Terminal Evaluation of Expanding the Protected Area System to Incorporate Important Aquatic Ecosystems (EPASIIAE) project

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Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Bangladesh
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
05/2020
Completion Date:
05/2020
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
27,000

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Title Terminal Evaluation of Expanding the Protected Area System to Incorporate Important Aquatic Ecosystems (EPASIIAE) project
Atlas Project Number: 00085970
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Bangladesh
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 05/2020
Planned End Date: 05/2020
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 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
SDG Target
  • 14.5 By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Evaluation Budget(US $): 27,000
Source of Funding: Project budget (GEF-funded)
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 26,003
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: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: MSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5099
PIMS Number: 4620
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: BANGLADESH
Lessons
1.

Attention needs to be paid to the Logical Framework at the Inception meeting to assess the realism and accuracy of the indicators, baseline and targets as set out in the Project Document. This is especially important when the project has faced extended delays in start up and /or when national circumstances have changed since the design phase.


2.

When selecting Alternative Income Generating Activities, it is important to understand and support the preferences of the beneficiaries as this encourages uptake and increases the likely of sustainability of the initiatives.


3.

Creation of sustainable financing solutions are crucial to embed local community initiatives. The Sustainable Livelihood Groups and use of ‘Box money’ approach have inspired women to save and invest in their small businesses.


4.

For complex conservation project such as this a strong working relationship between the different offices of the BFD is critical.  The Divisional Forest Officer, Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Division, Khulna acting as NPD, facilitated good cooperation with other divisional officers across the Sundarbans, which was essential for project implementation.


5.

Managers and consultants on conservation projects should be from a conservation background.


6.

Undertaking a five year program of work in three years has implications for impact and sustainability.  Time is needed to embed awareness, learning and new approaches.


Findings
1.

Expanding the operational coverage of PAs.  While the target set was overambitious and the project adapted its goal to designating new dolphin conservation sites, 3 new dolphin sanctuaries have been approved comprising 22 km2 (core area) and 12.27 km2 (buffer zone area).


2.

Awareness and capacity building. The project had an extensive awareness raising programme. It built awareness of dolphin conservation at the community to national level, sensitizing at least 50,000 people in dolphin conservation through a variety of approaches (e.g. community meetings, campaigns, international day observance, shushuk mela (dolphin fair) and television clips using a popular film actor). It has also built the capacity of the BFD in conservation.


3.

Linking dolphin conservation with livelihood enhancement and poverty alleviation and community engagement. The project formed seven DCTs who are working with the BFD in dolphin monitoring and patrolling activities. The alternative livelihoods support provided to 1,000 households has empowered women and reduced the pressure on fishing.


4.

Initiation of a move towards integrated sectoral planning and working, through the drafting of biodiversity friending sector guidance and its attempt to establish cross sectoral committees at the national and regional level.


5.

Production of a range of knowledge products, which can be used to strengthen aquatic conservation nationally.


Recommendations
1

Every effort should be made to secure approval of project proposals and documents from the MoEFCC before the project closes.  The approvals required are - knowledge products and plans (e.g. the Dolphin Atlas, Dolphin Action Plan, Halda dolphin conservation management plan, sectoral guidelines, CBRMP, and Strategic Livelihoods Sustainability Plan), and formation of the national and regional committees. This should be a priority for the Project Manager before he leaves the project at the end of March 2020. If approvals are not in place for the end of March 2020, the project should set out a strategy for ensuring that such approvals do not fall through the cracks and that someone is given the responsibility to follow-up with the relevant parties to secure the approvals required. A strategy for disseminating the knowledge products and plans once approved should also be determined.

2

Documentation of lessons learned. Given that this is an innovative project in Bangladesh, it is especially important that lessons from the project are captured and disseminated to improve decisions on the management of aquatic habitats. Lessons learned have not been systematically collated by the project and this activity is important to allow others to learn from and replicate the project’s work. Dolphins are under threat elsewhere in the country and the lessons of this project have national applicability.

