Strengthening Romania's Protected Area System by Demonstrating Pulbic-Private Partnerships in Romania's Maramures Nature Park

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2007-2009, Romania
Evaluation Type:
Project
Planned End Date:
05/2009
Completion Date:
11/2009
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
15,000

Share

Title Strengthening Romania's Protected Area System by Demonstrating Pulbic-Private Partnerships in Romania's Maramures Nature Park
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2007-2009, Romania
Evaluation Type: Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2009
Planned End Date: 05/2009
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Crisis Prevention & Recovery
  • 2. Environment & Sustainable Development
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. National and local governments and communities have the capacities to adapt to climate change and make inclusive and sustainable environment & energy decisions benefitting in particular under-served populations
Evaluation Budget(US $): 15,000
Source of Funding:
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Team Leader
Jean-Joseph Bellamy and Lucian Georgescu Team Leader
Josh Brann Team Leader
UNDP Team Leader
GEF Evaluation: Yes
Evaluation Type:
Focal Area:
Project Type:
GEF Phase: GEF-null
PIMS Number:
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: ROMANIA
Comments: GEF standard procedure, included in 2007 AWP. This evaluation is to be undertaken taking into consideration the GEF Monitoring and Evaluation policy (http://thegef.org/MonitoringandEvaluation/MEPoliciesProcedures/mepoliciesprocedures.html) and the UNDP/GEF Monitoring and Evaluation Policy (http://www.undp.org/gef/05/monitoring/policies.html). The objective of this Mid Term Evaluation is to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of project activities in relation to the stated objective so far, and to produce possible recommendations on how to improve the management of the project until its completion in 2009.
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 1. Develop or revive the tripartite project committee, which should meet regularly (monthly or bimonthly) to discuss project progress. The members should be the Project Manager (MMNP Director), UNDP-CO and NFA-Bucharest. The agenda of the park Director is now evolving and will include more and more activities that are not part of the project delivery but are part of the NFA-Park Administration work plan. Regular meetings will allow the Director to present his team?s progress and the work plan for the coming period. It will allow the two major project partners (UNDP and NFA) to review the project progress, to discuss replication opportunities and long-term sustainability of the project achievements and to communicate and exchange views on their respective agendas. It will provide a more integrated management of the project within the MMNP Administration agenda.
2 2. Organize a project management retreat off site in the last part of 2007 to review progress to date and review the plan for the next two years. The project is at its mid-point and it also corresponds to the end of the first phase to establish the MMNP Administration. The park is now officially created, an Administration is in place to manage it, some awareness raising activities were conducted with local communities and local leaders, and an initial study is underway to identify the potential for environmental services in the MMNP area. The next phase will focus mainly on: (i) strengthening the management capacity of the MMNP Administration trough the support for the development of a comprehensive management plan and the development of a monitoring system to monitor the biodiversity and the ecosystem conditions of the park; (ii) developing an ecotourism strategy for the area; and, (iii) supporting demonstrations of small-scale activities in the tourism and forestry sectors.
3 3. The project is currently supporting the biodiversity baseline and a review of the current zoning within the park. It is urgent that this zoning is finalized and clarified. Local communities and local agencies have an understanding of the park as a protected area. However, so far little is known about the different zones in the park and their related different management regimes. For instance, few people seem to know that alpine grazing is allowed in certain parts of the park and that under certain conditions, the cutting of wood is allowed in certain places in the park. Following this review of the management zones, the project should support a ?communication tour? throughout the local communities and the local development agencies such as forestry inspectorate, EPA, agriculture, to present this zoning and the related regulations. The preparation of these informative sessions should start in the immediate future.
4 4. As part of developing the management plan for MMNP and considering the expectation of the Stakeholders ? particularly NFA ? in term of Stakeholder participation in the management of the park, there is a need to develop a community outreach strategy for MMNP; which could be extended to a national community outreach in the future once most of it will be tested in MMNP. This strategy should be part of the management plan for MMNP.
5 5. The main channel of communication with the local communities is currently planned through the consultative council of the MMNP Administration (54 members representing a broad spectrum of society in the area). After some direct informative sessions conducted within the local communities by the project, it is now planned to channel the communication and education activities through this Council. This approach is good and rationale in the long-term: it is not enough in the near term. More awareness activities are needed; particularly more activities in direct contact with local communities (see #3 above). Opportunities exist in each community to discuss various topics; using these networks will facilitate the preparation of these sessions.
