EXPERT OPINION: Anton Wijonarno, Marine Biodiversity & Programme Monitoring Manager, WWF-Indonesia
Please tell us about your current work and backgroundI am WWF’s Marine Biodiversity & Programme Monitoring Manager. I started working with WWF in 1996, then moved to the UN (UNDP and UNESCO) from 2003 to 2005, followed by a stint at The Nature Conservancy (2006 – 2009), before returning to WWF in 2009.
This is an important position, as it helps to ensure that first, WWF-Indonesia’s work is aligned with, and contributes to, the WWF Global Programme Framework, and second, to achieve WWF-Indonesia’s Strategic Action for 2008-2013. Information on biodiversity informs us about our performance in the field, and our partners on MPA management effectiveness
What are the main good practices in conservation project monitoring?There are several important elements. First, providing information on management. Management of a marine protected area is only effective if it is based on proper knowledge of how humans affect the resources within the MPA. Measurement of threats, strategy design, and measures to reduce threats require data about: who does what and where within the protected area – this information can only be captured through regular monitoring.
Measuring performance is also vital. Monitoring of natural resources use can show the management effects or impacts. A good example of this is the reduction of fish bombing after the implementation of routine surveillance program.
The presence of management, e.g. monitoring activities show the presence of management authorities in the field, preventing unlawful activities carried out by fishermen, such as fish bombing or fishing in no-take zones.
How is site monitoring data applied to increase the effectiveness of conservationCollecting data for management is challenging as it can be expensive, and the people doing it need to be properly trained. Not everyone working in the field at all the sites where we have a presence, either working for WWF or the park authority, has all the skills needed for monitoring and analyzing data for management recommendations--one almost needs a high level academic degree to do all that. And with the turnover of government authority, investments in training to achieve those skills need to be continuously done. This adds to the costs to collect standard data during long time series.
Can you describe the paper you presented recently at the International Coral Reef Symposium?The paper describes the long-term support provided by NGOs to support MPA management effectiveness in Wakatobi since 2002. Three strategies were developed and implemented at this site: Management Planning & Design; Monitoring & Surveillance for adaptive management; and Community Outreach and Empowerment for collaborative management.
The declaration of Wakatobi as a new regency in 2003 had implications for the zonation and management plan revisions. In 2007 the new zoning plan was endorsed following a long process of public consultation meetings that incorporated data from biodiversity monitoring, perception monitoring and surveillance activities. Subsequently, the new Management Plan was endorsed in June 2008.
The paper reports on the monitoring results subsequent to 2008, with results showing that the compliance of fishers with regulations has improved, and that more of the park’s inhabitants understand and support the park’s purpose, and are more involved in management. Also, the management skills and field presence of the authority have improved, and there has been an increase in media coverage on the park.
Management costs incurred by the NGOs and park authority are well within the range of published costs for other MPAs, and because results were measurable and significant, the paper concludes that NGO investment in protected area management has paid off.