Clima East Pilot Project: Sustainable Management of Pastures and Forest in Armenia to Demonstrate Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Benefits and Dividends for Local Communities Final Evaluation

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Armenia
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
12/2018
Completion Date:
11/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
10,000

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Title Clima East Pilot Project: Sustainable Management of Pastures and Forest in Armenia to Demonstrate Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Benefits and Dividends for Local Communities Final Evaluation
Atlas Project Number: 73028
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Armenia
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2018
Planned End Date: 12/2018
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
Evaluation Budget(US $): 10,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 9,473
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Clima East Pilot Project: Sustainable Management of Pastures and Forest in Armenia to Demonstrate Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Benefits and Dividends for Local Communities Terminal Evaluation
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Climate Change
Project Type: EA
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 73028
PIMS Number: 5195
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: ARMENIA
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

Clarifying the project’s impact and results by adopting a Results-Based M&E approach, including indicators and their related baseline and targets

The TE recommends following SMART indicators at project completion in order to measure and to confirm its results and impacts. This will also allow the project to verify the feasibility of the assessments which have been conducted through the project, and if they can be used as a basis for monitoring pastures and forests management interventions at national level. 

As such, the project’s results as presented in Section 3 of this report should be reported following a Results-Based approach by adopting indicators which allow the project to take into account the following considerations:

  • At the level of Output 1, measuring the adoption of the PMPs: The project has initiated the preparation of “Rotational Grazing Plans” which will be converted into PMPs, and the adoption of these PMPs at local level is essential to demonstrate the effectiveness and the sustainability of the PMP process.
  • At the level of Output 2, measuring that economically feasible and sustainable restoration measures are applied in 2,000 ha of pastures and 60 ha of forests is important to confirm the feasibility of these measures in view of up-scaling them at national level.
  • At the level of Output 3, measuring the change in carbon stocking rates: The project should ensure harmonization of the methodologies for assessment of SOC and of baseline values to   be adopted. The project should also align its analysis with the baseline figures for the carbon stocking rates provided in the project document. The final results should allow the establishment of realistic C-stocking rates for forests regeneration, coppicing and pastures restoration aligned with latest methodological approaches.
  • It is also important to measure the change in status of pastures through the consolidated results of the inventory of the vegetation cover conducted in 2014 by the project and which are expected to be repeated in 2017 prior to the end of the project. Such results can also strengthen the project’s results and allow it to confirm the feasibility of the pastures and forests management approaches for up scaling at national level.

For each indicator, the TE has identified the baseline and targets in a way to ensure  that the following aspects are taken into consideration:

  • establish a model for the PMPs which is approved by the communities in the target zones and confirm the feasibility of these PMPs for up-scaling at national level.
  • confirm feasibility of the approach developed by the ClimaEast Pilot for up scaling the pasture and forest restoration intervention as a model from economic and institutional level.
  • ensure harmonization of the methodologies for assessment of SOC and the baseline values to be adopted, align its analysis with the baseline figures for the carbon stocking rates of 71.1 tC/ha provided in the project document and harmonize these with the national trends.
  • confirm the feasibility of the approach developed by the ClimaEast Pilot for up scaling the assessment of the pasture vegetation cover at national level.
2

Analyze and consolidate the studies and interventions prepared by the project

A major effort needs to be deployed by the project at the earliest to complete and capture the results of its assessments and interventions which have been initiated at the level of all components.

With regards to pastures’ management, as a first step, it is important to finalize the PMPs and complete project’s efforts to align them with national regulations and current practices in Armenia, such as the CARMAC project in order to inform future national initiatives such as the GEF/UNDP SLM-SFM project.

The PMPs should also integrate an operational plan for the restoration intervention conducted at the level of each community covering a realistic implementation period and a business plan to provide the economic feasibility of the interventions at the level of each community.

Finally, the PMPs should also provide a clear vision of the institutional capacities of the target communities as well as training needs to ensure the sustainability of the interventions.

With regards to community forests’ management, similarly to pasture, it is important to finalize the development of the “Forest Management Plan” for the community forests where the project’s interventions have covered community forests, given the innovative approach of such interventions, and ensure that such plans are aligned with national regulations (such as the Forests Technological Tables of 2005).

The institutional anchoring of the interventions at the level of the community forests should also be clarified and linked to regional and national policies and plans which can support the replication and up-scaling of such interventions.

