Planning and managing a National Red List project effectively is of utmost importance, and enhances the way in which the resulting data and assessments can feed into conservation planning, as well as aiding mainstreaming of biodiversity issues into all national sectors. It also helps to make sure that the project is sustainable over time. Most importantly, a project plan provides a means to monitor the progress towards the stated objectives, in this case for example the production of a National Red List, and a well thought out and realistic project plan is more likely to attract funders.
Good project planning requires a number of questions to be answered:
1. What is the overall purpose of the project (i.e. why do we need to carry out the project)?
2. What are we trying to achieve (i.e. what are our objectives)?
3. How are we going to realise the objectives (i.e. what is our strategy)?
4. What do we need in terms of inputs to realise our objectives?
5. How do we know when we have achieved our objectives (i.e. what are our indicators and our monitoring and evaluation process)?
Some of these questions will help with finding solutions to some of the common issues involved in National Red List development, many of which are discussed elsewhere on this website. For example, by defining the overall purpose of the project, we may also define what taxa we will assess: imagine the purpose of the project is to fill a gap in knowledge on freshwater organisms and that the resulting data are meant to feed into the development of a freshwater biodiversity indicator, we may want to comprehensively assess a number of freshwater species groups, including plants and invertebrates. Similarly, by defining who is best placed to carry out the tasks of the project, we define which key players to involve in the process.
The Conservation Leadership Programme (run by BirdLife International, Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International and the Wildlife Conservation Society) provides excellent step-by-step guides on all aspects of conservation project planning (though not specific to National Red Lists, aspects of this might be useful for consideration in a National Red List project). Find out more here.