Terminal Evaluation: Implementing the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing in Bhutan

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Evaluation Plan:
2014-2018, Bhutan
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
02/2019
Completion Date:
04/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
25,000

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Title Terminal Evaluation: Implementing the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing in Bhutan
Atlas Project Number: 00075692
Evaluation Plan: 2014-2018, Bhutan
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2019
Planned End Date: 02/2019
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.1 Capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other international agreements in development plans and budgets, and to analyse progress towards the SDGs, using innovative and data-driven solutions
  • 2. Output 1.1.2 Marginalised groups, particularly the poor, women, people with disabilities and displaced are empowered to gain universal access to basic services and financial and non-financial assets to build productive capacities and benefit from sustainable livelihoods and jobs
  • 3. Output 1.2.1 Capacities at national and sub-national levels strengthened to promote inclusive local economic development and deliver basic services including HIV and related services
  • 4. Output 2.1.2 Capacities developed for progressive expansion of inclusive social protection systems
Evaluation Budget(US $): 25,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 7,877
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Nidup Pejor Consultant
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Implementing the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing in Bhutan
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5448
PIMS Number: 5239
Key Stakeholders: National Biodiversity Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests
Countries: BHUTAN
Comments:

Planned End date has been moved to end of February 2019 as the final report completion and management response is likely to take longer than expected.

Lessons
Findings
1.

3. Findings

3.1 Project Design/Formulation

The PIF and the project document (ProDoc) are used as main references for the Terminal Evaluation to assess the project design. Both the PIF and the ProDoc are of good quality and were well-designed, with carefully thought-out strategy to specifically address the priorities identified to be addressed in enabling the people and government of Bhutan to access genetic resources based on sound science, including that emanating from traditional knowledge, and to accrue tangible national and local economic benefits from their commercial utilization in a fair, equitable and sustainable manner.

The ProDoc clearly defined the project objectives, outcomes, outputs, activities and milestones, with key stakeholders responsible for the project activities properly identified. The financial inputs were appropriately budgeted. The overall project design is considered relevant and contain sound strategies for putting in place policy, legislative and regulatory framework to enable implementation of ABS in the context of Bhutan and in line with the Nagoya Protocol. The project design has proven effective in capacitating the human resources, laboratories and partnership arrangements of relevance in dealing with ABS. The documentation, development of awareness materials and dissemination of information have been well targeted to enable achievement of the project outputs as well as to sustain the project efforts post project period through wide and active participation of stakeholders including the local communities who actually own the TK or have customary or legal rights over the genetic resources. The project activities were made achievable through active participation of the relevant stakeholders from within the central government, local government, bureaucracy, private sector and local communities. The project budget and co-financing commitments were appropriate for the level of interventions and the intended outputs were achievable for the planned four-year duration of implementation.


Tag: Biodiversity Effectiveness Relevance Local Governance Partnership Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Theory of Change

2.

3.1 Project Design/Formulation (continuation)

3.1.2 Risks and Assumptions  Risks outlined in the LogFrame for each outcome were clearly identified and assessed as follows.Figure 1: Project’s Risks Map.

The outlined risk mitigation measures were all implemented and none of the risks that were outlined have triggered any cause of concern. However, the project design did not identify possible delay in the enactment of the Biodiversity Act of Bhutan, 2003 as a risk factor. The views that enactment of the revised Biodiversity Bill should have been included as an indicator by itself with identified risks. While the delay in enactment of the act has not caused serious constraint to delivery of the project outputs, it has implications on implementation of the Biodiversity Rules and Regulation. Therefore, the post project termination phase should focus getting the Biodiversity Bill enacted at the earliest. The following assumptions are included in the project LogFrame;

- The Royal Government of Bhutan is fully committed to the conservation and sustainable use of the country’s biological resources and the introduction of a national framework for ABS. The ABS policy is approved and under implementation. The Biodiversity bill is ready for enactment and the Rules and Regulations are finalized to be implemented upon enactment of the bill. An ABS toolkit has been approved and published. These speak for the commitment of RGOB and the assumption addressed.

- MoAF and Royal Civil Service Commission are supportive of the staffing structure required for establishing and operationalizing the institutional mechanisms required for ABS implementation.

- More staff will be added to the bio-prospecting program as projected in the 11-FiveYear Plan, and there will be little or no turnover of trained staff. The approved strength of the Bio-exploration and Research Division of NBC for the 11th FiveYear Plan as per records of Human Resources Division of MoAF stands at four officials comprising of three Biodiversity Officers and one Biodiversity Supervisor. These positions have all been filled and there has not been any staff turnover during the project implementation period. This has been supplemented by three project employed staff on contract through the Chanel cofinancing and the NPIF project. With the recruitment of project staff, the limited staff issue has been addressed, facilitating a smooth implementation of the project activities. The RCSC has committed to deploying one assistant staff in the 12 Fiver Year Plan. 

- Key stakeholders related to component 3 are willing to participate in this project and there is consensus to go ahead with the ABS agreements The communities of Dzedokha in Loggchina Gewog, Dagala Gewog and Namther of Langthel Gewog have all, upon series of awareness programs, trainings and negotiations have provided PIC and signed ABS agreements. The NBC, Bio-Bhutan and MSPCL and have signed the ABS agreements with the respective communities. The assumptions for each outcome were clearly identified and found to be logical and practical.

