Gansu Protected Area Management Midterm evaluation

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Evaluation Plan:
2011-2015, China
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
03/2013
Completion Date:
06/2013
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
37,000

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Title Gansu Protected Area Management Midterm evaluation
Atlas Project Number: 00075198
Evaluation Plan: 2011-2015, China
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 06/2013
Planned End Date: 03/2013
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Environment & Sustainable Development
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 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 $): 37,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Michael J.B. Green
Wang Yexu
GEF Evaluation: Yes
Evaluation Type:
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: EA
GEF Phase: GEF-1
PIMS Number:
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: CHINA, PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

Recommendation 1: Revise LFM with respect to those outputs that are () overambitious and (?) not clearly differentiated from each other. It is recommended that the original design of development of a database and knowledge management system at provincial level, which is the Output 1.5, should be limited in scope to address the data and information management needs of the four demonstration PAs; and to merge the Output 1.6 and 1.7, which are not clearly defined from each other in the Project Document, together as a single Output.

2

Recommendation 2:  Strengthen collaboration between PA administration and village communities by enhancing existing and creating new mechanism to enable villagers’ interests to be expressed and influence PA policy, planning and management. More precisely, interventions include 1) establish stakeholder forums for individual PAs; 2) Expand current membership of the regional Taohe Forum

3

Recommendation 3: Review the scope of the provincial PA Development and Management Strategy and the means of its delivery. In detail: 1) the scope of the Strategy is focused on PAs under the remit of GFD; 2) Preparation of the Strategy is led by consultant hired directly by PMO.

4

Recommendation 4: Review the scope of the PA System Financing Plan (Output 1.2) and expedite its development, while ensuring that it’s consistent and integrated with the PA Development and Management Strategy.

5

 

Recommendation 5: Expedite the development of policies and legislation necessary to improve the regulatory framework for Gansu’s PA system (Output1.3) by establishing a task force, or similar mechanism, to fast-track the process.

6

Recommendation 6: Clarify more precisely the role and membership of the Taohe Forum, and determine how it will fulfil its purpose beyond the life of the project.

7

Recommendation 7: (?) Review the management, community resource and tourism plans recently produced or drafted for each of the four demonstration PAs and integrate their objectives, outputs and activities into an Action Plan; (?) Revise and annually update the business plan for each project PA in accordance with its respective Action Plan.

8

Recommendation 8: Review the biodiversity monitoring and evaluation system planned for each of the four demonstration PAs with a view to: (?) monitoring is designed to sample the full diversity of habitats and species occurring within the PA; (?) ensuring that data are properly maintained in a database common for all PAs and routinely, rigorously analysed to inform management; and (?) including water quality monitoring.

9

Recommendation 9: A revised management structure should be adopted by the Project based on the recommended process and management flow. 

10

 

Recommendation 10: The Annual Work Plan would benefit from greater, more specific detail and based on feedback from stakeholders.

11

Recommendation 11: Comprehensive information about and generated by the Project should be readily accessible via its website.  

12

Recommendation 12: The Project Steering Committee should engage more robustly and proactively in its oversight, coordination and integration of Project activities, which will perform more effectively when they meet 2-4 times annually and provide opportunity to visit project sites.

13

Recommendation 13: A number of LFM indicators for the Objective and Outcome 1, based on monitoring changes to baselines established from the Financial Sustainability, Capacity and METT scorecard, need to be modified.

14

Recommendation 14: The total METT score for Taohe National NR has decreased by 9% and mean scores for several METT criteria have declined significantly since 2010, so these should be examined by PMO, in collaboration with demonstration PAs, and issues addressed.

15

Recommendation 15: Facilitate opportunities for demonstration village communities to improve their livelihoods from micro-financing and small grant scheme.

16

Recommendation16:Enhance annual appraisal system for PA staff by including self-appraisal as part of improving performance.

17

Recommendation 17: Procure additional expertise to advise the Project in key strategic areas of policy development to help provide a solid foundation for the effective management and sustainable financing of Gansu’s PAs system over the long-term.

