A three-day training workshop on “Engaging indigenous peoples and local communities in participatory management of protected areas and benefit sharing” took place from 28 February to 2 March 2017 at the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex, Phetchaburi Province, Thailand. The training workshop was designed to strengthen the capacity of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to engage indigenous peoples and local communities in the management of protected areas and World Heritage Sites.
A total of 64 participants attended the training workshop: 45 from National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of Thailand, and the remaining 19 from IUCN, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Freeland Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) and the UNDP/GEF-Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP). The training workshop was jointly organized by IUCN Thailand; the Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and the Global Support Initiative for Indigenous Peoples and Community-Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCA-GSI). It was delivered through the GEF SGP with additional funding from the Government of Germany (BMUB).
The training workshop was very interactive, with a mix of group work, panel discussions and knowledge sharing by the Community Management of Protected Areas for Conservation (COMPACT) initiative, which drew on over a decade of experience with implementation in eight natural World Heritage Sites across Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. Key topics included a COMPACT case study experience from the Philippines; an overview of the issues and challenges for protected areas in Thailand; engaging local communities in the stewardship of World Heritage; COMPACT planning frameworks and tools for facilitation of community dialogues; IUCN landscape governance types and GEF-SGP programming priorities for Thailand during the 6th Operational Phase (2016-2020).
The training workshop used a Thai language translation of the UNESCO World Heritage Paper Series #40 ‘Engaging Local Communities in the Stewardship of World Heritage,’ and was facilitated by the authors of the report, Drs. Terence Hay-Edie (UNDP/GEF SGP) and Chamniern Vorratnchaiphan,Jessica Brown (New England Biolabs Foundation, USA) and Petch Manopawitr (IUCN Thailand).
Workshop participants expressed optimism that their new knowledge and skills would help Thai national parks enhance community participation and engagement in the management and governance of protected areas, existing UNESCO World Heritage Sites and tentative list sites.