Strengthening the Marine and Coastal Protected Areas of Russia

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Evaluation Plan:
2011-2017, Russian Federation
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
03/2015
Completion Date:
02/2015
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
41,000

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Title Strengthening the Marine and Coastal Protected Areas of Russia
Atlas Project Number: 00069210
Evaluation Plan: 2011-2017, Russian Federation
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 02/2015
Planned End Date: 03/2015
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.3. Solutions developed at national and sub-national levels for sustainable management of natural resources, ecosystem services, chemicals and waste
Evaluation Budget(US $): 41,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Stuart Williams Evaluator
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title:
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-4
GEF Project ID: 3518
PIMS Number: 4051
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Natural Resources
Countries: RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 Get it right from the outset of the project ? institutions, ownership and personalities! These elements need to come together right from the project?s outset ? the institutional housing, the NPD, the Project Manager and the team. Ownership of the project is one of its key elements as are the personalities involved
2 Systemic prosecution service for foreign fishing vessels. Prosecuting foreign (fishing) vessels that stray into their protected waters is beyond the capacity and mandate of the protected area staff. A systemic service could have been established to carry out this support work for all MCPAs.
3 Complete the outstanding work ? including a number of publications that needed completion (publications on salmon, sea lions and Gulf of Finland teaching aids for schools)
4 The threat of invasive species was underestimated. The project produced one invasive species plan ? for the FEMR. While there may be significant invasive species threats in the FEMR (as it is beside the international port of Vladivostok), it is odd that invasive species plans were not developed for island systems ? particularly the CIZ ? because: i) invasive species were identified as a key threat to island systems in the project document and ii) CIZ was identified as a target for developing an invasive species plan. However, it transpires that, for whatever reason and in contradiction to the project document, the MNRE ?does not see this problem?. In addition to dealing with invasive species, management of domestic animals and other ?weed? species associated with humans and biosafety regarding visitors (including researchers and tourists) to remote islands should have received attention.
5 Interagency issues. Poor interagency cooperation is something that stifles effectiveness and efficiency in all countries of the world. Therefore, that this project encountered it ? specifically between the MNRE and the FAF ? is unsurprising. To overcome such issues requires coordination, collaboration and leadership ? the sorts of things that require a systemic view.
6 Plan for what can be achieved. While some degree of ambition is necessary (for GEF project are about overcoming fears and demonstrating success), over-ambition can be lead to disillusion and disappointment.
7 Monitoring of knowledge and awareness, and monitoring impact in general. Like many others, the project carried out some awareness raising but also like many others, the project neglected to determine the impact that this was having. Ideally, the impacts of activities should be monitored and there are some good tools for measuring the impact on changes of knowledge and behavior ? for example, using an adapted Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey.
8 Carry out socio-economic surveys. The staff of the CIZ regretted not carrying out socioeconomic surveys over the course of the project. This would have been useful for a number of reasons, not least because it would allow the impact of the micro-finance grants to be measured.
9 Climate change. Despite being identified as the single, over-arching threat to Russia?s marine biodiversity, climate change was not mentioned once during the course of the TE mission to Russia and, for example, if and how climate change adaptation was built into management plans.
10 Addendum on management plan guidelines. The UNDP-GEF project in the Komi Republic produced a set of guidelines for developing management plans for protected areas. The lessons that have been learned in the MCPA project on developing management plans for MCPAs should be included as a brief addendum to this set of guidelines.
11 Ingermanland zapovednik. With regard to the Ingermanland zaopvednik, there are two urgent actions that need to be taken: first, the validity of the documents expires in February 2015. Thus, either the issue needs to be resolved by then or an extension of the validity is requested. Second, the UNDP-CO and its partners should apply whatever political capital they can muster to persuade the Ministry of Defence (via whatever channels are available to them) to urge the Ministry of Defence to approve the document. Lessons should also be learned from the process that the project underwent.
12 Conflict resolution. The antagonism in the Commander Islands between the staff of the CIZ (and more particularly the Director) and the administration of Nikolskoye (and more specifically the Head of the Administration) needs to be urgently resolved.
13 Complete equipping out of CIZ boat. Dependent on the availability of funding, the boat could be equipped with useful scientific equipment: GPS units, depth finders/sounder, air compressor, diving equipment, telescope and binoculars, camera equipment, rubber dinghy for landing ashore, underwater sound recording equipment and playback equipment.
14 Re-categorization of CIZ. Apparently, the decision to re-categorise the CIZ into a National Park (Commander Islands National Park) has already been taken. Planning the implications of and implementing this decision will have to be taken carefully so as not to reduce funding and staffing for the protected area. In addition, the zonation of the national park will also have to be carefully considered.
15 Be ambitious for the coverage of the protected area coverage. There are many reasons why Russia should continue to expend its MCPA network in the coming years. The precedent has now been set by Gabon with 23% of its EEZ set aside for marine protected areas but other countries are targeting even higher proportions!
16 Broaden the definitions of protected areas. In a changing world, re-defining protected areas may be useful ? especially when one broadens the definitions!
17 Treat tourism as an ecosystem service. In many places across the globe, tourism has been recognised as an ecosystem service to the tourists that visit; if this changed in Russia, fees could be charged as, apparently, Russian legislation only allows fees to be collected if a service is being provided.
1. Recommendation: Get it right from the outset of the project ? institutions, ownership and personalities! These elements need to come together right from the project?s outset ? the institutional housing, the NPD, the Project Manager and the team. Ownership of the project is one of its key elements as are the personalities involved
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

