Mid Term Evaluation of Protected Area Finance Project

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Evaluation Plan:
2017-2020, Seychelles
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
08/2018
Completion Date:
08/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
20,000

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Title Mid Term Evaluation of Protected Area Finance Project
Atlas Project Number: 00088837
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2020, Seychelles
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2018
Planned End Date: 08/2018
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Environment & Sustainable Development
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.1. National and sub-national systems and institutions enabled to achieve structural transformation of productive capacities that are sustainable and employment - and livelihoods- intensive
Evaluation Budget(US $): 20,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 18,000
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Dr. Camille Bann Independent Consultant camille.bann@envecconsulting.com
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Protedted Area Finance Project
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 00095320
PIMS Number: 4656
Key Stakeholders: Government, UNDP PCU, Seychelles National Parks Authority, Environmental NGOs
Countries: SEYCHELLES
Lessons
1.

Project Design

  • The project remains of high strategic relevance given: (i) the current on-going process to expand the PA system, and the need to generate new finances to address the financing gap facing both existing and new PAs; and, (ii) that the sustainable management of the Seychelles’ biodiversity and natural capital, much of which is found in its PA system, is vital to the economy and well-being in Seychelles
  • The project aligns with the Government’s strong commitment to Pas and is in line with the national sector development priorities and plans
  • The Government needs to play a stronger role in driving the project going forward.
  • PAF also builds on past GEF Projects such as ‘Strengthening Seychelles’ protected area system through NGO management modalities and compliments current GEF projects and other key initiatives such as ‘Expansion of Protected Areas in Outer Island’, The Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust Fund (SeyCCAT) and the MSP initiative.
  •  Furthermore, the project is aligned with nature-based tourism set out under the new GEF7 programming directions, demonstrating PAF’s innovative and leadership potential.

 

 

 


2.

Progress Towards Results

  • The SNPA Strategic Plan (2017-2021) and approval of SNPA financial autonomy have been presented
  • SNPA corporate identify and branding guidelines have been developed and are being applied to all SNPA signage and information materials,
  • The project supported the operationalization of the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust Fund (SeyCCAT), which is utilizing funds from the 2015 Debt buy-back agreement and building the asset base to finance management and conservation of the expanded MPA system.

3.

Component 1

  • The Protected Areas System Financing and Investment Plan for Seychelles has been completed, validated by stakeholders and presented to the Ministry of Finance Trade and Economic Planning (MFTEP).
  • Development of Management Plans (MP) - ongoing and covering 13 sites.
  • An economic assessment of the contribution of tourism in State-managed PAs to the country’s economy using the Tourism Economic Model for Protected Areas (TEMPA) is currently on hold
  • An Online and point of sale ticketing system is due to go live in January 2019, after a 3 month testing and training period
  • Corporate identity and branding guidelines have been finalized for SNPA and are being applied to all SNPA signage and information materials. A new logo and website were developed

4.

Component 2

  • The SNPA Strategic Plan provides a justification for a revenue retention critical in securing SNPA’s financial autonomy from January 2019.This means that SNPA will be able to retain any excess revenue and re-invested it in nature conservation.
  • In 2017 a systematic assessment of all nature trails was conducted and recorded in a database, providing precise information on the exact number, location and type of improvements to be implemented on 11 of the most popular SNPA trails. which can inform similar developments at other sites.

5.

Management Arrangements

  • The NPD recognizes the importance of the project. He is the project’s main means of communicating with other Ministries such as the MOF and partners.
  • There is a small but strong, cohesive and complementary project team in place consisting of a Project Manager and full time Technical Advisor.
  • The Technical Advisor’s position has been extended until December 2019.  It is not clear if there will be funds beyond this to support this role, and this has important implications for the profiling and prioritization of the technical aspects of the project related to PA site and system level financing

6.

Work Planning

  • The PM prepares annual work plans, which are discussed and shared with the partners. Some work-plans prepared by partners lack detail, making it hard to clearly identify how money is being spent.

7.

Finance and co-finance

  • Underspending against agreed annual work-plans has been an issue throughout the project, and has implications for all partners as if 80% expenditure overall is not reached, additional direct payments cannot be disbursed from the UNDP system.
  • The Project has a GEF grant of US$2,776,900, 48% of which has been spent as of June 2018, based on UNDP’s Combined Delivery Report (CDR).
  • PCU Administration cost are under 5% of the total GEF grant. Administrative costs are likely to decrease when the new Project (GEF 6) starts in 2019, as the costs will be allocated across five projects rather than four.

 


8.

Project-level Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Monitoring and Evaluation activities and responsibilities and budgets are clearly set out in the Project Document.
  • All reporting for the project has been on time.

9.

Stakeholder Engagement

  • The project involves a diverse range of partners – Government, parastatals, NGOs, which is challenging.
  • All project partners are members of the SC and participated in training on enforcement, management planning and business planning
  • The President is committed to the MSP initiative and to PAs and supports SNPAs move to financial autonomy.
  • Given the dependence of the project on a range of Government approvals, it is key in the next half of the project that the NPD acts as a champion for the project to ensure that the project can progress efficiently.

