Conserving Biodiversity and reducing habitat degradation in Protected Areas and their areas of influence

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Barbados
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
12/2017
Completion Date:
03/2017
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
15,000

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Title Conserving Biodiversity and reducing habitat degradation in Protected Areas and their areas of influence
Atlas Project Number: 80909
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Barbados
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 03/2017
Planned End Date: 12/2017
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Environment & Sustainable Development
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.3. Solutions developed at national and sub-national levels for sustainable management of natural resources, ecosystem services, chemicals and waste
Evaluation Budget(US $): 15,000
Source of Funding: Project
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 42,058
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Melvin Turner Evaluation Team Expert melt@shaw.ca
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Conserving Biodiversity and reducing habitat degradation in Protected Areas and their areas of influence
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5078
PIMS Number: 5088
Key Stakeholders: GEF
Countries: BARBADOS
Lessons
1.

Lessons Learned

  • Design should not underestimate the political complexities of a country where a project will be implemented. The lack of incorporation of the intricate issues that arise out the implementation of a Project in both islands (in St. Kitts and in Nevis) without fully taking into account the administrative and political issues germane to the Federation has, to a great degree, slowed and at times hindered the implementation process. A strong design implies a thorough knowledge of a country where a project would take place, and therefore needs to be realistic in terms of what can be achieved in a particular national context. 
  • If design is not realistic and it involves processes, attainments, policies and structures which are not feasible to achieve within a particular country context, it is highly doubtful that these would be achieved and, in some degree, this lack of realistic design can encumber the whole implementation process and the attainment of outcomes.
  • When projects are implemented with the participation of multiple stakeholders and different levels of government, each one’s role, functions, partnership arrangements, and responsibilities should be clearly delineated before project starts and adhered to throughout project implementation.

 


Findings
1.

Project Design

The establishment of protected areas on the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis is in its infancy. The Project design, as outlined in the Project Document and the Project’s work plan, reflects, in content, the general legislative, policy, management, financial and communication needs expected for an emerging, small island developing state’s protected area system where there is significant competition for land and marine use.

The Project design, based on similar protected area projects elsewhere in the Caribbean, provides a structured method of project implementation and participatory decision-making, including the recognition that Nevis has co-ordination and control over implementing the project outputs directly affecting Nevis, output preparation and stakeholder consultation and engagement to meet the Project’s objective to expand and strengthen the terrestrial and marine protected area system and reduce habitat destruction in areas of influence that negatively impact protected area ecological functioning. The design also respects the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis’ documented national conservation and overall societal goals, priorities and plans and its international conservation commitments associated with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Caribbean Challenge Initiative.

Once completed and fully implemented, the Project will contribute to a sustainable and viable protected area system; providing for the protection of biodiversity and assisting in meeting the economic goals of the country.

The Project’s two outcomes and their associated outputs are basic requirements for any protected area system.

Based on the Mid-Term Review, two components of the Project design could have been strengthened.

Firstly, the historic governance angst between St. Kitts and Nevis could have been addressed in the design. The Project design acknowledged the regulatory land use responsibility of Nevis Island Administration on implementing the Project but the design of the Program Co-ordination Unit and the Steering Committee could have been addressed more fully to lessen the angst. For example, the structure of the Program Coordination Unit in the Project Document may have considered a part-time Nevis co-ordinator, seconded from an arm of the Nevis Island Administration, to assist in project co-ordination and the structure of the Steering Committee may have considered designated St. Kitts/Nevis co-chairs and alternating meeting venues.

Secondly, the Project Document’s Indicative budget estimates for outputs has, in some instances, not been reflective of the actual, current costs for project delivery. For example, the Project Document envisaged and budgeted infrastructure such as visitor/ranger stations and associated equipment such as vehicles and vessels as a legacy of the Project. However, the costs, when tendered, were substantially higher. This could be a result of changing capital and equipment specifications or inflation between the time the Project Document was prepared and its implementation or simply an initial miscalculation of the expense or a combination. In any event, when a project reaches the preliminary approval stage, the budget should be updated to ensure the project can deliver what it proposes.

As a result, budget pressures between outputs have occurred, resulting in decreases, to date, in other outputs including community participation, ecological conservation and management and support for site-based financial mechanisms. Further decreases may emerge as other outputs are initiated.

In addition, the Project, for reasons uncertain, did not include Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park as part of the Project. The National Park is a stonewall example of a fully and well managed protected area and would be the heritage flagship of the protected area system. Recognizing that the Project is focussed on conservation, the inclusion of the National Park would also capture some biodiversity in the undeveloped portion of the National Park and serve as a model for societal involvement, support and awareness in the protected area system.

