The assessment section includes obligations and commitments that relate to gathering and interpreting information on all PA processes and the methods used to do this. It therefore includes monitoring, research, inventories, assessing projects, developing standards and indicators and establishing mechanisms to document knowledge.

Information on the state of a PA should be fed into management; there are, therefore, close links between this section and the one on management, particularly the planning activity of the management section. The assessment and management sections are the two largest sections in the module, reflecting their importance in the PA process.

The assessment section comprises mostly obligations from CBD and Ramsar, although all the other conventions are represented, except for UNFCCC. Activities are ordered by those that directly gather information and those that develop methods for gathering information. They are listed below with a brief description.

  • Assess sites: all one-off assessments of PAs, sites or habitats that provide a measure of the value of that site, including inventories.
  • Assess PA impacts, threats and resources: all one-off assessments of the effectiveness and capacity of PAs and the threats they face.

Monitor PAs: any on-going assessment.

  • Conduct research on PAs: any kind of primary research; increasing understanding of an issue.
  • Document knowledge on PAs: documenting or synthesizing knowledge of PAs.

Develop standards, criteria and indicators for assessing PAs.

  • Develop tools for assessing PAs: includes databases and mechanisms.

There is a close relationship between the first three activities, the only difference being that the Monitor PAs activity specifically deals with assessments of a temporal nature. Any obligations and commitments requesting Parties to assess and monitor were put in the Monitor PAs activity, because monitoring requires an initial assessment.