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Other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs)

In addition to our work on protected areas, the Asia Protected Areas Partnership is enabling its Members and partners to identify, recognise, support and report ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECMs).

What is an ‘OECM’?  

Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, at the 14th Conference of the Parties in 2018, adopted the following definition for an ‘other effective area-based conservation measure’:

A geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in situ conservation of biodiversity, with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio–economic, and other locally relevant values. (CBD decision 14/8).

This has elevated the international importance of areas outside protected areas that are delivering long-term, effective conservation of biodiversity. Countries now have an opportunity to identify, recognise, support and report OECMs in ways that complement their systems of protected areas.

What is the difference and complementarity between protected areas and OECMs?

While a protected area has a primary conservation objective, an “other effective area-based conservation measure” delivers the effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity regardless of its management objectives. OECMs can be governed by government agencies, private actors, indigenous peoples and/or local communities. Protected areas and OECMs complement each other in landscapes and seascapes and should be recognised and supported within well-connected conservation networks. Parties to the CBD have committed to conserving 17% of terrestrial and freshwater areas and 10% of marine and coastal areas by 2020 through protected areas and OECMs.

Identifying, recognising, supporting and reporting OECMs

Enabling the appropriate identification, recognition, support and reporting of OECMs across landscapes and seascapes provides a good opportunity to promote long-term, effective in situ conservation in Asia. It also promotes:
•    Equitable governance, effective management and conservation outcomes;
•    An increase in coverage of ecologically representative areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services;
•    Enhanced connectivity between protected and conserved areas and across landscapes and seascapes;
•    Engagement with a diverse range of rights-holders and stakeholders who contribute to area-based conservation outside of protected areas;
•    Transformation in sectoral practices;
•    Climate change mitigation and adaptation, contributing to net-zero climate targets and building resilience to the physical impacts of climate change through nature-based solutions.

IUCN capacity support

IUCN offices in Asia are offering capacity development and programmatic support to APAP Members on OECMs. For more information, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

IUCN guidance

•    IUCN OECM Specialist Group
•    IUCN WCPA Recognising and Reporting OECMs
•    Briefing note on OECMs in Asia
•    FAQs

Additional links

•    APAP webinars on OECMs: April 2020 and August 2020
•    Recognising and Reporting OECMs in Malaysia