6 6. The project should support the MMNP Administration to strengthen its management systems including its management information system and GIS and its human resource management system ? including job descriptions and related performance targets ?complying with NFA guidelines. Activities supported by the project already took place in this area but the MMNP is now entering a new phase with NFA strengthening its park administrations (22). For instance each Administration is now required to produce a work plan. This process is somehow similar to the project work plan but more comprehensive and encompassing activities that are not directly supported by the project. A capacity assessment of the MMNP Administration is recommended. It would include a functional analysis, an assessment of the existing capacity and the required capacity, an identification of the prioritized capacity gaps/needs and an action plan.
7 7. Based on the review of the project performance indicators, it is recommended the following: a. Outcome 1 is to support the preparation of a Management Plan (MP) and also to develop management instruments for the Administration such as a biodiversity/ecosystem baseline, a monitoring system and a GIS. One indicator should measure the progress in this area such as ?A Management Plan in place integrating a biodiversity baseline and monitoring system as well as spatial information (GIS) and responding to the NFA MP guidelines with adequate capacity at the MMNP Administration?; b. Only indicator #8 measures the replication of the training modules. Considering that this aspect (replication) is one critical success factor of this project, it is recommended to modify the indicator #8 to encompass all replication activities; such as ?Number of project achievements that are replicated in other protected areas in Romania and abroad?. c. The list of indicators does not include any indicator to measure the awareness level of local communities living in the park. It is recommended to add one such as ?Local communities understand better the MMNP and started to conserve and use it sustainably?;
8 8. The project is using the METT to track the management effectiveness of the MMNP. A first assessment was done in 2005 (project inception) and the total score for the project was 19 points (out of a maximum of 96). A second assessment was done in 2007 (mid-way) and the total score was 56. At inception the management team set a target score of only 28 by the end of the project. It is recommended to set new realistic targets for each indicator by the end of the project. It will provide the project management team with the management areas that need attention.
9 9. The project publishes a quarterly newsletter to highlight some project activities. This is a good vehicle to disseminate information about the park. The circulation of this newsletter should be extended to all communities through schools, churches and city hall and other opportunities. It is a good vehicle to communicate the different zones of the park and their related management regimes and also to report back to the communities how good the park is protected by reporting the infractions of the past quarter.
10 10. The project already supported exchanges for the management team to visit other protected areas. It is recommended that more should be done and linked with the work plan for the next two years. Study tour themes could be park monitoring (indicators and system) ? including the development of a volunteer monitoring system such as the one in place in the North Vizdeme Biosphere Reserve (NVBR) in Latvia applying an EcoWatch approach; enforcement in protected areas; comprehensive management plan and its application; and, sustainable economic activities in or near a protected area such as ecotourism and sustainable forest exploitation.
11 11. A tourism master plan was done in 2006. It names Maramures as one of 6 important areas for the development of tourism. A set of actions is identified and a few of those are related to the project objective in the area of ecotourism. Additionally, the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) is interested in developing a tourism regional strategy (which is action #36) for Maramures. Considering this national context, it is recommended that the project consider the following: a. The tourism activity should be done on close collaboration with the MoT. The MoT is interested in supporting the development of a regional tourism strategy for Maramures, including the possibility of co-financing; b. It is recommended to conduct first an environment, social and economic assessment of the local situation? possibly with a research institute ? to support strategy development; c. Ecotourism strategy: one main component should be the development of a tourism destination marketing strategy. The project should focus on supporting the development of Maramures as a destination and in parallel continue to support some demonstrations (small projects) such as the refurbishing of a wagon in partnership with EcoTours Ltd, an NGO/private company operating a steam train in the Vaser River area for tourists; d. The project has now a role of leading the development process in the MMNP area. It has the ?green light? to do this and should use its recognition by the main local development partners to set-up the necessary committees for the development of this strategy; using the Prefecture as a key partner to move the process, the County Council and its team of 5 people focusing on the development of the local tourism as well as local private operators such as EcoTours Ltd; e. The development of this ecotourism strategy should also be coordinated with the development of the MMNP management plan. Ecotourism is part of the strategies to manage these protected areas and should be incorporated in the management plan.
12 12. After two years, the project starts to accumulate some best practices and lessons learned. It is time to start a process for collecting them, packaging them and disseminating them in Romania and also in the region and worldwide. The use of the MMNP web site to post them is the first recommended step; publications and possible presentations to related forums are recommended such as national and regional conferences/seminars.
13 13. Support a greater involvement of the scientific community in the MMNP; particularly with a focus on the impact of management practices on the biodiversity. This additional research should be undertaken with the involvement of the MMNP Scientific Council and the MMNP Administration and address existing issues. The results will help MMNP to make better-informed decision and they should also be made public through the MMNP web site and other research results dissemination schemes such as academic journals.
