At its seventh meeting in 2004, the Conference of the Parties (COP) adopted a programme of work on protected areas. Its objective is the establishment and maintenance, by 2010 for terrestrial and by 2012 for marine areas, of comprehensive, effectively managed, and ecologically representative national and regional systems of protected areas. These areas are intended to support the three objectives of the Convention and aim to significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss.
The COP also decided to establish an Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Protected Areas with the following mandate:
(a) Explore options for co-operation to establish marine protected areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction (consistent with other relevant national and international legislation);
(b) Explore options for urgent mobilisation through adequate and timely financial resources to allow developing countries to implement the programme of work;
(c) Contribute to the further development of tool kits to identify, designate, manage, monitor and evaluate national and regional systems of protected areas;
(d) Consider reports on progress in the implementation of the programme of work on protected areas;
(e) Recommend to the COP ways and means to improve implementation of the programme of work on protected areas.