Introduction and Context
Efforts to manage protected areas (PA) in Central Africa, as in Africa more generally, have evolved over the last few decades to encompass a number of different administrative arrangements ranging from park management by national and/or provincial authorities to devolved management by contracted non-profit or private sector actors. Recent studies have shown a breadth of experience and lessons learned from these varied management approaches (Baghai et al. 2018; Hatchwell, 2014) referred to as public-private partnerships (PPPs) or collaborative management partnerships (CMPs).
Summarizing the current state of those varied approaches, Baghai et al. write “…CMPs provide a direct and potentially effective means for the international community, donors, and nonprofits to contribute to conservation, economic development and governance in Africa. For African states, CMPs offer potential to build local capacity, share the financial burden associated with managing vast PA estates and increase the ecological and economic benefits derived from PAs. We encourage both African states and the non-profit community to engage in these models using best practice. We also urge the research community to investigate the relative efficacy of the various models, to contribute to improving the proposed framework and to help understand how the effectiveness of CMPs might be enhanced” (Baghai et al. 2018).
USAID/CARPE and its implementing partners are engaged in efforts to help establish or carry out sustainable management mechanisms, in the form of CMPs, for protected areas in several countries of the Congo Basin, principally in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Republic of Congo (RoC). These arrangements are typically operated through a cooperation agreement between host governments and nonprofit or private sector entities and often financed by international donors. These efforts are laudable and many positive results have been achieved, but concerns have also been raised about the risk of Balkanizing the protected area estate, with potentially competing management structures and park beneficiaries/stakeholders (USAID, 2017).
In Central Africa, some of the rational and motivations establishing the CMP model include: 1) lack of resources to effectively manage the network of national parks; 2) limited ability to raise park management funds; and 3) challenging management conditions including access and capacity constraints. Currently, in DRC alone there are five CMP arrangements for management of national parks with other potential ones in the pipeline. While these arrangements have been able to address some of the limitations described, several concerns are raised. These include that the models are not doing enough to improve the livelihoods of surrounding communities and park workers and that there is a need for enhanced local staff capacity development as well as more government involvement in co-management models’ administrative management and decision making.
To address these concerns, the U.S. Forest Service will work with protected area authorities – principally in the DRC and RoC – to review CMPs that are in place to manage a number of protected areas in the region, and identify models that work, where government, civil society and private partners are satisfied and embrace a shared vision for effective management of protected areas. The review will clarify the institution-building role of such arrangements for effective protected area management including beneficiaries/communities, rather than simply looking at them in terms of cost-benefit privatization of national assets. The U.S. Forest Service will work with counterpart protected area agencies, especially the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) in DRC and the Congolese Agency of Forests and Protected Areas (ACFAP) in the Republic of the Congo, as well as with the regional institution Commission of Central African Forests (COMIFAC), to highlight specific aspects of CMP institutional arrangements that can be strengthened and replicated more broadly.
To assess existing CMP experience in selected countries of the Congo Basin, and especially in the DRC, the U.S. Forest Service seeks a consultant and/or detailer to complete an assessment of management arrangements of CMPs and to put forward recommendations for the most effective design and implementation of collaborative management arrangements for protected areas that meet government and national agency objectives as well as the aims of other interested stakeholders.
The study should clearly articulate the trade-offs national protected area management agencies must make when entering the CMP agreement. The perceived imbalance between these trade-offs is the basis for some criticism of this CMP approach.
The objectives of this activity are to:
1. Evaluate models of CMPs, which currently manage protected areas in Central Africa, particularly in the DRC and RoC, to identify strengths and weaknesses as well as characteristics and modalities of successful management models.
2. Assess the level of responsibility between the CMPs park managers and partners who are members of the CMP contract organization.
3. Elaborate recommendations for the replication and scale-up of effective CMPs across the region as a shared vision for successful management of protected areas.
4. Identify, together with national and regional institutions and other interested stakeholders, opportunities for targeted administrative strengthening of CMPs, and capacity building of government institutions, for more effective protected area management.
Activities and Deliverables
1. Conduct a comprehensive assessment including a desk review and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders covering government officials including representatives from ICCN and ACFAP and other targeted CMP partners in the Congo Basin, particularly in the DRC and RoC, synthesizing findings around lessons learned and opportunities for obtaining stakeholder support for joint management arrangements and making recommendations on capacity building opportunities. This assessment will cover: 1) the legal status of CMPs; 2) responsibilities outlined in the contract; 3) the mechanism for monitoring and evaluation plans; 4) the link between implementation and management support; 5) the mechanism of recruitment and employee contracts; 6) the potential for fundraising; 7) innovation and innovative practices introduced; and 8) a comparison of the conservation status of key species before and after.
2. Produce an initial outline of the final report after the desk review.
3. Undertake selected visits of CMP protected areas, especially in DRC and RoC, and engage national, provincial and local authorities, communities, park management authorities, and other civil society stakeholders.
4. Engage a wide spectrum of CMP stakeholders to synthesize and assess views on strengths and weaknesses of existing management arrangements.
5. Produce a final report summarizing assessment findings with recommendations for replicating PPP management successes and strengthening institutional management structures.
6. Present findings and recommendations at a stakeholder workshop to incorporate comments and identify opportunities and next steps for implementation of specific recommendations.
Proposed Mission Program
Days Activity Location
5 Background review and mission prep Home office
2 Travel Travel to Kinshasa, DRC
20 Meetings with government counterparts, partners and
Protected Areas field visits in DRC
Kinshasa and selected PAs
outside of Kinshasa
1 Travel Travel to Brazzaville, RoC
15 Meetings with government counterparts, partners and
Protected Areas field visits in RoC
Brazzaville and selected
PAs outside of Brazzaville
1 Travel Travel to Kinshasa
4 Follow-up discussions and validation workshop with
government counterparts, partners and CMP
7 Write up final report and mission report Home office
Total Activity Level of Effort: 55 Days
Proposed Activity Timing: June and July 2018
Baghai, M., et al. 2018. Models for the collaborative management of Africa’s protected areas. Biological Conservation 218 (2018) 73-82.
Hatchwell, M., 2014. Public-private partnerships as a management option for protected areas. Anim. Conserv. 17, 3–4.
USAID 2017. Mid-term evaluation of phase III of the USAID Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment, 2017.