Final Evaluation - PIMS 4732 Expansion and Improved Management Effectiveness of the Achara Region’s Protected Areas

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Georgia
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
04/2019
Completion Date:
04/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
18,000

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Title Final Evaluation - PIMS 4732 Expansion and Improved Management Effectiveness of the Achara Region’s Protected Areas
Atlas Project Number: 00076819
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Georgia
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2019
Planned End Date: 04/2019
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Sustainable
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.4.1 Gender-responsive legal and regulatory frameworks, policies and institutions strengthened, and solutions adopted, to address conservation, sustainable use and equitable benefit sharing of natural resources, in line with international conventions and national legislation
SDG Goal
  • Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
SDG Target
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species
Evaluation Budget(US $): 18,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 24,648
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Michael J.B. Green Team leader michael.green@undp.org
Giorgi Shubitidze Local consultant giorgishubitidze@gmail.com GEORGIA, REPUBLIC OF
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: PIMS 4732 Expansion and Improved Management Effectiveness of the Achara Region’s Protected Areas
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 4835
PIMS Number: 4732
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection; Agency of Protected Areas
Countries: GEORGIA, REPUBLIC OF
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

1/ In general, now that the project’s Technical Coordination Group is over, it is proposed that an appropriate way of taking forward some of the recommendations below would be to bring them to the attention of the Technical Coordination platform that UNDP facilitates on behalf of the donor community. This could provide an appropriate opportunity to consider further how some of these actions might be institutionalized/resourced

2

2/ Proposed Machakhela Protected Landscape: Fundamentally most important is to designate the Lower Valleys of Machakhela Gorge as a protected landscape during the early part of 2019, in line with the extensive research, consultation and consensus generated by the project during the latter part of its term. UNDP is well placed to continue to follow up with national and regional governments, as appropriate, through its Czech-funded initiative that is supported the development of a management plan for the proposed Machakhela Protected Landscape. If technical problems are delaying the designation of this Protected Landscape, it may be appropriate to explore whether or not technical assistance would be welcomed by government and, if so, whether or not the Czech Government would be amenable to extending their present support in order to maintain the momentum and realize this objective, to which so many stakeholders in government (national, regional, municipal and PA Administrations), among the communities in Machakhela and donors have contributed.

3

3/ Staff retention and continuity within APA is an issue that impacted on the project and is likely to remain so in the immediate future. Some measures are in place to increase staff salaries annually until they are comparable with those in other government sectors. Additionally, in agreement with APA, for some years CNF has been supplementing staff salaries within NP Administrations to help counter the seepage of rangers and other staff seeking better salaries. UNDP is well placed among these partners to strongly advocate, as necessary, that:

  • CNF makes available the salary supplement for Machakhela NP Administration; and

attractive financial provisions be made available for recruiting staff to manage the Machakhela PL.

4

Training in SMART patrolling, a recommendation adopted from the MTR was completed only in November 2018; hence, it will be important to ensure that SMART is introduced and training reinforced early in 2019, and then consolidated and reviewed collectively by the PA Administrations in Achara in order to identify, share and apply lessons learnt from their experiences.

5

[UNDP to advise, APA to follow up with Forestry Agency] Increasing connectivity of Colchic Forest fragments further, to address the remaining 6 km gap in protected forest cover between Machakhela NP and Mtirala/Kintrishi PA Complex, would seem to be an obvious further step to take in order to expand the integrity of protected Colchic Forest, especially given its global value in the light of the recent nomination of Mtirala and Kintrishi for World Heritage listing.

Most of this 6 km gap is under the Forestry Agency so it would be appropriate to highlight its importance in the local forestry 10-year plan and ensure appropriate protection and other management measures are prescribed. The main barrier to connectivity is the highway but this applies principally to mammals and not forest.

1. Recommendation:

1/ In general, now that the project’s Technical Coordination Group is over, it is proposed that an appropriate way of taking forward some of the recommendations below would be to bring them to the attention of the Technical Coordination platform that UNDP facilitates on behalf of the donor community. This could provide an appropriate opportunity to consider further how some of these actions might be institutionalized/resourced

Management Response: [Added: 2019/06/05]

Agree. Indeed, the Technical Coordination Group proved to be useful platform for coordination. UNDP, in cooperation with Agency of Protected Areas (APA) will follow up on this through  the UNDP-GEF project: Enhancing Financial Sustainability of the Protected Areas System of Georgia.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Continue holding the Technical Coordination group meetings, at least once per year involving key donor agencies and projects supporting PA’s of Georgia
[Added: 2019/06/05]
UNDP Georgia, UNDP-GEF PA sustainability project 2023/12 Initiated
2. Recommendation:

2/ Proposed Machakhela Protected Landscape: Fundamentally most important is to designate the Lower Valleys of Machakhela Gorge as a protected landscape during the early part of 2019, in line with the extensive research, consultation and consensus generated by the project during the latter part of its term. UNDP is well placed to continue to follow up with national and regional governments, as appropriate, through its Czech-funded initiative that is supported the development of a management plan for the proposed Machakhela Protected Landscape. If technical problems are delaying the designation of this Protected Landscape, it may be appropriate to explore whether or not technical assistance would be welcomed by government and, if so, whether or not the Czech Government would be amenable to extending their present support in order to maintain the momentum and realize this objective, to which so many stakeholders in government (national, regional, municipal and PA Administrations), among the communities in Machakhela and donors have contributed.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/06/05]

Agree. UNDP will continue follow up to the process through Czech-UNDP partnership  project: Machakhela Protected Landscape management planning (MAPLMAN). Moreover, UNDP will maintain advocacy on the issue with relevant authorities

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
a) Preparation of Machakhela PL Management structure Proposal b) Capacity building of Khelvachauri Municipality on PL management c) Preparation of the Management Plan Outline
[Added: 2019/06/05] [Last Updated: 2020/01/16]
UNDP Georgia, UNDP-GEF PA sustainability project 2019/12 Completed Machakhela Protected Landscape (PL) Management structure Proposal, as well as the PL Management Plan Outline prepared and formally submitted to the Government of Khelvachauri municipality. Capacity building activities for the Khelvachauri Municipality completed, including the study tour to the Czech Republic. Achara Supreme Council has initiated the process of the legal establishment of Machakheli PL with the parliament of Georgia. Financial support for the above activities received from the Czech-UNDP Partnership (CUP) for the Sustainable Development Goals. History
3. Recommendation:

3/ Staff retention and continuity within APA is an issue that impacted on the project and is likely to remain so in the immediate future. Some measures are in place to increase staff salaries annually until they are comparable with those in other government sectors. Additionally, in agreement with APA, for some years CNF has been supplementing staff salaries within NP Administrations to help counter the seepage of rangers and other staff seeking better salaries. UNDP is well placed among these partners to strongly advocate, as necessary, that:

  • CNF makes available the salary supplement for Machakhela NP Administration; and

attractive financial provisions be made available for recruiting staff to manage the Machakhela PL.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/06/05]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to advocate with APA and CNF to increase the staff salaries and/or make available the salary supplement for Machakhela NP Administration;
[Added: 2019/06/05]
UNDP Georgia 2019/05 Completed In April 2019 the APA has increased salary of the PA staff. Compared to Y2017 level the salary of rangers and administration staff has doubled.
4. Recommendation:

Training in SMART patrolling, a recommendation adopted from the MTR was completed only in November 2018; hence, it will be important to ensure that SMART is introduced and training reinforced early in 2019, and then consolidated and reviewed collectively by the PA Administrations in Achara in order to identify, share and apply lessons learnt from their experiences.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/06/05]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP in cooperation with APA and CNF to support the process of introduction of SMART system in Achara PA’s
[Added: 2019/06/05]
UNDP Georgia, UNDP-GEF PA sustainability project 2020/12 Not Initiated According to the PA sustainability project workplan the activity will be initiated in 2020
5. Recommendation:

[UNDP to advise, APA to follow up with Forestry Agency] Increasing connectivity of Colchic Forest fragments further, to address the remaining 6 km gap in protected forest cover between Machakhela NP and Mtirala/Kintrishi PA Complex, would seem to be an obvious further step to take in order to expand the integrity of protected Colchic Forest, especially given its global value in the light of the recent nomination of Mtirala and Kintrishi for World Heritage listing.

Most of this 6 km gap is under the Forestry Agency so it would be appropriate to highlight its importance in the local forestry 10-year plan and ensure appropriate protection and other management measures are prescribed. The main barrier to connectivity is the highway but this applies principally to mammals and not forest.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/06/05]

Partially agree. UNDP can only advise and follow up and the final decision on ensuring appropriate protection and management measures shall be made by the Forestry agency

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To share with APA and Achara A.R. Forestry Agency the Terminal Evaluation report and “Achara PA Project Impact, Lessons Learned, and Recommendations Report”, emphasizing the importance of Increasing connectivity of Colchic Forest fragments by ensuring appropriate protection and other management measures in the forest areas management by the forestry agency.
[Added: 2019/06/05]
UNDP CO 2019/05 Completed UNDP has completed its action and will continue on advocating for consideration of the recommendation by APA/Forestry

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