First regional workshop
6 May 2002
Summary of discussion from day one
Direction and guidance for the PAD review arising from discussion
of field study reports in panel sessions and working groups.
- Need to exercise caution in promoting the use of protected area services
and products as a strategy for their conservation; the critical question
is - are the uses sustainable? For example, NTFP and wildlife use. Similarly,
are the ecological costs associated with hydropower development acceptable?
- Need to link conservation with development - not just highlight economic
benefits but also ensure that conservation of protected areas is the
- Social and intangible development benefits should be recognised, not
just those benefits with immediate monetary value - for example, educational,
health and cultural values.
- The costs of protected areas, particularly to local communities, also
need to be taken into account.
- Interdisciplinary teams involving park management and planning agencies
are needed to assess the benefits of all PAs to development.
Site selection when applying the PA benefits field study methods nationally
- Sites should be groups or clusters of protected areas, not individual
sites - this allows PAs to be assessed within the linking development
- More study sites should be within the LMR basin.
Are the study sites representative? Need to ensure pilot study sites
reflects nationwide problems and a representative selection of ecosystems.
- Understand the relevance of development policies to the PAs and their
use eg decentralisation, poverty alleviation
- Study process needs clear goals, objectives, target groups and methods.
- Definition of "protected areas" and "development"
should be clear and consistent - for example development is more than
- There is a limitation of data available; policy makers need to realise
that collection of good data is imperative to good decision-making.
- Government data is sometimes unreliable.
- Need to use standard methodology; check quality and accuracy of information
provided; be careful about assumptions and present them with caveats.
- Need for rapid assessment techniques - decisions and plans need to
be made in an timely way, otherwise unwise and uncontrolled development
can overrun conservation assets.
- Rapid assessment is facilitated if the results of studies done in
other similar areas could are used to value benefits (eg. tourism visitation,
rates, travel cost method) - these are called benefit transfer studies.
- There is limited capacity. Agency staff will need training in this
form of economic analysis.
Acknowledged importance of the field studies as discussed in panel
sessions and working group discussions.
- They demonstrated the development benefits of protected areas.
- Field study results provide information for local level officials
to bring protected areas into the development planning process, because
of the contributions they are making to the various productive sectors
of the economy.
- Examples of cooperation in management of shared marine and terrestrial
ecosystems were provided.
- Development of simple methods for valuing PAs and for assessing their
Points raised on integrating PAs with economic planning
- Location of protected areas on a national planning perspective is
very relevant, especially in recognising and capturing the development
benefits that are expected to flow?
- There is insufficient collaboration between sectors to ensure that
PA development benefits are maintained and enhanced - some sectors are
benefiting but others are degrading those benefits.
- Need to establish linkages with local communities, sectors, and other
- Establishment of protected areas management boards with representatives
from key stakeholders to build capacity, and undertake poverty alleviation
programs. Establish stakeholder committees at local and national levels
in dealing with protected area issues.
- Downstream users eg of water, should pay the cost of upstream management.
This applies within and between countries.
- Cross sector agreements and international law is needed to ensure
the 'user pays'.
- Major developers must pay realistic cost for PA services eg hydro
schemes with PAs in Lao PDR, Vietnam and Cambodia.
- Increase regional cooperation in protected area planning and management
is needed, including through transboundary protected areas (TBPAS).
- TBPAS provide the opportunity for large ecosystems to be protected
under a common and agreed management regime; are separately managed
by the countries involved; there is regular sharing of information and
cooperation; cooperation is better between countries of equal power
- Relevance and implications of development policies to protected areas
and their use should be assessed and understood.
- Use zonation to manage uses, apply the user-pays principle, establish
local PA funds, and realise that not all protected areas and zones with
each PA can generate tangible benefits.
- The user pays principle should not only apply to domestic users but
also international beneficiaries. Major development projects need to
consider upstream and downstream costs.
- Need criteria for establishing protected areas - some countries have
set aside very high percentage of land as protected areas but the levels
of protection vary greatly. Ensuring representativeness and using different
categories of protected areas is important in realising the full range
of PA development benefits.
- For each PA explore opportunities for revenue generation and ensure
adequate investments flow from users. This will require adequate assessments
of benefits and negotiated agreements with benefitiaries.
- Manage protected areas effectively in ways that ensure the right to
livelihood of local people. There needs to be compensation for restrictions
imposed on local subsistence users. There should be equity and local
benefits - local people must have priority access. For example, there
needs to be local benefit sharing, eg. tourism revenues with local communities.
- Ensure use of EIA in development planning in and around protected
areas. Need for EIA of all development projects in protected areas.
- Building of simulation models to assess costs and benefits - whether
tourism infrastructure development is being done in an environmental
sensitive or destructive manner and the resultant impacts on tourism
visitation to the area.
- There is a need to create greater awareness of protected area benefits
and users, in particular, need to be aware of the benefits they receive.
The existing protected area system is not fully valued by the governments
or decision-makers; the benefits analysis can be used as a tool to increase
awareness. Awareness of PA values within Government and development
sectors needs to be raised
<< BACK TO FIRST REGIONAL
Review of protected areas and their role in socio-economic development
in the four countries of the lower Mekong River region
page updated: 29/05/02