14 14. Adapt the approach to implement the output 3.4 ?Certified Forest Production and Marketing Demonstration? according to the national development regarding the land restitution process. The project is to deliver some outputs in this area. However, the last Law on land restitution (274/2005) halted the certification process of public forests until all land claims are settled. Instead of stopping all project-supported activities, it is recommended that some sensitization activities be conducted with private forest owners; emphasizing the benefits of the certification scheme. The project should also focus on the distribution channels in the Maramures area to identify opportunities with certified forest products buyer groups in Romania and elsewhere in Europe; partnering with WWF-Romania and their chain-of-custody certification mechanism. The development of a demand for certified forest products should create a greater interest among forest owners to get their forest certified.
15 [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 1. The park administration and involved stakeholders should work to reduce the potential for single points of failure in the park management regime. For example, MMNP should hire an assistant park manager or train current staff to support this role in a practical manner. Specific attention should go toward the building of relationships between all park staff and regional and local government officials relevant to successful park management and administration.
16 [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 2. MMNP should place a priority on increasing capacity to collect and manage environmental monitoring data, with the ultimate objective of implementing a regular comprehensive and cost-effective monitoring system. Relatively current, quality data is critical for effective management in the long-term. The well-qualified staff currently in place to manage such a program should be further supported in this role. Examples of cost-effective community-based monitoring techniques include examples such as community-based water quality monitoring, and an annual or bi-annual community bird species counting event.
17 [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 3. With the goal of supporting a cost-effective environmental monitoring system, MMNP should explore the feasibility and utility of community-based water-monitoring programs (e.g. waterkeeper programs, adopt-a-stream, etc.). Such programs also help increase community awareness and can be integrated with environmental education programs. This would also support a watershed management approach to environmental conservation, as was recommended in the project inception report and mid-term adaptive management report. Information on community-based water-monitoring programs can be found at: a. http://www.epa.gov/owow/monitoring/volunteer/ b. http://www.inletkeeper.org/CEMP/overview.htm c. http://www.georgiaadoptastream.org/home.html
18 [Final Evaluation Recommendations]4. Throughout the new EU member countries, regional branding has begun to show potential value, as has been demonstrated in western European countries. With the goal of creating incentives for nature protection and realizing value in natural capital, MMNP should explore the possibility of partnering with local producer groups and tourism organizations to develop a regional trademark or ecolabel for Maramureş. This could be done for both products and tourism services. Relevant examples include the regional brand developed for Poland?s Barycz Valley protected landscape (http://barycz.pl/main/) and the regional brands in the Czech Republic?s Carpathian protected landscapes of Beskedy and Bilé Karpaty (http://www.tradicebk.cz and http://www.domaci-vyrobky.cz).
19 [Final Evaluation Recommendations]5.MMNP should prioritize investing human resources to develop the park?s business plan to contribute to long-term financial sustainability and management activities enhanced beyond baseline levels supported by NFA operational budgets.
20 [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 6. To support economic development through the sustainable use of MMNP resources, MMNP and the NFA should explore specific targeted EU programs such as the LEADER+ program and opportunities for landowner compensation payments related to Natura 2000.
21 [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 7. MMNP and NFA should explore the potential application of private land mechanisms for biodiversity conservation, such as conservation easements.
22 [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 8. MMNP should proactively share experiences with other protected areas in Romania?s network, particularly on stakeholder participation and institutional mechanisms for mainstreaming biodiversity concerns in economic development.
23 [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 9. UNDP should implement an agency wide-system for tracking in-kind co-financing in GEF projects in a systematic and well-documented manner. There are examples where this has been done in other GEF projects (see, for example, UNEP?s South China Sea regional international waters project completed in 2008). Instituting an in-kind co-financing tracking system would bring accountability and transparency to the in-kind co-financing figures currently reported for GEF projects. It would also likely demonstrate that much greater in-kind co-financing is committed in GEF projects than credit is currently given for.
1. Recommendation: 1. Develop or revive the tripartite project committee, which should meet regularly (monthly or bimonthly) to discuss project progress. The members should be the Project Manager (MMNP Director), UNDP-CO and NFA-Bucharest. The agenda of the park Director is now evolving and will include more and more activities that are not part of the project delivery but are part of the NFA-Park Administration work plan. Regular meetings will allow the Director to present his team?s progress and the work plan for the coming period. It will allow the two major project partners (UNDP and NFA) to review the project progress, to discuss replication opportunities and long-term sustainability of the project achievements and to communicate and exchange views on their respective agendas. It will provide a more integrated management of the project within the MMNP Administration agenda.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