10.

Reporting and adaptive management

  • The project has demonstrated adaptive management through its approach to managing SNPA works under component 2 by recognizing the need to first prioritize and properly plan and project mange the work to ensure quality outputs
  • By supporting a framework management plan for Fond Ferdinand (a new PA site), requested by Government;
  • The project provides technical support a range of consultants to develop business plans to develop capacity in this area.

11.

Communications

  • A number of partners stated that they would like to be better informed of what other partners are doing and project outcomes.
  • It was noted at the validation workshop for the MTR that the previous GEF NGO project on PAs tried a number of times to address information sharing through a range of means – none of which worked due to unwillingness among partners for sharing such information
  • Creation of a project database of lessons learnt, tools (and conditions under which they are most applicable) and templates is important.  Lessons have not been systematically documented as yet, but should be prioritized in the second half of the project.
  • This information should be accessible to different stakeholder groups in order to support better future decision-making processes in protected areas and more consistent adoption of best practice.

 

 


12.

Sustainability

The PAF Project in the long term is contingent to the following risks to sustainability.

  • Financial risk: SeyCCAT represents a longer-term mechanism, which can continue the work of PA finance.  The close working relationship between the two entities is very promising in this respect and ensures a sustainable option
  • Socio-economic risks: All stakeholders recognize the importance of sustainable finance to the future viability of Seychelles existing and proposed PAs.
  • Institutional Framework and Governance risks: There is an element of political uncertainty. The elections in 2015 resulted for the opposition holding the balance in the National Assembly for the first time. While in October 2016, the President stepped down and was replaced by the Vice President, resulting in a call for new elections.
  • Responsiveness to adopt plans: Project progress is hindered by the responsiveness of the MEECC to ensure that finalized plans, such as the PA Financial plan (completed in 2016) are formally endorsed and adopted by the Government of Seychelles.
  • Environmental risks: There is the risk of climate change and potential negative environmental impacts from infrastructural development – cited in the project’s Risk Matrix and considered to be low.

Findings
1.

Project Design

  • The expanded system will greatly increase the number of protected areas in the Outer Islands which are remote and involve more partners including private island owners, conservation organizations and the private sector involved in marine activities
  •  Project  could be upscaled and could work with MSP and SEYCCAT to find working solutions and financing mechanisms to support both inner and outer islands.
  • PAs in the Seychelles are currently not managed holistically as a system.

2.

Progress Towards Results

  • SNPA's Strategic Plan presents a good example for other Ministries in Seychelles and is available on the Indian Ocean Commission website as an illustration of best practices. 
  • SNPA financial autonomy, to come into place in January 2019, is critical for the revitalization of SNPA.
  • SNPA corporate identity and branding guidelines will contribute to consolidating SNPA’s position in Government as well as in the public eye as the principal agency responsible for PA strategy and management, justifying financial autonomy and strengthening its voice in future discussions about PA system expansion.
  •  The PAF TA sits on the SeyCCAT Finance committee and is actively involved in discussions to strengthen national PA financing at a system scale through innovative financial mechanisms.

3.

Component 1 

  • The development of management plans have faced delays related to difficulties identifying consultants with the right skill set to lead the MP and/or delays in the review and approval of plans by SNPA related to their limited capacity in this area.
  • Due to perceived unwillingness of tourism operators to accept additional charges/taxes the project currently awaits further guidance from the NPD as to whether to proceed with TEMPA.   Meanwhile the project is collaborating with  the GEF SWIOFISH3 project to undertake an ecosystem services valuation to support the MSP.
  • Strong enforcement will be needed when the system is introduced to embed the new system and change behavior to ensure that all revenues are accounted for.
  • The project is starting to work on a SNPA Marketing and Communications Plan, to be finalized by December 2018. This will act as an amendment to the SNPA Strategic Plan. Marketing and Communications training is planned for all PAs / partners.

4.

Component 2  

  • The infrastructure work and signage undertaken at the start of the project, before the PM and TA were on board, was not of a high standard.
  • The signs were often in the wrong place and lacked conformity;
  • The work on the information displays at the Doctors House at Curieuse NP has missing text in some places and duplication in others highlighting the need for quality control / review measures to be put in place. 
  • The project is supporting the piloting of new and innovative revenue-generation systems in various PAs managed by the project partners.
  • The PAF project is working with SeyCCAT to create new opportunities to further capitalize SeyCCAT and support protected area management. The Finance Committee has approved two new financing options to be investigated: (i) a Blue Enterprise Fund and (ii) a tourist conservation levy. The project is providing inputs on both of these initiatives, which are not purely linked to PAs.

5.