With regards to the Sevan National Park, although the project’s interventions were planned in close consultation with MoNP, which is leading the organization of Sevan NP, the project interventions for coppicing and afforestation did not seem to be in line with the strategy of the administration of the Sevan National Park, and major technical divergence seem to arise between the project’s strategy and that of the Sevan National Park administration.

Such divergence necessitates a rigorous technical analysis and an extensive dialogue to clarify technical aspects which have been raised by different expertise including the following:

  • Technical aspects and difference of the Benefits of coppicing of oak forests as opposed to topler forests
  • Technical aspects and difference in the Aforestation with irrigation at an altitude of 1916 m and without irrigation at 1910m.

Without an in-depth technical assessment of the project’s results, it will not be possible for the project to validate the results and experience gathered through the project and hence replicate and up-scale the project’s results.

3

Compile and publish the available report which were prepared by the project and make them available to the public.

The project has prepared a number of highly important studies and assessments, while the TE has compiled these in Annex 3 of the TE report, it is an important to ensure the editing of some of these reports given the limited writing quality of some of these reports and convert them into solid publications accessible to the decision makers as well as to the more specialized technical stakeholders. 

Once the reports are edited, it is very important to ensure that the visibility and accessibility of such publications is easily accessible on the internet and as hard copies if possible. To date, only a limited number of the reports are made available on the ClimaEast website despite extensive press-related and communication information which has been disseminated by the project.

1. Recommendation:

Clarifying the project’s impact and results by adopting a Results-Based M&E approach, including indicators and their related baseline and targets

The TE recommends following SMART indicators at project completion in order to measure and to confirm its results and impacts. This will also allow the project to verify the feasibility of the assessments which have been conducted through the project, and if they can be used as a basis for monitoring pastures and forests management interventions at national level. 

As such, the project’s results as presented in Section 3 of this report should be reported following a Results-Based approach by adopting indicators which allow the project to take into account the following considerations:

  • At the level of Output 1, measuring the adoption of the PMPs: The project has initiated the preparation of “Rotational Grazing Plans” which will be converted into PMPs, and the adoption of these PMPs at local level is essential to demonstrate the effectiveness and the sustainability of the PMP process.
  • At the level of Output 2, measuring that economically feasible and sustainable restoration measures are applied in 2,000 ha of pastures and 60 ha of forests is important to confirm the feasibility of these measures in view of up-scaling them at national level.
  • At the level of Output 3, measuring the change in carbon stocking rates: The project should ensure harmonization of the methodologies for assessment of SOC and of baseline values to   be adopted. The project should also align its analysis with the baseline figures for the carbon stocking rates provided in the project document. The final results should allow the establishment of realistic C-stocking rates for forests regeneration, coppicing and pastures restoration aligned with latest methodological approaches.
  • It is also important to measure the change in status of pastures through the consolidated results of the inventory of the vegetation cover conducted in 2014 by the project and which are expected to be repeated in 2017 prior to the end of the project. Such results can also strengthen the project’s results and allow it to confirm the feasibility of the pastures and forests management approaches for up scaling at national level.

For each indicator, the TE has identified the baseline and targets in a way to ensure  that the following aspects are taken into consideration:

  • establish a model for the PMPs which is approved by the communities in the target zones and confirm the feasibility of these PMPs for up-scaling at national level.
  • confirm feasibility of the approach developed by the ClimaEast Pilot for up scaling the pasture and forest restoration intervention as a model from economic and institutional level.
  • ensure harmonization of the methodologies for assessment of SOC and the baseline values to be adopted, align its analysis with the baseline figures for the carbon stocking rates of 71.1 tC/ha provided in the project document and harmonize these with the national trends.
  • confirm the feasibility of the approach developed by the ClimaEast Pilot for up scaling the assessment of the pasture vegetation cover at national level.
Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/04] [Last Updated: 2018/11/08]

The recommendation is not possible to implement due to the project completion. Considering that the project indicators were revised in 2016-2017 and despite the proposed revision does not contradict with the existing ones, the formal revision of the indicators at the final stage of the project implementation is not feasible. However, the proposed SMART indicators approach will be considered for the upcoming UNDP projects.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

Analyze and consolidate the studies and interventions prepared by the project

A major effort needs to be deployed by the project at the earliest to complete and capture the results of its assessments and interventions which have been initiated at the level of all components.

