Final Evaluation of Mainstreaming Prevention and Control Measures for Invasive Alien Species

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2012-2016, Seychelles
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
01/2015
Completion Date:
04/2015
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
14,445
See attachment.

Share

Document Type Language Size Status Downloads
Download document Annex A -Detailed TORs Biosecurity terminal evaluation revised RA 27 Aug 2014.pdf tor English 566.16 KB Posted 433
Download document TE_PIMS3820_EvaluationReport_31032015.docx report English 1573.85 KB Posted 534
Download document Summary of conclusions.docx summary English 36.46 KB Posted 621
Download document Management Response for BS TE.pdf related-document English 2177.32 KB Posted 321
Title Final Evaluation of Mainstreaming Prevention and Control Measures for Invasive Alien Species
Atlas Project Number: 00053109
Evaluation Plan: 2012-2016, Seychelles
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2015
Planned End Date: 01/2015
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 $): 14,445
Source of Funding: GEF
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Jose Antonio Cabo Bujan Mr. antonio.cabo@yahoo.es
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: GEF and UNDP
Countries: SEYCHELLES
Comments: Project has been extended till DEc 2014. terminal Evaluation started in November 2014 and is expected to be completed in December 2014. However final Report after clearance is expected to be available in January 2015. Due to some delays however, the Final Report has now been cleared. Grateful if you could adjust also the Due date in the Evaluation Plan as per revised attached AP. All documents now uploaded online
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 The project strategy had strong vertical coherence, with outputs logically connected to the outcomes and these logically linked to the development objective. The results are well formulated and are based in a good analysis of the problems relevant to the development objective that has been consulted and validated by relevant stakeholders. However, the project wrongly assumed that all institutional players will agree and follow the project?s approach to biosecurity and that the process of reforms to the regulatory framework would not suffer major delays. A more careful analysis of assumptions and risks could have made some of these issues evident. However, it must be noted that the project strategy was approved by the government with wide support by all relevant stakeholders and that in the national context, counting with sufficient political support should suffice to facilitate reform processes
2 The political and institutional changes, including the downsizing of the public sector and the split of environment and natural resources responsibilities among two ministries did not substantially alter the premises for the project, but did weaken the institutional structure to a certain degree and introduced new coordination dimensions (and dilemmas) among newly created agencies
3 The project only partially achieved the objective of establishing a cost-recovery mechanism. The Biosecurity Act does provide the tools necessary for the collection of fees for processing permits and fines for violations, but has yet to be enforced. Moreover, the fees and fines are not necessarily linked with the costs involved in processing permits and conducting inspections or the potential damages caused by violations. More importantly, even increased revenue from fees and fines will be directed to a general consolidated fund without any guarantee of reinvestment in biosecurity activities.
4 While the financing of the Biosecurity Service is included within the Seychelles National Agricultural Investment Plan from 2015, Government has failed to provide budgets according with the responsibilities acquired by this agency as designated biosecurity agency - which compromise the sustainability of the project investments in capacity, and the whole enforcement of the new regulatory framework
5 The project did not develop a concrete awareness strategy that included specific targets and indicators. Awareness measures for the general public and travellers have had minor effects or those effects have not been accounted for. Key institutional stakeholders would need more awareness on the implications of the new policy and regulatory framework supported by the project. Importantly, the National Biosecurity Committee (NBC), now mandated by the Biosecurity Act as a key consultative and advisory body, as well as pivotal to provide inter-agency coordination, has yet to become fully operational with the activation of its sub-committees and awareness must be raised among key stakeholders on its role and responsibilities
