Produced by the United Nations Development Programme, edited by Jessica Brown and Terence Hay-Edie
Since 2000, the COMPACT programme has been working with communities living in the vicinity of eight World Heritage Sites in Africa, Asia, Meso-America and the Caribbean. Through extensive on-the-ground experience and a participatory methodology that integrates an evidence-based approach, COMPACT has rigorously tested the claim that community- based initiatives can significantly increase the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation in globally significant protected areas while also improving local livelihoods.
The UN Foundation is pleased to note that the $6 million in catalytic financing provided to the UNDP has helped leverage an investment in excess of $10 million from the GEF, as well as significant levels of third party co-financing generated by over 430 individual small grants disbursed to civil society partners in the field. Through the support provided by UNF, the programme has facilitated extensive site level coordination of stakeholders, leading to the creation of Local Consultative Bodies and enhanced capacity for the decentralized management of World Heritage sites. Not least, through the many proposals developed by the communities themselves, COMPACT has also benefitted the lives of thousands of poor people that rely on ecosystem services for their livelihoods and wellbeing.
UNF is particularly delighted to see the rich body of lessons learned emerging from COMPACT – these range from community engagement in the nomination of new sites, participatory planning methodologies, as well as monitoring and evaluation techniques – together representing considerable potential for mainstreaming within the operations of the World Heritage Convention, as well as the safeguard of the planet’s biodiversity for future generations.