3

Set out replicability of project’s outputs and approaches. Given that the replicability of the project’s initiatives is a key design feature of the project, it is recommended that the project makes explicit how the knowledge products, plans and approaches developed by the project can be applied elsewhere in Bangladesh, conditions under which they are or are not applicable, challenges / barriers, lessons in applications (both technical and operational). The project has generated a lot of information, but this needs to be synthesized into a reader friendly format to promote replication.

4

An agreement needs to be reached between the Government of Bangladesh and UNDP on the streamlining of the GEF financed projects and TPP approval processes. The TAPP is required for all donor projects in Bangladesh and hence all future GEF projects are liable to the delays faced by EPASIIAEP unless the two approval processes can be managed to run [more] simultaneously. It was suggested that given that the TAPP is not very different to the project document, it could be prepared alongside the project document and ideally the two documents would be signed at the same meeting.  More cooperation between the Planning and Finance Department is needed to streamline the approval process.  Alternatively, it will be necessary to factor the time needed to prepare TAPPs into the GEF Project Preparation Grant (PPG) process to avoid such delays. It is acknowledged that reaching agreement on this matter will take time and requires the input and willingness of all parties.

5

Strengthen results-based management and familiarity with GEF procedures among UNDP-CO and PMs.  M&E needs to be strengthened across the GEF project cycle.  Projects should ensure a close review of indicators at Inception and at the MTR and ensure that results are systematically tracked and progress against indicators recorded (this could be introduced as part of the PIRs). Reporting against outputs and activities should be provided at the project level along with a candid narrative of the challenges facing the project and strategies to address these challenges, ideally through the Quarterly Report format typically used by GEF projects. Independent MTR and TE could be more efficient through start up skype calls with the evaluator prior to the mission to agree mission planning, sharing of all project documents ahead of the mission, awareness of the need to talk to a broad range of stakeholders and for interviews to be held on a one-to-one basis as far as logistics allow to ensure confidentiality and candid discussions, and closer working with the RTA. Project management could be improved through management staff at UNDP Country Office and  PMs being more familiar with GEF procedures and better engagement with the RTA. This could be achieved through, for example, a detailed assignment to UNDP Regional office in Bangkok to learn about GEF procedures. For example, GEF co-financing reporting requirements which have recently become more stringent.

6

Enforcement capacity needs to be enhanced. On-going enforcement of the area and the new wildlife sanctuary recently gazetted will be critical going forward.  In particular, additional enforcement capacity for Pankhali wildlife sanctuary will be needed which is outside of the Sundarbans.

7

Continued support for integrated planning. The project has made a good start on developing integrated planning and working, essential for conservation success in the Sundarbans and for the delivery of the SDGs in general. There is limited integrated working in Bangladesh, activities are not well coordinated across Ministries and there is generally a low appreciation of conservation outside of the MoEFCC, success in this area therefore requires sustain efforts beyond the project, to ensure that the initial steps taken by the project are built on.  The proposed GEF 6 Project (awaiting CEO endorsement) - Implementing Ecosystem-based Management in Ecologically Critical Areas in Bangladesh has a focus on integrated working.

8

Continued support for communities. In order to build on the project’s progress in integrating communities into conservation efforts in the Sundarbans, the communities in the area need on-going expert support in sustainable livelihoods, awareness raising and monitoring activities.

9

Increasing revenue for protected area systems to meet expenditures required for management - Sustainable Financing. The project was designed to help promote income generation through tourism, partnerships with NGOs and local government, in addition to ensuring national funds for the PAs. There has been little concrete success in this area and on-going efforts are required to raise funds for conservation from a variety of sources.