By and large, gender issues do not occur on protected area initiatives as these initiatives are gender neutral. On this project, that recurrent theme is extended.

As noted, the design of the Project, in both content and structure, is in keeping with a standard approach to the evaluation of existing or emerging protected area systems. However, the Indicator Framework table could be improved.

The initial column in the table only lists the Project’s two outcomes. The Project has seven outputs and 24 components (sub-outputs) of those outputs. As a result, the outputs become generalized in their description and more difficult to measure and, thus, to demonstrate the progress of their components and the overall Project.

The indicators for measuring the progress and completion of the Project are referenced in two locations in the Project Document. Section 1, Part II provides significant detail on the indicators for each of the outputs. The same outputs in Component (Outcome) 1 and (Outcome) 2 referenced in the Indicator Framework in Section II of the Project Document are less descriptive and less complete. For example, under Output 1.2.1 (Strengthening Protected Area Policies), Section 1 describes the need for specific policy on operating procedures, private property, collaboration, monitoring and evaluation and so on. By contrast, Section II, which is duplicated in the PIR review, offers a more general indicator: “Consolidated and effectively functioning institutional management of protected areas”. By listing each of the policies, the overall output becomes more measurable. Public awareness, so critical to developing support for the Project during its start-up phase, is not referenced.

For Outputs 2.1.3, updating of the Nevis Physical Development Plan, and Output 2.2.7, Fisheries Production and Pressure Reduction Strategies, no indicators are reflected in the Indicator Framework table.

Notwithstanding the Project Document, consideration should be given to itemizing each output, reviewing their indicators and, where needed, more specifically describing the indicators, or in the case of Outputs 2.1.3 and 2.2.7, describing indicators, in the Indicator Framework table. The annual and consolidated work plans include a more complete description of the outputs. 

Other than establishment and demarcation of protected areas, the number of trained staff and estimates for increased funding, the remaining targets in Component 2 are not achievable as there is no indicated baseline from which to work. Consideration should be given to amending these targets to studies, inventories and mapping initiated and completed to address these conservation management issues.


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


2.

The Project’s overall stated objective is to expand and strengthen the terrestrial and marine protected area system and reduce habitat destruction in areas of influence that negatively impact protected area ecological functioning. That objective incorporates two outcomes:

Outcome 1: Strengthened Protected Area System Framework and Capacities

This outcome includes 5 outputs:

Output 1.1: Strengthen protected area laws and associated regulations

Output 1.2: Strengthen policy and institutional framework

Output 1.3: Development of a financial sustainability framework

Output 1.4: Consolidation of information systems supporting protected area management

Output 1.5: Increased awareness of and support for protected areas

Outcome 2: Protected Area System Expansion and Strengthened Management of Existing and New Protected Areas

This outcome includes 2 outputs:

Output 2.1: Establishment and operation of terrestrial protected areas

Output 2.2: Establishment and operation of marine protected areas

 

Although approved in late 2014, the four-year Project experienced several delays including change in government in February 2015, and subsequent and associated changes in government personnel and agencies, as well as administrative complications, including Project implementation. As a result, the Project did not formally started until May, 2015 with the initial Project Steering Committee meeting and was not fully staffed until October 2015: in reality, this is an early midterm review.

The Project was further complicated by not having the benefit of continuous technical advice. Despite these complications, significant progress has been made over the last 15 months but challenges remain.

The Moderately Unsatisfactory rating in Component 1 is based on the indication that the Project does not intend to establish a core component of the Project during the life of the Project: a single agency focussed on protected areas.

The Moderately Unsatisfactory ratings in Component 2 are entirely the result of absence of a baseline and of unachievable end-of-project targets that are measurable and not the Project-identified development and implementation of conservation monitoring outputs and species control programs. As noted in the Logframe comments, consideration should be given to better describe the indicators and ensure that all the expected outputs are recognized


 

 


Recommendations
1

Consider intensely the political, policy, and governmental issues and structures of the country where a project will be implemented and incorporate whatever policy or governmental issues are present in the country where a project would be implemented. Take into account successful architecture of cooperation agreements from other donors as guidelines.

2

Realistically budget all proposed products, processes, outputs and investments.

3

Improve the design of indicators, keeping in mind that they should be SMART and require that the indicators are to be results-based, reflect effects, and that results indicators should reflect effect as attributable to project. Indicators should be drawn with the purpose of determining what are a project’s impacts and effects. Baseline indicators should be sought or set for all expected outputs and outcomes given that without baseline data impact or effect cannot be measured nor attributed to an intervention.