3.1.2 Lessons from other relevant projects incorporated into project design The project document does not include a specific chapter to highlight the lessons from other projects that have been incorporated into project design. However, the section pertaining to legal and policy context points out that the experience since enactment of the Biodiversity Act of Bhutan, 2003 in 2003 the adoption of Nagoya Protocol in October 2010 have given rise to the need for a comprehensive national policy on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS) due to which the project design has included the development of national ABS policy. The ProDoc also indicates that the inclusion of the need to revise the Biodiversity Act of Bhutan, 2003, 2003 and formulation of new Biodiversity Rules and Regulations are included in the project design in order to align with the ABS policy and Nagoya Protocol. The section also indicates that the need to develop comprehensive policy, legal and institutional frameworks for research and sustainable commercial utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge are included in the project design based on the lessons learnt in the process of aligning the Biodiversity Act of Bhutan, 2003ion Plans and with the Aichi targets though the NBSAP, 2014. The ProDoc also spells out that lessons learnt since the start of bio-prospecting program in 2009 included the need to strengthen technical and legal expertise, laboratory capacities, strengthening of institutional set up and the need to incorporate PIC process and MAT in the management of traditional knowledge to ensure that the holders of TK will be able to derive tangible and fair benefits from ABS deals. The needs identified through these lessons from the past have been incorporated in the project design. Although, the ProDoc does not make specific mention, the project has drawn lessons from the experiences of community forest and NWFP management groups from the Social Forestry and Extension Division for the engagement of communities in the pilot ABS agreements through farmer group formation.


Tag: Biodiversity Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Partnership Policies & Procedures Results-Based Management Risk Management Country Government Private Sector

3.

3.1 Project Design/Formulation (continuation)

3.1.4 Replication approach The ProDoc states that the ABS agreements piloted in the project and trial products that are produced will be scaled up under the national program. The Terminal Evaluation has reviewed the 12 FYP of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests including that of the NBC. The review has assessed that ABS initiatives are included in the 12 FYP, and the MoAF has allocated a budget of US$ 314,285 for continuation of facilitating ABS agreements and bioprospecting. The ProDoc also mentions that the outcomes of the project will be made available for replication through the dissemination of project results, lessons learned and experiences including demonstration of best practices in the development of ABS agreements and PIC processes by making project information available through NBC’s website as well as RGoB’s participation in international fora including CBD events. The sharing of benefits with ILCs through ABS agreements is likely to incentivize involvement in ABS processes by other communities and enhance the uptake of ABS-based community-level conservation projects in Bhutan. 

3.1.5 UNDP comparative advantage In general UNDP comparative advantage lies in its holistic, cross-sector approach to human development. The UN continues bear a broad coverage of technical expertise access to global knowledge networks. Having worked with the Royal Government and the people of Bhutan since 1973, the UNDP has good understanding of the Bhutan context is well aware of the national priorities. The UNDP areas of focus cover a wide range of programs covering economic integration and Innovation, Inclusive Governance, Climate Change Mitigation and Energy, Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction and support to SDG implementation based on country-level experience, lessons learned, consultations with partners, and established inter-governmental agreements. UNDP CO has the adequate administrative capacity for implementation of this ABS Project. The UNDP Country Office (CO) has assigned an experienced biodiversity conservation programme manager within the Environment and Livelihood Portfolio, guided by the head of the Portfolio and supported UNDP Regional Technical Adviser based in Bangkok Regional Hub. 

3.1.6 Linkages between project and other interventions within the sector The project strategy and design incorporated synergies from other GEF initiatives in the country. The IBRD/GEF-financed project on Sustainable Financing for Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resource Management has three components: i) Enhanced Operational Effectiveness and Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC); ii) Improved Conservation Management of the High Altitude northern area landscapes (protected areas and associated alpine meadows, forest and agricultural ecosystems) and; iii) Mainstream Conservation and Sustainable Forest and Natural Resources Management Approaches in policy, strategy and plans. The ABS project outcome 1 & 2 complements the component 2 of the IBRD/GEF Project by improving the ABS communities’ capacity building in sustainable harvest, processing and distillation of rhododendron oil from the high alpine forests of Dagala. BTFEC is also a member of the ABS Project Steering Committee, which provides a platform for sharing the lessons learned from the IBRD/GEF project. The UNEP/GEF supported to GEF Eligible Parties (LDCs and SIDs) for the revision of NBSAPs and the Development of the 5th National Report to CBD Phase I aimed at revising the NBSAP and developing the Fifth National Report to CBD. NBC/MoAF as the national implementing agency for these projects, CBD obligations and ABS implementation in compliance with Nagoya Protocol are fully incorporated in the NBSAP 2014 and progress reported to CBD on a regular basis. The UNEP/GEF BS: Implementation of National Biosafety Framework (NBF) of Bhutan aims to make the biosafety framework operational for the benefit of the people of Bhutan and environment consistent with the provision of the Cartagena Protocol and the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan. NBC as a national ABS implementing agency and a member of the Technical Working Group for NBF implementation ensure coordination on biosafety requirements. The entry/exit point establishment under ABS project outcome 1 in collaboration with BAFRA (phytosanitary/Compliance) and Ministry of Economic Affairs (patents) was incorporated in the project design. GEF Small Grants Programme on Promotion of Economic Opportunities for Women through Community-Based Medicinal Herb Cultivation, Local Stewardship of Alpine Ecosystems through Incentive-Based Bio-Cultural Diversity Conservation in Dagala has synergies with ABS project. Further, the representation of GNHC, MoAF and UNDP CO on both the SGP Steering Committee and ABS Project Steering Committee ensures coordination between these projects. ABS being a new concept in Bhutan, the project endeavours to learn from the experiences of other developing countries in the Asia Pacific region. The Project Steering Committee and Technical Advisory Committee members visited Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia to learn from ABS, bio-prospecting and product development experiences and promoting regional networking including sharing of Bhutan’s ABS experiences. 


