Enhancing Capacity to Develop Global and Regional Environmental Projects in the Pacific (CCCD) - FE

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Evaluation Plan:
2013-2017, Samoa
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
09/2017
Completion Date:
11/2017
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
16,500

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Title Enhancing Capacity to Develop Global and Regional Environmental Projects in the Pacific (CCCD) - FE
Atlas Project Number: 00059323
Evaluation Plan: 2013-2017, Samoa
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2017
Planned End Date: 09/2017
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Crisis Prevention & Recovery
  • 2. Environment & Sustainable Development
  • 3. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.4. Scaled up action on climate change adaptation and mitigation across sectors which is funded and implemented
Evaluation Budget(US $): 16,500
Source of Funding: EA
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 16,500
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Trond Norheim Mr trondn@dimes-global.com BOLIVIA
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Enhancing Capacity to Develop Global and Regional Environmental Projects in the Pacific (CCCD)
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: EA
GEF Phase: GEF-1
GEF Project ID: 6982
PIMS Number: 5160
Key Stakeholders: SPREP, Gov. PICTs
Countries: SAMOA
Lessons
Findings
1.

3.1. Project design/Formulation

3.1.1. Analysis of Results Framework/Logframe

The Consultant has undertaken a critical analysis of the project’s logframe (“framework”), including the outputs, indicators and targets mentioned in the Project Results Framework. The conclusion is that it is a logical design, and no alternative would therefore be presented.


Tag: Effectiveness Relevance Monitoring and Evaluation Programme/Project Design Project and Programme management Theory of Change

2.

The Project’s long-term goal according to the logical framework is to “enable SPREP to support 14 Pacific Island Countries to more effectively achieve global environmental benefits by strengthening their key institutional and individual capacities”. Also this statement could give the impression that it is a project for SPREP to support the 14 countries, and in fact it is, however the question is “during or after implementation”?


Tag: Global Environment Facility fund Project and Programme management Capacity Building Institutional Strengthening

3.

That discussion will in the continuation of the evaluation document not be part of the review, which is based on the interpretation that the goal of the project is to strengthen SPREP so it can give a better service to the member countries when the project outcomes have been reached. Based on this goal, the project outcomes, outputs and activities have a very clear logical and coherent relation. In fact, it is one of the most logical designs the Consultant has reviewed, maybe because it is small and concentrate on one core subject, which is institutional strengthening. Other larger projects often have the tendency to put different components under the same umbrella without much common goals.

Another positive aspect of the project document is that it is short and clear, probably prepared by a small group of people, instead of (what often is the case) a large document prepared by different consultants not thinking the same way. A related issue is that the project was designed and implemented “in-house”, and even though external consultants were efficiently used, the organization was always in control through a small internal PMU. The project design is relevant as lessons learned for other regional agencies in the world, especially if they pursue GEF or GCF accreditation.


Tag: Coherence Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Capacity Building

4.

3.1.2. Assumptions and risks

The Project document makes the assumption that the commitment of the GEF Council and GEFSEC to the project would not be in wane during its formulation, implementation or beyond, jeopardizing the institutional sustainability, and for that reason the project took an Adaptive Collaborative Management (ACM) approach to implementation. The Consultant considers that to be a good assumption and approach. First of all, GEF would not have financed the project if it didn’t think it was money well spent, and second of all, an institutional strengthening of SPREP would be important for the organization with or without GEF accreditation.

The Project document Annex 5 included UNDP’s risk log defining four risks, where only one of them (first round of GEF Accreditation ends on 31.12.2014) was considered as a high risk.

Among these risks, the discussion in the Project document text only deals with the high risk, because all the rest were considered manageable. During implementation all the other issues appeared to certain extent, but the SPREP team was able to handle them. The Project document looked into three aspects of the high risk:


Tag: Coherence Relevance Sustainability Global Environment Facility fund Capacity Building Institutional Strengthening

5.

The Project Document mentions as a mitigation measure to receive guidance from UNDP due to UNDP’s extensive experience working with the GEF. In this regard, the Project Document didn’t consider it a risk relying on support from UNDP even though UNDP through this project would be “strengthening the competition” and could be reduced in the Pacific development market if SPREP become GEF certified. This shows the degree of confidence that has been built up between UNDP and SPREP during the years, and UNDP’s compliance with real development goals, even when the organization could get reduced “market share”


Tag: Coherence Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Policies & Procedures Institutional Strengthening

6.

3.1.3. Lessons from other relevant projects incorporated into project design

The project document does not specify other projects that have provided lessons learned for the project design, however all 14 Pacific Island Countries eligible for GEF funding have completed their National Capacity Needs Self-Assessment Exercises that have provided lessons considered in the design. Their National Action Plans have highlighted capacity constraints commonly shared in the region. The analysis identified as major shortfalls: (i) lack of awareness amongst the ministries and/or departments and other state bodies on the international conventions and of the opportunities they provide, as well as of the steps required from national governments to fulfil its commitments; (ii) weak institutional arrangements for the implementation of the conventions; (iii) poor financing and lack of appropriate human resources in governmental institutions; (iv) lack of consistency and insufficient sharing of information between key stakeholders, and little communication across agencies responsible for the conventions with individual Pacific island governments. This is linked to the low commitment to follow up on identified priorities, and to lack of a strong policy framework and political commitment to implementation; and (v) weak capacity of the governments to carry out strategic planning that reflects an integration of international objectives into local and national action plans. This is primarily related to the lack of upto-date social, economic and environmental data to support the strategic planning process; and lack of communication and coherent regulations establishing the framework for preparing and implementing integrated sustainable planning.


