Wetland Resources Action Planning (WRAP) Toolkit

An integrated action planning toolkit to conserve aquatic resources and biodiversity by promoting sustainable use

Coordinated Implementation


A clear distinction is needed between Development of Integrated Action Plans (2.1 of the WRAP toolkit) and subsequent Coordinated Implementation where all actions included in IAPs are scrutinized for consistency with overarching principles of biodiversity conservation and the wise-use of aquatic resources, feasibility, conditions required for success and possible threats. Integrated Action Plans should ideally retain all (reasonable) proposals originating from stakeholders during the formulation process so as to reflect the multiple perspectives regarding problems being encountered by disparate stakeholder groups and the diversity of responses conceived at different geographic and administrative scales. Approaches to facilitate Coordinated Implementation were drawn from a range of sources and summarised in a HighARCS project guidance document ‘Guidelines for planning and reporting on implementation and monitoring strategies agreed for IAPs for HighARCS sites in China, India and Vietnam’ (Bunting et al., 2012) to ensure similar approaches were invoked across the different study sites.

Building on rapport and working relationships established during the IAP development phase, the approaches presented here such as SMART, STEPS and SWOT should be applied to prioritise actions and identify conditions needed to proceed with successful implementation. Actions not suited to immediate implantation should not be dropped from IAPs but further refinement in the formulation of the proposed actions may be required, safeguards might be needed or a delay may be necessary to account for seasonal conditions, for example, or to enable other actions or underlying problems to be addressed prior to proceeding. Where consistency checking highlights fundamental problems it might be argued that such actions should be disregarded but this would not address the underlying problem. Through adopting an integrated assessment process (2.1 of the WRAP toolkit) such actions should not be expected in the IAPs but consistency checking could be a useful safeguard, especially where stakeholders representing biodiversity or environmental concerns may not be present in most assessment sites.

Tools and Types of Outputs

Framework to guide IAP implementation, monitoring and evaluation (pdf)

This simple approach to tabulating Activities that would be required to achieve Actions with Independently Verifiable Indicators (IVIs), the Means of Verification (MoV), timescale and crucially who will be responsible for implantation, is a good way to summarise and present Actions for subsequent joint assessment and evaluation.

Framework for IAP compatibility checking (pdf)

It is prudent to reassess whether or not proposed actions are compatible or incompatible with reconciling aquatic biodiversity conservation and livelihoods and socioeconomic development objectives. A simple assessment of Actions proposed in the IAP following Springate-Baginski et al. (2009, p5) guidelines is appropriate in this regard. To alleviate concerns and ensure the process is as transparent as possible it would be advisable to elaborate why certain actions are deemed compatible and others incompatible. Ideally the assessment should be conducted jointly with an array of stakeholders to ensure the assessment incorporates local knowledge and responds to contemporary social and economic realities, and that outcomes stand up to independent scrutiny.

Section 2.2.1 and SMART framework for Action prioritisation (pdf)

A prioritisation matrix or rating exercise for ranking potential actions against different attributes is a good way to make sure a selection of actions are undertaken that fulfil the criteria above and are also likely to yield meaningful outcomes that can be monitored and evaluated. Commonly the SMART mnemonic is used to guide such assessments but there are variations around what this encompasses (e.g. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Traceable). When reporting on the outcomes of the assessment, it should be specified how this matrix was completed and what measures were agreed on to ensure the reliability of scores given.

STEPS framework for IAP feasibility assessment (pdf)

STEPS (Social, Technical, Environmental, Political (or Institutional) and Sustainability) analysis is a useful approach to use to test what conditions and prerequisites may be required before it is possible to proceed with the implementation of specific actions and activities from IAPs. Based on such an assessment, it may be necessary to coordinate implementation with seasonal conditions or seek further clarification on the constitutional basis for what is being proposed. Sustainability is used here to refer to measures to ensure the long-term viability of planned actions, for example, an investment fund to ensure continued operation and maintenance.

