Covering more than 12 per cent of the world’s land surface, protected areas are the cornerstone of international efforts to conserve biodiversity. They offer a lifeline to some of the most precious and threatened places on earth, and safeguard vital ecosystem services, upon which communities and businesses depend.

Yet protected areas face a broad range of challenges, and evidence from the IUCN demonstrates that many sites are struggling to meet minimum standards, potentially leading to ineffective conservation. Lack of staff training in business planning and other key organisational skills is a significant contributing factor to this, but staff rarely get the opportunity for training in this area.


Leading companies have a wealth of experienced staff and devote significant resources on training for effective business management. Yet there are often few opportunities for their managers to consider the value of natural capital to the business.

The Earth Skills Network bridges this gap by bringing together leaders from the business world with protected area managers, in a mentor-mentee relationship, to share knowledge and transfer key business skills.

The network makes the following possible:

  • Sharing key business skills that can strengthen effective conservation management of the world’s most precious natural areas
  • Connecting leaders from two sectors through a global network of trained business mentors and motivated conservation managers
  • Providing corporate employees with the chance to sharpen professional competencies and better understand business risk, impact and dependencies within the context of protected areas


The Earth Skills Network is a partnership between Earthwatch, UNESCO, IUCN and corporate partners. In 2014 there were a number of opportunities for protected area staff and business managers to get involved. This round of applications is now closed. For more information and to register an interest for future, please click on the buttons below or contact us.


“Tapping in to the rich and diverse human resource wealth of the private sector to build capacity amongst protected area managers is a smart idea we fully endorse.”

– Marc Patry, World Heritage Program Specialist, UNESCO


“Protected areas are essential for biodiversity conservation... set aside to maintain functioning natural ecosystems... [and] act as benchmarks against which we understand human interactions with the natural world.”

– International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)