Tracking progress in protected area management



Posted on 13 June 2008  | 
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in early 2004 produced a Programme of Work on Protected Areas, in which Parties to the convention are called to assess at least 30 per cent of their parks AND their networks of protected areas, by 2010.

To assist parties in this important endeavour, WWF can offer two management effectiveness tools: The Tracking Tool and WWF’s RAPPAM methodology.

The Tracking Tool aims to be:

  • Capable of providing a harmonised reporting system for protected area assessment;
  • Suitable for replication;
  • Able to supply consistent data to allow tracking of progress over time;
  • Relatively quick and easy to complete by protected area staff, so as not to be reliant on high levels of funding or other resources;
  • Capable of providing a “score” if required;
  • Based around a system that provides four alternative text answers to each question, strengthening the scoring system;
  • Easily understood by non-specialists; and
  • Nested within existing reporting systems to avoid duplication of effort.

The Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool is aimed to help reporting progress on management effectiveness and should not replace more thorough methods of assessment for the purposes of adaptive management.

The tracking tool has been developed to provide a quick overview of progress in improving the effectiveness of management in individual protected areas, to be filled in by the protected area manager or other relevant site staff. As such it is clear that there are strict limitations on what it can achieve: it should not for example be regarded as an independent assessment, or as the sole basis for adaptive management.

Because of the great differences between expectations, resources and needs around the world, the tracking tool also has strict limitations in terms of allowing comparison between sites: the scoring system, if applied at all, will be most useful for tracking progress over time in one site or a closely related group of sites.

Lastly, the tracking tool is too limited to allow a detailed evaluation of outcomes and is really aimed at providing a quick overview of the management steps identified in the WCPA Framework up to and including outputs. Although we include some questions relating to outcomes, the limitations of these should be noted. Clearly, however good management is, if biodiversity continues to decline, the protected area objectives are not being met.

Therefore the question on condition assessment has disproportionate importance in the overall tracking tool.

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