IUCN World Parks conference – Australia Environment Minister Greg Hunt media release

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP

Minister for the Environment

World Parks Congress gets underway in Sydney

12 November 2014


Our protected areas are huge economic and social assets. In Australia, nature-based tourism attracts around 36 million visitors, delivering more than $30 billion a year to our economy.

Parks are an intrinsic part of our way of life, delivering social and health benefits for our families and communities. Our protected areas help to deliver the clean air, clean land and clean water that help to keep Australia healthy.

Australia’s Indigenous land managers and rangers play a big role in this. By managing parks and Indigenous Protected Areas they are keeping culture and country strong, benefitting all Australians, while providing meaningful jobs and business development opportunities back to their own communities.

That’s why it’s important Australia contributes to the conversation at IUCN World Parks Congress.

The Congress will set the agenda for protected areas for the next decade – a huge mandate. Over the next seven days we’ll be tackling some of the complex problems facing our people, parks and planet.

full media release



IUCN World Parks Conference in Sydney in November

Australia’s first national park, south of Sydney NSW, was named the National Park. It is said to be the world’s second national park.

The National Park was renamed the ‘Royal National Park’ to commemorate a passing visit of the British Queen in the early in 1950s.

There is no recognition of the tradition First Peoples on whose country the RNP is located, nor any recognition in the name of the park.

With the IUCN holding its World Park Conference in Sydney this month, the time has come to recognise the role of First Peoples and their practices in the management of such areas.

We shall soon see if the official rhetoric is matched with any real movment.

From the conference website – New Social Compact.


The process of speaking with and listening to one another with a new sense of urgency is part of the outcome of this theme. Professional facilitators convene dialogues with delegates from diverse constituencies to speak frankly about ethical, social, cultural, economic and political relationships between humans and what is required to find a shared commitment to address and reverse the anthropogenic drivers of climate change and biodiversity loss.

There will also be three major public events at the Congress, where women, youth and Indigenous Peoples respectively will take the floor to speak about their views on a sustainable future and their relationships with protected areas and conservation.

Out of each dialogue, there will be opportunities for projects, processes, and policies, expressed as a New Social Compact for Just and Effective Conservation of Biological and Cultural Diversity.

The New Social Compact will build on the legacies of the Earth Charter, Agenda 21 and the Durban Accord, signalling a new era of a global commitment to saving the planet. This time has now come; let us find the courage to have these conversations.

Did you know?

The previous Congress, held in Durban, South Africa in 2003 , produced outcomes that continue to influence global protected areas policy and practice. For example, the message to the Convention on Biological Diversity resulted in the adoption by 188 countries of the Convention’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas, considered one of their most successful.

The recognition in Durban and in the CBD’s Programme of Work, of the vital role of good governance, especially involving Indigenous Peoples and local communities, has led to profound changes in the way nature conservation is conducted globally. This legacy will inform the objectives and achievements of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014.”