Explanatory Memorandum

Explanatory memorandum for the motion:
Observing protected area norms in the Wild Heart of Europe

The UN's Sustainable Development Goals have provided an ambitious agenda to be achieved by the year 2030, including SDG 15, concerning the preservation of forests, ecosystems and biodiversity. This motion takes the SDGs as an opportunity to renew the call on the Czech Republic to make significant progress towards full adherence to IUCN criteria for Category II Protected Areas in NP Šumava by 2030. It asks the IUCN Director General and WCPA President to provide unambiguous guidance as to uniform application of IUCN Protected Area Categories in the largest contiguous natural forested area in Central Europe.

This area is nominally conserved in a complex of Category II Protected Areas, NP Šumava (Czech Republic) and Bayerischer Wald (Germany), recognised by the EUROPARC Federation as Transboundary parks. While adherence to Category II criteria is a shared goal of the parks, NP Šumava has not devoted the predominant part of its area to the primary purpose of the category, as required by the IUCN guidelines document, endorsed by WCC resolution 5.040.

Faithful adherence to the guidelines makes states reliable partners for much-needed international cooperation on the issue of protection of wide-ranging and migratory species, a stated aim of Protected Area Category II. The Transboundary parks and the adjacent protected area Böhmerwald-Mühltäler (Austria) share several populations of wild animals, including the western capercaillie, the wide-ranging European lynx (whose poaching urgently requires transboundary action), as well as migratory birds like the black stork. Moreover, preserved wilderness areas contribute toward achieving SDG 13, as stepping-stones facilitating the adaptation of other migrating species to climate change. The motion therefore calls on the states involved to build on the Category II Transboundary parks with an agreement, pursuant to Article IV of the Bonn Convention, to promote their conservation.

The issue of zoning NP Šumava in accordance with IUCN's guidelines led the Czech Minister of the Environment to invite a mission from the WCPA in 2002, which recommended an accelerated plan to conserve at least 30% of the park in a non-intervention zone by 2008 and agreed that the goal of at least 50% by 2030, stated in the park's management plan, is clear, noting that an insufficient extent of a non-intervention core zone would be incompatible with Category II classification.

The importance of observing IUCN criteria in NP Šumava for biodiversity and wilderness protection in Central Europe and beyond was highlighted by resolution 22 passed by the 10th World Wilderness Congress, proposed by the WCPA President, Ernesto Hoeflich. A petition from 72 conservation officials, activists, and academics from across Europe pointed to the inherent and precedential importance of observing protected area norms in one of the largest and best-known Category II Protected Areas in the region. A 2012 letter from the European regional WCPA/IUCN office renewed the call for implementing the recommendations. The core zone remains below 30% of the park area, however, despite all efforts at the national and regional levels.

Find all the supporting documents cited here and more at www.hnutiduha.cz/iucnmotion.