International funding agencies: potential leaders of impact evaluation in protected areas?

Globally, protected areas are the most commonly used tools to halt biodiversity loss. Yet, some are failing to adequately conserve the biodiversity they contain. There is an urgent need for knowledge on howto make themfunction more effectively. Impact evaluation methods provide a set of tools that could yield this knowledge. However, rigorous outcome-focused impact evaluation is not yet used as extensively as it could be in protected area management.We examine the role of international protected area funding agencies in facilitating the use of impact evaluation. These agencies are influential stakeholders as they allocate hundreds of millions of dollars annually to support protected areas, creating a unique opportunity to shape how the conservation funds are spent globally. We identify key barriers to the use of impact evaluation, detail how large funders are uniquely placed to overcome many of these, and highlight the potential benefits if impact evaluation is used more extensively.