STRENGTHENING NATIONAL CAPACITIES OF SURINAME FOR THE ELABORATION OF THE NATIONAL REDD+ STRATEGY

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Suriname
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
01/2017
Completion Date:
03/2017
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
25,000

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY  
The “Strengthening national capacities of Suriname for the elaboration of the National REDD+ strategy and the design of its implementation framework” project has a budget of 3.694.000 US$ for the project implementation, from May 2014 until June 2017. 
The project is structured around three pillars: (1) human capacities and stakeholder’s engagement; (2) REDD+ strategy; and, (3) implementation framework and tools. It is implemented by the Government of Suriname (GoS) with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as delivery partner. The National Institute for Environment and Development in Suriname (NIMOS) serves as the GoS technical focal point for implementation of the project while the Foundation for Forest Management and Production Control (SBB) is also responsible for specific outputs from pillar 2 and 3. 
The Mid Term Review (MTR) was scheduled to take place in early 2016 according to the signed Project Document (Prodoc), but the Project Board decided to postpone it until the end of 2016, given absence of progresses in early 2016 and the interest of giving to the recently recruited team in the Project Management Unit (PMU) a chance to perform before being assessed.  
 
The Mid Term Review considers the execution of the project until October 31th 2016 and focuses not only in the progress made, but also on main corrective recommendations towards a successful completion of the Project objectives. 
The UNDP financial reports for 2014, 2015 and 2016 (Jan-Oct) show that from the total budget of USD 3.694.000 for the Project, until October 31st 2016 only 23% was executed. The following graph shows the annual and cumulative execution versus the budget. 
  Graph N 1: Project Annual and Cumulative Execution versus Available Budget 
 
Source: UNDP financial reports 2014, 2015 and 2016 
Pillar 1 is the one in which more money has been spent, but it can be noticed that budget execution is still very low (only 34%). Considering the Annual Working Plan presented for 2016 by the Project Management Unit (PMU), only 24% of the budget was executed until October 31st, 2016. 
Clearly, there is a very low execution of the project funds so far (only 23% from the beginning to October 31st 2016), and based on the budget for the Annual Working Plan (AWP) 2016, only 24% has been spent, showing a marginal improvement. The numbers show that if the trend of the financial execution remains as it is, in six months, at the end of the Project, the total execution will be less than 50% of the total amount.  

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Title STRENGTHENING NATIONAL CAPACITIES OF SURINAME FOR THE ELABORATION OF THE NATIONAL REDD+ STRATEGY
Atlas Project Number: 81326
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Suriname
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 03/2017
Planned End Date: 01/2017
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Environment & Sustainable Development
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.4. Scaled up action on climate change adaptation and mitigation across sectors which is funded and implemented
  • 2. Output 2.5. Legal and regulatory frameworks, policies and institutions enabled to ensure the conservation, sustainable use, and access and benefit sharing of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystems, in line with international conventions and national
Evaluation Budget(US $): 25,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 22,000
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Cabinet of the President; NIMOS; UNDP
Countries: SURINAME
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

A:

NIMOS will require to consider strengthening its capacities to support its Director engaging in high political level discussion on the REDD+ alternatives, identified as part of a national development strategy for Suriname, to focus on as soon as a strategic vision of REDD+ is agreed and the technical studies and information are there to support a technical and a policy wise discussion.

R:

1. Hiring a senior person to focus on the discussion on the REDD+ strategy elements at a high political level at NIMOS

2. Hiring a senior person to lead the PMU (now vacant) to support also NIMOS coordinator with the High level engagement as part of its responsibilities.

2

A:

The experience shows low IP’s ability to execute the project in accordance with the work plan, having problems specially in contracting process to equip the personnel to run the REDD+ project.

R:

1.The full support to NIM, could have better worked for this project in line with the IP capabilities showed so far.

2.The IP capabilities needs to be strengthen and UNDP needs to revise and precise better the implementation modality for future projects with this IP.

3.The Project should consider moving to full support to NIM or should require UNDP assistance in Identification and recruitment of project personnel needed to complete the PMU team under the present modality.

4.HACT assessment should be redone to consider the current situation. 

3

A:

It is important to consider when, major technical and strategic work will be done by external consultant firms, how the technical capabilities will remain in the country, so the country can adjust and carry on the work without costly external support in next phase of readiness. e.g.

The approach of the PMU-SBB FCMU team as result of regional project.

R:

1. Interventions of this type should clearly have as an objective the generation and strengthening of national individual and institutional capacities, taking into account and towards the development of the technical products under its responsibility must be focused on using the team capacity to develop part of the work jointly with the external consultant firms to ensure the capacities are transferred to the unit and therefore strengthen the capacity of the country.

2. The PMU-SBB requires to hire key personnel that can oversee the work done by the external consultancies and jointly work with them as much as possible.