6 Following the long-term financial strategy devised by the project to support the biosecurity service, the gap between inspection costs and fees should be bridged. Additionally, support must be given to a more rational allocation of budgets for biosecurity service functions , making use of the new budget allocation mechanism, i.e. performance-based budget allocation and mid-term expenditure framework. In this respect, UNDP?s BIOFIN project can be instrumental in providing needed support
7 The PCU should continue to promote biosecurity issues post project through its communication strategy to address the lack of awareness among key biosecurity stakeholders on the Biosecurity Act and particularly on the roles and responsibilities of the National Biosecurity Committee, as well as to open all communication channels available at high political levels to forge understandings among government agencies, to promote participation in the NBC and the forging of concrete and formal memoranda of understanding to address biosecurity threats in all their dimensions. This recommendation should not be equated to criticism of past and current PCU actions to the same end, but merely stating the critical need to use all means available to consolidate key achievements of the project
8 : The project has produced a richness of knowledge on IAS and has set the technical basis for the development of an active database on IAS, as well as the necessary structures (committee) to enable an active learning community. Although the project has made all its knowledge products available through the PCU website, more efforts should be made to disseminate the results, with the involvement and active engagement of key government agencies, particularly the SAA and the Department of Environment. Key results in this endeavor would be finalizing the installation of the IAS database, promoting the activation of the National Invasive Alien Species Subcommittee (of the NBC) and incorporating the project?s research results in the communication actions of the SAA, DOE, PCU and other government and non-government actors.
9 : As recruitments constraints are nothing new in SIDS context, contingency plans to avoid halts in project delivery could be developed by e.g. designating deputy project managers, pre-identification of experts, and signature of memoranda of understanding with implementing partners. However, it must be noted that the PCU and the UNDP in fact did implement all the measures mentioned above, including aide memoires with both the Department of Environment and the Seychelles Agricultural Agency and by at least partially covering vacant positions with remaining staff. Nonetheless, the terminal evaluation advocates for a more systematic, documented approach.
10 Accounting of expenditure should be consistent with budgeting. Mechanism to ensure this are, at project design, double check budget accounts and budget notes, and, during implementation coordinate expenditure accounting between UNDP and project implementation unit and keep documentation on ?expenditure notes? to enable to track down project costs to activities.
11 The awareness actions pointed out earlier should be specifically directed to high level political decision-makers to raise understanding on the critical need to enforce the Biosecurity Act, including a fully operational, formalized National Biosecurity Committee with all its subcommittees. This is particularly urgent in the face of increases both in trade, connectivity and investment that can divert political attention from funding proper precautionary approaches and prevention measures.
12 Include species with high risks of ?invasiveness? such as Acanthaster planci in the list of regulated IAS to be included as one of the administrative provisions of the Biosecurity Act. This will likely prompt relevant government agencies to provide the necessary support to include monitoring and treatment of these species in management protocols
1. Recommendation: The project strategy had strong vertical coherence, with outputs logically connected to the outcomes and these logically linked to the development objective. The results are well formulated and are based in a good analysis of the problems relevant to the development objective that has been consulted and validated by relevant stakeholders. However, the project wrongly assumed that all institutional players will agree and follow the project?s approach to biosecurity and that the process of reforms to the regulatory framework would not suffer major delays. A more careful analysis of assumptions and risks could have made some of these issues evident. However, it must be noted that the project strategy was approved by the government with wide support by all relevant stakeholders and that in the national context, counting with sufficient political support should suffice to facilitate reform processes
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