1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1: Revise LFM with respect to those outputs that are () overambitious and (?) not clearly differentiated from each other. It is recommended that the original design of development of a database and knowledge management system at provincial level, which is the Output 1.5, should be limited in scope to address the data and information management needs of the four demonstration PAs; and to merge the Output 1.6 and 1.7, which are not clearly defined from each other in the Project Document, together as a single Output.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

By reviewing the outputs during the implementation in the first phase of the project, local executing agency, Gansu Forestry Department(GFD) also realized the above issues, and following the suggestion of the MTR, the adjustment will be made accordingly and it will help make the project to aim at more realistic level and scope with available  financial and HR resources.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2:  Strengthen collaboration between PA administration and village communities by enhancing existing and creating new mechanism to enable villagers’ interests to be expressed and influence PA policy, planning and management. More precisely, interventions include 1) establish stakeholder forums for individual PAs; 2) Expand current membership of the regional Taohe Forum

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

Based on discussions with relevant officials from GFD as well as UNDP representatives, to establish small scale communication mechanism under the umbrella of the Taohe Forum at PA level is feasible and practical, and it will benefit the management of the PA, especially for the co-management with local communities when their participation is getting more frequent. The 1st Taohe Forum didn’t expand to community level while starting from 2nd Forum, it will be adjusted more inclusive and its membership will expand to community level.

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: Review the scope of the provincial PA Development and Management Strategy and the means of its delivery. In detail: 1) the scope of the Strategy is focused on PAs under the remit of GFD; 2) Preparation of the Strategy is led by consultant hired directly by PMO.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

The original scope of the PA Development and Management Strategy in Project Document focuses on the overall PA system of the province including 64 PAs that are separately managed by four government agencies including Gasnsu Forestry Department, Gansu Environment Protection Department, Gansu Land Resources Department, and Gansu Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Department. There is no any single agency that plays a role as an authority managing all the PAs in terms of holistically developing relevant policies, revising law/legislations, and of setting up management regulations at provincial level. Furthermore, each department follows administrative mandates and technical guidance from its counterpart superior agency (i.e. ministry) at central government level. With the limited time of project (less than two years remaining),this situation makes the adoption of the PA Development and Management Strategy by all PAs extremely challenging, meanwhile the coordination among these departments in terms of agreeing and adopting the Strategy that developed by GFD is extremely time consuming. By considering all these constraints, the Output that is to focus on the scope of GFD remit (48 PAs out of 64 PAs in the province, 75%) is much realistic and achievable within the period of the project as well as available budget.

 

The project will revise the scope of the Output 1.1 from provincial level to GFD remit and adjust the relevant contract arrangements accordingly following the recommendations.

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4: Review the scope of the PA System Financing Plan (Output 1.2) and expedite its development, while ensuring that it’s consistent and integrated with the PA Development and Management Strategy.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

The PA System Financing Plan is very much inter-related with the PA Development and Management Strategy and is one of key components of it, and it provides a more holistic guidance covering all aspects of PA macro development and management. Therefore, the PA System Financing Plan also needs to revise its scope that originally designed to aim at 64 PAs in the province to focus on a more achievable scope of 48 PAs (i.e. PAs in forestry sector), rather than attempt to address sustainable financing with respect to the other PA agencies. And it will also allow the two key Outputs keep the necessary consistency with each other. Meanwhile, the same as the Output 1.1, the revision of the Financing Plan will also be in an achievable manner within the period of the project as well as available budget.

 

The project will follow and revise its scope and adjust relevant contract arrangements. Activities under this Output are already undergoing following the recommendations.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

 

Recommendation 5: Expedite the development of policies and legislation necessary to improve the regulatory framework for Gansu’s PA system (Output1.3) by establishing a task force, or similar mechanism, to fast-track the process.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

An assessment of the existing legal framework for biodiversity conservation as well as for PA management was done by a local consultant from the Lanzhou University and the result of this Output need to be expedited and improved.

