Invitation of experts to workshop by OECM


Expert workshop „OECMs in Europe - The way forward“
20-24 February, 2023

at the International Academy for Nature Conservation Isle of Vilm, Germany

Dear Sir or Madam,

We cordially invite you to participate in the Expert Workshop “OECMs in Europe – The way forward”.

The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) together with the IUCN Regional Office for Europe are hosting a workshop on identifying Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) in Europe. The workshop will be held on Vilm Island (Germany) from 20-24 February 2023.

The workshop is co-funded by the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection and WCPA.


Background of the workshop

OECMs were first mentioned in 2010 in Aichi Target 11, but it was not until 2018 at CBD COP14 that CBD Parties adopted a definition and criteria for OECMs. Subsequently IUCN/WCPA published guidance in 2019 on “Recognising and Reporting OECMs” and the WCPA OECM Specialist Group developed an assessment tool to help determine whether potential areas of important biodiversity meet the criteria of OECMs.

At CBD COP15 in December 2022 Parties agreed to protect at least 30% of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems by 2030 through effective networks of PAs and OECMs (GBF, Target 3). While there will be opportunities for establishing new protected areas, recognizing and maintaining areas that are already effective in protecting important biodiversity (OECMs) will be critical to achieving the 30% target.

The workshop will consider progress and needs for identifying OECMs in Europe. It will cover existing methodologies and test assessment tools in the context of different land and sea management prevalent across Europe. It is meant to support national authorities and other relevant organisations to make progress in identifying, reporting and supporting OECMs. The workshop will identify challenges and needs, including discussions on how OECMs fit with the European biodiversity strategy and relevant environmental regulations. Participants from the Caucasus and Central Asia are also welome.

Attached please find the preliminary agenda. All participants will be requested to bring case studies of potential OECMs from their regions to review during the workshop exercises.


Please register your participation in the workshop at by 27 January 2023.

Please, note in the comments box whether

• you are a member of WCPA

• you need financial support towards your travel expenses or board and lodging on Vilm or both (for details see below).

We will try to strike a geographical and institutional balance within the limits of our budget. So, please wait for a confirmation of your participation before you purchase tickets.

Costs and financial support

Participants from EU countries (with a few exceptions), the UK, Norway and Switzerland are expected to cover their own expenses. BfN will cover board and lodging on Vilm for participants from Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia as well as the Caucasus and Central Asia. Financial support towards travel costs (for economy class travel costs only) is only available for a limited number of participants from outside the EU. You are kindly asked to indicate your funding needs in the online registration form (in the box “comments”) and we will then let you know in how far funding is available in your case. Following your online registration, we will get back to participants with travel cost coverage needs, confirm what we could cover, and provide you with further information on travel booking and reimbursement. In any case, you would have to pay travel costs yourself and will only be reimbursed after or during the workshop.

Venue and travel information

The workshop will take place at the International Academy for Nature Conservation, Isle of Vilm, of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). The workshop language will be English.

The workshop will start in the evening of 20th February, 2023. In order to reach the last train and ferry to Vilm island that day, please look for flights arriving to Berlin airport not later than 12:00 o’clock (noon) on 20th February, 2023. The workshop will end in the evening of 23rd February, and participants will travel by train to Berlin airport or hotels either in the evening of 23rd Febraury or in the morning of 24th February. Therefore, please look for flights leaving Berlin airport either in the morning or after noon of 24th February. Attached you also find general travel information on how to get to Vilm.


In case you need a visa to enter the European Union I would like to ask you to start with visa application immediately after registration and contact Martina Finger at for a personalised invitation letter. She would also assist you if problems arise with the visa applica-tion. Those who require a visa, will also receive an explanatory letter to the German Embassy. Please submit this letter and the invitation to the Embassy in the course of the visa application. The visa should be issued from 19-25 February, 2023, which may be necessary due to the dates of your flights. Please notify the embassy about the fact, that you are exempted of paying a visa fee according to Aufenthaltsverordnung (AufenthV) zum Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG).

Please, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Gisela Stolpe, BfN

Erika Stanciu, Regional Vice-Chair WCPA Europe

Kathy MacKinnon, Co-Chair WCPA OECM specialist group

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