Terminal Evaluation – Expanding Network and Coverage of Terrestrial Protected Area Network

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2017-2023, Mauritius
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
12/2018
Completion Date:
05/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

Share

Title Terminal Evaluation – Expanding Network and Coverage of Terrestrial Protected Area Network
Atlas Project Number: 00058905
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2023, Mauritius
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 05/2018
Planned End Date: 12/2018
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.1 Capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other international agreements in development plans and budgets, and to analyse progress towards the SDGs, using innovative and data-driven solutions
  • 2. Output 2.1.1 Low emission and climate resilient objectives addressed in national, sub-national and sectoral development plans and policies to promote economic diversification and green growth
SDG Goal
  • 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
  • 15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
  • 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
  • 15.8 By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding: Project
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 30,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Mrs Laurence Reno
Dr Dominique ROBY
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Expanding Network and Coverage of Terrestrial Protected Area Network
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-4
GEF Project ID: 3526
PIMS Number: 3749
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security (NPCS), Ministry of Housing and Lands, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, NGOs
Countries: MAURITIUS
Comments:

The PAN project has been delayed and therefore the evaluation is shifted from the previous evaluation plan (2013-2016) to the current one (2017-2020). The final extension is for until April 2018. Hence the terminal evaluation is expected to be prepared by end 2017 or early 2018.

Lessons
1.

n/a


Findings
1.

Results Framework / Logframe

Use of the LF. Discussions about the logical framework (LF) elements and its use for adaptive management of the project showed that those responsible for the project management have made use of the LF indicators for their presentation of the annual workplan to the PSC. Risks have been analysed for their impact on the project during a Target Setting Workshop organized the UNDP CO, as reported in the PIR 2016.


Tag: Biodiversity Ecosystem based adaption Natural Resouce management Protected Areas Effectiveness Relevance Country Government Capacity Building

2.

3.1.2 Assumptions and Risks

The relevance of the risk analysis and of management and mitigation measures identified in the ProDoc is discussed in Table 5.

The MTR did not assess the identified risks individually, but indicated that “the low rate of delivery and the strategic deficit identified in the MTR report should now be considered critical risks”. From the review of the PIRs produced for the project, the delays caused by unduly lengthy procurement processes have been added as critical risks likely to counter the achievement of intended outcomes by the end of the project. These procurement issues were primarily about recruitment of staff within the PMU and of field workers for the clearing of IAS, and also the acquisition of equipment and the hiring of consultants, particularly for the knowledge management system and trainings. The PMU addressed this issue by briefing the Officer of the Sector Support to MoAIFS within the Ministry of Finance who is signatory for the project prior to submitting procurement requests and inviting him to attend presentations of the project work plans and achievements. Being better informed about the planning and the needs of the project, these officials are better able to validate them, which facilitated and sped up the procurement process.


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

3.

3.1.3 Lessons from other relevant projects (e.g., same focal area) incorporated into project design

The project design integrated best practices mainly for component 3 from other relevant projects such as a GEF-funded pilot project Restoration of Highly Degraded and Threatened Native Forests in Mauritius implemented in 1996-1999 which aimed to restore a plot of highly degraded native forest in the Black River Gorges National Park. The project created a Conservation Managed Area where experiments were undertaken to remove or control IAS such as fencing and native plants were sown or planted to restore biodiversity. This work was conducted besides control areas to be able to assess its effectiveness. The design of the component 3 further built from MWF’s experience and work done at the University of Mauritius and the Mauritius Herbarium in restoration projects in various sites in Mauritius namely for herbicide use for clearing IAS, and from pilot ecosystem restoration carried out under the UNEP-GEF project WIO-LaB (Addressing Land-Based Activities in the Western Indian Ocean) implemented by the NPCS in the BRGNP in 2006-2008.


4.

3.1.4 Planned stakeholder participation

Stakeholder analysis. All the main actors have been identified as well as their foreseen role in the project implementation. Information on planned stakeholder participation was presented in the section 2.6: Main stakeholders

Gender mainstreaming in project design: Women are affected differently by any intervention related to natural resource management and this aspect needs to be taken into account in the design and implementation of activities as well as the evaluation of their outcomes. However, this dimension has not been integrated into the project design and most of the parties involved are indeed men. No gender or social assessment has been carried out during the project preparation and implementation. The project M&E plan did not include disaggregated indicators to account specifically for women's participation in project activities and the effects on them..


