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publication September 23, 2021

Collaborative Management Partnership Toolkit

A resource guide to support partnerships that conserve protected areas and promote sustainable and inclusive development. 

Collaborative Management Partnerships are a type of public-private partnership used in the conservation sector to improve protected area management and support sustainable development. The Collaborative Management Partnership Toolkit is a resource guide to support the identification and establishment of such partnerships. It raises awareness on the role of these partnerships in reducing the massive protected area funding gap, catalyzing rural development and supporting job creation.


  • Despite the recognition of the value of biodiversity and the role protected areas play in securing the world’s natural capital and ecosystem services, and in mitigating the impacts of climate change, a massive funding gap exists for management and biodiversity conservation.
  • In Africa, 15 governments have established 40 co-management and delegated Collaborative Management Partnerships (CMPs) with 13 NGOs, covering approximately 11.5 percent of Africa’s protected area estate to enhance effective management.
  • An analysis of these 40 CMPs in the Toolkit shows that CMPs help fund protected area management, enabling the delivery of positive conservation, social, and economic outcomes.


This Toolkit is one of the most comprehensive reviews of CMPs in Africa and serves as a reference guide for governments and implementing partners who are considering CMPs as a way to address challenges and threats to protected areas and wildlife. It raises awareness of CMP experiences in Africa to highlight benefits, challenges, and lessons learned. While the case studies and lessons in the Toolkit are derived from national protected areas in Africa, it can be applied to private and community protected areas as well as other protected areas around the world.


Well-funded, socially inclusive, and competently managed protected areas are the most effective tools to conserve biodiversity, yet many protected areas are failing to do so, often due to insufficient funding and capacity. CMPs are one of the tools that not only attract investment for conservation but also facilitate inclusive rural development and green growth. CMPs involve a protected area authority (government, private, community) entering a contractual arrangement with a partner (private or non-governmental organizations) for the management of a protected area.

In Africa, 15 governments have established 40 co-management and delegated CMPs with 13 NGOs, covering approximately 11.5 percent of Africa’s protected area estate. An analysis of these 40 CMPs shows that they have successfully attracted investments that enhanced biodiversity conservation, created local jobs, generated revenues, and stimulated sustainable development. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CMPs documented in this Toolkit successfully maintained operations, did not reduce staff or salaries, and in most cases, provided additional support to help communities withstand the impact of COVID-19. For CMPs to succeed, they require sustained political commitment, long-term financial resources, effective local engagement, and an enabling environment that supports a transparent and clear process for establishing the partnerships.

The publication consists of three sections:

  1. The Value of Collaborative Management Partnerships, which describes the different CMP models and their strength and weaknesses.
  2. How to Establish Collaborative Management Partnerships, which includes a decision-making framework for governments considering CMPs and provides information on feasibility studies, partner selection, stakeholder engagement, tendering materials, and contract development.
  3. Recommendations to Sustain Collaborative Management Partnerships, which highlights the key factors governments and partners need to consider throughout the CMP process, from identification to management.

The toolkit also includes case studies on existing CMPs in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, that are led by the governments in partnership with organizations and communities like African ParksWWFFrankfurt Zoological SocietyGreg Carr FoundationWildlife Conservation Society, Makuleke Community, and African Wildlife Foundation.

Target Audience

The Toolkit is designed to help governments and protected area authorities understand and consider whether CMPs are suitable for their protected area network and the process for establishing an effective partnership that will result in enhanced protected area management and green growth. The Toolkit can also help NGOs and private sector partners interested in collaborating with governments understand CMP best practices.

This study was generously supported by Global Wildlife Program funded by The Global Environment Facility.