Tag: Environment Policy Coherence Effectiveness Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management

7.

3.1.4. Planned stakeholder participation

The project was developed and endorsed on the basis of consultations with the SPREP member countries through the SPREP Governing Council Annual Meetings. The letter of endorsement required from all 14 Pacific Island Countries eligible for GEF funding was sourced from the chair of the 22 SPREP Governing Council Meeting and accepted by the GEF.


Tag: Environment Policy Relevance Coordination Institutional Strengthening Technical Support

8.

3.1.5. Replication approach

The project was designed to ensure that its actions could be widely replicated within any organization seeking GEF accreditation. The cost effectiveness, as well as institutional, social and environmental sustainability were expected to contribute to the replication of the project's approaches. The project design also planned development of a clear communication strategy to ensure that project activities, impacts and lessons learned were recorded and disseminated widely among the SPREP member countries eligible for GEF funding.

The replication approach included an adaptive learning and knowledge management webpage to be introduced and built upon existing virtual mechanisms within SPREP's website. The purpose was to store lessons learned and best practices generated from the project including all other projects executed by SPREP, to be publicly accessible. The project also had the goal that all lessons and best practices generated from every project executed by SPREP should be incorporated into project designs of all future projects and programmes.


Tag: Environment Policy Effectiveness Relevance Global Environment Facility fund

9.

3.1.6. UNDP comparative advantage

UNDP has a broad experience working in the Pacific region, including many GEF cofunded projects. Throughout the years UNDP has supported national governments and regional efforts like SPREP.

UNDP’s comparative advantage for this project lies in the possibility of transferring international UNDP-GEF experience from other regions of the world to SPREP, especially regarding institutional strengthening on environmental project management.


Tag: Environment Policy Effectiveness Relevance Global Environment Facility fund National Regional Strategic Positioning Institutional Strengthening

10.

3.1.7. Linkages between project and other interventions within the sector

The project is directly linked to the Pacific island countries' efforts to implement their National Sustainable Development Plans, which are supporting the global Sustainable Development Goals. SPREP's ability to support the national capacities is important for sustainable outcomes of environmental protection and conservation in Pacific member countries. The strengthening of SPREP through the project is therefore a key contribution to building national capacities in the 14 Pacific Island Countries that reinforces the linkages between the national sectorial policies and global environmental objectives.

The project is consistent with the programmatic objectives of the three GEF thematic focal areas of biodiversity, climate change and land degradation, which is dependent on the critical development of capacities (individual, organizational and systemic) of Pacific Island Countries through SPREP. This would support National Sustainable Development policies, as well as regional and national programmes and projects that reflect the Rio Convention principles and obligations.


Tag: Biodiversity Environment Policy Coherence Effectiveness Relevance Programme Synergy Institutional Strengthening Agenda 2030

11.

3.1.8. Management arrangements

UNDP, as the Implementing Agency of the project, has been in charge of implementation through its Multi-Country Office in Samoa, with responsibilities for support to and monitoring of the executing agency (SPREP), including planning, reporting and audit of project results in accordance with the project document and results framework. The Implementing Partner (Executing Agency) has been the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), which assigned a Project Director and provided its staff and network of experts to support the Project Management Unit.

The project was implemented under the agreement reached between GEF, UNDP and SPREP, to strengthen SPREP's capacity to obtain GEF accreditation and thus allowing the Pacific Island Countries expedite access to GEF funds. In the project design SPREP was considered as an extension of national ministries/departments of environment and thereby as part of national capacities of the 14 Pacific Island Countries eligible for GEF funding, to access MEA resources and meet their international obligations under the Rio Conventions.


Tag: Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Implementation Modality Project and Programme management

12.

3.2. Project implementation

3.2.1. Management structure

SPREP’s highest authority is its Governing Council, consisting of representatives from the 14 member countries and territories in the Pacific region. The SPREP Secretariat with Headquarters in Apia, Samoa, is responsible to the Governing Council. For the moment SPREP has more than hundred staff members, the majority established in Samoa, but a few in other countries. Improving the secretariat's capacity, role and function is important for SPREP’s service to the members, and as an extension of SPREP in the member countries. The project has given SPREP a huge leap forward to improve its effectiveness and efficiency as an important regional player.


Tag: Project and Programme management Effectiveness Efficiency Human and Financial resources Implementation Modality

13.

3.2.2. Adaptive management

The project endured significant challenges, like certain incompatibility between the approved work-plan and budget to accommodate for important activities to support the direction that the SPREP management had identified for the project.

A clear example of adaptive management occurred in 2015 when PMU was abandoning the idea of individual consultants for institutional strengthening of SPREP in favour of a company or companies, with the expectation to create budget savings and at the same time alleviate the burden to PMU of managing multiple consultants. In the same year PMU considered that the project delivery would increase significantly and that a budget revision should be undertaken to determine revised budget ceiling for the following period. At the same time it was decided to identify areas that required an increase in funding such as the ICT component.