Management Arrangements

  • The Project Manager and Technical Advisor are part of the Programme Coordination Unit (PCU), and therefore hired by the Government (MEECC), not by UNDP.
  • The PCU overseas the implementation of GEF and other projects and supports the Government. It is currently managing 4 projects 
  • There are cost efficiencies associated with this set up as normally each (GEF) project would have their own administrative and finance staff, while under the PCU one person manages the finances, for example, for all 4 projects. The system makes it easier to attract, train and develop good finance and administrative personnel, since the work is not project specific allowing a more secure and longer term career path. 
  • This is particular suited to Seychelles which due to its small size has a limited talent base to draw on.
  • The Steering Committee intends to meet every six months and has held 3 meetings so far (January 2016, February 2017, October 2017), which have been well attended.
  • UNDP has an oversight and monitoring. The fact that UNDP and the PCU are located in the same office, facilitates communication and collaboration. The (UNDP) RTA has been involved in the project since its inception. She visits once a year.

6.

Work Planning

  • The project initially faced delays due to the hiring of the project team (Project Manager and Technical Advisor), who were in place 6 months into the project.

7.

Finance and co-finance

  • The project has benefitted from some cost –effective interventions.  For example, MEECC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of PRC’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to install solar photovoltaic panels at Curieuse PA. The project has been very active in supporting the implementation of this South-South climate change cooperation framework this was brokered by UNDP Seychelles following notification from UNDP in China.It represents an $80,000 cost saving to the project (Activity 2.2.6).
  • Delays caused by Government processes in releasing funds to partners or consultants have been a constraint, but have not had a significant impact on overall PCU effectiveness.
  • Partner organizations have received training to adjust to the new financial reporting, specifically the FACE Forms, implemented by UNDP.
  • The project was independently audited in April 2018.  No issues were identified.

8.

Project-level Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Partners have not always submitted their individual reports in time to be included in the project quarterly reports, despite there being clear deadlines
  • The METTs and Financial Scorecards are also produced in collaboration with partners and are core evaluation tools for the project.

9.

Stakeholder Engagement

  • All partners, with the exception of Nature Seychelles, expressed the view during the MTR interviews that they are happy / very happy with the project and the support it has provided. Nature Seychelles, felt that the project had for example, not responded to their requests, made decisions behind closed doors diverting money without telling them and had failed to invite them to SC meetings.  A review of email exchanges and other documentation confirms that NS has attended all SC meetings and has been invited to all training and other consultative meetings, and received technical support when requested. The NS grant is comparable to other organisations and there is no evidence that funds were diverted inappropriately
  • Technical support has been strong, engagement has been dynamic and the project has achieved good visibility.
  • The project has engaged with the Private Sector, especially with regard to infrastructure development for SNPA. The tourism assessments of SNPA sites as well as Fond Ferdinand involved multiple interviews with private sector businesses with an interest in the success of the PAs. The private sector has provided both technical support and financial support.
  • The project has strong relationships with a number of related projects including Global UNDP projects such as BIOFIN, AF's EbA project etc...

10.

Reporting and adaptive management

  • The review of 2017 PIR indicated that no significant adaptive management was required.
  • All reports have been well presented

11.

Communications

  • A learning exchange with Comoros and Maldives, planned for November 2017 was canceled due to the political situation in the Maldives. It had been set up to encourage greater cooperation and collaboration between Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in the Indian Ocean Region on PA financing.
  • A view was expressed that while this knowledge exchange would strengthen collaboration in the region and allow Seychelles to disseminate its experiences and knowledge, there is also a need to identify exchanges with countries at similar to more advanced level of experience in PA finance from whom the Seychelles can learn (e.g. Jamaica, Belize, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Egypt)
  • The project has contributed to UNDP SIDS newsletter (February 2017), which has attracted enquires from UNDP projects in St. Kitts and Nevis as well as Mauritius.
  • The project TA has offered to provide advice and peer review of the St. Kitts and Nevis PA Financial Plan as well as present the project to UNDP Mauritius. The intention is to contribute towards South-South knowledge sharing and cooperation on PA financing (PIR, 2017).
  • The project developed a database containing over 40 examples of terrestrial and marine business plans from around the world and guidelines for their development. This is currently openly available in a dropbox, but it would be better if it was attached more formally to a website as a global resource.  Options include the BesNET website- financed by UNDP for the Conservation Finance Alliance website who are happy to host the information.
  • Changing attitudes and building support for PAs in the Seychelles is important. Educational awareness campaigns by the project targeted at local Seychellois include the production of two posters on the benefits generated by terrestrial and marine PAs, which have been disseminated as national newspaper supplements, and directly to local communities, schools and environment clubs as a learning tool, and newspaper articles. 
  • The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) has been very active in advertising the PA trails.  The PAF project has recently met with the Seychelles Tourism Board over the development of an App for tourism in PAs. The project and STB have agreed to investigate new, more strategic areas of collaboration, which will be identified during the marketing training organized for all PAs by the project.

 

 


12.

Sustainability

The PAF Project in the long term is contingent to the following risks to sustainability.