SWOT framework for IAP feasibility assessment (pdf)

The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) framework is widely applied to assess the potential of new proposals and modified management regimes. It has potential in assessing both actions and specific sub-activities and the overarching situation with regards IAP implementation. The framework adopted for HighARCS can be used to synthesise and summarise SWOT analysis outcomes. Definitions to inform the completion of the framework are presented here:

Strengths - Internal aspects of the proposed IAP implementation process that may help the IAP (an activity or objective) to be a success
Weaknesses - Internal aspects of the proposed IAP implementation process that may stop the IAP (an activity or objective) from being a success
Opportunities - External aspects of the IAP implementation process that could be exploited or engaged with, that may help the IAP (an activity or objective) be a success
Threats - External aspects of the IAP implementation process that could hinder or stop the IAP (an activity or objective) from being a success

Logframe for IAP activity planning and monitoring (doc)

A logframe-based approach to planning can assist in structuring the facilitation of IAP implementation and monitoring the resulting activities and achievements. Logframe Outputs may be considered the same as discreet Actions proposed in IAPs and various logframe Activities will be needed to achieve logframe Outputs. Identification of appropriate Verifiable Indicators and Means of Verification should contribute greatly to planning appropriate monitoring and evaluation approaches. Assumptions and risks are also made explicit. Furthermore, each goal, purpose, output and activity should be considered in relation to the ways they impact differently on men, women, boys and girls.

Gantt chart for IAP activity planning and monitoring (doc)

An appropriately detailed timetable or Gantt chart can be developed to coordinate activities and provide a transparent basis for monitoring progress.



Monitoring is a crucial aspect of any action planning process. There are two types of ‘monitoring’ incorporated within this toolkit:

  1. Results Monitoring – Monitoring the effectiveness (or success) of the activities, to identify if they having the desired effect. For example, monitoring water quality, if the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) activities are targeting the reduction of water pollution.

  2. Process Monitoring – Monitoring the implementation of the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) activities, rather than the results. For example, monitoring the project interactions with stakeholders, that activities are running on time, and external influences.

In both cases, if set up and adopted correctly, monitoring will provide feedback to inform the development of any changes that may be needed to improve the actions/activities implementation or desired impact.

Results monitoring (and also some process monitoring) is built around ‘indicators’, which are measures that can be monitored, and can be quantitative or qualitative, and will reflect if your action/activity is achieving its aim. This monitoring section focuses on the monitoring of the IAPs once they have been developed. Indicators (for activity results and some processes) will already have been identified through the IAP development phase (2.2 of the WRAP Toolkit). Process monitoring is much less formal than results monitoring and can be done using a variety of methods, from keeping reflective journals, or formal records of meetings and stakeholder interactions. The purpose is to provide qualitative evidence to identify where the problems implementing the activities are arising.

In an integrated action plan, it is also imperative that the monitoring strategy is designed using an integrated approach, i.e. by experts from different disciplines (e.g. conservation, livelihood, economics, policy, etc). This will allow a single well designed indicator to collate information that is useful to multiple disciplines. The ‘Monitoring tools selection matrix’ is a key tool in this aspect.

The results and process monitoring findings will then be used in the following ‘Evaluation’ stage of the WRAP toolkit to identify any corrective actions that may need to be taken.

Tools and Types of Outputs

Activity Planning Logframe (doc)

The Activity Planning Logframe is an implementation and monitoring tool (also in the co-ordinated implementation section) to facilitate project planning. In terms of monitoring it requires the identification of ‘verifiable indicators’ for the IAP Goal, Purpose, Actions and Activities.

Gantt Chart (doc)

A Gantt Chart is visual tool that allows the monitoring of activities against time by indicating a and finish date. This is an implementation and process monitoring tool and can be found in the co-ordinated implementation section.

Monitoring tools selection matrix (word &pdf)

This is a key tool in the management of monitoring indicators. It is a matrix that promotes an integrated approach to, and therefore efficient, data gathering for activity results (and process) indicators. In addition there is scope to link the proposed monitoring activity with ecosystem services that are likely to be affected and potentially enhanced owing to implementation.

