Mid- term Project Evaluation of mainstreaming biodiversity into land use regulations and management at municipal Scale

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Evaluation Plan:
2013-2019, South Africa
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
06/2017
Completion Date:
12/2017
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
50,000

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Title Mid- term Project Evaluation of mainstreaming biodiversity into land use regulations and management at municipal Scale
Atlas Project Number: 00083075
Evaluation Plan: 2013-2019, South Africa
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2017
Planned End Date: 06/2017
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.4. Scaled up action on climate change adaptation and mitigation across sectors which is funded and implemented
  • 2. Output 2.5. Legal and regulatory frameworks, policies and institutions enabled to ensure the conservation, sustainable use, and access and benefit sharing of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystems, in line with international conventions and national
Evaluation Budget(US $): 50,000
Source of Funding: UNDP
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 35,000
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: Yes
  • Joint with UNDP and SANBI
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Jessica Smith Ms jessica@peoplesized.com
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Mid- term Project Evaluation of mainstreaming biodiversity into land use regulations and management at municipal Scale
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5058
PIMS Number: 4719
Key Stakeholders: Department of Environmental Affairs
Countries: SOUTH AFRICA
Comments:

The evaluation results will contribute to improving government efforts in mitigating the effects of climate change and enhancing green economy

Lessons
1.

Usually, in the first year of operation, agreement for contracting with responsible parties cooperating with the IP incus implementation and delivery delays if significant pre-planning  and engagement is not conducted before and immediately after the Project Document is signed


2.

Strategic partnership building (including use of mechanisms, instruments and leverage from other related projects and initiatives) can support achievement of objectives and project reorientation/rehabilitation to amplify results, if a fit-for-purpose high level Project Board is in place.


Findings
1.

Importance and Context: The project sits at the heart of sustainability debates and at a critical point in the development trajectory of the country: around biodiversity’s value and benefit delivery; managing competing land uses including mining, infrastructure and agriculture; securing strategic water resources – how, to and for whom, all within the context of political challenges, economic uncertainty, severe unemployment, drought and floods, and the need for broad-based economic transformation. Municipalities and provinces are critical – yet insufficiently capacitated – actors in South African development, land and biodiversity governance and management: it is crucial and timely to focus efforts at this juncture.


2.

Management: These big challenges are being met by a strong PMU team and executing agency: SANBI is highly experienced, skilled, well-respected, and the team demonstrates a world-class level of technical expertise. Senior managers and experts in SANBI are very dedicated and accessible to the PMU. The Project Manager has a subtle and effective approach allowing senior team members space to lead their own (large) domains. While the secondments are not always at a senior enough level to influence in government, the capacity development programme is taking shape to ensure all team members are carrying the tools, methods and messages of the project to every corner as feasible.


3.

Partnerships and integration: A large degree of the project’s success is based on the excellent set of partnerships established. These build from a strong baseline, real co-financing, often leveraging long-term relationships, and part of a continuum of projects that are coherent in their strategy. Some partnerships are new, and individuals and institutions are not always used to collaborating with each other.


4.

Innovation: The project offers many model approaches that can be replicated within South Africa and beyond, at different levels. There are dozens of innovations which respondents highlighted as “only in the world” “first in South Africa” “no one else is doing this anywhere, it an incredible achievement”. The project is highly ambitious, developing new knowledge, and doing work in critical, high-profile areas (e.g. strategic water areas work relates to servicing major needs in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town) and at the same time working within a very dynamic landscape with very uneven and risky capacity challenging circumstances, in a context of diminishing budgets/downsizing amongst some partners. The MTR consultant encourages more outreach from BLU to other GEF biodiversity mainstreaming projects in the region and globally, as the project has much to share within the (slowly) evolving community of practice on effective biodiversity mainstreaming.

 


5.

Progress: Most interventions are well on-track, even surpassing expectations, or if there are challenges identified, these are being tackled effectively. The targets are the exception: these will require a much bigger push and some collective refocusing to achieve. However, progress towards higher-level objectives (country goals, development goal) are somewhat hampered by the limited framing of risk management in the Project Document and subsequently not having a structured method of considering risks to project impact and sustainability through the management (risks defined are limited to risks around delivery of outcomes and outputs).


6.

