Final Evaluation Improving the Financial Sustainability of the Carpathian System of Protected Areas

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Evaluation Plan:
2010-2015, Romania
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
08/2014
Completion Date:
08/2014
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
21,675

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Title Final Evaluation Improving the Financial Sustainability of the Carpathian System of Protected Areas
Atlas Project Number: 72323
Evaluation Plan: 2010-2015, Romania
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2014
Planned End Date: 08/2014
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 $): 21,675
Source of Funding: GEF
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: Yes
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Michael Appleton Mr. mrappleton@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: Yes
Evaluation Type:
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: MSP
GEF Phase: GEF-4
PIMS Number: 3458
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: ROMANIA
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 1: The UNDP Project Management Office should continue to work with the NFA and the MoECC to promote and secure approval for the proposed legal and administrative measures to enable direct funding of protected areas.
2 The project partners should continue to work to ensure that the current and future SOP projects and other donor-funded activities build on the achievements of the project. In particular, the MoECC and the NFA should ensure that the PES elements of future projects make use of and support further development of the initiatives established by this project.
3 The online Financial Management System should be further developed and institutionalized. The NFA should continue to require and extend its use. The MoECC should ensure implementation of the Ministerial Order 1,470 of the 12 June 2013 to require its use for budgeting and reporting in all protected areas including Natura 2000 sites. In order to facilitate this, it is vital that the new online management planning format of the MoECC is designed to be fully integrated with the FMS.
4 The NFA should establish and share a transparent policy and associated mechanisms for use of funds generated by protected areas. This should ensure that protected area personnel, funding partners and the wider public all understand how income is reinvested in protected areas. It is suggested that a suitable procedure is put in place by the NFA in consultation with the MoECC and making use of legal advice.
5 The NFA should increase the staffing capacity in its protected areas unit in order to support the protected areas in continuing the work of the project, specifically with respect to partnership building and fundraising, including development of local community based partnerships. This support does not have to be entitled a ?Business Development Unit? but it is necessary in some form.
6 The MoECC, NFA and donors should encourage and support the further development of the Protected Areas Association and should work with the Association to harmonize priorities and practices. Future projects and initiatives should be encouraged to channel some support to the Association in order to build its capacity and enable its continued growth and impact. This support could take the form of subcontracting some elements of projects and/or supporting direct applications by the Association for grants and projects. In particular, support should be sought for the translation and further promotion of the e-Learning platform developed by the project and hosted by the Association. In parallel, the Association should ensure the highest standards of professionalism, transparency and accountability in its work.
7 The uncertainties about the status, governance and management arrangements for protected areas need to be resolved as soon as possible. In the short to medium term, the NFA should be encouraged to continue its management of the Carpathian protected areas, with the incentive of guaranteed state support for core management costs (making use of one of the mechanisms proposed by the project). A detailed feasibility study should be made for a more permanent long-term solution that could include establishment of some protected areas as self-funding legal authorities and/or the establishment of agency for protected areas (an option that is again being considered by the MoECC).
8 : The MoECC and/or the NFA should as a priority seek support for a new, complementary project designed to develop and test a more bottom-up approach to protected area support, aimed at building synergies for local development between protected areas and their surrounding communities. This should focus on one or two protected areas where there is real potential for locally driven development and PA support, possibly linking a protected area managed by the NFA and one managed by a Local Authority
9 Support should be sought for further developing the Financial Management System and making it accessible to protected areas not just in the Carpathian region, but also globally. Although the system has been customised to some extent for use by the NFA, it is also sufficiently generic that it could (with minor modifications) be made available as an open source resource, promoted through UNDP?s network. The system has considerable potential for integration with modern management planning methodologies to produce a practical and usable ?seamless? system for thinking management, conservation goals, budgeting monitoring and financing.
1. Recommendation: Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 1: The UNDP Project Management Office should continue to work with the NFA and the MoECC to promote and secure approval for the proposed legal and administrative measures to enable direct funding of protected areas.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2014/10/20]

