This doctoral dissertation explores a) protected areas at the global level and their relation to some environmental and socio-economic indicators and b) correlation between protected areas and the implementation of the sustainable development in the Alpine Space. The results of the analysis at the global level show that the share, number and size of protected areas depend not only on the rate of biodiversity, climate zones and associated geographical unit, but also on different social, economic and political factors, showing that countries with a higher GDP combat the biodiversity loss more effectively. 5,887 municipalities in the Alpine Convention were (from the perspective of nature protection) divided into 13 categories. By comparing the values of the sustainable development indicators and correlations between them, some large differences in the implementation of sustainable development within individual countries of the Alpine Convention were identified. Protected areas are not only the instrument of nature and biodiversity conservation, but as well a supporting element of the regional development with a positive impact on all the three pillars of sustainable development, thus demonstrating that synergies between biodiversity conservation and economic development can be created. The implementation of sustainable development from the perspective of a more balanced development is despite the positive role of protected areas more successful in regions with higher GDP per capita, depending more on the particular country and its commitment to sustainable development at the strategic, regional and local level, as well as on measuring and monitoring its implementation rather than depending on the proportion or category of the protected areas. The results are identifying major differences between the IUCN protected areas and Natura 2000 sites: greater differences are being identified between the two regimes in specific areas of the sustainable development than between municipalities with the protected areas and municipalities without the protected areas.