The second axe of the Road map is organized around 3 directions:
The mission of a protected area’s manager, whatever his status, is to conserve a natural heritage he is in charge of. We could compare him to a museum curator, whose role is to ensure that the works of art not only remain in place, but are also well-conserved over time, and if possible, presented to the largest public. Would this curator keep his job if, some time later, an assessment would reveal that the number of works of art contained in the museum is decreasing, and those remaining there are in poor condition. No, for sure no. And yet, how many park managers are evaluated at the end of their mandate and, if necessary, punished or rewarded? None of them, or very exceptionally. And this happens although we know that in some parks and reserves, conservation is clearly unsuccessful, including in maintaining decent numbers of emblematic species for which, much often, significant means are devoted to. Some park managers continue their career from one site to another, with the same results and yet, no measure is taken. This is the best way to discourage those people that are working, to demotivate those who are committed and to perpetuate failures. Today, the manager has to be put back in the center of the management process. This function has to redefined and standards of competence, seriousness, commitment and motivation established (adapted to each management category of course). The manager should not be the one deciding on what will be done or not (see direction 1 related to boards of directors) and choices have to be structured around a management plan developed in a participatory manner. Therefore, his work should be clearly defined in the management plan, linked to the context (of course, this context has to be taken into account for any assessment), and regularly evaluated in order, if necessary, to be reoriented, enhanced or controlled. The manager cannot be accountable for all, but if it is advisable to better reward him for his successes, it is logical and fair to also evaluate his weaknesses.
The fourth direction proposed by the road map therefore deals with the need to rehabilitate the function of “park director”. On the basis of a clear and realistic mission (therefore the urgent priority of adapted management plans!), this function should be regularly monitored with tools enabling to evaluate management effectiveness (these tools exist and are easy to gather). These transparent, available evaluations… should then result in decisions on management, and some of these decisions will be on managers themselves and will allow for their recognition, gratification or, if necessary and appropriate, sanction.
PA management structures (at a national level generally) are relatively diverse (ministerial departments, offices, agencies, public service delegation, partnership with other sectors including private…) and very often, they have been developed as fashion or donors’ supports dictate. However, it is rare that in a specific situation of means, culture, and competencies… it has been tried to build the structure that better suited to the main PA conservation objective. In the absence of advantage or drawback analysis, a model is replaced by another one, and most of the time the changes are not conducted toward completion (notably in terms of staff profile which remains the same with the same attributions…). And yet, before reforming (which implies many changes that often take long to be put in place), it is relevant to explore how to strengthen the existing, rarely enhanced at its maximum. Lessons learnt from other countries, experience sharing, research or development of new competencies, evolution of recruitment modes, openness to local stakeholders to encourage and/or improve acceptance of parks, improving decision-making processes and transparency of choices (with, as an absolute priority, eradication of corruption and arbitrary decisions), enhancement of professional career, adapting rules and regulations, research of new useful partnerships, prioritization of missions and delegation of secondary tasks when relevant… there is a whole range of transformations that would enable to rapidly improve the functioning of these structures and stop their resistance to change, when this is not archaism. The approach cannot be to impose a model because contexts, means, stories, capacities are too much different from one country to another, but rather to strengthen these structures in order to improve their effectiveness (which must therefore be also evaluated and rewarded or punished).
The fifth direction proposed by the road map is therefore a circumstantial evolution of the structures in charge of PAs aiming at putting in place a change dynamic towards more results in terms of conservation, results that will be evaluated to serve as the basis of future changes. This is therefore a self-maintained progress process that should allow for the revolution of modes of work and thinking at the most adapted rate for the considered structure.
Beyond managers and management structures, the progresses expected concern all the stakeholders gravitating in and around PAs (local populations, their representatives, the private sector, administrations, army and paramilitary, development partners…). Focused on the conservation of the territory’s resources, these progresses should enable to associate all partners to improve their results. This is not simply consultation, information, sharing… but really collaboration, synergy, common objectives. The management plan should therefore meet this challenge that consists in making so diverse actors with sometimes diverging interests work together for a common purpose, Awareness raising (direction 2), decision sharing (direction 1), consultation (direction 3)… will contribute to achieve that. But we have to go further: make sure that all partners have and share enough useful and usable knowledge for well-informed decision (research must therefore be adapted to this objective); propose milestones, standards and practical guides to improve understanding of everybody (and stop the so-called management between “specialists” that excludes local stakeholders from decisions); and eventually set up systems for monitoring and evaluating the impacts of the actions taken in order to reorient them if needed, but also and mostly to develop results-oriented culture and allow successes to be known and to motivate new progress. These monitoring and evaluation tools can easily be developed around the common CMAP framework on management effectiveness.
The sixth direction proposed by the road map is thus structured around notions of results-oriented culture, management standards, progress and accountability for all PA actors. It replaces (once again) the management plan as an essential tool for sharing objectives and methods, and as a common foundation to build better management to which all will contribute. It recalls the need of adapted and relevant knowledge for decision-making and solid frames of reference to measure impacts and orientate choices.