APAP Steering Committee Meeting confirms partnership is on track
The 4th APAP Steering Committee meeting, held in Bangkok from 12 to 13 July 2018, affirmed that the partnership is continuing to make significant progress. The Steering Committee meeting was the largest in APAP’s history, with participants from 11 Member countries in attendance, as well as IUCN Regional Councillors and representatives from the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and Global Protected Areas Programme, amongst others.
This year’s meeting in particular highlighted Members’ needs and priorities.
Based on a questionnaire issued by IUCN prior to the meeting and completed by APAP Members, IUCN reported that Members would like APAP to address practical, “on-the-ground” protected area management issues such as sustainable tourism. Members also suggested that APAP should give priority to building capacity through technical workshops, staff exchanges, and the translation and dissemination of best practice guidelines.
During the meeting, APAP’s achievements in several major areas were highlighted.
On the membership front, APAP’s membership has continued to grow, with two new Members joining since the last Steering Committee meeting: The National Forestry and Grassland Administration from the People’s Republic of China, which joined as a Country Member, and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), which joined as APAP’s first Associate Member.
As for capacity building, two successful technical workshops have been held since the last Steering Committee meeting: one on human-wildlife conflict, held in Bhutan, and one on management effectiveness and the IUCN Green List, held in the Republic of Korea.
In terms of fundraising, the Partnership has successfully expanded its funding base, with support for core operations and activities provided by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea, the Korea National Park Service and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan.
APAP has also significantly strengthened its communications efforts through improvements to the Partnership’s website, Facebook postings and the production of two e-newsletters.
In addition to learning about APAP’s progress, the Steering Committee received updates from each Member country on their latest protected area developments. The meeting had a particular focus on urban conservation, which is becoming an increasingly important topic given the pace of urbanisation in Asia. This included a special presentation by Mr Trevor Sandwith, Director of IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme, and a field visit to Bang Krachao, a large urban green space in Bangkok. The trip gave participants the opportunity to learn about the history and achievements of this unique area, as well as current conservation initiatives and challenges.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Partnership also warmly welcomed the offer from Sabah Parks of Malaysia to host the 2nd IUCN Asia Parks Congress in 2021.
“This was the largest, most diverse and most vibrant APAP Steering Committee meeting to date,” said Dr Scott Perkin from the IUCN Asia Regional Office. “It reaffirmed that the Partnership is making substantial progress and is continuing to evolve in response to Members’ needs. The next few years will now be critical, as APAP moves from its development phase into active implementation and delivery.”