Tag: Natural Resouce management Gender Mainstreaming

5.

3.1.5 Replication approach

As planned in the ProDoc, replication entailed the direct replication of selected project elements and practices and methods, as well as the scaling up of experiences, based on a knowledge management system (set up under Output 3.4) to ensure the effective collation and dissemination of experiences and information gained in the course of the project’s implementation. The knowledge management framework was developed and finalized in February 2017 to strengthen the FS and NPCS decision-making capacities for PA planning and management through recording, exchanging and disseminating information as part of the PANES implementation.


Tag: Relevance Knowledge management

6.

3.1.6 UNDP’s comparative advantage

UNDP’s comparative advantage for the GEF lies in its global network of country offices resource persons in environment at country and regional levels, and its country presence in Mauritius, which allows connecting the country to worldwide knowledge, expertise and resources. UNDP’s experience in integrated policy development, human resources development, institutional strengthening, and non-governmental participation was also relevant to this project, especially for the components 1 and 2 which aimed at strengthening the legislative framework and institutional capacities. UNDP’s comparative advantage is also related to UNDP close relationship with the Government of Mauritius and its credibility as project are subjected to multiple audits, which ensures the transparency of project management.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Policies & Procedures Strategic Positioning UN Country Team Capacity Building

7.

3.1.7 Linkages between project and other interventions within the sector

The project established a cooperation with the following projects:

  • UNDP-GEF Protected Areas Financing in Seychelles. The PMU made an agreement with the CTA of this project to assist in reviewing the PA financing strategy as part of the PANES.
  • IUCN-EU Invaz’îles project. Both projects collaborated through sharing information and lessons learned.

Tag: Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Bilateral partners

8.

3.1.8 Management arrangements

The Mauritian government through the MoAIFS received GEF funding for project technical assistance and implementation and the management of this funding was entrusted to UNDP as the GEF implementing agency for this project. The project implementation, planned over 5 years, focused on maintaining strong collaboration and cooperation, and avoid duplication of effort, among the main PA agencies responsible for terrestrial biodiversity conservation under the MoAIFS, the NPCS and the FS.


Tag: Relevance Human and Financial resources Implementation Modality Oversight Project and Programme management Country Government

9.

3.2 Project Implementation

3.2.1 Adaptive management and feedback from M&E activities

No change was made to the project design and project outputs during implementation based on the monitoring and evaluation of the results and indicators, mainly because no such monitoring and evaluation was done prior to developing the annual work plans. Annual work planning was not associated or preceded by a participatory evaluation of the progress of the project while the joint operation of these two activities would have facilitated the adoption of adaptive management by integrating lessons learned from the evaluation of project results and outcomes of the previous year.


Tag: Relevance Monitoring and Evaluation Results-Based Management

10.

3.2.2 Partnership arrangements

NPCS and FS. The main partnership arrangement for the implementation of activities is the involvement of the two key institutions responsible for terrestrial PAs within the MoAIFS, the NPCS and the FS, where the NPCS is responsible for national parks and bird sanctuaries, including the development of the management plans of these PAs, and the FS is responsible for forest reserves and for nature reserves.


Tag: Protected Areas Bilateral partners Civil Societies and NGOs

11.

3.2.3 Mobilization of stakeholders

Participatory process for the implementation of the project: The interviews conducted as part of the evaluation highlighted the interest of those who had been actively involved in the project, mainly in the development of the PANES and in the restoration of native forests, namely the National Parks and Conservation Service and the Forestry Service of the MoAiFS, and also the private sector and the NGO MWF.


Tag: Gender Mainstreaming Partnership Civil Societies and NGOs Country Government Capacity Building

12.

3.2.4 Communication

A national communication strategy was developed in 2013 by a marketing and communication consultant to develop and implement an awareness campaign and engage the public in biodiversity conservation. Target audience included the general public, school children, nature lovers, public and private sector institutions and NGOs. Medias included radio, national television reports on the issues addressed by the project, specially on the private sector participation and IAS removal and ecosystem restoration activities, several newspapers, billboards, a website, and social networks. Activities included guided visits, photo exhibition, school college competitions, and a 3-month campaign to raise awareness about the issues addressed by the project in 2014.


Tag: Effectiveness Relevance Communication Education

13.

3.2.5 Project Finance

This section assesses the key financial aspects of the project, including the extent of planned and realized co-financing. Financial data to complete the financing table were provided by the Project Management Unit.