Tag: Challenges Effectiveness Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Institutional Strengthening

14.

3.2.3. Partnership arrangements

The project’s strategy for implementation was to take a partnership approach between SPREP and UNDP. The Inception Report mentioned that the project strategy continues to rely on the partnership between UNDP and SPREP insofar as the guidance that is needed for the project to be successfully.

Sub chapter 2.5 mentions the partnerships established for implementation of the project. Additionally, SPREP has a huge number of partners that are relevant for the institution but not for implementation of this specific project.

A source of SPREP partner information established is the central People and Organisation database, which captures all contact information on partners, donors and other agencies. Integration to the PMIS was developed and contact information is shared between PMIS and FMIS.


Tag: Effectiveness Relevance Partnership Strategic Positioning

15.

3.2.4. Feedback from M&E activities used for adaptive management

All the examples of adaptive management mentioned in 3.2.1 were the results of monitoring activities included in the project’s quarterly reports. Most of these reports highlighted issues to be resolved and proposed solutions, whereby the following reports commented on the results of the changes that took place


Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management

16.

3.2.5. Project Finance

The project showed very slow activity rate and related disbursements in the beginning (2015). The project has supported improvements on the Financial Information Management System (FMIS), and additional modalities on FMIS were introduced gradually while the project was progressing. An important issue is to assure a better connection between the two systems PMIS and FMIS, or even better convert them to one system only.

SPREP has for the moment 8 financial staff members. The Chief Financial Advisor joined the organization in July 2016 when the draft new policies were being reviewed. That turned out to be a good coincidence, because she was able to work directly with the consultants on issues like policy changes, proper financial management, risk management, etc


Tag: Coherence Relevance Human and Financial resources Monitoring and Evaluation Oversight Policies & Procedures

17.

2. The firm observed that 30% of their sample of payment processes to consultants and contractors did not occur within 2 weeks (or 10 work days) and recommended improvement on this issue.

SPREP responded that the recommendation is duly noted. This issue was mainly prevalent in 2016 but was improved on since the last quarter of the 2016 financial year and no longer problematic for the current financial year 2017. Reconciliations as per the current practice is done on a weekly basis (electronically), although attempted daily by Finance as a control measure with respect to properly managing its cash position relative to the various project funds to which is held under the Main SPREP USD account. Strict monitoring and adherence to timely reconciliation is one of the internal objectives currently practiced and shall be continued by the Secretariat which is also in compliance with its revised Financial Procedural Manual in effect since the beginning of this year


Tag: Relevance Human and Financial resources Project and Programme management

18.

Risk rating: The firm BDO assessed the risk for SPREP as being in the LOW risk category. Low risk indicates a well-developed financial management system and functioning control framework with a low likelihood of negative impact on the ability to execute the programme in accordance with the work plan.

The Consultant considers that SPREP now has what it needs for efficient and transparent financial management. It is important to highlight that the improvements in financial management (and management in general) are not limited to GEF projects. SPREP has the tools and capacity to work better on all aspects, for instance to assure cost recovery and sufficient programme management fees. It has also intentions of going paperless. A very important subject for improvement is to give more advice to member governments on financial management and governance


Tag: Challenges Relevance Human and Financial resources Project and Programme management Risk Management

19.

3.2.6. Monitoring and evaluation: design at entry and implementation

The project monitoring tools and tracking system used by SPREP when the project initiated were different from those used today, due to incorporation of the results of the same project. Based on only the CCCD project, which did not have any field activities, it is difficult for the Consultant to draw any conclusions on the efficiency of the M&E system used from 2015. However, SPREP’s current project M&E system (part of the PMIS) is an efficient tool for project design, monitoring of implementation, and evaluation.

Training of SPREP staff has including monitoring and evaluation to assure effectiveness and efficiency of SPREP’s new and enhanced capacity. However, any system is not more efficient than its weakest link. Since many of SPREP’s projects would be implemented in the member countries, it is necessary to train local staff in the countries on several aspects of M&E, e.g. how to establish a proper baseline and how to monitor the projects with the same and relevant tools and indicators. This could be a next phase of the CCCD project, but if the majority of the 14 countries should be included it would require a much larger budget than for the project that just finished.


Tag: Coherence Efficiency Relevance Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management

20.

3.2.7. UNDP and Implementing Partner implementation / execution

As concluding remarks of the chapter on Project Implementation, the Consultant would comment that both the Implementing Agency UNDP and the Executing Agency SPREP have carried out a good project implementation and execution. The delay of more than a year in project implementation has not been due to low effectiveness and efficiency (see 3.3.3), but due to an overly optimistic project design (see 3.1).

The coordination and interaction between UNDP and SPREP has worked well, however it is necessary to underline that it did not work efficiently from the start due to SPREP’s institutional weaknesses at that moment. Based on UNDP’s support and incorporation of the project outputs during implementation, the project has gradually improved its performance, and SPREP can now at the end of the project period be regarded an excellent executing agency.


Tag: Relevance Implementation Modality Project and Programme management Coordination

21.