3.The key personnel recommended are:

a. An Economist/ Industrial Engineer to the team to provide the support the strategy, economic options, studies, the Development Plan for Suriname modeling work that will be needed. The person can also be a liaison with the Planning Office.

b. To add a Lawyer to support the discussion and revision of the Mining Law in elements associated with REDD+ and other relevant legal barriers the country is facing, or deal with issues such as ownership of emission reduction, land rights, among others (NIMOS can provide the support with in-house capacity available to PMU when is needed, if available).

c. appraising existing capacity but also needs within the country’s institutions.

4

A:

The SBB-FCMU technical capacities are not institutionalized and the FCMU funded by ACTO project until February 2016, therefore arrangements need to be made to ensure the continuity of the FCMU personnel to finalize the Project and to support.  

The institutionalization of this unit in the SBB.

The approach of the SBB-FCMU team towards the development of the technical outputs under its responsibility must be focused on using the team capacity to develop part of the work jointly with the external consultant firms to ensure the capacities are transferred to the unit and therefore strengthen the capacity of the country.

The FCMU and the PMU team need to work closer together with better coordination on all subjects from engagement plans to technical elements.

The REDD+ project needs to finance the FCMU personnel to keep them on the team until the end of the project at least.

MOU between NIMOS and PMU for REDD+ needs to be signed to provide formality to the process and joint work

FCMU Unit needs to be institutionalized in SBB, especially since it is already supporting other processes with effective information. (Mining activities MAP)

The FCMU as part of the PMU could work together with the Planning Office (Stichting

Planburo Suriname) and sector-experts on the country development scenario's and build models to predict or determine the impact on the forest and land use. This will create strong liaisons and national capacity that might be the basis for land use planning.

The FCMU was working on Business As Usual scenarios within the DDFDB+ study and can share the capacity built with the other partners involved.

Additional specific studies that can be consider by PMU-SBB if time and funds are available.

An economic assessment of the key development scenarios and can be supported by local or international expert together with the Planning Office team

It is also recommended to develop a mining marginal production costs map and model next interventions by Gold/Bauxite international price projections in order to understand the deforestation trends spatially.

5

A:

The Project requires to review the project work plan from now to the project closure, make corrections, if some activities are no longer needed or the approach has changed in line with political and local circumstances.

Provide a detailed work plan which includes specific budget for each activity.

R:

1. A detailed work plan can support a request for the extension of the project implementation time providing the amount of time needed based on the amount of funding left to be executed. 

6

A:

The Project Board is too large and it requires a streamline.

So far the Project Board is acting more as an Information platform and not as a decision making body.

R:

To ensure a participation of high level officials in the Board meetings, the Project Board needs to provide an environment for strategic level discussion. 

7

NGOs, Universities, technical institute’s constituency can participate and support the technical discussions and their experience and capacities better used in the readiness process.

R:

1. In the next phase (from now to the end of the project) the PMU team needs to engage better with this constituency through technical small sessions to discuss specific products, or the establishment of a (technical committee) especially the ones related to, but not only, to drivers of deforestation, innovative strategic options and REDD+ strategy.

2.The Mining and Timber Sectors needs to be invited to the REDD+ discussion as soon as a REDD+ Strategy study is finalized and the options are also proposed to engage in an open discussion.

1. Recommendation:

A:

NIMOS will require to consider strengthening its capacities to support its Director engaging in high political level discussion on the REDD+ alternatives, identified as part of a national development strategy for Suriname, to focus on as soon as a strategic vision of REDD+ is agreed and the technical studies and information are there to support a technical and a policy wise discussion.

R:

1. Hiring a senior person to focus on the discussion on the REDD+ strategy elements at a high political level at NIMOS

2. Hiring a senior person to lead the PMU (now vacant) to support also NIMOS coordinator with the High level engagement as part of its responsibilities.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/03/20]

We support this recommendation and propose this be realized immediately and throughout, the remaining lifespan of the project.

 

NIMOS: The high level engagement has started with the Office of the President and the Council of Ministers in Dec 2016. Based on NIMOS’ position within the Office of the President, we have been given the support by the Presidential Advisor on Environment, on this matter.

The hiring of senior persons at this moment is not applicable/required.

NIMOS has assigned an interim Project Coordinator (assumed by the Sr. Program Advisor) and together with the General Director NIMOS an evaluation will be conducted to fill in the Project Coordinator position.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

A:

The experience shows low IP’s ability to execute the project in accordance with the work plan, having problems specially in contracting process to equip the personnel to run the REDD+ project.

R:

1.The full support to NIM, could have better worked for this project in line with the IP capabilities showed so far.

2.The IP capabilities needs to be strengthen and UNDP needs to revise and precise better the implementation modality for future projects with this IP.

3.The Project should consider moving to full support to NIM or should require UNDP assistance in Identification and recruitment of project personnel needed to complete the PMU team under the present modality.

