From 5-7 June 2023, the ATSEA-2 Project conducted an assessment using the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) in Com Village, Timor-Leste. Working in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), this assessment aimed to evaluate the extent to which Nino Konis Santana National Park (NKSNP) has successfully achieved its goals and benefited the coastal communities in the surrounding area.  

The ATSEA-2 Project is actively engaged in improving the management of NKSNP. In order to achieve these aims and objectively measure progress, METT provides a standardised set of criteria and indicators that measure the effectiveness of MPA management. Some common aspects evaluated by METT include legality and policy, institutional frameworks, management personnel, funding and operational management.

Focus Group Discussion with local community in Com Village, Timor-Leste

The assessment involved the participation of 37 stakeholders, including government officials from fisheries and forestry departments at the municipal level, local security guards from the marine police and forest guard, and village heads from Com, Lore and Tutuala. To complete the assessment, focus group discussions (FGDs) were held with members of coastal communities, while interviews were conducted with representatives from the NKSNP management authority and Conservation International.

To obtain the METT score results, participants in the FGD were required to answer 38 multiple choice questions, with values ranging from 0 to 3. The assessment yielded a score of 46, indicating an almost two-fold improvement compared to the previous baseline assessment in 2014, which had a score of 24. The improved levels of performance are indicative of substantial progress made in managing the NKSNP. This improvement can be attributed mostly to the coastal communities who have demonstrated a strong understanding of regulations and actively comply with them to ensure the sustainability of the NKSNP. 

While this progress is commendable, the assessment identified certain areas that require further attention, particularly in regard to management personnel. To address these issues, the establishment and adoption of the NKSNP Management Plan is recommended, in order to provide a structured framework for guiding management activities. Additionally, capacity-building initiatives should be implemented to equip the NKSNP management authority with the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfil their responsibilities effectively.

Enhanced management effectiveness of the NKSNP underscores the importance of community engagement and compliance. Moving forward, it is crucial to sustain this progress by continuing to involve coastal communities in decision-making processes and promoting their active participation in the management of the park. Regular assessments using tools like METT will further aid in monitoring and evaluating the ongoing effectiveness of management efforts.

By Deti Triani and Ni Luh Putu Yulia Dewi