Data on KBAs are expected to have multiple uses. KBAs can support the strategic expansion of protected area networks by governments and civil society working toward achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (in particular Target 11 and 12), as established by the Convention on Biological Diversity. They can also serve to inform the description or identification of sites under international conventions (such as Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas described under the Convention on Biological Diversity, wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention, natural World Heritage Sites under the World Heritage Convention and sites for migratory species relevant for the Convention on Migratory Species and its daughter Agreements). One particular subset of KBAs — Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) — has been extensively used in the European Union Member States as candidate sites for the designation of Special Protection Areas under the Birds Directive.
However, securing legal protection status for KBAs may not always be possible or necessary. Other management approaches such as Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) may be suitable to maintain the conservation values of KBAs. On the other hand, many protected areas are established for other conservation purposes and will not be identified as KBAs unless they also hold biodiversity elements meeting the criteria and thresholds. To clarify the relationship between KBAs and Protected Areas, the KBA Committee developed an information document which can be downloaded here.
KBAs may: inform private sector safeguard policies, environmental standards, and certification schemes; support conservation planning and priority-setting at national and regional levels; and provide local and indigenous communities with opportunities for employment, recognition, economic investment, societal mobilisation and civic pride. For further information, see here.
End users of KBA data are engaged through the KBA Consultative Forum.