Fair comment, this experience will be observed in planning for the remaining UNDP PSO Portfolio with focus on ownership and selection of personnel.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation: Systemic prosecution service for foreign fishing vessels. Prosecuting foreign (fishing) vessels that stray into their protected waters is beyond the capacity and mandate of the protected area staff. A systemic service could have been established to carry out this support work for all MCPAs.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

The Project team delivered the message to MNRE. In response, MNRE informed that Commander islands reserve has recently announced the vacancy of the warding and enforcement inspector, specifically for vessels monitoring in reserve waters. Additional systemic work is required from MNRE.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Highlight the importance of action needed from MNRE.
[Added: 2016/01/12]
Federal Ministry of Natural Resources and environment, project team 2015/06 Completed
3. Recommendation: Complete the outstanding work ? including a number of publications that needed completion (publications on salmon, sea lions and Gulf of Finland teaching aids for schools)
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

Project works toward successful completion of the work plan 2015. Education materials and mobile application on the Baltic Sea and the nature of the Gulf of Finland targeting high school students and general public have been released in June 2015. Illustrated Atlas of semi-anadromous fish of Kamchatka has been published and sent to the key target MCPAs in the region.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Atlas of semi-anadromous fish of Kamchatka has been published.Education materials and mobile application on the Baltic Sea and the nature of the Gulf of Finland targeting high school students and general public have been published.
[Added: 2016/01/12]
Baltic Fund for Nature Protection, Association for Pas of Kamchatka, Project team 2015/06 Completed
4. Recommendation: The threat of invasive species was underestimated. The project produced one invasive species plan ? for the FEMR. While there may be significant invasive species threats in the FEMR (as it is beside the international port of Vladivostok), it is odd that invasive species plans were not developed for island systems ? particularly the CIZ ? because: i) invasive species were identified as a key threat to island systems in the project document and ii) CIZ was identified as a target for developing an invasive species plan. However, it transpires that, for whatever reason and in contradiction to the project document, the MNRE ?does not see this problem?. In addition to dealing with invasive species, management of domestic animals and other ?weed? species associated with humans and biosafety regarding visitors (including researchers and tourists) to remote islands should have received attention.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

