Improving Protected Area Governance to Support Livelihood Security in Selected Countries


To promote enhanced equity and livelihood security through participatory protected area management and ensuring fair benefits distribution in selected countries


Background and activities

This component of the project will focus on Bolivian, Peruvian and East and Southern African regions with extensive protected area networks that considerably overlap with local community lands and resources.

At the core of solving the conflict between protected area objectives and the livelihood security of the rural poor is a set of governance issues related to tenure rights, access to resources, legal frameworks, decision making, responsibilities, accountability and the rule of law. However, because political decisions are conditioned by current economic hardships, improving governance and conservation on the ground remains a challenge for IUCN and its partners. IUCN remains dedicated to promote progress towards the empowerment of local communities and the improvement of governance at all levels.

In order to address these governance issues, The IUCN-Headquarter team and a group of project partners in selected regions are collaborating in conducting case studies that can guide further analysis and understanding of these fundamental issues. This will allow project actors and, eventually, the wider protected area management community to adjust and adapt tools for the integration of livelihood security, participatory decision-making and transparency into protected area planning and governance.

To strengthen the capacity for good governance of protected areas specifically, training workshops are being conducted with protected area managers, community representatives, government personnel and development and conservation organisations. In Southern Africa, the recent development of transfrontier conservation has introduced novel inter-regional governance issues and IUCN advises in creating regional and sub-regional national policy changes that promote and secure local livelihoods.

In addition, continued collaboration with partners and relevant government agencies aims to influence protected area policies at the national and international levels, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA).


Through its initiatives, this component will enable tools and frameworks to be adapted and developed to support the integration of livelihood security, participation and transparency in protected area planning and governance.

Multiple stakeholders in protected area management will gain the capacities and tools to integrate good governance goals into the creation and management of protected area systems. As a result,  protected areas will contribute to livelihood security and greater equity between stakeholders and, as a result, conflict between communities and managers will be diminished.

Partners and Roles

Although coordinated by the IUCN-Headquarters Social Policy team, various partners will be involved with the implementation of these project efforts on the ground. These include the partners mentioned in other sub-projects found in these regions.

The Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is a key partner in addressing rights related issues of protected area governance, especially in forest areas, and so is an important player in the development and application of these initiatives within existing networks.