Mid Term Review for Biodiversity Conservation in Multiple-use Forest Landscapes in Sabah, Malaysia

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Malaysia
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
01/2018
Completion Date:
04/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

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Title Mid Term Review for Biodiversity Conservation in Multiple-use Forest Landscapes in Sabah, Malaysia
Atlas Project Number: 63217
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Malaysia
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2019
Planned End Date: 01/2018
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.4.1 Gender-responsive legal and regulatory frameworks, policies and institutions strengthened, and solutions adopted, to address conservation, sustainable use and equitable benefit sharing of natural resources, in line with international conventions and national legislation
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 25,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Bruce Jefferies
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Biodiversity Conservation in Multiple-use Forest Landscapes in Sabah
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-4
GEF Project ID: 4182
PIMS Number: 4186
Key Stakeholders: Sabah Forestry Department
Countries: MALAYSIA
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

Outcome 1: An enabling environment for optimized multiple use planning, financing, management and protection of forest landscapes

A1: 

Key recommendation: The SFD, PMU, TWG and Project Board ensure the following five priority elements are an integrated into the ICMS:

  • connectivity between the three globally significant protected areas is established and maintained and that connectivity corridors apply ecological best practices
  • recognition of the intensive management, including robust patrolling systems, and maintenance that connectivity corridors areas require
  •  the impact of logging on water quality and the management riparian zones and wildlife corridors and specifies the design of these areas in conjunction with ecological specialists.
  • integration of concessionaire activities into the wider conservation mandate.
  • expresses in prescriptive terms best practice management for all components of the ICMS planning process.

 

2

Outcome 2

Key recommendation: That the UNDP and the SFD postpone contracts for the implementation of SC-7, SC-8 and LC-5 until the management planning advisor(s) ToR have been formulated and work on the ICMS has been advanced

3

That steps be taken by the SFD to use, as far as possible, native species for production purposes to reduce the risk of introducing Invasive Alien Species (IAS).

4

That UNDP and the SFD require that the budgetary provisions made for the 7 research assistants should be borne by the contractor (using the budget committed for 2018 USD 319,316.60) and that the research assistant team associated with SC-6 should comprise staff from SFD and YS as a way to deliver the 2nd performance measure, as stipulated in the contract agreement.

5

That UNDP and the SFD ensure that the requirement for a legal expert (originally under a consultancy entitled “Legal Expert” (IC-4), be carefully reviewed to determine if the necessary legal work can be undertaken by the Office of the Attorney General thus generating additional project savings.

6

That UNDP and the SFD review the contract of the consultancy “Economic Landscape Modeler” (IC-2) with ETH Zurich in order to reduce its scope to include only the formulation of a Master Plan for Eco-Tourism in the 3 protected areas. This should   include a market study and an investment plan. Therefore, the contract should be re-negotiated, and the financial provisions reduced to reflect the more limited scope of the work to be carried out.

7

Outcome 3

That the SFD, with support from UNDP, should ensure under the consultancy entitled “State-level policy options and mechanisms for PES (SC-2) that the consultant Green Spider:

  •   concentrate exclusively on the creation of the Conservation Fund and ensure that this fund be based on two income sources: (i) Green Fee paid by tourists and that it discriminates between foreign tourists and Malaysian visitors. (ii) a Water Levy paid by users
  • approach Green Spider and request that they design and undertake a “pilot” exercise for the Conservation Fund. This is an integral part of the work they are contracted to complete and it should be no-cost modification of the financial compensation packet already agreed to.
8

Project Implementation & Adaptive Management

Key recommendation: That the UNDP and the SFD postpone contracts for the implementation of SC-7, SC-8 and LC-5 until the management planning advisor(s) ToR have been formulated and work on the ICMS has been advanced

9

Project Implementation & Adaptive Management

That SFD consider reviewing its structure in order to provide expertise and contemporary approaches to protected area planning, management and biodiversity conservation.

10

Project implementation & adaptive management

That the UNDP and the SFD approach the Sabah Wildlife Department with a view to them actively contributing to the project.

