Mid-term Review of Expanding the Protected Area System to Incorporate Important Aquatic Ecosystems project

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2017-2020, Bangladesh
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
08/2019
Completion Date:
08/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
13,864

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Title Mid-term Review of Expanding the Protected Area System to Incorporate Important Aquatic Ecosystems project
Atlas Project Number: 000-
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2020, Bangladesh
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2019
Planned End Date: 08/2019
Management Response: Yes
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
Evaluation Budget(US $): 13,864
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 13,864
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Expanding the Protected Area System to Incorporate Important Aquatic Ecosystems project
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: EA
GEF Phase: GEF-1
GEF Project ID: 5099
PIMS Number: 4620
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: BANGLADESH
Lessons
1.

According to the Ramsar Convention, Resolution VII. 18, Guidelines for integrating wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management, ratified during “People and Wetlands”, the Integrated water resources management is based on the concept of water being an integral part of an ecosystem, a natural resource and a social and economic good (Agenda 21, United Nations, 1992). The mentioned Convention guidelines recommend among others to establish mechanisms to identify and involve stakeholders in planning and management of river basins and their wetlands. Develop and implement management plans which take into account the goals and aspirations of the local stakeholders, including the consideration of fair and equitable sharing of benefits. Consequently, the Team as mentioned warmly recommends to the Government and to the UNDP PM, to identify and draft a new participatory 4 years project, before the end of the project to be funded by the government or other external funding support, to align the project with the sustainable and equitable co-management of the PAs aquatic resources and to an effective livelihood of the people of the three villages bordering the PAs.


Findings
1.

Despite the EPASIIAE project is carrying on some of the mentioned tasks and activities, the EPASIIAE project is still lacking scientific and technical knowledge on the PAs ecosystems, as well as governance instruments and of sustainable management and co-management measures for the conservation and wise use of the PAs aquatic resources, including the local communities participation and ownership and benefits sharing of the sustainable co-management of the aquatic resources.


2.

The actual state of the three sanctuaries can be defined of low or no management and not of a participatory co-management, notably related to the participation and inclusion of the including people of the villages and local stakeholders. Only strict conservation and surveillance of the sanctuaries is in place and no data collection (monitoring) and control (notably absence of Monitoring and Control, absence of historical scientific data on the status of the aquatic resources and of the Dolphins populations, both in the sanctuaries and in rivers, including trans-boundaries network activities with India.


3.

Other lacking activities is ongoing delimitation of the sanctuaries with buoys, full conservation measures inside the areas. etc.) and participation and ownership in the co-management of the aquatic resources by the people of the boundaries villages. To introduce sustainable management and co-management of the aquatic resources in the three sanctuaries there is the need to revise activities in conservation underdeveloped in awareness raising addressed to the people of the three villages, including greater coordination with the livelihood activities and in the proper management of the areas, planned for schooling and awareness raising and other activities oriented to the conservation has to be adequately managed to be consistent with the welcome of the people and future activities of eco- and fishing tourism.


4.

From a socio-economic and sustainable co-management point of view, the project activities needs to be integrated by multi-annual studies on the status of the aquatic stocks and with and capacity building in participated (including fishing and women groups people of the villages) Monitoring and Control (and Surveillance, MCS) of the aquatic species including Dolphins, introducing pilot forms of sustainable co-management, including and search and rescue (eg. introducing life jackets for fishermen and women collectors, immediate rescue activities, etc.), to be regulated in the management plan with legally regulated fishing and collection (eg. crabs) pilot activities inside the sanctuaries territories, involving people of the villages in collaboration with the FD personnel, in monitoring and control of the illegal activities.


Recommendations
1

The MTR Team recommends to, in terms of technical management, increase the project human resources, particularly for administrative and technical aspects, to recruit 1 administrative officer and 1 internal monitoring expert. Their absence is over-charging the project top management, notably the PM and PD.

2

The Team kindly recommends a better coordination in funding procedures and a simplification in funding administrative procedures among the donors (GEF, UNDP and Bangladesh Government), due to the delay in starting up the project, resulting in only three years to the implementation phase.

3

The Team recommends a 1 year no-cost extension to the project and the sub-projects, needed to complete the activities planned and to be revised. The team recommends some revisions in the log-frame, anyway, it is strongly recommended that the project will justify the indicator targets based on the reality and technical and scientific data.