Finance and co-finance Table 6 shows that, as at 31 December 2017, the GEF had contributed 87.6% of the committed grant at the time of the project evaluation, and that the Government had contributed 136% of the pledged resources. The actual contributions from the NGO MWF and from the private sector were not evaluated and thus could not be compared with pledged contributions.


Tag: Efficiency Global Environment Facility fund Human and Financial resources Operational Efficiency Country Government Civil Societies and NGOs Private Sector

14.

3.2.6 Monitoring and evaluation: design at entry, implementation, and overall assessment

Operational indicators. The project did not develop operational indicators to monitor its implementation. Monitoring is done on the basis of the progress and completion of activities in the work plans.

Result indicators and TTs. The quality of objective- and outcome-level indicators has been evaluated and reported in section 3.1.1 - Analysis of LFA/Results Framework (see Table 6). Outcome indicators at the level of impacts and effects have not been systematically measured or assessed every year so that some indicators could not be documented for the final evaluation (eg ind. 6 on land types, ind. 8 on the number of species included in the PAN, ind. 9 on reach of communication and awareness programs). The GEF tracking tools have been completed as required at midterm and end of project.


Tag: Efficiency Monitoring and Evaluation Oversight Project and Programme management

15.

3.2.7 Implementing Agency (UNDP) execution (*) and Executing Agency execution (*), overall project implementation/ execution (*), coordination, and operational issues

Implementing Agency (UNDP) execution (MS[1]). As the implementing agency, UNDP was responsible for assuring/controlling quality throughout the stages of project identification, development and implementation oversight, recruitment of project staff and contracting of consultants and service providers, and ensuring that all activities including procurement and financial services are carried out in strict compliance with UNDP/GEF procedures. Planned UNDP contribution and responsibilities were detailed in the stakeholder analysis and in the Management Arrangement section (Part III) of the ProDoc. From the interviews, it appears that UNDP supervision, oversight and quality control, at the Country Office and Regional levels was overall moderately satisfactory as shown by insufficient oversight in the early stages of the project, including for the development of TORs for the international consulting firm, the contracting of Government staff to work overtime to clear IAS against UN’s rules, delayed procurement impacting the project delivery, and insufficient intervention by UNDP CO authorities (RR) to address excessive delays for the approval of various outputs of the project. However, it is necessary to emphasize the relevance and usefulness of the orientations given by the program manager, as reported by the project manager and his team. The challenges to provide quality-assurance at the CO level were mainly related to the fact that the first Environmental Program Officer who was supervising the project was inexperienced and did not get adequate supervision from a senior officer.

 


[1] Refer to Annex 8 for the TE rating scales


Tag: Human and Financial resources Implementation Modality Oversight Project and Programme management UNDP Independent Offices Coordination

16.

3.3 Project Results

3.3.1 Overall results (attainment of objectives and outcomes) (Refer to Annex 8 for the TE rating scales)

The review of progress towards results includes evaluation (rating) based on criteria presented in Annex 8. Table 7 presents the status of progress towards achievement of the purpose and effects as formulated in the project document. Indicators and end-of-project targets are presented as formulated in the project's strategic results framework. The situation at the end of the project is documented from the information gathered in the progress reports of the project and during the evaluation mission.


Tag: Natural Resouce management Protected Areas Site Conservation / Preservation Effectiveness Capacity Building

17.

3.3.2 Relevance

This section assesses the extent to which the project responds to local and national development priorities and policies, and is in line with GEF operational programs. As appropriate, the question of relevance also examines whether the objectives of an intervention or its design remain appropriate in light of changing circumstances.


Tag: Biodiversity Natural Resouce management Protected Areas Relevance Country Government Capacity Building Agenda 2030

18.

3.3.3 Effectiveness

Rating: MS. Effectiveness assessment reviews the extent to which intended results have been achieved and is included in the Section 3.3.1 – Table 7. Results include direct outputs, short and medium-term outcomes and longer-term impacts, including global environmental benefits. This assessment is carried out based on the indicators identified in the logical framework and used to report annually on the progress of the project to UNDP-GEF, and considering the factors that may have facilitated or hindered their achievement.

 



Tag: Environmental impact assessment Effectiveness Impact

19.

3.3.4 Efficiency

Efficiency reflects how inputs, costs and implementation time are translated into results - or the extent to which environmental and development outcomes and project outputs have been achieved with the lowest possible cost; also called cost-effectiveness. It also examines the project's compliance with the incremental cost criteria and the effectiveness of the co-financing search. Rating: S


Tag: Biodiversity Natural Resouce management Protected Areas Efficiency

20.

