More than boundaries
Protected area authorities and managers face enormous challenges, responding to a multitude of influences, pressures and threats in very diverse contexts. There is a clear need for active protected area management whatever the governance level, whether federal, trans-boundary, private, indigineous or community-based. The Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) explicitly states that "By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water, and 10% of coastal and marine areas, especially of areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes”. This recognises that there is much more to protected areas than simply the boundary line which marks them out, and underlines the need to focus on conservation outcomes from protected areas rather than just their designation.
A framework for evaluation
Since the 1990s, a number of methodolgies for management effectiveness assessments have been put forward. Most have been built around the "IUCN WCPA Framework" (Hockings et al. 2006), and cover biophysical, cultural, socio-economic and managerial factors, involving many different stakeholders. Protected Area Management Evaluations (PAME) are a part of the targets of the CBD and the latest global assessment at the end of 2012 (Coad et al., 2013) showed at leat one PAME assessment had been done for 29% of nationally designated protected areas.
RAPPAM (Rapid Assessment and Prioritisation of Protected Area Management) and the METT (Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool) are two of the most widely used PAME methodologies. RAPPAM is a questionnaire/workshop approach, and METT is a scorecard questionnaire. Inspired by RAPPAM and METT, and taking into account other methodologies such as the "Global Study" and "Enhancing Our Heritage", BIOPAMA has developed the Integrated Management Effectiveness Toolkit (IMET). IMET aims to measure 6 key elements - the context (current status), planning (desired objectives), inputs (available resources), processes (how management is done), outputs and outcomes. IMET is a comprehensive and ambitious approach, taking 2-3 days for a full assessment in collaboration with national agencies and park staff, supported by a network of trained "coaches" to facilitate the exercise. IMET is running already in Central and West Africa (80 sites planned), and will be tested in other regions.
IMET will be extended to consider not only protected area management effectiveness and context, but also the key question of governance. The results of IMET will be incorporated in a decision-support system, allowing data visualisation, interpretation and analysis.
Data entry tools
At the present time, the on-line IMET forms are available within the Central Africa Forest Observatory - http://www.observatoire-comifac.net/admin/protectedAreas.S4.php (user registration required). We are in the process of making these same forms available on the RIS.
Find out more
A comprehensive review of Protected Area Governance and Management http://press.anu.edu.au/node/372/download
Teaching toolkit for coaches leading IMET assessments https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/2015-047.... (in French)