4

The Team warmly recommends to plan and conduct a number of field studies:

  1.  Studies and researches on the ecology of the three PAs (including multiannual Dolphins and aquatic resources stocks assessments).
  2. Field surveys on socio-economic aspects of the people living in the three villages bordering the PAs have to be carefully considered (e.g. field studies on stakeholders in-depth socio-economic analysis and needs assessment (including the assessment of safer villages management measures for lands, housing, health, walking passages, safer landing sites facilities, drinking water, value chains development, schooling, etc.).
  3. A KAP (Knowledge, Attitude and Practice) studies on the capacity of the economic and conservation sector to evaluate the Capacity Development Score-card.
  4.  Related studies with the forest department to complete the management effectiveness tracking tool (METT).
  5. A complete gender analysis.
5

The Team recommends, for the conservation sub-project, a revision and strengthening of the activities relating to the management plan, notably a strengthening of the communication and awareness activities in the villages bordering the three PAs. Notably,  the communication and awareness activities have been conducted in Khulna and in the region (e.g. in the schools) but not yet in the marginal fishers villages bordering the PAs. It suggested has to consider the impact of high rate of eco-tourism. Additionally is suggested that the PAs management team will be not only composed by the voluntaries trained (otherwise a planned management composed only of voluntaries generates preoccupations in terms of sustainability, when not supported by a management board of paid professionals (based hopefully on the principles of equity, only a women in the actual management voluntary staff).

6

The Team recommends to introduce and adopt an effective management plan in the three existing PAs established in the Sundarbans, based on validated scientific and technical data (possibly with markers and GPS positioning of the mammals) for the Dolphins and for the other aquatic resources in the three areas. Moreover, the management plan also focus on the sustainable and equitable (women) co-management of the aquatic resources of the PAs, taking care of the participation, ownership and needs of the people of the three villages.

7

The Team recommends that the facilities (e.g. for the school awareness and other related conservation activities (eco-tourism)) will have proper and safer landing and management facilities for a safe hospitality for the children.

8

The Team recommends to conduct future ecological studies (Recommendation 4.b) on the three PAs and surrounding rivers. The team also recommends to introducing a MCS system (only Surveillance is in place) and an amendment to the conservation laws (Conservation act of 2012), that actually forbid access to the artisanal fishermen and women collectors (eg. crabs and wood), conducting subsistence activities that provides a low impact when based on a limited and regulated access at the aquatic resources in and around protected areas.

9

The Team warmly recommends to support and strengthen its support to the marginal village’s fisheries communities and notably the fishermen and women that are facing strong problems for their previous commitments (advance sale of fishes and shrimps or crabs) with local moneylenders (dadonder). Presently, fishermen and women are forbidden in their activities and are not able to provide products or pay back the money have had in advance by the moneylenders.

10

The Team warmly recommends to the Ministry and to the UNDP PM to identify and draft a new participatory 4 years project, before the end of the project to be funded by the government or other external funding support, to align the project with the sustainable and equitable co-management of the PAs aquatic resources and to an effective livelihood of the people of the three villages bordering the PAs.

1. Recommendation:

The MTR Team recommends to, in terms of technical management, increase the project human resources, particularly for administrative and technical aspects, to recruit 1 administrative officer and 1 internal monitoring expert. Their absence is over-charging the project top management, notably the PM and PD.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/28] [Last Updated: 2019/08/28]

Agreed. The Project Manager and Project Assistant are overburdened with the huge amount of work, including setting up programmes, ToR preparation, organizing meeting & workshops, attending different meetings, Individual consultants & NGO recruitment-related activities, and monitoring consultants’ and NGO’s field activities. PMU of EPASIIAE project agrees that the Project Manager has not had enough time to monitor all NGO activities along with the above-mentioned mandatory work. Since this project is getting close to completion, project exit and handing over assets will appear as additional activities along with others. Therefore, UNDP is considering recruiting one additional project staff for intensive monitoring, preparation of project completion report and sustainability plans, and completion of exit activities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Discuss proposed employment with Project Director
[Added: 2019/08/28]
PMU of EPASIIAE project 2019/07 Completed PMU discussed this issue with Project Director and obtained consent in July 2019.
2. Recommendation:

The Team kindly recommends a better coordination in funding procedures and a simplification in funding administrative procedures among the donors (GEF, UNDP and Bangladesh Government), due to the delay in starting up the project, resulting in only three years to the implementation phase.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/28] [Last Updated: 2019/10/06]

Disagreed. UNDP Bangladesh always tries to reduce the time span between the date of signing the pro-doc and the project implementation in the field. However, in most of the cases, it is hampered by the bureaucratic system of the government. UNDP and its projects have little control over this. There is no key action to be taken for this recommendation.

