OECMs complement protected areas through sustained, positive conservation outcomes, even though they may be managed primarily for other reasons. In 2018, the governments of the world adopted the following definition of an OECM:
“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 insitu conservation of biodiversity, with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio–economic, and other locally relevant values” (CBD, 2018)
Because this definition was only recently adopted, most countries have not yet provided data to the World Database on OECMs. Importantly, this does not mean that no OECMs exist in those countries. OECMs will often be pre-existing measures that have not historically been recognised for their conservation values, ranging from Sacred Natural Sites to some military zones. The challenge for governments and other stakeholders will be in identifying OECMs, and supporting them to maintain their conservation benefits in the long term.
IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) has provided guidance on recognising OECMs.
The World Database on Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures
From this page you can download and explore the World Database on Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (WD-OECM), first published in December 2019.
Users should note the following points before using the WD-OECM:
Although the amount of data in the WD-OECM is limited, it provides a first indication of the dramatic impact that documenting OECMs may have on conservation networks around the world. While increasing the coverage of area-based conservation measures is important, it is essential that OECMs are identified in accordance with CBD and IUCN-WCPA guidance, and that they are appropriately supported and incentivised, enabling them to maintain the long-term conservation benefits for which they are recognised.
We look forward to working with governments and other data-providers to expand the WD-OECM. Please get in touch if you have data you would like to contribute: email@example.com
Guidance on providing data
The WD-OECM is a joint project between UN Environment Programme and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The compilation and management of the WDPA is carried out by UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), in collaboration with governments, non-governmental organisations, academia and industry.
While the WDPA has a long history, the WD-OECM was only established in 2019. UNEP-WCMC is working with governments and other stakeholders to build the database, but extensive efforts will be needed before it is as complete as the WDPA.
For more details on the WD-OECM please read through the User Manual.
Tracking progress towards global targets for protected areas