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Assessing the social effects of conservation on neighbouring communities. Guidelines for Department of Conservation Staff

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This document presents a systematic process of identifying, monitoring and responding to the effects of conservation projects on those who live and work in neighboring communities. A checklist of potential effects and possible measures to mitigate negative effects and enhance positive effects are suggested, along with possible indicators for monitoring the effectiveness of mitigation and enhancement strategies.

Social impact assessment (SIA) is the process of analyzing, monitoring and managing the social consequences of development. SIA aims to identify and analyze the ways in which the potential costs and benefits are distributed.

The document is intended for use by staff who have not had specialist training in SIA, mainly program managers. It also helps staff to identify the skills needed for more in-depth assessments and what to seek from external providers when these skills are unavailable in-house.

The document provides guidance on how to identify possible effects; individuals and groups who may experience those effects; possible enhancement and mitigation measures that can be taken to strengthen positive effects and reduce negative ones; and how to monitor effects and the effectiveness of mitigation and enhancement measures. SIA has a wide range of sub-fields involved in the assessment of areas such as: aesthetic effects, community effects, cultural effects, demographic effects, economic effects, gender-specific effects, effects on health, effects on indigenous rights, infrastructural effects, institutional effects, leisure and tourism effects, political effects (human rights, governance, democratization, etc.), poverty effects, resource issues and effects on social an human capital. The primary goal of SIA is to improve decision-making by helping decision-makers anticipate the full range of costs and benefits of alternative courses of action. The secondary goal is to improve the design and administration of policies or projects in order to ameliorate the negative effects and increase the benefits.