Biodiversity programming should be based on sound science to achieve tangible and sustainable results. Understanding both the current condition and changing trends in biodiversity is an essential foundation for designing conservation strategies and measuring their effectiveness. USAID works with experts across academia, the private sector, and within USAID and other U.S. Government agencies to strengthen development impacts.
Chapters Three and Five of the Biodiversity and Development Handbook present principles for effective conservation as well as USAID's experience with major conservation approaches. These Chapters benefited greatly from peer review by colleagues from the conservation community as well as within USAID.
Evaluations in Biodiversity Programming
Evaluation is critical to understanding the effectiveness of development investments, and supports learning and improved accountability. USAID defines evaluation as the systematic collection and analysis of information about the characteristics and outcomes of programs, projects and activities.
In the biodiversity conservation sector, project evaluations may be especially important as the ultimate expected results of a given project, such as increased wildlife populations, may take years to be measurable.
Well-designed evaluations can provide valuable information to biodiversity practitioners. In addition to assessing the results achieved by a particular project, they can improve the implementation and adaptive management of current projects, inform the design of future programs and contribute to the global body of knowledge about the effectiveness of conservation approaches.
Evaluations can take different forms, and occur at different points in the program cycle. More information about the role of evaluations in biodiversity programming can be found in Chapter 2 of the USAID Biodiversity Handbook 2015. Additional USAID resources for evaluations can be found on USAID’s Learning Lab.