PROTECTED AREA MANAGEMENT

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2007-2011, Syria
Evaluation Type:
Project
Planned End Date:
12/2009
Completion Date:
08/2008
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
50,000
Conclusion:This project certainly has problems - but it is not a problem project. There is a great deal of good will, enthusiasm and energy among the stakeholders; there is adequate time and budget; and there is the fresh approach being contributed by the PTA. The Project appears poised for a great leap forward through the operationalization of the plans and ideas brought by the new PTA and a lot rests on his shoulders. He would increase his chances of success if the adaptive management approach (as discussed in the Workshop delivered by the Evaluation Team) is applied whereby new predictions are made, new management approaches designed, and new options tested following thorough analysis of the results of monitoring. The Team is optimistic about the Project's future. If the recommendations in this report are considered seriously and implemented, the chances of success of this Project are high. Lessons Learnt: A lesson learnt from the previous World Bank/GEF project and proven by this Project is that without harmony between Government agencies, a project is likely to fail. This is particularly so when one agency is acting as Implementing Agency and other as Executing Agency. Another lesson, which is virtually universal, and which has emerged again from this project is that gaining the respect, credibility and trust of the community takes time. It also takes a special type of approach and expertise. Working with local communities and involving them in the project activities is a slow and difficult process but once they are aware of the benefits and have accepted a share of the responsibilities, they are keen to work towards the project objectives. Rightly or wrongly, the majority of Project staff believe that they do not have job descriptions and the lesson is that team spirit and enthusiasm among Project staff are essential but they are no substitute for a clear job description, leadership and direction.

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Title PROTECTED AREA MANAGEMENT
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2007-2011, Syria
Evaluation Type: Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2008
Planned End Date: 12/2009
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Crisis Prevention & Recovery
  • 2. Environment & Sustainable Development
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Local and national authorities have the capacities to access and integrate multiple sources of public and private environmental financing in support of sustainable human development, including gender equality and poverty reduction
Evaluation Budget(US $): 50,000
Source of Funding:
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Philip Tortell Team Leader
GEF Evaluation: Yes
Evaluation Type:
Focal Area:
Project Type:
GEF Phase: GEF-null
PIMS Number:
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Environment, SPC
Countries: SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC
Comments: This is a mid-term evaluation of the project.
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 1: UNDP to develop and implement a policy which confirms the importance of the ProDoc and establishes a Master Copy which should be updated each time substantive revisions are carried out on any of its elements.
2 Review the Project implementation framework/arrangements to create a clearer distinction between the policy and the management levels, and create a more direct link between the management and implementation levels
3 Arrange for the NPD and all three site managers to undergo the PRINCE-2 training in project management
4 Develop job descriptions for all staff as guidance on what needs to be done by each, and as a basis for performance assessment. Review job descriptions when work plans (ideally a Management Plan as well as an Annual Operational Plan) are adopted at each site.
5 Clarify the employment status for staff that are seconded or on loan to the project team from the forestry department. Ensure that their deployment is according to a clear contract which includes a job description
6 To the PMU and PEC on the SRF, monitoring and adaptive management.
7 Establish a protected area management board for each PA with a true participation of communities to replace the site steering committee.
8 Ecological integrity (initiate the process of assessment of eco system health in each of the three PAs, with the first survey serving to establish a baseline.
9 Develop and adopt management plans plus annual operational plans
10 Explore the possibility of developing a headquarter and visitor center for each of Abu Qubeis and Jebel Abdul Aziz PA
11 Design and implement a strategic approach to the PA system in Syria based on representativeness and reflecting the best of what remains.
12 Establish Technical Advisory Group (TAG)
13 Make the ATLAS System available to the NPD and the finance assistant at project level, at least for query
14 Reconsider the Large contracts at company level assign as much as possible of this work to project staff and engage consultants only as support persons
15 Develop and implement a strategy for communities engagement and participation based on the principle that they are part owners of the PA and must be approached as partners.
16 Risk management (risk changes in socio-economic conditions and the risk that legislations and regulations will lag behind developments arising from the project
17 Replication doesn't happen
1. Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 1: UNDP to develop and implement a policy which confirms the importance of the ProDoc and establishes a Master Copy which should be updated each time substantive revisions are carried out on any of its elements.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