Tag: Sustainability Implementation Modality Knowledge management Oversight Programme Synergy Project and Programme management Strategic Positioning

4.

3.2 Project Implementation

The project document details out the project outcomes and outputs in the Project Logical Framework describing Indicators of Achievement, Means/Source of Verification and Assumptions/Risks, which provide a useful mean for the evaluators to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of project implementation.

3.2.1 Adaptive management

The project has deployed a number of adaptive management measures, most significant measures are:

- Due to the low level of understanding of ABS among the stakeholders, the project conducted number of awareness and sensitization programs at different levels (ministry, district and community) to orient them ABS framework. As result of these initiatives, stakeholders including the community beneficiaries now understand and appreciate the ABS regime. However, the awareness programs need to be continued in partnership with relevant actors to reach the remaining communities/Gewogs to ensure the sustainable usage of the natural resources. The project covered all 2015 gewogs in the country and awareness on ABS were done also through seminars in Academic institutions such as College of Natural Resources, Gaeddu College of Business Studies, Royal Thimphu College, Paro College of Education and Royal Institute of Tourism and Hospitality.

-There was a difficulty in communicating with TK holders in local dialect. Therefore, the project used the services of local translators, elders/influential person and unemployed youth in the locality to communicate with TK holders where felt necessary (PIR, 2016).

- Due to the higher level of community interest and availability of Rhododendron anthopogon in Dagala as compared to low density and infeasible coverage of resources in Lingshi/Naro, the pilot site for ABS agreement with the Bio-Bhutan was changed from Lingshi/Naro to Dagala with the endorsement of the steering committee (PIR, 2016).

- UNDP Bhutan initiated the procurement of R & D equipment for MSPCL to develop the new products in in April 2015. However, it took almost a year to deliver the equipment due to changes in actual requirements, specifications and quantities were affected by budget restrictions and end-user requirements. These requirements had to be revised multiple times (PIR, 2016) and the project procured technical assistance from Nepal.

- The project logframe sets the milestone for ABS Policy to be approved within the first year of the project. However, due need for reality/ground testing of the policy before actual endorsement, the draft ABS policy was approved as an interim Policy in 2015 till the formal approval from the cabinet in June 2017 after reality testing of the policy


Tag: Biodiversity Effectiveness Local Governance Communication Knowledge management Oversight Partnership Project and Programme management Country Government Private Sector Technology Advocacy

5.

3.2 Project Implementation (continuation)

3.2.3 Feedback from M&E activities used for adaptive management

The implementation of activities under the Project were timely monitored by PMU and UNDP CO through inception reports, periodic/quarterly standard progress report, Annual Performance Reports, Project Publications, back to office reports and field visit report. Project activities and its annual targets were part of the Annual Performance Agreement of the NBC that are signed with the Prime Minister’s Office and the progress were being monitored on quarterly basis as per the established government performance system. These reports were submitted periodically, and monitoring and evaluation activities were conducted in accordance with UNDP and GEF protocols and were included in the work plans and budgets accordingly. For the purpose of assessing feedback and M&E activities, the project PIR and MTR were considered as the main references.

The project undertook a voluntary mid-term review in 2017. The MTR of the project identified; - Limited staff with the bio-prospecting program as an issue - Lack of gender disaggregated indicators under relevant project outcomes - The need to improve project PIRs as social and environmental risk was not covered in the PIRs - The need to expedite approval of the Biodiversity Bill, 2016 - The need for MSPCL and NBC to populate their websites with project news, views, progress reports and success stories

On the issue of limited staff, the ProDoc has provisioned for one additional staff for development management on a contract basis for the full duration of the project through project resources. To enable adequate staff at the technical level, the project management has converted this provision to two staff at the technical level and also recruited three contract staff through co-financing of Chanel. On gender disaggregated data, the project has presented gender data for its awareness programs and trainings in PIRs for 2017 and 2018 On the need to improve project PIRs, the project has included a section on social and environmental risk/safeguards in its PIR for 2018. On the need to expedite approval of the Biodiversity Bill, 2016 the project has carried out a Regulatory Impact Assessment of the bill which was submitted to the cabinet. The project also facilitated seeking comments from the Office of Attorney General and their comments were incorporated in the bill enabling the bill to be fully prepared in terms of protocols for submission to the Parliament.

On the need for MSPCL and NBC to populate their websites with project news, views, through ABS agreement with Lokchin Community is posted on the website. However, the website does not have an archive to assess other information on ABS that may have been posted. The project was extended until December 2018, as suggested by the PMU. No major recommendations were made in the PIRs. 