Noted. The project will institute a quarterly Tripartite project committee meeting. Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager Expected completion date: 30 January 2008

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation: 2. Organize a project management retreat off site in the last part of 2007 to review progress to date and review the plan for the next two years. The project is at its mid-point and it also corresponds to the end of the first phase to establish the MMNP Administration. The park is now officially created, an Administration is in place to manage it, some awareness raising activities were conducted with local communities and local leaders, and an initial study is underway to identify the potential for environmental services in the MMNP area. The next phase will focus mainly on: (i) strengthening the management capacity of the MMNP Administration trough the support for the development of a comprehensive management plan and the development of a monitoring system to monitor the biodiversity and the ecosystem conditions of the park; (ii) developing an ecotourism strategy for the area; and, (iii) supporting demonstrations of small-scale activities in the tourism and forestry sectors.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

Noted. A management team retreat will be organized. Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager Expected completion date: 30 January 2008

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation: 3. The project is currently supporting the biodiversity baseline and a review of the current zoning within the park. It is urgent that this zoning is finalized and clarified. Local communities and local agencies have an understanding of the park as a protected area. However, so far little is known about the different zones in the park and their related different management regimes. For instance, few people seem to know that alpine grazing is allowed in certain parts of the park and that under certain conditions, the cutting of wood is allowed in certain places in the park. Following this review of the management zones, the project should support a ?communication tour? throughout the local communities and the local development agencies such as forestry inspectorate, EPA, agriculture, to present this zoning and the related regulations. The preparation of these informative sessions should start in the immediate future.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

Noted. A communication Tour will be organized in Spring of 2008. 2008 workplan, Output 1.1, Activity 3. Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager Expected completion date: 15 June 2008

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation: 4. As part of developing the management plan for MMNP and considering the expectation of the Stakeholders ? particularly NFA ? in term of Stakeholder participation in the management of the park, there is a need to develop a community outreach strategy for MMNP; which could be extended to a national community outreach in the future once most of it will be tested in MMNP. This strategy should be part of the management plan for MMNP.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

Noted. Work planning process identified target audiences for education and awareness. School children, private forest landowners, local authorities. Practical outreach strategy to be developed and implemented. (2008 work-plan Output 1.2.) Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager Expected completion date: 30 September 2008.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation: 5. The main channel of communication with the local communities is currently planned through the consultative council of the MMNP Administration (54 members representing a broad spectrum of society in the area). After some direct informative sessions conducted within the local communities by the project, it is now planned to channel the communication and education activities through this Council. This approach is good and rationale in the long-term: it is not enough in the near term. More awareness activities are needed; particularly more activities in direct contact with local communities (see #3 above). Opportunities exist in each community to discuss various topics; using these networks will facilitate the preparation of these sessions.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

The team recognizes additional opportunities exist and as part of its work under the 2008 work-plan (Output 1.2), will pursue these under the planned stakeholder outreach strategy for target stakeholder groups. Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager Expected completion date: 30 September 2008

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation: 6. The project should support the MMNP Administration to strengthen its management systems including its management information system and GIS and its human resource management system ? including job descriptions and related performance targets ?complying with NFA guidelines. Activities supported by the project already took place in this area but the MMNP is now entering a new phase with NFA strengthening its park administrations (22). For instance each Administration is now required to produce a work plan. This process is somehow similar to the project work plan but more comprehensive and encompassing activities that are not directly supported by the project. A capacity assessment of the MMNP Administration is recommended. It would include a functional analysis, an assessment of the existing capacity and the required capacity, an identification of the prioritized capacity gaps/needs and an action plan.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