  • Financial risk: Financial stability is however a significant challenge given that there is a financing gap facing the current system of PA, and the SeyCCAT does not have enough money to finance the proposed expanded systems.  It is critical therefore that alongside the support PAF provide at its project sites, it works with SeyCCAT to identify mechanisms that will grow its asset base and work at a system level. 
  • Socio-economic risks: Public and stakeholder awareness could be increased to support the long term objectives of the project. Lessons learned need to be methodically documented by the project going forward and widely shared/ transferred to appropriate parties to support replication and upscaling.
  • Institutional Framework and Governance risks: SNPA transition is considered to be a risk to the project, especially if the current slow down in implementing SNPA activities continues. Delays in legislation also pose a major risk to the long term sustainability of the project
  • Responsiveness to adopt plans: Delays in formal approval by government and being adopted may be a potential risk especially in this political climate.
  • Environmental risks: Seychelles relies on high-end international tourism. This is likely to continue to be the mainstay of conservation financing, although this model could be vulnerable to impacts of natural disasters (e.g. tsunamis and climate change in the long run), or a resurgence in piracy.

Recommendations
1

Complete the revisions to Results Matrix as per the findings and recommendations in the MTR.

Recommendation to: Project team, UNDP

2

Silhouette (activity 2.2.10) - concrete progress is required within the current quarter (July- September 2018) or funds shall be reallocated by the project.

Recommendation to: SNPA, ICS, Silhouette Foundation

3

Decision on activity 1.2.2 – Quantification of the contribution of the PA system to the economy of Seychelles

Recommendation to: NPD, PSC

4

Improving Project Management

Recommendation to:PCU, UNDP

5

NPD / MEECC to champion project to ensure that relevant legislation is endorsed by Cabinet.

Recommendation to: NPD, Minister MEECC

6

Support for SNPA to enhance capacity and delivery

Recommendation to: Project team, SNPA

7

PAF to focus on supporting development of a PA System through its development of PA sustainable financing mechanisms

Recommendation to:Project team and partners

8

Build cohesion between project partners

Recommendation to: Project team and partners

9

Build closer working relationship with ETF

Recommendation to: Project team, ETF, SeyCCAT

10

Improve Communications / Knowledge sharing.

Recommendation to: Project team, UNDP

11

Strengthen partnerships with the Minister of Tourism.

Recommendation to: Project team, Ministry of Tourism

12

Enhance engagement with the private sector

Recommendation to: Project team

1. Recommendation:

Complete the revisions to Results Matrix as per the findings and recommendations in the MTR.

Recommendation to: Project team, UNDP

Management Response: [Added: 2018/09/13] [Last Updated: 2018/10/03]

In regard to sub-recommendations 1.2 and 1.3 UNDP agrees and the recommendations will be presented for agreement of the Project Steering Committee.  The changes to the project logframe are minimal and will require RTA approval only, pending agreement of the Steering Committee. 

Sub-recommendation 1.4 recognises parallel activities in undertaking capacity assessments by other projects within PCU which limits the need for the current project to broaden its own capacity assessment scorecard, even though the scorecards completed to date encompass only two of the project partners.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 North Island and Denis Island to be removed as indicator sites, as they are not protected areas and are unlikely to be designated within the time frame of the project.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
Steering Committee, Project Manager 2018/09 Completed This action was reviewed and approved by Steering Committee on 27th September 2018.
1.2 Indicator 9c [Novel/ innovative sources incl. PES] to be revised to reflect the best current opportunities in innovative financing for PAs. a) Project to realign its activities under this indicator to supporting SeyCCAT to develop their Blue Enterprise Fund and Tourism Conservation Levy b) Project to continue to monitor options for PES and Biodiversity Offsets and support their development if the opportunity arises c) End of Project target revised to ‘At least 1 mechanism trialed, most likely Blue Enterprise Fund or Tourism Conservation Levy’
[Added: 2018/10/03]
Steering Committee, Project Manager 2020/12 Initiated The Steering committee has agreed to review the indicators. The sub actions in this recommendation are ongoing and have already been endorsed by the SC
1.3 Glass bottom boat at SNPA sites (Activity 2.2.8) to be dropped and funds reallocated to other SNPA activities a) Funds freed up by action 1.3 to be re-allocated following discussion with SNPA as to the best use of these funds b) Reallocation of funds to be proposed commencing 2019 workplan (no funds are allocated under this line in 2018)
[Added: 2018/10/03]
Steering Committee, PM 2018/09 Completed This recommendation was approved by SC
1.4 Capacity Scorecards – Measurement of progress against indicator 6 is problematic as the baseline was only established for SNPA, ICS and the PCU at project design. Furthermore, assessments by other projects (namely the Outer Islands project in November 2016, and the planned capacity assessments under the proposed Ridge to Reef (R2R) project (GEF6) indicate that an additional assessment by PAF is not needed at this stage. a) Project to undertake an assessment for ICS and SNPA, which can act as indicators for capacity building for the project (with particular emphasis on SNPA to help inform their capacity development) for the Terminal Evaluation
[Added: 2018/10/03]
PCU, PM and TA 2020/12 Not Initiated The SC agreed that Capacity Development scorecards can be updated closer to the TE stage as assessments by other projects are ongoing
2. Recommendation:

Silhouette (activity 2.2.10) - concrete progress is required within the current quarter (July- September 2018) or funds shall be reallocated by the project.