With regards to pastures’ management, as a first step, it is important to finalize the PMPs and complete project’s efforts to align them with national regulations and current practices in Armenia, such as the CARMAC project in order to inform future national initiatives such as the GEF/UNDP SLM-SFM project.

The PMPs should also integrate an operational plan for the restoration intervention conducted at the level of each community covering a realistic implementation period and a business plan to provide the economic feasibility of the interventions at the level of each community.

Finally, the PMPs should also provide a clear vision of the institutional capacities of the target communities as well as training needs to ensure the sustainability of the interventions.

With regards to community forests’ management, similarly to pasture, it is important to finalize the development of the “Forest Management Plan” for the community forests where the project’s interventions have covered community forests, given the innovative approach of such interventions, and ensure that such plans are aligned with national regulations (such as the Forests Technological Tables of 2005).

The institutional anchoring of the interventions at the level of the community forests should also be clarified and linked to regional and national policies and plans which can support the replication and up-scaling of such interventions.

With regards to the Sevan National Park, although the project’s interventions were planned in close consultation with MoNP, which is leading the organization of Sevan NP, the project interventions for coppicing and afforestation did not seem to be in line with the strategy of the administration of the Sevan National Park, and major technical divergence seem to arise between the project’s strategy and that of the Sevan National Park administration.

Such divergence necessitates a rigorous technical analysis and an extensive dialogue to clarify technical aspects which have been raised by different expertise including the following:

  • Technical aspects and difference of the Benefits of coppicing of oak forests as opposed to topler forests
  • Technical aspects and difference in the Aforestation with irrigation at an altitude of 1916 m and without irrigation at 1910m.

Without an in-depth technical assessment of the project’s results, it will not be possible for the project to validate the results and experience gathered through the project and hence replicate and up-scale the project’s results.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/04] [Last Updated: 2018/11/08]

 

The recommendation is mostly relevant and acceptable. As for the comment on intervention in Sevan National Park: (i) both the coppice forest rehabilitation and afforestation/reforestation activities are important for Armenia’s forest management authorities with no specific prioritization among these approaches, (ii) irrigation of the new forest plantation at an altitude of 1916 m and above was proved during the project implementation as possible and feasible. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Finalize pasture management plans (PMPs) for five communities
[Added: 2018/11/04] [Last Updated: 2018/11/06]
Project team 2018/12 Completed The pasture management plans (PMPs) for the five communities were finalized in November 2017 and submitted to communities (Tsovak, Makenis, Lchavan, Karchaghbyur, Tsapatagh) for approval by Community Coinsuls. The PMPs were prepared as initially planned by the project: based on national regulations; CARMAC project PMPs were used as samples; PMPs developed for a specific time period and are subject to regular revision by the community administrations; PMP implementation and revision training were conducted in the communities by the project. The draft PMPs were peer-reviewed before finalization as recommended by the Terminal Evaluator during the evaluation mission.
Finalize forest plantation pasture management plan (FPMP)
[Added: 2018/11/04] [Last Updated: 2018/11/06]
Project team 2018/12 Completed The forest plantation pasture management plan for Tsovak community (FPMP) was finalized in November 2017 and submitted to community administration for approval. The forest plantation site was selected since it is a part of the Government approved plan on establishment of new forest belts in Lake Sevan basin.
3. Recommendation:

Compile and publish the available report which were prepared by the project and make them available to the public.

The project has prepared a number of highly important studies and assessments, while the TE has compiled these in Annex 3 of the TE report, it is an important to ensure the editing of some of these reports given the limited writing quality of some of these reports and convert them into solid publications accessible to the decision makers as well as to the more specialized technical stakeholders. 

Once the reports are edited, it is very important to ensure that the visibility and accessibility of such publications is easily accessible on the internet and as hard copies if possible. To date, only a limited number of the reports are made available on the ClimaEast website despite extensive press-related and communication information which has been disseminated by the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/04] [Last Updated: 2018/11/06]

The recommendation is relevant and acceptable.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
A report on project lessons learned highlighting the main project activities is developed. It is to be dissemination among stakeholders, including decision-makers and other interested counterparts.
[Added: 2018/11/04] [Last Updated: 2018/11/06]
Project team 2018/12 Completed Lessons Learned report disseminated to stakeholders

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