The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Target 11 calls for “effectively and equitably managed … protected areas”, and goals 2.1 and 2.2, the CBD’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA) calls for parties to:
- Assess the economic and socio-cultural costs, benefits and impacts arising from the establishment and maintenance of protected areas; and
- Carry out participatory national reviews of the status, needs and context-specific mechanisms for involving stakeholders, ensuring gender and social equity, in PA policy and management.
While progress has been made on understanding and assessing effective protected area (PA) management, equitable PA management has not been defined, and there are few examples of a comprehensive approach to assessing local governance and social equity.
In this context, the SGP partnered with International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), through the Global Support Initiative to ICCAs (ICCA-GSI), to develop a detailed methodology in conducting site-level protected area governance assessments based on principles of equity. Over the last 4 years, IIED has been leading a global effort to understand and assess local governance and social equity in a PA context with partners GIZ and IUCN. The work addresses the gap between international policy intentions on ‘equitable management’ and actual practice by proposing relatively simple, low cost approaches to local governance and social equity assessment that are feasible under the typical constraints of human and financial resources affecting PAs.
A comprehensive users’ manual on governance and equity assessment is being tested in the Philippines and Zambia. The governance and equity assessment methodology comprises an analytical framework, a multi-stakeholder assessment process, and tools for the five phases of the assessment process – (1) preparation, (2) scoping, (3) information collection, (4) self-assessment and (5) action planning.
In the Philippines, IIED is working with the Haribon Foundation in a national park known by its gazettement notice - PD1636. This PA continued to be threatened by encroachment of farming and illegal logging. Site-level assessment workshops brought multi-stakeholder participants together including representatives of local government at district and community level, Indigenous Peoples Leaders, PA staff and NGOs. Results from the assessment identified key challenges related to participation in decision-making, transparency and access to information, respect for rights and dispute resolution.
In Zambia, IIED is working with Zambia Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) Forum in Game Management Areas (GMAs) in Mumbwa and Chiawa, where encroachment is a major issue. Actual assessments were undertaken by a multi-stakeholder actors including representatives of government departments, communities (Community Resource Boards and Village Action Groups), NGOs and traditional leaders (i.e. representatives of the Chiefs). Results from the assessment identified key challenges in fair sharing of benefits from hunting; and similar to the Philippine case, pointed out key challenges related to principles of good governance – including transparency and access to information and participation in decision-making.
Action planning workshops are currently on-going in Zambia, and are planned to take place in the Philippines in the next two months. The objectives of the action planning workshops are to (i) enable key actors to identify appropriate actions that contribute to improving governance at the PA/CA; and (ii) generate an action plan that specifies time-bound commitments for implementation and serves as the basis for monitoring action and promoting accountability for action. The key actors involved in the assessments will formulate simple and specific actions that they can take forward in the next 6 – 12 months and that address a governance challenge identified in the assessment.
For more information about site level governance assessment, please visit the IIED website.