What are OECMs?

An OECM is defined as “a geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in-situ conservation of biodiversity with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio–economic, and other locally relevant values (Convention on Biological Diversity, 2018)”.
In other words, OECMs complement protected areas through sustained, positive in-situ conservation outcomes, even though they may be managed primarily for other reasons.

What are the benefits of recognizing OECMs?

There are several potential benefits of recognizing OECMs within broader landscapes and seascapes, complementary to systems of protected areas:

  • Conserving important ecosystems, habitats, and wildlife corridors

  • Supporting the recovery of threatened species

  • Maintaining ecosystem functions and securing ecosystem services

  • Enhancing resilience against threats

  • Opportunity to recognise de facto conservation implemented by a diverse set of stakeholders

  • Encourage innovative models of conservation

  • Incentivize managers to maintain their current practices over the long-term

  • Increased pride and empowerment among the local communities

  • Contribute to global biodiversity priorities including the 2030 Action Target 3 under the upcoming Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework