The Urban Specialist Group came out of discussions that started in 2000 among several people long active in IUCN who were concerned about the absence of urban dimensions on the global conservation agenda. They included John Davidson, Jeff McNeely, Adrian Phillips, George Rabb, and Ted Trzyna.

2003. The Urban Imperative workshop, Durban. The informal group held a three-day workshop, The Urban Imperative, at the IUCN World Parks Congress held in Durban, South Africa. The workshop was organized by InterEnvironment Institute with support from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, a unit of the California State Government.

2004. Specialist Group established.

2004. Malibu workshop. Held its first event, a  workshop in Malibu, California, to plan its overall program. Hosted by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

2004. Bangkok IUCN World Conservation Congress. Organized events, on coastal cities, cities in Mediterranean- type regions, and the importance of urban places and people for the conservation movement.

2004. IUCN "Cities and Conservation" Resolution. This Resolution, called for IUCN's quadrennial program to take into account the connections between cities and larger environments.     

2004. "The Urban Imperative." In 26 articles, 34 authors from 17 countries looked at challenges and opportunities posed for nature conservation by a rapidly urbanizing world.

2006. Urban Nature 2006, Cape Town. Cosponsored this workshop as a side-event to the General Assembly of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. Hosted by the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

2006. ICLEI Local Action for Biodiversity initiative, Rome.  Participated in a meeting in Rome, Italy, to plan this initiative. Hosted by RomaNatura.

2006. Nairobi workshop, Along with the United Nations Environment Programme and the Kenya Wildlife Service, organized the African Regional Workshop on Cities, Ecosystems, and Biodiversity.

2008. Barcelona IUCN World Conservation Congress. Organized a workshop on climate change and new conservation alliances.

2010-present. Urban Protected Areas Network. Became an active partner in the Network, based at the University of Paris Wes, which conducts social science research on management of four key urban protected areas: in Brazil, India, Kenya, and South Africa.

2009-present. Dark Skies Advisory Group. Created this group, IUCN's first effort to deal with the effects of light pollution on natural ecosystems.

2010. Growing Together: Thinking and practice of urban nature conservators, a book issued by the South African National Biodiversity Institute, was "inspired in part by the specialist group and is seen as a contribution to its work."

2010. World List of Dark-Sky Parks. The Dark Skies Advisory Group started a world list of protected areas which have specific rules about light pollution.

2010. The biosphere reserve concept and urban areas. Explored the potential of this connection at several international meetings.

2011. "Urban dimensions of conservation: Why IUCN must take them much more seriously." On the basis of IUCN Resolution WCC 3.063 (see 2009, above), and at the request of the IUCN President and Director General, submitted detailed recommendations on incorporating urban dimensions into IUCN's work. 

2012. IUCN World Conservation Congress, Jeju, Republic of Korea. Organized a workshop, Urban Dimensions of Nature Conservation: Roles for IUCN. Sponsored a motion on Dark Skies and Nature Conservation that passed almost unanimously.

2014. Urban Protected Areas: Profiles and best practice guidelines. Drawing on a decade of experience, produced this illustrated volume, number 22 in IUCN's Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines Series. 

2014. IUCN World Parks Congress, Sydney. Organized several events on urban protected areas.

2015. Natural Neighbors. Became a cosponsor of this project, aimed at creating alliances of conservation agencies, museums, zoos, aquariums, and botanic gardens within metropolitan areas to introduce urban people to their regions' natural and cultural heritage.

2016. IUCN World Conservation Congress, Hawai'i. Drafted and cosponsored a successful motion, 28, "Incorporating urban dimensions of conservation into the work of IUCN." Sponsor or co-sponsor of several events, including "How Urban Partnerships Tackle Global Crises."


Ted Trzyna, Chair
     Claremont, California, USA
     President, InterEnvironment Institute; Emeritus IUCN Commission Chair, Environmental Strategy and Planning. [bio and contact]

*David Goldstein, Co-Chair
    Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
    Head, Cultural Affairs, Northeast Region, United States National Park Service []

*Pedro da Cunha e Menezes, Deputy Chair
     Quito, Ecuador
     Career Brazilian Diplomat. Currently Minister Counselor, Embassy of Brazil, Quito.  Formerly: Executive Director, Joint Management Commission, Tijuca National Park, Rio de Janeiro

*Pete Frost, Deputy Chair
  Bangor, Wales
Senior Urban Advisor, Natural Resources Wales

*Louise Lezy-Bruno, Deputy Chair
     Draveil, France
     Assistant Director, Environmental Directorate, Department of Essonne    

*Brett Myrdal, Deputy Chair
     Cape Town, South Africa.
     General Manager - Environmental Planning, South African National Parks. Former Park Manager, Table Mountain National Park.

*Fook Yee Wong, Deputy Chair
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China
      Secretary, Friends of Hong Kong Country Parks. Honorary Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Hong Kong University. Formerly head, Hong Kong Country Parks.

Joseph T. Edmiston, Senior Advisor
     Malibu, California, USA  
     Executive Director, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Natural Resources Agency of California.

Jeffrey A. McNeely, Senior Advisor
     Hua Hin, Thailand
     Former IUCN Chief Scientist; member, Steering Committee, IUCN Species Survival Commission. A.D. White Professor-at-Large, Cornell University.

Adrian Phillips, Senior Advisor
     Cheltenham, England, UK
     Conservationist. Formerly: Chair, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas; Director General, Countryside Commission for England and Wales; IUCN Programme Director.

Jim Barborak, Interim Chair, Natural Sounds Advisory Group
     Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
     Colorado State University

David Welch, Chair, Dark Skies Advisory Group
     Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
     Formerly: Earth Sciences Advisor, Parks Canada.

*Steering Committee


InterEnvironment Institute
[An IUCN member organization since 1980]
P.O. Box 99
Claremont, California 91711, USA

E-mail (preferred): Ted_Trzyna [at] InterEnvironment [dot] org
Telephone messages (1 909) 621-9018

Urban Conservation Strategies Specialist Group            

World Commission on Protected Areas

IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)

PAGE 2  of this section


Page 1   About / Contents
Page 2   Leadership / Origins
Page 3   Get involved / Places
Page 4   Reasons/ Urgency
Page 5   Group members
Page 6   IUCN Resolution

Page 7   Long-distance Trails