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?

 

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