EF Conservación, uso sostenible de la biodiversidad y preservación de los servicios eco-sistémicos en humedales.

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2016-2021, El Salvador
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
09/2021
Completion Date:
09/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
25,000

Share

Document Type Language Size Status Downloads
Download document TOR_TE_Conservation, sustainable use of biodiversity.pdf tor English 5078.27 KB Posted 278
Download document PIMS_5257_El_Salvador_TE_Final_Report_2021-09-14.pdf report English 2590.20 KB Posted 263
Title EF Conservación, uso sostenible de la biodiversidad y preservación de los servicios eco-sistémicos en humedales.
Atlas Project Number: 88358
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2021, El Salvador
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 09/2021
Planned End Date: 09/2021
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 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
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
Evaluation Budget(US $): 25,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 22,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Vincent Lefebvre Evaluator lefebvrevinc@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Conservación, uso sostenible de la biodiversidad y preservación de los servicios eco-sistémicos en humedales.
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: EA
GEF Phase: GEF-6
GEF Project ID: 5257
PIMS Number: 5749
Key Stakeholders: MARN
Countries: EL SALVADOR
Lessons
1.

(i) Project design and budget allocation:
The budget allocation at the project formulation stage was typically skewed as too optimistic without any period of low delivery corresponding to the project initial operationalization period (inception workshop, purchase of initial equipment - cars, recruitment of staff, baseline studies and consultants).
Most if not all projects experience an initial period of very low project activity that is not considered by project designers who plan for immediate delivery of activities; typically, the budget allocation will follow a linear or logarithmic spending curse; this is in contradiction with any real-world situation, which is why all projects experience major budget delays with reallocations during the second half of the project and need to accelerate delivery often at the expense of quality. This puts unnecessary pressure on project teams that are unable to follow up PRODOC results framework and work plans, inevitably leading to suboptimal delivery and systematic requests of project extensions. In a real situation, projects follow more of a sigmoid delivery curve as for this project
It is, therefore, necessary at the formulation stage to ensure development project implementation in real conditions with the inclusion of an extensive inception period to allow for initial project operationalization. This can have significant positive consequences as it will allow the project team to follow better the PRODOC framework with more logical activity sequencing and allow progressive delivery more in tune with reality.

 


2.

(ii) Enhancing municipality ownership
Municipalities have shown little interest in wetlands and the environment in general, and focus their main resources on the urban environment, even for small urban centres. This is despite extensive efforts calling for their participation in most on-site project activities without much feedback afterwards. The reasons may be multiple (political lines, insufficient collaboration with the central Government, lack of solidarity between municipalities) but financial resources remain key for mainstreaming any thematic – including environment -.
MARN (and other ministries) must operate a change of paradigm in its relationship with municipalities, by no longer viewing them as development aid recipients but as responsible partners that should be able to tap in resources (mechanisms can vary from direct funding to bidding as per common agreements). The appropriation will be all the easier if municipalities are at the forefront of local wetland environment strategies related to solid waste, and chemical container recycling among others.


3.

(iii) Addressing wetland degradation complexity
The complexity of wetlands biodiversity loss requires a multipronged approach based on multisectoral interventions at central and local levels: a programme approach to wetland degradation (that can also be viewed as resource-intensive agriculture in buffer zones, a poverty issue, urban sanitation and industrial problem) should be the result of an all-encompassing wetland strategy covering all productive and non-productive sectors, possibly the result of interinstitutional dialogue through a Wetland Round Table. This would clarify the need for action from relevant stakeholders (including ministries, municipalities, civil society, private sector) and orient donors accordingly.


4.

(iv) Intervention management structure (PCU – PMU)
Considering what was indicated above, whether project or program, the implementing structure must be strategically located to tap in relevant HR and access counterparts easily. This would require in the case of a project locating it under the Minister or under the GEF focal point for a GEF-funded project or as an ad-hoc structure under the prime minister in the case of a multisectoral programme.


5.

(v) Project governance:
The project governance mechanism through the Steering Committee was very much limited in terms of participation as it included most of the time only UNDP and MARN. These governance structures must be inclusive for the sake of transparency but also efficiency. Indeed, participating stakeholders are better aware of project status and more inclined to own results as they can provide an informed opinion on project conditions – on-site -.
It should have included at the very least (maybe as observers only) representatives of the civil society, several relevant Government sectors (including MAG but others as well), representatives of municipalities or municipal associations and relevant donors (e.g., JICA as a minimum).
Future project design must have more inclusive governance structures considering what was mentioned above.


