MTR of the GEF 6 Strengthening Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management and Climate-Smart Landscapes in the Mid to Lower Zambezi Region of Zimbabwe

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2021, Zimbabwe
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
12/2021
Completion Date:
12/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
No
Evaluation Budget(US $):
55,000

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Title MTR of the GEF 6 Strengthening Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management and Climate-Smart Landscapes in the Mid to Lower Zambezi Region of Zimbabwe
Atlas Project Number: 00107199
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2021, Zimbabwe
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2021
Planned End Date: 12/2021
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Sustainable
  • 2. Others
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 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • 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
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  • 15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species
  • 15.7 Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products
Evaluation Budget(US $): 55,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 35,000
Joint Programme: Yes
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Camille Bann Mrs camille.bann@envecconsulting.com
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: MTR of the GEF 6 Strengthening Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management and Climate-Smart Landscapes in the Mid to Lower Zambezi Region of Zimbabwe
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: EA
GEF Phase: GEF-6
GEF Project ID:
PIMS Number: PIMS-5693
Key Stakeholders: GEF, UNDP, Government of Zimbabwe
Countries: ZIMBABWE
Lessons
Findings
1.

1. The project is considered to be highly relevant and strategically important to the Government and other partners. The project concept is in line with national development priorities and plans. Specifically it aligns with the National Development Strategy I (NDS1)(2021-2025), Zimbabwe’s first 5-year Medium Term Plan aimed at realizing the country’s Vision 2030, while addressing delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7 and Africa Agenda 2063 and meeting international commitments under UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). 

2. On the whole, the project’s logframe indicators and targets are “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound), however there are some indicators / targets that require amendment.

3. At the midterm stage – targets have been achieved for 6 of the 15 indicators, 6 are on target to be achieve their EOP targets assuming the project operates more efficiently going forward, 1 are not on track to be achieved and 2 cannot be measured due to lack of data and are not rated. 

4. Many activities are behind schedule, for example: (i) it has been difficult to carryout trainings and meetings; (ii) the survey of animal populations scheduled for Year 1, is only partially completed affecting the ability of the project to measure its impact; (iii) nurseries were due to be established in the 3rd year of the project but are not yet established partly related to the difficulties developing seedlings; (iv) Pickets (ranger camps) in PA, where rangers stay for 2-3 weeks to facilitate patrols, are yet to be completed; and, (v) the CWCs, which were meant to be established in year 3, are yet to be finalised.

5. The the project is making progress towards reducing the threats to wildlife and hence attainment of the long term conservation impacts through its work with communities, support to IWT enforcement, training on fire management and planned re-afforestation efforts in the project area. Of note, the ToC rightly cites the expansion of settlement and agricultural land as a threat (along with other development pressures now evident in the project area), although the project does not have activities focussed on alleviating this growing risk to the project’s outcomes.

6. The overall management structure is considered to be fit for purpose, but there is room for improvement in how the different actors / components engage in the project.

7. The project has adapted in various ways to alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions and changing political and economic circumstances.

8. A common frustration across all project partners is the extremely slow rate of disbursements. Cumulative disbursements as of 30 June were USD 2,591,085 (25.84% delivery against approved funds). Of note is that disbursements were low before COVID-19 hit. Concerns over the low disbursement rate was first raised by the PSC in July 2019, although detailed discussion, actions, solutions to this do not appear to have occurred at this or future PSC meetings.

9. Local and national government stakeholders support the objectives of the project and have an active role in project decision-making through the PSC and TC. The MECTHI is fully behind the project and appreciates its importance. However, commitment is not equally shared across the RPs and co-ordination between partners is a challenge.

10. The project is Government led and ownership and commitment by MECTHI and Government is high. The project was launched by the Vice President and updates on the project are provided up to President. Politicians are reportedly interested in the study and a visit to the study area by the Parliamentary Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism is planned for them to ascertain project progress. The Responsible Parties are supportive of the project, although in some cases a greater level of engagement is required. The local authorities in the three project districts are engaged.


Recommendations
1

Revisions to Results Matrix

2

Strengthen work planning to enable monitoring of progress and strategic decision making on priority actions and changes that may be needed to project implementation to accelerate delivery and ensure the project meets its objectives

3

Urgently address bottlenecks in the project’s payment systems, by implementing a systematic and transparent approach to managing payments and reducing the administrative burden at UNDP where possible

4

Re-confirm co-finance and factor any changes into project implementation

5

Address procurement challenges and look for efficiencies

6

Enhanced risk management and strategic planning feeding into work planning

7

Enhanced, pro-active and integrated project management across the project management structure

8

Strengthened Communications-internal and external

9

Enhanced M&E, Lessons learnt and knowledge management

10

Ensure all existing co-financing partners are engaged in project and explore opportunities to formally include new partners whose work is closely aligned with the project’s objectives

11

On-going focus on gender

12

Undertaken an economic assessment of alternative land uses

13

Develop an exit plan

14

Increase involvement of senior management (UNDP, IP, RPs) to ensure efficient implementation

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