated in the National Park Citizens’ College.

MEMBER UPDATE: Learning from each other and building friendship between Asian protected areas managers
26 October 2018: The Korea National Park Friendship Program (KNPFP), which the Korea National Park Service (KNPS) has been conducting annually since 2014, took place this year between 3 and 30 June 2018. This year, 13 protected area managers from Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Pakistan and Thailand – nine of whom represented Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) members – participated. The programme’s aim is to form cooperative relationships with overseas protected area management agencies, and to provide opportunities for overseas park rangers to gain firsthand experience in national park management.

The Importance of Quality: Fourth APAP technical workshop promotes effective management of protected areas
24 September 2018: From 19 to 21 June 2018, the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) hosted its fourth technical workshop in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. The event addressed the effective management of protected areas, and focused in particular on Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) and the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas – the new international standard for management.

New State Member and first ever Associate Member join APAP
18 April 2018: Two new members have joined APAP since the beginning of 2018. In January, The State Forestry and Grassland Administration (SFA) of the People’s Republic of China became APAP’s newest Country Member; and in March, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) joined as its very first Associate Member.

MEMBER UPDATE: Korea Database on Protected Areas launched
30 March 2018: The Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea (MOEK) and Korea National Park Service (KNPS) have developed the Korea Database on Protected Areas (KDPA) as a means to organise and compile national data on protected areas. The standardised nature of the database is expected to help improve the effectiveness of policymaking process related to protected areas.

MEMBER UPDATE: Korea National Park Friendship Program for 2018
30 March 2018: As part of an initiative to form cooperative relationships with overseas protected area management agencies, the Korea National Park Service (KNPS) has been conducting its Korea National Park Friendship Programme (KNPFP) annually since 2014. The KNPFP aims to provide opportunities for overseas park rangers to gain on-the-ground experience in national park management through exchange with Korea’s national park professionals.

Q & A: Minsun Kim talks APAP and the importance of sharing knowledge
28 March 2018: Following the third Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) Technical Workshop in Bhutan, IUCN Asia had the opportunity to sit down with Minsun Kim, who recently joined the IUCN Asia Regional Office in Bangkok as Programme Officer for Protected Areas. Minsun is on a special secondment from the Korea National Park Service – a proud supporter of APAP – and has a particular responsibility to assist with the development and operation of APAP.

From conflict to co-existence: Third APAP Technical Workshop addresses human-wildlife conflict in Asia
26 March 2018: Over 80 conservation practitioners from across Asia came together to learn about ways of reducing and preventing human-wildlife conflict (HWC) at a technical workshop organised under the auspices of the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP)in Bhutan, a country that has already developed a national strategy to combat the issue.

APAP to hold technical event on human-wildlife conflict
6 October 2017: From 5-8 November, the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) will be hosting a technical workshop on human-wildlife conflict (HWC). This is the third technical workshop that APAP has hosted since its inception in 2013. The learning event will take place in Bhutan, a country that has already developed a National Strategy on Human-Wildlife Conflict, and participants will include representatives from APAP member organisations.

Asia Protected Areas Partnership Poised to Enter New Phase
18 September 2017: Regional collaboration on protected areas in Asia continued to gather momentum on a number of fronts, with the announcement of several new developments at the 3rd Steering Committee meeting for the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) in Bangkok, Thailand, on 2 and 3 August 2017.

Invitation to Propose Sites: Conservation Finance Incubator
9 June 2017: IUCN is seeking to partner with protected and conserved areas to seek and learn ways to improve conservation financing.  We are looking for partner sites that already participate in the IUCN Green List, or otherwise demonstrate a strong commitment to effective and equitable management and conservation.

Second APAP workshop: Collaborative management of protected areas emphasised
4 April 2017: The importance of collaborative protected area management through active stakeholder engagement took centre stage at the second Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) workshop held in Hakone, Japan from 13-15 February 2017.

Asia Protected Areas Partnership features on the global stage at the IUCN World Conservation Congress
1 November 2016: The unique role of protected area partnerships - including APAP - was highlighted at a well-attended event organised as part of the recent IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawai'i. The workshop on The Benefits of Protected Area Partnerships: Fostering Innovative Solutions for a Planet at the Crossroads drew an active group of some 70 participants.

Asia Protected Areas Partnership continues to gain momentum
6 October 2016: APAP is making significant headway for protected areas with the adoption of the APAP constitution, alongside several other developments including the finalisation of its logo and welcoming of its newest members, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in India, and the Forest Department of the Ministry of Mahaweli Environment and Development, Sri Lanka.

Q & A: Expert tips on protected area management, and a shout out to rangers
22 July 2016: At a recent APAP Steering Committee meeting, IUCN Asia had the opportunity to speak to Ignace Schopps, President of the EUROPARC Federation, the largest network on natural heritage in Europe, during which he shared EUROPARC's achievements and what APAP can do to achieve similar success.

Asia Protected Areas Partnership gathers pace as Steering Committee meets in Bangkok
22 July 2016: APAP's annual Steering Committee meeting was held in Bangkok from 14-15 July. The event was attended by representatives from APAP member countries and several international organizations, with the aim of assessing the Partnership's achievements and discussing the way forward.

Two new members join the Asia Protected Areas Partnership
26 October 2015: APAP has continued to gather momentum in recent months with the addition of two new members, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests of the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Wildlife Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

Collaborating on protected area management
20 September 2015: APAP is featured in a side event at IUCN's 6th Asia Regional Conservation Forum to promote APAP to IUCN Members and to gain feedback on its future activities.

New report and partnership highlight need for action on Asia's Protected Areas
18 November 2014: Asia's protected areas were in the spotlight today at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, with the release of the first-ever Asia Protected Planet report.

Asian leaders and IUCN establish new partnership for protected areas
28 April 2014: Senior government officials from 12 Asian countries and IUCN agree to establish a new transboundary Asian partnership on protected areas, following a meeting in Bangkok last week.

Protected areas in Asia critical to health of society and economy
25 April 2014: Senior government officials from 12 Asian countries have concluded a meeting in Bangkok today to explore the establishment of a new transboundary Asian partnership on protected areas.