Terminal Evaluation of Capacity-building for the strategic planning and management of natural resources in Belize

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Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Belize
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
05/2019
Completion Date:
08/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
14,000

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Title Terminal Evaluation of Capacity-building for the strategic planning and management of natural resources in Belize
Atlas Project Number: 00080643
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Belize
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2019
Planned End Date: 05/2019
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Sustainable
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
SDG Goal
  • Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
SDG Target
  • 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
Evaluation Budget(US $): 14,000
Source of Funding: Project
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 15,236
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Jean-Joseph Bellamy Mr.
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Capacity-building for the strategic planning and management of natural resources in Belize
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Multifocal Areas
Project Type: MSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5048
PIMS Number: 4917
Key Stakeholders: Miniistry of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Ministry of Public Service, MInistry of Economic Development
Countries: BELIZE
Lessons
1.

A good design leads to a good implementation, which in turn leads to good project results. There is more
chance for a project well designed to be a success. Every steps of the way count in the success of a project;
it is a lot easier to succeed when all these steps are relevant and clear to be implemented.


2.

A project that is a response to clear national needs and priorities is often highly relevant for beneficiaries and its chance of being implemented effectively are maximized.


3.

Adaptive management is a key management instrument for this type of project, providing the necessaryflexibility to review and reinvent the approach to implement the project as needed to secure project deliverables while maintaining adherence to the overall project design.


4.

Strong leadership from the national executing agency and a project board with all similar projects facilitate collaboration and cooperation among projects and government entities as well as engaging stakeholders resulting in more effective interventions.


5.

Despite not being a GEF requirement for such small size project, the completion of PIRs using the GEF template is a good management practice. It is a tool to measure – and record - the progress made by the project. Over time, it becomes the “memory” of the project, particularly when there are project staff turnover, and it provides good accountability for what the project has achieved.


6.

The application of the UNDP NIM modality is an effective management tool to develop national ownership of projects funded by international donors.


7.

In order to ensure mainstreaming of gender considerations in a project, it is critical that gender-based expected results be part of the project strategy to become part of the implementation of activities as well as part of reporting project progress.


8.

CSOs are often engaged in managing/monitoring natural resources, particularly protected areas and biodiversity protection and conservation. They play a key role in the collection of environmental data. They should be key stakeholders in any initiative strengthening the collection of environmental data.


9.

Reforming the environmental monitoring function in a country is complex and it is not a linear process. It is often mixed with political agendas and a certain resistance to change in existing institutions. A 3-year project timeframe is too short; it does not provide any time contingency for operational and political risks linked to elections, change of government, but also no time to consolidate project achievements before the end of the project.


Findings
1.

3. EVALUATION FINDINGS 

This section presents the findings of this TE adhering to the basic structure proposed in the TORs and as reflected in the UNDP project evaluation guidance. 

3.1. Project Formulation

This section discusses the assessment of the formulation of the project, its overall design and strategy in the context of Belize. 

3.1.1. Analysis of Results and Resources Framework  

The Logical Framework Matrix identified during the design phase of this project presents a detailed set of expected results. No changes were made to the Logical Framework Matrix during the inception phase. The review of the objective and outcomes indicates a good logical “chain of results” – Activities / Outputs / Outcomes / Objective. Project resources have been used to implement planned activities to reach a set of expected outputs (12), which contributed in achieving a set of expected outcomes (3), which together contributed in achieving the overall objective of the project. This Logical Framework Matrix also includes - for the objective and each outcome - a set of indicators with baseline and target values to be achieved by the end of the project. These indicators and targets have been used to monitor the performance of the project. As discussed in Section 2 above, this project is a response to capacity gaps and priorities that were initially identified through the NCSA, which was conducted in 2005. This capacity self-assessment found several critical constraints hampering an effective implementation of the Rio Conventions; it includes poor harmonization and coordination of sectoral policies; inadequately developed environmental information systems; poorly integrated land use planning; and low levels of understanding of the ecosystems approach to resource management. Since 2005, Belize strengthened its environmental policy, legislation and programming frameworks, which all highlights capacity development as a priority for meeting national obligations to the Multi-lateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), including the Rio Conventions. This project responds to this specific cross-cutting capacity development (CCCD) priority. 

The project sought to catalyze a more effective participation in environmentally sound and sustainable development through strengthening institutional and technical capacities for improving monitoring and assessment of environmental impacts and trends, piloting natural resource valuation into environmental impact assessments, and institutionalize sustainable resource mobilization to strengthen environmental outcomes. The project was also designed as a response to address a set of underlying barriers to environmental management, which hampered the goal of meeting and sustaining global environmental outcomes. At the time this project was formulated, the following barriers were identified: - Lack of information and limited understanding among political leaders and the general public about the importance of the protected area system; - Belize had been operating without the benefit of a comprehensive policy and strategy to guide its development; which was leading to inefficient and ineffective institutional arrangements for environmental governance; - The global financial crisis (2008-2009) had prompted budgetary stress that had led public finances to be redirected away from natural resource management and towards social sector stabilization; - Resource constraints at multiple levels are direct barriers to the effective management of natural resources; this includes monitoring and evaluating programmes, projects and processes as well as enforcing existing conservation legislation and regulations;  - The transition of government caused a loss of institutional memory. Furthermore, fragmentation of policies, mandates and responsibilities for sustainable development combined with poor inter-sectoral and inter-agency coordination and communication prevented efficient and effective implementation of the Rio Conventions; - Capacity building was limited to opportunities through projects. There was insufficient training available to Government staff on technical matters as they relate to the Rio Conventions and how the conventions may create net benefits for the country and its citizens. 

The logic model of the project presented in the Logical Framework Matrix is summarized in table 4 below. It includes one objective, three outcomes and twelve outputs. For each expected outcome and the objective, targets to be achieved at the end of the project were identified. The overall project – its rationale, its strategy, its proposed management arrangements and its monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan - was reviewed during the inception phase. No changes were made to the strategy during this start-up phase and stakeholders reconfirmed the relevance of this project to address the existing need to have access to better environmental information and to facilitate the proactive and constructive engagement of decision-makers across environmental focal areas and socio-economic sectors. In the meantime, stakeholders noted at the Local Project Advisory Committee (LPAC) meeting held on November 4, 2014 that some expected results of the project were similar to other projects. As a result, participants to this meeting recommended that this matter will be reviewed to avoid duplication of efforts and overlaps and look for synergies among projects with similar targets. The detailed review of the project document conducted for this evaluation revealed a good project formulation with a detailed set of planned activities, which have been expected to lead to the achievement of a set of expected results (see Annex 1). It also included an extended set of targets to be achieved by the end of the project (see Section 3.2.4). The project strategy was well integrated in national priorities and benefited from an excellent “country ownership”. The high-level engagement of stakeholders in the implementation of the project can be seen in the composition of the Project Board: out of 12 members, no less than 5 members were Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of ministries.  