  • Ensuring additional national funds for the project’s PAs is a priority. Ideally the Forest Department’s Conservation orientated work should be incorporated in their regular work through the revenue budget. This requires the MoEFCC to work with the Ministry of Finance to establish separate budget lines for activities such as SMART patrolling.
  • There are some ideas around sustainable financing, which need to be further developed (e.g. a green tax on industries using Mongla port, which could be then be used to support conservation, or a payment by tourists for dolphin sightings (e.g. 10 Taka, of which 5 Taka could go to CMEC or BFD for Dolphin conservation). Other mechanisms may also be possible, such as attracting Impact Investors and private sector support.  While Bangladesh is not part of BIOFIN it could draw on the work of BIOFIN at the regional level plus other global sustainable financing initiatives, and on-going work of Poverty Environment Action (PEA, UNDP-UNEP) in Bangladesh which is focused on mainstreaming poverty and environment issues into budgeting and finance.
  • Donor funding. There is reportedly a focus on donor funding for climate change, with limited finance being allocated to biodiversity conservation. Finance is needed to conserve wildlife in general, not just dolphins, although a national-wide dolphin project could be supported to build in the work in Sundarbans by this project.
  • A study could be undertaken to identify innovative sustainable financing options for the area, covering public and private financial mechanisms. This would include a review of cost saving approaches for managing the area, which are important given the high cost of accessing the sites.
10

Raise awareness of the contribution of biodiversity to the economy and livelihoods. Biodiversity makes a significant contribution to the GDP of the country through agriculture, fisheries and forestry, but it is not reflected in National Accounts leading to under investment in these sectors and promoting overuse. Natural Capital Accounts and the valuation of ecosystem services are tools that can be utilized to better illustrate the value of natural resources and ecosystems at the macro and sub-national scale to increase awareness and improve decision making and the sustainability of investments.  Biodiversity Public Expenditure Reviews can be used to measure and track investments in biodiversity.

1. Recommendation:

Every effort should be made to secure approval of project proposals and documents from the MoEFCC before the project closes.  The approvals required are - knowledge products and plans (e.g. the Dolphin Atlas, Dolphin Action Plan, Halda dolphin conservation management plan, sectoral guidelines, CBRMP, and Strategic Livelihoods Sustainability Plan), and formation of the national and regional committees. This should be a priority for the Project Manager before he leaves the project at the end of March 2020. If approvals are not in place for the end of March 2020, the project should set out a strategy for ensuring that such approvals do not fall through the cracks and that someone is given the responsibility to follow-up with the relevant parties to secure the approvals required. A strategy for disseminating the knowledge products and plans once approved should also be determined.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/03] [Last Updated: 2020/06/03]

Agreed. The approval process on key management plans and guidelines on dolphin conservation are still underway. Due to the COVID-19 situation, all relevant government offices (Forest Department-FD, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change-MoEFCC) have been closed since 27 March 2020 in the country along with country wide lock-down and travel restrictions. UNDP with support from Forest Department will work with the MoEFCC for approval of publication of all knowledge products soon after the Ministry and Agency resume. The Programme Specialist, Project Director and former Project Manager (he returned to FD) will follow-up the process of the endorsement and publication of management plans, guidelines and other knowledge products.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Obtain approval of key management plans, guidelines and other knowledge products
[Added: 2020/06/03] [Last Updated: 2020/08/11]
Programme Specialist, UNDP; Project Director and former Project Manager 2020/10 Initiated We are closely and virtually following up with the MoEFCC and FD and place all knowledge products to the Secretary, MoEFCC after the MoEFCC and FD. History
2. Recommendation:

Documentation of lessons learned. Given that this is an innovative project in Bangladesh, it is especially important that lessons from the project are captured and disseminated to improve decisions on the management of aquatic habitats. Lessons learned have not been systematically collated by the project and this activity is important to allow others to learn from and replicate the project’s work. Dolphins are under threat elsewhere in the country and the lessons of this project have national applicability.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/03]

