Catalyzing the Sustainability of Thailand’s Protected Area System

Background

CATSPA
UNDP has selected five protected areas as pilot sites for enhancing the sustainability of Thailand’s protected area system.

Thailand’s protected area system is changing. There are concerns that the size of many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are insufficient to sustain their flora and fauna. Biodiversity within these areas remain under threat from many sources. While the Royal Thai Government, NGOs and other partners have focused efforts on the existing protected area system and other conservation initiatives, the loss of habitat and biodiversity continues through the clearing of forests, infrastructure, and agriculture, as well other unsustainable land uses such as hunting, and poorly-managed tourism development.

The role of UNDP
UNDP has selected five protected areas as pilot sites for enhancing the sustainability of Thailand’s protected area system. The project will build on UNDP’s successful record of partnership with Thai counterparts in a number of key development areas. UNDP has worked in Thailand to promote policy linkages and community participation in natural resources and environment management. UNDP will work closely with the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and other agencies on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, as well as with provincial and local authorities in establishing necessary policies, and strengthening capacity in technical and managerial skills.

Demonstration Sites

Khao Chamao – Khao Wong National Park (area of 8,368 ha – Forest Ecosystem), Doi Inthanon National Park (area of 48,240 ha – Forest Ecosystem), Tarutao National Park (area of 149,000 ha – Coastal and Marine ecosystem, an archipelago that consists of 51 islands), Khlong Lan National Park (area of 30,000 ha – Forest Ecosystem) and Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary (278,000 ha – Forest Ecosystem).

Expected Outcomes



Improved governance to support an enabling environment for long-term PA system sustainability: The UNDP project will focus on developing and delivering new policy guidance and rules enabling effective PA system management planning and financing, leading to improved conservation across 11,589,718 hectares. Local communities will engage and participate in effective PA management leading to improved support of conservation objectives and reduced cost. Improved information management and a formal M&E program will be the cornerstone of an improving PA system and for further policy changes as required.

Institutional and individual capacities enhanced:
A comprehensive and integrated approach to protected area management, budgeting and financing will be put in place that ensures that each PA has an objective-driven management plan--integrated with the overall national PA system management plan. The result will be a protected area system with consistent and standard management plans with business plans. UNDP will promote critical capacity development to DNP management and staff on issues of effective PA management and financial planning; revenue generation mechanism and business planning, and co-management. Skills training and mentoring programs will be developed and utilized. A critical “Effectiveness” Unit will be created within DNP to review specific management effectiveness and sustainable financing needs and to develop and implement capacity building programs.

Revenue generation mechanisms and management approaches are assessed and tested at 5 PA sites leading to increased PA system funding:
UNDP will focus on identifying, designing and initiating new financing mechanisms at 5 demonstration PA sites. In particular, the project will evaluate ways to increase revenue through sustainable tourism services and products and/or special user fees (diving, trekking). In addition, the project will consider system-wide financing mechanisms either through adjustment to the entrance fee system or private concession fees or PES agreements negotiated at the national or regional level. The project will assist DNP to identify, develop and to implement innovative financing and income generating mechanisms. Valuation studies for ecosystem services of each PA will be done to determine direct value of conservation efforts and assist with the design and success of new financing mechanisms.

New models of PA management support effective management
: The project will focus on strengthening the establishment and use of Protected Area Advisory Committees as a means to reduce existing conflicts and negative impacts of resources use by communities. The project will support a complex approach to effective PA management by demonstrating the potential for managing PA activities and realizing operating cost efficiencies

Overview
Partners:
Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE), the Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO), the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), Ministry of Finance (MOF), Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning (DPI) and the Thai Industrial Standard Institute (TISI).
Objective:
To overcome barriers to effective management and sustained financing of Thailand’s protected area system.
Donor:
Global Environment Facility
Financials:
$3,364,545 USD