What is the IUCN Green List for protected and conserved areas

The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas is the first global standard of best practice for area-based conservation. It is a programme of certification for protected and conserved areas – national parks, natural World Heritage sites, community conserved areas, nature reserves and so on – that are effectively managed and fairly governed. By giving recognition to well-managed and well-governed protected and conserved areas, the IUCN Green List aims to increase the number of natural areas delivering long-lasting conservation results for people and nature.

How it works

Sites join the IUCN Green List by committing to achieving its standard. They become certified once they demonstrate a high bar of environmental and social performance. The time from application to certification depends on the management quality of the site at the time of application. Sites choose when they are ready for evaluation, and have up to a maximum of five years to achieve certification, which is valid for a five year period. During that time, sites are regularly evaluated and reviewed against a set of demanding criteria. Enrolled sites therefore benefit from expert guidance on how to improve their performance and impacts. They also become part of a network, fostering exchange and learning among conservation practitioners.

IUCN Green List Standard – Components and criteria


Get Involved
You are managing a protected area* or an OECM and would like to measure its performances against the IUCN Green List standards?

Before submitting your protected area’s application for Green List nomination, first check if your country has already established an Expert Assessment group for the Green List (EAGL) – a key body of the Green List process.

Countries in Africa having already set up an EAGL:

  • Kenya _ since 2013
  • Benin _ since 2016
  • Ivory Coast _ since 2017
  • Madagascar_ since 2018
  • Senegal_ since 2019
  • Zambia_ since 2020

If your country is not on the list, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for East and southern Africa or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for West and Central Africa, in order to find out at what stage your country’s EAGL development process is at, and how to proceed if there is no EAGL set up yet.

Protected areas located in a country which already has an EAGL will have to follow these 5 steps:

Step 1: Register your protected area online on  http://iucn.force.com/glpca.
Step 2: As a site manager you will be asked to fill in the Green List questionnaire related to Green List standards. The answers you provide must be supported by sound evidence. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive your country’s GL questionnaire, he will assist you throughout the Green List application process.
Step 3: Once completed, the Green List questionnaire and the evidence provided will be reviewed by the EAGL of your jurisdiction.
Step 4: After validation by the EAGL, the GL questionnaire will be reviewed by an International independent Reviewer.
Step 5: After validation from the reviewer, the GL questionnaire will be transferred to the IUCN GL Panel for final decision. Note that if the IUCN GL panel decides that your PA doesn’t meet GL standards yet, in order to reapply, you will be requested to improve some of the criteria. You can reapply for Green List nomination as many times as needed, there is no limitation.

Click here for more information on the application process for Green List nomination.

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