4

Work at the highest level to improve the relation between the St. Kitts and the Nevis implementation processes; creating protocols, letters/memorandums of understanding, and other relevant documents, with meaningful exchanges at the political and at the line ministry levels between the two islands. Use models from other cooperation processes and agreements that have worked more efficiently as examples.

5

Within Nevis there should be an extra and renewed effort to disseminate information about the workings of the project, the implementation modality, the role of the implementing agency of Nevis, the vertical relations within the Nevis government vis-à-vis a project of this type.  An integrated effort should be made, as well, the between and within the Nevis Implementing Entities/Responsible Partners and other line agencies within the Nevis administration.

6

Within St. Kitts there should be an increased effort to have the different line areas of government work in a coordinating matter within the realm of the project, avoiding duplication of efforts, concerting areas of work, and building upon other interventions and projects that are taken place or that have been implemented regarding protected areas (terrestrial and/or marine) within national and regional projects.

7

Review the log frame to bring up to date language and incorporate changes that the project has borne in its implementation period thus far.  Update also, as relevant, the indicators in the log frame.  Formally streamline the financing process and administration of the Project; streamline the products expected to meet with outputs but keeping within budget, time, and policy limitations.  Re visit ProDoc to see what is currently not being considered as a product (formally or not), and ascertain that what is still being considered is done through in a programmatic way and not happenstance.  This review and it formal acceptance by steering committee and relevant partners should accompany and be an integral part of an extension if requested.

8

Start to generate mechanisms and processes, in particular with the support of diverse stakeholders including civil society stakeholders, in order to move the project from an emphasis on products to one that seeks outcomes, objectives, and effects. 

9

Generate a deliberation and examination (with relevant events/workshops/discussions etc.) on what should and could be a government(s) entity(ies) that administer(s) protected areas of different sorts in the country.  The discussion should include and generate organizational charts, lines of authority, what already existing entity would this administrative division respond to, what management tools and capacity –personal and institutional—it would need, what enabling norms and policy it would need to function, as well as what financial resources it would need to operate (and where they would arise from).

10

Interweave developmental issues as a priority, in the products and outcomes that result and should result out of the Project, including issues of livelihoods, gender, prevention of natural resource use conflict with local communities, and the support that protected areas should sustain for development and wellbeing (tourism, fisheries, water sources) in the country.

11

Commence to generate a sustainability plan/exit strategy where what is needed for sustaining products, outcomes, and effects is made explicit.  This strategy or plan should make overt which stakeholder(s) would assure sustainability and by what means (for example, through budget incorporations, work plan incorporations, hiring of staff, maintenance of infrastructure and other materials provided directly and indirectly by the Project.)

12

Connections with other projects should be fostered. For example, other marine and terrestrial protected areas projects in the region/sub region; in particular, learning their issues, how they were handled, what were the lessons learned, and what were their results.  Formally linking with other projects in country in the same subject area should also be promoted.

13

Enhance UNDP/GEF roles, in particular in technical support, quality control of products,  facilitating information and knowledge of other projects [globally, regionally, and sub regionally] that have dealt with the same subject area and had similar challenges.

14

It is recommended that a no-cost extension, should one be requested, be granted for the Project considering the delays it had in set up as well as other delays in implementation.  The extension request should be accompanied by bringing up to date the log frame of the project as well as formalizing the streamlining and adaptive management that has taken place in the implementation and planning process (see recommendation 5 above).

1. Recommendation:

Consider intensely the political, policy, and governmental issues and structures of the country where a project will be implemented and incorporate whatever policy or governmental issues are present in the country where a project would be implemented. Take into account successful architecture of cooperation agreements from other donors as guidelines.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

The policy and governance climate was considered in the project design, with consultation of various stakeholders, including multiple government depts.

 

MOUs are proposed to be agreed between various government departments with respect to their roles and responsibilities in project implementation; and in future project design will include such MOUs prior to finalisation of project document.

 

A communications plan will be developed to strengthen stakeholder awareness and engagement.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

Realistically budget all proposed products, processes, outputs and investments.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

It is recognised that the design stage underbudgeted a number of activities in the project.

 

The PSC has been consulted on adjustment of activities where there have been significant variance between actual costs and budgeted amounts. Efforts will continue in endeavouring to the find the most cost effective use of resources.

 

The project will need to prioritise activities based on the most significant contribution to the achievement of project results and outcomes. The project will also seek to partner with government agencies to leverage capacities and increase efficiency. These will require more specific detailed planning and early dialogue.