Recommendation to: SNPA, ICS, Silhouette Foundation

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/03]

This issue has been discussed between all parties and also brought to the attention of the Project Steering Committee.  UNDP recognises and is fully supportive of the partners’ attempts to reach agreement on a way forward, but if this cannot be achieved in a timely manner – given the long delays thus far – a line has to be drawn and the available funds reallocated to other priority actions of SNPA.  It is also important that if agreement is reached on a management mechanism, then there is buy-in and associated financial support from partners - particularly the primary income-generating tourism operator, whose contribution is currently minimal.  Project funds may only be used in support of project-relevant actions within the financing framework, not as a primary funding source for management plan implementation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Revised project proposal which satisfies the objectives of the project, adopted by the Silhouette Foundation by the end of August 2018. Includes a commitment to update the existing terrestrial management plan, recently finalized by ICS, to include the Marine National Park, which will enable Silhouette Island to be managed as one integrated site with associated revenue sharing arrangements
[Added: 2018/10/03]
SC, SNPA, ICS, IDC, Silhouette Foundation, PM 2018/10 Overdue-Initiated At the SC held on 27/9 the decision was made to extend the August deadline to mid October 2018 for IDC and SNPA to reach an agreement. However with CEO of IDC being unavailable until 22nd October, UNDP has agreed to wait until October end. If the deadline passes with no formal agreement reached UNDP will write a letter to the Minister advising the reallocation of funds.
2.2 Detailed work plan and budget submitted and approved to the Project Steering Committee.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
PM, PCU, SNPA, ICS, Silhouette Foundation, NPD 2018/10 Overdue-Not Initiated See comments in action 2.1
2.3 Updated integrated management plan with a fully costed implementation plan.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
SNPA, ICS, Silhouette Foundation, PCU, PM 2018/12 Overdue-Not Initiated Refer to comments in Key action 2.1
2.4 Sustainable financing plan for the integrated management of both the terrestrial and marine national parks developed and formally adopted by the Silhouette Foundation.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
SNPA, ICS, Silhouette Foundation 2019/04 Not Initiated In the event that the parties agree, if not the funds will be re-programmed
2.5 MEECC to develop the regulations for Silhouette National Park (including both the marine and terrestrial national parks in an integrated regulation).
[Added: 2018/10/03]
MEECC, SNPA, ICS, IDC, PM 2018/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
2.6 Progress as per the work-plan to be assessed by PAF at the end of September 2018 and again at the end of December 2018, with the view of reducing or removing the grant allocation if adequate progress has not been mad
[Added: 2018/10/03]
PM, SC, UNDP, RTA 2018/11 Overdue-Not Initiated If discussions with SNPA, IDC, ICS and Silhouette Foundation do not result in a concrete plan by Oct 2018, funds will be reallocated.
3. Recommendation:

Decision on activity 1.2.2 – Quantification of the contribution of the PA system to the economy of Seychelles

Recommendation to: NPD, PSC

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/03]

UNDP notes that the idea of a TEMPA study has some time ago been put forward by the project team as a means of quantifying the actual (direct and indirect) contribution of protected areas to the national economy and particularly to the tourism industry.  This is currently on hold pending a decision from Government as to whether this study should take place.  As noted by the MTR report this is largely due to political sensitivities surrounding the tourism industry and its – currently minimal – contribution to the maintenance of the natural resource base upon which the industry relies.  Given the new leadership at the Ministry of Tourism, however, UNDP considers that it is an appropriate time to tackle the industry’s general reluctance to accept a significant level of responsibility in this respect (see also response to recommendation 11).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 NPD to facilitate a decision between the project, Government and Steering Committee on the way forward. - PAF can support a TEMPA study (if approved by Government) or additional money could be allocated to support the SWIOFISH3 consultancy on ecosystem services.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
NPD, PM, SC 2018/10 Overdue-Initiated The SC agreed that the TEMPA study would be beneficial.
4. Recommendation:

Improving Project Management

Recommendation to:PCU, UNDP

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/03]

UNDP undertakes to re-emphasize to partners the importance of living up to co-financing commitments agreed at project development stage.  In some cases, the level of co-financing that was expected at inception cannot be delivered due to changed circumstances, e.g. MEECC’s contribution which relates to funds to be disbursed through SeyCCAT and which are now considerably less than expected due to a lesser debt swap amount and delays in starting the (reduced) disbursements.

In regard to sub-recommendations 4.2 and 4.3, UNDP acknowledges the excellent job done by the project TA, which is also highly regarded by partners.  It is certainly necessary to define how activities currently led by the TA can be completed in 2019, or if longer term can be absorbed by others.  An extension beyond 2019 would require movement of funds between budget lines, even if funds could be freed up; this might be difficult to justify unless there are further significant upheavals within the project beneficiary institutions.

