Accomplishments of the World Wilderness Congress

Breakthrough Accomplishments

By innovating and further-investing in an international problem-solving process for the protection of wilderness integrated with the needs of human communities, the World Wilderness Congress (WWC) is pioneering new leadership, solutions, and efficiencies around the protection of our wild planet.

View the full Accomplishment Archive here > 

Global Capacity


Leadership at the global level emboldens national and regional planners to take action to protect wild nature. Here’s how the World Wilderness Congress has helped:

  • Actions at the 4th WWC (1987) eventually led to the establishment of the World Bank’s Global Environmental Facility, which has helped mainstream environmental protection in one of the world’s most important financial institutions and has resulted in the provision of over $20 billion in conservation investments.
  • Early WWCs succeeded in creating a new wilderness protected area category at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – Category 1b – and strengthening the conservation of wild places critical for the support of all life on Earth.

Protected Areas

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The WWC has advanced and assisted in the establishment of many new protected areas. These include:

  • 2nd WWC (1980): Intact rainforest adjacent to Queensland Daintree National Park.
  • 2nd WWC: Expansion of the Great Barrier Reef National Park.
  • 7th WWC (2001): More than doubled the size of South Africa’s Baviaanskoof Nature Reserve from 500,000 acres to 1.2 million acres.
  • 9th WWC (2009): Revived and finalized creation of the historic, proposed transboundary conservation area between the US and Mexico…over 3 million acres (1.5million hectares)
  • 9th WWC (2009): established new protected coast mangrove areas in the Yucatan.

Private Conservation Areas

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The WWC has been critical to the innovation and implementation of private conservation areas, including the following:

  • 7th WWC (2001): First wilderness conservation area on private property in Africa.
  • 8th WWC (2005) and 9th WWC (2009): First declared wilderness in Latin America, and first in the world on corporate lands, the CEMEX Corporation designated the El Carmen Wilderness Area (75,000 acres) on critically important habitat.

Inclusive Leadership

Because the WWC was in-part initiated by an Indigenous leader, Zulu chief Magqubu iNtombela, we have always been one of the most inclusive international conservation decision-making bodies.

  • The 1st WWC (1977) was the first global conservation forum to fully include Indigenous Peoples in leadership and decision-making capacities.
  • The WWC remains one of the only major global conservation forums to integrate Indigenous values and science as central to contemporary international conservation.