The role of ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ in achieving Aichi Target 11

Aichi Target 11 has committed world governments to conserving, by 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland waters. To meet this target, areas outside of the formal protection network, or ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECMs) will be needed. OECMs include approaches such as locally managed marine areas and indigenous reserves. As maps of OECMS are not readily available, this project, involving BirdLife International, UNEP-WCMC, RSPB, IUCN, the University of Cambridge Departments of Geography and Zoology, and the Natural Justice & IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Task Force on Other Effective Area-based Mechanisms, will harness local knowledge from national conservation organisations to assess the current role of OECMs in conserving key biodiversity areas. This will identify a network of ‘areas of particular importance for biodiversity’ which are not currently formally protected. We will also assess the potential for different types of OECMs to fill gaps in protected area coverage and conservation management. The project’s results will feed into guidance that is being developed for governments.

This project is funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation.

Project Aims

This project aims to evaluate the role and relative effectiveness of ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECMs) in conserving important sites for biodiversity and achieving Aichi Target 11, and feed this into relevant guidance for governments. This project will harness local knowledge mobilised through national conservation NGOs to assess the current role of OECMs in conserving the formally non-protected parts of Key Biodiversity Areas (systematically identified networks of ‘areas of particular importance for biodiversity’). We will also evaluate the relative effectiveness of different types of OECMs compared with formal protected areas or an absence of any protection or conservation management.

Key Activities

  1. In each of 10 countries (Canada, Ecuador, Bolivia, Kenya, South Africa, Kazakhstan, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia), we will quantify the extent to which KBAs that do not overlap with formal protected areas are covered by each type of OECM, using the draft definition that has been developed by the WCPA Task Force
  2. Assess the relative effectiveness at conserving biodiversity of different types of OECMs compared with formal protected areas or with an absence of any conservation designation/management
  3. Develop the World Database of KBAs to manage the data collected
  4. Present the results in the form of scientific papers and talks, including at the CBD SBSTTA

Conservation Impact

While we are more than half-way through the period of implementation of the Aichi Targets, there is still little consensus on the definition of OECMs and the role that they may play in achieving Aichi Target 11. The IUCN WCPA has established a Task Force to clarify the definition of OECMs and consolidate current knowledge about them. Our project will contribute by assessing the degree to which important sites for biodiversity are already conserved through OECMs, and the relative management effectiveness of different types of OECMs. The project is timely given (a) the urgency to provide CBD Parties with appropriate guidance on OECMs; (b) the recent adoption of indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals, three of which relate to ‘protected area’ coverage of KBAs; and (c) the launch of the KBA Partnership in September 2016.


  • Data on current (and potential future) coverage of KBAs by OECMs and presence of local community conservation groups integrated into World Database of KBAs and made available online through the KBA website
  • Paper on the role that OECMs may play in achieving Aichi Target 11 submitted to peer-reviewed scientific journal

CCI partners Involved

The Department of Zoology carries out wide-ranging work in ecology and conservation including conservation science, aquatic ecology, pathogen evolution and evolutionary ecology. Research of the...
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. It helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment...
The Department of Geography's research clusters focus on society and environment, development and political ecology, culture and demography, environmental processes, landscape modelling and climate...
BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. It is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in...