The issue is noted and while it cannot be addressed in this project as it is the TE, the lessons learnt is providing UNDP and the implementing partners with valuable insights on the institutional constraints with regards to developing and finalization and approval of new policies, strategies or legislative reforms which depends on a number of approval steps and layers often beyond the direct sphere of influence of the project unit and UNDP and GEF RCU.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation: The political and institutional changes, including the downsizing of the public sector and the split of environment and natural resources responsibilities among two ministries did not substantially alter the premises for the project, but did weaken the institutional structure to a certain degree and introduced new coordination dimensions (and dilemmas) among newly created agencies
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

The Ministry responsible for Agriculture have always been separate from the Ministry of Environment even if it was renamed Natural Resources in 2006 as the responsibility for agriculture was never merged with environment. The Ministry of Environment is still responsible for the natural environment but not for border control of invasive species. Having several institutions responsible for border control and biosecurity matters does pose some coordination challenges and these have been adequately addressed under the project in terms of defining role and responsibilities. Coordination in practice, however ill always remain a challenge given the many partners involved as even within agriculture and natural resources, there are 2 agencies involved being the Ministry itself (as of February 2015 the Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries, MFA) and the Agricultural Agency. The challenges are often not because of the number of agencies but limited personnel in these agencies not getting fully involved in the project during implementation. Changes in personnel within the agencies were also a great challenge which can only be addressed within a broader scope of human resource planning and capacity building and development at the national level.

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation: The project only partially achieved the objective of establishing a cost-recovery mechanism. The Biosecurity Act does provide the tools necessary for the collection of fees for processing permits and fines for violations, but has yet to be enforced. Moreover, the fees and fines are not necessarily linked with the costs involved in processing permits and conducting inspections or the potential damages caused by violations. More importantly, even increased revenue from fees and fines will be directed to a general consolidated fund without any guarantee of reinvestment in biosecurity activities.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

The issue is beyond the scope and responsibilities of the PCU and UNDP and needs to be escalated to higher authorities as this involves reforms in Financial regulations and contributions to the Consolidated Fund.

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation: While the financing of the Biosecurity Service is included within the Seychelles National Agricultural Investment Plan from 2015, Government has failed to provide budgets according with the responsibilities acquired by this agency as designated biosecurity agency - which compromise the sustainability of the project investments in capacity, and the whole enforcement of the new regulatory framework
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

The issue will be tabled at the next SC for the Project to ensure that the concerned agency (Ministry of Natural Resources) includes this in their budget preparation for 2016. MEECC and MFA will take this matter at a higher level with the Department of Public Administration and the Chief Executive forum. There is also a need for the National Biosecurity Committee to be proactive in disseminating its role and importance

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation: The project did not develop a concrete awareness strategy that included specific targets and indicators. Awareness measures for the general public and travellers have had minor effects or those effects have not been accounted for. Key institutional stakeholders would need more awareness on the implications of the new policy and regulatory framework supported by the project. Importantly, the National Biosecurity Committee (NBC), now mandated by the Biosecurity Act as a key consultative and advisory body, as well as pivotal to provide inter-agency coordination, has yet to become fully operational with the activation of its sub-committees and awareness must be raised among key stakeholders on its role and responsibilities
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

The issue of Biosecurity has been a part of the wider Communications Strategy implemented by PCU and information on biosecurity issues has been widely disseminated through all media types throughout the project. It was not deemed necessary to develop a separate communications strategy for this project alone, as it links with many wider conservation and mainstreaming issues. It is the case that the impact of the project has not been objectively monitored in terms of, for example, a knowledge, attitudes and practise survey, and this is perhaps a lesson learned. The National Biosecurity Committee is now functional and mandated by the President, and needs to become proactive in disseminating the role of the Biosecurity Service ? this is one of the roles of the committee

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation: Following the long-term financial strategy devised by the project to support the biosecurity service, the gap between inspection costs and fees should be bridged. Additionally, support must be given to a more rational allocation of budgets for biosecurity service functions , making use of the new budget allocation mechanism, i.e. performance-based budget allocation and mid-term expenditure framework. In this respect, UNDP?s BIOFIN project can be instrumental in providing needed support
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

The financing of the Biosecurity Service was integrated within the new Seychelles National Agricultural Investment Plan (SNAIP), which was developed with technical support from FAO. This is not yet endorsed by Government, however. The Biosecurity Service Strategic Plan, developed by the project, is also not yet endorsed by Government although it is agreed by all key stakeholders. Meanwhile the Biosecurity Service functions as a unit under the SAA, without its own specific funding, and has been affected ? as are all departments ? by budget cuts to MNR for 2015 and freeze on creation of new posts by the department of Public Administration