 

Consideration will also be given to requesting support from the government in the next budget cycle, requiring preparation of the financial forecast and procurement plan by July 2017.

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation:

Improve the design of indicators, keeping in mind that they should be SMART and require that the indicators are to be results-based, reflect effects, and that results indicators should reflect effect as attributable to project. Indicators should be drawn with the purpose of determining what are a project’s impacts and effects. Baseline indicators should be sought or set for all expected outputs and outcomes given that without baseline data impact or effect cannot be measured nor attributed to an intervention.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

Review of the RRF is currently underway, examining data availability and needs and the measurability of the current indicators. Intermediate milestones will be established.

 

Ecological baselines will be established during the inventories which are underway.

 

Attention to indicators relating to social and gender impacts is also being emphasised. The scope of the socioeconomic assessment and how it will be incorporated into current activities is a matter of priority. It is noted that this has already been included to some degree in the development of the sustainable financing mechanism.

 

The M&E plan will be revisited to better reflect data collection methods, frequency, cost and sources.

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

Work at the highest level to improve the relation between the St. Kitts and the Nevis implementation processes; creating protocols, letters/memorandums of understanding, and other relevant documents, with meaningful exchanges at the political and at the line ministry levels between the two islands. Use models from other cooperation processes and agreements that have worked more efficiently as examples.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

MOUs are proposed to be agreed between various government departments with respect to their roles and responsibilities in project implementation.

 

The Heads of the key Ministries on both St Kitts and Nevis have reiterated their commitment to the process and to executing their responsibilities. Projects jointly implemented on both islands are not very common, and therefore commitment has been expressed to increase efforts at frequent open dialogue and improvement of the communication process between the PCU and the islands.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

Within Nevis there should be an extra and renewed effort to disseminate information about the workings of the project, the implementation modality, the role of the implementing agency of Nevis, the vertical relations within the Nevis government vis-à-vis a project of this type.  An integrated effort should be made, as well, the between and within the Nevis Implementing Entities/Responsible Partners and other line agencies within the Nevis administration.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

There are some challenges with communication between various Ministries and their respective departments.

 

However, there are representatives from all involved departments in NIA at all project meetings and technical committees and information is circulated within the departments.

 

Efforts will continue to be made to copy PSC representatives in communications with the Directors, and regularise post-meeting reports and discussions with the Directors. Communication with Permanent Secretaries will be increased to ensure buy-in and consent at all stages at the highest levels.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

Within St. Kitts there should be an increased effort to have the different line areas of government work in a coordinating matter within the realm of the project, avoiding duplication of efforts, concerting areas of work, and building upon other interventions and projects that are taken place or that have been implemented regarding protected areas (terrestrial and/or marine) within national and regional projects.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

The Public Sector Investment Programme serves as the coordinating focal point for development projects in the federation. PSIP Committee members (representatives from each government department)  report on the status and challenges of all projects in country on a monthly basis. The monthly report is circulated to all members and PSs, which may not be further circulated. The DOE will seek to obtain these reports.

 

Currently the project has a multi-sector PSC and Technical Committees. Identify core group of stakeholders to strengthen relationship for regular info sharing

 

Relationships need to be strengthened with non-government partners e.g. tour guides, surrounding communities towards implementation of the co-management process.

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

Review the log frame to bring up to date language and incorporate changes that the project has borne in its implementation period thus far.  Update also, as relevant, the indicators in the log frame.  Formally streamline the financing process and administration of the Project; streamline the products expected to meet with outputs but keeping within budget, time, and policy limitations.  Re visit ProDoc to see what is currently not being considered as a product (formally or not), and ascertain that what is still being considered is done through in a programmatic way and not happenstance.  This review and it formal acceptance by steering committee and relevant partners should accompany and be an integral part of an extension if requested.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

A gap analysis currently underway to examine the current plans in relation to expected project results. This will contribute to an updating of the logframe, with revision of indicators and targets and setting intermediate milestones..

 

Critical activities being reviewed and remaining outputs being assessed in terms of scope, feasibility and timing

 

The updated logframe and budget should be available by next PSC meeting in June 2017, for consideration in conjunction with an extension request.

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation:

Start to generate mechanisms and processes, in particular with the support of diverse stakeholders including civil society stakeholders, in order to move the project from an emphasis on products to one that seeks outcomes, objectives, and effects. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

The project document includes a stakeholder analysis and articulates the need for a collaborative PA management approach. Inclusion of

stakeholders in a participatory approach of how the project unfolds will receive renewed efforts.