3.3.5 Country ownership

National ownership is demonstrated, among other things, by respect for the government's financial commitments and the direct involvement of government officials to participate in project activities and support its interventions. In this case, the MoAIFS has exceeded its financial commitment as shown by the combined in-kind and grant contributions of the two key institutions, the NPCS and the FS, that were estimated at 136% of what had been initially committed (please refer to section 3.2.5 for a detailed assessment).


Tag: Sustainability Ownership Country Government

21.

3.3.6 Mainstreaming

UNDP-supported GEF-financed projects are key elements of UNDP country programming, as well as regional and global programs. The evaluation is assessing the extent to which the project has successfully integrated other UNDP priorities, including reducing poverty, improving governance, prevention and recovery from natural disasters.


Tag: Disaster risk management Natural Resouce management Jobs and Livelihoods Poverty Reduction

22.

3.3.7    Sustainability

This section provides an assessment of the extent to which the main project results are likely to continue after UNDP and GEF assistance or other external assistance has ended under this project. Sustainability is classified by evaluating factors within four dimensions of risk that may affect the persistence of project outcomes, including sustainable funding mechanisms, changes in perception and attitude within communities and other stakeholders, capacity building, socio-political context, the institutional and governance framework, and the environment. These dimensions of risk are assessed according to the scale provided in Annex 8.


Tag: Biodiversity Natural Resouce management Protected Areas Sustainability Country Government Capacity Building

23.

3.3.9    Impact

The evaluation is assessing to what extent the project has achieved impacts or has actually made progress towards achieving the expected impacts in terms of measurable or verifiable improvement of the ecological condition, verifiable reduction of pressures on ecological systems, and/or demonstrated progress toward achieving such impacts. Rating: MS


Tag: Biodiversity Natural Resouce management Impact

24.

(Continuation of project finance)

Project financial execution

Financial management. The project was managed based on quarterly advances justified by a work plan. From the beginning, this management was based on the initially approved budget included in the ProDoc since there has been no budget revision. Also, a new administrative procedure was implemented by the Ministry of Finance for the management of GEF funds where, rather than creating an audited account for the project, the grant is integrated in the current Government budget as well as related indicators.


Tag: Efficiency Human and Financial resources Oversight Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management

Recommendations
1

TORs. The blame for the fact that some tasks were not completed under components 1 and 2 was mostly focused on the poor performance of the international consultancy firm Eco Africa. However, this 1.5-year contract was awarded only in February 2014, almost four years after the official start of a five-year project and covered most of the project components 1 and 2. The level of effort and the time required to complete all the tasks included in this contract was greatly underestimated. Tasks such as participatory development of strategic documents involving extensive consultation and development and pilot implementation of a PES mechanism, to name these, would have required much more time than what was specified in the contract. This does not diminish the responsibility of the firm to have accepted this contract, but if learning must be drawn from this experience in order to improve the implementation of future projects, they must relate to all the time lost during the 4 first years of the project and on the preparation of the terms of reference, especially when they are of such importance in relation to the project as a whole.

Timing: The development of TORs of major importance for a project and conditioning a sequence of subsequent activities should be a priority from the start of the project, within the first 3 months.

Responsibility: The CTA, the project manager and the UNDP CO should prepare the ToRs based on the specifications provided in the project document and have them validated by experts, at least by persons able to assess rigorously the consistency of the content and conditions of execution, including level of effort, resources allocated and duration, including the RTA and local specialists. These TORs should be circulated and validated by the PSC, and advertised as broadly as possible. If the TORs are not developed within a short delay, the PSC as the supervisory structure should be vigilant and rapidly inquire about the reasons and take action. While there is consensus on the poor performance of the 1st project manager, he was in post for 2 years.

Selection: Procurement rules that require to select the cheapest offer could be misleading and technical criteria should be considered foremost and outweigh the financial criteria, while remaining within the budget of the project.

Description: ToRs prepared with clear, detailed, and scheduled deliverables based on a realistic assessment of the level of effort required to achieve the tasks

2

Quality assurance role - UNDP at country and regional levels must ensure that project implementation arrangements and expenditures comply with UNDP rules and that funds are used for agreed purposes.

