The Expert Assessment Group for the Green List (EAGL) Established in Lao PDR for the IUCN Green List
The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas (GL) is an initiative that encourages, measures, recognizes and shares the successes of protected areas that meet the standards of good management and governance practices.
Well-designed, well-governed and well-managed protected and conserved areas are our most effective tool for conserving nature, and provide a wide range of ecological, socio-economic, cultural and spiritual benefits. The Decision XIII/2 of the CBD directs to “Promote the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas as a voluntary standard to promote and encourage protected area management effectiveness”. The IUCN Green List Standard is also mentioned in the Post 2020-Global Biodiversity Framework draft as an indicator to measure the quality elements for Target 3.
IUCN Green List is a global campaign for delivering successful nature outputs leading to a meaningful outcome. The Components, Criteria and Indicators within the IUCN Green List framework lends itself as a robust verification and evidence-based system to strengthen conservation efforts with outcomes designed for the long-term recovery of the targeted species, habitats, ecosystems or common shared conservation targets. IUCN Green List is now being implemented across more than sixty countries with 600 sites with 61 sites already attaining the Green Listed status, and others at various stages advancing towards the achievement of full compliance towards Green Listing. Among the Green Listed sites, one out of seven is a natural World Heritage site. The total number of countries in Asia officially committed to the IUCN Green List programme as of November 2022 is six- namely, Bhutan, China, Laos, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, and Vietnam. Of these, eleven sites have been Green Listed; six from China, three from South Korea and one from Vietnam. In addition to these countries, others who have shown interest and are now engaging to initiate the process include Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor Leste.
The Green List fosters equity and inclusion of diverse values, knowledge, and ways of achieving conservation. The framework that is a good fit for both protected areas and conserved areas and thus protecting biodiversity and supporting Indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs). Also providing multiple pathways to advance multisectoral collaborations to address biodiversity threats and achieve successful conservation outcomes, with synergies and benefits through area-based interventions and partnerships in the region.
For a protected or conserved area applying for the Green List there is a three-stage process of Registration and Application Phase, Candidate Phase and finally Green List phase or certification. When a site has the Green List status it means that it is certified that the 50 indicators of the Green List have been met. To support this process, IUCN and partners offer mentoring, site-based assessments and diagnoses. These include using the new Improvement Benchmarking and Evaluation Index (IBEX) tool that helps sites through the process from self-assessment and diagnosis to expert review, and allows progressive change and impact to be documented.
When a site has been registered on the Green List portal COMPASS it enters the Application Phase. The objective of this phase is to check if a protected (or conserved) area has minimum conditions to be assessed against the 50 indicators. To meet the minimum conditions the site needs to meet five of these indicators.
After documentation for meeting these five indicators have been submitted, reviewed and approved by a member of the The Expert Assessment Group for the Green List (EAGL), the site will be accepted as a Candidate Site and enters the Candidate Phase. This phase has the objective that a protected (conserved) area meets all of the remaining 45 indicators. This process consists of deploying various assessments. Assessment tools include the METT, Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT), and Social Assessment for Protected and Conserved Areas (SAPA). In this phase, a score card is prepared using IBEX to assess the status of the protected area towards Green List status.
Once all 50 indicators are met, the full dossier of justification and evidence for all indicators will be reviewed and voted on by the EAGL, witnessed by an independent reviewer commissioned by IUCN. The result is submitted to the Green List Committee for certification. When certified, the site has reached Green List status and enters the Green List Phase. Certification is valid for five years with a mid-term review in the third year. After five years, the site will have to submit an updated dossier for re-certification.
Any protected and conserved area that gains ‘Green List’ status demonstrates:
Respect: for the local community through fair and meaningful engagement of rights-holders and stakeholders
Design: planning that identifies the needs to secure the important values of the area
Effective management: monitoring of the status of these important values
Successful conservation results: for nature and for people
Clear contribution: to climate change responses, health and well-being and other challenges
This Green List initiative is led by IUCN, in partnership with national institutions responsible for the management and governance protected areas. The launch of the Green List process is closely linked to the official establishment of the National Expert Assessment Group for the Green List (EAGL) for Lao PDR. To this end, a call for applications, followed by the evaluation of the IUCN and validated by the ASI Reviewer, made it possible to select nine (9) experts from Laos PDR. The profiles of these experts cover the major issues of protected areas in Laos.
Photo credits: Peter Brakels/IUCN Lao PDR
EAGLs are jurisdictional expert bodies convened by IUCN and approved by an assigned Reviewer. The jurisdiction of an EAGL is geographic (e.g. a country or region within a country) and is established and operates within the jurisdictions that have been approved by the Department of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The primary tasks of an EAGL are to ensure that the IUCN Green List Standard is applicable in their jurisdiction and to evaluate PAs against the Indicators of the Standard.
Following the selection of this group of experts, their training on the evaluation of future PA applications and on the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas process is a requirement of the Green List User Manual. It is in this context that a 2-day EAGL training was organized on the 26th and 27th of October 2022 by IUCN and ASI with supports from Nam Theun 2 Power Company (NTPC) and GIZ ProFEB through Hin Nam No GL project.
The objective of the trainings was, to get to know each other and establish a working relationship with one another, with the Reviewer, the Operations Team and Implementing Partner and to acquire a good understanding of the IUCN Green List programme, including the IUCN Green List Standard, User Manual and COMPASS platform. The first task completed by the EAGL was to adapt the Generic Indicators to make them applicable to the jurisdictional context of Laos PDR.
The next step for the EAGL is to publish its draft Adapted Indicators and potential means of verification with the help of the Operations Team and seek stakeholder input, which shall be submitted to the EAGL and to its Reviewer. The EAGL shall allow stakeholders 30 days for the submission of comments on the draft of the Adapted Indicators and Means of Verification to the EAGL and to the Reviewer.
In Lao PDR, there are already two protected areas that have applied for the IUCN Green List certification process including Hin Nam No and Nakai Nam Theun National Parks.
The IUCN Green List impacts a total of 14 SDG goals and 41 targets, actively contributing to global sustainability goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals 13, 14, and 15 (and others) and UN Biodiversity Convention’s Aichi Target 11 (and others). IUCN Green List approved sites will also result in furthering the cause of treaties on climate change (e.g. Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol) and assist directly in contributing towards 12 actions under the GBF and overall delivery towards the long-term goals to be achieved through the 21 action-oriented GBF Targets for 2030.
Lao PDR EAGL Members:
Terence P Bolger, Chair
Chanthalaphone Nanthavong, member
Crispian John Edmund Audley Barlow, member
Hannah O'Kelly, member
Janina Bikova, member
Khamkhoun Khounboline, member
Kongkeo Sivilay, member
Thananh Khotpathoom, member
Vatsana PRAVONGUE, member
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