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“Being involved in the Management Committee of the Parks in Peril project proved to be a very rewarding experience. The Committee envisioned by TNC became a living example of what can be done when there is a common sense of where to go, why go there, and how to get where you want to go.”
Glenda Bonamico, Consultant, National Society for Business and Rural Development (SONDEAR), Panama
Parks in Peril (PiP) has focused on strengthening conservation non-profit organizations and government agencies in countries where protected areas may have been designated on paper, but the realistic means for protecting them are lacking. Such areas are otherwise known as “paper parks.” PiP fosters the local support necessary for protecting these parks by using a process called “site consolidation.” Site consolidation is the process of bringing together the resources necessary to support long-term conservation in specific project areas. These resources include financial resources, technical resources, human resources, adequate infrastructure, a supportive local constituency, a strong capacity for strategic planning, political support, and ecological information. A consolidated site is one in which the institutions charged with its management have the tools to deal with current threats and management challenges, as well as the capacity to respond to threats that arise in the future. To manage this process, PiP developed the Parks in Peril Site Consolidation Scorecard. This vital tool helps site managers to set priorities for building conservation capacity, measure their progress, and employ adaptive management to improve program efficiency and impact.
Site Consolidation Scorecard
The Site Consolidation Scorecard serves to:
- Set multi-year, life-of-project objectives for Parks in Peril sites using standard criteria across a portfolio of project areas;
- Allow project managers to track progress towards site consolidation at specific project areas over time;
- Allow senior Parks in Peril program managers to track advances across the entire program portfolio of sites;
- Enable The Nature Conservancy and USAID to recognize when the objectives of the Parks in Peril Program have been met at particular project areas;
- Promote adaptive management by providing a planning and monitoring framework;
- Encourage accountability for performance;
- Raise awareness for systematic assessment of conservation capacity over time; and,
- Attract future funding and technical resources by demonstrating documented excellence in conservation management.
While the Scorecard is designed to measure a project area or site’s progress towards consolidation, it is not designed to measure direct conservation impact or a project area’s success in reducing threats and conserving biodiversity. Instead, it measures processes that lead to site consolidation and the capacity for conservation of a given project area. When properly developed and implemented, a site-specific monitoring plan, included as one of the 17 indicators, will provide an ongoing measure of conservation impact through changes in threat and biodiversity health indicators.
The Scorecard separates the elements of a functioning protected area into four major categories:
- strategic planning;
- basic on-site protection;
- long-term financing; and
- a supportive local constituency for the project area.
Within these categories, the scorecard provides 17 indicators with which to measure consolidation.
A. Strategic Planning
1. Project area zoning
2. Site-based long-term management plan
3. Science and information needs assessment
4. Monitoring plan development and implementation
B. Basic Protection Activities
1. Physical infrastructure for the project area
2. On-site personnel
3. Training plan for on-site personnel
4. Land tenure issues within the project area
5. Threats analysis for the project area
6. Official declaration of protected area status within the project area
C. Long-term Financing
1. Long-term financial plan for the project area
D. Site Constituency
1. Broad-based management committee/technical advisory committee for project area
2. Community involvement in compatible resource use in the project area
3. Stakeholder and constituency support for project area
4. Policy agenda development at national/regional/local levels for project area
5. Environmental communication and education plans for the project area
6. Institutional leadership for project area
By measuring a protected area's functionality, the Scorecard provides a means of tracking a site's progress towards the goal of the Parks in Peril Program—better conservation of important protected areas. Since the 17 criteria remain the same throughout the entire life of the project, year-to-year and life-of-project progress can easily and inexpensively be assessed, both at individual sites and across PiP's entire portfolio of sites. Although designed for use in the Parks in Peril Program, the Site Consolidation Scorecard enables any site manager to evaluate progress and direct resources as necessary to achieve better conservation of protected areas.