Towards an indicator system to assess equitable management in protected areas

Aichi Target 11 (AT11), adopted by 193 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010, states that protected areas (PAs) must be equitably managed by 2020. However, significant challenges remain in terms of actual implementation of equitable management in PAs. These challenges include, among others, the lack of a standardized approach to assess and monitor social equity and the difficulty of reducing social equity to a series of metrics. This perspective addresses these challenges and it proposes a minimum set of ten indicators for assessing and monitoring the three dimensions of social equity in protected areas: recognition, procedure and distribution. The indicators target information on social equity regarding cultural identity, statutory and customary rights, knowledge diversity; free, prior and informed consent mechanisms, full participation and transparency in decision-making, access to justice, accountability over decisions, distribution of conservation burdens, and sharing of conservation benefits. The proposed indicator system is a first step in advancing an approach to facilitate our understanding of how the different dimensions of social equity are denied or recognized in PAs globally. The proposed system would be used by practitioners to mainstream social equity indicators in PAs assessments at the site level and to report to the CBD on the ‘equitably managed’ element of AT11.