From the grasslands of Ghana’s savannah to the tropical waters of Madagascar, protected areas offer salvation to some of the world’s most threatened animal and plant life. Covering more than 15% of the world's lands and 8% of the oceans, these areas are important for conserving biodiversity and protecting the ecosystems that local communities rely on.
But these areas also face a range of difficulties. Few area managers are given the opportunity to train in park management and many protected areas lack a clear business plan. This makes running these areas a challenge.
This is where the Earth Skills Network comes in.
Run by Earthwatch, an international environmental charity, the Earth Skills Network is organised in collaboration with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Shell.
The programme partners Shell business leaders with managers of protected areas. Shell staff work with these area managers over an intensive ten-day training period at the Lajuma Research Centre in South Africa, followed by a year of mentoring.
The programme gives park managers the opportunity to learn crucial business skills whilst giving Shell leaders the chance to develop their own leadership skills. This is part of Shell’s longstanding commitment to work with others to help safeguard protected areas.