Noted. Capacity and training needs assessment done. Follow up plan drafted. (under 2008 workplan Output 1.1, Activity 1) Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager Expected completion date: March 2008

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation: 7. Based on the review of the project performance indicators, it is recommended the following: a. Outcome 1 is to support the preparation of a Management Plan (MP) and also to develop management instruments for the Administration such as a biodiversity/ecosystem baseline, a monitoring system and a GIS. One indicator should measure the progress in this area such as ?A Management Plan in place integrating a biodiversity baseline and monitoring system as well as spatial information (GIS) and responding to the NFA MP guidelines with adequate capacity at the MMNP Administration?; b. Only indicator #8 measures the replication of the training modules. Considering that this aspect (replication) is one critical success factor of this project, it is recommended to modify the indicator #8 to encompass all replication activities; such as ?Number of project achievements that are replicated in other protected areas in Romania and abroad?. c. The list of indicators does not include any indicator to measure the awareness level of local communities living in the park. It is recommended to add one such as ?Local communities understand better the MMNP and started to conserve and use it sustainably?;
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

7a) Rather than change the logframe at this stage, the project team has incorporated this suggested indicator as its ?Year 3 Target? for Output 1.1. 2008 work-plan. 7b) The new work plan details ?Output 1.6: replication of project results and experiences.? Rather than change the log frame at this point, the project team inserted the MTE proposed wording as a ?Year 3 Target? for Output 1.5. 7c) The new work plan includes these measures of awareness as ?Year 3 Targets? for Output 1.2: Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation: 8. The project is using the METT to track the management effectiveness of the MMNP. A first assessment was done in 2005 (project inception) and the total score for the project was 19 points (out of a maximum of 96). A second assessment was done in 2007 (mid-way) and the total score was 56. At inception the management team set a target score of only 28 by the end of the project. It is recommended to set new realistic targets for each indicator by the end of the project. It will provide the project management team with the management areas that need attention.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

The new METT score target set in the log frame is 66.

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation: 9. The project publishes a quarterly newsletter to highlight some project activities. This is a good vehicle to disseminate information about the park. The circulation of this newsletter should be extended to all communities through schools, churches and city hall and other opportunities. It is a good vehicle to communicate the different zones of the park and their related management regimes and also to report back to the communities how good the park is protected by reporting the infractions of the past quarter.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

Noted. Under 2008 workplan, Output 1.2, Activity 6. Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation: 10. The project already supported exchanges for the management team to visit other protected areas. It is recommended that more should be done and linked with the work plan for the next two years. Study tour themes could be park monitoring (indicators and system) ? including the development of a volunteer monitoring system such as the one in place in the North Vizdeme Biosphere Reserve (NVBR) in Latvia applying an EcoWatch approach; enforcement in protected areas; comprehensive management plan and its application; and, sustainable economic activities in or near a protected area such as ecotourism and sustainable forest exploitation.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

Importance of the study tours acknowledged. The project implementation team will explore the feasibility of the organization of other study tours with due consideration to GEF project management guidelines. Responsible manager: UNDP Head of Energy and Environment Section

Key Actions:

11. Recommendation: 11. A tourism master plan was done in 2006. It names Maramures as one of 6 important areas for the development of tourism. A set of actions is identified and a few of those are related to the project objective in the area of ecotourism. Additionally, the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) is interested in developing a tourism regional strategy (which is action #36) for Maramures. Considering this national context, it is recommended that the project consider the following: a. The tourism activity should be done on close collaboration with the MoT. The MoT is interested in supporting the development of a regional tourism strategy for Maramures, including the possibility of co-financing; b. It is recommended to conduct first an environment, social and economic assessment of the local situation? possibly with a research institute ? to support strategy development; c. Ecotourism strategy: one main component should be the development of a tourism destination marketing strategy. The project should focus on supporting the development of Maramures as a destination and in parallel continue to support some demonstrations (small projects) such as the refurbishing of a wagon in partnership with EcoTours Ltd, an NGO/private company operating a steam train in the Vaser River area for tourists; d. The project has now a role of leading the development process in the MMNP area. It has the ?green light? to do this and should use its recognition by the main local development partners to set-up the necessary committees for the development of this strategy; using the Prefecture as a key partner to move the process, the County Council and its team of 5 people focusing on the development of the local tourism as well as local private operators such as EcoTours Ltd; e. The development of this ecotourism strategy should also be coordinated with the development of the MMNP management plan. Ecotourism is part of the strategies to manage these protected areas and should be incorporated in the management plan.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

