The Protected Areas Learning and Research Collaboration is a tertiary and vocational education and research initiative dedicated to natural and cultural heritage protection, stewardship and conservation management and capacity development for Australia, Asia, and the Pacific.
The Collaboration will benefit professionals and community-based conservation practitioners working on protected areas and other area-based conservation activities.
The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas in November 2019 released guidelines for ‘recognising and reporting other effective area-based conservation measures’ (OECMs) at the 24th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice in Montreal. The CBD has defined ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’, in these terms:
A geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in situ conservation of biodiversity with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio–economic, and other locally relevant values. (CBD Decision 14/8)
In November 2018, Parties to the CBD adopted this definition of OECMs, as well as guiding principles, common characteristics and criteria for their identification.
While protected areas must have a primary conservation objective, this is not necessary for OECMs. OECMs may be managed for many different objectives but they must deliver effective conservation. They may be managed with conservation as a primary or secondary objective or long-term conservation may simply be the ancillary result of management activities.
The Collaboration is providing short courses and graduate certificate and masters courses. The PALRC courses specifically address selected competences from A Global Register of Competences for Protected Area Practitioners. Launched at the World Conservation Conference in Hawaii in September 2016, this is a comprehensive directory of and user guide to the skills, knowledge and personal qualities required by managers, staff and stewards of protected and other conserved areas. This user guide is critical to the consideration of courses and course content which is adopted by the PALRC.
We hope that other institutions will join the Collaboration in offering courses. Both Charles Darwin University and Charles Sturt University are now offering courses for the first time and the University of South Pacific is examining this.
The Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute offers its first short course under the Collaboration in 2017.
As the Protected Areas Learning and Research Collaboration initiative develops, we invite your comments, suggestions and support so that the Collaboration is relevant to your needs and aspirations.
About the logo – the three allied elements reflect the coherent coupling of the associated areas of natural/cultural heritage protection, stewardship and conservation management, while referencing the three universities involved in the provenance of this trail blazing initiative.The members link and overlap to form a complete circle, representing the global framework of protected areas in Australia, Asia and the Pacific.
Throughout the region there are multiple IUCN Category I-VI protected areas (e.g. national parks, public and private conservation reserves, Indigenous Protected Areas, marine protected areas, and other conservation areas) along with community managed conservation areas (now referred to as OECM’s) cared for and lived in by people over the generations with the aim of ensuring the long term conservation of nature along with associated community, cultural and social values and the provision of ecosystem services. With long-standing and mounting contemporary pressures on these areas and their custodians, it is vitally important to provide both a means to professionalize – and an opportunity to provide a career path for – managers and community members and others engaged in protected areas management.
There is an identified need throughout the world and particularly in Australia, Asia and the Pacific for capacity building to support the development of protected area practitioners with the necessary knowledge, skills and competencies for effective management and care of protected area systems on land and sea. This need has been identified by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and its members.