Assessment of the Conservation Measures Partnership's effort to improve conservation outcomes through adaptive management
Conservation practice has demonstrated an increasing desire for accountability of actions, particularly with respect to effectiveness, efficiency, and impact to clearly identified objectives. This has been accompanied by increased attention to achieving adaptive management. In 2002, practitioners representing several prominent conservation nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) launched a community of practice called the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP). The partnership CMP has worked to establish standards of conservation practice to improve accountability of conservation actions through adaptive management. The focal organizing framework for CMP has been the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (OS). We evaluated, through an online survey and personal interviews, the first decade of CMP and the OS. The CMP has garnered a positive reputation among agencies, NGOs, and funders and has succeeded in developing a large user base of the OS. However, CMP has not fully achieved its goal of making the OS standard operating procedure for the largest NGOs (e.g., The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund), despite it being widely used within these organizations. This lack of institutionalization is attributable to multiple causes, including an increase in the number of partially overlapping decision‐support frameworks and challenges achieving full‐cycle adaptive management. Users strongly believed the OS fosters better conservation practice and highly valued the OS for improving their practice. A primary objective of the OS is to assist practitioners to achieve full‐cycle adaptive management to better integrate learning into improving the effectiveness and efficiency of actions. However, most practitioners had not yet achieved cycle completion for their projects. To improve the effectiveness of CMP, OS, and conservation practice in general, we recommend collaborative efforts among the proponents of multiple decision‐support frameworks to foster strong institutional adoption of a common set of adaptive‐management standards for conservation accountability.
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