Invasive species management plans have been elaborated for the Far Eastern Marine Reserve, and Russian Arctic national park, including Franz-Josef Land refuge. The threat of invasive species for the Commander islands reserve was exaggerated in the Project Document, but still exists. Project highlighted the importance of invasive species control for the Commander islands reserve again prior to Project operations shut down, but it is now up to the reserve management to employ the corrective actions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Concern regarding invasive species management was delivered to the Commander islands management
[Added: 2016/01/12]
Project Steering Committee, Project team 2015/06 Completed
5. Recommendation: Interagency issues. Poor interagency cooperation is something that stifles effectiveness and efficiency in all countries of the world. Therefore, that this project encountered it ? specifically between the MNRE and the FAF ? is unsurprising. To overcome such issues requires coordination, collaboration and leadership ? the sorts of things that require a systemic view.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

Project promoted interagency cooperation through involvement of sectoral stakeholders into concrete actions in the pilot regions. In cooperation with FAF, Project elaborated Proposals to amend the Fishing Rules for the Western Fishery basin. In addition to that, FAF facilitated approval of materials justifying establishment of the Solovetsky islands refuge during the State Environmental Appraisal. At the closing Project Steering Committee meeting in June 2015, FAF highlighted the role of the MCPAs for fish stocks protection and indicated the showcase with resolution of conflict over fishing sites in Onezhskoye Pomorye national park fostered by the Project as a mutually beneficial practice for FAF and MNRE.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Importance of enhanced interagency cooperation was emphasized by UNDP PSO and Project team at the Project Steering Committee meeting.
[Added: 2016/01/12]
2015/06 Completed
6. Recommendation: Plan for what can be achieved. While some degree of ambition is necessary (for GEF project are about overcoming fears and demonstrating success), over-ambition can be lead to disillusion and disappointment.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

Project team agrees that initial goal on area of MCPAs established was too ambitious and unrealistic. It was impossible to reach the target set for PA expansion without changing the federal sectoral legislation. With no incentive for FAF limited capacity for legislation amendment both at FAF and MNRE, the Project objective could not have been met. This experience should be taken into account for future project designs involving ?difficult? sectoral stakeholders.

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation: Monitoring of knowledge and awareness, and monitoring impact in general. Like many others, the project carried out some awareness raising but also like many others, the project neglected to determine the impact that this was having. Ideally, the impacts of activities should be monitored and there are some good tools for measuring the impact on changes of knowledge and behavior ? for example, using an adapted Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

In accordance with decision of the Project Steering Committee, Project team will consider possible impact evaluation of the Project undertakings in the field of environmental education in Leningrad region. In case such evaluation is considered feasible, assessment will be conducted with the methodology based on best international practices.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Feasibility assessment for evaluation and monitoring of environmental education undertakings in the Leningrad region.
[Added: 2016/01/12]
Project team 2015/09 Completed
8. Recommendation: Carry out socio-economic surveys. The staff of the CIZ regretted not carrying out socioeconomic surveys over the course of the project. This would have been useful for a number of reasons, not least because it would allow the impact of the micro-finance grants to be measured.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

In accordance with decision of the project Steering Committee, Project will consider conduct of follow-up survey on the small grants program to measure its effect on the participating households of Nikolskoye village at the Commander islands.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Feasibility assessment and consultations, follow-up survey.
[Added: 2016/01/12] [Last Updated: 2018/11/05]
Project team, Commander Islands reserve 2015/09 Completed History
9. Recommendation: Climate change. Despite being identified as the single, over-arching threat to Russia?s marine biodiversity, climate change was not mentioned once during the course of the TE mission to Russia and, for example, if and how climate change adaptation was built into management plans.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

Climate change is important issue for all protected areas of Russia. Many of them are located in the Arctic region that is especially vulnerable to climate change. This issue is observed in management plans of the reserves and is addressed in the process of new PA planning

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation: Addendum on management plan guidelines. The UNDP-GEF project in the Komi Republic produced a set of guidelines for developing management plans for protected areas. The lessons that have been learned in the MCPA project on developing management plans for MCPAs should be included as a brief addendum to this set of guidelines.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

Guidelines elaborated by the Komi project are published in 2014 and should be duly distributed by MNRE of Russia.

