CMPs are a type of public-private partnership used in the conservation sector to improve protected area (PA) management and support sustainable development. Rwanda is home to Akagera National Park, which has been successfully managed as a CMP between the Rwanda Development Board and the nongovernmental organization African Parks since 2010.
The objective of the study tour was to facilitate cross learning for GWP participating governments in Africa on PA management and enhance understanding of CMPs, and their best practices, challenges, and opportunities.
Ten GWP countries in Africa joined the CMP study tour to Rwanda. In Kigali, delegates met with the Rwanda Development Board, including the Head of the Tourism and Conservation Department, to understand the country’s strategic approach of engaging the private sector to fulfill national development and conservation objectives. In Akagera National Park, meetings and consultations were held with the Akagera Management Company, a special purpose vehicle formed between Rwanda Development Board and African Parks to manage Akagera National Park.
CMPs can be an effective measure toward closing the global funding gap in PA management and biodiversity conservation. In Africa, at least 15 governments have established 40 co-management and delegated CMPs with 13 NGOs, covering 11.5% of Africa’s PA estate. CMPs require political will and commitment from top levels of government, as in the case of Rwanda. Being able to demonstrate to government the economic value of CMPs can help secure buy-in for these public-private partnerships.
A key factor behind successful CMPs is strong private partners with adequate funding to invest in the park (ideally five years minimum of financing), technical expertise, sound business plans, and a shared vision.
Rwanda’s tourism revenue share policy, in which 10% of all tourism park revenues is invested in development projects in communities adjacent to PAs and an additional 5% is directed towards human-wildlife conflict compensation, has helped shore up community support for conservation. Participants were very interested in this policy, its impacts, its implementation, and the potential to develop similar benefit sharing schemes in their own countries.
Governments have ongoing interest in technical support on CMPs. This helps raise awareness of opportunities and good practices in CMPs and builds a network of officials working on this topic. The GWP will continue to offer technical support, information and data, and opportunities for knowledge exchange on CMPs.