An OECM is a “a geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long term outcomes for the in-situ conservation of biodiversity with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio-economic, and other locally relevant values”
Protected Areas have nature conservation as its primary management objective, whereas OECMs achieve in-situ conservation irrespective of its objectives.
© Achier Chung, Reef Guardian
Governance and management are closely linked. What are the similarities and differences in the governance and management of Protected Areas and OECMs?
We are field-testing the IUCN’s guidance and tools to investigate potential OECMs and explore how this approach could operate in Malaysia.
© Chien Lee
Site-based Assessment Phase
We will field-test the criteria and methodology developed by the IUCN to assess potential sites in Malaysia in this phase. At the Inception Workshop, we consulted with the project’s independent Advisory Group to review the potential case study sites submitted by stakeholders in response to the project’s Call for Case Studies. On their recommendations, we have selected a number of sites that broadly meet the OECM criteria for further exploration.
This phase will begin once consent has been obtained from the site authority. The site-based assessment will then be conducted in three stages:
During this stage, we will contact site authorities to request access to materials and information.
We want to develop an understanding of the site through a review of documents and spatial information related to the sites’ biodiversity, cultural, spiritual and other values, management and governance systems. These documents include spatial data, site management plans, biodiversity survey reports and any other ecological or associated value documentations. In cases where written documentation is unavailable, we will arrange for direct interviews with the site authority.
We expect to complete this stage in approximately 2-3 months. This will also depend on the time taken to obtain access to information, amount of material to be reviewed and complexity of the case study.
Interviews and informal discussions will be conducted with site authorities and representatives, where we will discuss any key observations during the site visit. The visit will not involve biological sampling although we do expect to record GPS points and take photographs or short video clips.
The site visits will take a maximum of two days excluding travelling time. This will very much depend on the availability of the site authority and the complexity of the case study.
We will compile and assess information gathered from Stage 1 and 2 and establish whether the site satisfies the OECM criteria as described by the IUCN.
This final stage will involve three steps:
- We will compile information gathered and develop a draft site profile. We will share the draft with the site authority who will validate that the profile is an accurate representation of the site.
- We will evaluate case studies against the OECM criteria, guided by the IUCN OECM Assessment Methodology and apply a “traffic light” rating to indicate the degree to which sites satisfies each of the criteria.
- Once evaluation is completed, we will determine the overall outcome of the suitability of sites in meeting the definition and elements of an OECM. A summary report describing the assessment outcome and justification will be generated.
The equitable governance and effective management of OECMs deliver outcomes for the sustained long-term in-situ conservation of biodiversity.
© Chien Lee