3

Monitoring of IAS clearing and results. To develop and implement a monitoring procedure for the clearing of IAS and establish a database. One of the PIRs mentions that the mapping of restored areas under the project have been initiated. However, this is far from being sufficient. The Good Practice Guide to Native Vegetation Restoration in Mauritius mentions that the frequency of maintenance weeding will vary depending on site-specific factors and that “when, where, and how to weed should be determined by monitoring”. In order to expand further clearing of IAS and restoration of native forests at a scale large enough to have a significant long-term impact on restoration of habitats for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, it is necessary to plan IAS clearing operations and monitor interventions and results to assess the interventions effectiveness and efficiency (cost) for continuous improvement, as recommended in the Good Practice Guide. Data could be collected by trained supervisors. The following is not exhaustive and could be complemented by specialists, while retaining simplicity and practical feasibility:

- Planning of the clearing operations could include the following data on the physical site: a few environmental parameters, such as geographical coordinates of the site, state of invasion of the forest and main target IAS species, canopy cover, slope, distance to a watercourse, and presence of vulnerable species (endemic, rare, threatened).

- Monitoring of the interventions: dates of first and subsequent clearings, technique used, number of workers and duration of interventions, area of intervention, weather including occurrence of rain within X hours of the clearing (when herbicide is applied), bundles of cut vegetation left on site.

- Monitoring of the results: description and quantification of regrowth and regeneration of IAS within a specific radius around cut stump, occurrence of new IAS species, evidence of impacts such as erosion, and description and quantification of (target) native species regeneration.

4

Regulatory framework for private reserves. To develop and enact a regulatory framework to enable the creation and management of private reserves that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services while providing benefits to land owners. The legislative framework should enable the establishment of incentives to encourage landowners to enter the programme, including through payment for ecosystem services schemes.

5

PES. The implementation of conservation and restoration actions entails high costs and, in order to scale up conservation and restoration with the participation of the private sector, it is necessary to develop adequate financial incentives. Ecosystem valuation was included in the ProDoc under output 1.4, and the development and testing of a Payment for Ecological Services (PES) scheme was included in the TORs of the consulting firm Eco-Africa, as part of an Integrated Financing Strategy for PAs. This part of the contract was not completed and it must be said that the level of effort required to achieve the development and testing of a PES was clearly underestimated.

A meta-analysis of 89 restoration assessments in a wide range of ecosystem types across the globe indicated that ecological restoration increased provision of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 44 and 25% respectively, and that values of both remained lower in restored versus intact reference ecosystems.[1] IAS were among the degrading actions addressed by 4 of the studies examined, and extirpation of damaging species and planting of trees were among the restoration actions in 8 and 16 studies.

Such results should motivate a reflection (possibly as part of a MSP or as a component of a larger project) on the possibility of establishing voluntary PES schemes as an alternative or complement to binding stewardship agreements with private land owners. PES can be defined as (i) voluntary, (ii) contingent transactions between (iii) at least one seller and (iv) one buyer (v) over a well-defined Ecosystem Service, or a land use likely to secure that service. This could involve valuation studies for high value ecosystem services likely to be improved by conservation, restoration and sustainable use of ecosystems and natural resources (such as carbon storage, regulation of climate and water flow, provision of clean water, and maintenance of soil fertility), an analysis of the market for specific PES to identify service providers (sellers) and users (buyers) of the ES, and the identification of several elements required to operationalize the PES scheme[2].

In line with the Mauritius NBSAP 2017-2025, namely target 7 aiming at developing a policy framework with incentives for pro-biodiversity practices, target 3 related to setting up sustainable incentives for biodiversity conservation and restoration, and target 11 aiming at conserving at least 16% of terrestrial areas and inland waters, it is recommended to further the efforts undertaken under the PAN project to bring the private land owners on board and build on i) existing outputs of the PAN project such as the biodiversity stewardship pilot experiences as MoUs between 7 private companies and the MoAIFS providing a financial incentive of 400,000 Rupees for clearing IAS over 5 ha of native forest, ii) reflections and consultations to develop the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme and the Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement template (currently under review by the State Law Office), and iii) the valuation study of ecosystem services provided by the watersheds of 2 important reservoirs presented as part of the NBSAP 2017-2015.

6

IAS control field guide. It is recommended to produce a practical and user-friendly field guide for IAS control, from the instructions provided in the Good Practice Guide to Native Vegetation Restoration in Mauritius, with clear and simple instructions in the form of illustrations accessible to non-specialist field workers and separate sheets for the different techniques, in a format resistant to be handled in the field.

