Image courtesy of SPREP PEBACC Project
The broad strategic nature of the Framework makes measuring progress significantly more difficult than for many other environmental agreements. This 2021-2025 Framework deliberately avoids establishing quantifiable targets, considering that this is the right and responsibility of Pacific Island countries and territories as part of their engagement with the CBD and their own national planning processes. It is also considered that capacity constraints would inhibit the establishment of a set of regional conservation targets and indicators accompanied by their own monitoring and reporting regime, since in many cases producing National Reports to the CBD already constitutes a major burden of work for officials. Establishing systems for measuring progress has been an enduring challenge for all previous Pacific conservation frameworks and action strategies.
The environmental monitoring and reporting systems of the Pacific have evolved significantly in the last five years. The SPREP-led data management project ‘Inform’ has produced a set of core national environmental indicators to help Pacific Island countries and territories meet their existing domestic and international reporting obligations. They have been designed to be repeatable to demonstrate trajectories in key aspects of environmental health, and are the foundation of the State of Environment and Conservation in the Pacific Islands: 2020 Regional Report (SOEC). As the SOEC is produced at the same five-yearly intervals as the Framework, it makes sense to consider it as the monitoring mechanism for the Framework.
It is recommended that the next Framework review, planned for 2025, should include a qualitative assessment of progress on the six Strategic Objectives based on the time-series trends revealed by the Inform indicators in the updated SOEC, as well other relevant regional datasets. If considered appropriate, this assessment can be included in the SOEC. This is intended as a flexible and adaptive approach that considers emerging as well as existing environmental datasets and metrics. Strengthening the explicit linkages between the SOEC and the Framework will be a key priority in the early stages of the next review process for both documents.
Optional additional approaches for assessing progress include compilation and analysis of National Reports produced for the CBD, if desired; and working with PIRT member organisations and donor agencies to track their implementation of the Framework over time. These analyses are likely to constitute significant bodies of work, and will need to be resourced appropriately.