6.

(vi) Role of UNDP
While UNDP did provide project oversight at steering committee level, ensuring administrative and financial compliance, there has been little evidence that UNDP facilitated interagency dialogue in this project, e.g., bridging gaps between MARN and MAG (or even MOPT). Neither was the lack of participation in steering committees reversed or at least flagged out. Both the review of documents and interviews have shown that it remained narrowly project-focused and procedural. One of the reasons (although there might others internally) might be the rotation of UNDP staff (4 officers during the project lifetime) that did not allow them time to build up network relationships to facilitate that process.
UNDP, as a multilateral agency, has a role to play at that level as it can call out national institutions for dialogue and promote relevant representativity and participation. This is even more important as MARN does not have the budgetary clout to significantly bend government action.


7.

(vii)Usefulness of baseline studies
Experience has shown that most baseline studies result in a long process often not finalised by MTR. Yet, these exercises have value only if integrated at project start-up.
UNDP needs to revisit the mechanism for initiating baseline studies, alternatively: (i) baseline studies should be integrated into PPG, with TRAC funds if necessary, meaning they would be ready at project signature, TORs drafted by the PPG team during formulation, (ii) baselines studies procurement should be initiated immediately after Government project signature through direct UNDP procurement (without project board approval / before PMU contracting), and be ready ideally 1 year after project signature, when the PMU is in place. This would require TORs integrated into the PRODOC beforehand.


8.

(viii) Project outreach and outputs spreading
As per MTR estimate, the project investment has been particularly low (e.g., US$/km²) – at least 10 times lower than other similar environmental interventions. While this may be all arbitrary calculations, there is no doubt that the given budget in relation to the project area has resulted in thinning out beneficiary participation. This was obvious with the limited selection of BPA beneficiaries and lack of follow-up (heightened up by COVID though) and the actual number of farmers that did adopt some BPA measures. This resulted in a very limited impact. The project formulation stage must balance (i) budget with enough funding to ensure some impact (ii) the number of outputs to ensure an integrated approach, and (iii) geographical coverage optimisation to ensure resource consolidation and impact.


9.

(ix) Project area and transport
The project at the formulation stage accounted for a reduced coordinating team. No specific transport was therefore included in the project. This is logical and most of the time, the implementing partner has all the logistics (often accounted for as co-financing) for the PCU. This project had a very reduced transport budget line and had to rely on MARN vehicles that are already under pressure for transport to project areas with issues of delayed or rescheduling of on-site meetings.
For projects requiring limited transport in isolated areas (making own personnel vehicle use, a delicate issue), the design stage of the project must accommodate enough funds for car rental.


10.

(x) MTR recommendations
While donors avoid logframe changes as much as possible, the MTR produced a series of relevant recommendations such as removal of the output on cormorant eradication, the need to review targets. These resulted in several adaptations that should have led to a more comprehensive review of the project. Several recommendations were implemented although it would have been a good opportunity to review the log frame and adjust it better to the reality.


Findings
Recommendations
1

(i) Project closure seminar
While there is no more time to devise an exit strategy, seminars are often organised to celebrate project closure but its primary function is to ensure that project information and knowledge is in the right hands. It is also a necessary exercise for MARN decision-makers to present/formalise how they are going to institutionalise project results (e.g., new budget lines for training, integration of some results in future donor-funded projects, plans to use project results for declaring new PAs).

2

(ii) Ensure follow-up of (BPA) micro-project initiatives and municipality initiatives
Given the absence of MAG in the Steering Committee, it is unlikely at this stage that it will take over even though they are well-tuned with training in good land husbandry techniques. That does not mean that MARN does not have the personnel. At the very least, one or two staff should be assigned part-time for the next 12-24 months to follow-up on beneficiaries and municipalities (e.g., monitoring habit of dropping empty containers to collection points and its follow-up by municipalities, assessing sugarcane growers and livestock breeders associations activities on BPA, assessing any multiplication effect for BPA that require little investment, checking Iberplastic collection centres operationality and whether dump trucks still collect solid waste in rural communities for committed municipalities). This could be done in a variety of forms: simple questionnaire and annual visit of all beneficiaries or free some time from park rangers to do such a survey quarterly with data transfer through newly equipped park rangers’ premises as an addendum to their regular information reports.

3

(iii) JIT hyacinth eradication
Now that MARN is about to initiate a chemical and physical parameters’ recording system and is already using a satellite imagery analysis system that monitors water bodies, it should develop it further and start planning removal campaigns that pinpoint when and where to remove most effectively and economically hyacinth. This should complement fish monitoring as to whether hyacinth removal is having an effect on fisheries recovery in El Jocotal / Olomega.

