Environmental Governance Programme


Project Background


For effective and sustainable environmental governance, the meaningful participation and input of communities in their entirety is vital:

“Protected areas will not survive unless they enjoy broad public support and this will not exist unless people’s fundamental needs are met.[1]

Education is the cornerstone to facilitating the learning and action necessary to instigate real long-lasting changes to the way people live and protect eco-systems.


The project is designed to facilitate the community-empowerment process through capacity building, training and activities to enhance knowledge, skills and values in order to build sustainable eco-communities and to facilitate community participation in the environmental governance of their homelands.

Learning opportunities and capacity building are provided for NR staff and members of the surrounding community. Through enhanced capacity and shared learning NR staff and other local stakeholders will work together to create a new kind of learning institution, one where the classrooms are the communities and local eco-systems, the resources are nature, culture and indigenous knowledge and the teachers are communities and NR staff.


Main Programme Activities

The project aims to build on the existing strengths of the 15 reserves, allowing each to showcase an aspect of reserve-based learning and of grassroots participation – this will include, for example, eco-tourism development in Baima Xueshan, local business engagement in Zhejiang, cultural preservation in Lhasa and biodiversity education in the Giant Panda reserves.

The nature reserves will then share their project experience through a series of publications, national workshops, learning trips and staff exchanges. In addition to their focus theme, all of the reserves will work towards a well-rounded stakeholder engagement (schools, communities, visitors, business and government), going beyond the initial 2-year project scope, and helping to establish each reserve as a site of active learning about indigenous culture, biodiversity and sustainable development.


[1]  National System Planning for Protected Areas, Adrian G. Davey et al, World Commissionon Protected Areas (WCPA) and IUCN –The World Conservation Union, 1998.

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