Evaluating Effectiveness: A Framework for Assessing Management of Protected Areas

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The evaluation of management effectiveness is generally achieved by the assessment of series of criteria (represented by carefully selected indicators) against agreed objectives or standards. The following definitions refer specifically to the context of protected area management effectiveness.

Evaluating Effectiveness: A Framework for Assessing Management of Protected Areas

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Management effectiveness evaluation: is defined as the assessment of how well the protected area is being managed – primarily the extent to which it is protecting values and achieving goals and objectives. The term management effectiveness reflects three main themes:

  • 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.

Many individuals and organizations have contributed to the development of ideas presented in these Guidelines and contributed also to the practice of management effectiveness evaluation in the field.

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The Framework for management effectiveness developed by the IUCN World Commission for Protected Areas was published in the first version of this Best Practice Guideline. It is further explained and interpreted, though not substantially altered, in this version (Chapter 3). It is based on the idea that protected area management follows a process with six distinct stages, or elements:

  • it begins with reviewing context and establishing a vision for site management (within the context of existing status and pressures),
  • progresses through planning and
  • allocation of resources (inputs), and
  • as a result of management actions (process),
  • eventually produces goods and services (outputs), that result in impacts or outcomes.

Why is management effectiveness evaluation important?

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Protected areas now cover over 10 per cent of the world’s land surface and are increasing rapidly in marine areas as well. This represents a very major commitment to the protection of biodiversity, along with associated environmental services and cultural values, by local and national governments, local communities and private landowners. The people investing in protected areas, whether through voluntary donations to NGOs or through government taxes, have a right to know that these areas are being well managed. As the total number of protected areas continues to increase, so too do calls for proper accountability, good business practices and transparency in reporting.

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