We are living in a time of climate and biodiversity loss crisis.
But Nature and ecosystems can be restored, habitats can be maintained, wild species can be protected, and natural resources can be harvested sustainably.
All of us – individuals, communities, companies, and others – can and should conserve nature where we live and work. Hectare by hectare, we can conserve our planet.
All of us – whether you have one or a million hectares, combined can contribute as much as formal protected areas to caring for our planet.
We do not have to wait for governments to agree or plan. We can all make meaningful changes of our own and the VCA platform is where these are celebrated and shared.
What makes us relevant?
Plenty of platforms already exist to host conservation commitments and with an important role to play, however, an analysis we did shows that these platforms, in general, target specific ecosystems, sectors or regions.
Additionally, those platforms which are open to a many levels of society and geographies also lack a means of commitment verification due to capacity limitations.
Earthmind wanted to fill this significant gap with a platform that can recognise conservation in all ecosystems and regions and by all sectors of society.
This is where the VCAs come in. The VCS standard is designed to be open to all, everywhere and specialising in non-government actors with three tiers of engagement - Bronze, Silver and Gold according to the means and interest of VCA managers.
Lastly, our auditing system adapts according to the membership tier so that VCA members with interest and motivation can become fully certified for positive conservation action.
Read more about our standard here
The VCA Platform is a community of impactful conservation practises and includes a growing list of VCA sites and their managers/owners committed to conserving our planet where they live and work. The VCA Registry enables Member's voluntary commitments to area-based conservation to be recognised and encouraged. It also provides a open platform for verifying impact, sharing experiences and learning by doing.
Starting in 2009, Earthmind has worked with many organisations and experts to conceptualise, design and scale up the VCA approach. This has included several expert workshops and numerous consultations in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America and the launch of a VCA Partners initiative at the 2nd UN Environment Assembly in May 2016. We are most keen to work with any organisation - public, private or non-profit - to scale up recognition of voluntary conservation commitments.
VCA Advisory Board
The VCA Advisory Board became operational in May 2014. Its responsibilities include strategic direction and oversight of the VCA Programme. Importantly, the Board is responsible for approving VCA Auditors.
VCA Auditors and Experts
VCA Auditors undertake independent peer-review audits of VCA conservation management plans and annual VCA conservation performance updates. These audits are required for VCA Gold Members. Land owners and managers are encouraged to either choose an approved auditor or to recommend a local expert to become an approved auditor. The VCA Office assists with the process.
Our auditors and experts also are an invaluable source of advice and best practice knowledge shared with the VCA community.
The VCA Platform is managed by Earthmind, a Swiss non-profit association. There is also a growing network of volunteer supporters helping to scale up membership and disseminate information about VCAs.