11a) The project will consult with the Min of Tourism and collaborate with them as closely as possible. See Output 3.3. This will also be included in the tourism expert?s ToR. 11b) Ecotourism strategizing can build upon the data collected by the environment economist? TEV study; This will also be included in the tourism expert?s ToR. 11c) Noted. This will also be included in the tourism expert?s ToR. 11d) Noted. Park Director to undertake this prior to tourism expert?s visit. This will also be included in the tourism expert?s ToR. 11e). Noted. Incorporated into Output 1.1, Activity 2. Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager Expected completion date: 15 October 2008

Key Actions:

12. Recommendation: 12. After two years, the project starts to accumulate some best practices and lessons learned. It is time to start a process for collecting them, packaging them and disseminating them in Romania and also in the region and worldwide. The use of the MMNP web site to post them is the first recommended step; publications and possible presentations to related forums are recommended such as national and regional conferences/seminars.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

Noted. This input has been incorporated into 2008 workplan, Output 1.5. , Activities 1-4. Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager Expected completion date: 15 October 2008

Key Actions:

13. Recommendation: 13. Support a greater involvement of the scientific community in the MMNP; particularly with a focus on the impact of management practices on the biodiversity. This additional research should be undertaken with the involvement of the MMNP Scientific Council and the MMNP Administration and address existing issues. The results will help MMNP to make better-informed decision and they should also be made public through the MMNP web site and other research results dissemination schemes such as academic journals.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

Noted. The Park will work closely with the scientific community especially after the finalization of its management plan in Spring 08, and identification of its priority species and habitats that will be priority research and monitoring targets. Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager Expected completion date: On-going

Key Actions:

14. Recommendation: 14. Adapt the approach to implement the output 3.4 ?Certified Forest Production and Marketing Demonstration? according to the national development regarding the land restitution process. The project is to deliver some outputs in this area. However, the last Law on land restitution (274/2005) halted the certification process of public forests until all land claims are settled. Instead of stopping all project-supported activities, it is recommended that some sensitization activities be conducted with private forest owners; emphasizing the benefits of the certification scheme. The project should also focus on the distribution channels in the Maramures area to identify opportunities with certified forest products buyer groups in Romania and elsewhere in Europe; partnering with WWF-Romania and their chain-of-custody certification mechanism. The development of a demand for certified forest products should create a greater interest among forest owners to get their forest certified.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/15]

Noted. The logical framework indicator has been removed regarding certified forests as a result of the new developments in Romania regarding land restitution and forest certification. The new activities in response to this recommendation are included under the 2008 workplan, Output 3.4 , Activity 1 Responsible manager: UNDP-GEF project manager Expected completion date: 31 August 2008

Key Actions:

15. Recommendation: [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 1. The park administration and involved stakeholders should work to reduce the potential for single points of failure in the park management regime. For example, MMNP should hire an assistant park manager or train current staff to support this role in a practical manner. Specific attention should go toward the building of relationships between all park staff and regional and local government officials relevant to successful park management and administration.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/05/03]

The park biologist was part of the team who drafted the park management plan and her job description was modified so that includes the specific tasks related to awareness activities envisaged in the park's management plan.

Key Actions:

16. Recommendation: [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 2. MMNP should place a priority on increasing capacity to collect and manage environmental monitoring data, with the ultimate objective of implementing a regular comprehensive and cost-effective monitoring system. Relatively current, quality data is critical for effective management in the long-term. The well-qualified staff currently in place to manage such a program should be further supported in this role. Examples of cost-effective community-based monitoring techniques include examples such as community-based water quality monitoring, and an annual or bi-annual community bird species counting event.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/05/03]

This recommendation is noted and is a priority action for the park management. However, The MMNP being a relatively new established, the park administration does not have yet a mature involvement plan of the local communities Into the park monitoring activity. Nevertheless, the local community is supporting the collection of raw data especially on large carnivore presence and tracks in the field. The MMNP administration has regular meetings with local communities? representatives during which the knowledge on etology of priority species population is transferred. This Is the mechanism Implemented by MMNP so far, for collecting supplementary data for wildlife monitoring.

