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COMPACT: Engaging Local Communities in the Stewardship of World Heritage

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Since the year 2000, the Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation Project (COMPACT) programme has been testing an innovative model for engaging communities in conservation. An initiative of the UNDP-implemented GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), and United Nations Foundation (UNF), the programme has been working with communities near eight current/proposed UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS) in Africa, Asia, Meso-America and the Caribbean. Through extensive on-the-ground experience, and a participatory methodology that integrates a scientific approach, COMPACT is demonstrating that community-based initiatives can significantly increase the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation in globally significant protected areas.

The publication introduces the COMPACT model and reviews its decade of experience. Chapters from each target country illustrate how COMPACT is working in diverse settings, highlighting the principles underlying behind its community-driven approach, and its key planning frameworks. It explores lessons learned from COMPACT about effective governance of protected areas, techniques of community engagement, linking conservation to local livelihoods, trans-boundary cooperation, as well as other issues key to sustaining the landscapes/seascapes of WHS and protected areas generally.

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