BirdLife International´s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Programme has identified, documented and mapped over 13,000 sites of international importance for birds. IBAs have been influential with governments, multilateral agreements, businesses and others in: (1) informing governments’ efforts to expand protected area networks (in particular to meet their commitments through the Convention on Biological Diversity); (2) supporting the identification of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the marine realm, (3) identifying Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention; (4) identifying sites of importance for species under the Convention on Migratory Species and its sister agreements; (5) identifying Special Protected Areas under the EU Birds Directive; (6) applying the environmental safeguards of international finance institutions such as the International Finance Corporation; (7) supporting the private sector to manage environmental risk in its operations; and (8) helping donor organisations like the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) to prioritise investment in site-based conservation. The identification of IBAs (and IBAs in Danger: the most threatened of these) has also triggered conservation and management actions at site level, most notably by civil society organisations and local conservation groups. IBA data have therefore been widely used by stakeholders at different levels to help conserve a network of sites essential to maintaining the populations and habitats of birds as well as other biodiversity. The experience of IBA identification and conservation is shaping the design and implementation of the recently launched Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) Partnership and programme, as IBAs form a core part of the KBA network.