Appendix H – The Nature Conservancy’s Approach for the Global-to-Regional Situation Analysis to help identify the most significant challenges to nature and people


Increasingly, people and nature face connected challenges presented by larger human populations, higher consumption rates, and diminishing and degrading natural resources, all intensified by a changing climate. While efforts by society to provide food, water, energy, and other resources for people have too often come at the expense of nature, there is a growing understanding that this 'vicious cycle' can be transformed into a 'virtuous' one, where nature - and the benefits it provides - are seen as part of the solution to pressing human needs at local to global scales.

In this context, Conservation by Design 2.0 advances a new vision statement for the Conservancy: We envision a world where the diversity of life thrives, and people act to conserve nature for its own sake and its ability to fulfill our needs and enrich our lives.

This vision statement raises an important question: What are the key challenges affecting nature and people that the conservation movement, and the Conservancy in particular, should focus on to make the greatest difference for the future of all life on Earth?

The global-to-regional situation analysis will take an important first step towards answering this question by providing an evidence-based framework to identify the major linked nature-people challenges that need to be addressed, given current conditions and projected future trends, to move towards a sustainable future. The global-to-regional situation analysis therefore supports our commitment to driving systemic change through strategic and coordinated conservation actions at local, regional, and global scales.

This work is being advanced by a technical team sponsored by the Chief Conservation Office and the Office of the Chief Scientist, in partnership with staff from the global programs (Lands, Water, Oceans, Cities, Climate) and all four regions (Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, North America). The analysis will be completed and released in 2016 to inform organizational priorities and to contribute to the dialogue in the broader conservation movement.


Appropriately, the global-to-regional approach uses the situation analysis approach described in is a Phase 1 of CbD 2.0. The entry point for this work is the socio-ecological system represented by the entire planet, both at a global scale and sub-global scales represented by the regions where the Conservancy works (Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, North America).

The core questions being addressed by the global-to-regional situation analysis are as follows:

  1. What are the key challenges to nature?
  2. What are the key challenges to people and society?
  3. Which are connected, and how? And where is there evidence for the strongest nature-people connections?

The answers to these questions inform the identification of significant conservation challenges that need to be addressed. This then lays the foundation for continued analysis, integrating and building on the many organizational conversations already underway, about strategies to address these challenges - with CbD 2.0 Guidance providing a structure for this analysis through results chains, strategy and opportunity mapping, theory of change, and other steps.

In conducting this work, we will leverage the substantial advances on science and strategies that have been developed recently by global programs, regions, and other business units that provide important organizational context.


The analysis will begin with identifying the key challenges and connections at the global scale and then disaggregate and differentiate these challenges and connections for each of the major regions. Importantly, this approach will facilitate understanding of where major global and regional challenges are most strongly aligned to help focus efforts towards systemic change.

The general steps in the situation analysis are as follows, informed by the core questions stated above and the guidance for conducting a situation analysis:

  • Identify primary interests that represent major focal points for nature (e.g., terrestrial, freshwater, and marine biodiversity) and society (e.g., food security, water security, energy security, human health). These primary interests are meant to be relevant internally for the Conservancy as well as externally to the diverse groups working on conservation and development issues globally.
  • Identify and review key scientific literature pertinent to the primary interests, including peer-reviewed literature, technical reports and databases from major global and regional bodies (e.g., IUCN, World Health Organization, Food and Agricultural Organization), science from Conservancy programs, and other sources as relevant. Complement information from the literature with information developed by the global and regional programs.
  • From the literature and discussions with global and regional staff, identify and synthesize challenges to the primary interests, and the social, economic, and ecological drivers of these challenges, including where challenges connect to nature and people interests.
  • Create an integrated conceptual diagram to represent the major drivers and challenges to nature, to people, and nature-people linkages.
  • Review and synthesize evidence to quantify the strength of linkages between nature and people drivers, challenges, and primary interests. From this analysis, and supported by the global and regional programs, identify the most critical linkages at regional and global scales.
  • Conduct iterative rounds of review and incorporate feedback to strengthen the analysis and generate final products.

Figure 14: Conceptual framework for the global and regional situation analyses. The framework focuses on using evidence to identify the strongest linkages between nature and people that relate to human activities. For nature, the analysis defines primary interests including: terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems, and the climate. For human well-being, the analysis defines primary interests including: food security, water security, energy security, and human health. Furthermore, the analysis considers current conditions and projected future drivers related to key socioeconomic factors such as population growth, economic development, rising standards of living, and urbanization.

Contribution of the Global-to-Regional Situation Analysis

Through completing the global-to-regional situation analysis, we will advance a uniform framework for identifying major global and regional challenges, linking those challenges to the work of the global and regional programs, and identifying potential gaps where strong nature-people linkages could be addressed by new strategies. As such, this systematic approach aims to provide a common point of reference for understanding how the Conservancy selects major organizational priorities and the science that supports those decisions.


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