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The Academy of Protected Areas and Communities Positions itself with its Training Offer

16 de October de 2023

Under the Third National Meeting of Protected Areas and Gateway Communities, this Academy celebrates one year since its creation and highlights the successful development of three of its courses.

October 16, 2023 – After one year of its establishment under the Austral Patagonia Program of Universidad Austral de Chile, the Academy of Protected Areas and Communities has successfully offered three training courses and is about to implement one diploma program. All of these training efforts aim at strengthening protected area-related skills and knowledge, with a focus on local community governance and participation.

“Universidad Austral de Chile, consistent with its public role of supporting the social and economic development of the country’s austral southern area, has been part of the efforts to connect gateway communities with protected areas as a development and conservation pillar, and this Academy is a true example thereof. We are extremely happy to be making an effective contribution to technical and professional training regarding the adequate management of the country’s protected areas and with it, supporting the conservation of its ecosystems”, stated Dr. César Guala Catalán, director of the Austral Patagonia Program.

While 37% of the country’s surface area is under some protection figure –either public or private–huge gaps still remain to achieve an effective management and, consequently, true ecosystem and community protection and conservation. To bridge or reduce these gaps, professionals and technicians (administrators, park rangers, municipal officers, tourism entrepreneurs, etc.) need to be duly trained in protected area management, including the use of tools to ensure the engagement and participation of nearby communities, and the socioeconomic development in industries such as nature travel. This is the idea behind the establishment of the Academy of Protected Areas and Communities, the only training effort in the country with such an approach.

The courses offered this year include “Local Management for Protected Areas Conservation”, “Conservation of Common Resources and Traditional Uses”, and “Participatory and Equitable Management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)”; a Diploma Program on Protected Area Management will be offered shortly. This training offer has been possible under the collaboration of several institutions and initiatives, such as the Gateway Communities Strategy, the UACh’s Continuing Education Center, and the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonia Sea and its Areas of Influence.

“Other UACh schools or programs in subjects related to protected area management, conservation, and communities could add to the Academy’s offer, transforming it into a training school for the entire country, and even for the southern hemisphere”, said César Guala.

It should be noted that it was during the second version of the Meeting of Protected Areas and Gateway Communities, in October 2023, that rector Hans Richter announced that efforts were underway to create an Academy focused on gathering and disseminating current and future technical and professional courses offered by the University’s Austral Patagonia Program.

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