Fully agreed. It was planned to conduct a national level knowledge sharing and dissemination workshop in the last week of March 2020. However, it was not organized due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A knowledge sharing and dissemination workshop is now planned to be organized in Dhaka when the MoEFCC and FD will officially open and the pandemic situation become normal. The approved management plan, guidelines and other knowledge products, good practices and lessons from the project will be shared and distributed among the stakeholders by uploading these documents online in the FD and UNDP websites as well as sharing printed copies. Since dolphins are threatened aquatic animals, the government is planning to implement the ‘dolphin conservation action plan’ and other good practices in the Sundarbans, Halda Rivers and other dolphin hotspots across the country. UNDP has also initiated discussion with India and Sri Lanka Country Offices to develop an international waters programme, which will utilize the lessons from the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Publish and disseminate seven documents, namely ‘Research Gap Analysis for dolphin’, ‘Identifying dolphin habitat in Sundarbans’, ‘Population status of dolphin in Halda river’, ‘Management Effectiveness Assessment of three dolphin sanctuaries of Sundarbans’, ‘Monitoring dolphin population in the three dolphin sanctuaries of Sundarbans’, ‘Dolphin Atlas’, and ‘Dolphin Conservation Action Plan’
[Added: 2020/06/03] [Last Updated: 2020/08/11]
Programme Specialist, UNDP; Project Director and former Project Manager 2020/10 Initiated ‘Research Gap Analysis for dolphin’, ‘Identifying dolphin habitat in Sundarbans’, ‘Population status of dolphin in Halda river’ have already been printed. ‘Management Effectiveness Assessment of three dolphin sanctuaries of Sundarbans’ and ‘Monitoring dolphin population in the three dolphin sanctuaries of Sundarbans’ are in the printing press. The vendors are selected to print out two documents, ‘Dolphin Atlas’ and ‘Dolphin Conservation Action Plan’. History
3. Recommendation:

Set out replicability of project’s outputs and approaches. Given that the replicability of the project’s initiatives is a key design feature of the project, it is recommended that the project makes explicit how the knowledge products, plans and approaches developed by the project can be applied elsewhere in Bangladesh, conditions under which they are or are not applicable, challenges / barriers, lessons in applications (both technical and operational). The project has generated a lot of information, but this needs to be synthesized into a reader friendly format to promote replication.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/03]

Agreed. Under the ‘SUROKSHA’ a public finance project, FD is planning to conserve important aquatic species, including dolphins in the Sundarbans area and other dolphin habitats in the country. A recently approved project title ‘Ecosystem-based management of ECA project’ (a GEF6 pipeline project to be implemented by MoEFCC & UNDP) Halda river is included and hence dolphin in the Halda river will be conserved and ecosystem in Halda will be improved. UNDP Bangladesh has taken an initiative in submitting a Trans-boundary project proposal to GEF namely ‘International Waters on strengthening transboundary cooperation for conservation of marine species which could cover the Sundarbans and Bay of Bengal’. The knowledge products and the lessons/good practices from the EAPSIIAE Project will be adopted in these projects for sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity considering the long-term conservation of the cetaceans.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Guidelines and strategies prepared under EAPSIIAE project will be implemented and recommendation provided in these plans and guidelines will be adopted by the MoEFCC and FD.
[Added: 2020/06/03]
UNDP Bangladesh, FD, DoE and MoEFCC 2020/05 Completed
4. Recommendation:

An agreement needs to be reached between the Government of Bangladesh and UNDP on the streamlining of the GEF financed projects and TPP approval processes. The TAPP is required for all donor projects in Bangladesh and hence all future GEF projects are liable to the delays faced by EPASIIAEP unless the two approval processes can be managed to run [more] simultaneously. It was suggested that given that the TAPP is not very different to the project document, it could be prepared alongside the project document and ideally the two documents would be signed at the same meeting.  More cooperation between the Planning and Finance Department is needed to streamline the approval process.  Alternatively, it will be necessary to factor the time needed to prepare TAPPs into the GEF Project Preparation Grant (PPG) process to avoid such delays. It is acknowledged that reaching agreement on this matter will take time and requires the input and willingness of all parties.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/03]

