Using IUCN Best Practice Principles to Evaluate National Park Management: A Zambia Case Study


  • John Holland Massey University, New Zealand
  • Trisia Farrelly Massey University, New Zealand
  • Ackim Mwape New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre



Over the last three decades, a series of best practice principles have been advanced by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to guide national park management policy and practice. This study investigates how these best practice principles have informed the management of Zambia’s national parks. We performed qualitative and quantitative thematic content analysis on 23 park management documents and found that, for the most part, the reported performance of Zambia’s national parks is not well aligned with IUCN best practice principles. We argue that improved alignment with IUCN principles can provide a realistic and positive foundation to increase opportunities for national parks to meet their local and international conservation goals. Improved data collection, along with meaningful public access to information will enhance decision making and public participation in national park management. Strengthened public participation will ensure consideration of multiple perspectives and adoption of processes that enable national park authorities to address conservation challenges that span socio-ecological boundaries. Improved capacity building will provide the necessary technical skills and knowledge to ensure effective coordination and implementation. The results show that park management plans are duly submitted with little expectation of implementing them. More often than not, performance reality does not match policy rhetoric. The study highlights the urgent need for national park management to articulate clear goals and action steps with mechanisms to implement them.  





Research Paper