4

(iv) Support to municipalities
Solid waste removal campaigns are ineffective if there is no municipality commitment to set up a monitoring and enforcing system
- MARN should concentrate its efforts on the most proactive municipalities and reward them accordingly
- Contact should be made with municipality associations and propose institutional strengthening through FIAES as a strategy to create lobbying capacity to federate municipalities

5

(v) Capacity building
MARN must take advantage of environmental education material produced by the project and initiate/pursue large-scale environmental education campaigns in buffer zones. Interviews have shown that it is not on top of priorities (MARN and municipalities) and again a change of paradigm is necessary to ensure that financial resources are allocated for it on a more permanent basis.
Environmental education targeting children and adolescents through civil society organisations (RAMSAR Committee, ADESCOS, local NGOs) and schools, is one of the most effective activities (highest value for money) to create awareness and to achieve fundamental and sustained behaviour change.

6

Evalation finding: Both UNDP and executing partner (MARN) underperformed in relation to the support provided to the project: MARN support was insufficient with ad-hoc technical support – no assigned counterpart – and a difficulty to transform several draft outputs into final ones (e.g., interinstitutional agreements and reports/proposals remaining at draft stage). UNDP provided little steering in relation to its role as a facilitator at institutional level and custodian for transparency and openness (steering committees with under-representation of stakeholders).

1. Recommendation:

(i) Project closure seminar
While there is no more time to devise an exit strategy, seminars are often organised to celebrate project closure but its primary function is to ensure that project information and knowledge is in the right hands. It is also a necessary exercise for MARN decision-makers to present/formalise how they are going to institutionalise project results (e.g., new budget lines for training, integration of some results in future donor-funded projects, plans to use project results for declaring new PAs).

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/17] [Last Updated: 2021/09/30]

Recommendation 1 is fully accepted. A virtual project closure workshop will be held to present the results obtained, and the Project Unit will deliver the digital archive with all of the project's outputs to the Directorate of Ecosystems and Biodiversity of MARN so that it can be consulted and used.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Project closure workshop
[Added: 2021/09/30]
Project Unit/MARN/UNDP 2021/09 Overdue-Not Initiated
1.2 Delivery of the digital archive containing the project outputs to the technical staff of the Directorate of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
[Added: 2021/09/30]
Project Unit 2021/09 Overdue-Not Initiated
2. Recommendation:

(ii) Ensure follow-up of (BPA) micro-project initiatives and municipality initiatives
Given the absence of MAG in the Steering Committee, it is unlikely at this stage that it will take over even though they are well-tuned with training in good land husbandry techniques. That does not mean that MARN does not have the personnel. At the very least, one or two staff should be assigned part-time for the next 12-24 months to follow-up on beneficiaries and municipalities (e.g., monitoring habit of dropping empty containers to collection points and its follow-up by municipalities, assessing sugarcane growers and livestock breeders associations activities on BPA, assessing any multiplication effect for BPA that require little investment, checking Iberplastic collection centres operationality and whether dump trucks still collect solid waste in rural communities for committed municipalities). This could be done in a variety of forms: simple questionnaire and annual visit of all beneficiaries or free some time from park rangers to do such a survey quarterly with data transfer through newly equipped park rangers’ premises as an addendum to their regular information reports.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/17] [Last Updated: 2021/09/30]

Recommendation no. 2 is fully accepted.

Based on the National Biodiversity Strategy (2013), which emphasizes the transformation of agricultural practices as being decisive for biodiversity conservation, and given that the MAG did not participate, in order to comply with the project indicators, the MARN, through the project, became responsible for implementing good environmental practices (GEP) in the productive sectors of sugarcane and livestock in the protected wetlands of international importance – Bahía de Jiquilisco, Laguna El Jocotal and Laguna de Olomega. Hence, it will be responsible for monitoring the pilot projects once the project is finalized.

MARN will monitor the implementation of GEP through the local technical staff responsible for the three wetlands and will seek to coordinate with the MAG.

With regard to monitoring the implementation of GEP in the sugarcane sector, it will seek to link the corresponding local technical staff and Fundazucar, which was the strategic partner of the project responsible for capacity building and monitoring the producing farms. This will aim at verifying whether or not Fundazucar can continue to support the post-project follow-up. In the case that collaboration is not successful between the two institutions, the MARN, with the information provided by the project, will be responsible for contacting the producers.