In the meantime, the review of the project strategy indicates that this project had a large scope with three distinct components, where each one could be a separate project; it is a kind of “3 in 1” project. One component focused on environmental monitoring and environmental information management; the second component focused on the integration of natural resources valuation into the development process through Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs); and the third component focused on resources mobilization to ensure the sustainable implementation of MEAs over the long-term. It was an ambitious project with a large scope, but as a clear response to national priorities and also with the strong ownership of the project by stakeholders, the project was successful in reaching most of its targets. From the start-up, the project was well integrated to activities of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development (MAFFESD). It benefited from a good leadership from the ministry to improve institutional and technical capacities for monitoring and assessment of environmental impacts and trends, for piloting natural resource valuation into environmental impact assessments, and for developing a sustainable resource mobilization for managing natural resources. Overall, the project document has been used as a “blue-print” to guide the project management team through the implementation of the project.  


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Risk Management Theory of Change Capacity Building

2.

3.1.3. Linkages between the Project and Other Interventions  

As detailed in the project document, this project was part of the government strategy to integrate the principles of sustainable development into national processes. It expected that this project would create a critical mass of expertise and capacities necessary to effectively manage natural resources both as a contribution to the country’s sustainable development pathway and the global environment more broadly. 

This project was developed within the emerging framework of national sustainable development planning, which included - at the time of formulation of this project - the development of the national sustainable development strategy. This latter process was supported by the UNDP Country Office (CO) and by sustainable development specialists from UNDESA. In addition, through the assistance from the European Union, the government was also improving its governance mechanisms and the associated institutional structures for climate change management for a more effective coordination and synchronization of UNFCCC related processes in Belize. 

Additionally, the project was part of a portfolio of projects, which were to be monitored by the Sustainable Development Unit of MAFFESD. It was anticipated that this mechanism would ensure that activities supported by different capacity development initiatives would be coordinated; including the Third National Communication process and the GEF-funded Strengthening National Capacities for the Operationalization, Consolidation, and Sustainability of Belize’s Protected Areas System. Furthermore, coordination would also happen through established structures and platforms such as the Natural Resources Environmental Policy Subcommittee, and nationally established technical advisory committees instituted to advise on specific thematic areas including biodiversity, climate change, integrated water resource management, rural development and coastal zone development. 

It was also recognized at the time that this project was formulated, that the amalgamation of natural resource ministries under the MAFFESD provided an easier cross-disciplinary coordination; all relevant natural resource management themes were now managed from within one superstructure. It is also important to note that this CCCD project is part of a continuous support from the GEF to Belize. In particular, it is a follow up project to the GEF funded NCSA conducted in Belize in 2005. The NCSA was an innovative approach through which a GEF recipient country would assess its own capacity needs to implement the Rio conventions; and prepare an over-arching national capacity development action plan to maximize synergies between them and address global environmental issues. The process to conduct a NCSA included a set of five steps: (i) Inception; (ii) Stocktaking Exercise; (iii) Thematic Assessments; (iv) Cross-Cutting Analysis; and, (v) Capacity Development Action Plan and NCSA Final Report.

Based on the three thematic assessments (biodiversity, climate change and land degradation) conducted under this NCSA, six cross-cutting issues related to the implementation of the Rio Conventions in Belize emerged from the cross-cutting analysis. They include: - Convention management: coordination, financing, institutionalization and public awareness; - Human resource management: need to create and enhance capacity; - Environmental information management: data collection, storing, analysis, access and sharing; - Policy formulation and coordination: harmonization and incorporation of environmental economics in policy formulation; - Natural resource management: update existing environmental legislation, update roles and responsibilities of environmental institutions, monitoring and enforcement capacities; - Access to financial resources: capacity to access available resources, identify new national and international sources of funding, mechanism for a more strategic approach to donor support. 

On the basis of these six cross-cutting issues, an action plan was developed comprising three strategic objectives: 1) promote the development of a comprehensive policy and strategy for sustainable development; 2) pursue a legislative programme to effect the new policy and strategy for land and sustainable development; and 3) initiate institutional redress, including restructuring and capacity building, to bring into effect the preceding objectives. Despite that the focus of these three strategic objectives was not on addressing environmental information management per se, this project was still identified as a critical tool to address some of the most cross-cutting critical issues presented above such as environmental information management but also policy formulation and access to financial resources. 


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Biodiversity Natural Resouce management Effectiveness Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Knowledge management Programme Synergy Bilateral partners Capacity Building Data and Statistics

3.

3.1.5. Planned Stakeholder Participation / Gender Considerations 

Project stakeholders were identified and consulted during the formulation phase of the project. The main target group were government ministries and their subsidiary agencies and departments responsible for environmental data collection and monitoring, EIA and SEA processes as well as institutions responsible for national development planning for matters related to the global environment. It was anticipated that these stakeholders would be involved in negotiating the development of new environmental indicators to strengthen the monitoring of environmental impacts and to mainstream Rio Convention obligations within the country’s sustainable development framework. They would also be involved in discussing recommendations for institutional and legislative reforms and in developing capacities of state and non-state stakeholders to more effectively manage the natural resource base, including technical capacities to produce reliable and actionable data for decision-makers involved in the EIA and SEA processes. 

Stakeholders consultations took place during the development of the project concept and during the formulation stage of the project funded by a GEF Project Preparation Grant (PPG). At this time, three ministries were identified as key stakeholders: - Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development: It was identified as the main national executing agency to play the key coordination role in the implementation of the project; - Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture: This ministry would be the main beneficiary of the project through the integration of Rio conventions obligations into their policies, legislation, plans and institutional mandate. This ministry would also coordinate the implementation of the project, particularly in monitoring the progress of the project; and - Ministry of Public Services: Given the ministry’s role in training and development of government staff, it was expected that this ministry would participate in activities supported by the project for the development of capacity of staff. 

