Although it has members in many countries, the Urban Specialist Group has focused in particular on Australia (Melbourne, Sydney); Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo); France (Marseille, Paris); Hong Kong; India (Mumbai); cities of Israel; Kenya (Nairobi); South Africa (Cape Town); Taiwan, province of China (Taipei); the United Kingdom (London); and the United States (Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco).


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

Getting involved in the Urban Conservation Strategies Specialist Group


Membership in the Specialist Group is
by invitation. Anyone may ask to be included, but preference is given to those directly involved in connecting conservation of nature with urban people, urban places, and urban institutions, either as practitioners or researchers.

Although expertise and willingness to contribute are most important, we strive for gender balance and wish to include younger professionals and people from all world regions. At any given time, the Urban Conservation Strategies Specialist Group has had about 100 members from some 30 countries.

Members of the specialist group must contribute in some way: by participating in a working or advisory group; by providing information; or by organizing events. Member involvement is assessed at the end of each year.

World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA)

Members of the Urban Conservation Strategies Specialist Group should be members of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA)  To apply for membership in WCPA, you need to fill in the online application on the following link:

WCPA Membership Application

More information on WCPA and its activities is available on the website at this address

Although those interested in participating in the Specialist Group are encouraged to join WCPA, an "associate" status is also provided for. 


  • Tell us what you are doing in relation to the purposes of the Urban Specialist Group. Give us information about events, publications, new organizations and projects, and other resources that will be of interest to others in the network.    
  • React to information and requests that we send you. Circular e-mails provide news about resources, events, and opportunities to contribute to activities.
  • Bring up issues you believe need to be addressed. Members' suggestions have resulted, for example, in a workshop on cities and conservation in the world's Mediterranean-type regions, and a working group on biosphere reserves in urban areas.  
  • Help make connections. The Urban Specialist Group's leadership puts a high priority on making connections among people with similar goals and interests. Much of this goes on behind the scenes.      
  • Inform others in your own networks about the specialist group and the resources on our website.
  • Help organize and participate in meetings and conferences. Examples are given in "Origins and highlights" on the Leadership page.  
  • Set up an informal network within the specialist group, including as appropriate members of other IUCN commissions, to facilitate contact among people interested in similar issues. 
  • Offer your assistance to leaders of projects and working and advisory groups.
  • Request cosponsorship of an activity by the specialist group. Examples are Urban Nature, an event in Cape Town organized by the South African National Biodiversity Institute; and the Paris-based Urban Protected Areas Network.
  • Arrange for exchanges of leaders and experts. Several such exchanges have taken place, for example, between managers of urban protected areas in Kenya and Brazil. 
  • In your country or region, make contact with fellow members of the specialist group. For their e-mail addresses, see circular e-mails or contact the Chair.
  • Get in touch with an IUCN Regional or Country Office near you (see to help support its work and encourage its staff to include an urban dimension in their activities. 
  • When traveling, consider visiting with fellow specialist group members. On several occasions, this has led to speaking opportunities and joint activities.

A word about funding. IUCN's Commissions are volunteer networks. Their members' time and expenses are covered by their employers, or by grants members secure on their own. In many cases, Commission members donate their time and pay for their own expenses. Occasionally IUCN or other organizations cover travel expenses to meetings at which specialist group members are asked to participate. 

Urban Conservation Strategies Specialist Group            

World Commission on Protected Areas

IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)

PAGE 3  of this section