Session 3: Evaluating Effectiveness of Protected Areas
Protected and conserved areas are regarded as the foundation in safeguarding biodiversity and in helping maintain ecosystem services. However, ensuring their sustainability and benefits is a continuous challenge, especially when development for economic gains has started to compromise these areas. It therefore requires a management system that is effective enough to mitigate or abate the pressures that human activities exert on protected and conserved areas. Over the past two decades, tools have been developed and continuously updated to evaluate the management effectiveness of protected areas. Most of the methods for evaluation of management effectiveness of protected areas were developed around the framework for protected area management as prescribed in the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (ref). The IUCN defines management effectiveness as an assessment of how well a protected area is being managed, primarily in terms of the extent to which it is protecting its stated values and achieving its defined goals and objectives. Management effectiveness has been an important target indicator in the UN-CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-200 and its accompanying Aichi Biodiversity Targets, specifically Target 11, and recently among the centrepieces of discussion on indicators for Target 3 of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
During the Fourth AHP Conference, the AMS agreed to collectively work on improving the management effectiveness of the AHP network of protected areas that could bring substantive contribution to global biodiversity initiatives. In 2012, the ACB in collaboration with the GIZ, conducted an evaluation of management effectiveness in the first 11 AHPs using the Management Effective Tracking Tool (METT) as a method. A number of recommendations were cited including the importance of strategic themes and key directions to improve management effectiveness of AHPs. The METT study was followed by another assessment in 2014 which focused on good practices and lessons learned on protected area management in selected protected areas in Southeast Asia including four AHPs, which brought to the fore various management elements that can be adopted by and further scaled-up in different protected areas across the region.
Drawing from the recommendations and distilling the lessons from the earlier studies, the ACB, being the AHP Secretariat, continues to strengthen its role as catalyst and broker for capacity building, knowledge generation and sharing, and resource mobilisation to improve management effectiveness of AHPs and other protected areas in the ASEAN region. A series of capacity-building initiatives on protected area management effectiveness were conducted between 2017 and 2021, thereby improving management plans including communication, education, and public awareness (CEPA) approaches; strengthening partnerships among protected area managers, scientists/experts, and business sectors; and facilitating the adoption of relevant tools and strategies (i.e. METT-4, METT-SMART, and the Green List). While protected area management continues to progress, the current challenges with the pandemic however have impacted protected and conserved areas in many ways including management capacity, budgets, and effectiveness. Significant impacts were also seen on livelihoods of communities living in and around the protected areas (Hockings et al. 2020). Several works also highlighted the importance of protected areas in facilitating the adaptation of people to disease outbreaks in both the short and long run (Anson et al, 2021).
This session will feature stories and work in progress from various protected areas and networks across the ASEAN region in response to and recovery from the pandemic and other related issues from site-based approaches to collaborative efforts in the national and regional contexts. The session aims to investigate and understand the impacts of the pandemic both positive and negative in different elements of monitoring and evaluation (METT) including contexts, planning, inputs, processes, outputs, and outcomes. The specific objectives of the session are the following:
- Present progress in use of METT-4, METT-SMART alignment, the Green List, and other monitoring tools;
- Share learnings and best practices in protected area management and pipeline initiatives at the national and regional levels in promoting management effectiveness for protected areas; and
- Identify and formulate site-based and collaborative action plans to enhance effective protected area management through use of the METT-4, and METT-SMART alignment.