3.2.4 Project Finance

At mid-December 2018, the disbursement of the GEF resources stood at USD 999,911 which is approximately 100 % of the total GEF resources. The good rate of disbursement reflects a smooth progress in project implementation. A summary of the project financing is presented in table 4 below. Table 4: Annual project disbursements and the budgeted amount in the project document for the GEF/NPIF finance.

At the time of TE, the final Audit report was not available for cross-reference of the financial and expenditure records. However, there were no audit memos issued to the management indicating that all project expenses were made in proper order and in line with either the approved work plan and budget approvals of the PSC. For project co-financing, the initially budgeted amounts versus the actually realized cofinancing, as reported by the project management, are presented in Table 5: Co-financing realized by outcomes.Source; UNDP CO on grants from UNDP and PMU on other sources Table 6: Project co-financing realized at the time of the final evaluation versus the budgeted amount in the project document.

Financial planning and management were consistent with UNDP/GEF procedures. Allocation and schedule of disbursement were well defined from inception workshop to terminal evaluation. Funds were allocated to various partners for the execution of specific intervention/activities. An adequate and detailed financial reporting (according to UNDP/GEF) was presented. There was no re-allocation of funds requested and implemented by partners. There was adequate flow of funds. Funding did not seem to have affected operation and overall project performance. All budgeting and co-financing targets were met. The project has been successful in completing all planned project activities and achieving the expected project results within the allocated budget. The evaluators consider that the financial resources were used prudently and followed strictly the financial rules and regulations of both the IA (UNDP) and the RGOB. 


Tag: Efficiency Human and Financial resources Implementation Modality Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Partnership Results-Based Management

6.

3.3 Project Results

3.3.1 Overall results

The project results achieved as of October 2018 during the end of the project as compared with the targets of the Project Results Framework are summarized below.

Project Objective; The project’s objective was to develop and implement a national ABS framework, build national capacities and facilitate the discovery of nature based products. The target for this objective was to have a National ABS Policy approved, and regulatory and institutional frameworks developed and operationalized. 

End of Project Target 1: National ABS Policy approved, and regulatory and institutional frameworks developed and operational. Based on the approved national ABS policy which has been put in place by the project, a functional system for equitable access and benefit sharing as well as for sustainable utilization of biological resources and for use of TK is operational and is in compliance with the Nagoya Protocol. While the Biodiversity Bill is yet to be passed by the Parliament, Rules and Regulations have been framed and can be implemented as soon as the bill is passed. The level of awareness, technical capacity for governance and management of ABS as well as the institutional and organizational arrangements have been put in place. The level of institutional and personnel capacity for implementation of the national ABS framework as indicated by an increase in the GEF ABS Tracking Tool has increased from 33.33% at the start of the project to 98% at the end of the project from 33.3% at the start of the project (see Annex 7 for the national ABS capacity institutional score card). Level of institutional and personnel capacity for implementation of the national ABS framework as indicated by an increase in the GEF ABS Tracking Tool score has increased to 98% at the end of the project from 33.3% at the start of the project. The outcomes of the project that contribute to realization of the objective have been achieved. The framework for ABS developed through the project can be applied to all biological resources and TK to enable sustainable harvesting as well as for use of TK for commercial purposes.

Outcome 1: An operational national regulatory and institutional framework on ABS.

Output 1.1: National ABS Policy approved and disseminated. The draft ABS policy was in place as a baseline at the start of the project. After several rounds of stakeholder consultations and expert review it was presented to Environmental Committee of the National Assembly, National Council & GNHC to seek their feedback and guidance before it was approved by the Government. In order to maintain the project momentum on ABS regulations, the draft ABS policy was initially approved as an Interim Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Policy of Bhutan in August 2015.The Interim Policy was later formally endorsed by the Prime Minister as the National Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Policy of Bhutan in June 2017. The approved National ABS policy was published both in Dzongkha and English. Over 2000 copies of the Policy document were distributed to central and local government agencies, research and academic institutes, private sector companies, members of the legislative bodies and other stakeholders. Electronic copy of the policy was posted on the websites of the GNHC, NBC and the MoAF. The delivery of this outputs is considered satisfactory.


Tag: Biodiversity Parliament Knowledge management Policies & Procedures Results-Based Management Country Government Capacity Building

7.

3.3.1 Overall results (continuation)

Outcome 2: Increased national capacities and awareness for the implementation of the national ABS framework.

Output 2.1: Upgraded facility and staff skills for bio-prospecting laboratory work and TK documentation. The baseline condition of the laboratory facility at NBC comprise of its capacity being limited to crude extraction. The laboratory did not have any capacity for fractionation of compounds for development of trial products and bio-prospecting. The plant extract library has the capacity for preservation of only 250 crude extracts. The project upgraded the national bioprospecting laboratory at NBC by procuring and installing the following equipment; - High Performance Liquid Chromatography (1set) o Water Deionizer (1 set), - Soxhlet apparatus (2 sets) o Clevenger apparatus (2 sets) 

The project has supported 26 international trainings out of which 13 trainings were targeted for laboratory analysis, essential oil extraction, product development and plant extract library. A total of 69 individuals have been trained on these critical ABS management components comprised of 21 women and 48 men. A major proportion of international trainings (30%) were dedicated staff from the NBC which is strategic as NBC will be the entity that will bear the main responsibility for carrying forward the national ABS movement in the country. Almost of 35% of all international training participants were women. Out of 18 in-country trainings 8 trainings pertain to laboratory analysis, essential oil extraction, product development and plant extract library through which over 119 participants were trained comprising of 29 women and 80 men. Overall in-country trainings covered topics on sustainable harvesting and cultivation, development of by-laws and product development and has trained over 496 individuals, 44% of which comprised of women.