Sustainability and impact: Some areas for attention for the project sustainability and impact include how the project fits into and influences the broader context of ‘conservation v. development’, importance of achieving the politically important jobs targets as part of the overall ‘policy messaging’ of the project, as well as the incentives and case for municipalities to invest in biodiversity from a jobs, social and economic view (complementing the Ecological Infrastructure approach planned for in a GEF-6 Development Bank of Southern Africa project to be executed by SANBI).


Recommendations
1

Develop a Theory of Change for the project intervention and review/update the project’s risk and assumptions on this basis. .

2


Tweak the Project Board composition (through a joint review of needs) to ensure the steering is at a strategic level.

    

3

Align with SANParks and other stewardship partners to advance the post-declaration support agenda (e.g. via the 2nd Biodiversity Stewardship Conference).

1. Recommendation:

Develop a Theory of Change for the project intervention and review/update the project’s risk and assumptions on this basis. .

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/17] [Last Updated: 2017/12/19]

Fully agreed, there is a need to make explicit underlying intentions, risks and assumptions using evidence, in order to inform planning and more focused implementation of development challenges. Risks, strategic partnerships, learning and organizational development should form part of the central tenet of the change pathway/TOC journey.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Allocate resources towards the ToC journey, and implement it in an inclusive manner via the project’s result-based management framework;
[Added: 2017/12/19]
PMU, with external support, and PSC. CO M&E oversight support can also be provided. 2020/11 Initiated Strategic Review workshop with PSC and PMU undertaken 11-12 Dec. 2017
A ToC implementation roadmap with well-defined deliverables should be used as a guide, where due consideration should be given to a no-cost project extension request by SANBI if required.
[Added: 2017/12/19] [Last Updated: 2018/10/30]
PMU, with external support, and PSC. CO M&E oversight support can also be provided. 2018/10 Overdue-Initiated Service provider (INR) procured on a 2yr contract to support the ToC intervention. History
Women and marginalized groups, and geographic areas should be considered
[Added: 2017/12/19] [Last Updated: 2018/09/20]
PMU, with external support and PSC. CO M&E oversight support can also be provided 2018/09 Completed Contract for procurement of Gender Consultant under issuance by PMU. History
Consider longer term changes, even beyond project duration, in order to embed sustainability within the intervention.
[Added: 2017/12/19]
PMU, with external support and PSC. CO M&E oversight support can also be provided. 2020/12 Initiated To be addressed by Service Provider, INR, and PMU/PSC.
2. Recommendation:


Tweak the Project Board composition (through a joint review of needs) to ensure the steering is at a strategic level.

    

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/17] [Last Updated: 2017/12/19]

Agree with the recommendation but requires elaboation. Not only should the composition of the Project Board be strengthened to onboard more senior actors, but the Project Board’s TOR should also ensure that the project’s governance architecture and work channels (inter-organisational mechanisms, including inter- and intra-departmental mechanisms, as well as partnerships) are fully utilized to achieve effective, efficient, sustainable and results-orientated decisions, approvals, buy-in, consensus, and ‘for noting’, etc. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
TOR redefined, and new Board members invited to serve.
[Added: 2017/12/19] [Last Updated: 2018/09/20]
PMU, PSC 2018/07 Completed Actions discussed and agreed at Project Board meeting on 13 Dec 2017. 2. Candidates identified History
3. Recommendation:

Align with SANParks and other stewardship partners to advance the post-declaration support agenda (e.g. via the 2nd Biodiversity Stewardship Conference).

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/17] [Last Updated: 2017/12/20]

Linkages between related projects should be identified and operationalized, most particularly BIOFIN as a convening platform, and relevant UNDP-GEF (Protected Areas and Sustainable Land Management) and SANBI-GEF (Water) projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Prioritized these linkages to address the TOC, and to keep a balance of the value-add of collaboration on similar challenges, geographies and thematic content (objectives), and ‘low hanging fruit’, such as for the advancement of formalizing and advancing stewardship.
[Added: 2017/12/19]
Day-to day engagement should be followed up by the PMU. Invitations should be sent to Project Managers to mutual planning sessions, and other work events of relevance to ensure synergies for mainstreaming, acceleration and policy support. 2020/12 Initiated Discussed and agreed at Project Board meeting 13 Dec 2017.

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