Bruce Jefferies running Open Standards workshop in Thailand
Bruce Jefferies running Open Standards workshop in Thailand

The Conservation Coaches Network (CCNet) is an interconnected community of conservation practitioners whose mission is to catalyze transformational conservation by empowering people to develop, implement, evaluate, adapt and share effective strategies that achieve tangible conservation results benefiting people and nature all over the world. CCNet recognizes that conservation is only achieved when community leaders, scientists, resource managers, and all key stakeholders with an interest in the outcome are engaged and work collaboratively toward long-term solutions. CCNet Coaches bring people together in ways that honor the diverse expertise and knowledge of a group and foster a collaborative, effective and productive environment for good decision-making and shared learning. CCNet trains Conservation Coaches in the Open Standards for Conservation Practice — a flexible science-based approach to conservation planning. Taking a page out of the open source computer program movement, these conservation “standards” provide a free, common structure that practitioners can use to manage their work and learn from each other across organizational, geographic, cultural, temporal or spatial barriers. A Global Network In thousands of places around the world, from the indigenous peoples movement in Australia to go back “on country” to the sustainable forestry efforts in rural British Columbia and the grazing cooperatives of Kenya, CCNet Coaches have been helping local people, governments and NGOs work together to find the best ways to manage and sustain what they value for future generations. However, CCNet’s strength goes well beyond these site-level success stories. Because all of the coaches and practitioners in the network follow the common language of the Open Standards they are able to capture, communicate, learn and share what is working worldwide. A coach with knowledge of proven wetland restoration techniques in Florida, for example, can easily share successful strategies with a team working in China, or a coach in Australia can contact a coach in Africa to learn about participatory mapping techniques. CCNet coaches are linked and regularly connecting with scores of other coaches, ensuring that this knowledge sharing is happening across organizations, countries and continents.

“CCNet coaches have played a key role in bringing people together and encouraging real collaboration in the building of good focused, conservation strategies. These are being successfully implemented on the ground in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The coaches network has not only provided some support for these efforts, but it is also helping various organizations around Africa, including our own, to develop ever stronger collaborative strategies for improving conservation efforts. And not just in Africa, but in other parts of the world.” — Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace


Mozambique September 2013 Photo by Gustavo Gatti and Anita Diederichsen
Volunteer coach and participants identifying critical connections between the needs of the community and the health of the natural systems. Photo by Gustavo Gatti and Anita Diederichsen.

Interested in enhancing the wellbeing of local populations and ecosystems in Mozambique, governmental and non-governmental organizations have joined forces to chart a course of action for a brand new coastal and marine protected area, Primeiras e Segundas. With the support of two volunteer coaches, 37 participants representing 21 institutions—including national and district government departments, universities, non-governmental organizations, and community fishermen came together for their first working session in September 2013. In this session they developed their shared vision and targets and articulated their common understanding of threats Drawing from concepts that link human wellbeing and ecosystem health in the newly released Open Standards 3.0 and Guidance Addressing Social Results and Human Wellbeing Targets in Conservation Projects, participants were able to highlight targets that provide essential benefits to society including food, health, quality of life, income, basic supplies and resources, artistic inspiration, and climate stability. The targets that the participants identified included: Coastal Forest, Mangrove, Coral Reefs, Carnivorous Fishes, Herbivorous Fishes, Shrimp, and Marine Turtles, Dolphins, and Whales. All of these targets were recognized as important to the well-being of the community because of their connections to fisheries, hunting, agriculture, tourism, and/or water quality.

The team’s next steps will include reaching out to other experts to help further refine their understanding of these conservation targets and threats to their long-term health and to build effective strategies for management of the new national park.