Directors of national parks from all over the world gather in Turku between 2 and 4 July – topics for discussion include biodiversity loss, habitat restoration and climate change

The leaders of organisations managing national parks and other state-owned protected areas from sixteen different countries will gather in Turku next week to discuss biodiversity loss, climate change and the role of protected areas in combatting them. Directors of national parks from Canada, the United States, Australia, South Korea and the Czech Republic will also visit the Kurjenrahka and Archipelago National Parks during the event.  

Parks & Wildlife Finland, which manages state-owned protected areas in Finland, is organising the event together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and its World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). Biodiversity loss and climate change will feature strongly at next week’s discussions in Turku. The directors’ aim is to find ways to communicate the benefits of nature conservation more effectively to financiers, decision-makers and citizens in order to raise the funding of protected areas to a sustainable level. 

“Halting biodiversity loss is our most important task as managers of state-owned protected areas. Protected areas also help us combat and adapt to climate change. For example, we will discuss with our colleagues the ways in which we can promote international commitments related to biodiversity in protected areas”, says Executive Director of Parks & Wildlife Finland Henrik Jansson from Metsähallitus. 

At the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) in Montréal  in 2022, it was agreed – among other things – that by 2030, at least 30 per cent of the Earth’s land and surface water will be protected, invasive non-native species will be controlled and the decline of species will be halted: Montreal Biodiversity Conference COP15 (

“In this respect, there is still a lot of work to be done in Finland’s existing protected areas. In Turku, we will be able to share knowledge and experiences gained with other countries on how to manage protected areas effectively. Last year, an international assessment of the quality of our work was carried out in state-owned protected areas in Finland. Now, we can share the lessons learned from the assessment with others,” Jansson says.

Facts: World Protected Areas Leaders Forum, WPALF 

  • The World Protected Areas Leaders Forum, or WPALF, is a global network for leaders of protected area organisations. It was established in 1999 under the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 
  • WPALF providers leaders of protected area organisations the opportunity to share information, discuss topical strategic issues and shared challenges and to promote global collaboration and awareness of the importance of protected areas. 
  • The most recent WPALF meeting was organised in the Czech Republic in June 2023. 
  • The July meeting in Finland reinforces Finland’s position as a forerunner in the conservation of nature and as an active player in the IUCN – particularly in its World Commission on Protected Areas. 

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