UNDP/GEF project "Catalyzing of the weatland protected area system in Belarusian Polesie through increased management efficiency and realigned land use practices" final evaluation

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Evaluation Plan:
2011-2015, Belarus
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
02/2011
Completion Date:
02/2012
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
20,000

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Title UNDP/GEF project "Catalyzing of the weatland protected area system in Belarusian Polesie through increased management efficiency and realigned land use practices" final evaluation
Atlas Project Number: 0048429
Evaluation Plan: 2011-2015, Belarus
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 02/2012
Planned End Date: 02/2011
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Environment & Sustainable Development
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Development plans and programmes integrate environmentally sustainable solutions in a manner that promotes poverty reduction, MDG achievement and low-emission climate-resilient development
  • 2. 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 $): 20,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Stuart Williams Team Leader UGANDA
Sergei Gotin
GEF Evaluation: Yes
Evaluation Type:
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-4
PIMS Number: 2894
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Environment
Countries: BELARUS, REPUBLIC OF
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 The protected area system strategy and action plan has recently been developed ? indeed, it was catalyzed so by the project. However, our first recommendation is that for the next five years, the strategy and action plan remains adaptive such that as experience grows across the system, the strategy and action plan can be amendment accordingly to incorporate best practices ? particularly as future GEF biodiversity project are rolled out in the country. The mechanisms for doing this must be agreed by stakeholders. We suggest that a Protected Area System Review Committee be established.
2 Explore mechanisms to involve local communities in the definition, development and management of protected areas (PA).
3 Ensure financial sustainability of the protected area system.
4 Scaling-up the use of the METT.
5 Consolidation of management plans. The project made significant gains by developing i) management plans for the target protected areas and ii) a manual for other protected areas to develop their own management plans. As with the protected area system, as described above, the planning process for development management plans may yet have to be adaptive. As an illustration, in this project, at least three ?layers? (which can be understood to be GIS layers) of mapping data have been developed, each with its own management regime. These are: i) the boundary of the reserve, ii) the ?zonation? of the reserves which define the economic activities that can be carried out in each zone, and iii) the ?passports? for various species and their habitats. Consolidation of these layers into a coherent management plan would improve the chances of success; as it is, these layers add complexity and may result in confusion among stakeholders.
6 Building systemic capacity. The project trained relatively few people and thus if any one of these people were to move from their current position, there would be a risk to the long-term sustainability of the impacts or outcomes of the project. It is imperative that the capacity of the protected area system, as a whole, should be deepened to reduce these risks to sustainability.
7 Ecosystem approaches and key conservation targets. Both of these concepts and methodologies associated with them are well developed around the world. For example, the South African National Parks have one of the best developed systems for identifying threats to ecosystems and, thereafter, categorising the threats to them. Conservation work, including the development and management of protected areas, is then based on this ecosystem approach. This is especially useful when considering the impacts of and adaptation to climate change.
8 Remote sensing as a monitoring tool. Remote sensing can be a very useful tool both for planning protected areas (identifying the boundaries of ecosystems or the boundaries of anthropogenic influence) as well as for monitoring the effectiveness of management regimes. We recommend that the use of remote sensing for these purposes is explored in the protected area system; this would be done in collaboration with the SCLRC.
1. Recommendation: The protected area system strategy and action plan has recently been developed ? indeed, it was catalyzed so by the project. However, our first recommendation is that for the next five years, the strategy and action plan remains adaptive such that as experience grows across the system, the strategy and action plan can be amendment accordingly to incorporate best practices ? particularly as future GEF biodiversity project are rolled out in the country. The mechanisms for doing this must be agreed by stakeholders. We suggest that a Protected Area System Review Committee be established.
Management Response: [Added: 2012/06/22]

We agree with this recommendation. However, the issue of national strategies and plans implementation is beyond UNDP control. What we can do is to inform the Ministry of Environment of Belarus (MoEnv) about this recommendation and underlying justifications. We will discuss this with the stakeholders and, in case positive stakeholder reaction, this can be included win one of the future technical assistance projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Inform the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus on the recommendation and underlying justification.
[Added: 2012/06/22]
Project Management Unit 2012/02 Completed
Discuss this proposal with the stakeholders, including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus.
[Added: 2012/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/01/23]
UNDP, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus 2012/12 Completed
2. Recommendation: Explore mechanisms to involve local communities in the definition, development and management of protected areas (PA).
Management Response: [Added: 2012/06/22]