11

Sustainability

Key recommendation: I Project Strategy

  • approve a 18 month no-cost extension for the project
  • this to provide for the completion of ongoing activities and other priority interventions as detailed in the MTR
  • for this purpose, UNDP should secure the necessary authorization from GEF on the understanding that this would be a cost-neutral extension to be financed by savings. These savings could come from the reduction in funding to consultancies (IC-2), (SC-5) and if appropriate, (IC-4). Other sources of savings might be identified, based on the recently completed UNDP HACT audit/review.

 

1. Recommendation:

Outcome 1: An enabling environment for optimized multiple use planning, financing, management and protection of forest landscapes

A1: 

Key recommendation: The SFD, PMU, TWG and Project Board ensure the following five priority elements are an integrated into the ICMS:

  • connectivity between the three globally significant protected areas is established and maintained and that connectivity corridors apply ecological best practices
  • recognition of the intensive management, including robust patrolling systems, and maintenance that connectivity corridors areas require
  •  the impact of logging on water quality and the management riparian zones and wildlife corridors and specifies the design of these areas in conjunction with ecological specialists.
  • integration of concessionaire activities into the wider conservation mandate.
  • expresses in prescriptive terms best practice management for all components of the ICMS planning process.

 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/04/07]

The management has outlined the following steps that address the five points under this recommendation:

Connectivity between the three globally significant protected areas is established and maintained and that connectivity corridors apply ecological best practices

1.       The connectivity between the three YS conservation areas (Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon) was established in November 2012, by the reclassification of Mt Magdalena Forest Reserve (FR) as a Class I (Protection) FR. This will be further bolstered as additional Class II (Production) areas in Gunung Rara and Kuamut FRs (which are adjacent to the target landscape) are reclassified as Class I FR once current logging operations have been completed.

2.       The Connectivity corridors are already under Class 1 Protection Forest Reserves where no logging except restoration and silvicultural operations are allowed.

 

Recognition of the intensive management, including robust patrolling systems, and maintenance that connectivity corridors areas require

1.       The Project Area will be upgraded and to be managed by District Forestry Office following Deramakot example.

2.       MoU signed between Sabah Environmental Trust, SFD and YS on patrolling (enforcement and monitoring) initiative in Danum Valley-Maliau Basin-Imbak Canyon (DaMaI) on 24th October, 2017.

3.       On-going SMART patrolling.

4.       Establish a dedicated special task force.

5.       A special Protection Unit responsible for surveillance, patrolling and protection against illegal activities will be formed.

 

The impact of logging on water quality and the management riparian zones and wildlife corridors and specifies the design of these areas in conjunction with ecological specialists.

1.       A special study will be carried out on the impacts of logging on water quality and the management riparian zones and wildlife corridors.

2.       Monitor through Environment Compliance Report (ECR).

3.       Water monitoring is part of certification process.

4.       New GEF funded project on watershed, which is to be implemented by Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID).

 

Integration of concessionaire activities into the wider conservation mandate.

1.       Discussions with The YS JV partners with regards to their roles on the importance of conservation will be held at least twice a year.

2.       All their operations will be closely monitored and to be audited by a third party auditor once a year.

3.       Development of a state-wide Forest Management Estate Plan (Dr. Robert Ong) – supported by MUFL consultant.

 

Expresses in prescriptive terms best practice management for all components of the ICMS planning process.

