World has more protected areas than ever before, but not enough

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Protected areas are essential to the conservation of species, ecosystems and livelihoods. UNEP@PHOTO

The world has more conservation areas than ever before, but more funding is needed, according to a new report by the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP).

Over 15 per cent of land and coastal waters as well as 3.4 per cent of the global ocean are now protected, the agency says.

The Protected Planet report was launched on Thursday during the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress.

Since 2010, 6.1 million square kilometres of protected areas have been added, an area approaching the size of Australia.

These nature reserves are essential to preserving life on earth, like species and ecosystems as well as livelihoods.

They are also key to fighting climate change by providing a carbon sink through forests, 7.8 million square kilometres of which are protected areas.

However, UNEP studies show that the overall economic benefits of the areas greatly exceed the cost of managing them.

The lack of sustainable financing is an impediment to the effective management and governance of these areas.

The report issues recommendations in these areas of concern to help policy makers.

Stephanie Castro, United Nations.

Duration: 1’15″

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