In regard to sub-recommendation 4.4, UNDP notes the unqualified audit reports of the project which indicate that there are no financial issues in regard to reporting by the project and partners.  However, UNDP undertakes to require some partners to provide more details within their workplans and expenditures in future.

In regard to sub-recommendation 4.5, UNDP will emphasize to the partner concerned that on-site monitoring is an essential part of project oversight and continued funding will be contingent on this.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 PAF project manager / PCU to resolve issues around project co-financing: a) Determine how much support will be forthcoming over the remaining project period and how this can best support the work-plan, with a focus on partners for whom contributions are significantly below commitments at the midterm (i.e. Denis Private Island, MEECC, Nature Seychelles, SNPA). b) Work with MEECC and SeyCATT to quantifycurrent and future co-financing by MEECC.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
PAF, MEECC, NS, SNPA, SeyCATT 2018/11 Overdue-Initiated MEECC to relook at co-financing letter
4.2 The TA position is scheduled to end in December 2019: a) Workplans / priorities going forward take this into account to ensure that the TA’s time is strategically allocated, and that the work can be completed within the timeframe and /or sustained by others.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
Project team and partners 2019/01 Overdue-Not Initiated TA exit strategy to be clarified in AWP 2019 due December 2018.
4.3 Review all activities in Q1 2019 to determine if there is scope in the budget (due to underspending, or under-performing activities which may be curtailed) to extend the Technical Advisor position beyond December 2019, if the Steering Committee are in support of this
[Added: 2018/10/03]
Project team, PSC 2019/06 Not Initiated
4.4 All partners detail their workplans / programmes as requested by PM (e.g. provision of details on sub-activities and allocated budgets, especially where there is a deviation from the annual workplans) so that it is clear what money is being spent on.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
All partners, PM 2018/12 Overdue-Initiated
4.5 PAF and Denis Island to arrange a first visit by PAF to see project opportunities at site level.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
PM, GIF, Dennis Island 2018/11 Overdue-Initiated
4.6 Branding: All partners ensure that they acknowledge GEF Funding in their promotional materials as per GEF branding guidelines.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
Project team with all Partners 2020/12 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

NPD / MEECC to champion project to ensure that relevant legislation is endorsed by Cabinet.

Recommendation to: NPD, Minister MEECC

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/03]

Project implementation been hampered by delays in final approval of key documents by Government – i.e. once the documents are passed on to the MEECC / MOF for final endorsement.  Follow-up by the MEECC has not always been effective and UNDP concurs with the MTR finding that this needs closer attention by the NPD.  More effective ownership of the process by MEECC would also assist in wider dissemination of project outputs and results nationally and internationally.

The delay in Government approval of the new National Reserves and Conservancy Act, which is based on the PA Policy approved in 2013, is delaying several activities within this and other projects.  TheNPD is closely involved in the process of approving the new Act, in his capacity as responsible Principal Secretary at MEECC, but relies on other arms of Government to see the process through.  As of August 2018, the Act still remains at the Attorney General’s Office. The Cabinet then will decide whether the Act needs to go through the National Assembly or not.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 NPD to be responsible for the approval and adoption of the Protected Area Finance Plan, a key output for the project, through liaising with the MOF and Cabinet.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
NPD, MEECC, PM 2018/10 Overdue-Initiated
5.2 Meeting with the new Minister of Environment held to present the project: MTR results and future activities are a priority
[Added: 2018/10/03]
NPD, PM 2018/11 Overdue-Not Initiated
5.3 Ensure National Reserves and Conservancy Act has been submitted to Cabinet
[Added: 2018/10/03]
NPD, Minister MEECC 2018/12 Overdue-Initiated
5.4 Ensure technical outputs by the project are adopted by Government and championed/publicized by MEECC
[Added: 2018/10/03]
MEECC, NPD, PM 2020/12 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Support for SNPA to enhance capacity and delivery

Recommendation to: Project team, SNPA

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/03]

