People and Parks: Best practices
What are Best Practices and how do are they defined?
Best Practices are success stories. They outline practices used to improve economic or social benefits to communities as well as sustainable user of natural resources.
In general, best practices are mainly informed by objectives and the expected outcomes of a given project/programme. They can be based on a particular issue. It is essential that Best Practices guidelines reflect the success of the action plan and shows how the action plan actually drove the programme to where it is today.
The opportunities to learn from best practices are immense as 'it's an on the ground implementation system that brings together all interested parties to the policies and best practices going forward.' Since the beginning of the People and Parks Programme in South Africa there have been useful best practices. More specifically, there have been insights gained and lessons learnt as well as innovative ways o fusing natural resources. However, there is little awareness of practices where natural resources have been stable or increased. There is also little awareness that the economic benefits from teh same resources have also increased sustainably at the local level.
From the beginning, there were no standardised best practice guidelines to inform decisions on which case studies to include. A score card system was developed in order to inform the decision-making process. This is also ensured that all submissions were judged on the same criteria.
The score-card system was developed to guide the selection of best practices and the response or performance was measured against the criteria developed. All provinces were called upon to submit the details of programmes which they felt had successes from which best practices could be taken and shared. Each programme was measured against the score-card criteria for inclusion in the publication. The following thematic areas were looked at: Access and Benefit Sharing, CPPP, Co-Management, Expanding and Strengthening the PA Network, Conservation and Land Reform and Implementing the PA Act.
Initially, only 6 best practice scenarios were to be included; however, the quality of the submissions highlighted the massive strides that had been taken in implementing the P&PP. It was therefore agreed to include 12 scenarios which would be visited. An additional two were included where it was felt that valuable lessons could be learnt, however, these were done based on research, interviews and the sites were not visited.