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Long-term financing strategy and associated strategic plan for the Biosecurity Service to be endorsed and implemented (by Government)
[Added: 2015/06/12]
MNR, MEECC No due date No deadline established Budget for the Biosecurity Service was included within the MNR budget request for 2015, but not provided
7. Recommendation: The PCU should continue to promote biosecurity issues post project through its communication strategy to address the lack of awareness among key biosecurity stakeholders on the Biosecurity Act and particularly on the roles and responsibilities of the National Biosecurity Committee, as well as to open all communication channels available at high political levels to forge understandings among government agencies, to promote participation in the NBC and the forging of concrete and formal memoranda of understanding to address biosecurity threats in all their dimensions. This recommendation should not be equated to criticism of past and current PCU actions to the same end, but merely stating the critical need to use all means available to consolidate key achievements of the project
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

: The PCU is promoting biosecurity issues through its Newsletter as well as UN in Seychelles newsletter and on its website. Furthermore, in development of new projects or through activities organised under other ongoing BD projects, biosecurity issues are being promoted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
In development of new projects or through activities organised under other ongoing BD projects, biosecurity issues are being promoted.
[Added: 2015/06/12]
PCU No due date No deadline established
8. Recommendation: : The project has produced a richness of knowledge on IAS and has set the technical basis for the development of an active database on IAS, as well as the necessary structures (committee) to enable an active learning community. Although the project has made all its knowledge products available through the PCU website, more efforts should be made to disseminate the results, with the involvement and active engagement of key government agencies, particularly the SAA and the Department of Environment. Key results in this endeavor would be finalizing the installation of the IAS database, promoting the activation of the National Invasive Alien Species Subcommittee (of the NBC) and incorporating the project?s research results in the communication actions of the SAA, DOE, PCU and other government and non-government actors.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

The PCU is promoting biosecurity issues through its Newsletter as well as UN in Seychelles newsletter and on its website. Furthermore, in development of new projects or through activities organised under other ongoing BD projects, biosecurity issues are being promoted

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The PCU is developing further communications materials and the implementation of communications strategy includes dissemination of results of the BS project. One example includes a video which is now aired on all Air Seychelles flights entering Seychelles.
[Added: 2015/06/12]
PCU Biosecurity Agency MNR SAA No due date No deadline established a. This has been ongoing for some years, and BS issues have been widely disseminated.
Re-establishment and activation of the NIAS Sub-committee of the NBC and review its terms of reference for post project activities.
[Added: 2015/06/12]
NBC No due date No deadline established The former BS Project Manager is to be proposed as a member of the NBC and while no longer working with PCU will pursue the establishment of the sub-committee. The PCU however has no knowledge or control of the deliberations of the NBC
Activation of an IAS database installed by the project at the SAA needs to be effected (although this is limited by available human resources at SAA) and linked to the MEECC environment database being developed under the other GEF projects. The PCU will advocate with the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture and the SAA to ensure that appropriate manpower is engaged to manage the database. The issue will be tabled at the next SC for the Biosecurity Project
[Added: 2015/06/12]
Biosecurity Service PCU Ministry for Fisheries and Agriculture SAA No due date No deadline established Project has provided all required equipment and training. Missing are staff within the BS who can upload data into the database and maintain it. However this cannot move ahead unless the gap in capacity is addressed by Govt.
9. Recommendation: : As recruitments constraints are nothing new in SIDS context, contingency plans to avoid halts in project delivery could be developed by e.g. designating deputy project managers, pre-identification of experts, and signature of memoranda of understanding with implementing partners. However, it must be noted that the PCU and the UNDP in fact did implement all the measures mentioned above, including aide memoires with both the Department of Environment and the Seychelles Agricultural Agency and by at least partially covering vacant positions with remaining staff. Nonetheless, the terminal evaluation advocates for a more systematic, documented approach.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