As a result, the national bioprospecting laboratory at NBC has the capacity to analyze crude plant extract to the level of fractionation and to carry out trial products development. By the end of the project, the laboratory has already developed more than 1250 crude extracts, overshooting the project target on crude extracts and 29 plants studied in detail to the level of fractionation with 29 active compounds being identified for further research and trial products development overshooting the project target of 25 compounds. The plant extract library has been strengthened with new freezers for storage of plant extract, label printers for digitalizing labels of plant extracts and other accessories for upgrading the system. By the end of the project the plant extract library has more than 1250 crude extracts developed and preserved in the NBC’s extract library. On account of delivery of all targets, the evaluation has assessed this output achievement as Highly Satisfactory. 

Output 2.2: Improved knowledge and skills among the staff of NBC and partner agencies for ABS regime management encompassing technical, legal, administrative and social aspects. The baseline condition for this output specifies that less than 20 staff have basic and partial knowledge and skills for ABS regime management. The PIR, 2018 reports that over 198 officials (89 female; 109 male) from NBC, Bio Bhutan, MSPCL and partner agencies attended awareness raising and capacity building events. NBC in collaboration with partner agencies developed ABS management toolkit for Bhutan, using their in-house capacity and lessons from the events. Institutional & personal capacity of NBC and MSPCL improved from basic level at the start of the project to a level whereby capacity now exists in-house for bio-prospecting and full ABS regime management. The private sector had virtually no capacity for ABS management at the start of the project. At project closure, the Bio-Bhutan, a private company is a party to ABS agreement with one of the local communities and has developed 3 commercially oriented products based on genetic resources. 

Out of 96 participants who participated in the various international trainings supported by the project, 56 participants were from partner agencies and relevant stakeholders who are engaged in the implementation of ABS mechanisms. The ABS institutional score card of at baseline of 33% has improved to 71% by MTR and at the closure of the project the ABS institutional score has improved to 98%. The deliverables of the outputs have been clearly achieved and the TE rates this output as Highly Satisfactory.

 


Tag: Biodiversity Communication Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Partnership Policies & Procedures Capacity Building Technology Advocacy

8.

3.3.1 Overall results (continuation)

Outcome 3: Best practice ABS processes are demonstrated recognizing the principles of biodiversity conservation, Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) including the fair and equitable sharing of benefits.

Output 3.1: Three pilot ABS agreements compliant with Nagoya Protocol developed and operationalized. With the national ABS policy in place and upon development of required capacity for implementation of ABS regime in terms of technical capacity for research and product development; organizational arrangements; establishment of protocols and having created to the project’s pilot sites (See Figure 2 for location of the pilot sites). 1. Bipartite ABS agreement between NBC and the Dzedokha Phacheng Detshen holding TK related to a local ginger species (Zingiber cassumunar). 2. Tripartite ABS agreement between two government entities and the local communityMSPCL/NBC and communities of Namther Throgmen Tshogpa, Trongsa & Tserim Yugel Sngomen Tshogpa, Lingshi. 3. Tripartite ABS agreement between Bio Bhutan and Dzomdagam Ngomen Tshogpa in Dagala, & NBC. Figure 2: Location of Project Pilot Sites

a. Bipartite ABS agreement between NBC and the Dzedokha Phacheng Detshen holding TK related to a local ginger species (Zingiber cassumunar). This pilot project, led by the NBC, is based on a traditional knowledge on local use of Zingiber cassumunar (locally known as Phachang) for easing joint pains by local healers as recorded by NBC’s TK documentation in 2012. At the start of the project NBC had carried out basic screening and extraction processes and the extract stored in their extract library. Herbarium specimen has also been preserved at NBC. The RNR Research and Development Centre at Wengkhar (Eastern Bhutan) has carried out preliminary cultivation trials with encouraging results. The practice of using the plant for healing purpose was declining as road access has enabled villagers to obtain commercial medicines, and the plant appeared to be disappearing from homesteads as a result (ProDoc). Chukha Dzonghag had a poverty rate of 11.2% in 2012 (11th Five Year Plan), just above the national average of 12%. Average annual household income in Loggchina Gewog was Nu. 67,438 in 2010, compared with the 2012 poverty line of Nu.20,448 per person per year. 

