"Protected Area Management Effectiveness refers to how well protected areas are being managed" – primarily the extent to which management is protecting values and achieving goals and objectives. The term management effectiveness reflects three main ‘themes’ in protected area management:
Protected and conserved areas are a mainstay of biodiversity conservation, while also contributing to people’s livelihoods, particularly at the local level. Protected areas are at the core of efforts towards conserving nature and provide us with services such as food, clean water, medicines and protection from the impacts of natural disasters and climate change. Effectively managed systems of protected areas have been recognized as critical instruments in achieving the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, evaluation of management effectiveness is recognised as a vital component of responsive, adaptive and pro-active protected area management.
Protected area management effectiveness assessments measure the extent to which all of the necessary systems and processes are taking place in protected areas to protect the values they seek to protect, and identify areas for improvement. The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN-WCPA) has developed a management effectiveness evaluation framework which provides a consistent basis for designing protected area evaluation systems. It is based on three aspects related to protected area management:
- design issues relating to both individual sites and protected area systems;
- adequacy and appropriateness of management systems and processes;
- and delivery of protected area objectives including conservation of values"
Components of the IUCN framework include design of systems and individual protected areas (context and planning), appropriateness of management systems and processes (inputs and processes), and delivery of protected area objectives (outputs and outcomes). These components are divided into six elements, elaborated below, each comprising a number of evaluation indicators to assess management effectiveness”.
These components are divided into six elements, elaborated in the graphic 1, each one comprising a number of evaluation indicators to assess management effectiveness. An assessment needs to be made in the context of the protected area. Hence assessments begin with gathering data on issues related to the area’s values, threats and opportunities, stakeholders, and the management, governance and political context. Based on the context, management starts with planning of strategies needed to fulfil the vision, goals and objectives of protection and to reduce threats, and these strategies are usually described in the management plan of the protected area.
To put these plans in place and meet management objectives, managers need inputs (resources) of staff, money and equipment. Management activities are implemented according to accepted processes (i.e. best practices), which produce outputs by completing activities outlined in work plans. The expected final result of management is the achievement of outcomes, i.e. reaching the goals and objectives set for the biological conservation, economic development, social sustainability or cultural heritage of the protected/conserved area.
Based on this assessment framework, various tools have been developed over the past years and are available here. Since 2014, the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas provides a global performance standard for protected and conserved areas and PAME assessments contribute information on the management effectiveness component of these standards. The slide below highlights how some of the available tools contribute towards the overall assessment of a protected/conserved area against the Green List standards.