State Agencies Consider Social Impacts of Conservation Areas
Representatives of protected area management agencies from Liberia, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda gathered in Nairobi in September to share knowledge and experiences on how the existence of conservation areas has impacted local communities in the four countries.
Through a research and action tool known as Social Assessment for Protected Areas (SAPA), Liberia’s Forest Development Authority, Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas, Uganda Wildlife Authority and Kenya Wildlife Service conducted assessments in selected parks to understand the social impacts of the protected areas to communities living around them.
The findings of the assessments will be used to mitigate negative social impacts of conservation actions on communities. Positive impacts will be amplified to ensure that they are equitably distributed.
Participants at the 9th to 12th September workshop shared results from their assessments, identified common issues and challenges and exchanged knowledge on appropriate actions.
SAPA is founded on the growing evidence that the success of protected
areas/conserved areas (PA/CA) in terms of both biodiversity conservation and human well-being correlates to how well the PA/CA are managed.
The multi-stakeholder methodology helps to understand the positive and negative impacts on the well-being of local people from conservation and related development activities of protected conserved areas. It also takes into account governance issues related to site-specific social impacts. A critical element of the methodology is the development of an action plan by site stakeholders to mitigate the negative impacts of conservation while enhancing and equitably sharing positive ones.
Since 2014, SAPA assessments have been conducted in 20 PA/CAs in six countries (Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia) and have become a recommended methodology for the IUCN Green List and sites supported by Germany’s KfW Development Bank.
The workshop in Nairobi was supported by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), with funding from Darwin Initiative.