Improving sustainability of the protected areas system in desert ecosystems through promotion of biodiversity-compatible live-support sources in and around protected areas

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Kazakhstan
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
12/2016
Completion Date:
12/2016
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

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Title Improving sustainability of the protected areas system in desert ecosystems through promotion of biodiversity-compatible live-support sources in and around protected areas
Atlas Project Number: 73767
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Kazakhstan
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2016
Planned End Date: 12/2016
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Environment & Sustainable Development
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 2.2. Institutions and systems enabled to address awareness, prevention and enforcement of anti-corruption measures across sectors and stakeholders
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding: Project
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 22,700
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Improving sustainability of the protected areas system in desert ecosystems through promotion of biodiversity-compatible live-support sources in and around protected areas
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 4584
PIMS Number: 4855
Key Stakeholders: Committee of Forestry and Wildlife
Countries: KAZAKHSTAN
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

The project is being successfully implemented to date.  There is much that remains to be done and if the project is to become a model GEF project, then the PMU and the partners  will have to keep working furiously! (CFW, PMU, UNDP-CO, partners)

2

Objective. Adapt and grow, where possible.  The project’s design is generally good but there are aspects that could be further improved (if the project has adequate time and funding), there are additional and additive work it could carry out (Project Board, PMU, partners).

3

Objective. Replication plan and measuring impact. For some of the other aspects of the project, it is unclear how i) results will be replicated and ii) how the impact will be measured. The PMU should strive to find mechanisms for replication and for measuring the impacts of the work they are carrying out (CFW, PMU, UNDP CO).

4

Objective. NBSAP approval. Support the process and try to ensure that the NBSAP is fully approved (CFW, UNDP CO)

5

The definition of corridors used by the project (movement of one species of antelope) is limited; if there is sufficient time and resources (without compromising the need to operationalize the corridor(s)), the analysis could be deepened to include other important parameters, especially as corridors are increasingly important under climate change scenarios. The project will have to go through the complicated steps of operationalizing the corridors.  Given that this is a relatively complicated process, the sooner the project embarks on getting this done, the better (PMU, partners).

6

The definition of corridors used by the project (movement of one species of antelope) is limited; if there is sufficient time and resources (without compromising the need to operationalize the corridor(s)), the analysis could be deepened to include other important parameters, especially as corridors are increasingly important under climate change scenarios. The project will have to go through the complicated steps of operationalizing the corridors.  Given that this is a relatively complicated process, the sooner the project embarks on getting this done, the better (PMU, partners).

7

Beware of inadvertent impacts. Some of the project activities may lead to negative, inadvertent impacts especially an arid system.  The team should remain cognisant and vigilant against such inadvertent impacts and attempt to stave them off before they become significant (PMU, partners).

8

Be vigilant for the impact of climatic stochasiticity. There may be occasions when a particular intervention may appear to fail – but this may be more due to climatic stochasticity than to the actual failure of the intervention. The team and the project partners should remain vigilant to such climatic stochastic events masking the actual results of the interventions (PMU)

9

Ensure inclusion of marginalised and vulnerable people. It is essential that the project (with the FFSA – the project partner on the “Eco Damu” microcredit scheme) is inclusive of these marginalised and vulnerable people.  In addition, the Eco Damu scheme offers an opportunity to include women and women-led households (PMU, partners)

10

As indicated in Section 4.3.3, 86% of the project management budget has been spent to date.  The PMU and UNDP-CO should plan how the project management costs will be funded for the remainder of the project’s life (PMU, UNDP CO)

11

TE to meet a broader range of stakeholders.  There were a number of stakeholders that the MTR did not manage to meet.  At the end of the project, the TE should aim to meet stakeholders such that it can evaluate all the successes of the project (including stakeholders who have been trained to evaluate the success of the training and how it is being used to deliver impacts) (PMU, UNDP CO)

12

The accuracy of co-finance monitoring could be further improved – using the system that was developed by a UNDP-GEF project in Uzbekistan[1] that monetises the time that people spend on project business.  Once the system is in place, it would be relatively simple to keep track of all in-kind co-finance (PMU, UNDP-RTC)

 

 

13

Build system of records.  It is always useful to have an organised system of records of everything (including, for example, trainings, outputs – correspondence, reports, plans and policy documents, government approvals, etc.) that the project is and has been doing.  Having databases of all such project outputs makes it simple for the project team to produce these things whenever anybody (including an MTR team!) asks for them (PMU)

