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Data Sources and Methods for the Protected Areas, International Comparison Indicator


3.1 Data sources

IUCN and UNEP. 2010. The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). UNEP-WCMC. Cambridge, UK.

Millenium Development Goals analysis and summary statistics (January 2010 Annual Release)

Quality control criteria are applied to ensure consistency and comparability of the data in the WDPA. New data are validated at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) through a number of tools and translated into the standard data structure of the WDPA. Discrepancies between the data in the WDPA and new data are resolved in communication with data providers. Processed data is fully integrated into the published WDPA.

3.2 Spatial coverage


3.3 Temporal coverage

The WDPA is published annually. The data in the WDPA is freely available for non-commercial use. The MDG statistics are compiled in the beginning of each year based on the most current monthly version of the WDPA then available and submitted to the UN Statistics Division. The time lag between reception of new data and production of the MDG statistics is up to one year. UNEP-WCMC makes available a summary of its MDG statistics.

3.4 Data quality - completeness

Protected areas with unknown location and/or extent are excluded from the GIS analysis and statistics. Protected areas with unknown year of establishment are included in the GIS analysis and statistics for every year from 1990 to present. This avoids counting spatial overlaps between dated and undated protected areas. Where no new data is received for a country/territory during a year, protected area coverage is assumed to be equal to the previous year.

3.5 Data quality - timeliness

The January 2010 version of the WDPA was used for a spatial time series analysis of protected area coverage from 1990 to 2009, for the 2010 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report.