28 February - 2 March 2017, Phetchaburi Province, Thailand - ICCA-GSI held a training workshop on Engaging indigenous peoples and local communities in participatory management of protected areas and benefit sharing at the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex. The workshop was designed to strengthen the technical knowledge and skills of staff of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation in engaging indigenous peoples and local communities in participatory management of protected areas and World Heritage Sites to enhance their effectiveness. ICCA-GSI co-organized the workshop with IUCN Thailand and the Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
The 3-day interactive workshop was attended by a total of 64 participants, with 45 representatives from the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of Thailand joining representatives from International Union for the Conservation of Nature (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 (SGP). The high participatory engagement enabled a dynamic environment in covering a myriad of activities including group work, panel discussions, and knowledge-sharing from over a decade's experience from the Community Management of Protected Areas for Conservation (COMPACT) initiative implemented in eight natural World Heritage Sites in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia. Key topics covered included: (i.) COMPACT case study experience from the Philippines; (ii.) overview, issues and challenges for protected areas in Thailand; (iii.) engaging local communities in the stewardship of World Heritage; (iv.) COMPACT planning frameworks and tools for facilitation of community dialogues; (v.) IUCN landscape governance types; and (vi.) GEF SGP programming priorities for Thailand during the 6th Operational Phase (2016-2020).
To compliment the workshop activities, a Thai-translated version of the UNESCO World Heritage Paper Series #40 Engaging Local Communities in the Stewardship of World Heritage was disseminated which was facilitated by its authors, namely, Dr. Terence Hay-Edie (UNDP-GEF SGP) and Ms. Jessica Brown (New England Biolabs Foundation, USA); Dr. Chamniern Vorratnchaiphan and Mr. Petch Manopawitr (IUCN Thailand).
The workshop closed with positive feedback and action plans in integrating community participation and engagement in the governance and management of protected areas including Thailand's national parks, existing UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the tentative list sites in Thailand.