UNDP will follow up with the NFA and MoECC on the recommended actions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Continue advocacy efforts for the inclusion of the PES mechanisms in the new Forest Code
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
UNDP PMO/NFA 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
Project unit will follow-up closely in regards to the approval of the new Forest Code
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
UNDP PMO/NFA 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
Continue advocacy efforts to enable the Environment Fund to act as a conduit for funding generated through payments for ecosystem services (PES) and other mechanisms
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
UNDP PMO MoECC 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
2. Recommendation: The project partners should continue to work to ensure that the current and future SOP projects and other donor-funded activities build on the achievements of the project. In particular, the MoECC and the NFA should ensure that the PES elements of future projects make use of and support further development of the initiatives established by this project.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/10/20]

The project team will continue promoting and disseminating initiatives established by the project so that the PES elements of future projects make use of and support further development of these results

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
NFA will share the project results (studies, e-learning platform) that are to be made available on the NFA website to be used as an open resource
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
NFA 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
Continue inter-institutional dialogue with MoECC for promoting project results for other SOP projects
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
NFA/MoECC 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
The media campaign website to be transferred to the NFA for hosting, maintenance and updating
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
UNDP/NFA 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
NFA will promote the PES mechanisms generated in this project for the new EU Sectorial Operational Programme for the Environment (SOP) projects consultations to be organized by the MoECC.
[Added: 2014/10/20]
NFA/MoECC No due date No deadline established
The MoECC to promote the PES mechanisms for 3 calls for projects to be implemented through bilateral support from the Government of Norway
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
MoECC 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
After the approval of the Forestry Code, NFA will support the enforcing of the legislation, promoting within the legal limitations the importance of PES mechanisms.
[Added: 2014/10/20]
UNDP/NFA No due date No deadline established
3. Recommendation: The online Financial Management System should be further developed and institutionalized. The NFA should continue to require and extend its use. The MoECC should ensure implementation of the Ministerial Order 1,470 of the 12 June 2013 to require its use for budgeting and reporting in all protected areas including Natura 2000 sites. In order to facilitate this, it is vital that the new online management planning format of the MoECC is designed to be fully integrated with the FMS.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/10/20]

The project team will work to ensure the sustainability of the online Financial Management System

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
MoECC to implement the MO 1470 (new MO 1052) which is making use of the Financial Analysis and budgetary structure (programmes and sub-programmes as it is used on FIMS) developed within in this project
[Added: 2014/10/20]
MoECC/NFA No due date No deadline established
NFA to proceed with the reassignment procedure of the Protected Areas using the budget structure (also included in FIMS) and the based on the new MO 1052
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
NFA 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
All 22 protected areas will continue using FIMS, with the NFA ensuring trained directors and financial specialists
[Added: 2014/10/20]
NFA No due date No deadline established
MoECC to take ownership of the FIMS using the budget structure in the new management contracts and by updating the old ones for all PAs
[Added: 2014/10/20]
NFA MoECC UNDP No due date No deadline established
4. Recommendation: The NFA should establish and share a transparent policy and associated mechanisms for use of funds generated by protected areas. This should ensure that protected area personnel, funding partners and the wider public all understand how income is reinvested in protected areas. It is suggested that a suitable procedure is put in place by the NFA in consultation with the MoECC and making use of legal advice.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/10/20]

NFA will take notice of this observation and will provide clarifications and initiate a transparent procedure on the use of funds generated by protected areas

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Contact NFA for details on the use of funds generated by the protected areas and their reinvestment in the PAs
[Added: 2014/10/20]
UNDP No due date No deadline established
NFA to initiate a transparent policy procedure for information on reinvestments of PAs revenues
[Added: 2014/10/20]
NFA/MoECC No due date No deadline established
Initiate reassignment procedure to ensure the PAs financing under the NFA administration
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
NFA 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
Parks and NFA to publish annual financial situation on their websites
[Added: 2014/10/20]
NFA 2015/06 Overdue-Not Initiated
5. Recommendation: The NFA should increase the staffing capacity in its protected areas unit in order to support the protected areas in continuing the work of the project, specifically with respect to partnership building and fundraising, including development of local community based partnerships. This support does not have to be entitled a ?Business Development Unit? but it is necessary in some form.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/10/20]