3.3. Project Results

3.3.1. Overall results

According to the Project Document, by the end of the project implementation it was expected that SPREP would have been accredited as a GEF Project Agency; that the 14 Pacific countries successfully could implement the three Rio Conventions; and that all of these countries would have fast track access to MEA funding such as the GEF. The overall results of the project should however be seen in the light of the fact that the pilot project for accrediting new GEF Project Agencies ended in December 2014, the same month as the CCCD project initiated.

Despite this, SPREP has carried out the project activities with excellent results, with outputs and outcomes making SPREP ready to be a GEF Project Agency if that opportunity would arise. The strengthening of SPREP through the project has made the institution able to provide a much better support to the 14 countries, for compliance with the Rio Conventions and to represent the countries towards international agencies, like GCF where SPREP recently was accredited. There has been a gradual trend towards improved effectiveness and efficiency throughout the implementation as a result of initial use of the project results.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact Global Environment Facility fund Coordination Institutional Strengthening

22.

3.3.2. Relevance

Relevance: The extent to which the objectives of the project are consistent with beneficiaries’ requirements, country needs, global priorities and partners’ and UNDP/GEFs’ priorities

The Consultant found that the Outcomes and outputs of the project have been relevant and adequate, considering the regional and national contexts. SPREP was instructed by its Governing Council to seek GEF accreditation already in 2011. All 14 Pacific Island Countries eligible for GEF funding have endorsed the project and continue to support the secretariat’s efforts to achieve the goal of obtaining GEF accreditation. Most of the 14 countries are small and with few human and financial resources. They therefore depend on SPREP for service and as a prolonged arm from their governments to the international community


Tag: Environment Policy Relevance Sustainability Global Environment Facility fund Monitoring and Evaluation Institutional Strengthening

23.

3.3.3. Effectiveness & Efficiency

a) Development effectiveness: The extent to which the Project’s purpose was achieved, or is expected to be achieved

3.3.3.1. Results achieved

In Table 5 the Consultant has assessed the end results of the project and commented on the compliance with the specific objectives, and expected outcomes and outputs. In the following, factors that defined success or affected achievements would also be reviewed. The information is based on nine quarterly reports and other documents, PMIS and interviews, complemented by the Consultant’s observations and opinions.

CCCD is one of the few projects where the results and impacts of the project are clearly felt already during implementation. UNDP noted lower efficiency from SPREP’s side before the project started and during initial implementation, e.g. for procurement processes. However, there has been a gradual trend towards improved effectiveness and efficiency throughout the project implementation as a result of initial use of the new policies and procedures, which is recognized internally and by UNDP. The financing has therefore been justified both from a SPREP and donor/IA perspective.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Project and Programme management Institutional Strengthening

24.

3.3.3.2. MEA funding access fast tracked

SPREP's Stage II application for GEF accreditation was presented May 21st 2012. Unfortunately, while SPREP was preparing the PIF and project document for CCCD, the GEF accreditation panel took the decision that SPREP should submit both its Stage I and II application after the project had upgraded many of SPREP's policies, procedures, systems and tools, to enable it to meet the GEF's minimum accreditation standards. The first round of the accreditation process ended December 2014, the same month the project was approved by GEF. SPREP would have to wait for a potential new round of applications. There are different opinions about that issue in the GEF Council, however it is possible that it would be done as a limited opening for agencies that are already in compliance with GEF requirements. In the mean time, partly based on the positive results of the project, SPREP has achieved accreditation as a regional entity towards another MEA, the Green Climate Fund (GCF).


Tag: Resource mobilization Policies & Procedures Effectiveness Global Environment Facility fund

25.

3.3.3.3. SPREP Fiduciary Capacity strengthened and GEF’s accreditation standards met

SPREP now has the policies, mechanisms, procedures and standards in place to perform GEF fiduciary functions.

Output 2.1. SPREP’s financial management/controls strengthened, adequate and in compliance with financial regulations & procedures: The new SPREP Governance Policy defines the policy for the Audit Committee, the Internal Audit Function, fraud prevention, and risk management. This policy serves as the basis for the Audit Committee Charter, Internal Audit Charter, Fraud Prevention Manual, Whistle-blower Policy, Risk Management Manual and Enterprise Risk Management Plan. The Policy is also strongly related with the approved Financial Regulations, Procurement Manual, SPREP’s Organizational Values and Code of Conduct. It applies to all SPREP’s Activities in the areas of Finance and Administration, Human Resources, and Programme Delivery.


Tag: Coherence Relevance Policies & Procedures

26.

Output 2.2. Financial Management and Control Frameworks strengthened and meeting GEF’s accreditation standards: The SPREP risk management manual covers enterprise, corporate and project level risks. The foreign exchange policy attempts to provide options for managing SPREP foreign currency accounts and reduce losses as a result of foreign exchange. The SPREP cost recovery policy is a new and important aspect of the organization’s management, setting in place measures to recover costs in accordance with SPREP’s approved price structure. It will determine the levels of management fees and implementation support service fees that SPREP may charge in its role as either an executing or implementing agency. The SPREP procurement manual guides all procurement that SPREP undertakes as an executing or implementing agency.

