Recently, Melissa Payne, SEARRPs Assistant Director of Policy, joined a virtual conference with 66 members of the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) and Protected Areas (PA) staff to discuss ongoing work with Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs). This meeting was the 6th Technical Workshop with APAP, and the aim was to help build Members capacities in working with OECMs. Participants agreed that using OECMs as a framework could lead to a greater number of areas outside of protected areas being identified as important to broader conservation networks. It was also proposed that the framework could be a useful means to engage with indigenous peoples, local communities and the private sector, either to recognise their ongoing conservation contributions or to help enhance local or sectoral practices.
Currently Melissa is leading an OECM project in Malaysia that is interested in analysing the impact of this novel approach and asses its ability to identify, recognise and report on OECMs in Malaysia. This is an exciting project that is supported by the GEF Small Grant programme, with the overarching goal of determining the policy and institutional pathways needed for Malaysia’s OECMs to contribute towards area-based, in-situ biodiversity conservation. The project commenced in late 2019 with a series of stakeholder consultations, followed by a call for case studies and follow up inception workshops. To date, the project has been met with a lot of interest and Melissa is looking forward to the onward progress. To learn more about this project visit our website here.