Conservation Optimism Summit

Dulwich College, London, United Kingdom

With more than half of the world’s wildlife having disappeared in the last 40 years and climate change continuing to push many species to the brink of extinction, the challenges facing wildlife conservation have never been greater. 

But while the threats facing the planet can sometimes seem overwhelming, a new summit being organised by ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and the University of Oxford is aiming to shift conservation focus onto the success stories, and highlight that there is a need, as well as a cause, for optimism. 

The Conservation Optimism Summit, to be held 20-22 April 2017, will bring together people from across the worlds of conservation, government, industry and academia to highlight ways in which we can celebrate successes and encourage a new, positive way of thinking about conservation to inspire more people to work for wildlife.

Following two days of workshops and discussion at Dulwich College in London, the summit will culminate on Earth Day 2017 with a public event at ZSL London Zoo to share, showcase and celebrate the work that has been done so far to conserve species across the animal kingdom, from partula snails to pandas. 

Recognising & encouraging conservation where we live & work

The Summit included a session the Verified Conservation Area (VCA) approach, a voluntary mechanism for recognizing area-based conservation. VCA offers communities, companies, and individuals the opportunity to be recognised for their conservation efforts through transparency, accountability, and verification.

It begain with an introduction to the VCA approach, followed by an overview of research on landowner motivations for conservation actions. It will conclude with two commentators and an open discussion.

Conservation Optimism

Recognising & encouraging conservation where we live & work


Francis Vorhies, Earthmind: Introduction to the VCA Approach

Jennifer Gooden, University of Oxford: Conservation Landowner Perspective


Prue Addison, University of Oxford

Chris Naylor, A Rocha International

Dulwich College
Dulwich Common
United Kingdom
SE21 7LD

About the VCA approach

The VCA Approach aims to reduce our global footprint by encouraging voluntary conservation beyond legally protected areas. It is inclusive and enables communities, companies, individuals and local authorities to join a new social movement for conservation. All areas managed to conserve nature can be registered as VCAs.

Listing on the VCA Registry enables land-based conservation efforts to be visible and accountable to key stakeholders and to the broader public. Listing an area is guided by the VCA Standard and Toolkit, which are based on international best practice.

Over the next three years, the VCA partners will list 100 new VCAs covering six million hectares. Together, we will scale up a social movement for conservation by fostering a learning and sharing culture to conserve the areas where we live and work. More information is available at