Other organizations were also identified as potential participants to project activities; they include: - Other government entities: Ministry of Economic Development; Department of Environment; Department of Fisheries; Coastal Zone Department; Protected Areas Conservation Trust; Association of Protected Areas Management Organization; Belize Association of Private Protected Areas - Non-government organizations involved in natural resources management: NGOs; Civil society organizations; Academia; and Research institutions - Non-state actors who participate in the various convention advisory committees: Association of Engineers, Belize Electricity Limited, Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations, Belize Association of Private protected Areas, Belize Tourism Board, and National Association of Village Council Organizations. - Environmental Research Institute of the University of Belize  

It was noted at the formulation stage that the identified non-governmental and community-based organizations play an integral part in the sustainable development architecture of Belize as they are primary partners in the management of the natural resource base of the country. It is clearly demonstrated by their significant participation in the co-management of the protected areas system in Belize as well as their direct involvement in assisting the government with technical expertise in the management of various threats to biodiversity. 

Finally, key stakeholders have been involved in this project since the development of the project concept and the formulation of the project. A first validation workshop to review the project concept, its strategy and implementation arrangements took place on June 10, 2014. It was followed by a Local Project Advisory Committee Meeting (LPAC) on November 4, 2014 to endorse the final version of the project document, “craft” the roadmap for the implementation of the project and nominate the composition of both the Project Board and the Technical Working Group. The Evaluator also noted that the gender dimension was considered during the formulation stage. It was stated in the project document that “gender mainstreaming would be highlighted as an important project feature, focusing on the disaggregation of data by gender as environmental management tool, and in accordance with the UNDP 2014-2017 Strategic Plan”. Under outcome 1, the project was to pay a particular attention to ensure that gender and other social issue would be appropriately integrated in planning and decision-making processes, including assessing the linkages between gender equality, sustainable development and achievement of Rio Convention obligations. All training activities supported by the project were to ensure appropriate gender balance. 


Tag: Biodiversity Effectiveness Gender Mainstreaming Ownership Civil Societies and NGOs Country Government Private Sector Data and Statistics

4.

3.1.7. UNDP Comparative Advantage 

At the time of the formulation of the project, the interventions of the UN system in Belize were guided by the UN Development Assistance Framework Belize (UNDAF) 2013-2016. It constituted the framework of reference for the collaborative actions of the UN system in Belize for the 2013-2016 period and was anchored in the national development vision and priorities outlined in “Horizon 2030” as well as in sector plans, policies and strategies. This assistance framework identified four broad priorities for UN assistance: 1) advancing human rights with equity, equality and non-discrimination; 2) promoting economic and social well-being, citizen security and justice; 3) environmental and natural resource management, disaster risk reduction and climate change mainstreamed into public policies and development processes; and 4) democratic governance.

Under the third priority “Environmental and natural resource management, disaster risk reduction and climate change mainstreamed into public policies and development processes”, the expected outcome was “By 2017, Public policies and development processes are mainstreamed with cross-cutting environmental, disaster risk reduction and climate change dimensions”. It was recognized that the need to develop a more systematic approach to the issue of unsustainable practices, to rationalize and make more coherent the large number of frameworks, policies, and legislative instruments to ensure better coordination, management and enforcement have been consistently identified as critical in situational analyses of environmental management in Belize. 

Within this assistance framework, UNDP developed its Country Programme Document (CPD) for Belize for the period 2013-2017. This programme was aligned with the four priorities identified in the UNDAF 2013- 2016. Under the environmental priority, the UNDP contribution was “to provide technical support and limited capital assistance to strengthen the capacity of the government and civil society to take informed action on climate change and disaster risk reduction; as well as providing assistance in the development of national programmes and in national fund-raising efforts”. UNDP has been a development partner of Belize since 1982, with the signing of a Standard Basic Assistance Agreement (SBAA) between the Government of Belize and UNDP. Since that date and through its five-year programmes, UNDP has been supporting the development of Belize, including the support to strengthen the management of natural resources. The focus of its programme has been on improving the country’s institutional capacities for sound management of its natural resource base as well as for preparedness and resilience to climatic changes and natural disasters. It also includes the support to national response strategies in the areas of biodiversity, sustainable land management, rural development, integrated water resource management, sound chemical management and adaptation/mitigation strategies to climate change; all to protect the natural resource base. An UNDAF evaluation found that this UNDP support - as part of the UN support to the development of Belize – was highly relevant for Belize in its development of policies and plans associated with the internalization of the three Rio Conventions and the country’s sustainable development agenda. One specific objective of the 2013-2017 programme was to align the management of the country’s natural resource base to the economic development needs of the country. 

In conclusion, UNDP plays a crucial role in helping the government of Belize meet its obligations for environmental protection, providing technical and advisory support for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and management of natural resources, reduction of hazardous chemical waste, climate change-related risks, and other thematic areas, including support to the national protected area system. UNDP support to Belize has included efforts at improving regulatory frameworks which support the integration of MEAs, with an emphasis on the creation and maintenance of cross-thematic synergies and highlighting the poverty-reducing potential of sound natural resource management practices. The CCCD project is part of this effort, supporting Belize in implementing its sustainable development path.  


Tag: Biodiversity Natural Resouce management Effectiveness Project and Programme management Strategic Positioning Country Government

5.

3.2. Project Implementation

This section discusses the assessment of how the project has been implemented. It assessed how efficient the management of the project was and how conducive it was to contribute to a successful project. 

3.2.1. Adaptive Management 

The project has been well managed. The project implementation team followed UNDP and government of Belize procedures for the implementation of the project and used adaptive management extensively to secure project deliverables while maintaining adherence to the overall project design. The review indicates that project achievements are aligned with the project document that was endorsed by stakeholders. The Logical Framework Matrix included in the project document has been used as a guide to implement the project (see Section 3.1.1). An efficient implementation team has been in place, detailed work plans have been guiding the implementation, assignments were conducted with the required participation of relevant stakeholders, progress of the project was well monitored, mostly through quarterly progress reports, which were reviewed by the Project Board. The project was implemented with a good logical process. Each assignment was conducted following welldefined terms of reference and/or feasibility studies. Comprehensive assessments and analyzes were conducted at the beginning of the project to assess existing government instruments and their respective capacities. Then, based on these analyses, capacity gaps were identified and plans of actions to address these gaps were developed and implemented. 

