How often should I update my conservation strategy?

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This post is in response to a question that was raised in a live session of our Strategy Development for Wildlife Conservation training workshop. The full question(s) with my suggestions are below in case it was useful to the wider community and in case others have some insights that they can share.

What is a good length for a strategy?

I would suggest:

  • 10-20 years for an organisations level strategy
  • 9-12 years for  programme level strategy
  • 3-4 years for a project level strategy

However, the above may vary a lot depending on what the conservation work is focused on, e.g.

  • 4 years for a landscape conservation project strategy
  • 1 year for a capacity building project strategy
  • 6 months for a conservation app development project strategy

How often to update? 5 years? 10 years?

Once you start the work, you only need to update your strategy when it is no longer viable due to new information and changing conditions. I have found that when you first make a new strategy, because it has a weak information base, it will need to be updated many times early on as you learn more about the situation and how you can change it. Then as your understanding grows your strategy becomes much more stable later on - so be ready for and embrace early changes. However, it is important that whenever you update your strategy you do so through project management processes to ensure quick decision making and quality changes. Such processes can be found in the connected Project Management for Wildlife Conservation best practice.

How often to review? 

If new information and changing conditions do not force you to review your strategy (i.e. it appears valid) then you may want to review it once a year in any case to give you a chance to improve it.

Hope that helps, but I am sure others in the community could add more.

Adam Barlow

Executive Director, WildTeam UK

I help run a UK charity that builds the capacity of conservationists to plan, implement, monitor, and report on their work. I also have a fair bit of experience in tiger and sea turtle conservation.
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