1.       The ICMS planning process will be considered during the preparation of the Landscape Management Plan.

2.       Consolidate into Forest Management Plans (FMPs).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Reclassification of Class II (Protection) areas in Gunung Rara & Kuamut Forest Reserves into Class I
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Department 2018/12 Completed Accomplished and maintained. Approximately 61,330 ha (Mt. Magdalena FR) of the 156,586 ha gazetted have been certified as a well-managed forest under the FSC certification scheme in 2015.
Upgrading Project Area and to be under District Forestry Office management
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/12 Initiated Pending finalization of final 10-year Integrated Landscape Management Plan, where intensive management will be prescribed in the plan. Thereafter, there will be a pilot adapative implementation of integrated landscape management plan in Jul-Dec 2019.
Establishing a dedicated special task force
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/12 Not Initiated This special task force will be prescribed in the 10-Year Integrated Landscape Management Plan (ILMP), which is currently under preparation.
Formation of a special Protection Unit
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/12 Initiated A special Protection Unit responsible for surveillance, patrolling and protection against illegal activities was formed.
A study on the impacts of logging on water quality & the management riparian zones & wildlife corridors
[Added: 2019/04/11] [Last Updated: 2019/04/12]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/12 Not Initiated This study will be prescribed in the 10-Year ILMP. History
Protocol incorporating ECR findings in project management
[Added: 2019/04/11] [Last Updated: 2019/04/12]
Environmental Protection Department (EPD) 2019/12 Initiated Ongoing. Besides the EPD, all operations are also closely monitored and audited by a third party auditor once a year. History
At least 2 discussions with JV partner planned since MTR
[Added: 2019/04/11] [Last Updated: 2019/04/12]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/12 Initiated Discussion with the YS JV partners with regards to their roles on the importance of conservation was held and to be continued at least twice a year History
Third party audit at least once since MTR
[Added: 2019/04/11] [Last Updated: 2019/04/12]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/12 Initiated All operations are closely monitored and audited by a third party auditor once a year. History
State-wide Forest Management Estate Plan developed
[Added: 2019/04/11] [Last Updated: 2019/04/12]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/12 Initiated Development of the plan is on-going History
ICMS planning process considered during preparation of the Landscape Management Plan (evidence in Plan documentation)
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/12 Initiated The consultant responsible to prepare the 10-Year ILMP has considered the ICMS planning process.
ICMS consolidated into Forest Management Plans (evidence in Plan documentation)
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/05 Overdue-Initiated The Final Draft of the 10-Year ILMP is expected to be completed on 30th April 2019.
2. Recommendation:

Outcome 2

Key recommendation: That the UNDP and the SFD postpone contracts for the implementation of SC-7, SC-8 and LC-5 until the management planning advisor(s) ToR have been formulated and work on the ICMS has been advanced

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/11]

  • ·     Establishment of new protected areas and biodiversity corridors - (SC-7).
  • ·     Operationalisation of on the ground landscape management system based on landscape level management plan and adaptive management to improve habitat conditions, reduce natural capital loss and to increase financing for biodiversity conservation - (SC-8).
  • ·     Protected area planning and management advise – (LC-5)

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To develop Forest Landscape Management Plan by end of 2018.
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/05 Overdue-Initiated Development of the 10-year Integrated Landscape Management Plan (ILMP) by 30 April 2019.
3. Recommendation:

That steps be taken by the SFD to use, as far as possible, native species for production purposes to reduce the risk of introducing Invasive Alien Species (IAS).

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/11]

Proposed Follow-up Actions

  1. Follow existing SOP
  2. Monitor the impact

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Monitor the impact in the area of using non native species per SOP
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/12 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

That UNDP and the SFD require that the budgetary provisions made for the 7 research assistants should be borne by the contractor (using the budget committed for 2018 USD 319,316.60) and that the research assistant team associated with SC-6 should comprise staff from SFD and YS as a way to deliver the 2nd performance measure, as stipulated in the contract agreement.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/11]

Proposed Follow-up Actions

  1. The contracts of 5 SEARRP Research Assistants will be discontinued effective from 1 January 2018
  2. SFD will assign research assistants to assist SC-6b.

Note: Research Agreement between SFD and University of Aberdeen does not cover the cost for research assistants.
 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Discontinuing the contracts of 5 SEARRP Research Assistants from January 2018
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2018/01 Completed Four (4) SEARRP Research Assistants were appointed by the SFD since May 2018. The delay was due to acquiring all necessary documents from the research assistants, the seletion, inteview and appointment process. The Project Board also agreed to continue support the labour cost of one (1) SEARRP's research assistant who was not selected by the department.
5. Recommendation:

That UNDP and the SFD ensure that the requirement for a legal expert (originally under a consultancy entitled “Legal Expert” (IC-4), be carefully reviewed to determine if the necessary legal work can be undertaken by the Office of the Attorney General thus generating additional project savings.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/11]

Proposed Follow-up Actions

  1. To consult the AG Office if they can undertake the work within the stipulated time frame (4 months).
  2. Legal Expert (under Component 3) is not needed as outputs already covered in existing agreements between SFD and concession holders.
     

