Earth Skills Network Introduction

The Earth Skills Network is a unique collaboration between Earthwatch, UNESCO, IUCN and businesses. It connects leaders from the business and conservation communities through mentoring and skill-sharing opportunities. The knowledge gained through this global network provides new resources to safeguard the future of vital conservation areas.

Covering more than 15 percent of the world’s land surface and eight percent of the oceans, 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 IUCN demonstrates that many sites are struggling to meet minimum standards, potentially leading to ineffective conservation. A lack of key organisational and business skills is a significant contributing factor, but protected area managers rarely have the opportunity to train in this field.


Companies have a wealth of experienced staff and devote significant resources to training for effective business management. However, there are often few opportunities for their managers to consider the value of natural resources to the business.

The Earth Skills Network (ESN) bridges this gap by bringing leaders from the business world and protected area managers together, 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 management of the world’s most precious natural areas
  • facilitating open and constructive dialogue between leaders from the conservation and business communities to support mutual learning and understanding
  • providing corporate employees with the chance to sharpen professional competencies and better understand business risks, impact and dependencies within the context of protected areas.


To find out more about opportunities to join the Earth Skills Network in 2018 and to apply, please follow the relevant link below.


“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, Senior Programme Specialist, UNESCO


“Where the quality of management has been assessed, the majority of protected areas had either only basic management or major deficiencies, while only 24% had sound management... Lack of effective management remains one of the single largest problems facing the current global protected area system.”

– Protected Planet Report 2014