Guidelines for conserving connectivity through ecological networks and corridors are based on the best available science and practice for maintaining, enhancing and restoring ecological connectivity among and between PCAs, and provide a rich resource for policy makers and practitioners. More resources are being developed to help implementers identify opportunities for advancing connectivity conservation at national and subnational levels through NBSAPs and GEF financing.
There are a wide range of area-based approaches for connectivity in use that can contribute to Target 3 and can be drawn on for inspiration and legal precedents. Bhutan, Costa Rica, Croatia, India, Kenya, Malaysia, and the Netherlands all have corridor legislation and are undertaking national connectivity measures. Marine spatial planning and marine zoning can help connectivity planning for MPAs It is likely that there are already initiatives taking place within most countries including involvement in transboundary efforts, for example, flyways, free-flowing rivers or the Cetacean migration corridor in the Mediterranean Sea. An inventory of these areas could be conducted identifying potential networks contributing to Target 3.
Most connectivity planning will occur beyond PCAs – connectivity is ultimately a supporter of conservation occurring in the remaining areas of cities, farms and shared lands. (See discussion of other targets of the GBF.) This represents both a challenge and an opportunity. Whilst ideally guided by ecological considerations, design decisions will be constrained by existing ownership or resource use rights and human activities.
Securing and improving connectivity is therefore often only achievable by a multistakeholder group including PCA managers, Indigenous peoples, local communities and government, landowners and managers, etc. International cooperation for migratory networks requires a different set of stakeholders, policies and cooperation. The same range of governance types that apply to protected areas and OECMs also apply to ecological corridors and the governance authority may or may not be the same as the landowner or rightsholder of a portion of the corridor.
Along the corridor, a mix of tenure, whether legally or customarily defined, can be present under all governance types and be represented through a variety of instruments such as formal delegation, leasing, contracts or other agreements requiring a large scope of social alliances and cooperation to handle. The corridor tenure(s) should be clear and articulated; identifying statutory and customary ownership and use rights and negotiating with all rightsholders on their respective connectivity management roles.
These approaches require actor identification, awareness raising and management, achieving scale requires planning at the landscape or seascape level. Engaging such a diverse range of rightsholders, stakeholders and other actors at a large scale will be complex but also represents an opportunity for greater community involvement in conservation and aligning goals on the 70% of areas outside of PCAs at risk of loss or reduced connectivity from the heightened human-use.
Connectivity is important for achieving many Multilateral Environment Agreements, in particular the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). Connectivity is also a qualifier of GBF Targets 2 and 12 and prominent in Goal A.