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Confirmation/Response from the AG Office on their capacity to conduct the legal work within time frame
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/01 No Longer Applicable [Justification: UNDP's long-term legal specialist can engage in the legal work for the project ]
The Project Board agreed that the UNDP's long-term legal specialist will also assist the legal work for the project, in particular in drafting a new enactment for ecosystem conservation fee.
6. Recommendation:

That UNDP and the SFD review the contract of the consultancy “Economic Landscape Modeler” (IC-2) with ETH Zurich in order to reduce its scope to include only the formulation of a Master Plan for Eco-Tourism in the 3 protected areas. This should   include a market study and an investment plan. Therefore, the contract should be re-negotiated, and the financial provisions reduced to reflect the more limited scope of the work to be carried out.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/11]

Proposed Follow-up Actions

1.       To carry out further study if the Economic modeling is really necessary in view of the fact that the land-uses in the Project Area were already being determined/decided/fixed by the state government.

2.       To carry out feasibility study on the potential of eco-tourism in the project area.

3.       To terminate contract with Dr. Chris Kettle and reimburse any cost incurred with immediate effect

4.       Develop new ToR for Master Plan for Eco-tourism of protected areas in the project site.

 

For the three (3) protected areas (Danum, Maliau and Imbak Conservation Areas) - these areas have well-developed management plans in place; have made heavy investments in tourism infrastructure and support a variety of tourist-related activities. In the case of Danum Valley, tourism activity is very advanced, with substantial earnings generated by the YS-owned Borneo Rainforest Lodge.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Study on the necessity of the economic modelling
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2018/12 No Longer Applicable [Justification: The consultancy to carry out this study was terminated.]
Eco-tourism feasibility study
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2018/12 Overdue-Not Initiated The Project Board agreed that the Eco-tourism in the project area is not feasible.
Contract termination of Dr Chris Kettle and reimbursement of costs incurred (if any)
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2018/12 Completed The SFD terminated contract with Dr Chris Kettle on 17th November 2017. The SFD also notified Dr Chris on 25th September 2018 that the offer to seek reimbursement on the cost incurred during the contract period was no longer valid as there was no submission of invoice despite several reminders.
ToR for Master Plan for Eco-tourism developed
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2018/12 No Longer Applicable [Justification: The PMU agreed to postpone on the idea of developing the master plan since eco-tourism is seen as not feasible at the project landscape.]
7. Recommendation:

Outcome 3

That the SFD, with support from UNDP, should ensure under the consultancy entitled “State-level policy options and mechanisms for PES (SC-2) that the consultant Green Spider:

  •   concentrate exclusively on the creation of the Conservation Fund and ensure that this fund be based on two income sources: (i) Green Fee paid by tourists and that it discriminates between foreign tourists and Malaysian visitors. (ii) a Water Levy paid by users
  • approach Green Spider and request that they design and undertake a “pilot” exercise for the Conservation Fund. This is an integral part of the work they are contracted to complete and it should be no-cost modification of the financial compensation packet already agreed to.
Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/11]

 

Proposed Follow-up Actions

1.       Green Spider had rephrased the statements as follows:

 

Concentrate exclusively on the creation of Conservation Fund and ensure that this fund be based on at least one of the two proposed income sources: (i) Ecosystem Conservation Fee paid by visitors and that it discriminates between foreign and Malaysian visitors. (ii) a Water Catchment Conservation Fee paid by users.

 

This because it was not finalised whether both fees will be channelled to one fund.

 

2.       MTR or PB to elaborate what constitute “pilot” exercise for the Conservation Fee since Green Spider was not clear... supporting implementation – Phase 5?