In the coming one and half years, project will coordinate with key officers in Gansu Government Legislation Office, with their support and advises, to identify a lead consultant to form a consultancy group/ or similar mechanism for Gansu’s PA system in the year of 2013, to further discuss, revise and adjust relevant regulatory framework, inform relevant legislative processing procedures, advise the most effective legislative process for submission, approval and adoption of revised regulations, so that the relevant legislative processing to be completed in the year of 2014.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6: Clarify more precisely the role and membership of the Taohe Forum, and determine how it will fulfil its purpose beyond the life of the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

The project will organize working meetings with stakeholders to further clarify the specific roles of the Forum and discuss with relevant agencies and department for consensus. The broad definition in the Forum Constitution will be specified as well as its functions and responsibilities of each member organization. Also, to clearly define how it achieve its purpose, how it can perform effectively in a relatively short period of time, how it serve as a reference to the Project, how it make stakeholders more actively participate in the implementation of the project and contribute to it, how open and inclusive it should be, so that maximize the function of the Forum, and how it can sustain beyond the life of the project.

The previous frequency of holding the Taohe Forum every two years has been adjusted to once a year immediately after the MTR. The Forum in 2013 will be held in early August in one of project demonstration site by following the recommendation of the MTR team. 

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7: (?) Review the management, community resource and tourism plans recently produced or drafted for each of the four demonstration PAs and integrate their objectives, outputs and activities into an Action Plan; (?) Revise and annually update the business plan for each project PA in accordance with its respective Action Plan.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

It is acknowledged that the plans developed in 2012 each PA, including community resources management plan, tourism plan, business plan were not closely integrated with each other and either not systematically fit into the master PA Management Plan. Project has taken immediate action and organized discussions with PA managers and staff after the MTR for relevant remedies to be taken to fill the gap.

 

The developed plans and the master Management Plan will be reviewed and revised accordingly, and an action plan for each PA will be developed in the 3rd Quarter of the year (July-September) to specifically integrate the community resource management plan, business plan as well as tourism plan into the master management plan of PA based on the review of the (master) PA Management Plan. 

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation:

Recommendation 8: Review the biodiversity monitoring and evaluation system planned for each of the four demonstration PAs with a view to: (?) monitoring is designed to sample the full diversity of habitats and species occurring within the PA; (?) ensuring that data are properly maintained in a database common for all PAs and routinely, rigorously analysed to inform management; and (?) including water quality monitoring.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

Based on the monitoring plan already developed, project has reviewed the current status of the monitoring needs with a full consideration of the recommendations made by MTR consultants. Further discussion with Database/MIS expert as well as manager and technical staff in each PA will be organized to develop the specific action plan for each PA.

 

The monitoring of the water quality will be further discussed, esp. with the concern of technical capability of analysis and the concern of ensuring the quality of the data as well as of the analysis results.

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation:

Recommendation 9: A revised management structure should be adopted by the Project based on the recommended process and management flow. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

The project will adjust its management structure accordingly based on the recommended framework, to strengthen the communication among project manager, chief technical consultant, and other contracted consultant to discuss significant technical arrangements and issues together and then to make collective decision. At the same time, the project management office will take effort to promote the exchange and communication among contracted consultants to closely integrate activities as well as the relevant outputs with one another to ensure an effective inter-relationship among project results.

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation:

 

Recommendation 10: The Annual Work Plan would benefit from greater, more specific detail and based on feedback from stakeholders.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

Previous project AWPs were developed without wide consultation with relevant partners and project PA staff and it will be improved in coming years and project PAs and partners will be included in the process of AWP development and the final version of the AWP will be made on the consensus of PAs and partners.

Meanwhile, project partners’ role as well as consultants’ responsibilities will be further specified and clarified. And PMO will also ensure those results from consultants are done in an integrated and coordinated manner.

Key Actions:

11. Recommendation:

Recommendation 11: Comprehensive information about and generated by the Project should be readily accessible via its website.  

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

With the full delivery of the project activities against various outputs in coming years, the project website will display comprehensive information about project activities and the project also plans to set up E-news that can be updated regularly/monthly or quarterly, and send to all project partners and stakeholder organizations.

Key Actions:

12. Recommendation:

Recommendation 12: The Project Steering Committee should engage more robustly and proactively in its oversight, coordination and integration of Project activities, which will perform more effectively when they meet 2-4 times annually and provide opportunity to visit project sites.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

The major concern against the Recommendation is the extreme busy schedule of the PSC members as they are from more than 12 different organizations and to make an agreed time schedule that can accommodate most of representatives’ time slots is time consuming. To organize 2-4 times annually would be very challenging.