UNDP highlights this as a crucial issue as SNPA capacity is currently minimal and the Authority needs to be ready for the transition to financial autonomy within a very short timeline.  The project has already put in a lot of preparatory work for the transition, andit is a key result of the project to have reached the stage of financial autonomy having been granted.  The project will continue to expend the time and effort needed to support the preparation stage.  However, it is crucial that Government also supports the capacity building of the Authority ahead of the transition date to ensure the Authority hits the ground running rather than being expected to change its entire mode of operation (including hiring additional staff necessary to facilitate the new status) from one day to the next.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Delivery mechanism clarified: a) PAF and SNPA to specify the delivery mechanisms for project activities by the end of September 2018. b) Focal point for the PAF project and lead persons for specific activities identified as appropriate
[Added: 2018/10/03]
SNPA, Project team 2018/09 Overdue-Initiated
6.2 Quality assurance process for SNPA signage and information adopted: a) All printed outputs to be reviewed by the SNPA Technical Advisory Committee b) Printing of all outputs being paid by the project must receive formal approval from PM and TA before they are printed
[Added: 2018/10/03]
SNPA, PM, TA, PCU 2020/12 Initiated
6.3 A manager is hired using SNPA’s allocated grant funding to ensure the timely delivery of SNPA project activities under component 2. (This is based on the view that SNPA are not currently resourced to manage the activities in-house, and further delays have cost implications and increase the risk of activities not being finalized within the project time frame to the required level of quality. The appointed person should work with the new SNPA maintenance officer to help build their capacity, but should not be involved in SNPA activities not funded by the PAF.*)
[Added: 2018/10/03]
SNPA, PAF, PM, PCU 2018/11 Overdue-Not Initiated This has been deemed to be of critical importance and expected to be completed by October-November 2018. Its been stated that in order not to lose the expertise developed by the appointee, SNPA should aim to include the person within their revised human resource structure post-financial autonomy – i.e. absorbing the person by 2020.
6.4 PAF to fund a legal and institutional expert to support SNPA in its negotiations with the Government regarding its transition to an autonomous body in January 2019. SNPA does not have a legal officer and it urgently needs legal advice.
[Added: 2018/10/03]
PM, PCU, SNPA 2018/09 Completed A legal consultant is on board to help support the SNPA on a short term basis.
6.5 PAF to present regularly to the SNPA Board, which meets every 2 months, to facilitate discussions on issues to be resolved by the project and their timely resolution. - PAF Quarterly Progress reports to be brought to the attention of SNPA Board, highlighting activities not on track. - Issues may be brought to the attention of the Board in advance of such reports if needed.
[Added: 2018/10/04]
SNPA, PM, TA, PCU 2020/12 Initiated
6.6 SNPA to develop a plan for increasing its human resource capacity, and to consider hiring staff on a contract basis in the near term to attract the right candidates for senior and mid-manager positions.
[Added: 2018/10/04]
SNPA, MEECC, DPA 2018/12 Overdue-Not Initiated This is outside the scope of the project. SNPA needs to critically evaluate its Human capacity needs- the project may be able only to support with interim measures.
7. Recommendation:

PAF to focus on supporting development of a PA System through its development of PA sustainable financing mechanisms

Recommendation to:Project team and partners

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/04]

As noted in the MTR Report, it has proven difficult (over many years pre-project and continuing at this time) to convince project partners to put aside individual interests and think more in terms of an integrated PA system.  The most effective approach has been to facilitate dialogue on common interests (as noted in point 7.1, and which will continue) and to develop themes that have a general buy-in, with partners opting out if they feel that their personal interests are compromised.  The mandate of the project is to develop potential financing mechanisms – in parallel and closely coordinated with SeyCCAT - and these may be followed up by partners as desired. 

It is up to Government to determine the role and responsibilities ofthe more system-focused PA Committee that is specified under the new PA Act, but this is unlikely to result in a binding commitment of partners to work together to develop a unified PA system.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 PAF to facilitate sharing of results between partners, and discussions on how their activities (supported by the project) can contribute to financing PA system.
[Added: 2018/10/04]
PM, TA, PCU, Partners 2020/12 Initiated
7.2 PAF to continue to work with SeyCCAT to help build its asset base and address funding gaps and system level financing solutions, and with MSP, e.g. through support on the costing of the MSP.
[Added: 2018/10/04]
SEYCCAT, PM, TA, MEECC, TNC 2020/12 Initiated
8. Recommendation:

Build cohesion between project partners

Recommendation to: Project team and partners

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/04]

UNDP feels that the project has done an excellent job thus far in bringing partners together in training and workshop sessions dealing with common interests (as noted in point 8.1).  This will continue with additional sessions being added to Steering Committee Meetings if time allows – but recognising that the purpose of the Steering Committee is primarily to make decisions on project issues rather than act as a forum for sharing information, and that the former will always take precedence.  Then idea of coordinating marketing using complimentary themes and identifying unique values of individual areas will rely on partner buy-in – since each partner is in effect competing for tourism revenue - and will also need coordination with Seychelles Tourism Board to ensure areas are promoted according to their merits and also to their capacity to handle visitors (the project has already commenced discussion with the STB on the issue of coordinated marketing).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1 PAF training to continue to be used as a mechanism to bring parties together.
[Added: 2018/10/04]
PAF Partners 2020/12 Initiated
8.2 Project to identify the most effective forum for sharing information between PA organisations.
[Added: 2018/10/04]
SC 2020/12 Initiated
8.3 The SNPA Marketing and Communication Strategy and related training (for all partners) brings all partners together to develop common [complimentary] marketing materials.
[Added: 2018/10/04]
PAF partners, SNPA, PM, TA 2019/10 Initiated
9. Recommendation:

Build closer working relationship with ETF

Recommendation to: Project team, ETF, SeyCCAT

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/04]