3.       To seek further clarification from Green Spider with regards to Phase 5 of their consultancy.

4.       The proposed framework for Ecosystem Conservation Fund is pending Cabinet’s approval. Once approved, it will be operationalized and project site is one of the beneficiaries.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Green Spider exclusively focused on developing a Conservation Fund per TOR including conducting a pilot testing the Fund's modality
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2018/05 Completed Green Spider had completed all deliverables and submitted the final deliverable under final Phase 5, i.e. Guidelines for Operationalisation of the Proposed Ecosystem Conservation Programme and Grant Application Guidelines on 14th May 2018. The pilot testing the fund's modality was not possible during the consultancy period as the collecting and disbursemnt of fund are subject to the State Cabinet's approval. The Sabah State Cabinet has only recently on 20th March 2019 approved the concept of PES and conservation fund developed by the project, and recommended the establishment of a Technical Committee to further study on the formulation of mechanism for implemention of PES and CF in Sabah.
8. Recommendation:

Project Implementation & Adaptive Management

Key recommendation: That the UNDP and the SFD postpone contracts for the implementation of SC-7, SC-8 and LC-5 until the management planning advisor(s) ToR have been formulated and work on the ICMS has been advanced

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/11]

Proposed Follow-up Actions

1.       To develop Forest Landscape Management Plan next year.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Development of a Forest Landscape Management Plan
[Added: 2019/04/11]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/05 Overdue-Initiated Development of the 10-year Integrated Landscape Management Plan (ILMP) by 30 April 2019.
9. Recommendation:

Project Implementation & Adaptive Management

That SFD consider reviewing its structure in order to provide expertise and contemporary approaches to protected area planning, management and biodiversity conservation.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/11] [Last Updated: 2019/04/11]

Proposed Follow-up Actions

  1. SFD to review its structure and establish a dedicated Conservation Unit to provide expertise approaches to the management.
  2.  SFD to put priority on human capacity through more exposure and trainings, which are to  are to be organized at least once a year
    1.  Identify who to be trained, what training programmes, costs, etc.
    2. SFD and YS to look into the costs for continuing training based on existing HRD programme funding.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Establishing a dedicated Conservation Unit
[Added: 2019/04/12]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/08 Initiated The dedicated Conservation Unit has yet to be established. However, SFD has reviewed its structure during the SFD workshop on 31st October 2018. With regards to the human capacity, the project is supporting eight (8) trainings by SFD and WWF in 2019.
10. Recommendation:

Project implementation & adaptive management

That the UNDP and the SFD approach the Sabah Wildlife Department with a view to them actively contributing to the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/12]

Proposed Follow-up Actions

1.       SFD will take proactive action by assigning special tasks/roles to ensure SWD will actively contribute to the project.

2.       Wildlife Monitoring Task force for Tawau Region already established. Task force comprised of SFD, SWD, YS, PDRM and WWF.

3.       In addition, Human-elephant Conflict (HEC) Committee is established for Kalabakan-Tawau area.

4.       MoU signed between WWF-SFD-SWD for implementation of the Transboundary Elephant/Orangutan Project (Kalabakan FMU 25).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Assigning roles/tasks to SWD specifically that will result in their active contribution to the project
[Added: 2019/04/12]
Sabah Forestry Dept 2019/12 Initiated The SWD's tasks will be spelled out in the 10-Year ILMP. History
11. Recommendation:

Sustainability

Key recommendation: I Project Strategy

  • approve a 18 month no-cost extension for the project
  • this to provide for the completion of ongoing activities and other priority interventions as detailed in the MTR
  • for this purpose, UNDP should secure the necessary authorization from GEF on the understanding that this would be a cost-neutral extension to be financed by savings. These savings could come from the reduction in funding to consultancies (IC-2), (SC-5) and if appropriate, (IC-4). Other sources of savings might be identified, based on the recently completed UNDP HACT audit/review.

 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/12]

Proposed Follow-up Actions

Upon approval from Project Board, SFD will submit the request for extension to UNDP by 15 November 2017.

UNDP to consider and approve no-cost extension by 31 December 2017.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Approval of no-cost extension
[Added: 2019/04/12]
UNDP & Sabah Forestry Dept 2017/12 Completed The project extension request has been approved, whereby the revised project closing date is 21st December 2019.

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