Key Actions:

11. Recommendation: Ingermanland zapovednik. With regard to the Ingermanland zaopvednik, there are two urgent actions that need to be taken: first, the validity of the documents expires in February 2015. Thus, either the issue needs to be resolved by then or an extension of the validity is requested. Second, the UNDP-CO and its partners should apply whatever political capital they can muster to persuade the Ministry of Defence (via whatever channels are available to them) to urge the Ministry of Defence to approve the document. Lessons should also be learned from the process that the project underwent.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

Project coordinates proactively the process of creation of Ingermanland reserve in the Gulf of Finland. In 2015 Project prepared and submitted additional set of documents required to obtain approval of the order on establishment of the reserve by the Ministry of Defense of Russia. The Ministry of Defense announced no major objections. As per MNRE PA establishment plan and Project team expectations, Ingermanland reserve will be gazetted by the end of 2015.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The key stakeholder in the Baltic region will provide full support to overcome remaining impediments in the process of establishment of Ingermanland reserve.
[Added: 2016/01/12] [Last Updated: 2018/11/05]
Baltic Fund for Nature 2015/12 Completed Stakeholders extended support to the establishment of the Ingermanlandsky Reserve after the completion of the UNDP/GEF MCPAs project. Finally in 2017 the Reserve has been formally established under the new name of "Vostok Finskogo Zaliva" (East of the Gulf of Finland). History
12. Recommendation: Conflict resolution. The antagonism in the Commander Islands between the staff of the CIZ (and more particularly the Director) and the administration of Nikolskoye (and more specifically the Head of the Administration) needs to be urgently resolved.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

The conflict existed from the moment of reserve establishment back in 1994. The whole Aleut region was included in the reserve, thus setting different regimens of resource use which was not approved by the local authorities and local population. The reserve will obtain the status of national park in 2016, with zonation changed to tailor the existing allowed resource use to the local community needs. Project facilitated cooperation between the reserve and the local administration and population; however it is now up to reserve management to take the suggested corrective actions.

Key Actions:

13. Recommendation: Complete equipping out of CIZ boat. Dependent on the availability of funding, the boat could be equipped with useful scientific equipment: GPS units, depth finders/sounder, air compressor, diving equipment, telescope and binoculars, camera equipment, rubber dinghy for landing ashore, underwater sound recording equipment and playback equipment.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

CIZ management secured funding for completion of the boat from the federal budget in addition to equipment purchased from the Project funds.

Key Actions:

14. Recommendation: Re-categorization of CIZ. Apparently, the decision to re-categorise the CIZ into a National Park (Commander Islands National Park) has already been taken. Planning the implications of and implementing this decision will have to be taken carefully so as not to reduce funding and staffing for the protected area. In addition, the zonation of the national park will also have to be carefully considered.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

This concern was translated to the MNRE. According to them, the budget and the number of staff will not be decreased after obtaining the status of the national park

Key Actions:

15. Recommendation: Be ambitious for the coverage of the protected area coverage. There are many reasons why Russia should continue to expend its MCPA network in the coming years. The precedent has now been set by Gabon with 23% of its EEZ set aside for marine protected areas but other countries are targeting even higher proportions!
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

During the course of Project implementation, 4 368 072 ha of new MCPAs have been created. As per Concept 2020 by MNRE, the figure will further increase in the next 5 years.

Key Actions:

16. Recommendation: Broaden the definitions of protected areas. In a changing world, re-defining protected areas may be useful ? especially when one broadens the definitions!
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

The Law on PAs of Russia is being continuously amended to adhere to the changing approaches to the PA management. However, the overall approach is still much less flexible than the international practice in general. Changing this approach is beyond a single project capacity.

Key Actions:

17. Recommendation: Treat tourism as an ecosystem service. In many places across the globe, tourism has been recognised as an ecosystem service to the tourists that visit; if this changed in Russia, fees could be charged as, apparently, Russian legislation only allows fees to be collected if a service is being provided.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

Ecosystem service tools have not yet found practical application in Russia. One of the remaining Biodiversity portfolio projects overseen by UNDP PSO in Russia will tackle the issue as a part of a biodiversity offset pilot planning.

Key Actions:

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