Appendix A – Summary of Minimum Standard Questions

Specify Planning Context:

  1. Have the target audience(s) that are expected to take action been identified, along with a draft list of the products each needs from the planning and implementation process?
  2. Is the effort scoped to solve conservation challenges that will meaningfully benefit the organization's mission or project team's goals?
  3. Were existing science-based organizational analyses considered when identifying the conservation challenges or socio-ecological system to focus on?
  4. Is the geographic scope at the right scale to identify strategies that can achieve systemic change?
  5. Is the effort scoped to solve conservation challenges that will meaningfully benefit nature?

Conduct a Situation Analysis

  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).

Draft Goal Statement

  1. Does the minimum goal describe a vision for conservation success consistent with the long term viability of conservation targets and systemic improvement in connected elements of human well-being? Note that the minimum goal may be an important intermediate result that will enable the team to achieve the outcomes of the project over a time period that extends beyond the plan.
  2. Do key stakeholders agree that the minimum goal is sufficient and representative of their interests at the intersection of conservation?

Share Advances in Knowledge Through Relevant Pathways

  1. Are knowledge products and planned dissemination pathways tailored to specific, target audiences?
  2. Has the team reviewed intangible lessons and shared ideas for communicating these through peer-learning opportunities?
  3. If major process-based or knowledge advances were made through the effort, has a Lessons Learned or Case Study document been considered?

Identify Candidate Strategies

  1. Did your process produce multiple strategies for further consideration?
  2. Did your process generate at least one novel strategy for consideration?
  3. Did you consider, at a high level, all major negative and positive impacts of candidate strategies on stakeholders and vulnerable people?

Construct Results Chains

  1. Do your results chains start with a key challenge and end with a desirable state?
  2. Are your intermediate results necessary and sufficient to achieve your desired outcomes?
  3. Does your results chain show the intended positive outcomes for conservation and any intended, linked positive outcomes for human well-being from the proposed conservation action?
  4. Did you explicitly consider additional (unintentional) outcomes, including both positive and negative outcomes from the strategies considered?
  5. Do all links in your chains reflect no more than one testable assumption (i.e. there are not "leaps of faith" or "then a miracle happens" gaps in logic)?
  6. Have you evaluated and recorded the strength of evidence for each of your assumptions and linkages?
  7. If your results chain outcomes are quantified, will they be sufficient to determine whether the strategy meets the minimum goal(s)?

Strategy and Opportunity Mapping

  1. Did you document the assumptions, sources and methodologies used in the process to map your strategies?
  2. Does your analysis allow quantitative comparison of each strategy’s impact on metrics of the elements in your minimum goal statement relative to the impacts of a 'business as usual' projection?
  3. Do stakeholders and external experts understand and generally agree with your impact estimates?
  4. If a strategy is pursued, will your analysis inform where to target implementation and where tangible conservation outcomes are expected to be achieved?
  5. Do cost estimates allow comparison of the conservation ROI of alternative strategies? Have you included the costs of monitoring and evaluation?
  6. Have the anticipated benefits of a strategy to people been quantified in a way that is relevant and defensible for stakeholders?

Select Strategy or Strategies

  1. Will selected strategies, if successful, achieve the minimum conservation goals?
  2. Are investments allocated to strategies with relatively high conservation ROI?
  3. Do high-risk strategies have appropriately high reward if successful? Be sure to evaluate who is bearing the risk and who stands to benefit from the reward.
  4. Are mitigation plans in place for dealing with risks associated with unintended consequences, e.g. reputational risk, and risk of impacts to indigenous peoples and vulnerable populations? Were the mitigation plans developed through a participatory process with the primary stakeholders who may be affected?

Share Advances in Knowledge Through Relevant Pathways

  1. Will selected strategies, if successful, achieve the minimum conservation goals?
  2. Are investments allocated to strategies with relatively high conservation ROI?
  3. Do high-risk strategies have appropriately high reward if successful? Be sure to evaluate who is bearing the risk and who stands to benefit from the reward.
  4. Are mitigation plans in place for dealing with risks associated with unintended consequences, e.g. reputational risk, and risk of impacts to indigenous peoples and vulnerable populations? Were the mitigation plans developed through a participatory process with the primary stakeholders who may be affected?

Articulate Theory of Change

  1. Is the logic describing why your strategies will lead to the stated outcomes clear, supported by strong results chains and evidence, and compelling to those reading your theory of change for the first time?

Define Measures and Create a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

  1. Will the monitoring and evaluation plan ensure that essential information gaps are filled?
  2. Has the existing strength of evidence informed a conservation strategy's risk and leverage as it relates to the level of investment in monitoring and evaluation plans?
  3. Are there indicators for both positive and potential negative outcomes for both people and nature, which were developed in partnership with potentially impacted stakeholders?
  4. Does the monitoring and evaluation plan include collecting baseline data?
  5. Has there been full exploration and consideration of secondary data from government, NGO, indigenous organizations, community organizations, and other firms or agencies for environmental and socioeconomic data to avoid duplicating data collection efforts and opportunities to fill gaps?
  6. Have specific audiences, the intended use of information, and needed level of rigor been defined for each indicator?
  7. Have plans been created that clearly define the design, collection, management, evaluation, and reporting procedures and responsibilities for data?
  8. Do the monitoring and evaluation plans clearly articulate how the data will be analyzed, updated, and then shared to relevant audiences in culturally appropriate ways?
  9. Do the monitoring and evaluation plans provide a realistic budget sufficient for monitoring over a long enough period of time to detect anticipated outcomes and impacts?
  10. Will monitoring design and evaluation approaches (e.g. research design and statistical methods) and sampling be conducted by qualified professionals?

Implement Strategy(ies) Using Sound Project Management

  1. Does your charter identify the roles required to implement the project and specify decision-making authorities?
  2. Does your workplan include a timeline that specifies when conservation outcomes will be achieved?
  3. Do you know where additional capacity is needed and have a plan to build or obtain capacity needs?
  4. Do you know when and how you will engage and inform stakeholders during implementation.

Evaluation

  1. Was the monitoring data that you collected evaluated by a qualified analyst in a timely manner?
  2. Were communication products developed for key audiences?

Adapt

  1. Have you reviewed the results of monitoring, analyzed the data, and drawn conclusions about impacts and implications?
  2. If anticipated progress is not being made, was workplan, or staffing capacity, or theory of change revised?
  3. If the strategy currently being implemented is substantively different from what was initially planned, was it re-evaluated to ensure that it will still achieve goals, will incur acceptable risks and is supported by evidence?
  4. Has the information been shared with stakeholders in a format appropriate to the particular audience?

 

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.