Project will ensure the full participation of all member organizations in annual PSC and will organize it at project PA, if not at all four PAs, at least one of them. To encourage the organisation of second PSC, if possible, Project may consider combining it with other events like Taohe Forum or other big scale public activities. And it will be further consulted and discussed with UNDP CO and local authorities.

Key Actions:

13. Recommendation:

Recommendation 13: A number of LFM indicators for the Objective and Outcome 1, based on monitoring changes to baselines established from the Financial Sustainability, Capacity and METT scorecard, need to be modified.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

With close check at the Logframe figures and indicators that generated in baseline data collection as well as those in mid-term collection before the MTR, it is acknowledged that some of the indicators and the relevant methodologies need to be improved. Project will further discuss with relevant management officials, project CTA, as well as PA technical staff to develop necessary options for improvement and then submit to UNDP for comments and approval.

Key Actions:

14. Recommendation:

Recommendation 14: The total METT score for Taohe National NR has decreased by 9% and mean scores for several METT criteria have declined significantly since 2010, so these should be examined by PMO, in collaboration with demonstration PAs, and issues addressed.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

PMO has taken immediate action after the MTR to closely review the issue and the main reason is because the Taohe NR hasn’t yet been an independent administration agency that separate from the Taohe Forestry Bureau and this deeply affected the normal operation of the Taohe PA as its staff are still full time employees of the Bureau, and its key functions in finance and management are still complicatedly merging with the systems of the Bureau. And it’s a matter deeply related to the local government mechanism and would be time consuming to solve the issue.

Project will actively coordinate with GFD as well as local authorities to urge and help the separation of the Taohe PA from the Taohe Forestry Bureau.

Key Actions:

15. Recommendation:

Recommendation 15: Facilitate opportunities for demonstration village communities to improve their livelihoods from micro-financing and small grant scheme.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

Activities to help with local communities in project PAs for their income generation activities and alternative livelihood development have been planned as one of key tasks of the project implementation in the remaining period of the project.

Project will seek support as well as specific guidance from UNDP for getting access to GEF Small Grants Program.

At the same time, there are also lots of good practices and successful cases of community based natural resources management, including participatory community development available in other foreign aid projects within and outside of Gansu, and project is considering recruiting qualified national Community Development consultants/facilitators to organize relevant activities.

The TOR of Community Development Consultant will be revised and strategies against PA community development will be prepared with focuses on community micro-credit, small grant, community development fund as well as vocational training program for villagers aiming various ecological friendly income generating activities, which would benefit local community through project implementation and PA development.

Key Actions:

16. Recommendation:

Recommendation16:Enhance annual appraisal system for PA staff by including self-appraisal as part of improving performance.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

A performance management and incentive framework for four PAs has been developed to improve staff‘s skills and competencies against set tasks and duties under the umbrella of the PA management objectives. Project will closely work with managers and staff of four PAs to review the framework as well as the annual appraisal system and its process, to improve the contents accordingly based on the recommendations made by MTR team.

Key Actions:

17. Recommendation:

Recommendation 17: Procure additional expertise to advise the Project in key strategic areas of policy development to help provide a solid foundation for the effective management and sustainable financing of Gansu’s PAs system over the long-term.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/06/28]

Project agrees with the recommendation by considering the development of the key Outputs of the project such as the PA Development and Management Strategy, the PA Financing Plan, MIS, and other important materials and documents. It would not be able to achieve the results expected with current local technical capacity and expertise.

By reviewing and revising the budget and work plan, one more international consultant vacancy has been allocated available for providing further technical support in developing sustainable PA management strategy and financing plan.

Besides, five more national consultant vacancies in MIS, community development, PA eco-tourism development, PA Law and Legislation Consultation, and public communication and sale have been planned and incorporated into the Two-Year Work Plan of the project.

Opportunities of recruiting international volunteers under the UNV Program will also be considered with support and advices from UNDP.

Detailed TORs for these vacancies will be developed by widely consulting with local technical advisors, authorities, PA staff as well as UNDP representatives.

 

 

Key Actions:

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