To monitor the implementation of GEP in the livestock sector, the project will deliver to the MARN the information of the pilot project carried out so that the local technical staff responsible for the three wetlands can carry out the monitoring.

The MARN will monitor the municipalities responsible for the eradication and collection of solid waste accumulated in Bahía de Jiquilisco (El Encantado sector) through the local technical liaison and the resource guards. It will also coordinate with the Gerencia de Gestión Territorial (Local Management Office) to provide technical support to the municipalities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Monitor the implementation of good environmental practices in the sugarcane sector
[Added: 2021/09/30]
MARN 2022/09 Not Initiated
2.2 Monitor the implementation of good environmental practices in the livestock sector
[Added: 2021/09/30]
MARN 2022/09 Not Initiated
2.3 Monitor the municipalities in the eradication and collection of solid waste in Bahía de Jiquilisco
[Added: 2021/09/30]
MARN 2022/09 Not Initiated
3. Recommendation:

(iii) JIT hyacinth eradication
Now that MARN is about to initiate a chemical and physical parameters’ recording system and is already using a satellite imagery analysis system that monitors water bodies, it should develop it further and start planning removal campaigns that pinpoint when and where to remove most effectively and economically hyacinth. This should complement fish monitoring as to whether hyacinth removal is having an effect on fisheries recovery in El Jocotal / Olomega.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/17] [Last Updated: 2021/09/30]

 

Recommendation no. 3 is partially accepted.

  1. It is now recognized that the MARN has better capacities for decision-making related to the eradication of hyacinth in wetlands since it has monitoring mechanisms that will allow to implement more effective concrete actions. This is due to the fact that, through the project, capacities were strengthened for aerial monitoring of wetlands by a highly specialized team of resource guards.
  2. In the El Jocotal/Olomega wetlands, hyacinth eradication will continue when there is proliferation that affects the surrounding communities (as per the established eradication plans,eradication begins when the proliferation reaches levels where livelihoods and tourism, water transportation, etc. are put at risk).

The part of the recommendation that is not considered valid is the one that recommends monitoring fish populations to verify their recovery. This is because, although this monitoring is a good recommendation to determine the impact of hyacinth eradication campaigns in the aquatic ecosystems of the lagoons, it was not established in the project's results framework, so it was not carried out during its implementation. Also, it is not considered feasible to carry out this type of monitoring after the project closure since, in order to truly achieve a positive impact on fish populations, the hyacinth eradication campaigns should have been carried out regularly in both wetlands during project execution, which was not the case.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Carry out aerial monitoring of wetlands for early detection of hyacinth proliferation in El Jocotal and Olomega
[Added: 2021/09/30]
MARN 2022/09 Not Initiated
3.2 Carry out hyacinth eradication campaigns in the Laguna El Jocotal and Olomega wetlands according to their needs
[Added: 2021/09/30]
MARN 2022/09 Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

(iv) Support to municipalities
Solid waste removal campaigns are ineffective if there is no municipality commitment to set up a monitoring and enforcing system
- MARN should concentrate its efforts on the most proactive municipalities and reward them accordingly
- Contact should be made with municipality associations and propose institutional strengthening through FIAES as a strategy to create lobbying capacity to federate municipalities

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/17] [Last Updated: 2021/09/30]

 

Recommendation no. 4 is fully accepted.

  1. The MARN will continue to promote and provide technical support to the municipalities for the eradication and collection of the accumulated waste in Bahía de Jiquilisco through the local technical staff and the Local Management Office. This will allow to share the project’s lessons learned on this issue with this Office.
  2. Related project profiles will be prepared (e.g. rehabilitation of the mangrove fluvial dynamics, integral management of solid waste in the Grande de San Miguel River Basin, inter-municipal cooperation mechanisms) to seek funding through FIAES.
  3. The implementation of the wetlands management plan will be monitored.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Monitor and provide technical support to the municipalities for the eradication and collection of solid waste accumulated in the Bahía de Jiquilisco wetland.
[Added: 2021/09/30]
MARN 2022/09 Not Initiated
4.2 Prepare profiles of related projects to seek funding through FIAES.
[Added: 2021/09/30]
MARN 2022/09 Not Initiated
4.3 Disseminate the lessons learned to the MARN Dirección de Gestión Territorial (Directorate of Territorial Management) so that they can be taken into consideration in the technical support provided to the municipalities
[Added: 2021/09/30]
Project unit/MARN 2021/09 Overdue-Not Initiated
4.4 Monitor the implementation of the wetlands management plan.
[Added: 2021/09/30]
MARN 2022/09 Not Initiated
5. Recommendation:

