Participation of local communities in all aspects of PRCF conservation and development work is imbedded within the core values of the organization. The PRCF promotes involvement of concerned local communities in planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of projects and programs, thus creating ownership of interventions by strengthening the community role in adoption and adaptation leading to sustainability.
Other than involvement of local people in PRCF activities, we recognize and promote two specific types of community involvement in conservation management:
- Collaborative Management – whereby local people work together with protected area authorities towards the goal of biodiversity conservation and conservation management. The decision makers, however, are ultimately the government officials concerned; and,
- Co-Management – whereby local communities are equal partners in the decision-making process, and thus community and government stakeholders jointly make decisions regarding management of the resources.
The PRCF believes that these two management approaches can lead to strong, transparent, and proper conservation management, therefore bolstering the effectiveness and sustainability of biodiversity conservation efforts.
We presently carry out collaborative management activities in most of the countries where we operate, and co-management programs in Vietnam and Cambodia. Our present objective is to invigorate these forms of collaboration for the protection of biodiversity to the point of this reaching sustainability. In the case of Vietnam, where we support co-management at the Nam Xuan Lac Reserve, we seek full government endorsement of the approach by adopting and replicating the model elsewhere in the country. Nam Xuan Lac holds the only protected area management board in Vietnam with local community members. In the case of Cambodia, we hope to improve and strengthen the government model of Community Conservation Areas at Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary to safeguard the conservation status of the reserve though sound community forest stewardships.
We are developing other conservation management initiatives by local communities in the form of collaboration with local authorities, particularly in Vietnam where the establishment of a Community-based Conservation Area has been endorsed by a provincial government, and is presently under definition. The proposed community conservation area will help protect the endangered Francois’ Langur, whose population is dwindling rapidly. Though this PRCF program, we hope to harness and bolster the conservation management interests of local communities into safeguarding the biodiversity of their environment.