 


Tag: Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management

27.

Output 2.3. SPREP's Financial Disclosure Capacity strengthened and meeting international Financial Reporting Standards:

This is an important aspect for SPREP to be able to continue it’s strengthening through financing from international agencies. It is addressed in SPREP’s internal control framework and related financial regulations


Tag: Coherence Relevance Policies & Procedures

28.

Output 2.4. SPREP's Code of Ethics strengthened:

The new approved SPREP fraud manual defines SPREP’s policy and procedures on fraud, specifying the internal measures taken for implementation, investigation, and review. It is done within the context of the Organizational Values, the Code of Conduct and Ethics, and the 2012 Risk Management Plan. It is a direct response to the issue of implementing internal controls on fraud identified in the Risk Management Plan, and provides a mechanism so anyone can report allegations of fraud. The manual contains procedural guidelines based on the International Financial Institutions Principles and Guidelines for Investigations, which is the internationally recognised standard in multilateral organizations. It has been adjusted based on SPREP’s individual circumstances, policies and procedures.


Tag: Risk Management Effectiveness Relevance Policies & Procedures

29.

Output 2.5. SPREP's internal audit functions strengthened:

The Internal Audit Charter elaborates on the “SPREP Governance Policy” and provides a comprehensive statement of the purpose, authority, responsibilities and reporting relationship of the Internal Audit Function. In accordance with the charter, the SPREP Internal Audit office should be conducted in accordance with the International Standards for the Professional Practice Framework (IPPF) of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), which includes definition of Internal Audit, Code of Ethics and Standards


Tag: Relevance Oversight Policies & Procedures Institutional Strengthening

30.

Output 2.6. SPREP Project Management strengthened through Results-Based Management:

The project cycle policy introduces a systematic approach to developing projects within an approved lifespan cycle, also in accordance with GEF’s project cycle. Appropriate tools are included for management approvals within SPREP, from project concept document to full-scale project documents.

A newly established Project Coordination Unit (PCU) is in charge of the whole project cycle, and will give stronger focus to how to manage projects. Most important would be to deliver on the policies regarding the project cycle, including, PMIS, safeguards and gender. The unit is still very small (4 people), and for the moment the work will concentrate on GEF, GCF and AF, but the newly appointed Unit Manager expects the portfolio to grow with funding from different sources. The PCU should be strengthened with more staff, integrating projects that currently are managed by other divisions.


Tag: Effectiveness Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Capacity Building

31.

Output 2.7. Performance and accountability improved by integrating M&E information system policy, guideline, framework and plan into SPREP project/program management:

Project evaluations are seen as an integrated part of the project cycle, to provide information on results, and also lessons learned for further improvement of new projects. Training of staff is including monitoring and evaluation to assure effectiveness and efficiency of SPREP’s new and enhanced capacity.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management Capacity Building

32.

Output 2.8. SPREP's Investigative capacity strengthened:

SPREP’s investigation function is addressed in the risk management manual, financial regulations and the whistle-blower protection policy (see output 2.9)


Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Relevance Risk Management Capacity Building

33.

Output 2.9. SPREP's Whistle-blower Protection function strengthened:

A hotline for Whistle-blowers has been set up as part of SPREP’s anti-corruption effort, but could be used for other purposes. The whistle-blower protection policy is approved.


Tag: Effectiveness Relevance Anti-corruption

34.

3.3.3.4. SPREP's Environmental and Social Safeguard Policy and Guideline

Developed SPREP's Environmental and Social Safeguard Policy and Guideline is applied and managed in both the corporate and programme divisions of SPREP. The Policy is accompanied by a social and environmental screening checklist and report, including risk assessment, categorization of project, and type of social and environmental assessment required. A clearance form is provided for checking that the environmental and social assessment has been appropriately carried out.


Tag: Environment Policy Relevance Project and Programme management Risk Management

35.

3.3.3.5. SPREP's Gender Mainstreaming Policy and Guideline Developed

The new SPREP Gender Mainstreaming Policy is accompanied by an Action Plan to strengthen SPREP’s environmental governance while supporting and encouraging gender mainstreaming. It also supports integration of gender into SPREPs current programs and the project lifespan cycle. SPREP’s staff has received training on the gender mainstreaming policy, in particular on the gender project and program screening checklist and the gender analysis and mainstreaming template. Area of work relating to gender equality and the empowerment of women is contributing to support implementation of measures to increase women’s participation in decision-making


Tag: Environment Policy Effectiveness Relevance Gender Mainstreaming Capacity Building Women and gilrs

36.

3.3.3.6. SPREP's Information, Communication and Technology Systems Enhanced

SPREP's ICT systems have been upgraded to support a web-based project management and regional repository for lessons learned on project cycle implementation and management. Key components of the ICT have been developed, including the project life cycle module, the functionality to create the project concept note, and the development of project financial reports. Training workshops have been held over a two week period to familiarise staff with the new features, complemented by technical training for IT staff on the underlying technologies. Additional developments include strengthening the integration between FMIS and PMIS to allow financial data to be queried across multiple years, including budget and commitment figures and period-based financial reports. It also allows staff to capture donor project budget codes against SPREP account codes.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Relevance Project and Programme management Technology Capacity Building

37.

