Delivering a Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool (SMART) to improve and report effectiveness of biodiversity conservation investments in Central and East Africa

Conservation of biodiversity in public, private and community lands requires: a) the formulation of institutions or norms that regulate access to and meter use of natural resources; and b) enforcement of these rules and regulations. In many countries enforcement of laws designed to conserve biodiversity is weak. As a result, biodiversity is being lost at an unrelenting pace . Failure to enforce laws in many public, private and community protected areas is a result of several contributing factors: 1) insufficient staff dedicated to law enforcement; 2) law enforcement staff lack the skills, experience, information and motivation needed to plan and implement law enforcement efforts; and 3) law enforcement agencies lack the funds to cover the costs of implementing law enforcement plans. A frequent barrier to effective law enforcement is not the lack of staff or funds, but rather the lack of skills, knowledge and motivation to plan and implement successful law enforcement efforts. This is true for national protected area staff and community ecoguards.

To help overcome this barrier the ABCG will build on its members collective experience and scale up training for protected area staff to implement effective law enforcement, by pilot testing a new and improved user-friendly software tool to plan, implement, monitor, and adaptively manage ranger-based law enforcement patrols.

To respond to this need, a global consortium of conservation agencies and NGOs is committed to the development of a new and improved Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool, or SMART. The initial focus of this tool will be on law enforcement planning, monitoring, and adaptive management (LEM) in protected areas and other key biodiversity sites. This tool will enhance the effectiveness of ranger patrols by helping managers to utilize data on poaching encounters and other threats to biodiversity, collected as part of the day-to-day work of local rangers. With these data managers will be able to track and assess the impact of patrols on illegal activities and to re-target patrols to focus law enforcement efforts where the threats are greatest.

SMART represents the next generation of law enforcement monitoring tools. It builds on existing systems adding enhanced usability, functionality, and scalability that will ensure its relevance across a broad range of regional languages and contexts around the globe. SMART is an open-source, non-proprietary and will be driven by the conservation community as a whole. SMART is the realization of a highly consultative process that has, over the past two years, succeeded in engaging a diverse group of relevant stakeholders from across Africa and Asia with a common goal of improving the effectiveness and accountability of law enforcement efforts through this process we have elicited and coordinated input from a broad range of experienced end-users of existing LEM systems. SMART has recently been adopted as a special project of the Conservation Measures Partnership. This greatly extends the potential user-base for SMART.

SMART will provide a comprehensive evidence-base for decision-makers to evaluate progress towards biodiversity targets and reductions in threats, identify those actions critical to conservation success, and prioritize and adapt conservation investment over time.

Activities & Achievements

FY 2013 Activities and Accomplishments

In FY2014 the ABCG partners WCS, AWF, JGI and WWF continued work generated in FY2013 to conduct quality control training and site-level support for SMART implementation. The course report, titled ‘SMART: Implementers and Trainers’ Workshop—Final Report‘ is available here.

Additionally the team including the broader SMART Partnership collaborated in the production of the SMART version 3 training mamual, which can be downloaded here, titled ‘Technical Training Manual for SMART 3.0‘.

FY 2013 Activities and Accomplishments

A regional SMART technical training was conducted at WCS’s CEDAMM Training Centre in Lopé National Park, Gabon in March 2013. The training was aimed at SMART Administrators and Trainers operating in five francophone countries in Central Africa. This was the first regional SMART training in Africa. The training was focused on SMART 1.0:

Another regional SMART technical training was conducted at the Impala Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania in May 2013. The training was aimed at SMART Administrators and Trainers operating across East and Southern Africa. This was the first regional SMART training in East Africa. The training was focused on SMART 1.0.5:

Further links:

Technical Training Manual for SMART 1.0 (English)

Atelier de formation regional en Afrique Central (Francais)