Partially agreed. Both TAPP and ProDoc approval process is cumbersome and a bureaucratic process in Bangladesh. As per the government requirements, both documents cannot be approved simultaneously on the same day and in the same meeting. As per the govt planning process the ProDoc needs to be approved first. Now UNDP has taken an initiative to formulate the ProDoc and TAPP preparation process simultaneously to avoid delay in the approval process. Moreover, UNDP has already started discussion with the Senior Management at the Planning Commission and Economic Relations Division under the Ministry of Finance to expedite the TAPP and ProDoc approval process. Moreover, UNDP recently engaged an Advisor to support the government to simplify the ProDoc and TAPP approval process. Despite all these efforts, it will not be possible to resolve the cumbersome process unless public administration management system and overall project approval process (especially for donor funded projects) are simplified or modified by the government. In addition, we may explore with UNDP’s Nature, Capital and Energy vertical fund Directorate whether start date of the project can be established based on approval of TPP/DPP rather than approval of ProDoc to offset the delay.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Take an initiative in starting the ProDoc and TAPP preparation process simultaneously to avoid delay in approval process
[Added: 2020/06/03]
UNDP Bangladesh 2020/12 Initiated Although UNDP Bangladesh has already started to prepare the ProDoc and TAPP simultaneously, but due to the bureaucratic compulsion in this country, the signing of these two documents was not made possible yet at a same time. It may take significant time unless all development partners are working together seriously to simplify the whole project approval process. This initiative mentioned in the key action was initiated for some of the GEF, GCF and AF supported projects that include Small Island, EbM-ECA and LCUD projects.
5. Recommendation:

Strengthen results-based management and familiarity with GEF procedures among UNDP-CO and PMs.  M&E needs to be strengthened across the GEF project cycle.  Projects should ensure a close review of indicators at Inception and at the MTR and ensure that results are systematically tracked and progress against indicators recorded (this could be introduced as part of the PIRs). Reporting against outputs and activities should be provided at the project level along with a candid narrative of the challenges facing the project and strategies to address these challenges, ideally through the Quarterly Report format typically used by GEF projects. Independent MTR and TE could be more efficient through start up skype calls with the evaluator prior to the mission to agree mission planning, sharing of all project documents ahead of the mission, awareness of the need to talk to a broad range of stakeholders and for interviews to be held on a one-to-one basis as far as logistics allow to ensure confidentiality and candid discussions, and closer working with the RTA. Project management could be improved through management staff at UNDP Country Office and  PMs being more familiar with GEF procedures and better engagement with the RTA. This could be achieved through, for example, a detailed assignment to UNDP Regional office in Bangkok to learn about GEF procedures. For example, GEF co-financing reporting requirements which have recently become more stringent.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/03]

Agreed. All full-size GEF supported projects have provision to recruit a full-time M&E officer. But small and medium size project’s PMU budget does not allow mobilization of a full-time M&E officer. The EPASIIE project is a small size project and did not allow recruitment of such full time M&E officer. However, Programme Specialist, Project Manager and CO M&E expert provided required support in monitoring, evaluation, and reporting, and they visited project sites as and when required and provided required quality assurance support. Moreover, Senior Management, RTA and Assistant Resident Representative provided overall quality assurance guidance during project implementation and monitoring. Programme Specialist and Project Manager (s) of all GEF projects participated in one regional workshop at Bangkok to learn about the GEF procedure & other operational requirements. A detailed assignment for Programme Specialist who are responsible for vertical fund projects will need to be organized soon to build capacity of UNDP CO on effective management of the vertical fund.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Engage a part-time M&E consultant for all GEF supported small and medium project in the future to cover required M&E and reporting support
[Added: 2020/06/03]
UNDP CO 2021/12 Not Initiated All future small & medium GEF supported projects will include engagement of national consultant to support M&E and reporting of project. This will be a continuous process.
6. Recommendation:

Enforcement capacity needs to be enhanced. On-going enforcement of the area and the new wildlife sanctuary recently gazetted will be critical going forward.  In particular, additional enforcement capacity for Pankhali wildlife sanctuary will be needed which is outside of the Sundarbans.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/03]