 

Opportunities for NGO collaboration have been identified, such as with the Sea Turtle Monitoring Network (patrols, etc); Nevis Heritage and Conservation Society (lobbying with government on promised action (accountability), legislation, communications); fishing and farming cooperatives.

 

Options for community engagement and co-management are being explored to obtain buy-in for the creation of the PAs, reduce resource use conflicts, promote understanding of ecosystem services and engender a sense of collective responsibility.

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation:

Generate a deliberation and examination (with relevant events/workshops/discussions etc.) on what should and could be a government(s) entity(ies) that administer(s) protected areas of different sorts in the country.  The discussion should include and generate organizational charts, lines of authority, what already existing entity would this administrative division respond to, what management tools and capacity –personal and institutional—it would need, what enabling norms and policy it would need to function, as well as what financial resources it would need to operate (and where they would arise from).

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

Discussions have been agreed to begin at the PS level within the respective Ministries on both islands to agree on a feasible structure of the PAA and the role of various departments that currently execute some of its functions. The discussion will focus on a ridge to reef approach, emphasising need for coordination and sustainability. Current institutional structures and capacities will also be examined.

 

Several elements of the project will be influenced by the outcomes of these discussions, including the sustainable financing mechanism (SFM), revision of the Nevis Physical Development Plan, the update of the NCEMA Bill and Marine Resources Act, and the proposed PA Act.

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation:

Interweave developmental issues as a priority, in the products and outcomes that result and should result out of the Project, including issues of livelihoods, gender, prevention of natural resource use conflict with local communities, and the support that protected areas should sustain for development and wellbeing (tourism, fisheries, water sources) in the country.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

Specialist support has been secured to specifically  tackle these issues, part of which is the aforementioned gap analysis.

 

Socioeconomic surveys have recently been completed (2016) through other projects, and will be further enhanced by the project as needed.

Key Actions:

11. Recommendation:

Commence to generate a sustainability plan/exit strategy where what is needed for sustaining products, outcomes, and effects is made explicit.  This strategy or plan should make overt which stakeholder(s) would assure sustainability and by what means (for example, through budget incorporations, work plan incorporations, hiring of staff, maintenance of infrastructure and other materials provided directly and indirectly by the Project.)

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

The ongoing development of the sustainable financing mechanism makes provision to directly address some of these issues.

As the SFM is being implemented in its early stages, it is anticipated that gov't may need to absorb current staff until revenue streams reach adequate levels, and the process for doing that will commence during 2017.

 

In ensuring that the PAA will be sustainable, its building and expansion will be incremental and manageable to reduce creation of dependencies on government financing. Simultaneously, the livelihoods adjustments that are anticipated to be needed will seek to ensure no displacement, and replacement with sustainable income where certain activities are prohibited.

 

The PSC has been encouraged to exert its influence in focusing on higher level results and long term usability and sustainability of the project's results.

Key Actions:

12. Recommendation:

Connections with other projects should be fostered. For example, other marine and terrestrial protected areas projects in the region/sub region; in particular, learning their issues, how they were handled, what were the lessons learned, and what were their results.  Formally linking with other projects in country in the same subject area should also be promoted.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

Common approaches are being explored with GEF biodiversity projects in Dominica and Grenada.

 

Greater efforts should be made

MMA, ECMANN

SFM

 

Recommendation of the PSC that the leadership of the PSs is needed to resolve communication and conflicting activities between departments, and determine the way forward as a group

Key Actions:

13. Recommendation:

Enhance UNDP/GEF roles, in particular in technical support, quality control of products,  facilitating information and knowledge of other projects [globally, regionally, and sub regionally] that have dealt with the same subject area and had similar challenges.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

UNDP has recently shared examples of financing mechanisms from Belize and Seychelles to inform the SFM development.

 

New monitoring tools have been developed to facilitate better monitoring of progress towards project outcomes and results-based reporting.

 

Technical support is currently being emphasised in the areas of gender and livelihoods to strengthen the people-centredness and human rights approach of the project.

 

Monthly progress meetings will be held between the PCU and the UNDP SRO team.

Key Actions:

14. Recommendation:

It is recommended that a no-cost extension, should one be requested, be granted for the Project considering the delays it had in set up as well as other delays in implementation.  The extension request should be accompanied by bringing up to date the log frame of the project as well as formalizing the streamlining and adaptive management that has taken place in the implementation and planning process (see recommendation 5 above).

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/12]

Once the revised logframe and multi-year work plan are completed, they will be submitted in support of an 18-month extension request, as agreed by the PSC.

Key Actions:

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