1. Recommendation:

The project is being successfully implemented to date.  There is much that remains to be done and if the project is to become a model GEF project, then the PMU and the partners  will have to keep working furiously! (CFW, PMU, UNDP-CO, partners)

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

Committee for Forestry and Wildlife, MOA as a project implementing agency is expressing appreciation for high rating of project implementation. In its turn, CFW jointly with project partners, UNDP Country Office will continue to work strenuously for successful implementation and achievement of all target indicators and project outcomes in line with the project document and approved work plans.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Organization and delivery of Project Board meetings at least 2 times a year to discuss project progress, challenges and outcomes.
[Added: 2016/12/20] [Last Updated: 2019/01/02]
PMU 2018/12 Completed History
2. Recommendation:

Objective. Adapt and grow, where possible.  The project’s design is generally good but there are aspects that could be further improved (if the project has adequate time and funding), there are additional and additive work it could carry out (Project Board, PMU, partners).

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

Project team will  take due account of this recommendation to improve its further implementation. Project strives to apply new adaptive technology and approaches to achieve target project outcomes, where it is possible and not contradicts with main project objectives: improvement of land quality and fertility, use of energy and water saving techniques in sustainable practices, use of accessible and free online resources for capacity-building of project target groups, etc.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Preparation of the annual work plan taking into account adaptive management
[Added: 2016/12/20] [Last Updated: 2019/01/02]
Project manager, project experts 2018/12 Completed History
3. Recommendation:

Objective. Replication plan and measuring impact. For some of the other aspects of the project, it is unclear how i) results will be replicated and ii) how the impact will be measured. The PMU should strive to find mechanisms for replication and for measuring the impacts of the work they are carrying out (CFW, PMU, UNDP CO).

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

Project team attaches great importance to replicating and scaling up results obtained and lessons learnt among all project stakeholders and partners. Greater awareness-raising and demonstration of outcomes among all target groups by delivering training workshops, trainings, PR-campaigns, information tours, release and distribution of publications is seen by project as one of the project replication mechanisms. Replication of lessons learnt and tracking of the impact of the results based on the established and measured indicators are mandatory, when implementing pilot (grant) projects. Project has drawn up the plan of replicating results for 2016-2018 with indication of timing and impact frames for a wider coverage. Project will develop the exit strategy, where best practices and recommendations for further replication and sustainable implementation will be taken into account.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Preparation of the Exit Strategy taking into consideration lessons learnt and actions for project results replication for 2016-2018
[Added: 2016/12/20] [Last Updated: 2017/06/22]
Project manager, project experts, PR-specialist 2017/06 Completed History
4. Recommendation:

Objective. NBSAP approval. Support the process and try to ensure that the NBSAP is fully approved (CFW, UNDP CO)

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

UNDP CO and Committee for Forestry and Wildlife, MOA RK are making efforts within their powers to promote the NBSAP approval by the Government of Kazakhstan.

The work related to NBSAP development was carried out in 2014 as part of the Biodiversity Projects Portfolio in line with Aichi targets that was reviewed by relevant key authorities, including Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Water Resources (currently the Ministry is eliminated), Ministry of National Economy, Ministry of Justice. In parallel, draft NBSAP was sent for international peer review through www.nbsapforum.net, after which it was updated and revised with incorporation of comments and proposals.

Due to elimination of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and hangover of functions to the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Agriculture, the issue of further NBSAP promotion remains open.

The UNDP Biodiversity Projects Portfolio is currently holding negotiations with the Parliament regarding review of the NBSAP issue at the upcoming  parliamentary hearings devoted to the legislative support of biodiversity conservation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Discussion of the NBSAP status at parliamentary hearings devoted to the current issues of biological diversity conservation in the Republic of Kazakhstan
[Added: 2016/12/20]
project manager, project experts 2016/12 Completed
5. Recommendation:

The definition of corridors used by the project (movement of one species of antelope) is limited; if there is sufficient time and resources (without compromising the need to operationalize the corridor(s)), the analysis could be deepened to include other important parameters, especially as corridors are increasingly important under climate change scenarios. The project will have to go through the complicated steps of operationalizing the corridors.  Given that this is a relatively complicated process, the sooner the project embarks on getting this done, the better (PMU, partners).

