Mid Term Evaluation: Implementing the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetics Resources and Benefit Sharing in Bhutan

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Evaluation Plan:
2014-2018, Bhutan
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
03/2017
Completion Date:
03/2017
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
7,000

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Title Mid Term Evaluation: Implementing the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetics Resources and Benefit Sharing in Bhutan
Atlas Project Number: 00080806
Evaluation Plan: 2014-2018, Bhutan
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 03/2017
Planned End Date: 03/2017
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty and MDG
  • 2. Environment & Sustainable Development
  • 3. 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
SDG Target
  • 1.1 By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day
  • 1.4 By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
  • 15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
Evaluation Budget(US $): 7,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 7,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Mani Ram Moktan Consultant manirammoktan@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Mid Term Evaluation: Implementing the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetics Resources and Benefit Sharing in Bhutan
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 00080806
PIMS Number: 5239
Key Stakeholders: National Biodiversity Center, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests
Countries: BHUTAN
Comments:

Mid Term Evaluation Completed in Q1

Lessons
1.

- The successful formulation of ABS policy and regulatory framework, institutional and personnel capacity strengthening and better networking and linkages between Government agencies, national and international companies and ABS communities were good lessons distilled from the project implementation.

- NBC and its implementing partners experienced ABS as a new concept and mechanism to access, utilize and share benefits from research and commercialization of Bhutan’s rich biodiversity, which otherwise remain underutilized.

- The project capacitated MSP in the systematization of medicinal and aromatic plants collection by areas, altitude, climate and use and development of 5 prototypes. MSP plans to upscale the valuable lessons learned to high altitude medicinal plants e.g. Cordyceps. However, the project period of 4 years is short given the long-term nature of benefit realization from resource harvest to development of prototypes and commercialization.

- Bio-Bhutan affirms ABS as a business model converging commercialization, conservation and social interests, leveraging its mandate of corporate social responsibility. Bio-Bhutan’s institutional and personnel capacity has strengthened from virtually none to a moderate level resulting in the successful distillation of Rhododendron oil. The duration of bio-prospecting training was short and suggests longer duration particularly for product development.

- The Dzedokha Phachaing Detshen leaned ABS as a pro-poor mechanism to accrue benefits to poor households, who can’t afford to buy seeds & seedlings and planting tools to cultivate Zingiber plant. Capacity building through training and study tours has transformed their attitudes and perception towards ABS.

- The Namther Throgmen Tshogpa learned that ABS implementation generated employment and income opportunities not only to men and women but also to children. Monetary benefits leveraged children’s education and basic necessities for the poor households of the community.

- The DzomDagam Ngomen Tshogpa acknowledges that ABS implementation has increased their knowledge and skills on sustainable harvest and distillation of oil from the Rhododendron leaves.


Findings
1.

The Mid-Term Review (MTR) highlights the following important points in the report:

The project is on-track to achieve its objective by the end-of-the-project term with an Interim ABS Policy 2015, Biodiversity Bill of Bhutan 2016 and Biodiversity Regulations in place in compliance with the NBSAP 2014 and Nagoya Protocol. The National and Local Governments institutional and personnel capacities were strengthened from low to moderate level in the Government agencies (NBC, MSP) and virtually none to moderate level in the private enterprise (Bio-Bhutan).

The Outcome 1 has made a significant progress with the approval of an interim ABS Policy 2015. The Biodiversity Bill of Bhutan 2016 and Biodiversity Regulations are in place for approval. The MoAF has been designated as the National Competent Authority and NBC as the National Focal Point. The entry/exit points for genetic resources transaction and regulations in collaboration with BAFRA (phytosanitary) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (patents), and internationally recognized certification of origin system are underway for implementation.

