Covering more than 15% of the world's land surface and eight percent of the oceans, protected areas are the cornerstone of international efforts to conserve biodiversity. They offer a lifeline to some of the most precious and threatened places on Earth and safeguard vital ecosystem services, upon which communities and businesses depend.
Yet protected areas face a broad range of challenges, and evidence from IUCN demonstrates that many sites are struggling to meet minimum standards, potentially leading to ineffective conservation. A lack of key organisational and business skills is a major contributing factor, but protected area managers rarely have the opportunity to train in this field.
Companies have a wealth of experienced staff and devote significant resources to training for effective business management. However, there are often few opportunities for their managers to consider the value of natural resources to the business.
The Earth Skills Network (ESN) bridges this gap by bringing leaders from the business world and protected area managers together, in a mentor-mentee relationship to share knowledge and transfer key business skills.
The network makes the following possible: sharing key business skills that can strengthen management of the world's most precious natural areas; facilitating open and constructive dialogue between leaders from the conservation and business communities to support mutual learning and understanding; providing corporate employees with the chance to sharpen professional competencies and better understand business risks, impact and dependencies within the context of protected areas.
Image: iStock/Eduard Kyslyneskyy