Protected Areas

4.2 - Management effectiveness

Goal 4.2: To evaluate and improve the effectiveness of protected areas management


By 2010, frameworks for monitoring, evaluating and reporting protected areas management effectiveness at sites, national and regional systems, and transboundary protected area levels adopted and implemented by Parties.

Suggested activities of the Parties

  • 4.2.1 Develop and adopt, by 2006, appropriate methods, standards, criteria and indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of protected area management and governance, and set up a related database, taking into account the IUCN-WCPA framework for evaluating management effectiveness, and other relevant methodologies, which should be adapted to local conditions.

  • 4.2.2 Implement management effectiveness evaluations of at least 30 percent of each Party's protected areas by 2010 and of national protected area systems and, as appropriate, ecological networks.

  • 4.2.3 Include information resulting from evaluation of protected areas management effectiveness in national reports under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

  • 4.2.4 Implement key recommendations arising from site- and system-level management effectiveness evaluations, as an integral part of adaptive management strategies.

Suggested supporting activities of the Executive Secretary

  • 4.2.5 Compile and disseminate information on management effectiveness through the clearing-house mechanism and develop a database of experts in evaluation of protected area management effectiveness and consider the possibility of organizing an international workshop on appropriate methods, criteria and indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of protected area management.

  • 4.2.6 In cooperation with IUCN-WCPA and other relevant organizations, compile and disseminate information on best practices in protected area design, establishment and management.

Key activities include:

  • Develop and adopt methods and indicators for evaluating management effectiveness and governance
  • Implement management effectiveness evaluations of at least 30% of protected areas
  • Include resulting information in national reports
  • Implement key recommendations as an integral part of adaptive management strategies

What is protected area management effectiveness?

Protected area management effectiveness is the degree to which protected area management protects biological and cultural resources, and achieves the goals and objectives for which the protected area was established.

What is an assessment of protected area management effectiveness?

Protected area management effectiveness assessments are a process that reveals management strengths and weaknesses in a protected area, and across a protected area system. Such assessments guide protected area strategy and capacity development, enable adaptive management, guide effective resource allocation, promote accountability and transparency among key stakeholders, and build support for protected area management.

What aspects of management effectiveness are usually included in an assessment?

The elements of a management effectiveness assessment generally include the following:
  • Context – protected area significance, threats and policy environment.
  • Planning – protected area design and planning.
  • Inputs - the resources needed to carry out protected area management.
  • Processes – the way in which management is conducted.
  • Outputs – the implementation of management programs, actions and services.
  • Outcomes - the extent to which objectives have been achieved.

What is adaptive management?

Adaptive management is the process of establishing goals and objectives, developing and implementing strategies to achieve those goals, assessing whether or not those strategies were effective, and then modifying the strategies. Adaptive management should be a cyclical process, in which managers are continually monitoring the effectiveness and outcomes of their actions, and incorporating this information into subsequent plans and strategies.

What steps are involved in assessing management effectiveness?

Management effectiveness assessments typically involve the following steps:

  1. Gathering existing information from studies, surveys, research papers, aerial maps and other sources
  2. Developing or modifying a questionnaire on key aspects of management effectiveness
  3. Gathering information on management effectiveness from protected area managers, staff and other stakeholders
  4. Assessing and analyzing the information, usually through a workshop or collaborative meeting
  5. Identifying the most important threats, management weaknesses and policy constraints across the protected area system
  6. Identifying strategies for addressing these threats, weaknesses and constraints
  7. Prioritizing these strategies, and prioritizing protected areas within the system
  8. Developing specific work plans for each strategy, ensuring that there is a lead person to follow up with each
  9. Identifying the cost implications, and ensuring that these are incorporated into sustainable finance assessments
  10. Identifying the capacity implications, and ensuring that these are incorporated into capacity needs assessments
  11. Developing a plan to monitor the effectiveness of the strategies, and repeating the management effectiveness assessment at periodic intervals

E-learning module

Module 18: Marine Protected Areas

This module shows how the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas applies in a marine environment, and enables protected area planners to increase marine protection, improve the marine protected area network, and reduce threats to the marine environment.

External forum

Protected areas and management

For those interested in protected area management and management planning.

E-learning module

Module 14: Management effectiveness assessments

This module covers aspects related to management effectiveness (PoWPA Goal 4.2), including how to conduct site and system-level assessment of management effectiveness.

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