2018 Report

Measuring equity

There are several ongoing initiatives investigating how to measure equity in the governance and management of protected areas, including within the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas (see Chapter 4). Such initiatives are needed because existing methods of assessing the quality of protected areas, such as management effectiveness assessments, have been found to be inadequate for assessing equitable management (Moreaux et al., 2018).

A comparison of equity principles and the IUCN framework of good governance principles for protected areas (Borrini-Feyerabend et al., 2013) has revealed a very strong overlap between the two sets of principles (Franks et al., 2018). The converse is not the case, as there are governance issues of direction and performance, which do not always pursue equity objectives, for example strategic vision and coordination with policies of other sectors (direction), on-going evaluation of management effectiveness and innovation, and efficient use of financial resources (performance). The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has been working with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and IUCN over the last three years to develop a practical, stakeholder-led approach to assessing the quality of governance at site level (IIED, forthcoming). It is based on the IUCN good governance principles, with a strong emphasis on equity, and can therefore be used to assess equity strengths and weaknesses in qualitative terms, and can inform suggestions for improving governance and equity in a given protected area see.

In a separate approach, Zafra-Calvo et al. (2017) developed a method to assess equity, distilling equity into ten indicators, and developing a questionnaire that would inform these indicators. In a subsequent study (Zafra- Calvo et al., 2018), the questionnaire was shared with protected area governance actors and other stakeholders. Respondents were faced with three multiple-choice answers per question, resulting in a score of either 1 (lowest score), 2 or 3 (highest score) for each indicator. Based on results from 225 protected areas across the world, the authors found participation in decision-making, transparency, and mechanisms for dispute-resolution to be particularly low-scoring in many protected areas. In contrast, benefit-sharing scored highly. This method is intended to inform conclusions and policy recommendations across protected area networks, and support the tracking of Aichi Target 11. However, there are limitations associated with aggregating the results of assessments in this way. In particular, the degree to which results can be compared is limited because the balance of different stakeholders will vary between assessments, and the governance type could also affect the results.