As a UNDP policy the ProDoc is a key document, which is signed between UNDP and the government. Each substantive modification would require resigning of the document.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Establish a master copy collating all the different versions of key sections and components of the project documentation.
[Added: 2009/03/03]
uNDP CO 2009/04 Overdue-Initiated UNDP will do that in cooperation with the project team and other stakeholders
2. Recommendation: Review the Project implementation framework/arrangements to create a clearer distinction between the policy and the management levels, and create a more direct link between the management and implementation levels
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

According to the TORs of the PMU, NPD, NPC and UNDP the different parties were required to

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. A retreat of PMU and NPC(MLAE),UNDP,NPFP(MAAR) and other stakeholders to clarify the roles and responsibilities
[Added: 2009/03/03]
PMU 2008/08 Completed
3. Recommendation: Arrange for the NPD and all three site managers to undergo the PRINCE-2 training in project management
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

The project manager will undertake PRINCE 2 training; however, site managers may have a barrier with language

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Training on Project management for sites managers.
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2009/03 Overdue-Initiated
Prince 2 for NPD
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2009/03 Overdue-Initiated
4. Recommendation: Develop job descriptions for all staff as guidance on what needs to be done by each, and as a basis for performance assessment. Review job descriptions when work plans (ideally a Management Plan as well as an Annual Operational Plan) are adopted at each site.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

This recommendation is accepted and has already been implemented

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Revision of job description for all staff at site level
[Added: 2009/03/03]
PMU No due date No deadline established
Conduct annual individual performances assessment for all staff and develop training needs plans
[Added: 2009/03/03]
PMU No due date No deadline established
5. Recommendation: Clarify the employment status for staff that are seconded or on loan to the project team from the forestry department. Ensure that their deployment is according to a clear contract which includes a job description
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

This issue does concern only some isolated cases. However, key actions will be taken

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The Director of Forestry will reaffirm this situation by following up through a Memo or a phone call.
[Added: 2009/03/03]
PMU No due date No deadline established
Organize a one-day work shop bringing together the different entities to ensure that the linkages and responsiveness of rangers and guards also respond to and link with the site managers.
[Added: 2009/03/03]
MAAR 2009/06 Overdue-Initiated
3 Meeting report will define the relation between the site managers and their counterparts from the Ministry of Agriculture on sites.
[Added: 2009/03/03]
MAAR 2009/06 Overdue-Initiated
6. Recommendation: To the PMU and PEC on the SRF, monitoring and adaptive management.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

this recommendation is accepted and the process is initiated

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
one day workshop has been conducted with full participation of all relevant stakeholders to discuss the SRF and modify what needed.
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2008/12 Completed
site managers to consult with local community a bout the proposed indicators that concern the outcome 3
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2008/12 Completed
conduct one day workshop with all relevant stakeholders to discuss the final SRF
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2008/12 Completed
7. Recommendation: Establish a protected area management board for each PA with a true participation of communities to replace the site steering committee.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

This recommendation is considered as key to ensure stronger and more meaningful involvement of the local communities. It is accepted and will be undertaken according to the specificities of each

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Meeting of the board in Hama has agreed to move forward on this recommendation
[Added: 2009/03/03]
MAAR 2008/08 Completed
Investigate the feasibility, set the TORs and mechanisms of implementation
[Added: 2009/03/03]
MAAR No due date No deadline established
Provide support and facilitate the process
[Added: 2009/03/03]
PMU No due date No deadline established
8. Recommendation: Ecological integrity (initiate the process of assessment of eco system health in each of the three PAs, with the first survey serving to establish a baseline.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

Accepted and some work already underway

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ecological baseline surveys to be conducted.
[Added: 2009/03/03]
PMU 2009/12 Overdue-Initiated
Adopt and monitor ecosystem health of the three sites based on selected SMART ecological indicators
[Added: 2009/03/03]
PMU 2010/06 Overdue-Initiated
9. Recommendation: Develop and adopt management plans plus annual operational plans
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