Dzedokha Phacheng Detshen is a farmer group with 48 members out of which 23 are women. The group belongs to Dzedokha Chiwog which has a total population of 208 comprising of 97 females and 111 males (PHCB, 2017). The main cash crops of the community comprise of cardamom and ginger while they main staple crops are maize, paddy and millet. With enhanced capacity of the national bio-prospecting laboratory and appropriate human capacity for product development and ABS regime management made conducive by the national ABS policy, the ABS agreement with the Dzedokha Phacheng Detshen has resulted in the development of 2 products - Zhinor massage balm & liniment oil. The trademark for the Zhinor has been successfully registered with DoIP, MoEA. As per the ABS agreement, the NBC avails access to their genetic resource and TK by way of PIC of the community, based on which the commercial products have been developed while the community avails economic benefits from the sale of Zingiber cassumunar cultivated by the farmer group members as well as a percentage of the earnings from the sale of the massage balm & liniment oil. Average annual household income in Dzedokha based on the interviews by the TE from amongst member of the community group has increased to Nu. 80,917 per household in 2017 as compared to the Gewog average Nu. 67,438 in 2010 (ProDoc). The TE assess that about 5% of the increased average income is accrued from the sale of raw Zingiber cassumunar to the NBC. The group members, during the field visit by the TE reported that only few households maintained one or two plants of Zingiber cassumunar near their homes in the past. As of 2018, every member household cultivated few decimals (1 decimal = 0.01 acres) of land and they estimate about the plant being cultivated in about 100 acres of member’s homesteads. The cultivation is expected to increase in the near future as it is easier to maintain as compared to ginger and cardamom and the price of Zingiber cassumunar has been higher and more stable than the other crops.


Tag: Biodiversity Knowledge management Partnership Policies & Procedures Country Government

9.

3.3.1 Overall results (continuation)

Outcome 3: Best practice ABS processes are demonstrated recognizing the principles of biodiversity conservation, Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) including the fair and equitable sharing of benefits. (continuation)

Output 3.2: Knowledge resources on ABS developed and disseminated At the start of the project there were no Bhutan-specific knowledge resources on ABS available and the baseline study 2015, indicated that 90.6% of the communities are not aware of ABS. The level of awareness on the existence, use and option values of the biological resources was very low among the population of ILCs participating in the pilot projects.

In terms of knowledge resources on ABS the project has completed the documentation of TK across the country. It has developed an ABS toolkit. Communication materials that the project developed include 3 success stories on the pilot schemes of the ABS project, 2 photo essays on the Pilot ABS Schemes and numerous poster and communication materials. The downside is that these materials are not available on the website of NBC except for the ABS policy, draft bill and ABS toolkit. Study on Access and Benefit Sharing Awareness and the Impact of ABS Project on Gender, 2017 showed a fair level of awareness among academia/researchers and good level of awareness among pilot communities & civil servants. The interaction and consultation by the TE with pilot project participants confirmed that the almost all respondents picked randomly reported that they are aware of ABS and the activities of the project activities (see table 7). Table 7: Number of community respondents by status of ABS Project Awareness.

Although a project has been successful in preparing knowledge products and in creating awareness, the difficulty in accessing such information can constrain further awareness. The project has also not produced any document on lessons learned from the project which can be applicable in upscaling and in design of similar projects in future. On this account the TE rates the delivery of this output as Moderately Satisfactory. 


Tag: Biodiversity Communication Knowledge management Advocacy

10.

3.3.2 Relevance

- The project implemented significant components of Bhutan’s NBSAP, the principal instruments for implementing the UNCBD. It implements National Target 16 of NBSAP (By 2015, the Nagoya Protocol is implemented through National ABS legislative, Administrative, and Institutional Framework consistent with the Nagoya Protocol) and Aichi Target 16 and Article 6 (conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources through national strategies, plans and programs) and articles 10, 15 of UNCBD. By way of TK documentation, the project also implements the NBSAP National targets 13 (By 2020, the genetic diversity of key cultivated plants and domesticated animals, including that of crop wild relatives are documented and conserved) & 18 (By 2020, TK and Customary Practices of communities, relevant to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use are documented and used, and where appropriate revived and protected). The project contributes to national target 19 of NBSAP (By 2020, science-based knowledge and technologies related to biodiversity are generated, improved, made accessible and applied where appropriate) and articles 10, 11, 20, 21 of UNCBD through execution of pilot ABS agreements and based on research & prototype product development. The project has moved the national biotechnology industry beyond traditional medicine production for domestic use to the level of being able to produce biotechnology based products and the national policy ABS framework to the level of compliance with the Nagoya Protocol for PIC processes and ABS agreements involving MAT and mechanisms for the equitable sharing of benefits. Incremental cost arguments of the project have been delivered. The outputs of the project contribute to delivery of Program 8 (Implementing the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing) of the GEF 6 biodiversity strategy’s objective 3 (Sustainably use biodiversity). The UNDAF document of UNDP, UNDAF: Bhutan One Programme, 2014-2018 identifies, under its Sustainable Development outcome the following priorities; 

- Policies and studies for integrated natural resource management, climate change adaptation/mitigation and poverty-environment nexus developed.

- The rural poor and under-employed have increased access to alternative income generation opportunities and improved sustainable agriculture practices. 


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Biodiversity Relevance Communication Knowledge management Policies & Procedures Jobs and Livelihoods Poverty Reduction Advocacy

11.

