2008-13 programs and MERI
Programs funded under Caring for our Country 2008-13 should still refer to the previous MERI reporting requirements.
As part of the Australian Government’s commitment to accountability, reporting on program outcomes and adaptive management in natural resource management (NRM) and biodiversity conservation, a suite of new documents have been developed to support MERI over the next 5 years.
The purpose of these documents is to assist funding recipients with the monitoring, evaluation and reporting requirements of Caring for our Country and Biodiversity Fund. They will support the collection and reporting of data and information about the NRM and biodiversity conservation efforts that the NRM community delivers.
The following range of practical resources will help you, the NRM and biodiversity conservation practitioner, contribute to building a better understanding of how Australia is managing its natural resources and conserving biodiversity.
Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement Strategy: Caring for our Country and Biodiversity Fund
This is essential reading for all Caring for our Country and Biodiversity Fund recipients. This high level document outlines the broad objectives, principles, and approach of MERI and outlines the roles and responsibilities of funding recipients and the Australian Government. Caring for our Country or Biodiversity Fund recipients are encouraged to read this document prior to developing their project MERI plan.
Program MERI Plans - Sustainable Environment, Sustainable Agriculture
Project MERI Plan Templates
The following templates are provided for Caring for our Country and Biodiversity Fund recipients. As outlined in Funding Agreements, funding recipients are required to complete and submit a MERI Plan for approval by the department. The following MERI plans are available to download.
Community Environment Grants
Target Area Grants
Condition Change Monitoring Field Guides
In addition to reporting on the activities undertaken and Project Outputs delivered, funding recipients are encouraged to undertake monitoring and evaluation to demonstrate Project Outcomes – i.e. the impacts of their activities.This may include for example, demonstrated change in condition of an environmental asset or increase in organisational capacity. The MERI budget component of Funding Agreements can be used to support such activities.
Data and information gathered through these monitoring activities can help projects understand the success of their project, and will be used by the department to report progress of the program, including against the KPIs set out in the Program MERI Plan (above). An Ecological Monitoring Guide was developed for the Biodiversity Fund but would also be useful for Caring for our Country projects. Further monitoring guidance documents will be made available here as they are finalised.
Other MERI Resources
Demonstration Online MERI Tool
A key feature of the new MERI process is that funding recipients will soon be able to report via an Online MERI Tool. This tool is being developed in collaboration with the Atlas of Living Australia. A demonstration version of the tool is now available and currently includes recently reported data from Biodiversity Fund Round One projects to show how project information will be presented publicly. This tool will allow funding recipients to record and upload data about the progress of their projects on a continual basis and submit reports online. It will also increase information sharing within NRM communities and the broader public. Some data and information required by the Australian Government for contractual purposes will remain private.
As in the past, the Australian Government will require reporting against standard project output measures that capture information about the activities and outcomes set out in the funding agreement. The Online MERI Tool will require reporting against these standard measures, and also enable funding recipients to upload other information about their project, including implementation of activities set out in the Project MERI Plan.
While funding recipients cannot add data to the tool yet, development continues and it is anticipated that the tool will be available for use in late 2013. Guidance on how to use the tool will also be provided online.