Since its launching in 2007 by WWF and the World Bank, the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) has become the world’s most applied tool for assessing management effectiveness. It has been applied to over 2,500 Protected Areas (PAs) in more than 120 countries.
METT assessments are an integral part of PONT’s monitoring and evaluation system at both programme level and with respect to individual grants. Grantees managing protected areas are required to use the METT to assess the impact of PONT’s grants.
The METT is being established as an important decision-support tool for PAs in the Wider Prespa Area, enabling more transparent, evidence-based, and adaptive management. It helps managers to organise and streamline annual cycles of reporting while its findings and results help in preparing the operational plan for the subsequent annual cycle.
A participatory approach, in combination with a more in-depth and meticulous assessment based on evidence, as well as an extensive use of the columns “Comment/Explanation” and “Next Steps” in the Assessment Form, improved the objectiveness and the perceived benefits of the METT Assessments.
METT is only effective at detecting certain levels of change in effectiveness, as defined by the four alternative answers provided against each of the 30 questions in the assessment form. If the changes are subtle or the reporting period too short, it is unlikely they will be acknowledged in the METT scorecard.
Building upon this experience, in 2019 the Public Institution Galicica National Park piloted the application of the Advanced Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (Advanced METT) commissioned by the German Development Bank (KfW). The Advanced METT includes additional questions relating to climate change and conservation outcomes for species and habitats in combination with “detailed assessment” sheets, which give guidance on some of the questions.
The Advanced METT was used to organise and evaluate information in 2019 concerning the status and threats to biodiversity, stakeholders and communities in Galicica National Park, and to document the actions needed to improve or maintain the scores. The “Ways Forward” table of the Advanced METT was then used in preparing the operational plan for 2020 and the new PONT grant application. The assessors extensively documented the reasons for choosing the scores, attaching indicators whenever possible, and listing the sources informing the decision. A number of forms and tools from the “Enhancing our Heritage” toolkit were also used to improve the objectivity of the assessment and to analyse certain topics and issue in more detail. All the documents used or referred to in the Advanced METT forms have been organised in a cloud storage accessible to all staff of Galicica National Park.
The full assessment was first conducted with a wide participation of the staff, completed during a one-day internal workshop. Key external stakeholders were also involved in a second workshop to discuss the initial scores for a selected number of questions that were deemed to be most relevant to them.
The entire process, starting with the initial planning, data collection, reporting and carrying out the assessment in two workshops was completed in three months, staring in September 2019.