Regional Resource Hub pulls the protected and conserved areas data from the world database on protected areas (WDPA). Therefore, the data submitted to the RRH must conform to the WDPA data standards. WDPA data standards are outlined in the WDPA_WD-OECM_Manual.


Four requirements to meet the Protected Planet data standards

1. All sites must meet the IUCN definition of a protected area or CBD definition

of an ‘other effective area-based conservation measure’

2. Spatial data from Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and an associated

list of attributes must be provided

3. Source of information must be provided

4. The WDPA Data Contributor Agreement must be signed


The WDPA is stored as a file geodatabase comprising two geospatial feature classes and one source table


Each of the Protected Areas in WDPA is assigned a WDPAID.

The WDPA ID is the globally unique identifier for each protected area in the WDPA. It is specific to a protected area in a specified geographical space, and does not change over time unless the designation for that protected area changes. If a protected area is degazetted, it is deleted from the WDPA and its WDPA ID is not reused.

Who can provide data?

       Governments: these include national governments and sub-national agencies that manage protected area data.

       International secretariats: secretariats from international conventions and agreements such as the Ramsar Convention, World Heritage Convention or UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme.

       Regional entities: these include organizations that manage data on regional protected area networks such as the European Environment Agency who manage Europe’s Natura 2000 database.

       NGOs: these include data providers that manage protected areas designated by the NGO itself, or in collaboration with another governance type, such as a private landowner or government agency, where the NGO also maintains some or all of the intellectual property in the data.

       Other entities or individuals: this category includes the range of other actors that govern or manage protected areas, including indigenous peoples, local communities and private actors other than NGOs.


Benefits for countries of submitting data

UN List of Protected areas and calculation of indicators for international processes: In addition to the creation of the UN List of Protected areas, the WDPA is used to calculate indicators related to several international processes. This includes indicators for the Convention on Biological Diversity, Sustainable Development Goals and IPBES

Inventory of national data: At the national level, protected areas and OECMs might be managed by different institutions and/or governmental agencies, including community groups and private actors. If data on these areas are not stored in a centralized national database, providing data to the WDPA and OECM database may provide countries with a clearer picture of their protected area network as a whole. Furthermore, the data can be viewed on a single map through and downloaded.

Capacity building: Help is provided to countries through capacity building to ensure the accuracy and completeness of their protected areas data and information. Training can be provided by UNEP-WCMC to strengthen skills on database management, the basics of GIS, or in any other relevant areas if needed and requested by the data provider.

Contribute to scientific research/Highlight gaps: Through the use of the WDPA in scientific research, gaps in protected area and OECM networks can be identified and highlighted. Using knowledge on the distribution of areas important for biodiversity and ecosystem services and threats to them, alongside spatial information on aspects of the national infrastructure such as roads, cities and planning zones, systematic conservation planning can be undertaken to identify the most suitable places for the establishment of new protected areas or OECMs in the country. This may enable countries to better implement certain important elements of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 such as representativeness and connectivity.

Regional observatories: Improve provision of protected area information at the regional level, through the creation of regional observatories, such as the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, the European Environment Agency and the BIOPAMA Regional Observatories in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. This has the additional benefit of building partnerships between countries in a region and building capacity through knowledge transfer.



Step that should be followed by data providers:

The process of providing data will vary depending on the type of data-provider and whether a

relationship with the data provider already exists, but generally, steps that should be followed by the data provider are as follows:

1)      Review the current data online at or at

2)      Prepare a new dataset that complies with the Protected Planet Data Standards. Data providers can use the WDPA/OECM database schemas and subset of data to complete this step as well as adding any new or updated data to the schema in place of the old data. Click here to download a WDPA/OECM database schema.

3)      Send the following data to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

·         Spatial data and associated attributes: either a polygon boundary or the central latitude and longitude point for each protected area or OECM. 

·         The Source Table must be completed to identify who provided the data, and any basic details on the quality and currency of the data at the time it was provided.

·         The WDPA Data Contributor Agreement must be signed.

Data verification

All records must be verified by an authoritative source. An exception is some older records that were added before the verification processes were developed. Facilitating the verification of these older currently unverified records is a priority in this workshop

‘Verification’ (VERIF) field allows three values: State Verified, Expert Verified, and Not Reported (for unverified data that was already in the databases prior to the inclusion of the ‘Verification’ field).

Data verification in the RRH follows the standards of the Protected Planet Initiative, outlined in this table (from

Data submitted by governmental sources

The WDPA is underpinned by a United Nations mandate (Appendix 6) that invited state parties to provide information on protected areas. Similarly, the OECM database is underpinned by a CBD mandate, which invited state parties to provide information to UNEP-WCMC. Thus, data submitted by governmental sources are considered ‘State Verified’ and are included in the WDPA or OECM database after data formatting and quality control.


Data submitted by non-governmental sources

Incoming data from non-government data providers undergo a verification process before being added to the WDPA or OECM database. Data can be verified either by state verifiers or by expert verifiers, depending on the wishes of the data provider. The VERIF field differentiates between “State Verified” and “Expert Verified” data. If neither party can verify the data, they do not enter the WDPA or OECM database.


Resolution of conflicts

Where there is conflict between the opinions of the data provider and data verifier (for example, disputes over the correct boundary of a site), this is discussed with both parties in an attempt to reach a solution. Data providers are made aware of the verification process before submitting data, and are kept informed of its progress. In cases where no resolution can be found, data cannot enter the WDPA.


Frequency of data verification

Although updates are invited at any time, RRH/UNEP-WCMC aims to update data at least once every five years. During this process, the data provider is contacted and asked to confirm that the data remain accurate. If the data provider cannot be reached, the data verifier is contacted. If there is a negative response, or if no response is received within five years, then UNEP-WCMC reserves the right to remove the data from the WDPA or OECM database.


Integrating Data into the WDPA or OECM database

Once a dataset has been formatted, verified and conforms to all aspects of the Protected Planet Data Standards, it is integrated into the WDPA or OECM database, as appropriate.

If there are records in either database that are not included in the update, RRH/UNEP-WCMC confirms with the data provider that these records should be removed before deleting them. This does not usually apply to data previously verified by sources other than the data provider. 

The final dataset to be integrated into the WDPA/OECM database is sent to the data provider for final approval. Data providers are encouraged to retain WDPA IDs in their own datasets as this significantly improves the frequency of future updates.



 Click Here to Download the WDPA Data Submission Excel Template


Click Here to Download the GD-PAME Data Contributor Agreement Form


Download Instructions

  • Click on the download Link.
  • You will be directed to the document in Google Drive.
  • Go to file, click download and select the download format.
  • Fill the downloaded file and submit. 






















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