3.3.3.7. Efficiency of CCCD project implementation

The project was designed to be implemented during only one year, and it took approximately 2 ½. This could give the impression that the project was inefficiently managed, however there are other explanations. As mentioned in the review of project design, one year would not have been enough even with a smooth implementation without any bottlenecks. The Consultant considers that two years would have been a realistic timeframe, giving time for recruitment of the consultants, design and institutional introduction of all the products (policies, strategies, software etc.) and for enough staff training. But even two years would not have given much margin for risks like procurement problems.


Tag: Efficiency Resource mobilization Human and Financial resources Operational Efficiency Project and Programme management Capacity Building Institutional Strengthening

38.

One challenge for the project was realignment. It was designed to recruit consultants to undertake a rapid assessment of the existing baseline and identify the desired capacity for SPREP to meet the GEF’s minimum accredited standards. Some key capacity building activities required by the project had already been initiated by SPREP before GEF funding was available. For example, SPREP has embarked on upgrades in its financial management system and HR system following reviews by the EU and the GEF independent accreditation panel (as part of the fiduciary capacity needs). Realigning the project to pick up on these improvements and expand further on it was an anticipated challenge - given that some of these expenses had incurred prior to the signing of the project document.


Tag: Challenges Global Environment Facility fund Human and Financial resources Project and Programme management Capacity Building

39.

3.3.4. Country ownership

Country ownership does not seem like a right title for a regional programme, however in this case it is. SPREP is the prolonged arm of the countries’ environmental agencies, and the member countries consider SPREP as their organization. The Pacific Regional UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2013-2017 is a five-year strategic programme that outlines the collective response of the UN system to development challenges and national priorities in 14 countries, to promote sustainable development and inclusive economic growth and to ensure human security in the region with focus on the most vulnerable groups.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Biodiversity Environment Policy Challenges Sustainability Ownership Country Government UN Agencies

40.

3.3.5. Mainstreaming

The project was designed in the framework of the GEF-5 Cross-Cutting Capacity Development (CCCD) Strategy, Programme Framework C, which calls for the strengthening of capacities to develop policy and legislative frameworks to meet Rio Convention objectives, and to strengthen capacities for improved management and compliance. This is being achieved in the countries through deeper and meaningful mainstreaming into national planning, policy and budgetary frameworks with the support from SPREP.

While some Pacific Island Countries are advanced in their mainstreaming agenda through the adoption of sector wide approaches, many are still experiencing difficulties of transition to greater mainstreaming at the national and local levels.

Gender mainstreaming within the project is covered in 3.3.6 b.


Tag: Effectiveness Relevance Capacity Building

41.

3.3.6. Sustainability

Sustainability: The continuation of benefits from the Project after the development assistance has been completed and the probability of continued long-term benefits

The Consultant considered several dimensions of sustainability: (i) Technical, (ii) Social & Environmental, (iii) Institutional, and (iv) Economic-Financial

a) Technical: The technology introduced in SPREP through the project consists of hardware and software for upgrading of their institutional systems. An important lesson learned has been the need for ensuring proper planning and budgeting for a project’s IT component during the conceptualization phase. This would greatly assist with the understanding of the scale and scope of work that is required to fully complete the PMIS or any other new system to introduce. Another important lesson has been how it is possible to incorporate the benefits of a new system introduced already during project implementation, and thereby get increased project efficiency.

To assure sustainability it is important that all new staff get solid training from the beginning, and that all staff get continuous learning and follow-up. In this introduction period it is especially important to assure that no staff member continue to do things “like we always have done it”. That can be assured e.g. through automatic message to supervisor e.g. if a staff member is not updating project information in the system or if he/she passes deadlines. In the continuation it would be important to assure that technological development and benefits come to the 14 member countries as well, first assuring direct access to the systems for SPREP staff stationed in the region, and then assuring benefits like training tools directly on the SPREP website.


Tag: Environment Policy Challenges Efficiency Sustainability

42.

b) Social and Environmental: The CCCD project was very special, because the design did not include any activities on the ground in the member countries. Social and Environmental Safeguards were treated jointly by the project, which is the reason the Consultant is discussing social and environmental sustainability in the same chapter


Tag: Environment Policy Country Government Capacity Building Institutional Strengthening Civil Societies and NGOs

43.

The safeguards are integrated in the project management systems, especially PMIS. A checklist with screening mechanism for projects will automatically trigger requirements for studies like Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA):

Category A – Projects with the potential to cause significant adverse social and/or environmental impacts that are diverse, irreversible or unprecedented.

Category B – Projects with the potential to cause limited adverse social and/or environmental impacts that are few in number, generally site-specific, largely reversible, and readily addressed through mitigation measures.

Category C – Projects that include activities with minimal or no risks of adverse social and environmental consequences.

Category A projects would not be considered for SPREP support.


Tag: Environmental impact assessment Challenges Sustainability Capacity Building Institutional Strengthening

44.