NFA will analyze the need for increasing staff capacity in the protected areas unit and take necessary steps if needed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
NFA will support each Park Administration in the development of new partnership opportunities, projects and will disseminate the information so that the parks will have access to the development together with the local communities.
[Added: 2014/10/20]
NFA No due date No deadline established
NFA will explore further needs for increasing staff capacity in its protected areas unit
[Added: 2014/10/20]
NFA No due date No deadline established
6. Recommendation: The MoECC, NFA and donors should encourage and support the further development of the Protected Areas Association and should work with the Association to harmonize priorities and practices. Future projects and initiatives should be encouraged to channel some support to the Association in order to build its capacity and enable its continued growth and impact. This support could take the form of subcontracting some elements of projects and/or supporting direct applications by the Association for grants and projects. In particular, support should be sought for the translation and further promotion of the e-Learning platform developed by the project and hosted by the Association. In parallel, the Association should ensure the highest standards of professionalism, transparency and accountability in its work.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/10/20]

NFA will continue supporting and building the capacity of the Protected Areas Association on future projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The e-learning platform will be promoted on the NFA website and, if the needs are identified, NFA shall support a possible project that will support the costs for the translation of the eLearning platform in the 6 Carpathian languages.
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
NFA 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
NFA and MoECC will support the Protected Areas Association in its future activity, in organizing events or joint projects
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
NFA/MoECC 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
7. Recommendation: The uncertainties about the status, governance and management arrangements for protected areas need to be resolved as soon as possible. In the short to medium term, the NFA should be encouraged to continue its management of the Carpathian protected areas, with the incentive of guaranteed state support for core management costs (making use of one of the mechanisms proposed by the project). A detailed feasibility study should be made for a more permanent long-term solution that could include establishment of some protected areas as self-funding legal authorities and/or the establishment of agency for protected areas (an option that is again being considered by the MoECC).
Management Response: [Added: 2014/10/20]

The management arrangements for 16 protected areas to be resolved for the next 10 years, with the re-assignment procedure to be initiated by NFA.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The re-assignment procedure for 16 protected areas to be submitted by NFA to the MoECC for approval
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
NFA 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
A feasibility study for the establishment of some protected areas as self-funding legal authorities and/or the establishment of agency for protected areas to be initiated by MoECC
[Added: 2014/10/20]
MoECC No due date No deadline established
8. Recommendation: : The MoECC and/or the NFA should as a priority seek support for a new, complementary project designed to develop and test a more bottom-up approach to protected area support, aimed at building synergies for local development between protected areas and their surrounding communities. This should focus on one or two protected areas where there is real potential for locally driven development and PA support, possibly linking a protected area managed by the NFA and one managed by a Local Authority
Management Response: [Added: 2014/10/20]

NFA will continue to encourage the PAs to develop partnerships and foster local development

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support in the identification of opportunities and projects for partnering PAs and local authorities
[Added: 2014/10/20]
NFA No due date No deadline established
9. Recommendation: Support should be sought for further developing the Financial Management System and making it accessible to protected areas not just in the Carpathian region, but also globally. Although the system has been customised to some extent for use by the NFA, it is also sufficiently generic that it could (with minor modifications) be made available as an open source resource, promoted through UNDP?s network. The system has considerable potential for integration with modern management planning methodologies to produce a practical and usable ?seamless? system for thinking management, conservation goals, budgeting monitoring and financing.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/10/20]

FMS will continue to be an open resource for all protected areas (at a regional and global level)

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
FMS to be promoted through the UNDP network, particularly with UNDP Croatia and UNDP Serbia, where similar projects are implemented
[Added: 2014/10/20] [Last Updated: 2015/01/23]
UNDP/NFA 2015/06 Overdue-Initiated
NFA to support the further development and promotion of the FMS as an open source resource to be owned by the MOECC for integration with modern management planning methodologies for future projects and therefore to be made available at a national level
[Added: 2014/10/20]
NFA No due date No deadline established

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