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Chapter 2: The system for assessment, reporting and monitoring

2.1. Assessment

A simple and efficient system to assess criteria and indicators at the national level would specify:

The system should also provide a format of reporting for each individual indicator. This format, presented in a tabulated fashion should be simple, contain only a few but most important details, and thus be easy to comprehend and use in monitoring.

In a final step, the results obtained for the indicators will enter a monitoring table that allow a comparison of the current assessment with previous measurements. In keeping the monitoring tables simple, trends over time can be interpreted easily. The concept developed for the assessment system is illustrated below.

Under the criteria and indicators' guidelines for Dry Zone Asia, all criteria are to be monitored on the basis of individual indicators. As an example, Criterion 3 "Maintenance and Enhancement of Biodiversity" has, among others, the following three indicators dealing with:

Straightforward and simple indicators may be measured directly, while those of more complex nature require assessment by two or more parameters that make up the indicator. These parameters are called assessable verifiers. They are defined as data or information that enhance the specificity or ease of assessment of an indicator (according to CIFOR 1999). Assessable verifiers represent features of an ecosystem or social system or prevailing policy or management conditions. An example of how an indicator is assessed through appropriate assessable verifiers is given below.

Example: Indicator 3.1.


Assessable Verifiers

Indicator 3.1
Extent of protected areas

Assessable Verifier 3.1.1
Extent of protected areas

Assessable Verifier 3.1.2
Representation of forest types in the protected areas

Information about the assessable verifier is measured or obtained through the process of assessment. This process is called assessment procedure and involves methods and techniques to obtain and compile the desired information. This is usually done through:

The process of obtaining the relevant information is specified for each individual assessable verifier. These processes essentially represent instructions to the assessor and will guide him or her through the assessment task. Most of the information required at the national level represents an aggregation of more detailed data collected at a subnational level such as the village, forest management unit (FMU), district or province. In order to provide clear instructions to the assessor, data collection at the source (subnational level) and aggregation at the national level are described separately.

In addition to the assessment procedures, the means of verification are also given suggesting the type of objective evidence - documents, interviews or discussions - the assessor should consider in order to obtain the most relevant information. Because assessment systems always need to be tailored to local conditions it is of utmost importance that the means of verification are formulated in such a way as to reflect the locally used terminology for the relevant documents, actions (e.g. operations in the field) and types of communications (e.g. participatory planning platforms, reporting mechanisms).

For each individual assessable verifier or indicator the period between assessments or periodicity of measurement is specified. This period between measurements depends on the subject, type of data collection needed and availability of updated information.

For reporting on the status of the assessable verifier or indicator and the changes of the monitored parameters the measurement units to be used are also specified. An example of the assessment instructions for Assessable Verifier 3.1.2 is given below.

Assessable Verifier 3.1.2
Representation of forest types in the protected areas.

Assessment procedure

Data collection at the subnational level:
· Review forest type classification for each protected area and generate area statistics of forest types.
· Compile the extent of forest types within the protected areas for individual districts/provinces.

Aggregation/collection of data at the national level:
· Compile the total area of forest types in protected areas at the national level.

Means of verification

· Forest type map.
· Area statistics of the forest department, department of environment.
· Vegetation surveys of expert institutions.

Periodicity of measurement

5 years

Measurement unit

Status: ha
Changes: ha and %

The use of assessable verifiers along with assessment procedures and means of verification, periodicity of measurement and measurement units will ensure that the information and data for each individual indicator are collected in the most efficient manner and each of the relevant issues is addressed with the desired scope and level of detail.

2.2. Reporting on assessable verifiers/indicators

Following the assessment instructions, a reporting format for each assessable verifier/indicator is presented. In order to facilitate easy interpretation and use in monitoring, the table should be presented in a clear and unambiguous manner. As an example, the reporting format of Assessable Verifier 3.1.2 is presented below.

Reporting on Assessable Verifier 3.1.2
Date of assessment:..........

Forest types


Percentage of total protected area



Type 1: Dry deciduous teak forest.

Type 2: Dry and thorny forest

Type 3: Deserts


Total protected area


2.3. Monitoring of indicators

Monitoring is performed for individual indicators by means of tables showing the results of at least two assessments. These tables have been designed for easy interpretation and refer either to all data collected within one indicator or to individual assessable verifiers. An example of a monitoring format for Indicator 3.1 is presented below.

Table showing the extent of the protected area by forest type.

Monitoring format for Indicator 3.1

Forest types in protected areas

Assessment 1 (date)

Assessment 2 (date)

Net area change





Type 1: Dry deciduous teak forest

Type 2: Dry and thorny forest

Type 3: Deserts


Total protected area

The assessment system presented here allows an organized implementation of the entire set of criteria and indicators for dry forests in Asia. For each indicator all instructions are provided at one location in the practical guide, thus facilitating the consultation of the guidelines during the assessment task.

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