Management response: The project has a close working relationship with SeyCCAT and this will continue.  It still remains unclear whether the ETF will review its governance arrangements, in recognition of the common perception that the delivery of ETF has not been optimal.  The development of a closer relationship with ETF will depend to some extent on revision of the operational system of ETF.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
9.1 PAF to meet regularly with ETF and SeyCCAT to keep each other abreast of their funding proposals to maximize effectiveness of funding and avoid duplication.
[Added: 2018/10/04]
PAF, ETF, SeyCATT 2020/12 Initiated In the SC meeting held on 27 September it was mentioned by the NPD that the ETF modality was being relooked at and working modalities with ETF was to be discussed at a later date.
10. Recommendation:

Improve Communications / Knowledge sharing.

Recommendation to: Project team, UNDP

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/04]

UNDP recognises the importance of disseminating key lessons and documentation from the project and has already produced articles in its local/regional newsletters.  UNDP will support the project to link to international networks within and outside of UNDP to disseminate key outputs as they are developed, including opportunities to present results in international fora.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
10.1 PAF to document lessons learnt from the implementation of project activities, with clear guidance on how piloted activities may be up-scaled to other sites / Outer Islands. (These lessons could be developed together with OI Project, to demonstrate linkages, for example in relation to the business plans being developed under the OI project.)
[Added: 2018/10/04]
PAF TA, with support from partners 2020/12 Initiated
10.2 For each finance mechanism piloted or under design/consideration by the project an overview policy note (or alternative dissemination document) is developed that sets out the main features of the mechanism, their strengths and weaknesses, lessons learnt, where and how it can be applied in the Seychelles (e.g. site or system level or both) and conditions required for the mechanism to be successfully implemented. (This will be done in close collaboration with the NPD and shared with the MOF.)
[Added: 2018/10/04]
PAF TA, with support of project partners 2020/12 Initiated
10.3 A compendium of PA financing mechanisms applicable to Seychelles with links to technical documents and best practices globally is developed. - This information may also be used to update the Protected Area Finance Plan towards the end of the project. - The compendium could be linked to a national PA financing knowledge databasewhich potentially could be developed and made accessible to different stakeholder groups to support decision-making and consistent adoption of best practice. - Ideally this database would be updated and maintained post the project, if a suitable host could be identified.
[Added: 2018/10/04]
PAF, TA, with support from partners 2019/12 Not Initiated
10.4 PCU and UNDP to agree if the database of terrestrial and marine Business Plans from around the world, already collated by the PAF project and currently available in a dropbox, could be hosted on the BesNET or Conservation Finance Alliance website to increase their visibility.
[Added: 2018/10/04]
Project team, UNDP, RTA 2018/12 Overdue-Initiated
10.5 Dissemination: a) Photo essays and easily digestible and readable articles in multiple languages produced and disseminatedto publicize project messages and achievements, nationally and internationally, in the public eye and within the international development community. b) Increased use of social/mass media to enhance visibility. c) Engage with experienced journalists/communications experts at UNDP HQ to develop a suite of products.
[Added: 2018/10/04]
Project team 2019/12 Initiated These recommendations have been initiated and will continue throughout until December 2019
11. Recommendation:

Strengthen partnerships with the Minister of Tourism.

Recommendation to: Project team, Ministry of Tourism

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/04]

UNDP agrees and underlines the opportunity afforded by the new Minister of Tourism having been previously closely affiliated with the project, PCU and GEF projects in general.  UNDP also notes the increasing realization, fully supported by the new Minister, that the tourism industry should accept a higher level of responsibility for financial support of the natural resource base on which it depends and emphasizes the role that the project could play in facilitating the uptake of more diverse and improved financing mechanisms.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
11.1 Project to develop a closer working relationship with the MOT to derive mutually beneficial PA tourism initiatives. (Development of tourism in PAs helps to meet an objective of the Minister of Tourism to diversify the tourism offering in Seychelles and of the project to increase PA tourism related revenues which can then be reinvested into conservation. The fact that the Minister of Tourism, as the previous Minister MEECC, is familiar with the project, supports this partnership.)
[Added: 2018/10/04]
Project team, MOT 2020/12 Initiated
12. Recommendation:

Enhance engagement with the private sector

Recommendation to: Project team

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/04]

This recommendation is not clear, but UNDP notes that the project will continue to work with the tourism sector – maintaining the schedule of contacts and collaboration already developed.  Developing closer links with the actions and priorities of the Ministry of Tourism will facilitate this.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
12.1 In particular, the tourism sector (i.e. island resorts and local businesses), whose collaboration on PA financing (in terms of financial contributions and marketing of PAs) is expected to become more important as the PA system expands. This includes continuing to work with SNPA on hotel contributions and exploring new opportunities to work with the private sector (perhaps in collaboration with the MOT).
[Added: 2018/10/04]
Project team, PCU, MOT, MEECC, SNPA ,others 2020/12 Initiated

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