Adaptive management has been used regularly to adapt to a changing environment. The project has been able to navigate through several government changes, including working with four different CEOs and the amalgamation of the Department of Agriculture and Environment with MFFSD to form a new ministry: MAFFESD. A particular difficult period for the implementation of the project was for most of 2016. Following the last general election in early November 2015, a reshuffling of the government occurred in early 2016, including the amalgamation of few government entities to form the MAFFESD. Additionally, the new CEO at the time led the restructuration of the PB of three similar projects by amalgamating these 3 project boards into a unique PB. These changes had - in the short term - a negative impact on the project and necessitated the project team and UNDP to rebuild partnerships with new key stakeholders including new CEOs. However, following a few months of uncertainty, the excellent leadership of the CEO and its ministry (MAFFESD) was able to re-launch an effective implementation of the project during the last part of 2016 and with the use of an adaptative management approach, the implementation of the project was able to get back on track. The new management arrangements with one PB for multiple projects has provided a better coordination of project objectives, which resulted in greater synergies among these projects. 

Overall, the Evaluator noted that the project implementation team was able to work well with four different CEOs (four different PB Chairs) over its lifetime. It benefited from an excellent support from each CEOs and their leadership to guide the project certainly contributed to the effectiveness of this project.  The review conducted for this evaluation indicates that the implementation team was excellent at managing and adapting to these changes over time. When reviewing the scope of the project with its three distinct components focusing on: a) environmental monitoring and environmental information management; b) integration of natural resources valuation into the development process through SEAs; and c) resources mobilization to ensure the sustainable implementation of MEAs over the long-term, it is obvious that it was a complex project with many “moving parts”. It was not an easy project to implement. The global experience of reforming this area of environmental monitoring and decision-making show that it is not an easy and linear process. It is often mixed with political agendas and often some resistance to change in these existing institutions. It was a difficult project to implement and the implementation team demonstrated its capacity to adapt to these changes and secure the delivery of expected results while maintaining adherence to the overall project strategy approved by GEF. 


Tag: Effectiveness Sustainability Global Environment Facility fund Partnership Project and Programme management Theory of Change

6.

3.2.3. Project Finance

As indicated in Section 3.1.8, the implementation modality of the project to allocate, administer and report on project resources is the UNDP support to NIM13 (National Implementation Modality) approach; that is project activities are carried out by the project management team under supervision of MAFFEASD, the national executing agency for the project. The financial records are consolidated into the UNDP-ATLAS system as the accounting and financial system for all UNDP projects. It allows the project management team to obtain financial reports to the last point of data entry. These reports - Combined Delivery Reports (CDRs) - produce financial information broken down by line items such as local consultant fees, travel tickets, printing and publications, utilities, etc. and presented by outcome (three + project management). 

The Evaluator also noted that two micro-assessments of MAFFESD had been conducted during the lifetime of the project: 2016 and 2018. These micro-assessments have been conducted within the context of the commonoperational (harmonized) framework for transferring cash to government and non-governmental Partners also called Harmonized Approach to Cash Transfers (HACT). The purpose of these micro assessments is to assess a Partner’s financial management capacity to determine the overall risk rating and assurance activities. The overall risk assessments of these two micro-assessments were in both cases moderate; though some improvements are noted. The risk for subject areas such as programme management, organizational structure, accounting policies and procedures went from moderate in the first assessment to low in the second assessment. 

Two financial audits of the finances of the project were completed at the time of the terminal evaluation: a first audit for the period 2016-2017 (2 years) and a second audit for the period 2018. Regarding the first audit, the auditors made Qualified Opinions on the statement of expenses and the statement of cash position. The auditors found some discrepancies totaling an overstatement of USD 61,443, which were corrected following the audit. The second audit for 2018 stated an Unmodified Opinion: “In our opinion the Combined Delivery Report (CDR) in Annex 1 presents fairly, in all material respects, the expense of USD 130,611.89 incurred by the project for the period 1 January to 31 December 2018 in accordance with agreed upon accounting policies”. The total approved investment in the project was set at USD 1,402,000, of which USD 759,000 constituted the grant funding from GEF and USD 643,000 to be co-financed.  

GEF Funds  

The review of financial records as recorded in the UNDP Atlas system indicates that over 99% of the GEF grant was expended at the time of the evaluation. It is expected that 100% of the GEF grant will be expended by the end of project in May 2019. The breakdown of project expenditures by outcome and by year is presented in the table below. The review of these financial figures indicates that about 36% of the total GEF grant was expended on outcome 1 that was to produce better environmental information for decision-makers. Another 38% of the total GEF grant was expended on outcome 2 that was to demonstrate natural resource valuation (NRV) and integrate it into the EIA and SEA processes. Another 17% was expended on outcome 3 that was to develop a resource mobilization strategy to sustain the financing of natural resource management in Belize. The remaining expenditures (9%) were expended on project management. When comparing the actual expenditures to the original budget per outcome, slight deviations were observed: overspent by 6% on outcome 1, underspend by 8% on outcome 2, overspent by 7% on outcome 3 and underspent by 3% on project management. 

The actual disbursement profile per year as shown on the diagram above differs slightly from the budget profile detailed in the project document. At the formulation stage it was anticipated that the project would expend about the same amount each year for 3 years. The actual disbursements (see diagram above) indicate a profile whereby the project disbursements were lower during year 1 and year 2 of implementation (respectively 15% and 26% of the total grant). It was followed by a high disbursement in year 3 with over USD 350,000 disbursed (46%); then the fourth year was the completion year (14%). As of mid-May 2019, actual project expenditures are USD 756,716 or just under 100% of the total GEF grant. A remaining amount of USD 2,284 is left to be disbursed/expended during the remaining weeks. Based on the review of project financial reports, the Evaluator confirms that the GEF grant of USD 759,000 will be fully expended by the end of the project. The review of AWP budgets against the yearly actual expenditures (GEF grant) indicates some variances. In particular, the disbursement of only 47% of the budget allocated for 2016 is in line with the issues faced by the project during this year (see Section 3.2.1), which resulted in a slower year than anticipated. However, as indicated in the table below, the rate of disbursement accelerated in 2017. The table below indicates that for the first year, the project spent 80% of the AWP budgets, followed by 47% for the years 2016 and 78% for the peak year of 2017. 


Tag: Efficiency Global Environment Facility fund Government Cost-sharing Operational Efficiency Quality Assurance Risk Management

7.

3.2.4. Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Approach 

A Monitoring Framework and Evaluation Plan was developed during the formulation of the project in accordance with UNDP and GEF procedures. A total indicative cost of USD 34,000 was budgeted, representing about 4.5% of the total GEF grant. This plan listed monitoring and evaluation activities that were to be implemented during the lifetime of the project, including this terminal evaluation. The plan was based on the Logical Framework Matrix that included a set of performance monitoring indicators along with their corresponding sources of verification.