Before gender was something that “had to be mentioned” in the project documents, because the donors like it, but it really wasn’t a priority issue. Through the CCCD project a process of gender mainstreaming has started, but it is a long way to go. There are especially two areas of consideration: Gender mainstreaming internally in SPREP and gender mainstreaming in project design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Many people in SPREP told the Consultant that they did not really get what the gender issue was all about, at least from the beginning. SPREP is an organization with exactly 50% women and 50% men. There are for the moment 51 men and 51 women, and the senior management team consists of 4 men and 4 women. But gender mainstreaming is much more than headcount. It has to do with what positions the women hold and on empowering women in the workplace. SPREP has named three people as gender focal points, including one man, however they don’t have any specialization in this area.

Even though the focal points are a step in the right direction, the consultant recommends employing a gender specialist on a high level in the organization, and that should not be a person in charge of another area, but of “all areas”. The gender specialist should be in charge of overseeing implementation of the new gender policy, to assure that it does not turn out to be only a formality. The gender specialist should also give staff training, follow-up, review of project documents and consent prior to final approval of project documents. Another important area is monitoring of gender relevant indicators during implementation, based on good baselines. Sometimes the gender specialist could also participate in project teams when the gender issue is especially important in the design.


Tag: Effectiveness Relevance Gender Equality Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management Capacity Building Women and gilrs

45.

c) Institutional:

 The whole project has been dedicated to institutional strengthening, and the way SPREP has developed through the project implementation has also led to institutional sustainability. The organization has taken on the project activities and outcomes as their own, and it is a real sense of appropriation. Therefore, there is no possibility that the results of the project would end when the project ends. The results are already assimilated and would continue to strengthen the organization. SPREP is in a unique position in the South Pacific region, without similar organizations to compare with. The strengthening that the institution has achieved through support from the CCCD project would probably lead to more project opportunities and a stronger and larger organization in the future. The environmental challenges in the region also signify that the South Pacific would need a stronger SPREP.

But the institutional sustainability depends on the support from the member countries. It is therefore important to strengthen the dialogue with the member base, so all countries feel like SPREP is their organization. Some of the larger countries might be interested in developing more projects on their own, but if they feel real influence on SPREP and are satisfied with the partnership, then these examples would be few.


Tag: Environment Policy Relevance Sustainability Global Environment Facility fund Capacity Building Vulnerable

46.

d) Economic-financial: The project is categorized in GEF as a medium-size project based on the funding budget of only 1 million USD. But despite being a relatively small project, the results and impact are large. The investments from GEF’s and SPREP’s side would show to be very small compared with the continued results in the organization and the region. The available data does not give the opportunity to do a cost-benefit analysis. The economic costs are clear, nearly 3 million USD including inkind contribution, but the benefits are more difficult to define, and it also depends on the time perspective.


Tag: Efficiency Sustainability Global Environment Facility fund Regional Institutional Strengthening

47.

3.3.7. Impact

Development impact: Positive and negative, primary and secondary, long-term effects produced by the Project, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended

This project was presented to GEF for funding under the GEF-5 “Cross-Cutting Capacity Development” (CCCD) Strategy, Programme Framework C, which called for the strengthening of capacities to develop policy and legislative frameworks to meet the Rio Conventions’ objectives. SPREP is designated by the leaders of the Pacific as the regional focal point for the 3 Rio Conventions: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD); and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), so the CCCD funding was a good fit for the organization.


Tag: Impact Global Environment Facility fund Project and Programme management Capacity Building

Recommendations
1

The SPREP Council and the country members should continue to invest in SPREP, because it is necessary to maintain and improve the results achieved through the CCCD project.

2

All current and new staff should receive and maintain training in compliance with policies and procedures, and use of the new systems. In the short term, the consultants that supported development of new policies and systems could be used for the training.

3

For other regional projects it is recommended to pay more attention to the time required for implementation, including potential bottlenecks

4

Continued active staff participation should be encouraged for possible adjustment of the systems, to maintain the enthusiasm and assure positive results.

5

To put in practice and follow-up the new SPREP gender policy it is recommended to contract a highlevel gender specialist.

6

SPREP's ICT systems should be continually maintained and upgraded, including a stronger integration between PMIS and FMIS, preferably converting them into only one system.

7

The PMIS System should be finalized with additional modules

8

The project Coordination unit (PCU) should be strengthened with more staff and integration of projects that currently are managed by other divisions.

9

The position of GEF Coordinatior in SPREP should be maintained even though the CCCD project has finished

10

Results and lessons learned from the CCCD project should be promoted through South-south collaboration in the South Pacific Region and for regional agencies in other regions.

1. Recommendation:

The SPREP Council and the country members should continue to invest in SPREP, because it is necessary to maintain and improve the results achieved through the CCCD project.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2021/02/23]

The management agree with this recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The SPREP Governing Council membership provide guidance and policy decisions to the secretariat and approves and a biennialwork-plan and budget.
[Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2018/09/11]
Director General and Deputy Director General SPREP 2017/06 Completed The new upgrades in capacity are included in operational budgets. Additional costs are recouped through cost-recovery from project budget. History
2. Recommendation:

All current and new staff should receive and maintain training in compliance with policies and procedures, and use of the new systems. In the short term, the consultants that supported development of new policies and systems could be used for the training.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2021/02/23]