The Outcome 2 has progressed satisfactorily as indicated by the ABS Institutional Capacity Scorecard and Biodiversity TT score of 71% and 64% from 33% and 34%, respectively at the baseline (2014). Awareness and capacity building measures implemented were: ABS sensitization to a wide range of stakeholders (parliamentarians, local governments, researchers, academia, businessmen and ABS pilot communities), perception studies, TK documentation, institutional visits, study tours and seminars, workshops and multi-media communication (posters, brochures, booklet); procurement and installation of bio-prospecting appliances; hands-on training on bio-prospecting technique to men and women extracting 423 crude extracts in collaboration with NGS, Japan and Chanel PB France, Agilent Technologies, Singapore and Prudent Medi-Tech International, Nepal and, Mae Fah Luang University in Thailand improving knowledge and skills for ABS implementation.

Under Outcome 3, ABS processes and best practice demonstration with community protocols/ABS agreements in accordance with the principles of PIC, MAT with ILCs progressed at various levels of implementation. At Dzedokha in Lokchina Gewog under Chukka Dzongkhag, cultivation and management of Zingiber cussumnar is practiced through the institutionalization of Dzedokha Phachaing Detshen and prototypes (massage oil and balm) developed in collaboration with a Philippines-based company. Z. cussumnar is a high-value medicinal plant traditionally used for curing joints and muscle pains and cold and cough treatment in children.

At Namther in Langthel Gewog under Trongsa Dzongkhag, MSP in collaboration with the Namther Throgmen Tshogpa operationalizes a management plan for medicinal plants collection, harvest and benefit-sharing capitalizing on the long tradition of partnership between MSP and the communities resulting in the development of 5 prototypes.

At Dagala under Thimphu Dzongkhag, Bio-Bhutan has progressed with Rhododendron anthopogon inventory in Soe, Naro/Lingshi and Dagala with the identification of Dagala as a pilot site, installation of distillation unit, hands-on training on sustainable collection and harvest and, distillation technique resulting in the successful distillation of aroma oil and high-end soap development in collaboration with the DzomDagam Ngomen Tshogpa.

The overall budget utilization accounts for 64% (US$ 2,559,898.22 against the total of US$ 4,003,668 budgeted in the project document). As on December 2016, the cumulative GEF expenditures amount to US$ 563,172.34 accounting for 56% disbursement against the budget allocation of US$ 1,000, 000. As of September 2016, the project co-finance utilization accounts for 66% (US$ 1,996,725.88 against a total budget of US$ 3,003,668) which indicates cost-effective utilization leveraging the project outcomes.


Recommendations
1

Limited staff at the Bio-prospecting program of the National Biodiversity Centre (NBC)

The Report noted that outcome 2 assumption on “more staff will be added to the bio-prospecting program as projected in the 11th FYP and there will be little or no turnover of the staff” has met with little success due to the HRD ceiling in line with the RGoB policy of compact and efficient civil service system.

2

Gender disaggregated indicators missing under the relevant project outcomes.

Although gender considerations were sufficiently raised during the project preparation, the RF/LF did not reflect the gender-disaggregated indicators under the relevant project outcomes. In view of the nature of the project activities that proportionately benefits more women, the gender-disaggregated indicator needs monitoring and reporting in the PIR. The M&E should also monitor the project benefits and the impact by gender.

3

Project Implementation Report (PIR) needs improvement

The PIR report needs improvement in terms of quality and comprehensiveness e.g. social and environmental risks. MTR strongly recommends that project M&E should be strengthened to document the lessons learned and best practice on the ABS actualization (commercialization and benefit-sharing) experiences in Bhutan towards the end-of-the-project. To complement PMU’s monitoring capacity, the 2 project assistants should be trained in data collection, analysis and reporting.

4

Expedite the approval of the Biodiversity Bill of Bhutan 2016.

The Biodiversity Bill of Bhutan 2016 needs to be expedited for its approval by the National Government for the legitimization of a legally binding ABS agreement between the parties.

5

NBC and MSP should strengthen bio-prospecting research capacity with an additional qualified and trained staff to sustain the project benefits.

6

NBC and MSP should populate its websites with project news, views, progress reports and success stories.