7

Business plans. It is recommended to complete the PANES Financial and Business Model building on the (incomplete) draft developed by the consulting firm and submitted at the Validation Workshop and on the identification of human resources requirements for all competency areas needed to implement the PANES (as part of the Strategic Action Plan for the Implementation of the PANES).

It is also recommended to develop individual business plans for each of the 2 National Parks and for the Bird Sanctuary as part of their management plans, based on the following assessments:

  • Identification and assessment of available finances for the individual PA based on the operational budget (for salaries, maintenance, fuel) and infrastructure investment budget (such as roads, visitor centres), annual revenue generated on the site such as tourism entrance fees, income from concessions such as ecotourism development, and payments for ecosystem services;
  • Assessment of the costs and financing needs for the basic management of the individual PA including recurring operational costs (such as salaries, fuel for transportation, office maintenance), and infrastructure investment costs;

Assessment of the annual financing gap for operations and infrastructure investment based on the previous assessments and identification of additional options and sources of revenues to leverage supplemental financial resources.

1. Recommendation:

TORs. The blame for the fact that some tasks were not completed under components 1 and 2 was mostly focused on the poor performance of the international consultancy firm Eco Africa. However, this 1.5-year contract was awarded only in February 2014, almost four years after the official start of a five-year project and covered most of the project components 1 and 2. The level of effort and the time required to complete all the tasks included in this contract was greatly underestimated. Tasks such as participatory development of strategic documents involving extensive consultation and development and pilot implementation of a PES mechanism, to name these, would have required much more time than what was specified in the contract. This does not diminish the responsibility of the firm to have accepted this contract, but if learning must be drawn from this experience in order to improve the implementation of future projects, they must relate to all the time lost during the 4 first years of the project and on the preparation of the terms of reference, especially when they are of such importance in relation to the project as a whole.

Timing: The development of TORs of major importance for a project and conditioning a sequence of subsequent activities should be a priority from the start of the project, within the first 3 months.

Responsibility: The CTA, the project manager and the UNDP CO should prepare the ToRs based on the specifications provided in the project document and have them validated by experts, at least by persons able to assess rigorously the consistency of the content and conditions of execution, including level of effort, resources allocated and duration, including the RTA and local specialists. These TORs should be circulated and validated by the PSC, and advertised as broadly as possible. If the TORs are not developed within a short delay, the PSC as the supervisory structure should be vigilant and rapidly inquire about the reasons and take action. While there is consensus on the poor performance of the 1st project manager, he was in post for 2 years.

Selection: Procurement rules that require to select the cheapest offer could be misleading and technical criteria should be considered foremost and outweigh the financial criteria, while remaining within the budget of the project.

Description: ToRs prepared with clear, detailed, and scheduled deliverables based on a realistic assessment of the level of effort required to achieve the tasks

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/06] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

n/a

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

Quality assurance role - UNDP at country and regional levels must ensure that project implementation arrangements and expenditures comply with UNDP rules and that funds are used for agreed purposes.

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

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation:

Monitoring of IAS clearing and results. To develop and implement a monitoring procedure for the clearing of IAS and establish a database. One of the PIRs mentions that the mapping of restored areas under the project have been initiated. However, this is far from being sufficient. The Good Practice Guide to Native Vegetation Restoration in Mauritius mentions that the frequency of maintenance weeding will vary depending on site-specific factors and that “when, where, and how to weed should be determined by monitoring”. In order to expand further clearing of IAS and restoration of native forests at a scale large enough to have a significant long-term impact on restoration of habitats for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, it is necessary to plan IAS clearing operations and monitor interventions and results to assess the interventions effectiveness and efficiency (cost) for continuous improvement, as recommended in the Good Practice Guide. Data could be collected by trained supervisors. The following is not exhaustive and could be complemented by specialists, while retaining simplicity and practical feasibility:

- Planning of the clearing operations could include the following data on the physical site: a few environmental parameters, such as geographical coordinates of the site, state of invasion of the forest and main target IAS species, canopy cover, slope, distance to a watercourse, and presence of vulnerable species (endemic, rare, threatened).

- Monitoring of the interventions: dates of first and subsequent clearings, technique used, number of workers and duration of interventions, area of intervention, weather including occurrence of rain within X hours of the clearing (when herbicide is applied), bundles of cut vegetation left on site.

