International Classification of Protected Areas
IUCN Protected Area Management Categories
The register of world-wide protected areas is based on a list approved by the United Nations (UN). The criteria for being approved for this list and the protected area management categories were drawn-up by the IUCN and updated in 2008.
The World Database on Protected Areas is kept up to date by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), which a subordinate of the United Nation’s Environment Programme. The European Environment Agency (EEA) maintains a Common Database on Designated Areas in Europe.
Applying the categories in Finland
To promote systematic application of the IUCN management categories to all established national protected areas in Finland, national principles for defining protected areas and assignment of categories were agreed by a participatory process facilitated by the IUCN National Committee and the Ministry of the Environment. The definitions and principles of category application are based mainly on the IUCN Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories (2008) and extensive discussions with international experts as well as national and regional colleagues and stakeholders. The results were compiled in a document Applying IUCN Protected Area Management Categories in Finland.
Parks & Wildlife Finland (former Natural Heritage Services) has assigned IUCN categories to all statutorily established nature reserves and other state-owned protected areas – altogether nearly 900 sites, covering over 90% of the total national protected area surface. This work was based on the agreed protected area type based principles of category application. Site-specific categories have been approved by the Ministry of the Environment.
In connection to future establishment of state-owned nature reserves and other protected areas, each site will be assigned an IUCN management category. Parks & Wildlife Finland will also be working closely with the Ministry of the Environment, the regional Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) and land owners to promote category assignment to privately protected sites. There are nearly 10,000 such sites already established.