Initiative of Asia protected areas partnership

--Ashit Ranjan Paul Assistant Chief Conservator of Forest Department of Forest

18. Ashit Ranjan Paul

The initiative of Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) derives from 1st Asia Parks Congress (APC) held in Sendai, Japan November 2013 during which the idea of an APAP was discussed and received considerable support. The APC discussion paper was designed to gauge levels of interest and to stimulate dialogue on the question of advancing regional protected area collaboration across the 23 countries which correspond to IUCN’s Asia Region.

An international Planning Committee meeting held in Bangkok, 24-25 April, 2014 to consider how to take this idea forward. Participants from different countries, the representative of the organization and other members discuss about partnership’s objectives, structure and modalities and more material. Ten different types of protected area collaboration networks from around the world were analysis to draw on their experience in arriving at lessons for Asia. Based on this analysis seven guiding principles or “factors for success” were identified to help think through how such collaboration might be realized in the region.

Embrace diversity

Ensure a site level focus

Ensure a network adds value

Partnership and alliances

Keys to network success

A light bureaucracy

Financial sustainability

Objectives

The purpose of the APAP is to enhance protected area collaboration across Asia, build partnerships and share capacity whilst advocating the wider benefits of the Region’s protected areas.

Five objectives are proposed for the APAP:

w         To facilitate shared learning and collaborative approaches to issues of common concern for Asia’s protected areas.

w         To provide technical support for Asia’s protected areas.

w         To foster innovative solutions which address the challenges and opportunities facing Asia’s protected areas.

w         To set and share common protected area policy and management standards.

w         To advocate and market the multiple benefits of Asia’s protected areas within and outside of the Region.

 

Functions

The following four functions are proposed for the APAP-

Facilitating/brokering support

w         Convening the regional protected area community to share inspiring solutions to challenges and opportunities;

w         capacity development and training through others (e.g protected area academic and training institutions, WCPA experts, best practice guidelines and tools etc);

w         technical advice through a Technical Advisory Service created within WPCA Asia;

w         knowledge and information-providing access to and synthesis of relevant protected area information, harmonizing regional protected area statistical reporting;

w         project development support; and

w         fundraising support.

Fostering innovation

w         exposing the Asian protected area community to creative new thinking;

w         sharing solutions within and outside of the Asian context; and

w         rewarding innovation.

Setting standards

w         tailoring global protected area standards to the Asian context;

w         developing internal standards;

w         monitoring compliance; and

w         rewarding excellence.

Advocacy

w         providing a single voice for regional protected areas;

w         establishing strategic alliances with relevant sectors;

w         providing Asian regional input into protected area policy; and

w         generating increased public awareness of protected areas at a regional scale.

Protected Area in Bangladesh

According to the Bangladesh government total forest land of Bangladesh is about 17 percent (2.25 million ha.). of the 2.25 million hectare Forest land, Forest Department manages 1.52 million hectare (10 percent) which includes Reserved, protected and Acquired forest and Mangrove forest on the newly accreted land in estuaries of major rivers. At present Forest Department manages 37 protected area including 17 National Park and 20 Wildlife Sanctuary. The remaining 0.73 million hectare of land designated as Un-classed State Forest (USF) are under the control of Ministry of Land.

Most of the protected areas are part of the reserved forest. The collaborative management strategies have been initiated through Nishorga Support project funded by GOB and USAID. Alternative income generation activities and eco-tourism facilities are developing for the livelihood of local forest dependent communities. Co-management organizations have been formed for the better management of protected areas.

For example the EUROPARC Federation is an independent, non-governmental organization which aims to work with national parks across Europe in enhancing protection. EUROPARC Federation currently represents 365 members. These include protected areas, governmental departments, NGO’s and businesses in 36 countries, who themselves manage the green jewels of Europe’s land, sea, mountains, forests, rivers and cultural heritage.

Federation initiatives, programs and project help realize its mission and support the management of PAs across the continent. Sustainable tourism development in protected areas is a particularly important topic for the federation.

The key aims of the EUROPARC Federation are:

w         Promote good practice in the management of protected areas

w         Facilitate the establishment of new protected areas

w         Raise the profile of protected areas as a vital means of safeguarding many of the continent’s most valuable natural heritage assets, and thereby to increase support for their future protection

w         Influence the future development of public policies and programs, especially with the European Union, to the benefit of protected areas’ objectives.

After the establishment of the EUROPARC Federation, the member countries have been getting all sorts of benefits by sharing information, knowledge, technology, management strategies regarding protected area management among themselves. So, this is very important to establish Asia Protected Areas Partnership immediately. The International Planning Committee meeting held in Bangkok, 24-25 April, 2014 has taken decision to proceed forward for establishing the partnership to manage the protected areas of Asia in sustainable manner.