Environmental Management System Audit Projects

Project Overview

The Monitoring Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI) framework has been applied to a number of Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) programs across Australia. Subsequently, the NRM MERI Plan, Australian Government Natural Resource Management, Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement Framework report has been developed, enabling a number of Aboriginal organisations to objectively evaluate their cultural and Natural Resource Management (NRM) performance.  Ecobalance has been contracted to facilitate program evaluation throughout NSW, VIC and QLD. These projects have formed the basis of an ongoing annual review process.

Our Role

Ecobalance was engaged to facilitate and assist a number of Aboriginal organisations across Australia to assess, evaluate and report of their IPA program performance. The objectives of these projects were to:

  • Provide the Federal government with a report that evaluates Natural Resource Management (NRM) performance; 
  • Assist each Aboriginal organisation in achieving their vision through the adaptive and innovative review process;
  • Enable improved communication and understanding of how NRM objectives will be achieved;
  • Outline NRM actions for improving management;
  • Develop a scope of works and budget that forms the basis of revised annual project plan.


The NRM MERI approach is based on a theory of change that models the steps involved in moving from a current situation to a desired outcome. It is underpinned by continuous tracking, which provides information to help steer a policy, program or priority area in the desired direction. Applying the MERI Framework has made change transparent so that all parties can learn, through reflection and discussion, which interventions are most appropriate, effective and efficient. Its four components—monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement—support a ‘learning by doing’ approach to evaluation. The MERI processed is viewed as a continuous cycle of participation and communication rather than as a single evaluation event. 


Geelong VIC, Gold Coast QLD, Dorrigo NSW, Guyra NSW, Australia.


Wathaurong Cooperative, Ngarang-Wal Gold Coast Aboriginal Association Inc, Banbai Enterprise Development Aboriginal Cooperation, Dorodong Association.