Conduct a Situation Analysis

  1. Systematically assess the key factors affecting primary interests (i.e., both nature and human well-being) in a socio-ecological system.
  2. Gain understanding of the drivers of conservation challenges and how they are connected to challenges for people.
  3. Understand the underlying evidence for the key factors affecting the challenges and opportunities for conservation interventions.
  4. Promote identification of novel conservation strategies aimed at systemic change.
  • Situation analysis narrative and diagram.
  • Stakeholder analysis.
  • Documentation of evidence considered; documentation should be included with materials provided to peer-reviewers.
  • List of key conservation challenges and linked social or economic challenges

A situation analysis is an assessment that identifies and weighs the key challenges affecting primary interests in a place or associated with a problem, including the political, socioeconomic, institutional, and ecological factors driving change, and providing opportunities for conservation intervention. The situation analysis should give your team clear answers to these questions:

  • What are the key challenges to nature?
  • What are the key challenges to people and society?
  • Which are connected, and how? And
  • Where is there evidence for the strongest people-nature connections?


Situation Analysis Diagram

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  • Assemble a diverse team.

    • Engage key partners early.

    • Develop a plan for stakeholder engagement.

  • Identify primary interests for both nature and people.

    • Ensure that the primary interests of different groups, especially traditionally underrepresented or marginalized groups, have been considered.

    • Make use of previously identified primary interests.

  • Diagram relationships between primary interests and drivers of change that create challenges as well as opportunities.

    • Follow these steps to create a situation analysis diagram.

    • Include an analysis of socio-economic and market context.

    • Represent social and economic interests in terms of specific human populations.

    • Represent impacts on people (i.e., human well-being interests) in terms of specific human well-being components.

    • Refine work based on evidence assessment.

    • Consider diverse sources of evidence.

  • Validate the situation analysis diagram with key stakeholders and external experts.

  • Synthesize evidence to identify strongest pathways of influence for each primary interest and narrow in on key challenges impacting the most primary interests.

  • Elevate and summarize the biggest conservation challenges and linked social or economic challenges to take forward.

  • Identify key additional partners.

Minimum Standard Questions
  1. Do the planning team, partners, key stakeholders and relevant experts agree that the situation analysis diagram is a reasonable reflection of the current conditions and provides a common understanding?
  2. Have the following vague terms been replaced with specific conservation primary interests or components of human well-being: health, community well-being, human well-being, resilient communities, livelihoods, biodiversity, environmental health, thriving communities, social benefits, economic benefits, etc.?
  3. If you have any human well-being endpoints that do not specify a relevant group, did you consider whether all people are equally affected?
  4. Do at least some linkages in the situation analysis diagram reflect unexpected or newly identified connections in the system? (Even in systems we know well, it’s very unlikely that we know everything important that’s going on. If you learned about no new links from this process, your situation analysis was likely not broad enough and should be revisited).
  5. Does evidence confirm that selected key challenges relate to strong linkages in the system? Don’t throw out new linkages just because there isn’t a strong evidence base – flag this for further exploration and evidence collection.
  6. Does the diagram show how key challenges are connected both to nature and to some specific components of human well-being? (Even if human well-being is not a primary interest, it is highly unlikely that conservation primary interests are in no way connected to people. Revisit the diagram with additional experts if needed to ensure plausible pathways between nature and people have been fully explored).
FAQS Show All
Should a situation analysis always have some links to people in it?
When should partners and stakeholders be included in developing the situation analysis ?

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