Red List assessments based on the IUCN methodology need to follow proper scientific practice and are subject to peer-review. This is true for the global assessments as well as the national assessments. A typical IUCN Red List assessment process generally consists of a number of steps:
- Pre-assessment: an overview of all available nation-wide information for the species to be assessed is compiled.
- Assessment: the information is used to assess the extinction risk of the species according to the IUCN Criteria and to assign the relevant Category. The assessment process is thoroughly documented, such that decisions and assumptions can be evaluated during the review process.
- Review and consistency check: the assessment is checked by independent reviewers for proper application of the criteria, proper application of scientific standards and consistent interpretation of Red List terms and definitions.
- Publication: the Red List website is updated at pre-set intervals and any new assessments will be published during the next update.
Supporting information – Red List assessments need to be extensively documented and require descriptive as well as quantitative information. The IUCN Red List Criteria themselves are quantitative in nature, and each Criterion depends on one or more specific types of data.
Box 2 – Required supporting information for IUCN Red List assessment
|1. Scientific name
||To identify which taxon is being assessed
|2. Higher taxonomy details
|3. Taxonomic authority
|4. IUCN Red List Category and Criteria
||To identify and justify the current status of the taxon
To allow basic analysis
|5. Rationale for the Red List assessment
|6. Data that show that the Red List Criteria have been met
|7. Areas of occurrence
|8. Geo-referenced distribution data
|9. Direction of population trend
|11. Suitable habitat utilised
||Provide all sources of data and information used
|13. Details of assessors and reviewers
||To acknowledge those involved
To demonstrate the appropriateness of the assessment and review process
Data management – Following the Red List assessments, the assigned Categories and Criteria from all assessments, as well as their complete documentation are ideally stored in a database that can be updated as the need arises. Currently, the National Red List assessments are stored and managed in IUCN’s global Species Information Service (SIS). Information is extracted from the SIS and presented on this website.
Roles in the Red List process – While a legal framework for the National Red List is in place in North Macedonia, a framework for planning and implementing the Red List assessments, e.g. a Red List steering committee, is currently absent. To conduct individual species assessments in practice, three types of involvement are needed: contributors, assessors and reviewers. Contributors are persons or national institutions that provide data, but are not involved in conducting the actual assessment. Assessors are usually national experts on certain taxonomic groups that are conducting the assessments, and usually also provide at least part of the data. Ideally, assessors are trained by IUCN to properly apply the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria at the national level. Reviewers are preferably experts on the species for which they are reviewing the assessment, but of primary importance is their familiarity with the IUCN Red List methodology.
IUCN ECARO has been involved in the first phase of the National Red List as a surrogate steering committee in order to provide guidance and training throughout the process. It produced a “National Red Lists for Species Conservation in North Macedonia”, and conducted a 4-day Red List Assessor training workshop in Skopje in April 2018. Thirty-five experts from NGOs, universities, private sector and government in North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia attended the workshop, supporting the exchange of red-listing experience from across the region. Using lectures, hands-on group-work tasks and knowledge tests, the workshop provided the participants with an in-depth understanding of the process of assessing the extinction risk of species, covering the data requirements, the assessments methodology, available tools, spatial representation, and data management options. A discussion session on how the newly gained information can be used to guide the national red-listing process in the country was held, forming a basis for chalking out the further process. IUCN remains available to be involved in future efforts.