Agreed. The efficient management of the Pankhali Protected Area is difficult for the staff of FD because of the reasonable distance from their actual jurisdiction of the Sundarbans. But the presence of the trained Dolphin Conservation Team (DCT) at Pankhali and community monitoring could work well.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Provide funding to DCT
[Added: 2020/06/03] [Last Updated: 2020/08/11]
FD, Co-Management Executive Committee (CMEC) 2020/08 Completed Fund has already been disbursed to all DCTs in June 2020. History
7. Recommendation:

Continued support for integrated planning. The project has made a good start on developing integrated planning and working, essential for conservation success in the Sundarbans and for the delivery of the SDGs in general. There is limited integrated working in Bangladesh, activities are not well coordinated across Ministries and there is generally a low appreciation of conservation outside of the MoEFCC, success in this area therefore requires sustain efforts beyond the project, to ensure that the initial steps taken by the project are built on.  The proposed GEF 6 Project (awaiting CEO endorsement) - Implementing Ecosystem-based Management in Ecologically Critical Areas in Bangladesh has a focus on integrated working.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/03]

Agreed. The project has made a good start on developing integrated planning and working which are essential for biodiversity conservation in the Sundarbans. There is limited coordination among MoEFCC and other relevant ministries (e.g. Ministry of Industries, M/O Agriculture, M/O Water Resources, Coast Guard, Fisheries Department, Bangladesh Water Development Board, Private Sector, etc.) and there is generally a limited appreciation of conservation efforts outside the MoEFCC. Bringing success in ecosystem conservation requires continuous, coordinated and concerted efforts which go beyond the project and beyond the state actors to ensure that the initial steps taken by the project are continued and sustainably managed.  In fact, conservation of the degraded ecosystem requires long-term planning and investment which could not be ensured through a project with short implementation cycle. Our next generation of conservation projects, especially with aquatic protection, we have started adopting basin-wide management. UNDP will continue to work with government to adopt such approach in future investments from GoB and external resources.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Incorporate a ‘whole of society approach’ in the above mentioned GEF6 project title ‘Implementing Ecosystem-based Management in Ecologically Critical Areas in Bangladesh’ and coordinate efforts from both state and non-states actor to ensure holistic working approach
[Added: 2020/06/03]
UNDP CO and MoEFCC 2020/05 Completed Integrated approach will also be implemented in EbM-ECA project and upcoming GEF 6 (EbM-ECA) & GEF 7 (Tanguar haor) projects.
8. Recommendation:

Continued support for communities. In order to build on the project’s progress in integrating communities into conservation efforts in the Sundarbans, the communities in the area need on-going expert support in sustainable livelihoods, awareness raising and monitoring activities.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/03]

Agreed. There are dedicated and revenue budgeted full time position and other technical and field officers at both FD and DoE. At FD, there are positions of Conservator of Forest (Wildlife Management) and at DoE there are Directors (Natural Resource Management) who handle with wildlife conservation and ecosystem management. But, in presence of it, the government and Co-Management Executive Committee (CMEC) are generally monitoring and supporting the beneficiaries residing along the periphery of the dolphin sanctuaries as per the tri-partite agreement among FD, beneficiary and CMEC for sustainability of the AIGA programme. Community based co-management of ecosystem is well recognized and tested in Bangladesh and now replicated in both PAs and ECAs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Prepare the tri-party agreement among BFD, beneficiary and CMEC for the sustainability of the AIGA programme
[Added: 2020/06/03]
BFD, CMEC 2019/11 Completed The agreement has been put in place and signed by all parties. The DoE also has a similar provision to manage all ECAs in the country.
9. Recommendation:

Increasing revenue for protected area systems to meet expenditures required for management - Sustainable Financing. The project was designed to help promote income generation through tourism, partnerships with NGOs and local government, in addition to ensuring national funds for the PAs. There has been little concrete success in this area and on-going efforts are required to raise funds for conservation from a variety of sources.