1. Recommendation:

Limited staff at the Bio-prospecting program of the National Biodiversity Centre (NBC)

The Report noted that outcome 2 assumption on “more staff will be added to the bio-prospecting program as projected in the 11th FYP and there will be little or no turnover of the staff” has met with little success due to the HRD ceiling in line with the RGoB policy of compact and efficient civil service system.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/14]

This recommendation is related to a limited staff at the Bioprospecting Unit of the NBC.  While this has not been a serious issue, which would have adversely affected the delivery of the project milestones, the NBC has already taken an action as given below in the action point.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
In order to address the staff shortage at the Bio-prospecting Unit, the NBC has recruited 3 project staff through the Chanel co-financing and another two additional staff from the NPIF project. With the recruitment of 5 project staff, the limited staff issue has been addressed, facilitating a smooth implementation of the project activities
[Added: 2018/10/14]
UND and PT 2014/03 Completed The NBC has recruited 3 project staff through the Chanel co-financing and another two additional staff from the NPIF project to effectively manage the implementation of the project
2. Recommendation:

Gender disaggregated indicators missing under the relevant project outcomes.

Although gender considerations were sufficiently raised during the project preparation, the RF/LF did not reflect the gender-disaggregated indicators under the relevant project outcomes. In view of the nature of the project activities that proportionately benefits more women, the gender-disaggregated indicator needs monitoring and reporting in the PIR. The M&E should also monitor the project benefits and the impact by gender.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/14] [Last Updated: 2018/10/14]

Although RF/LF has not reflected the gender-disaggregated indicators under the relevant project outcomes, rural women in the three targeted communities have been economically empowered.  The project has formed three farmers' groups in three districts comprising more than 80% women.  Women are on the executive committee and take decisions on the governance of the group

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 As recommended by the MTR, the 2017 PIR will have gender disaggregated information, to substantiate the impact of the project on gender, especially women in the targeted communities. 2.2 UNDP in collaboration with NBC, Menjong Sorig Pharmaceutical and Bio Bhutan will conduct a gender-differentiated study on community behaviour and attitude towards ABS
[Added: 2018/10/14]
UNDP and NBC 2017/10 Completed A study on gender-differentiated community behaviour and attitude towards ABS in 2017, which revealed the project has made serious efforts to raise awareness on gender equality among the participating communities mainly in the pilot project communities. As a result more women joined the 3 groups with some women becoming leaders and executive committee members, taking decisions on the governance of the groups. The women’s participation in the decision making of the groups have positive impact on the improvement of livelihoods of communities as they bear more responsibility for the family welfare and are also more knowledgeable about the needs of households in the community compared to men.
3. Recommendation:

Project Implementation Report (PIR) needs improvement

The PIR report needs improvement in terms of quality and comprehensiveness e.g. social and environmental risks. MTR strongly recommends that project M&E should be strengthened to document the lessons learned and best practice on the ABS actualization (commercialization and benefit-sharing) experiences in Bhutan towards the end-of-the-project. To complement PMU’s monitoring capacity, the 2 project assistants should be trained in data collection, analysis and reporting.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/14]

The CO will ensure a better quality of 2017 PIR by reflecting social and environmental risks. As recommended by the MTR, the UNDP will provide technical support to project in conducting a stock-taking and analysis of best practices and lessons from Bhutan's ABS Experience towards the end-of-the-project in quarter of 2018. The project has already developed photo essays to communicate project results and have been published in the UNDP Biodiversity and GEF website. Success stories of the project have also been published in a local newspaper – Business Bhutan.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 The CO will ensure a better quality of 2017 PIR by elaborating social and environmental risks. 3.2 The CO will provide technical support to project in conducting a stock-taking and analysis of best practices and lessons from Bhutan's ABS Experience
[Added: 2018/10/14]
UNDP and NBC 2017/10 Completed The CO had submitted a better quality 2017 PIR by elaborating social and environmental risks, which has been rated as “satisfactory” by the RTA
4. Recommendation:

Expedite the approval of the Biodiversity Bill of Bhutan 2016.