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation:

The Team recommends a 1 year no-cost extension to the project and the sub-projects, needed to complete the activities planned and to be revised. The team recommends some revisions in the log-frame, anyway, it is strongly recommended that the project will justify the indicator targets based on the reality and technical and scientific data.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/28] [Last Updated: 2019/10/06]

Disagreed. It is not feasible to extend the project implementation. Therefore, the project cannot be extended by another 1 year with no cost extension due to unavailability of fund. In addition, after careful review on the existing budget, it turned out that no significant amount would be left after the project ends on 31 December 2019. Results framework has been revised based on the recommendation of MTR.

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

The Team warmly recommends to plan and conduct a number of field studies:

  1.  Studies and researches on the ecology of the three PAs (including multiannual Dolphins and aquatic resources stocks assessments).
  2. Field surveys on socio-economic aspects of the people living in the three villages bordering the PAs have to be carefully considered (e.g. field studies on stakeholders in-depth socio-economic analysis and needs assessment (including the assessment of safer villages management measures for lands, housing, health, walking passages, safer landing sites facilities, drinking water, value chains development, schooling, etc.).
  3. A KAP (Knowledge, Attitude and Practice) studies on the capacity of the economic and conservation sector to evaluate the Capacity Development Score-card.
  4.  Related studies with the forest department to complete the management effectiveness tracking tool (METT).
  5. A complete gender analysis.
Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/28] [Last Updated: 2019/08/29]

Partially Agreed.

1. There is no provision in the project to conduct studies and researches on the ecology of 3 Protected Areas (PAs) (including multi-annual dolphins and aquatic resources stocks assessments). Therefore, it is not feasible within project scope to conduct such types of studies.

2. Baseline study has already been conducted for 1,000 project beneficiaries before the project started beneficiary selection of Alternative Income Generation Activities.  In addition, the project has also been keeping the income records of beneficiaries to track their graduation of income level or to compare between initial stage and implementation stage.

3. KAP (Knowledge, Attitude and Practice) aspects will be added in the METT.

4. The METT exercise will be conducted to evaluate the PA management capacity of 3 existing Dolphin Sanctuaries through score card analysis.

5. UNDP has paid great attentions to gender equality in designing livelihood activities. We will further review how livelihood interventions also contribute to gender equality.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Complete GPS training for conservation sector staff
[Added: 2019/08/28]
PMU of EPASIIAE project and partner organizations 2019/07 Completed GPS training was organized in June-July 2019 for conservation sector staff and local conservation team members, in which about 200 people participated.
Conduct the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool exercise
[Added: 2019/08/28] [Last Updated: 2019/10/01]
PMU of EPASIIAE project and partner organizations 2019/09 Completed The Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool was conducted through multi-stakeholder workshop on 3rd September 2019. History
5. Recommendation:

The Team recommends, for the conservation sub-project, a revision and strengthening of the activities relating to the management plan, notably a strengthening of the communication and awareness activities in the villages bordering the three PAs. Notably,  the communication and awareness activities have been conducted in Khulna and in the region (e.g. in the schools) but not yet in the marginal fishers villages bordering the PAs. It suggested has to consider the impact of high rate of eco-tourism. Additionally is suggested that the PAs management team will be not only composed by the voluntaries trained (otherwise a planned management composed only of voluntaries generates preoccupations in terms of sustainability, when not supported by a management board of paid professionals (based hopefully on the principles of equity, only a women in the actual management voluntary staff).

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/28] [Last Updated: 2019/08/28]

Partially agreed. PMU has already followed this recommendation. In fact, except the observance of the International Freshwater Dolphin day on 24 October at national level in Dhaka and regional programme in Khulna, all other conservation awareness activities like Shushuk mela events, school programming, and awareness campaign against poison-fishing were conducted in the project areas, including surrounding areas of 3 dolphin sanctuaries. In addition, all relevant conservation meetings have been conducted in the local villages to engage the marginal fishers surrounded by dolphin habitats. Regarding PA’s co-management committee, the government officials, private sectors and local leaders are also engaged together with volunteers to ensure sustainability of the committee.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Organize a dolphin fair for awareness raising in project areas surrounded by fishers’ villages
[Added: 2019/08/28] [Last Updated: 2019/11/06]
Partner organization 2019/11 Completed Shushuk Mela (dolphin fair) was organized for awareness raising in projects areas in Khulna and Satkhira from 31st October to 5th November 2019, where about 5,000 people attended. History
6. Recommendation:

The Team recommends to introduce and adopt an effective management plan in the three existing PAs established in the Sundarbans, based on validated scientific and technical data (possibly with markers and GPS positioning of the mammals) for the Dolphins and for the other aquatic resources in the three areas. Moreover, the management plan also focus on the sustainable and equitable (women) co-management of the aquatic resources of the PAs, taking care of the participation, ownership and needs of the people of the three villages.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/28]

Agreed. Selected Management Plan activities are being implemented by the project, which includes 1) regular GPS-based SMART Patrolling in the dolphin sanctuaries conducted by Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) staff, 2) strengthened protection through sanctuary demarcation with floating buoys, 3) rescuing captured dolphins, 4) formation of Dolphin Conservation Teams(DCT), and 5) their engagement in sanctuary area protection with BFD staff.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strengthen a mechanism to ensure submission of monthly SMART patrol monitoring reports for enhancing sustainability of a management plan
[Added: 2019/08/28]
PMU of EPASIIAE project and partner organization 2019/11 Initiated
7. Recommendation:

The Team recommends that the facilities (e.g. for the school awareness and other related conservation activities (eco-tourism)) will have proper and safer landing and management facilities for a safe hospitality for the children.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/28] [Last Updated: 2019/10/06]

Disagreed. There is no scope in the project to include such facilities. Therefore, no key actions can be taken for this recommendation.

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation:

The Team recommends to conduct future ecological studies (Recommendation 4.b) on the three PAs and surrounding rivers. The team also recommends to introducing a MCS system (only Surveillance is in place) and an amendment to the conservation laws (Conservation act of 2012), that actually forbid access to the artisanal fishermen and women collectors (eg. crabs and wood), conducting subsistence activities that provides a low impact when based on a limited and regulated access at the aquatic resources in and around protected areas.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/28]

Disagreed. This is also repetition of the recommendation 4. There is no provision to conduct the stock assessment study of aquatic resources in project. In addition, fishing activities in the wildlife sanctuaries are prohibited by the Wildlife Conservation & Security Act, 2012. Therefore, no key actions can be taken.

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation:

The Team warmly recommends to support and strengthen its support to the marginal village’s fisheries communities and notably the fishermen and women that are facing strong problems for their previous commitments (advance sale of fishes and shrimps or crabs) with local moneylenders (dadonder). Presently, fishermen and women are forbidden in their activities and are not able to provide products or pay back the money have had in advance by the moneylenders.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/28] [Last Updated: 2019/08/29]

Agreed. The project has already created facilities for the poor beneficiaries to take micro-credit facilities with a small interest from the government-owned Palli Shanchoy Bank. This has reduced high dependency of the fisherfolks on local Money lender (Dadondar).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Enroll beneficiaries in the government-owned bank for rural poor people to enable them to receive micro-credit facilities with lowest interest rate
[Added: 2019/08/29] [Last Updated: 2019/11/03]
PMU of EPASIIAE project and partner organization 2019/11 Initiated History
10. Recommendation:

The Team warmly recommends to the Ministry and to the UNDP PM to identify and draft a new participatory 4 years project, before the end of the project to be funded by the government or other external funding support, to align the project with the sustainable and equitable co-management of the PAs aquatic resources and to an effective livelihood of the people of the three villages bordering the PAs.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/28]

Agreed. Resource mobilization efforts have been initiated with the BFD for implementing the next-phase dolphin conservation project. The PMU and UNDP CO have initiated discussions with relevant stakeholders, including the Government and drafted an outline of the new project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Organize a preparatory workshop with stakeholders for developing a countrywide dolphin conservation project
[Added: 2019/08/29]
PMU of EPASIIAE project 2019/04 Completed The project formulation workshop has already been organized in Dhaka on 29th April 2019.
Draft an outline of a countrywide dolphin conservation project
[Added: 2019/08/29]
PMU of EPASIIAE project 2019/06 Completed Project outline has already been developed for preparing for resource mobilization efforts.
Discuss a proposal with Chief Conservator of Forests
[Added: 2019/08/29] [Last Updated: 2019/10/01]
PMU of EPASIIAE project and UNDP CO 2019/09 Completed Discussion with Chief Conservator of Forests was conducted in an official meeting in September 2019 to propose a concept note on the next generation project. History

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