3.3.3 Effectiveness & Efficiency

Despite the delay in project getting the Biodiversity Act of Bhutan, 2003 enacted, all outputs and outcomes have been delivered. The need for revision of the Biodiversity Act of Bhutan, 2003, 2003 was not clearly foreseen and the enactment of new revised act is not considered as a deliverable in the project design. All outlined risk mitigation measures and assumption were all implemented and none of the risks that were outlined have triggered any cause of concern. However, upon realizing that the revision of the act was necessary, it should have been considered as a deliverable by the PSC which has not been done. The project effectiveness is rated as Satisfactory.

The project applied adaptive management based on emerging situations such as focused approach on awareness due to the low level of understanding of ABS among the stakeholders; engagement of local guides, elders/influential person and unemployed youth in the locality to communicate with TK holders to address difficulty in communicating with TK holders in local dialect; shift of the pilot site for ABS agreement with the Bio-Bhutan from Lingshi/Naro to Dagala due to better availability of Rhododendron anthopogon in Dagala as compared to low density and infeasible coverage of resources in Lingshi/Naro; use of TA from Nepal to advice on the complications related to specification of oil extraction equipment and facilitating interim approval to test the implementation issues of the ABS policy before formal endorsement. The financial progress reports availability in CDR and all M&E reports submitted on time with adequate information. Inadequacies were addressed in subsequent reporting and discrepancies were not observed between planned and utilized financial expenditures. Co-financing funds leveraged observed to be higher than planned in the form of in-kind support from co-financing sources. The project was not only able to develop bio-products but also enabled linkages for collaboration for marketing of the products developed by the project. Hence efficiency of the project is rated as Highly Satisfactory.


Tag: Biodiversity Effectiveness Efficiency Government Cost-sharing Parliament Integration Ownership Policies & Procedures

12.

3.3.6 Sustainability

The project’s social and environmental risks listed in the SESP were reviewed and updated during the mid-term evaluation. The Social and Environmental Risks identified in the project document were: “will the ABS project have variable impact on men and women’s ability to use, develop and protect natural resources and other natural capital; human rights implication for vulnerable groups; and result in secondary or consequential development, which could lead to social and environmental effects, or generate cumulative impacts with other known existing or planned activities in the area.” 

The project’s outcome 3 ensures that ABS agreements and community protocols are drawn and implemented jointly based on the principle of PIC, MAT with ILCs ensuring conditions on access to genetic resources including the sustainable harvest and benefit-sharing in a fair and equitable basis. The ABS agreements/community protocols regulatory provisions are fortified by the Biodiversity Regulations. The risk of unsustainable harvest is being mitigated by providing training on sustainable harvest and collection, upgrading the knowledge and skills of resource collectors, who are primarily women beneficiaries and encouragement and promotion of domestication and cultivation, particularly of vulnerable plants whose leaves, fruits and rhizomes are partly or wholly collected. The ABS project caters to the vulnerable groups, especially women with low socio-economic status imposed by the remoteness and lack of economic empowerment. The project addressed the risk by promoting commercialization of the nature based products and benefit-sharing from the genetic resources have been agreed through the ABS agreements to benefit rural women as custodian of genetic resources across the pilot sites. Guidance for conducting terminal evaluations of UNDP-Supported, GEF financed projects considers sustainability to be the likelihood of continued benefits after the project ends. Consequently, the assessment of sustainability considers the risks that are likely to affect the continuation of project outcomes. The four areas for considering risks to sustainability are evaluated as follows;

a. Financial risks: With the completion of the project, continued financing of the activities for bio-prospecting and ABS programs is expected since ABS is an approved program under the 12 FYP of MoAF. The plan has allocated a budget of US$ 314,285 for continuation of facilitating ABS agreements and bioprospecting. In the upscaling phase of ABS, and the ABS agreements advance in commercial aspects, the ABS Fund is expected to grow through enhanced realization of processing fees for the Scoping Permit/Agreement under scoping agreements and the mandatory contribution from commercial profits to the ABS fund. This is will enable financing of ABS activities. Financial risk is rated as Likely (L) which indicates negligible risk to sustainability.

b. Socio-economic risks The stakeholders such as the government entities, private sector, communities that are engaged in the ABS programs are aware of the value of ABS to individuals, organizations and to the natural environment. The adoption of the ABS policy within a span of about two years is a strong indication of the national ownership. The successful adoption and execution of three ABS agreements within a span of less than four years of introducing ABS concept indicates a strong support and ownership within the private sector, local communities and relevant stakeholders. The project outcome has put in place mechanisms, thereby enabling the development of Bhutan’s biotechnology industry which will provide economic value to the Bhutan’s biological resources. The environmental and social screening of the project in the ProDoc has not assessed any risk as well. The project outcomes, instead, provide enhanced recognition and protection of ILCs’ traditional knowledge and biological resources. Socio-economic risk, therefore is rated at Likely to indicate negligible risk to sustainability.

c. Institutional framework and governance risks: The RGOB has adopted the National ABS policy. The revised Biodiversity Act of Bhutan, 2003 is ready for submission to the Parliament and its Rules and Regulations are already drafted. With the national framework for ABS, including a national law, implementing regulations, institutional set up, supporting information management and capacity building for the competent authorities and related agencies in place, the institutional arrangement for ABS is well founded. The organizational set for ABS implementation is already established as part of regular government structure whose programs and activities are measured, monitored by linking with performance of individual officials through annual agreements with the office of the Prime Minister. The institutional and governance risk is rated at Likely (L) indicating negligible risk to sustainability.

d. Environmental risks: The environmental and social screening of the project in the ProDoc has not identified any significant issues for this project that would result in negative environmental and social impacts. The project outcome creates an enabling environment for protection of biological resources and long term positive impacts for biodiversity conservation in Bhutan. The ABS regime allows enable exploitation of the biological resources in a sustainable manner, through ABS agreements. The environmental risk of the project is rated as Likely (L) indicating negligible risk to sustainability. Overall, the sustainability of the project outcomes is rated a Likely (L) to indicate negligible risk to sustainability. Table 9: Assessment of Sustainability.