- Monitoring of the results: description and quantification of regrowth and regeneration of IAS within a specific radius around cut stump, occurrence of new IAS species, evidence of impacts such as erosion, and description and quantification of (target) native species regeneration.

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

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

Regulatory framework for private reserves. To develop and enact a regulatory framework to enable the creation and management of private reserves that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services while providing benefits to land owners. The legislative framework should enable the establishment of incentives to encourage landowners to enter the programme, including through payment for ecosystem services schemes.

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

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

PES. The implementation of conservation and restoration actions entails high costs and, in order to scale up conservation and restoration with the participation of the private sector, it is necessary to develop adequate financial incentives. Ecosystem valuation was included in the ProDoc under output 1.4, and the development and testing of a Payment for Ecological Services (PES) scheme was included in the TORs of the consulting firm Eco-Africa, as part of an Integrated Financing Strategy for PAs. This part of the contract was not completed and it must be said that the level of effort required to achieve the development and testing of a PES was clearly underestimated.

A meta-analysis of 89 restoration assessments in a wide range of ecosystem types across the globe indicated that ecological restoration increased provision of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 44 and 25% respectively, and that values of both remained lower in restored versus intact reference ecosystems.[1] IAS were among the degrading actions addressed by 4 of the studies examined, and extirpation of damaging species and planting of trees were among the restoration actions in 8 and 16 studies.

Such results should motivate a reflection (possibly as part of a MSP or as a component of a larger project) on the possibility of establishing voluntary PES schemes as an alternative or complement to binding stewardship agreements with private land owners. PES can be defined as (i) voluntary, (ii) contingent transactions between (iii) at least one seller and (iv) one buyer (v) over a well-defined Ecosystem Service, or a land use likely to secure that service. This could involve valuation studies for high value ecosystem services likely to be improved by conservation, restoration and sustainable use of ecosystems and natural resources (such as carbon storage, regulation of climate and water flow, provision of clean water, and maintenance of soil fertility), an analysis of the market for specific PES to identify service providers (sellers) and users (buyers) of the ES, and the identification of several elements required to operationalize the PES scheme[2].

In line with the Mauritius NBSAP 2017-2025, namely target 7 aiming at developing a policy framework with incentives for pro-biodiversity practices, target 3 related to setting up sustainable incentives for biodiversity conservation and restoration, and target 11 aiming at conserving at least 16% of terrestrial areas and inland waters, it is recommended to further the efforts undertaken under the PAN project to bring the private land owners on board and build on i) existing outputs of the PAN project such as the biodiversity stewardship pilot experiences as MoUs between 7 private companies and the MoAIFS providing a financial incentive of 400,000 Rupees for clearing IAS over 5 ha of native forest, ii) reflections and consultations to develop the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme and the Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement template (currently under review by the State Law Office), and iii) the valuation study of ecosystem services provided by the watersheds of 2 important reservoirs presented as part of the NBSAP 2017-2015.

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

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

IAS control field guide. It is recommended to produce a practical and user-friendly field guide for IAS control, from the instructions provided in the Good Practice Guide to Native Vegetation Restoration in Mauritius, with clear and simple instructions in the form of illustrations accessible to non-specialist field workers and separate sheets for the different techniques, in a format resistant to be handled in the field.

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

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

Business plans. It is recommended to complete the PANES Financial and Business Model building on the (incomplete) draft developed by the consulting firm and submitted at the Validation Workshop and on the identification of human resources requirements for all competency areas needed to implement the PANES (as part of the Strategic Action Plan for the Implementation of the PANES).

It is also recommended to develop individual business plans for each of the 2 National Parks and for the Bird Sanctuary as part of their management plans, based on the following assessments:

  • Identification and assessment of available finances for the individual PA based on the operational budget (for salaries, maintenance, fuel) and infrastructure investment budget (such as roads, visitor centres), annual revenue generated on the site such as tourism entrance fees, income from concessions such as ecotourism development, and payments for ecosystem services;
  • Assessment of the costs and financing needs for the basic management of the individual PA including recurring operational costs (such as salaries, fuel for transportation, office maintenance), and infrastructure investment costs;

Assessment of the annual financing gap for operations and infrastructure investment based on the previous assessments and identification of additional options and sources of revenues to leverage supplemental financial resources.

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

Key Actions:

Latest Evaluations

Contact us

1 UN Plaza
DC1-20th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel. +1 646 781 4200
Fax. +1 646 781 4213
erc.support@undp.org