The M&E plan was reviewed during the inception phase and no changes were made to it. A summary of the operating modalities of the M&E plan identified at the outset of the project is as follows: - Performance indicators: A set of 44 indicators with their respective baselines and 54 targets were identified and documented in the Logical Framework Matrix. These indicators and targets were to be used to monitor/measure the performance of the project; - Project Initiation Workshop to review the project strategy and the M&E plan and to instill an understanding and ownership of the project’s goals and objectives among the project team, government and other stakeholder groups. - Day-to-day Monitoring of Implementation Progress, a responsibility of the Project Coordinator, to monitor the implementation of annual work plans and its indicators/targets; - Periodic Monitoring of Implementation Progress, undertaken by the UNDP CO through quarterly progress reports produced by the Project Coordinator; - Annual Monitoring, to occur through annual PB meetings to review the progress of the project, based on annual progress reports prepared by the Project Coordinator; - Independent Final Evaluation to focus on the cost-effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of project implementation and performance; to highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and present initial lessons learned about project design, implementation and management; - Terminal Review to be held by the PB near the end of the project; - Project Initiation Report to be prepared immediately after the initiation workshop and including the detailed first year work plan; - Annual Project Reports / Project Implementation Reports (APR/PIRs), these reports measure the progress made by the project during the past year and overall since its inception. They include a review of the development objective, measuring the progress made - using the performance indicators - to achieve the overall expected objective and outcomes; - Quarterly Progress Reports, a UNDP requirement, these reports are recorded in Atlas. They highlight the progress made during the past quarter and potential challenges faced by the project; - Project Terminal Report, a comprehensive report to summarize all activities supported by the project and outputs achieved as well as lessons learned. - Learning and Knowledge Sharing: Results from the project to be disseminated within and beyond the project intervention zone through existing information sharing networks and forums. - Financial Audit: to be conducted by the legally recognized auditor of UNDP Belize, following UNDP Financial Regulations and Rules and applicable Audit policies.

The set of indicators to measure the progress of the project was reviewed by the Evaluator. The project was approved with a set of 44 indicators, which were presented in the Logical Framework Matrix with their respective baselines and 54 related targets to be achieved by the end of the project. These indicators and targets were reviewed during the inception phase, but no changes were made. The list of indicators and their respective targets are presented in the table below.


Tag: Effectiveness Global Environment Facility fund Government Cost-sharing Monitoring and Evaluation Policies & Procedures Results-Based Management Theory of Change

8.

3.2.5. Contribution of UNDP and Implementing Partner 

 The quality of UNDP implementation and the quality of execution of the MAFFESD - as respectively the GEF implementing agency and the national executing agency of the project - to support the implementation of the project was satisfactory. In their respective area of responsibility, they provided good support to the implementation team to ensure an efficient use of GEF resources and an effective implementation of the project. Both institutions participated actively in the design and the implementation of the project. 


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Global Environment Facility fund Government Cost-sharing Implementation Modality Partnership Policies & Procedures Programme/Project Design Project and Programme management Quality Assurance

9.

3.3. Project Results

This section discusses the assessment of project results; how effective was the project to deliver its expected results, how sustainable these achievements will be over the long-term, and what are the remaining barriers limiting the effectiveness of the project.  

3.3.1. Overall Achievements/Results 

As presented in Sections 3.1, the project has been implemented through three (3) components. The implementation progress is measured though a set of 44 indicators and 54 targets to be achieved by the end of the project. Below is a table listing key results achieved by the project against each expected outcome, using the corresponding targets to measure the progress made. Additionally, a color “traffic light system” code was used to represent the level of progress achieved by the project.

The review of achievements of the project indicates an effective project; it is on track to deliver its expected results by mid-2019. The project was able to achieve what it was intended to achieve. As discussed in Section 3.2.1 the project used adaptive management extensively to provide flexibility in the project’s approach working with partners and related government institutions and adapting to changing conditions. Also, as discussed in section 3.1.1 and 3.1.4, the project is a clear response to national needs and, with stakeholders engaged in all project activities, the project enjoyed a good national ownership. As discussed in Section 3.1.1, the implementation of the project has been divided into three main pathways: 1) Component one focused on environmental monitoring and environmental information management; 2) Component two focused on the integration of natural resources valuation into the development process through Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs); and 3) Component three focused on resources mobilization to ensure the sustainable implementation of MEAs over the long-term. 

The assessment conducted for this TE identified three critical success factors that explain this effectiveness: (i) the project was well designed, responding to national needs and benefitting from a good engagement and participation of stakeholders. It became part of the government response to improve environmental monitoring and management of environmental information, to improve the government’s capacity to value natural resources when conducting environmental impact assessments, and to be able to track environmental/biodiversity impact investments; (ii) a good leadership from MAFFESD to guide and supervise the implementation of the project, including the chairing of the PB and the decision to have a unified PB for all environmental capacity development related projects, and the secondment of 2 staff to the project; and (iii) a good flexibility (using adaptive management) in allocating project resources and implementing activities to be able to respond to stakeholders needs and changes. It is worth noting here that despite four different CEOs and one amalgamation of government entities to form the MAFFESD, the project was still able to deliver its expected results on time and on budget. 

As a result of the implementation of activities supported by the project, Belize is now better equipped to monitor and report on the state of its environment including the alignment with the GSDS, the SDG targets and the reporting obligations of MEAs. It can also better value natural resources when conducting environmental impact assessments, and to be able to track environmental/biodiversity impact investments. Finally, through capacity development activities, skills and knowledge were transferred to staff involved in the implementation of these activities. Considering the list of results presented above, the project delivered most of the results expected at the outset of the project; on time and on budget. It is also important to note that in addition to these tangible outputs, the project also supported several assessments, analyses, and studies necessary to develop such activities as well as guidelines, training manuals, etc.  


Tag: Biodiversity Challenges Coherence Impact Sustainability Knowledge management Ownership Results-Based Management Capacity Building SDG Integration

10.

3.3.3. Relevance

As discussed in chapter 3.1, the project has been relevant for Belize. Its timing was good; it provided the government with additional resources to develop capacities seeking to improve the monitoring of the environment, to make environmental information available to decision-makers, to access tools to be able to value natural resources within the context of development projects and to better track impacts of investments in the environment/biodiversity. The project concept emerged from national priorities to strengthen these areas. 

