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Realization

When implementing the BAP it is important that you celebrate successes. You will also need to monitor progress and evaluate results.

Low-hanging fruit first

The BAP may have resulted in a large number of activities that can be undertaken. Some of these activities will be more expensive than others and their political feasibility may vary. Start with activities that can be easily achieved in terms of both cost and political feasibility (the low-hanging fruit). There is the chance that successful completion of these activities will increase political support for other activities, which will mean that they will also become easier to achieve.

Celebrating successes

Celebrating joint successes is a proven means for ensuring the circle of enthusiastic participants is as wide and as active as possible. Finalise the ideas stage by for example presenting envisaged objectives and actions at a meeting attended by citizens, businesses and government representatives. Securing the commitment of the authorities is a good starting point for implementing the plan.

It is exciting for participants in the process to hear how ‘their’ BAP has been taken forward. A successful project with happy people is a highly effective way of transmitting enthusiasm, and this energy can stimulate others to take up the initiatives that you have started.

 See also: Sharing experiences through town-twinning

Monitoring and evaluation

The manuals emphasize the importance of monitoring and evaluation, although these aspects are often neglected in practice. Due to the participatory nature of the BAP, the involvement of participants in the BAP process of monitoring and evaluation is a matter of course.

Make sure it is clear who is responsible for monitoring what area of the BAP and how. This should preferably be coordinated by the BAP team, and it is therefore important to ensure this team is comprised of a small, enthusiastic group of people. An annual, onsite meeting to look at and discuss the results of the BAP is one way to keep people involved and to ensure the implementation of the BAP remains close to the end users of the site in question.

Monitoring the progress of projects is relatively easy by checking whether the planned activities are running to schedule, although monitoring the biodiversity or the ecosystem services in an area is more challenging.

Ask the users of the ecosystem services about the state of affairs. Are the planned services actually being delivered and can any trends be observed? Input from experts can also be sought. These experts may be from among the participants themselves (such as waterboards if the project concerns water quality), but they may also be external (urban ecologists, etc.).

The results for biodiversity can be compared with national or local objectives for biodiversity policy. Local nature groups, possibly supported by a specialist, can also assist in this review.