  • Ensuring additional national funds for the project’s PAs is a priority. Ideally the Forest Department’s Conservation orientated work should be incorporated in their regular work through the revenue budget. This requires the MoEFCC to work with the Ministry of Finance to establish separate budget lines for activities such as SMART patrolling.
  • There are some ideas around sustainable financing, which need to be further developed (e.g. a green tax on industries using Mongla port, which could be then be used to support conservation, or a payment by tourists for dolphin sightings (e.g. 10 Taka, of which 5 Taka could go to CMEC or BFD for Dolphin conservation). Other mechanisms may also be possible, such as attracting Impact Investors and private sector support.  While Bangladesh is not part of BIOFIN it could draw on the work of BIOFIN at the regional level plus other global sustainable financing initiatives, and on-going work of Poverty Environment Action (PEA, UNDP-UNEP) in Bangladesh which is focused on mainstreaming poverty and environment issues into budgeting and finance.
  • Donor funding. There is reportedly a focus on donor funding for climate change, with limited finance being allocated to biodiversity conservation. Finance is needed to conserve wildlife in general, not just dolphins, although a national-wide dolphin project could be supported to build in the work in Sundarbans by this project.
  • A study could be undertaken to identify innovative sustainable financing options for the area, covering public and private financial mechanisms. This would include a review of cost saving approaches for managing the area, which are important given the high cost of accessing the sites.
Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/03] [Last Updated: 2020/06/03]

Fully agreed. MoEFCC, FD and DoE,  are all aware about the above recommendations and many of these have already been reflected in various national strategies and action plan, including 7th Five Year Plan, Bangladesh National Conservation Strategy (2016-2031), National Environmental Policy (2018), ECA Management Rules (2018), National Sustainable Development Strategy (2010-2021), Bangladesh Country Investment Plan for Environment, Forestry and Climate Change (2016-2021), etc.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP Bangladesh and MoEFCC will jointly host a dialogue soon after COVID-19 restriction is lifted to take forward the above recommendations.
[Added: 2020/06/03] [Last Updated: 2020/08/11]
PMU/UNDP/I & RG cluster, UNDP 2020/10 Not Initiated Before the exit of this project phase, PMU/UNDP will put the proposal to the government to follow through the recommendations. This key action will be complete subject to release of lockdown and when the situation becomes normal. History
10. Recommendation:

Raise awareness of the contribution of biodiversity to the economy and livelihoods. Biodiversity makes a significant contribution to the GDP of the country through agriculture, fisheries and forestry, but it is not reflected in National Accounts leading to under investment in these sectors and promoting overuse. Natural Capital Accounts and the valuation of ecosystem services are tools that can be utilized to better illustrate the value of natural resources and ecosystems at the macro and sub-national scale to increase awareness and improve decision making and the sustainability of investments.  Biodiversity Public Expenditure Reviews can be used to measure and track investments in biodiversity.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/03]

Fully agreed. Bangladesh has accomplished a few studies (e.g. at Hakaluki, Tanguar, Sundarbans, etc.) under various projects for valuation of ecosystem goods and services. However, the country has yet to accomplish any nationwide comprehensive studies on the economic value of ecosystem. Sensitization of policy makers, members of parliament and planning and development professionals is required at this stage to reflect value of natural capital and ecosystem in the overall national economy and development process to ensure a dedicated national programme and budgetary allocation for conservation of ecosystems and nature.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP Bangladesh, General Economic Division (GED) and MoEFCC will jointly host an event to discuss on the recommendations for reflecting contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services in public expenditure.
[Added: 2020/06/03] [Last Updated: 2020/08/11]
UNDP, GED & MoEFCC 2020/10 Not Initiated A strong political commitment is required to ensure and reflect contribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the national economy and hence a dedicated national budget is required for conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem. Further discussion with GED is required to conduct a study on the Biodiversity Public Expenditure and Institutional Reviews like climate change. This key action will be initiated subject to release of lockdown and when the situation becomes normal. History

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