Amphibian RLA: What it is and how it is structured
Much has changed since the days of the Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA), both in terms of coordination of the assessment process and the assessment process itself. Today, the remit of curating and updating the Amphibians on the Red List database falls to the IUCN SSC Amphibian Red List Authority (Amphibian RLA). The Amphibian RLA is a group of people tasked by the Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) with overseeing the process of updating, maintaining and curating amphibian assessments in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (http://www.iucnredlist.org/initiatives/amphibians). The Amphibian RLA is established within the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG), and is considered to be part of IUCN SSC, so RLA members are by definition also IUCN SSC members. Amphibian RLA members are professionals dedicated to the study and/or conservation of amphibians, and who are, at the same time, qualified (through training in the several tools regularly used in amphibian assessments) to assess and review amphibian assessments on the IUCN Red List.
Structure of the Amphibian RLA
The structure of the Amphibian RLA has been changed in a way that both de‐centralizes the process and empowers regional/national groups to take stewardship of their respective global assessments. The Amphibian RLA is comprised of an RLA Coordinator, a Deputy Coordinator, Global RLA members (Tiers I and II) and RLA interns.
The RLA Coordinator is responsible for training in the tools necessary to conduct Red List assessments and evaluations, general coordination of RLA activities, liaising with IUCN’s Global Species Programme, Red List Unit and Amphibians on the Red List partners, and ultimately the overall governance of the Amphibian RLA.
The Deputy Amphibian RLA Coordinator divides her time between the IUCN SSC Chair’s Office and the Amphibian RLA. In the context of her role as Deputy RLA Coordinator she provides general support to the RLA Coordinator, inclusive of training, liaising with Tier I RLAs as needed and supporting Regional and National Working Groups with assessment‐related questions and processes, inclusive of assessment development and review.
Tier I RLA Members are those members who perform global RLA activities on a regular basis over the course of their quadrennial appointment and who act as focal points for their Regional/National Working Groups. Tier I RLA members are requested to establish either National or Regional Working Groups, and act as stewards to their region’s/country’s assessments. They are regarded as equivalent to regional/national coordinators and focal points with regional RLA members.
Tier II RLA Members are typically people who are involved in a national or regional reassessment, and are involved in the reassessments – both global and regional – of their particular region/country. In instances where the number of species to assess/reassess is limited, Tier II RLA members can also contribute by supporting the review process in more speciose areas. Tier II RLA members are also appointed for the duration of the quadrennium. Tier II RLA members would, together with their regional/national Tier I RLA member, comprise their respective regional/national working group.
Amphibian RLA Interns are typically early career biologists who join the Amphibian RLA for short periods of time (usually six month part‐time) to help advance the amphibian database update and/or develop Amphibian RLA tools, such as the Amphibian Assessment Forum. RLA interns have full Tier I RLA rights for the duration of their internship. Amphibian RLA Interns can work on specific projects and depending on the Intern’s interest and the RLA’s need, their internship time can be allocated to a specific orking group.
All Tier I and Tier II Amphibian RLA members need to be ASG members or need to be brought into the ASG prior to commencing their work.
Regional/National Working Groups are groups with either a regional or national focus (i.e. assessing the global assessments for the geographical area in question), which are comprised of at least one Tier I RLA member and one or more Tier II RLA members. The membership and scope (regional or national) of each group will vary depending on 1) the expertise available in the country/region, and 2) the number of species contained within each geographical area.
Geographic or Thematic Task Forces are smaller groups organized within a national or regional working group that focus on a particular taxonomic (e.g. family or genus level) group or geographic [e.g. country (in the case of a regional group), state or provincial levels] area.
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