Protected Area Management Effectiveness: Assessment, Standards and Making the Shift towards Socio-Economic and Ecological Outcomes 

Protected and conserved areas, which are cornerstones for in situ biodiversity conservation, are increasingly pressured to meet the needs of species, habitats, ecosystems and communities. How well-protected areas are achieving their objectives and protecting values remains a question locally and globally to understand the effectiveness of these areas. Protected area management effectiveness assessment and the ability of assessment tools to measure ecological and social outcomes has been a research topic for several years. Best practice suggests that assessment tools are informed by qualitative and quantitative evidence, while standards for protected areas are a solid foundation for equitable and effective management of outcomes.

Building on the Aichi Target 11, the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework target for protected and conserved areas noticeably shifts towards the quality and contribution of areas to create a nature-positive future. When these areas are established in the right place, are connected, and effectively and equitably managed, they can help mitigate drivers of biodiversity loss. Although able to report effective management, some protected areas may not fulfil their primary function of reducing biodiversity loss. Globally, effectiveness is hard to measure due to various tools applied and limited data. Increasingly, protected areas are expected to preserve the biodiversity they harbour and serve the needs of communities that benefit from them. Effective protected and conserved regions require a balance between nature and communities while practitioners seek efficient ways to measure and report outcomes.

Protected Area Management Effectiveness (PAME) tools such as the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) are utilised to report on conservation outcomes and are the subject of several studies. Over time, practitioners may be pulled between global reporting requirements and measuring trends in individual protected areas. Tools like METT serve international reporting purposes; however, how well can protected areas demonstrate conservation outcomes and what role do standards play? The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) suggests that 'effective management' requires 'adopting appropriate management objectives and governance systems, adequate and appropriate resourcing and timely implementation of appropriate management strategies and processes.' The IUCN Green List Standard for Protected and Conserved Areas aims to provide a measure for 'strengthening conservation outcomes' and 'improving equitable and effective management through a global benchmark comprising the four components of good governance, sound design and planning, effective management and successful conservation outcomes.

Aims of the session:

  • Explore history, approaches and recent developments in assessment tools such as the METT
  • Explore protected area standards and their role in management effectiveness towards conservation outcomes
  • Explore approaches to monitoring for ecological and socio-economic outcomes, and equitable management

We set the scene for sharing, learning, and discussion through a series of plenary and keynote presentations. Our desired outcome is to learn about recent international developments in the fields of management effectiveness, conservation outcomes, and standards to facilitate a crosswalk from policy and best practice to implementation through real-world examples.

Open session – researchers and practitioners are encouraged to submit relevant presentations for inclusion in this session. Participation in the session during the Symposium is open to all. Submissions that cannot be incorporated into the session by the convener will be considered for general sessions in the remainder of the programme.

602 hits