Protected areas work in complex environments in which they have to liaise with governments, scientific and civil society organizations, volunteers, local stakeholders, visitors, and funders. This requires next to thematic expertise on conservation, among others legal, management, financial, administrative and communications skills and capacities. Especially the smaller protected areas struggle to efficiently operate in all these specialized fields and often lack enough in-house capacity and resources. This chapter highlights the lessons learned and evolvement of various forms of partnerships in different countries on different continents (collaborative arrangement in Laos and different formal and informal arrangements in the Western Balkans). Core to the success is to build sufficient capacity within the protected area management authorities so they understand the priorities and the resources needed to fund, manage and implement these priorities. Specialized skills and capacities needed for effective protected area management are limited in most countries and it is inefficient and too expensive to build this capacity in-house. Having a clear vision on what needs to be done and building a strong cooperation between partners through effective communication is the key to success to come to more effective protected area management either on a national, regional or transboundary level.
Part of the book: Protected Area Management