Key Actions:

17. Recommendation: [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 3. With the goal of supporting a cost-effective environmental monitoring system, MMNP should explore the feasibility and utility of community-based water-monitoring programs (e.g. waterkeeper programs, adopt-a-stream, etc.). Such programs also help increase community awareness and can be integrated with environmental education programs. This would also support a watershed management approach to environmental conservation, as was recommended in the project inception report and mid-term adaptive management report. Information on community-based water-monitoring programs can be found at: a. http://www.epa.gov/owow/monitoring/volunteer/ b. http://www.inletkeeper.org/CEMP/overview.htm c. http://www.georgiaadoptastream.org/home.html
Management Response: [Added: 2010/05/03]

Recommendation noted. Unfortunately the biodiversity data of the existing water monitoring programs are not well represented. Therefore, MMNP is currently embarked in EU structural funds mobilization initiative for the establishment of a long term watershed monitoring system.

Key Actions:

18. Recommendation: [Final Evaluation Recommendations]4. Throughout the new EU member countries, regional branding has begun to show potential value, as has been demonstrated in western European countries. With the goal of creating incentives for nature protection and realizing value in natural capital, MMNP should explore the possibility of partnering with local producer groups and tourism organizations to develop a regional trademark or ecolabel for Maramureş. This could be done for both products and tourism services. Relevant examples include the regional brand developed for Poland?s Barycz Valley protected landscape (http://barycz.pl/main/) and the regional brands in the Czech Republic?s Carpathian protected landscapes of Beskedy and Bilé Karpaty (http://www.tradicebk.cz and http://www.domaci-vyrobky.cz).
Management Response: [Added: 2010/05/03]

Recommendation noted. The first initiative in this sense has started for labeling with the park's logo a local mineral water, bottled local by a private investor. This will also generate a small income for the park's budget.

Key Actions:

19. Recommendation: [Final Evaluation Recommendations]5.MMNP should prioritize investing human resources to develop the park?s business plan to contribute to long-term financial sustainability and management activities enhanced beyond baseline levels supported by NFA operational budgets.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/05/03]

MMNP is one of the pilot protected area selected to demonstrate a new business model for additional resources directed to conservation. This initiative is new GEF financed project that aims to improve financial sustainability of the Carpathian protected areas.

Key Actions:

20. Recommendation: [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 6. To support economic development through the sustainable use of MMNP resources, MMNP and the NFA should explore specific targeted EU programs such as the LEADER+ program and opportunities for landowner compensation payments related to Natura 2000.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/05/03]

MMNP is currently part of a LEADER initiative (LAG established) involving all the communities within the park.

Key Actions:

21. Recommendation: [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 7. MMNP and NFA should explore the potential application of private land mechanisms for biodiversity conservation, such as conservation easements.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/05/03]

A joint action plan of MMNP and WWF is ongoing for the elaboration of the private forests land?s management plans. These management plans are needed for getting compensations according to the law but private forest owners couldn?t associate until now to start such a process. Hopefully it will be successful.

Key Actions:

22. Recommendation: [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 8. MMNP should proactively share experiences with other protected areas in Romania?s network, particularly on stakeholder participation and institutional mechanisms for mainstreaming biodiversity concerns in economic development.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/05/03]

Sharing MMNP?s experiences is already a mechanism due to the regular meetings of the park?s directors organized by the NFA.

Key Actions:

23. Recommendation: [Final Evaluation Recommendations] 9. UNDP should implement an agency wide-system for tracking in-kind co-financing in GEF projects in a systematic and well-documented manner. There are examples where this has been done in other GEF projects (see, for example, UNEP?s South China Sea regional international waters project completed in 2008). Instituting an in-kind co-financing tracking system would bring accountability and transparency to the in-kind co-financing figures currently reported for GEF projects. It would also likely demonstrate that much greater in-kind co-financing is committed in GEF projects than credit is currently given for.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/05/03]

Noted.

Key Actions:

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