This recommendation is accepted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Initiate consultation and formulation process for the management plans
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2009/04 Overdue-Initiated
2 Information gaps completed
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2009/12 Overdue-Initiated
Management plans completed and adopted
[Added: 2009/03/03]
Site managers 2010/06 Overdue-Initiated
First operational plans based on management plans produced
[Added: 2009/03/03]
Site managers 2010/07 Overdue-Initiated
10. Recommendation: Explore the possibility of developing a headquarter and visitor center for each of Abu Qubeis and Jebel Abdul Aziz PA
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

This recommendation can be implemented to some extent, and provided the necessary budgetary allocations are secured. Building new facilities is not retained, however the following actions are adopted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Maintenance of some buildings
[Added: 2009/03/03]
MAAR 2009/12 Overdue-Initiated
Tourism master plan
[Added: 2009/03/03]
MAAR 2009/12 Overdue-Initiated
Establishment of visitor centers, provided funding and the tourism master plan are available.
[Added: 2009/03/03]
MLAE 2010/12 Overdue-Initiated
11. Recommendation: Design and implement a strategic approach to the PA system in Syria based on representativeness and reflecting the best of what remains.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

This recommendation is accepted and its implementation has started

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Set up the approach
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2009/04 Overdue-Initiated
2 Information gaps completed
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2009/12 Overdue-Initiated
PA system developed
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2010/06 Overdue-Initiated
PA system endorsed.
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2010/12 Overdue-Initiated
12. Recommendation: Establish Technical Advisory Group (TAG)
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

This recommendation is partially accepted; the TAG for the project can be established however institutionalizing it into a permanent institution

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Previous project reports to be reviewed by the company to be contracted
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2009/04 Overdue-Initiated
Mobilize WCPA and external membership for the TAG
[Added: 2009/03/03]
MLAE/UNDP 2009/08 Overdue-Initiated
13. Recommendation: Make the ATLAS System available to the NPD and the finance assistant at project level, at least for query
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

This recommendation cannot be implemented because of the restricted nature of the Atlas system, however follow-up actions are included below to clarify the system

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Back up system on excel to be reviewed quarterly
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2010/06 Overdue-Initiated
Consult with PSU and organize a training for the project team
[Added: 2009/03/03]
UNDP CO 2009/06 Overdue-Initiated
14. Recommendation: Reconsider the Large contracts at company level assign as much as possible of this work to project staff and engage consultants only as support persons
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

This recommendation is not retained, however the following key actions are included

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure that the contract includes specific measures to control quality and terminate the contract in case of non-qualitative
[Added: 2009/03/03]
UNDP/PMU 2008/12 Completed
Ensure that the detailed work-plan integrates the dimensions of twinning and capacity building of the project team
[Added: 2009/03/03]
PMU 2009/10 Overdue-Initiated
15. Recommendation: Develop and implement a strategy for communities engagement and participation based on the principle that they are part owners of the PA and must be approached as partners.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03]

awareness programs will be developed, a strategy for communities engagement will be developed but is tied to the management plans

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop awareness programs for each site
[Added: 2009/03/03]
Site managers 2009/05 Overdue-Initiated
Implement awareness programs at each site
[Added: 2009/03/03]
Site managers 2009/06 Overdue-Initiated
Capacity building program for local communities in natural resources management designed and implementation initiated
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD/site managers No due date No deadline established
16. Recommendation: Risk management (risk changes in socio-economic conditions and the risk that legislations and regulations will lag behind developments arising from the project
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03] [Last Updated: 2010/01/25]

A training session on risk management related to legislations and regulations within Socio economic conditions was conducted in late December 2008.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Design and hold a training session on risk management and adaptive management (seeking ways of minimizing them and plan for contingency should it happen)
[Added: 2009/03/03]
UNDP CO/PMU 2009/04 Overdue-Initiated
17. Recommendation: Replication doesn't happen
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/03] [Last Updated: 2010/01/25]

Al lajat PA site in Sweida governorate was selected since it is declared as the first Manand Biosphere PA in the country Strategy and plan for replication is finalized Al Lajat workteam was formulated, and participated in three training courses . The first annual action plan for the PA was prepared

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Determine sites
[Added: 2009/03/03]
MAAR/MoLAE 2009/02 Completed
Determine approach and mechanisms of replication
[Added: 2009/03/03]
NPD 2009/04 Overdue-Initiated

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