Recently, in order to set a clearer role and more specific responsibility for each staff of the Hin Nam No Co-Management Management, 6 Working Units have been established by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment at the Province (PoNRE). These 6 Working Units are nominated based on Hin Nam No Co-Management working-area, which is under the umbrella of three main units withinthe Forest Management Section. The Working Units are (1) information and database, (2) protected area management, (3) research and patrolling, (4) education and awareness, (5) eco-tourism, and (6) local livelihoods improvement unit.
So far the amount of staff and resources from the Lao government for each of these technical units are quite limited. To ensure an effective management of the Hin Nam No area the Lao authorities are receiving technical assistance from the German Government to set-up a co-management system, thus achieving a professional work routine and delivering standard and quality services.
The GIZ implemented project "Integrated Nature Conservation and Sustainable Resource Management in the Hin Nam No Region" (November 2013-October 2018) is supported by the German government with a contribution of 6.330.000 EUR. The Project aims to conserve biodiversity while alleviating poverty among rural communities. To achieve that, GIZ works closely together with the Department of Forest Resource Management (DFRM) within the Lao Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and their provincial and district counterparts.
The project is based on the principles of co-management, bringing together authorities and local population to jointly manage the protected area and sustain its valuable resources. For this purpose, the Technical Cooperation focuses on four fields of action:
1) Legal framework
2) Biodiversity conservation (sub-contracted to IP-Consult)
3) Effective collaborative management, and
4) Alternative incomes and food security (sub-contracted to IP-Consult)
The project supports the payment for biodiversity monitoring and law enforcement by village rangers and develops food security and income generating activities for villagers, especially with regards to eco-tourism and non-timber forest products (NTFPs). Additionally, GIZ promotes Hin Nam No as an ASEAN Heritage Park and UNESCO world heritage site aiming to raise regional and international awareness, while facilitating secure funding and promoting tourism.
In doing this it follows a so-called shared governance approach based on good governance principles. GIZ contributes institutional support, policy advice and capacity development to encourage participation and dialogue among all stakeholders and to provide a model which can potentially be adopted by other national protected areas in Lao PDR.
The co-management plan hopes to address the current lack of staffing and finance by the Lao Government by emphasizing the role of local people in the protection of the area. It is understood that co-management of HNN NPA is a partnership where partners must share roles and responsibilities. The arrangement should be beneficial to all partners if not the activities won't be sustainable. After each unit of the Hin Nam No co-management unit identified the need for assistance by and delegation of activities to the local population, co-management structures were set up on various levels. On the village level operational structures were set-up that report on participatory zonation, patrolling, biodiversity monitoring and surveys, data collection, research, tourism, livelihood and outreach activities.