Supporting climate resilience of communities in and around protected areas

UNEP-WCMC have released a new manual for practitioners and researchers on Resilience and Adaptation Planning for Communities in Protected Areas, which provides the practical tools needed to effectively engage with communities living in, and around, protected areas to develop appropriate strategies to deal with the negative impacts of climate change.

This manual outlines a practical and pragmatic community-based resilience and adaptation planning process, offering step-by-step guidance on initiating the planning process, engaging the community in it and refining and implementing action plans. It is aimed at practitioners from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government departments, protected area management and research institutions with some experience in participatory work and a good understanding of climate change.

The process described can be used to work with communities living in, and around, protected areas of any management or governance type (for instance, co-management, state-run or community-governed) and can be tailored to different contexts. In addition, the detailed instructions on undertaking the community-based workshop component of the process, along with several practical annexes, are ideal for training workshop facilitators.

This manual was developed in the context of the Climate-Resilient Communities and Protected Areas project, funded by the MAVA Foundation and executed by UNEP-WCMC. As part of the project, the planning process – now refined and outlined in this manual – was implemented at three pilot sites in the Gambia and Senegal. Working with communities living in coastal protected areas in the pilot sites, the project undertook Community Planning Workshops, which resulted in Community Action Plans.

The project supported the communities involved in implementing several of these action plans, which included multiple community-based and ecosystem-based adaptation options. Lessons learned from implementing the planning process at the project’s three pilot sites have been incorporated into this manual to add to its robustness and relevance. Furthermore, this manual is informed by a wealth of existing knowledge of community adaptation planning frameworks, a number of participatory tools and methodologies tried and tested around the world, and extensive knowledge of protected area management processes.

This document should, therefore, provide useful guidance to a wide audience wishing to work with communities to holistically strengthen their resilience to climate change and implement actions that will ultimately help them to adapt to it.

Community Planning Workshop in Niumi National Park, the Gambia. Photo © Sylvia Wicander

Community Planning Workshop in Niumi National Park, the Gambia. Photo © Sylvia Wicander

Publication information

Wicander, S., Helfgott, A., Bailey, M., Munroe, R., Ampomah, G., Diouf, A., Devisscher, T. and Corrigan, C. (2016) Resilience and adaptation planning for communities in protected areas. A step-by-step guide. Cambridge: UNEP-WCMC.

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