The project was formulated on the basis of a good review of barriers, issues, capacity gaps and priorities, which were originally identified through the NCSA process in 2005 and analyzed during the PPG phase. This assessment found the management of environmental information, the incorporation of environmental economics in policy formulation and access to financial resources for the management of natural resources were among key barriers hampering the implementation of MEAs in Belize. The lack of environmental data was also highlighted in the 2012 sixth edition of the Environmental Statistic for Belize. It is stated in this report that there are still some data gaps; and they earnestly ask data producers to help close these gaps which are indispensable in better evaluating the state of the natural environment in Belize. 

The relevance of the project can also be found in the Horizon 2030 - National Development Framework for Belize 2010-2030. It is a long-term development framework for Belize representing the consolidated views of many stakeholders. It is not a plan with projects and programmes but a framework within which planning in all sectors is to take place going forward to the year 2030. One strategy of Horizon 2030 is to incorporate environmental sustainability into development planning and strengthen protected areas management. It includes the introduction of natural resources accounting into the GDP of Belize; an area of intervention of the CCCD project with the support to the implementation of a natural resource valuation model in Belize. 


Tag: Biodiversity Natural Resouce management Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Monitoring and Evaluation Policies & Procedures Civil Societies and NGOs Country Government Capacity Building Data and Statistics SDG Integration Voluntary National Review

11.

3.3.4. Efficiency 

As discussed in some sections above, the project has been efficiently implemented. The review of the management and partnership arrangements revealed that the project enjoyed a good collaboration with all key stakeholders with a good participative approach through the PB, as well as constant informal communications through phone, emails, and visits. The project management team prudently allocated project resources. 


Tag: Efficiency Communication Implementation Modality Partnership Technical Support

12.

3.3.5. Country Ownership 

As discussed in other sections of this report, the country ownership has been excellent. The project has addressed key national priorities to make environmental information available to decision-makers. It was designed on the basis of a good contextual review – including national priorities - and it was a response to several barriers, which were identified through the NCSA in 2005. It has been implemented through a good participative approach engaging stakeholders all the way from the design of project activities to their implementation. The project became part of the government agenda to address better access to environmental information through better environmental monitoring but also through the valuation of natural resources to be used when assessing development projects and through tracking the impacts of investments made in the environmental sector, particularly in biodiversity protection and conservation. 

As discussed in other sections of this report, MAFFESD provided an excellent leadership to guide the implementation of the project and provided also critical resources such as the secondment of two staff to lead the day-to-day implementation of project activities and the office space within the ministry for the PMU. It demonstrates the country ownership of the project by national stakeholders. Additionally, the timing of the project has also been a good opportunity to be able to timely collaborate with the Ministry of Economic Development and SIB to develop the national M&E framework to monitor the national sustainable development strategy (GSDS). Finally, one other indicator of this good country ownership is that despite the four changes of CEOs at MAFFESD during the lifetime of this project, the project management team was able to keep stakeholders much engaged in the implementation of the project. 

It is expected that this good country ownership will contribute to the long-term sustainability of project achievements. These achievements are already well mainstreamed into the management systems and instruments used by MAFFESD – including DOE - the Ministry of Economic Development and SIB; they should be sustained over the long-term. Based on observations collected during the field mission for this evaluation, building blocks developed with the support of the project should be sustained over the long term. It has been a successful phase in improving access to environmental information, including a strengthened approach to monitor the state of the environment in Belize; which should provide more accurate and timely information to decision-makers.   


Tag: Effectiveness Sustainability Gender Mainstreaming Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Ownership Poverty Reduction Data and Statistics SDG monitoring and reporting

13.

3.3.7. Sustainability

The sustainability strategy detailed in the project document focuses on the need to ensure that institutional reforms are secured and through Memoranda of Agreement signed between the project and Partners. It was anticipated that these agreements would be over three years – the duration of the project – as an incentive for the active engagement of stakeholders in improving the management of environmental information, particularly global environmental data and information that need to be systematically measured and coded. As a result, it was expected that these arrangements would facilitate the sharing of environmental data and information as well as improving the awareness and understanding of the value of an effective monitoring and evaluation of the global environment.

It is a valid strategy though somewhat lacking some clarity. The strategy relies on securing institutional reforms, when the focus of the project is more on strengthening procedures and mechanisms such as improving the management of environmental information, introducing tools to value natural resources, and tracking the investments made in the environmental sector. Additionally, a key element that was missing in this strategy is the ongoing institutionalization of the project achievements. It was done through a good participative approach whereby key stakeholders were engaged, and leading project supported activities. It resulted in a strong ownership and the almost immediate institutionalization of these achievements, which should contribute to the long-term sustainability of these achievements. 

Before discussing the various risks below, the Evaluator noted that overall project achievements are already well institutionalized within the institutions engaged in monitoring the environment in Belize. DOE is already the custodian of the environmental information platform and its related norms, standards and procedures developed with the support of the project; the M&E framework to monitor the GSDS is with the Ministry of Economic Development and the SIB as the central depository of all official statistics produced in Belize; and the NRV guidelines, the environmental/biodiversity impact investment tracking tool and the roadmap for the development of low carbon strategies are with MAFFESD. In addition, as discussed in section 3.3.5, the good participation of stakeholders throughout the implementation of the project led to a good ownership of results achieved by the project; which will certainly contribute to the long-term sustainability of these achievements. 

Financial risk to Sustainability

There is no particular financial risk to sustainability of project achievements. As discussed throughout this report, the project has delivered “building blocks” for improving the management of environmental information, valuing natural resources, monitoring the national development strategy and tracking the investments impacts in the environment. This is a good step forward. Technologies, tools, methodologies, guidelines, manuals, skills and knowledge are now in place to carry forward. Despite that much more efforts are needed to continue the development of related capacities, no major recurrent costs will emerge after the closure of the project. Project achievements are already owned/institutionalized by their respective custodian organizations. These achievements are aligned with the capacity of these organizations and no recurrent costs to maintain project achievements are out of reach for these organizations. All project assets - such as office equipment - were transferred to the national executing agency as per UNDP guidelines. In addition, the review confirms the government’s commitment to continue to strengthen the areas of intervention of the CCCD project. It has been a priority for the government. All indicators show that these priorities will stay on the government/ministry agenda for the foreseeable future. 

Socio-economic risk to Sustainability

The review indicates that there is no socio-economic risk to sustainability. In the worst-case scenario which would be that the project has a limited impact over the long term, no negative effect is anticipated other than the continuation of the “business as usual” scenario, which would keep the priority needs to be addressed. Nevertheless, the current scenario is that the project has progressed adequately, and it is expected that project achievements will be sustained over the long term. It is a good step forward to improve national capacities to better manage environmental information, to value natural resources and to track impacts of investments in environment/biodiversity. Much more is needed in these areas but the CCCD project supported the development of “building blocks” on which MAFFESD could expand in the future. No socio-economic risks due to this project are anticipated in the future. 

