The Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS) is run by the High Conservation Value Network (HCVN) Secretariat with oversight from the HCVN Management Committee. It was created in 2014 to assure the competency of HCV assessors and the quality of assessment reports by issuing licences to qualified assessors to lead HCV and/or HCV-HCSA assessments, providing guidance and templates, evaluating assessment reports produced by licensed assessors; and engaging in regular communication with ALS participants. This is tied to the larger objective of the Network to ensure the consistent use of the HCV Approach and to contribute to the conservation of environmental and social values in commodity production settings.

Since its creation, the HCVN has conducted periodic reviews of the ALS which has helped contribute to improvements over time. In 2021, an independent review of the ALS was commissioned to provide recommendations for continuous improvement.

The review aimed to address the following areas as per the Terms of Reference:

  1. Identify short-, medium-, and long-term opportunities for ALS improvement.
  2. Assess results and impacts based on objectives (as per the ALS Specification).
  3. Consider how effective the ALS has been in contributing to the HCV Network’s mission and provide recommendations on how it could further contribute.
  4. Recommend how the ALS can be strengthened and/or complementary ways of assuring quality of HCV and HCV-HCSA assessments.  

This rapid review took place between April 7th – 30th 2021 and is based on a survey, key stakeholder interviews and an analysis of organizational documents. The main stakeholders involved in the review included: Licensed Assessors, Quality Panel Members, partner organisations, and HCVN Secretariat staff.

Results show that overall, the ALS has delivered on its objective of improving the competency of Licensed Assessors and the quality of HCV and HCV-HCSA assessment reports.  However, there is room for improvement especially in terms of consistency, timeliness, transparency and learning.

Many of the report’s recommendations need further discussions and/or research to prioritize strategies and solutions. The HCVN Secretariat will create an Action Plan to respond to these recommendations linking to the overarching strategy and participatory HCV Network Roadmap development process that focuses on the shared goal of Members, partners and stakeholders – protecting HCVs. Some improvements can be made in the short term over the next month or two whilst others will take more planning to implement.     

The Secretariat welcomes feedback on the report from any interested stakeholders via this comment form. If you are interested in participating in the implementation of improvements, please consider joining the ALS Working Group for Licensed Assessors and Quality Panel Members, or our Grower Discussion Group (contact Haryo).

Download the report here: