Terminal Evaluation of the Enhancing Management Effectiveness and Financial Sustainability of Protected Areas in Malaysia

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2021, Malaysia
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
06/2020
Completion Date:
08/2020
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
60,000

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Title Terminal Evaluation of the Enhancing Management Effectiveness and Financial Sustainability of Protected Areas in Malaysia
Atlas Project Number: 66114
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2021, Malaysia
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2020
Planned End Date: 06/2020
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Sustainable
  • 2. Others
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
SDG Target
  • 15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
  • 15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
Evaluation Budget(US $): 60,000
Source of Funding: Project
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 111,500
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Camillo Ponziani Lead Evaluator
Feraidoon Khosravi Environemental Finance Expert
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Enhancing Management Effectiveness and Financing Sustainability of Protected Areas Financing
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 3906
PIMS Number: 3967
Key Stakeholders: Department of Wildlife and National Parks
Countries: MALAYSIA
Lessons
1.

Adaptive management in the face of adversity. The project demonstrated that even
when things appear to go wrong, with adaptive management and re-focusing, positive
results can be attained. In the circumstances of the Project, this entailed a shift of focus
from the central level to working almost exclusively with partners at the level of the
protected areas themselves. Indeed, this approach could also successfully work in other
projects


2.

Political processes such as elections can cause significant turbulence. The
electoral processes that took place in 2018 of the Project, as well as the change in
government in 2020 caused a major barrier to the implementation of the project. They
can also significantly undermine the PA and conservation sector by changing personnel;
they can lead to existing programmes and priorities being cancelled; they can lead to
strategies being undermined – even if those strategies have been previously adopted.
There is a loss of institutional memory when people are moved around. The designers of
a project should be aware whether or not an electoral process will take place during a
project’s life; they should also be aware of the potential for upheaval as part of a proper
risk assessment.


3.

Rigid management can be a bottleneck. Project staff at all levels need to be
empowered, heard and part of the decision-making process. Complex management
chains make communication and coordination difficult even when all parties act
professionally and with good faith. It also leads to unnecessary turnover. In a
transparent organization such as the UN, it is essential that knowledge flows up and
down the management chain. This is the hallmark of effective projects and the
cornerstone of the Secretary General’s agenda on the repositioning of the United
Nations development system


4.

Steering Committees are more than just a reporting body. Made up of senior
executives and thought leaders, they play an essential role to removing barriers and
providing leadership to projects. They serve a broader purpose than reporting, but to be
effective, it is essential to communicate not just what was achieved but rather what was
planned and not achieved.


5.

Incentives and compelling arguments rooted in fact are needed to motivate the
State government. Given the complexities and final say of the State over land matters,
it is imperative to provide a strong value proposition for designating new PAs to meet the
2025 NPBD target. These must be grounded in strong economic arguments and may
also include incentives for win-win outcomes.


6.

Gender by design. Gender considerations are much too important for the 2030 Agenda
to be an afterthought. Projects should not be expected to shoehorn gender
considerations retroactively into activities. Gender ought to be budgeted and thought out
from the outset.


7.

Legal assessments and gap analyses are complementary to Protected Area
projects, especially in similar contexts to Malaysia, and are a significant value added
and novel concept to the project. Important lessons were learnt from the legal
perspective such as from the gap analysis, with recommendations shedding light on
important perspectives with respect to enactments, governance aspects, institutional
reforms, trust fund issues, informing consultations and many other corollary benefits.

While introduced during implementation and not strictly in scope, other projects of similar
nature should consider such activities due to their spin off benefits. The experience
gained through the drafting process of the enactment, with the inclusion of new legal
provisions aligned with international best practices, have created a model which through
close engagement and technical exchange with UNDP’s Environmental Legal Specialist
and UNDP-CO’s convening power can be applied elsewhere. There is tremendous
replicability potential in the legal analysis work which was a welcome high-value addition
to the project scope and should be encouraged to continue post-project.


Findings
Recommendations
1

It is strongly recommended to wind down the TEEB and Sustainable Financing Plans and take them up as part of a separate initiative. The imperative of completing this activity for the sake of checking off a deliverable should be reconsidered as it would be detrimental to the long-term narrative this output will establish; it is better to get it right than to rush and squeeze it into the remaining time. The results are much too important for the national context and will set the tone of future conversations and investments and therefore, needs to be uncompromised.

2

The window of opportunity to ensure PA financing is entrenched in the 12th Malaysia Plan 2021 - 2025 is closing quickly; it is recommended that monthly meetings between the UNDP-CO, GEF OFP and KeTSA are held to align on priorities and ensure strategies are developed to penetrate the consultation process with key recommendations and issues to be reflected.

3

Projects need to institutionalize the products and services they produce to ensure sustainability through defined accountability and well-established ownership. Operational readiness ought to be a mandatory phase in GEF projects in parallel to the terminal evaluation with a runway of at least six months to document processes and knowledge to be transitioned to respective owners. The Terminal Evaluation would therefore not be a point in time but would be implemented in stages to document the smooth handover and transitioning of operations.

4

The NFPA should be viewed as roadmap. It documents the necessary steps, governance and strategic actions to maintain a healthy and well-financed PA network in Malaysia. At the very minimum, efforts should be taken to operationalize it post-project and ensure there is a clear owner within KeTSA.

The three NFPA regional working groups, that were stalled due to COVID-19, need to be established immediately to implement the recommendations of the NFPA and update the PA Master List on a regular basis.

5

IBD is presently is under DWNP and therefore, its Directors, teaching staff and rangers are bound by the rotation policy of the Public Service Department i.e. subject to transfers to other branches of DWNP in Peninsular Malaysia. For IBD to become an effective Centre of Excellence in training PA managers irrespective of agencies it should become its own entity. This would enable IBD to retain a permanent pool of trained personnel, develop specialized courses depending of various PA agencies and PA official’s needs, provide consultation and technical services and be sustainably funded from the Ministry and other financial mechanism. A follow up: future initiatives specifically focused on IBD and building up on the activities developed under this project would greatly benefit PA management in Malaysia.

6

Going forward, revenue opportunities should be scaled-up and spin-off initiatives should seek mechanisms to expand the revenue streams, including Payment for Ecosystem Services, debt for nature swaps or the creation of dedicated endowments for the parks themselves. It would also be interesting to trial one business plan for an entire protected area including all aspects of its operations and touch points with other sectors.

7

The UNDP-CO should leverage its expertise in gender responsiveness and in-house capacity when the gender officer vacancy is filled to act as a “floating” resource to support projects within the portfolio.

8

Some strengthening at Ministry level is needed in terms of capacity and governance. A permanent secretariat, where the officers are not subjected to frequent transfers, ought to be established to handle and expand the NCTF, coordinate the ecological fiscal transfer for conservation to the states and implement other sustainable financial mechanisms.

9

The legal work was a significant value-added and novel concept to the project. While introduced during implementation and not strictly in scope, other projects of similar nature should consider such activitieThe legal work was a significant value-added and novel concept to the project. While introduced during implementation and not strictly in scope, other projects of similar nature should consider such activities due to their spin off benefitss due to their spin off benefits

10

UNDP’s ability to inform national policies and link community-level initiatives with national programmes lies in demonstrating well-tested programme models. As such, UNDP’s convening power was instrumental in raising the profile of the PAF Project and it plays an essential role in operationalizing national environment and development priorities, enabling a vital and neutral platform for the engagement of various government actors and resolution of conflicts. In many respects while the Project was NIM implemented, the DWNP relied heavily on the UNDP leadership and guidance to overcome barriers to implementation. Given the size of the portfolio there is a need to increase the UNDP-CO capacity at the Programme Officer level in performing its oversight and quality assurance roles and responsibilities as per UNDP and GEF requirements.

11

Projects are only as strong as their weakest link and more so in multi-level projects like this one. Procurement and contracting requires strengthening. These were persistent bottlenecks and significantly contributed to key pieces of work from being delivered on time to be leveraged in a meaningful way; the delay in TEEB is a missed opportunity and blow to the project’s core objective.

12

It is clear with the 20/20 vision hindsight brings, that the Project’s partners were not ready to implement this project at the outset. The DWNP’s inexperience in undertaking GEF projects, knowledge of GEF culture and requirements, should have been identified as a potential risk from the outset, together with expectations of the NIM. Readiness was a gap and the slow project start-up phase may have held the Project back from hitting the ground running and firing on all cylinders. In a previous evaluation the TE team primed another department of KeTSA, through consultative workshops, to de-mystify basic concepts which are taken for granted in the UN universe, to harmonize expectations and ensure common understanding. Perhaps the GEF should consider a pre-inception phase for training, alignment of accountabilities, creating a project handbook and agreeing on administrative, financial and procurement procedures.

13

There are opportunities that a robust knowledge management strategy can bring to the UNDP-CO. The dramatic success of knowledge-sharing networks and initiatives within the UN system is a compelling argument for it to invest in a deeper awareness, connections and knowledge within its portfolio for improving organizational effectiveness. To succeed, knowledge management must be fully integrated into how each organization operates. Introducing knowledge management as a core business process requires transformational change which can be complex and difficult.   However, this need not be a sophisticated technology deployment as existing tools and platforms within the UN such as SharePoint exist. It is recommended that an internal project be initiated at the UNDP-CO to benefit from the knowledge and information it produces.

1. Recommendation:

It is strongly recommended to wind down the TEEB and Sustainable Financing Plans and take them up as part of a separate initiative. The imperative of completing this activity for the sake of checking off a deliverable should be reconsidered as it would be detrimental to the long-term narrative this output will establish; it is better to get it right than to rush and squeeze it into the remaining time. The results are much too important for the national context and will set the tone of future conversations and investments and therefore, needs to be uncompromised.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

Project Management Unit (PMU) rejects this recommendation. PMU acknowledges the importance of TEEB for protected area in Peninsular Malaysia and sustainable finance plans of the three protected area agencies namely Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (DWNP), Perak State Park Corporation (PSPC) and Johor National Park Corporation (JNPc) in providing strong policy and economic case for continued investments into effective protected area management in Malaysia. However, the completion of TEEB and the implementation of sustainable finance plans are not an issue as TEEB is being executed as per revised work plan to take into account the COVID-19 effects on survey activity and will be completed before the PAF project is financially closed on 31 December 2020 and the three sustainable finance plans have been completed in May 2020 and currently in the endorsement process for subsequent implementation by respective agency.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

The window of opportunity to ensure PA financing is entrenched in the 12th Malaysia Plan 2021 - 2025 is closing quickly; it is recommended that monthly meetings between the UNDP-CO, GEF OFP and KeTSA are held to align on priorities and ensure strategies are developed to penetrate the consultation process with key recommendations and issues to be reflected.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

Project Management Unit (PMU) partially accepts this recommendation. PMU agrees to provide inputs and key recommendations from the PA Financing project into the 12th Malaysia Plan. However, PMU does not agree to conducting monthly meetings. This is because a Technical Working Group (TWG) workshop for the Environmental Management and Natural Resources Chapter of the 12th Malaysia Plan was held on 16 July 2020 by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister Department with all stakeholders to obtain inputs for 12th Malaysia Plan to which Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA), Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and UNDP attended the workshop and provided written inputs about protected areas to EPU.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Provide written inputs drawing from PA Financing project best practices and lessons.
[Added: 2020/11/17]
KeTSA, DWNP and UNDP 2020/07 Completed KeTSA, DWNP and UNDP provided written inputs at the 12th Malaysia Plan Technical Working Group for Environmental Management and Natural Resources workshop organized by the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department.
3. Recommendation:

Projects need to institutionalize the products and services they produce to ensure sustainability through defined accountability and well-established ownership. Operational readiness ought to be a mandatory phase in GEF projects in parallel to the terminal evaluation with a runway of at least six months to document processes and knowledge to be transitioned to respective owners. The Terminal Evaluation would therefore not be a point in time but would be implemented in stages to document the smooth handover and transitioning of operations.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

 Project Management Unit (PMU) accepts this recommendation and recognizes the importance of operational readiness in terms of documenting process and knowledge to be handed to respective implementing and project partners to assume ownership, institutionalize and ensure sustainability of products developed by the project. Operational readiness has been mandatory for all projects. In this project, the process started in January 2020 by project team members in compiling documents and providing handover notes to the DWNP, UNDP Country Office in Malaysia and EPU. Further, a meeting led by Malaysia GEF OFP with participation of KeTSA, DWNP and UNDP on 23 June 2020 also agreed to the project exit strategy and follow-up actions that include a Project Terminal Evaluation and Final Workshop on 19 November 2020 to share best practices, lessons learned and uptake and institutionalization of tangible project interventions and TE recommendations.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Conduct Project Terminal Evaluation and Final Workshop on 19 November 2020 to exchange best practices and lessons learnt including uptake and institutionalization of tangible project interventions and TE recommendations
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2021/01/19]
KeTSA and DWNP 2020/11 Completed Completed. Project Terminal Evaluation and Final Workshop on 19 November 2020 to exchange best practices and lessons learnt including uptake and institutionalization of tangible project interventions and TE recommendations.. Link of workshop recording: https://undp.sharepoint.com/sites/PAFinancingTEandFinalWorkshop/Shared%20Documents/General/PA%20Financing%20TE%20and%20Final%20Workshop_19%20November%202020.mp4 History
4. Recommendation:

The NFPA should be viewed as roadmap. It documents the necessary steps, governance and strategic actions to maintain a healthy and well-financed PA network in Malaysia. At the very minimum, efforts should be taken to operationalize it post-project and ensure there is a clear owner within KeTSA.

The three NFPA regional working groups, that were stalled due to COVID-19, need to be established immediately to implement the recommendations of the NFPA and update the PA Master List on a regular basis.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

KeTSA accepts these recommendations. The Ministry recognizes National Framework on Protected Areas as an important framework to assist the effective management of protected areas in Malaysia. KeTSA proposes the adoption and implementation of NFPA under the draft Strategy Paper 15: Sustainable Natural Resource Management in the 12th Malaysia Plan. The draft states that “…The identification of all the vital ecosystems such as peatland, mangroves, limestone, water catchment, state and national PA and Permanent Reserved Forest is very important in order to develop centralized spatial mapping for ecosystem monitoring. The proposed centralized spatial database mapping of the important including vulnerable ecosystems which to be consistently updated, must be accessible to all key agencies in order to support informed land use planning. The spatial mapping will assist State authorities to demarcate the protected areas clearly on the ground and legally protecting these areas as protected areas. To assist the States, it is proposed to develop and implement National Framework of Protected Areas.”

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Establish a Working Group on National Framework of Protected Areas (Peninsula, Sabah & Sarawak)
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2022/10/03]
KeTSA/ DWNP/ State Governments 2022/12 Initiated History
Undertake mapping of vulnerable ecosystems in Malaysia
[Added: 2020/11/17]
Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) 2022/12 Initiated This action will be undertaken under the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) funded by the EU. FRIM is the lead agency.
Strengthen transboundary cooperation between Malaysia and Thailand
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2022/01/30]
KETSA and PSPC 2022/12 Initiated History
Undertake an inventory of ‘other effective area- based conservation measures’ (OECMs)
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2022/10/03]
KETSA/SEARRP and State Governments 2022/12 Initiated The development of OECM interpretation undertaken by SEARRP funded by GEF-Small Grants Programme has been extended to December 2022. A series of discussion between KeTSA and SEARRP were held to discuss the initial findings on the potential of the OECM and way forward to formulating National OECM Framework. KeTSA aims to incorporate the OECM framework into NFPA by 2023. History
Review and amend existing national and sub-national legislation to improve PA management.
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2022/01/30]
KETSA/ DWNP and State Governments 2022/12 Completed KeTSA received proposed amendments from State of Pahang for National Park (Pahang) Enactment 1939 and has on-going discussions on matters pertaining to trustee. Once revised, the proposed amendments will be tabled to the Pahang State Legislative Assembly and subsequently to Cabinet for approval. New completion date: December 2023. This action is completed as Penang National Parks Regulations 2020 has been gazetted on 17 January 2022 by Penang National Park Advisory Council and given grace period to impose fee for entry into Penang National Park (expected to be enforced in June 2022 onwards). History
5. Recommendation:

IBD is presently is under DWNP and therefore, its Directors, teaching staff and rangers are bound by the rotation policy of the Public Service Department i.e. subject to transfers to other branches of DWNP in Peninsular Malaysia. For IBD to become an effective Centre of Excellence in training PA managers irrespective of agencies it should become its own entity. This would enable IBD to retain a permanent pool of trained personnel, develop specialized courses depending of various PA agencies and PA official’s needs, provide consultation and technical services and be sustainably funded from the Ministry and other financial mechanism. A follow up: future initiatives specifically focused on IBD and building up on the activities developed under this project would greatly benefit PA management in Malaysia.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

DWNP does not accept this recommendation.

Efforts have been undertaken to establish and recruit a pool of Subject Matter Experts within the Department, which can be retained as technical experts and trainers in specialized courses conducted by IBD. This is one of the strategic actions for the transformation of IBD as the Centre of Excellence for wildlife and protected area management.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

Going forward, revenue opportunities should be scaled-up and spin-off initiatives should seek mechanisms to expand the revenue streams, including Payment for Ecosystem Services, debt for nature swaps or the creation of dedicated endowments for the parks themselves. It would also be interesting to trial one business plan for an entire protected area including all aspects of its operations and touch points with other sectors.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

KeTSA accepts this recommendation and agrees with scaling up and seeking alternative funding mechanism for management and protection of existing and new natural forest reserves and protected areas. KeTSA realizes that the 12th Malaysia Plan provides a great opportunity to address these aspects. KeTSA has proposed to EPU a number of initiatives under the draft Strategy Paper 15: Sustainable Natural Resource Management, 12th Malaysia Plan. Among others, the draft states the following:

a.      ‘… Acknowledging the economic dependency of State on land and natural resources, funding for biodiversity need to be diversified by incentivising States to continue to conserve natural assets using economic instrument such as payment for ecosystem and ecological fiscal transfer (EFT). The initiative need to be institutionalized for greater return on the spending/payment’

b.      ‘… Explore preferential criteria for EFT allocation as an incentive to state’

c.      ‘... Incentivising states to stimulate environmental considerations in development planning including the implementation of Payment for Ecosystem Services and Ecological Fiscal Transfer’ 

d. ‘... Introduce or review entrance fee, conservation fees in protected area’

e.      ‘... Establish mechanism to channel fines and penalties from environmental related offences back to conservation’

f.        ‘... Explore co-management or privatization option of commercially viable natural assets’

KeTSA has reiterated these aspects on 16 July 2020 during the TWG. DWNP, PSPC and Johor National Park Corporation (JNPC) will also implement respective sustainable finance plans and business plans for Taman Negara, Royal Belum and Endau-Rompin. JNPC’s Management Plan for Tanjung Piai dan Pulau Kukup have been presented to Board of Directors of JNPC on 3 August 2020 and will be adopted once the State Treasury’s approval has been obtained.

KeTSA has also applied for EFT instrument and matching grant for conservation under 2021 Operating Expenditure Budget.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
. Implement sustainable finance plans.
[Added: 2020/11/17]
DWNP, PSPC and JNPC 2022/12 Initiated
Implement business plans for Taman Negara National Park, Royal Belum State Park and Endau-Rompin National Park.
[Added: 2020/11/17]
DWNP, PSPC and JNPC 2022/12 Initiated
Review fees in protected area
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2022/01/30]
KeTSA, DWNP and States of Pahang and Penang 2023/12 Initiated KeTSA received proposed amendments from State of Pahang for National Park (Pahang) Enactment 1939 and has on-going discussions on matters pertaining to trustee. Once revised, the proposed amendments will be tabled to the Pahang State Legislative Assembly and subsequently to Cabinet for approval. History
7. Recommendation:

The UNDP-CO should leverage its expertise in gender responsiveness and in-house capacity when the gender officer vacancy is filled to act as a “floating” resource to support projects within the portfolio.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

UNDP CO accepts this recommendation and acknowledges the importance in advancing gender mainstreaming agenda across portfolios and projects. There is an existing gender focal person whom will be invited to provide technical inputs during the Project Preparation Grant (PPG) phase of GEF-7 cycle projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
CO Gender Focal Point and Gender Technical Adviser from Bangkok Regional Centre to provide technical inputs into GEF-7 funded projects below: a. Integrated Landscape Management of Heart of Borneo Landscapes in Sabah and Sarawak b. Building institutional and local capacities to reduce wildlife crime and to enhance protection of iconic wildlife in Malaysia.
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2022/01/30]
UNDP 2023/06 Initiated CO Gender Focal Point and Gender Technical Adviser from Bangkok Regional Centre provided technical inputs to GEF-7 funded project below: a. Due to institutional changes of Implementing Partner from KeTSA to Sabah Forestry Department, the project document and mandatory annexes require substantive revision and is expected to be completed and submitted to UNDP HQ and GEF Secretariat by June 2023. b. Completed for Building institutional and local capacities to reduce wildlife crime and to enhance protection of iconic wildlife in Malaysia. Project document and mandatory annexes were submitted to UNDP HQ (for technical and financial clearance) on 26 January 2022. History
8. Recommendation:

Some strengthening at Ministry level is needed in terms of capacity and governance. A permanent secretariat, where the officers are not subjected to frequent transfers, ought to be established to handle and expand the NCTF, coordinate the ecological fiscal transfer for conservation to the states and implement other sustainable financial mechanisms.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

KeTSA accepts this recommendation and agrees with strengthening the National Conservation Trust Fund (NCTF) including governance, disbursement mechanism etc. Under the 12th Malaysia Plan, strengthening of effectiveness and promotion of NCTF will be one of the focus areas under sustainable utilization to diversify funding for biodiversity. The draft Strategy Paper 15: Sustainable Natural Resource Management, 12th Malaysia Plan. The draft states the following:

a.      ‘…Another innovative financing worth to explore is to establish mechanism to channel fines and penalties from environmental related offences back to conservation. Apart from all the strategies, currently available conservation fund such as NCTF must be strengthened to promote conservation effort among NGO/CSO and community’

b.      ‘ ... Strengthen effectiveness and promote National Conservation Trust Fund’

c.      ‘… Agency should also explore to establish Resource Mobilisation Unit …’

KeTSA is proposing to establish Resource Mobilisation Unit under the Malaysian Biodiversity Centre (MBC).

KeTSA is proposing a talent retention programme known as Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Biodiversity and Forestry in KeTSA to address the issue on frequent transfers of officers. The programme will also contribute towards building capacity and improving succession planning.

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Establish SME for Biodiversity and Forestry
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2022/01/30]
KETSA/JPA 2023/06 Initiated Pending approval from Human Resource Division on the establishment of SME for Biodiversity and Forestry. History
Strengthen NCTF
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2022/01/30]
KETSA/JPA 2021/12 Completed This action is completed. NCTF unit was strengthened through the recruitment of three MySTEP personnel. In addition, it will be further strengthened with recruitment of three additional personnel by June 2022 making a total of six personnel within NCTF unit to assist in processing of NCTF matters and development of application system. additional one personnel and two more in recruitment process. History
Establish Resource Mobilisation Unit under MBC
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2022/10/03]
KETSA/JPA 2022/06 Completed MBC unit is established and is currently filled with 3 posts. MBC unit is in the process of drafting a bill to establish MBC as a statutory body performing 6 key functions including serving as the National Competent Agency for the Access and Benefit Sharing Act. History
9. Recommendation:

The legal work was a significant value-added and novel concept to the project. While introduced during implementation and not strictly in scope, other projects of similar nature should consider such activitieThe legal work was a significant value-added and novel concept to the project. While introduced during implementation and not strictly in scope, other projects of similar nature should consider such activities due to their spin off benefitss due to their spin off benefits

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

Project Management Unit (PMU) and UNDP CO accepts this recommendation and agrees that the legal work was a great value added to the project. Where possible, other projects can consider the incorporation of legal work/aspects within the project scope. A prime example is the partnership between UNDP CO and Kedah State Government where legal expertise and support was provided to the formulation and drafting process of Kedah Protected Area Enactment.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Provision of legal advice and expertise in other related projects in protected areas namely Kedah Protected Area Law project.
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2021/01/19]
UNDP 2020/12 Completed Completed. UNDP-CO has submitted the draft of Kedah State Protected Area Enactment with Kedah State Government on 16 July 2020. History
10. Recommendation:

UNDP’s ability to inform national policies and link community-level initiatives with national programmes lies in demonstrating well-tested programme models. As such, UNDP’s convening power was instrumental in raising the profile of the PAF Project and it plays an essential role in operationalizing national environment and development priorities, enabling a vital and neutral platform for the engagement of various government actors and resolution of conflicts. In many respects while the Project was NIM implemented, the DWNP relied heavily on the UNDP leadership and guidance to overcome barriers to implementation. Given the size of the portfolio there is a need to increase the UNDP-CO capacity at the Programme Officer level in performing its oversight and quality assurance roles and responsibilities as per UNDP and GEF requirements.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

UNDP CO accepts this recommendation. In preparation of the new Country Programme 2021 – 2025, CO is in the process of commissioning a capacity assessment of the office to ensure adequate capacities are in place to perform oversight and quality assurance functions for the GEF-financed projects as per UNDP and GEF requirements.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Conduct capacity assessment of CO in preparation of new Country Programme 2021 – 2025.
[Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2022/01/30]
UNDP Senior management 2022/12 Initiated CO had undergone capacity assessment in May-June 2021. The final report is available, pending clearance by HQ and expected to be implemented in 2022. History
11. Recommendation:

Projects are only as strong as their weakest link and more so in multi-level projects like this one. Procurement and contracting requires strengthening. These were persistent bottlenecks and significantly contributed to key pieces of work from being delivered on time to be leveraged in a meaningful way; the delay in TEEB is a missed opportunity and blow to the project’s core objective.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

Project Management Unit (PMU) rejects this recommendation.

UNDP is fully aware of the missed opportunity in completing the TEEB assessment prior to project closure due to procurement procedures. However, the procurement process for TEEB started as early as 2016 and adhered strictly to UNDP’s Programme and Operations Policies and Procedures (POPP). Two procurement processes had to be performed as the bidders  failed to  meet  the minimum technical requirements  in the first round  of tender.  In the final  advertisement in early 2019, the company which successfully met the technical requirements quoted 50% higher than the budget allocated. This has prolonged the procurement process as clarification with the recommended bidder regarding their financial proposal was required. However, as elaborated in management response for recommendation 1, the completion of TEEB’s will not be a problem and will be completed by December 2020 as per revised plan.

Key Actions:

12. Recommendation:

It is clear with the 20/20 vision hindsight brings, that the Project’s partners were not ready to implement this project at the outset. The DWNP’s inexperience in undertaking GEF projects, knowledge of GEF culture and requirements, should have been identified as a potential risk from the outset, together with expectations of the NIM. Readiness was a gap and the slow project start-up phase may have held the Project back from hitting the ground running and firing on all cylinders. In a previous evaluation the TE team primed another department of KeTSA, through consultative workshops, to de-mystify basic concepts which are taken for granted in the UN universe, to harmonize expectations and ensure common understanding. Perhaps the GEF should consider a pre-inception phase for training, alignment of accountabilities, creating a project handbook and agreeing on administrative, financial and procurement procedures.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

Project Management Unit (PMU) acknowledges the highlighted issues but does not accept this recommendation as there were macro and micro HACT assessments conducted in 2012 and 2016 respectively that assigned low risk factor in financial and project management capacity of DWNP. Further, the project implementing partner also had undergone a HACT audit in 2014.

However, GEF OFP, KeTSA and UNDP are considering a socialization phase for future GEF-funded projects to ensure effective project inception and implementation by implementing agencies in Malaysia.

Key Actions:

13. Recommendation:

There are opportunities that a robust knowledge management strategy can bring to the UNDP-CO. The dramatic success of knowledge-sharing networks and initiatives within the UN system is a compelling argument for it to invest in a deeper awareness, connections and knowledge within its portfolio for improving organizational effectiveness. To succeed, knowledge management must be fully integrated into how each organization operates. Introducing knowledge management as a core business process requires transformational change which can be complex and difficult.   However, this need not be a sophisticated technology deployment as existing tools and platforms within the UN such as SharePoint exist. It is recommended that an internal project be initiated at the UNDP-CO to benefit from the knowledge and information it produces.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17]

UNDP CO does not accept this recommendation. CO acknowledges the importance of having knowledge management platform and products to enhance sharing of knowledge and best practices to improve management and organization effectiveness. However, UNDP-CO disagrees with developing a new internal project for such purpose as there is a new unit within the CO developed for learning and knowledge sharing and management across portfolios namely Learning and Insights Unit (LIGHTS) to draw best practices & lesson learnt and produce relevant knowledge products. In addition, three photo essays have been developed to showcase project’s achievements. The first photo essay was published in August 2020 (https://undp-biodiversity.exposure.co/champions-of-conservation).

Key Actions:

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