Social Assessment of Protected Areas: Early Experience and Results of a Participatory, Rapid Approach
Assessing the positive and negative social impacts of protected areas is no easy task, but it can be done with relatively simple, low cost methodologies. Designed for this purpose, the Social Assessment of Protected Areas (SAPA) methodology can be applied to any protected area (PA), regardless of its management category and governance type, and to related conservation and development activities that are designed to support PA conservation. At the heart of the SAPA methodology is a multi-stakeholder process that enhances accuracy and credibility, and ensures that the assessment addresses the information needs not only of PA managers, but also of other key actors in government, civil society and the private sector. This working paper describes both the development of the SAPA methodology (work in progress), and some preliminary results that illustrate the type of information generated and the strengths and weaknesses of the methodology.