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

Project, considering the importance of conservation of unique, key biotopes of Ile-Balkash project area is making efforts to establish a wildlife corridor in  Almaty Oblast. Preparation of scientific rationale (ENO) for the wildlife corridor establishment is at the finishing stage.  ENO envisages not only ensuring migrations of goiters gazelles, but also other large mammals and migratory species. The wildlife corridor boundaries include either important migration paths of goitered gazelles or important habitats of other key species.   It is expected that ENO will be reviewed by the competent authority in the fall of the current year.  Then, project will work actively with the government of Almaty Oblast to establish a corridor, because according to the national legislation corridors are established based on the decision of regional authorities.   With an aim of establishment of the wildlife corridor in Ustyurt and Aral-Syrdaria project areas, an extensive scientific research has been undertaken in 2015 to assess the ecological state of wildlife and its habitat. Field works in Kyzylorda Oblast and preparation of the ENO are expected as well in 2017. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
ENO development to establish a wildlife corridor in Ile-Balkash project area; Implementation of works for adoption of the resolution of the government of Almaty Oblast to establish a wildlife corridor
[Added: 2016/12/20] [Last Updated: 2017/12/25]
project manager, wildlife expert, landscape planning expert 2017/12 Completed History
6. Recommendation:

The definition of corridors used by the project (movement of one species of antelope) is limited; if there is sufficient time and resources (without compromising the need to operationalize the corridor(s)), the analysis could be deepened to include other important parameters, especially as corridors are increasingly important under climate change scenarios. The project will have to go through the complicated steps of operationalizing the corridors.  Given that this is a relatively complicated process, the sooner the project embarks on getting this done, the better (PMU, partners).

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

Project, considering the importance of conservation of unique, key biotopes of Ile-Balkash project area is making efforts to establish a wildlife corridor in  Almaty Oblast. Preparation of scientific rationale (ENO) for the wildlife corridor establishment is at the finishing stage.  ENO envisages not only ensuring migrations of goiters gazelles, but also other large mammals and migratory species. The wildlife corridor boundaries include either important migration paths of goitered gazelles or important habitats of other key species.   It is expected that ENO will be reviewed by the competent authority in the fall of the current year.  Then, project will work actively with the government of Almaty Oblast to establish a corridor, because according to the national legislation corridors are established based on the decision of regional authorities.   With an aim of establishment of the wildlife corridor in Ustyurt and Aral-Syrdaria project areas, an extensive scientific research has been undertaken in 2015 to assess the ecological state of wildlife and its habitat. Field works in Kyzylorda Oblast and preparation of the ENO are expected as well in 2017. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Undertaking studies for appropriate and affordable maintenance of visitor centers for the Altyn Yemel National Park and Barsakelmes reserve
[Added: 2016/12/20] [Last Updated: 2017/12/25]
project manager, project experts 2017/12 Completed History
7. Recommendation:

Beware of inadvertent impacts. Some of the project activities may lead to negative, inadvertent impacts especially an arid system.  The team should remain cognisant and vigilant against such inadvertent impacts and attempt to stave them off before they become significant (PMU, partners).

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

In order to prevent inadvertent impact, Committee for Forestry and Wildlife, MOA RK and Fund for Financial Support of Agriculture established the commission to monitor the implementation of microcredit projects in 3 project areas. The commission includes regional representatives of Committee for Forestry and Wildlife, Fund for Financial Support of Agriculture and UNDP project. To date 2 monitoring visits were already made to Ile-Balkash and Aral-Syrdaria project areas. This work will be conducted on a permanent basis.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Monitoring of implementation of microcredit projects in 3 project areas
[Added: 2016/12/20] [Last Updated: 2019/01/02]
CFW, Fund for Financial Support of Agriculture and UNDP project 2018/12 Completed History
8. Recommendation:

Be vigilant for the impact of climatic stochasiticity. There may be occasions when a particular intervention may appear to fail – but this may be more due to climatic stochasticity than to the actual failure of the intervention. The team and the project partners should remain vigilant to such climatic stochastic events masking the actual results of the interventions (PMU)

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

Since project implementation is focused on target desert areas with arid and severe climate, Project explicitly considers climatic factors in its activity. Therefore, at the early stage of designing pilot projects (grants and microcredits) possible risks from implementation of projects are considered, first of all natural and climatic. Possible measures on their mitigation and adaptation are developed that are reflected in the Atlas on a quarterly basis.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Developing measures on reduction of climatic risks during implementation of pilot projects (grants and microcredits) and monitoring
[Added: 2016/12/20] [Last Updated: 2019/01/02]
project manager, team leaders 2018/12 Completed History
9. Recommendation:

Ensure inclusion of marginalised and vulnerable people. It is essential that the project (with the FFSA – the project partner on the “Eco Damu” microcredit scheme) is inclusive of these marginalised and vulnerable people.  In addition, the Eco Damu scheme offers an opportunity to include women and women-led households (PMU, partners)

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

The “Eco Damu” microcredit scheme is aimed at supporting various categories of people and households, including vulnerable categories of people.  Terms and conditions of credit allocation are clearly set out in the Agreement between Committee for Forestry and Wildlife and Fund for Financial Support of Agriculture, building on the possibility of participation of representatives of vulnerable categories and women. Based on the analysis conducted,  24% out of total number of borrowers who obtained microcredits (69),    are marginalized households with income less than $80 for one family member per month.  At the same time, in its turn project will take efforts for specific inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable people in the Scheme. Also, the Microcredit Scheme is open and encourages participation of women to get a loan for development. As such, 40 % out of total number of borrowers are women.    Moreover, Project is paying a lot of attention to capacity-building of local communities, including vulnerable people. To broaden possibilities for participation of vulnerable people and women in implementation of the Scheme project jointly with the Fund for Financial Support of Agriculture plans to carry out a series of trainings and workshops on business planning.  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Inclusion of the conditions related to participation of vulnerable people in the microcredit scheme Delivery of series of workshops and trainings on business planning in 3 project areas
[Added: 2016/12/20] [Last Updated: 2017/06/22]
project manager, project experts 2017/06 Completed History
10. Recommendation:

As indicated in Section 4.3.3, 86% of the project management budget has been spent to date.  The PMU and UNDP-CO should plan how the project management costs will be funded for the remainder of the project’s life (PMU, UNDP CO)

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

Since the Desert Project is a part of the Biodiversity Projects Portfolio, which includes 5 projects, expenditures related to project management are split up between five projects. Project management costs will be funded from other projects of the Portfolio for the remainder of the project’s life.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Compilation of the co-financing plan for project management as part of the Biodiversity Projects Portfolio for 2017-2018
[Added: 2016/12/20]
project manager, finance assistant 2016/12 Completed
11. Recommendation:

TE to meet a broader range of stakeholders.  There were a number of stakeholders that the MTR did not manage to meet.  At the end of the project, the TE should aim to meet stakeholders such that it can evaluate all the successes of the project (including stakeholders who have been trained to evaluate the success of the training and how it is being used to deliver impacts) (PMU, UNDP CO)

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

: Country Office will take this recommendation  into account while preparing the terminal project evaluation and include a broad range of all stakeholders and key project partners in the terminal evaluation process whenever possible

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Involvement of a broad range of stakeholders and key partners in the schedule of meetings during the terminal project evaluation
[Added: 2016/12/20] [Last Updated: 2019/01/02]
Project Manager 2018/12 Completed History
12. Recommendation:

The accuracy of co-finance monitoring could be further improved – using the system that was developed by a UNDP-GEF project in Uzbekistan[1] that monetises the time that people spend on project business.  Once the system is in place, it would be relatively simple to keep track of all in-kind co-finance (PMU, UNDP-RTC)

 

 

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

project will study the experience of co-finance monitoring that was developed by a UNDP-GEF project in Uzbekistan and apply it in its practice as far as possible. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Study co-finance monitoring mechanisms that were applied by a UNDP-GEF project in Uzbekistan (skype-call, experience exchange)
[Added: 2016/12/20] [Last Updated: 2017/12/25]
project manager, project experts 2017/12 Completed History
13. Recommendation:

Build system of records.  It is always useful to have an organised system of records of everything (including, for example, trainings, outputs – correspondence, reports, plans and policy documents, government approvals, etc.) that the project is and has been doing.  Having databases of all such project outputs makes it simple for the project team to produce these things whenever anybody (including an MTR team!) asks for them (PMU)

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/19]

Project is already having a system of records for all implemented activities, reports since the project start.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Build and have system of records of all project activities
[Added: 2016/12/20] [Last Updated: 2019/01/02]
project manager, specialist on logistics, project experts 2018/12 Completed History

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