Institutional framework and governance risk to Sustainability

Similar to above, no institutional framework and governance risk to sustainability are anticipated. As discussed earlier, the project is a direct response to address a set of underlying barriers revolving around environmental information systems; access to financial resources; conventions management; and incorporation of environmental economics in policy formulation. A good step forward was made with the support of the CCCD project to acquire new technologies (tools) to better manage environmental information, value natural resources, monitor the national development strategy and track the investment impacts in the environment. It has been accompanied by the development of capacities of staff in the relevant institutions focusing on transfer of skills and knowledge. In addition, data sharing agreements with key institutions to share datasets with MAFFESD and SIB have been drafted and are in the process of being reviewed and should be signed mid-2019. It is anticipated that MAFFESD will continue in the same direction to strengthen its capacity to better monitor and report on the status of the environment in Belize, better assess the potential impacts of development projects on the value of natural resources and better track the investments made in the environmental/biodiversity sector. 

Environmental risk to Sustainability

The review did not find any environmental risks to the sustainability of project outcomes. The project has supported the development of a better environmental information management, the introduction of a tool to value natural resources, a M&E framework to monitor the GSDS and a tracking tool to measure the impact of investments in environment/biodiversity. Ultimately, the achievements of the project that is “to strengthen institutional and technical capacities for: a) improved monitoring and assessment; b) natural resource valuation and impact assessment; and c) resource mobilization”, should have medium and long-term positive environmental impacts over the natural resources in Belize. Better monitoring of the environment, putting a value on natural resources, monitoring the progress made by the GSDS and tracking the investments made in the environment should result/contribute to a more sustainable approach for managing natural resources in Belize.  


Tag: Sustainability Global Environment Facility fund Public administration reform Monitoring and Evaluation Ownership Policies & Procedures Civil Societies and NGOs SDG Integration

Recommendations
1

It is recommended to develop a project concept, including the strengthening of the environmental information to become part of the GEF7 resource mobilization in Belize.

Issue to Address 

Better environmental data is a critical need for environmental management/monitoring in Belize as well as for national development and for international reporting obligations (MEAs and SDGs). The initial GEF7 STAR allocation for Belize is USD 4.6M (USD 1M for climate change, 2.6M for biodiversity and 1M for land degradation). This allocation is fully flexible; that is, it can be programmed across the three focal areas as needed. Under the GEF7 cycle, the funding of the CCCD programme was discontinued. Belize is still at an early stage to plan the use of GEF7 financial resources; hence there are funding opportunities for projects related to the GEF strategies in climate change, biodiversity, and land degradation. It is recommended to develop a project concept, which would include further support to MAFFESD in developing its capacity to monitor the environment and report this environmental information nationally and internationally. A particular focus should be on improving the collection of environmental data and the role that CSOs can play. 

The funding request could be submitted to the regular GEF funding mechanism. It could also be part of a larger concept project and be submitted under the Impact Programmes, also funded by GEF7. Impact Programmes is a concept developed under the GEF7 cycle to help countries pursue holistic and integrated approaches for greater transformational change in key economic systems, and in line with their national development priorities. The Impact Programmes collectively address major drivers of environmental degradation and/or deliver multiple benefits across many thematic dimensions that the GEF is mandated to deliver. Three main areas for action to foster transformational impact were identified: 1) promoting sustainable food systems to tackle negative externalities in value chain; 2) promoting deforestation-free agricultural commodity supply chains; and 3) promoting large-scale restoration of degradation landscapes for sustainable production and ecosystem services. The focus is on reducing the threats from where and how food is produced. 

2

It is recommended to develop a succinct roadmap for the way forward after the end of the project.

Issue to Address

The project ended in May 2019. It succeeded in delivering key achievements in three main areas: a) environmental monitoring and environmental information management; b) natural resources valuation into the development process through Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs); and c) resource mobilization strategy to ensure the sustainable implementation of MEAs over the long-term. The government is committed to continue to strengthen these areas, which are much relevant in the context of national development in Belize. In order to help MAFFESD move forward, it is recommended that the project put together a succinct roadmap to propose the way forward focusing on the critical milestones to be met in the medium-term. This roadmap should also document key achievements supported by the project. It would help MAFFESD to keep this priority on its agenda for the foreseeable future. 

3

It is recommended that all funded activities to prepare multilateral convention reports use the open environmental information system.

Issue to Address Belize is now equipped with a data infrastructure to store, manage and report environmental information. It is recommended that all funded activities to prepare convention reports use the EIS platform. It includes the GEF funded enabling activities and funding from other donors to prepare convention reports in the biodiversity and land degradation areas as well as the National Communications, the Biennial Update Reports (BURs), and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) report to UNFCCC. The use of the platform will reinforce/ demonstrate the usefulness and consolidate/validate the system. 

 

4

4.3. Lessons Learnt

Several lessons learned are presented below. There are based on the review of project documents, interviews with key informants and analysis of the information collected for this evaluation: 

- A good design leads to a good implementation, which in turn leads to good project results. There is more chance for a project well designed to be a success. Every steps of the way count in the success of a project; it is a lot easier to succeed when all these steps are relevant and clear to be implemented.

- A project that is a response to clear national needs and priorities is often highly relevant for beneficiaries and its chance of being implemented effectively are maximized.

- Adaptive management is a key management instrument for this type of project, providing the necessary flexibility to review and reinvent the approach to implement the project as needed to secure project deliverables while maintaining adherence to the overall project design.

- Strong leadership from the national executing agency and a project board with all similar projects facilitate collaboration and cooperation among projects and government entities as well as engaging stakeholders resulting in more effective interventions.

- Despite not being a GEF requirement for such small size project, the completion of PIRs using the GEF template is a good management practice. It is a tool to measure – and record - the progress made by the project. Over time, it becomes the “memory” of the project, particularly when there are project staff turnover, and it provides good accountability for what the project has achieved.

- The application of the UNDP NIM modality is an effective management tool to develop national ownership of projects funded by international donors. 

- In order to ensure mainstreaming of gender considerations in a project, it is critical that gender-based expected results be part of the project strategy to become part of the implementation of activities as well as part of reporting project progress.

- CSOs are often engaged in managing/monitoring natural resources, particularly protected areas and biodiversity protection and conservation. They play a key role in the collection of environmental data. They should be key stakeholders in any initiative strengthening the collection of environmental data.

