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IUCN Governance primer

For a first glance, and getting started, take a look at the IUCN Governance primer here in English, en français and en español.

Governance Stream at the World Parks Congress

Learn here about the results of the Governance Stream at the World Parks Congress of Sydney, 2014, co-organised by the Global Protected Areas Programme. The overall Conclusions of the Stream, identified three core areas of work as well as twenty specific initiatives for taking action.

Governance for the Conservation of Nature

“Governance for the Conservation of Nature”, Chapter 7 in: Protected Area Governance and Management, edited by Graeme L. Worboys, Michael Lockwood, Ashish Kothari, Sue Feary and Ian Pulsford, published in 2015 by ANU Press, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.


A rapid governance assessment.

Duration: 3 days fieldwork which engages 20-40 people from different stakeholder groups. 

Requirement: One experienced lead facilitator with some understanding of governance and 2-4 (local) assistants.  Well-trained facilitators by an IIED team.

Estimated cost: USD 2-8000 including facilitators (but excluding convenors time). Dual purpose – supporting the stakeholders to improve strengthen governance/equity at their site while also generating quantitative results for reporting to higher levels, and for measuring change over time. 


Key roles in a SAGE assessment

  • Assessment convenor:
  • The organisation that plans the assessment and the necessary logistical support
  • Likely to be a stakeholder and therefore can be a participant in the process, but not a facilitator.
  • Assessment facilitators:
  • Lead facilitator – experienced in workshop facilitation but not necessarily a governance expert.
  • Two (local) assistant facilitators needed for the training and workshops. 
  • Facilitators should not be significant stakeholders


SAGE is currently being piloted in several countries and regions around the world, to find out more about the tool or to get involved, please email:

An in-depth governance assessment.

Duration: 10 days fieldwork which engages 50-150 people from different stakeholder groups.

Requirement: 3 facilitators with experience of qualitative methods (e.g. focus groups) and some understanding of governance.

Estimated cost: USD 5-15000 including facilitators but excluding convenors time). GAPA results are qualitative and the process is entirely focused on supporting the stakeholders to improve strengthen governance/equity at their site.  The main disadvantage is that such a deep dive into governance can expose some difficult issues (corruption, serious elite capture, abuse of power by one or more actors) and so should not be used if it might cause conflict or rejection of the assessment process.


Click here to access the Governance Assessment for Protected and Conserved Areas (GAPA) Early experience of a multi-stakeholder methodology for enhancing equity and effectiveness publication

An in depth assessment of the positive and negative impacts of a PA on human well-being.  SAPA addresses some governance issues mainly from the perspective of communities which is not adequate for the purposes of GL certification. 

Duration: 20 days fieldwork over a period of 6-12 weeks which engages 50-150 people from different stakeholder groups in discussions at meetings, plus 100-500 through a household survey.

Requirements: 2-3 facilitators who can be staff of the stakeholders with little prior experience. 

Estimated cost: $5-15000 including facilitators but excluding convenors time. SAPA is entirely focused on supporting the stakeholders to improve strengthen governance/equity at their site. The advantage is that it is easy to facilitate and less intrusive than governance assessment and so an easier entry point for PAs with very top down and/or problematic governance arrangements (that are unlikely to be applying for GL certification).

Click here to access the Social Assessment for Protected and Conserved Areas (SAPA) Methodology manual for SAPA facilitators

Desktop review: All assessment work is preceded by a desktop review phase where specific information is gathered which assists the assessment process.  Guidelines are taken from the Governance of Protected Areas: From understanding to action – Volume 20 of the IUCN Best Practice in Protected Areas Guidelines Series.  

Capacity building on governance/training of facilitators: 1-2 days depending on the tool and context.


Governance Type A

Equitable governance in China: The Huangshan Scenic Area

Governance Type B

Shared governance and innovation in Peru

Governance Type C

Privately Protected Areas – Kenyan site Ol Pejeta

Governance Type D

The Kawawana ICCA in Senegal


Governance for the conservation of nature

Watch on Youtube

The World Parks Congress Stream on Enhancing Diversity, Quality and Vitality of Governance

Watch on Youtube

Enhancing governance of protected and conserved areas – An agenda for action

Watch on Youtube

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