It should be noted that local communities in Belarus are weak and poorly organized. Nevertheless, we agree that efforts should be made to involve local communities in management of protected areas. An attempt to do this will be made through the prospective Peatlands II project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Involve local communities in PA management within the prospective Peatlands II project
[Added: 2012/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/01/23]
UNDP 2016/12 Overdue-Initiated
3. Recommendation: Ensure financial sustainability of the protected area system.
Management Response: [Added: 2012/06/22]

Fully agree with this recommendation. However, it is beyond any project and UNDP control, and can be done by the Country. The project being evaluated, along with other UNDP project, have made efforts to demonstrate viability of and promote specific tools which can strengthen financial sustainability of natural PA. Creation and strengthening o such mechanisms should be envisaged in future projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Consider a possibility of including into the scope of future project activities on the creation and strengthening of mechanisms that would ensure financial sustainability of PA in Belarus.
[Added: 2012/06/22]
UNDP No due date No deadline established
4. Recommendation: Scaling-up the use of the METT.
Management Response: [Added: 2012/06/22]

The GEF has its own tracking tools for biodiversity the use of which is mandatory for all the GEF executing agencies, including UNDP.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation: Consolidation of management plans. The project made significant gains by developing i) management plans for the target protected areas and ii) a manual for other protected areas to develop their own management plans. As with the protected area system, as described above, the planning process for development management plans may yet have to be adaptive. As an illustration, in this project, at least three ?layers? (which can be understood to be GIS layers) of mapping data have been developed, each with its own management regime. These are: i) the boundary of the reserve, ii) the ?zonation? of the reserves which define the economic activities that can be carried out in each zone, and iii) the ?passports? for various species and their habitats. Consolidation of these layers into a coherent management plan would improve the chances of success; as it is, these layers add complexity and may result in confusion among stakeholders.
Management Response: [Added: 2012/06/22]

The idea of GIS based PA management plans appears to be interesting, and can be piloted within one of UNDP future projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Investigate an opportunity to pilot the idea of GIS based integrated PA management plans within of UNDP projects.
[Added: 2012/06/22]
UNDP No due date No deadline established
6. Recommendation: Building systemic capacity. The project trained relatively few people and thus if any one of these people were to move from their current position, there would be a risk to the long-term sustainability of the impacts or outcomes of the project. It is imperative that the capacity of the protected area system, as a whole, should be deepened to reduce these risks to sustainability.
Management Response: [Added: 2012/06/22]

Fully agree. The UNDP has been trying to address this issue in this and otherк project via developing of professional training courses and various guidelines and regulations. UNDP will continue doing this in the future.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Plan capacity building activities in future projects.
[Added: 2012/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/01/23]
UNDP No due date No deadline established
7. Recommendation: Ecosystem approaches and key conservation targets. Both of these concepts and methodologies associated with them are well developed around the world. For example, the South African National Parks have one of the best developed systems for identifying threats to ecosystems and, thereafter, categorising the threats to them. Conservation work, including the development and management of protected areas, is then based on this ecosystem approach. This is especially useful when considering the impacts of and adaptation to climate change.
Management Response: [Added: 2012/06/22]

UNDP has been promoting the use of ecosystem approach for biodiversity conservation. Particularly, actions will be taken to promote this approach in Belarus via the prospective Peatlands II project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Plan actions to promote the ecosystem approach within future projects.
[Added: 2012/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/01/23]
UNDP No due date No deadline established
8. Recommendation: Remote sensing as a monitoring tool. Remote sensing can be a very useful tool both for planning protected areas (identifying the boundaries of ecosystems or the boundaries of anthropogenic influence) as well as for monitoring the effectiveness of management regimes. We recommend that the use of remote sensing for these purposes is explored in the protected area system; this would be done in collaboration with the SCLRC.
Management Response: [Added: 2012/06/22]

Agreed. UNDP has been using remote sensing (RS) for monitoring and for planning future biodiversity conservation activities within its projects. The use of RS will be further expanded through respective activities of future project when appropriate.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Consider activities on the use of remote sensing for biodiversity monitoring to be included in the scope of future projects when appropriate. Prepare a set of evaluation criteria; collect baseline date.
[Added: 2012/06/22]
UNDP, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus No due date No deadline established

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