- Reforming the environmental monitoring function in a country is complex and it is not a linear process. It is often mixed with political agendas and a certain resistance to change in existing institutions. A 3-year project timeframe is too short; it does not provide any time contingency for operational and political risks linked to elections, change of government, but also no time to consolidate project achievements before the end of the project. 

1. Recommendation:

It is recommended to develop a project concept, including the strengthening of the environmental information to become part of the GEF7 resource mobilization in Belize.

Issue to Address 

Better environmental data is a critical need for environmental management/monitoring in Belize as well as for national development and for international reporting obligations (MEAs and SDGs). The initial GEF7 STAR allocation for Belize is USD 4.6M (USD 1M for climate change, 2.6M for biodiversity and 1M for land degradation). This allocation is fully flexible; that is, it can be programmed across the three focal areas as needed. Under the GEF7 cycle, the funding of the CCCD programme was discontinued. Belize is still at an early stage to plan the use of GEF7 financial resources; hence there are funding opportunities for projects related to the GEF strategies in climate change, biodiversity, and land degradation. It is recommended to develop a project concept, which would include further support to MAFFESD in developing its capacity to monitor the environment and report this environmental information nationally and internationally. A particular focus should be on improving the collection of environmental data and the role that CSOs can play. 

The funding request could be submitted to the regular GEF funding mechanism. It could also be part of a larger concept project and be submitted under the Impact Programmes, also funded by GEF7. Impact Programmes is a concept developed under the GEF7 cycle to help countries pursue holistic and integrated approaches for greater transformational change in key economic systems, and in line with their national development priorities. The Impact Programmes collectively address major drivers of environmental degradation and/or deliver multiple benefits across many thematic dimensions that the GEF is mandated to deliver. Three main areas for action to foster transformational impact were identified: 1) promoting sustainable food systems to tackle negative externalities in value chain; 2) promoting deforestation-free agricultural commodity supply chains; and 3) promoting large-scale restoration of degradation landscapes for sustainable production and ecosystem services. The focus is on reducing the threats from where and how food is produced. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/02] [Last Updated: 2020/11/18]

UNDP does not control national prioritization processes regarding the allocation of GEF funds. While the recommendation has been made to key national stakeholders, the ultimate decision regarding the earmarking of funds is taken by the Government of Belize. Currently the national portfolio developed guiding the absorption of GEF 7 resources does not include this recommended initiative.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support development of institutional assessment and strategic development planning within the MAFFESD
[Added: 2019/11/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/16]
Government of Belize 2020/10 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Change in government and reconfiguration of government ministries]
History
2. Recommendation:

It is recommended to develop a succinct roadmap for the way forward after the end of the project.

Issue to Address

The project ended in May 2019. It succeeded in delivering key achievements in three main areas: a) environmental monitoring and environmental information management; b) natural resources valuation into the development process through Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs); and c) resource mobilization strategy to ensure the sustainable implementation of MEAs over the long-term. The government is committed to continue to strengthen these areas, which are much relevant in the context of national development in Belize. In order to help MAFFESD move forward, it is recommended that the project put together a succinct roadmap to propose the way forward focusing on the critical milestones to be met in the medium-term. This roadmap should also document key achievements supported by the project. It would help MAFFESD to keep this priority on its agenda for the foreseeable future. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/02] [Last Updated: 2020/11/18]

It is suggested by GoB that this road map constitutes part of its multi- year prioritization and planning exercises

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Discuss with the Government of Belize the importance of supporting environmental information and data for development
[Added: 2019/11/27]
UNDP 2019/10 Completed The recommendation has been brought to the attention of the Government of Belize. It was pointed out that the support of Environmental Information Systems is currently considered within the context of several ongoing national project/ programmes.
3. Recommendation:

It is recommended that all funded activities to prepare multilateral convention reports use the open environmental information system.

Issue to Address Belize is now equipped with a data infrastructure to store, manage and report environmental information. It is recommended that all funded activities to prepare convention reports use the EIS platform. It includes the GEF funded enabling activities and funding from other donors to prepare convention reports in the biodiversity and land degradation areas as well as the National Communications, the Biennial Update Reports (BURs), and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) report to UNFCCC. The use of the platform will reinforce/ demonstrate the usefulness and consolidate/validate the system. 

 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/02] [Last Updated: 2020/11/18]

Recommendation acknowledged

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Socialization of MAFFESDI EMIS; and Statistical Institute of Belize new National Statistics System 2. Support capacity development around the expansion and maintenance of EMIS
[Added: 2019/11/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/16]
Government of Belize 2020/10 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Change in government and reconfiguration of government ministries]
History
4. Recommendation:

4.3. Lessons Learnt

Several lessons learned are presented below. There are based on the review of project documents, interviews with key informants and analysis of the information collected for this evaluation: 

- A good design leads to a good implementation, which in turn leads to good project results. There is more chance for a project well designed to be a success. Every steps of the way count in the success of a project; it is a lot easier to succeed when all these steps are relevant and clear to be implemented.

- A project that is a response to clear national needs and priorities is often highly relevant for beneficiaries and its chance of being implemented effectively are maximized.

- Adaptive management is a key management instrument for this type of project, providing the necessary flexibility to review and reinvent the approach to implement the project as needed to secure project deliverables while maintaining adherence to the overall project design.

- Strong leadership from the national executing agency and a project board with all similar projects facilitate collaboration and cooperation among projects and government entities as well as engaging stakeholders resulting in more effective interventions.

- Despite not being a GEF requirement for such small size project, the completion of PIRs using the GEF template is a good management practice. It is a tool to measure – and record - the progress made by the project. Over time, it becomes the “memory” of the project, particularly when there are project staff turnover, and it provides good accountability for what the project has achieved.

- The application of the UNDP NIM modality is an effective management tool to develop national ownership of projects funded by international donors. 

- In order to ensure mainstreaming of gender considerations in a project, it is critical that gender-based expected results be part of the project strategy to become part of the implementation of activities as well as part of reporting project progress.

- CSOs are often engaged in managing/monitoring natural resources, particularly protected areas and biodiversity protection and conservation. They play a key role in the collection of environmental data. They should be key stakeholders in any initiative strengthening the collection of environmental data.

- Reforming the environmental monitoring function in a country is complex and it is not a linear process. It is often mixed with political agendas and a certain resistance to change in existing institutions. A 3-year project timeframe is too short; it does not provide any time contingency for operational and political risks linked to elections, change of government, but also no time to consolidate project achievements before the end of the project. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2020/11/18]

Key Actions:

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