24 November 2017

New integrated HCV-HCSA assessment manual launched to identify social and environmental values in production landscapes


New integrated HCV-HCSA assessment manual launched to identify social and environmental values in production landscapes

Until now, HCV and HCSA assessments have been carried out separately by different teams and often at different times. This can be inefficient in terms of cost and time, and multiple teams conducting consultations can be a cause of confusion for stakeholders. By integrating these assessments, it is anticipated that assessments will become more efficient in terms of team deployment and cost reduction. 

The HCV-HCSA integration process began in 2015 with the creation of a Working Group to explore the technical integration between the High Conservation Value; the High Carbon Stock Approach and the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). This group produced the HCSA Toolkit Module 3: Integration of HCV, HCSA and FPIC, which provides an overview on delivering the HCV, FPIC and HCSA processes simultaneously in the field. From here, it was decided that an integrated assessment system would be required for these different processes, and that these assessments should be led by an ALS-licensed assessor and must adhere to ALS rules and procedures. It was therefore agreed that a more detailed technical manual on integrated assessments was necessary. 

After supporting on drafting the first version of the manual, Proforest led on a 30-day public consultation of the HCV-HCSA manual with diverse stakeholders including HCSA and HCV practitioners, companies, NGOs and social and environmental experts. These comments, totalling nearly 300, were then edited by Proforest to integrate and negotiate between diverse calls for more detailed prescriptive guidance and suggestions for more flexibility. In addition, targeted consultation with key experts was carried out on specific areas such as social issues and HCSA.

Whilst the manual is primarily designed to provide assessment teams with step-by-step guidance on the integrated HCV-HCS assessment process, it will also be valuable for organisations commissioning HCV-HCSA assessments and other stakeholders interested in the technical aspects of the assessment process and the details of HCVRN ALS quality control.

Since HCV-HCSA integrated assessments are still relatively new, lessons are continually being learned on how to best conduct these assessments on the ground. It is therefore likely that the manual will be periodically updated according to practical field testing. Nevertheless, its launch represents a significant step towards more efficient, more effective systems for identifying and protecting social and environmental values in production landscapes.

To download the document, visit the HCVRN website.