This is a lesson learned but it will be difficult to have deputy project managers given the continued reduction in management budgets of GEF projects. Even in the context that the Ministry provides cash co-financing to support management costs, it is not cost effective to have 2 persons managing the project as a preventive measure in the event that the manager resigns. A possibility would be matrix-management whereby the pool of managers dealing with biodiversity projects has greater synergies and can provide the alternate services in the event of one manager resigning during critical stages of implementation. The SIDS capacity constraint as referred to above in Evaluation Issue #2 needs to be addressed in the broader national context through implementation of the recommendations of the Capacity Development Plan developed with support of UNDP a few years ago. This can be addressed as part of the new National Development Strategy by focusing on sector specific capacity constraints as part of the Sector strategies.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
MEECC to review the causes of high turn-over and propose adaptive management and possible remedial actions such as periodic review of salary scales for PMs. The current salary scale needs to be reviewed at the end of 2015
[Added: 2015/06/12]
MEECC PCU No due date No deadline established PCU attempted to introduce a performance-based salary scale and increments in late 2013. This was rejected by MEECC as not in line with Government procedures.
10. Recommendation: Accounting of expenditure should be consistent with budgeting. Mechanism to ensure this are, at project design, double check budget accounts and budget notes, and, during implementation coordinate expenditure accounting between UNDP and project implementation unit and keep documentation on ?expenditure notes? to enable to track down project costs to activities.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

The Project Managers and the Finance Unit of the PCU need to coordinate the Financial Report preparation so that correct codes are assigned when reporting and accounting on expenditures. UNDP will continue to conduct refresher sessions with existing and new PMs as and when they come on board to ensure correct understanding of the ATLAS codes. Updates on new account codes rolled out corporately will be shared timely with the PCU and explanation provided and revisions undertaken to approved budgets in ATLAS in a timely manner

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Conduct new sessions with PCU on new account codes and ATLAS codes on regular basis. UNDP will review all draft FRs before approval to ensure that they expenditure are correctly accounted for.
[Added: 2015/06/12]
UNDP PCU No due date No deadline established
11. Recommendation: The awareness actions pointed out earlier should be specifically directed to high level political decision-makers to raise understanding on the critical need to enforce the Biosecurity Act, including a fully operational, formalized National Biosecurity Committee with all its subcommittees. This is particularly urgent in the face of increases both in trade, connectivity and investment that can divert political attention from funding proper precautionary approaches and prevention measures.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

The issue should be raised at the next SC meeting as well and proper follow up actions agreed upon to ensure sustainability after project ends. New requirements for the work of the committee will be defined and agreed upon at the SC and by extension through the MEECC and the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
PCU to ensure the matter is on the Agenda of next SC and to prepare draft guidelines and strategies for implementation of this recommendation.
[Added: 2015/06/12]
PCU MEECC No due date No deadline established
12. Recommendation: Include species with high risks of ?invasiveness? such as Acanthaster planci in the list of regulated IAS to be included as one of the administrative provisions of the Biosecurity Act. This will likely prompt relevant government agencies to provide the necessary support to include monitoring and treatment of these species in management protocols
Management Response: [Added: 2015/06/12]

The purpose of regulation is to prevent transportation and introduction of a species. It is difficult to apply this to a naturally occurring species in terms of making sure it is not transported between islands ? the larval stage is borne on ocean currents and can spread widely by that means. Hence the species is not included in the list of regulated species under the Biosecurity Act. In terms of regulated transport, the animal is extremely toxic and dies quickly when out of water, making the transport of the species an extremely unattractive proposition. Transport of the species in adult stage is very unlikely.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Follow-up on the results of the training in fine scale surveys of COTS to encourage Government to put into place a long-term monitoring programme (involving both agencies and private sector ? dive companies)
[Added: 2015/06/12]
DOE MEECC No due date No deadline established COI has agreed to fund the long-term monitoring.
Removals programme to be continued primarily by the private sector (dive companies) at least from their target sites
[Added: 2015/06/12]
GoS, SNPA Private Sector Donors No due date No deadline established Work is currently ongoing

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