Tag: Natural Resouce management Impact Sustainability Women's Empowerment Local Governance Knowledge management Policies & Procedures Risk Management Country Government Private Sector Inclusive economic growth Technology

Recommendations
1

While the duration of the project was adequate for the project scope, the nature and extent of economic benefits sharing, and its legit value needs to be assessed. It is recommended to commission an economic analysis of the commercial aspects of the project outputs to provide costs involved, pricing, sales and profitability of the commercial products and shed light in the appropriateness of the benefit sharing proportions defined in the pilot ABS agreements and how soon or late actual benefits would practically arise.

2

It is recommended to carry out documentation of lessons learnt in the upscaling implementation process to advice on upscaling.

3

It is recommended that the communication and awareness materials as well as the report on experiences of pilot ABS may be made available online through the website of NBC to continue the good effort that the project has made in creating awareness and to promote bioprospecting.

4

It is recommended to pursue the consideration of the Biodiversity Bill by the Parliament at the earliest. However, due to the change in the Parliament, it is suggested that awareness and sensitization of Parliamentarians on ABS and on the bill be conducted prior to submitting the bill to the parliament. This recommendation is made to ensure understanding of the bill in the right context before it is passed or is subjected to further delays. Hence, it may not be submitted to the first session of the 3rd Parliament.

Management Response Documents
1. Recommendation:

While the duration of the project was adequate for the project scope, the nature and extent of economic benefits sharing, and its legit value needs to be assessed. It is recommended to commission an economic analysis of the commercial aspects of the project outputs to provide costs involved, pricing, sales and profitability of the commercial products and shed light in the appropriateness of the benefit sharing proportions defined in the pilot ABS agreements and how soon or late actual benefits would practically arise.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

The final Project Board Meeting, which was held on 21 December 2018 discussed in length and agreed with the recommendation on conducting an economic analysis of the commercial aspects of the project in future, which should include costs of production, pricing, sales and profitability and benefit sharing proportions (for ABS related project).  The PSC members also recommended considering 4Ps in the marketing of the products (production, price, place and promotion) in order to sustain the products in the market

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
As an immediate measure, the project implementing partners, led by the NBC will develop an exit and back up strategy and explore the possibility of using ‘BRAND BHUTAN’ and ‘Royal Seal’ to secure better marketing of the products.
[Added: 2019/04/01] [Last Updated: 2019/10/09]
IPs led by NBC 2019/06 Completed Brand Bhutan has been established History
2. Recommendation:

It is recommended to carry out documentation of lessons learnt in the upscaling implementation process to advice on upscaling.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

UNDP has been documenting the lesson learnt of the projects through monitoring and evaluation, and success stories. In fact, all projects will have a component on M&E going forward to capture the lesson learnt and knowledge sharing.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop M&E plan, which includes the documentation of lessons learnt for the projects
[Added: 2019/04/01] [Last Updated: 2019/10/09]
UNDP 2019/06 Completed Project wise M&E plans are now consolidated into the CO M&E plan with added programme-wise capacity structure to feed-in lessons learned. History
3. Recommendation:

It is recommended that the communication and awareness materials as well as the report on experiences of pilot ABS may be made available online through the website of NBC to continue the good effort that the project has made in creating awareness and to promote bioprospecting.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

As recommended, UNDP and NBC will upload all the communication and awareness materials and the advocacy video on their websites to reach out to larger audience.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Upload all the communication and awareness materials and the advocacy video on UNDP and NBC’s websites
[Added: 2019/04/01] [Last Updated: 2019/10/09]
UNDP & National Biodiversity Centre 2019/06 Completed All ABS products are on display in UNDP programme space. NBC website has products and advocacy messages updated. History
4. Recommendation:

It is recommended to pursue the consideration of the Biodiversity Bill by the Parliament at the earliest. However, due to the change in the Parliament, it is suggested that awareness and sensitization of Parliamentarians on ABS and on the bill be conducted prior to submitting the bill to the parliament. This recommendation is made to ensure understanding of the bill in the right context before it is passed or is subjected to further delays. Hence, it may not be submitted to the first session of the 3rd Parliament.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

As recommended, NBC will explore the possibility of conducting an awareness and sensitization meeting/workshop for the Parliamentarians on ABS and Biodiversity Bill prior to submitting the bill to the parliament, which will ensure understanding of the Bill in the right context before it is passed or is subjected to further delays.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Conduct awareness and sensitization of Parliamentarians on ABS and Biodiversity Bill
[Added: 2019/04/01] [Last Updated: 2020/01/07]
National Biodiversity Centre 2020/08 Completed This has been conducted by the National Biodiversity Centre, Ministry of Agriculture & Forest History

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