Improving management effectiveness is a broad-based strategy that aims to ensure the effectiveness of existing (and sometimes proposed) protected areas in achieving their management objective (be it to protect specific flagship species, ecosystem services or indigenous cultural importance). Among the range of issues that it covers are capacity-building of the managing authority; improvement of protected area regulations; design (based on the boundary of the protected area and its buffer area); protected area financing; patrolling and law enforcement; research; ecotourism; and local community issues (including indigenous people living within or adjacent to the park). While this strategy is mostly applicable to existing protected area, it can also apply to proposed protected areas, as certain issues such as poaching and encroachment can be dealt with even before the area is given legal protection status.
In this project, the focus is for improving management effectiveness of WWF-Malaysia’s key priority areas that have already been gazetted, particularly (but not limited to) the Royal Belum State Park (RBSP), Gunung Stong State Forest Park (GSSFP), Perlis State Park and Selangor State Park (see link to RBSP and GSSFP for more information about the project site).
The main activities under this module are to conduct periodic management effectiveness assessments; and advocate as well as provide technical assistance for the implementation of protected areas management plans (particularly their key recommendations).
Management effectiveness assessment
Simply providing legal protection to an area does not guarantee that its biodiversity, environmental or cultural features will be secured. This depends largely on how effectively a protected area is managed. To determine the management effectiveness of these protected areas, periodic assessments are conducted using available tools. Under this project, the assessment tool that is used is the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) which aims to report the progress on the management effectiveness of a particular protected area over time.
There are other assessment tools available such as RAPPAM (Rapid Assessment and Prioritization of Protected Areas Management) that uses a different methodology. Instead of a site level comparison over time, RAPPAM can be used to obtain a system-wide overview of the effectiveness of protected area management.
Implementation of protected areas management plans
The key recommendations for each protected area vary according to factors such as resources and threats. Among common key recommendations are demarcation of park boundary, increasing the number of protected area staff, improving capacity of park staff, improving relationship with local communities living within and surrounding the park, etc.