(v) Capacity building
MARN must take advantage of environmental education material produced by the project and initiate/pursue large-scale environmental education campaigns in buffer zones. Interviews have shown that it is not on top of priorities (MARN and municipalities) and again a change of paradigm is necessary to ensure that financial resources are allocated for it on a more permanent basis.
Environmental education targeting children and adolescents through civil society organisations (RAMSAR Committee, ADESCOS, local NGOs) and schools, is one of the most effective activities (highest value for money) to create awareness and to achieve fundamental and sustained behaviour change.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/17] [Last Updated: 2021/09/30]

Recommendation no. 5 is partially accepted.

1. The recommendation to capitalize on the environmental education material produced through the project is accepted. This is considered relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, as well as for the reduction of threats to their ecosystems. This material will be made available to the public through the website to facilitate access.

2. Given that the MARN has neither financial nor technical resources to carry out large-scale environmental education campaigns in the wetland buffer zones, this part of the recommendation is not considered valid. It should be noted that, from the project design, these efforts were focused on users or direct visitors to protected natural areas and wetlands through the welcome centers and interpretive trails established in the ProDoc and created during implementation. Therefore, what the institution can do is to prepare project profiles to seek funding for environmental education projects for the conservation of wetlands through FIAES.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Publish the materials produced within the project on the MARN website
[Added: 2021/09/30]
Execution Unit/MARN 2021/10 Overdue-Not Initiated
5.2 Prepare profiles of environmental education projects for the conservation of wetlands to seek funding through FIAES
[Added: 2021/09/30]
MARN 2022/09 Not Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Evalation finding: Both UNDP and executing partner (MARN) underperformed in relation to the support provided to the project: MARN support was insufficient with ad-hoc technical support – no assigned counterpart – and a difficulty to transform several draft outputs into final ones (e.g., interinstitutional agreements and reports/proposals remaining at draft stage). UNDP provided little steering in relation to its role as a facilitator at institutional level and custodian for transparency and openness (steering committees with under-representation of stakeholders).

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/30]

Evaluation Finding is partially agreed.

MARN agrees the finding. In order to disseminate the lessons learned from this project and try to guarantee that they are capitalized on by the institution, the Project Unit will hold a virtual meeting with the executing agencies of ongoing or pending projects and key institutional personnel linked to the monitoring of project execution.

However, UNDP considers that the recognition of its contribution to the dialogue in creating the national environmental sustainability strategies and plans, which was carried out through Consejo Nacional de Sustentabilidad Ambiental y Vulnerabilidad (CONASAV, National Council of Environmental Sustainability and Vulnerability) was omitted in the evaluation. This Council serves as a space for inter-institutional coordination and dialogue in the environmental agenda of El Salvador, where UNDP was the technical coordinator and where a consensus was established between the MARN and the MAG on binding issues of this project. One of the goals established in the CONASAV Plan was the reaching of agreement 1, goal 1.3, which states that by 2019, 10,000 ha of salty forest and surrounding ecosystems are recovered, which is related to one of the outcomes of this project.

The MAG was called to the Project Boards but it did not attend, so CONASAV was an ideal space to reach a consensus.

With the change of government, there was a transition period for the environmental and MARN agenda starting on 1 June 2019. There was a change in personnel and strategic priorities, which was later exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis; hence, the Government's priorities were focused on the emergency. All government personnel were ready to respond to the emergency.

Currently, the process for a technical dialogue based on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Agenda, in which the leadership of the MARN together with the support of UNDP, promotes inter-institutional work on these issues, and the sustainability of the results left by the project can continue to be promoted.

* The creation of CONASAV, https://cidoc.marn.gob.sv/documentos/decreto-no-8-creacion-del-consejo-nacional-de-sustentabilidad-ambiental-y-vulnerabilidad-conasav (in Spanish)

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Hold a virtual meeting to disseminate the lessons learned from the project with key MARN personnel linked to monitoring the project execution and the Directorate of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
[Added: 2021/09/30]
Project Unit/MARN 2021/09 Overdue-Not Initiated
6.2 In updating the NDCs, UNDP will ensure that these initiatives will continue.
[Added: 2021/09/30]
UNDP/MARN 2022/09 Not Initiated

Latest Evaluations

Contact us

1 UN Plaza
DC1-20th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel. +1 646 781 4200
Fax. +1 646 781 4213
erc.support@undp.org