The Biodiversity Bill of Bhutan 2016 needs to be expedited for its approval by the National Government for the legitimization of a legally binding ABS agreement between the parties.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/14]

As noted by the MTR, there is a need to expedite the approval process of the Biodiversity Bill of Bhutan 2016 and, therefore, NBC had completed the process of Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) and submitted the Bill to the Cabinet Secretariat for submission to the Office of Attorney General (OAG) for their review. Upon completion of the review by the OAG, the comments were incorporated within the bill and it was submitted to the Cabinet Secretariat for clearance from the Cabinet for tabling in the summer session of the Parliament. Unfortunately, the bill had missed the dateline for the submission. Therefore, (Dr. Tashi Yangzome, Programme Director and Chencho Dorji, Project Manager) and UNDP Bhutan (Chimi Rinzin, Portfolio Manager and Jigme Dorji, Programme Analyst) had a meeting with the Minister of MOAF on 26 April 2017 to brief him on the importance submitting the Bill in the 2017 summer session of the Parliament and sought direction from the Minister on possibility of introducing the bill in the Parliament as an urgent bill. While the Minister understands the urgency of the Bill to be approved by the Parliament and expressed his support, it was informed that the possibility of introducing the Bill as an urgent bill was low, since there are other important agenda to be discussed in the National Assembly.  However, the Minister agreed on the importance and assured that the Bill will be submitted and introduced in the winter session of the Parliament.  The Minister also assured to support the on-going works on the regulatory framework, and directed that the Interim ABS policy 2015 be submitted to the Cabinet for approval as the National ABS Policy of Bhutan.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 The UNDP CO will facilitate the submission of the Biodiversity Bill of Bhutan 2016 for 2017 winter session of the Parliament 4.2 The UNDP CO will facilitate the NBC, MoAF to ensure formalization of interim ABS policy through Cabinet approval
[Added: 2018/10/14]
NBC 2017/10 Completed Although the revised Biodiversity Bill of Bhutan 2016 could not be discussed in the Parliament in 2017 because of other priority bills that required approval, the Government approved ABS policy to facilitate smooth implementation of ABS framework in Bhutan.
5. Recommendation:

NBC and MSP should strengthen bio-prospecting research capacity with an additional qualified and trained staff to sustain the project benefits.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/14]

Although, it is understood that NBC and MSP should strengthen bio-prospecting research capacity with additional qualified and trained staff to sustain the project benefits, this may not happen immediately because of the Government HR policy, “to maintain a small, compact and an efficient Civil Service”. However, the project will continue to leverage strengthening bio-prospecting research capacity of the existing staff of NBC, MSP and Bio Bhutan

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
No immediate action in terms of recruiting additional staff can be taken, but the project will continue to leverage strengthening bio-prospecting research capacity of the existing staffs of NBC, MSP and Bio Bhutan
[Added: 2018/10/14] [Last Updated: 2018/11/13]
UNDP, MSP, NBC and Bio Bhutan 2018/12 Completed We could not take any immediate action in terms of recruiting additional staff for the NBC because of the Government recruitment policy, the project continues to leverage strengthening bio-prospecting research capacity of the existing staffs of NBC, MSP and Bio Bhutan through various capacity workshops and seminars. History
6. Recommendation:

NBC and MSP should populate its websites with project news, views, progress reports and success stories.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/14]

The PMU had been using the existing NBC website to populate project news and success stories within its regular activities. However, with a view to have a dedicated side within the NBC website for the project to upload its project reports, UNDP and NBC had a meeting on 9 May and it was agreed that UNDP IT official, Ugyen will work with NBC IT officer to improve the NBC’s website so that we can have a dedicated side to upload all the project news, progress reports, photo essays and success stories.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP IT official, Ugyen will work with NBC IT officer to improve the NBC’s website
[Added: 2018/10/14]
UNDP and NBC 2017/06 Completed UNDP IT discussed with NBC IT officer to improve the NBC’s website and tried to improve the system within their capacity, but this needs further improvements.

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