IAP Process Monitoring – purpose and methods (pdf)

Describes in more detail what process monitoring is and the reasons for undertaking it. The document also provides examples including proformas (from Lewins 2004) to aid in application of process monitoring.


Lewins, R. (2004) Evaluating action planning for enhanced NRM in PU Kolkata - developing the draft process monitoring tools. Oxford, UK.



All work plans established for the action plans include a time frame within which the planned outputs and targeted results or impacts are expected to be achieved. At the end of that period, as the last step of the action planning process, a joint evaluation is arranged. The purpose is to compare the observed outputs, results and impacts achieved to outputs, results and impacts expected.

To do so, events such as final stakeholder workshops or small group sessions with the stakeholder groups which have been involved or impacted by specific actions at the sites can be arranged. But other settings such as household interviews or focus group discussions can also be used for evaluation purposes.

For such events, it is important that they have been agreed to at the start of the action plan implementation, and that they are announced to all well in advance and subsequently organised jointly with all the stakeholders. In practice, this may not always be possible, but then the evaluation should be planned at least in close collaboration between the research team and the local partner having the main responsibility for the implementation of the given action plan.

It is also important that the purpose and procedure of the evaluation is clear to all participants before commencing the actual evaluation. What do we mean by evaluation? What do we want to evaluate? By which (or whose) criteria? What do we need to know to do it? The basic task is of course is to assess whether the expected outputs, results and impacts were achieved or not. But it might also be interesting to try to reflect with the participants about how to explain the positive (or unsatisfactory) results, in order to become wiser and identify follow-up actions.

In practical terms, the setting should be carefully thought about to make sure all participants are comfortable in speaking out. The actual organization of the evaluation must fit the local setting. Should you organise a round table plenary inside an office building with presentations and discussions of results, or would it be more relaxed and productive to make observations and have discussions as you walk together to visit the site of the action plan? Are the involved stakeholder groups comfortable in sitting together, or would it be better to sit down with each of them in focus groups or by use of household interviews?

If you have opted for a formal stakeholder workshop, then it requires that you anticipate the need for a division of roles where competent facilitators and rapporteurs should be identified beforehand. The detailed organisation of the meeting should be done with them.

Some tools and frameworks for this are listed in the next section.

Tools and Types of Outputs

The tools used for the evaluation mostly fall within the following categories:

  • Guidelines for the organisation of meetings and choosing the setup
  • Tables and outlines for structuring the evaluation process (which questions to ask)
  • Techniques for supporting the participants in answering the questions

There are many general guidelines available for Participatory Evaluation on-line already, such as the PLA notes series of the IIED at http://pubs.iied.org/14618IIED.html; the German Development Institute (former GTZ) guide on Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PAME) at http://www2.gtz.de/Dokumente/oe44/ecosan/en-guide-participatory-monitoring-evaluation.pdf, or the guidelines on Communicating and Reporting on an Evaluation from the Catholic Relief Services at http://www.crsprogramquality.org/storage/pubs/me/MEmodule_communicating.pdf.

At the HighARCS project we have been inspired by such guidelines. To fit our own situation, we have provided a brief on organising final stakeholder workshops. Moreover, suggestions for the site teams to reflect on the outcomes and why they turned out the way they did, as well as templates for tables summing up the lessons learned from the action plans have been used.

Examples of how they have been applied by the site teams, and which techniques they have actually used, will be uploaded when they have been reported.

1.0 Integrated Approach

How to integrate action planning research and implementation across disciplines to avoid duplication and contradictory results and practices


2.1 Wetland Assessment

How to assess the biodiversity, livelihood, and ecosystem services values and identify policy and conflicts at a wetland site


2.2 Development of Integrated Action Plans

How to work with stakeholders to identify and implement actions needed at a wetland site


2.3 Implementation, Monitoring & Evaluation

How to develop monitoring and evaluation of the processes and action plans put in place

Impacts and Outcomes

Wetland Assessment
Development of Action Plans
Implementation, Monitoring & Evaluation
To be developed

Wetland Assessment
Development of Action Plans
Implementation, Monitoring & Evaluation