From March 16th to 20th, 2016, an adaptive management training and workshop in the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation was held in Nairobi. It was hosted by the Biodiversity Management Programme (BMP), part of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), funded by the European Union. The five-day course, attended by participants from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and South-Sudan, aimed to enable conservation organisations to tackle their projects more efficiently, hierarchize their priorities and achieve effective impacts. Besides our Implementing Partners IUCN, APN and HoA-REC&N, participants included representatives from national administrations like the Ethiopia Wildlife Conservation Authority, the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism of South Sudan, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, etc.
The Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (or Open Standards) are a set of adaptive management standards developed by the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP). They are used by most global conservation organizations, and guide the design, management, and monitoring of conservation projects. One of our partners in Kenya, the Northern Rangeland Trust, uses it.
The training was supported by a software, Miradi (not compulsory but very useful), which guided participants through the process, captured information to support project planning and implementation, and reported on results.
The Open Standards approach can be applied at project level, for the management of single protected areas or species, or they can be applied at programme level, for the management of multiple projects, or at species or country level. Conservation plans designed using the Open Standards support the inclusion of biodiversity value chains (or ecosystem services), included in the “Strategies” of Open Standards.
To see how the Standards could be applied practically, participants looked at two of the BMP transboundary landscapes in Djibouti, Ethiopia and South Sudan. These were the Lac Abbé / Lower Awash landscape (Djibouti and Ethiopia), and the Boma Gambella landscape (Ethiopia and South-Sudan). They conducted a draft situation analysis for the site projects - identifying conservation targets and threats and defining multiple biodiversity value chains to highlight the relationship between conservation efforts and community livelihoods. Applying new skills, the participants designed solutions to mitigate the identified challenges (“Threats”). Exchanges with experts from other countries or projects allowed very positive dynamics in the application of the Open Standards approach.
"This training has given me the opportunity to learn about the conservation challenges of our neighbouring and partnering countries" said one participant.