The management agree with this recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Director General to appoint policy champions to administer, monitor, review and update the policies annually.
[Added: 2017/12/20]
Director General SPREP 2017/12 Completed The Director General has approved the list of Policy Champion on the 1st February 2017. Each policy champion will ensure that staff are adequately trained on the content of the policy and with particulate focus to reviewing and reporting to SPREP Senior Management Team on new adjustments needed for the policy to be relevant and updated with new requirements of the GEF and other donor partners of SPREP.
Training on the use of the Web-based Project Management Information System or PMIS.
[Added: 2017/12/20]
IT Unit SPREP 2017/12 Completed PMIS training undertaken on a quarterly basis and by staff demand.
Training on gender, procurement, environmental and social safeguards, and risk management.
[Added: 2017/12/20]
Human Resource [staff induction]; Project Coordination Unit. SPREP 2017/12 Completed A video training module is available for staff training on gender, procurement, environmental and social safeguards and risk management. This training will form part of induction programme for all new staff.
3. Recommendation:

For other regional projects it is recommended to pay more attention to the time required for implementation, including potential bottlenecks

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2021/02/23]

The management agree with this recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Effective implementation of the new SPREP project cycle and tools.
[Added: 2017/12/20]
Programme Divisions; and Project Coordination Unit. 2017/12 Completed Proper designing of projects has followed the requirements of the Project Cycle stages including the use of new tools to screen for bottlenecks and appropriate time frame for project implementation.
4. Recommendation:

Continued active staff participation should be encouraged for possible adjustment of the systems, to maintain the enthusiasm and assure positive results.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2021/02/23]

The management agrees with this recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Integrate staff participation and lessons learned into systems and procedures to administer policy.
[Added: 2017/12/20]
Human Resource; and Policy Champions. SPREP 2018/12 Completed Staff learning plans and Performance Development Plans now include their targets and results that link with participating and adjusting systems that administer the various policies.
5. Recommendation:

To put in practice and follow-up the new SPREP gender policy it is recommended to contract a highlevel gender specialist.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2021/02/17]

The management agrees with this recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
SPREP has interim arrangements for administering the gender policy with the view of recruiting a gender policy specialist/adviser when funding permits in the near future.
[Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2018/09/11]
Director General; Deputy Director General; and Human Resources. SPREP 2018/06 Completed As soon as funding is secured for the position, SPREP will commence recruitment however alternative arrangement is now in place for a Gender focal point History
6. Recommendation:

SPREP's ICT systems should be continually maintained and upgraded, including a stronger integration between PMIS and FMIS, preferably converting them into only one system.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2021/02/23]

The management agrees with this recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
PMIS and FMIS are maintained and upgraded by the corporate budget of SPREP.
[Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2018/09/11]
Finance and Administration; and SPREP IT. 2018/06 Completed Both systems are corporate tools required to develop and manage projects effectively. History
Integration of PMIS and FMIS into one system depending on funding availability.
[Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2019/12/29]
Finance and Administration; and SPREP IT. 2017/12 Completed SPREP now has a project management database to integrate PMIS and FMIS History
7. Recommendation:

The PMIS System should be finalized with additional modules

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2021/02/23]

The management agrees with this recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Complete installation of PMIS
[Added: 2017/12/20]
SPREP IT 2017/06 Completed PMIS is fully functional and utilized by SPREP staff for developing and managing projects.
8. Recommendation:

The project Coordination unit (PCU) should be strengthened with more staff and integration of projects that currently are managed by other divisions.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2021/02/23]

The management agrees with this recommendations

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Establish the Project Coordination Unit to administer the SPREP Project Cycle Policy and train staff on the application of various new tools throughout the 4 stages of the project cycle.
[Added: 2017/12/20]
Project Coordination Unit. 2017/12 Completed PCU established with the following staff: 1. Manager (Core Budget) 2. GCF Adviser (Core Budget) 3. GEF Support Adviser (CoreBudget) 4. Project Development Experts (NZMFAT) 5. Project Implementation Support Officer (NZMFAT) 6. Project Management Specialists (Peace Corps)
9. Recommendation:

The position of GEF Coordinatior in SPREP should be maintained even though the CCCD project has finished

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2021/02/23]

The management agrees to this recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The SPREP GEF Support Adviser post is funded by the SPREP core budget and subject to high demand and availability of funding as with all posts of SPREP.
[Added: 2017/12/20]
Director General and Deputy Director General SPREP 2017/12 Completed Post is maintained and continues after the project is completed.
10. Recommendation:

Results and lessons learned from the CCCD project should be promoted through South-south collaboration in the South Pacific Region and for regional agencies in other regions.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2021/02/23]

The management agrees with this recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Project results captures in the PMIS
[Added: 2017/12/20]
Project Coordination Unit 2017/12 Completed Project results and lessons learned are properly stored in the SPREP Project Management Information System.
Implement GCF and AF role as a regional implementing entity using SPREP’s upgraded capacity to design GCF projects.
[Added: 2017/12/20] [Last Updated: 2018/09/11]
Project Coordination Unit; and Programme Division. SPREP 2018/06 Completed Promoting the projects results will be realized through SPREP using its upgraded capacity gained through the project’s results which will help it carry out its accredited role to the GCF and AF effectively. History

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