Building Capacity for Protected Area Management in Lao PDR
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- Rao, M., Johnson, A., Spence, K. et al. Environmental Management (2014) 53: 715. doi:10.1007/s00267-014-0235-9
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Declining biodiversity in protected areas in Laos is attributed to unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. At a basic level, an important need is to develop capacity in academic and professional training institutions to provide relevant training to conservation professionals. The paper (a) describes the capacity building approach undertaken to achieve this goal, (b) evaluates the effectiveness of the approach in building capacity for implementing conservation and (c) reviews implementation outcomes. Strong linkages between organizations implementing field conservation, professional training institutions, and relevant Government agencies are central to enhancing effectiveness of capacity building initiatives aimed at improving the practice of conservation. Protected area management technical capacity needs will need to directly influence curriculum design to insure both relevance and effectiveness of training in improving protected area management. Sustainability of capacity building initiatives is largely dependent on the level of interest and commitment by host-country institutions within a supportive Government policy framework in addition to engagement of organizations implementing conservation.