4.HACT assessment should be redone to consider the current situation. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/03/20]

This is accepted and has taken place in design of the project. However, the PMU was not established as per project design. Guided by UNDP Policies and Procedures for Programs and Projects and ensuring full national ownership more thorough assessments, including risks mitigating measures are incorporated for current project and during design of new projects.    

 

NIMOS:

  1. One of the Main objectives of the REDD+ Readiness phase is strengthening the capacity of the IP and embed this capacity in the daily operations of the IP. Technical capacity of staff recruited has grown substantively in their daily operations.
  2. The REDD+ program is new and Suriname does not have expert REDD+ capacity, therefore technical support from the UNDP was necessary from the start on.

Low management skills were identified and necessary measures taken, namely a Senior Program advisor – supporting the project coordinator on the day-to-day management -  and a M&E officer- monitoring the implementation of the work plan – are in place as of respectively September and October 2016

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation:

A:

It is important to consider when, major technical and strategic work will be done by external consultant firms, how the technical capabilities will remain in the country, so the country can adjust and carry on the work without costly external support in next phase of readiness. e.g.

The approach of the PMU-SBB FCMU team as result of regional project.

R:

1. Interventions of this type should clearly have as an objective the generation and strengthening of national individual and institutional capacities, taking into account and towards the development of the technical products under its responsibility must be focused on using the team capacity to develop part of the work jointly with the external consultant firms to ensure the capacities are transferred to the unit and therefore strengthen the capacity of the country.

2. The PMU-SBB requires to hire key personnel that can oversee the work done by the external consultancies and jointly work with them as much as possible.

3.The key personnel recommended are:

a. An Economist/ Industrial Engineer to the team to provide the support the strategy, economic options, studies, the Development Plan for Suriname modeling work that will be needed. The person can also be a liaison with the Planning Office.

b. To add a Lawyer to support the discussion and revision of the Mining Law in elements associated with REDD+ and other relevant legal barriers the country is facing, or deal with issues such as ownership of emission reduction, land rights, among others (NIMOS can provide the support with in-house capacity available to PMU when is needed, if available).

c. appraising existing capacity but also needs within the country’s institutions.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/03/20]

Overall accepted with following note that the appraisal of staff capacities was taken into account at the project design stage, however the challenges in accepting UNDP support for hiring of the PMU were not fully appreciated, as well as acquiring external Chief Technical Advisory support. As of recently this PMU situation has been further compounded with difficulties in continuing the support from the SBB/FMCU due to economic hardship that has befallen Suriname and difficulties in government meeting budget needs for SBB/FMCU staff.

 

NIMOS:

  • FCMU unit secured with AWP 2017; key personnel will be available to oversee work done by external consultancies; UNDP experts available
  • Economist/industrial engineer will be taken into consideration
  • To add a lawyer: NIMOS Legal Officer already in Governmental Committee that is revising the Mining Law
  • NIMOS Office Legal Services already providing in-house support to PMU

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

A:

The SBB-FCMU technical capacities are not institutionalized and the FCMU funded by ACTO project until February 2016, therefore arrangements need to be made to ensure the continuity of the FCMU personnel to finalize the Project and to support.  

The institutionalization of this unit in the SBB.

The approach of the SBB-FCMU team towards the development of the technical outputs under its responsibility must be focused on using the team capacity to develop part of the work jointly with the external consultant firms to ensure the capacities are transferred to the unit and therefore strengthen the capacity of the country.

The FCMU and the PMU team need to work closer together with better coordination on all subjects from engagement plans to technical elements.

The REDD+ project needs to finance the FCMU personnel to keep them on the team until the end of the project at least.

MOU between NIMOS and PMU for REDD+ needs to be signed to provide formality to the process and joint work

FCMU Unit needs to be institutionalized in SBB, especially since it is already supporting other processes with effective information. (Mining activities MAP)

The FCMU as part of the PMU could work together with the Planning Office (Stichting

Planburo Suriname) and sector-experts on the country development scenario's and build models to predict or determine the impact on the forest and land use. This will create strong liaisons and national capacity that might be the basis for land use planning.

The FCMU was working on Business As Usual scenarios within the DDFDB+ study and can share the capacity built with the other partners involved.

Additional specific studies that can be consider by PMU-SBB if time and funds are available.

An economic assessment of the key development scenarios and can be supported by local or international expert together with the Planning Office team

It is also recommended to develop a mining marginal production costs map and model next interventions by Gold/Bauxite international price projections in order to understand the deforestation trends spatially.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/03/20]

UNDP CO supports the recommendation to ensure the continued support of FCMU to guarantee the technical outputs assigned to the unit are carried out and not jeopardized by the overall funding challenges of the SBB/FCMU.  REDD+ project resources should be utilized to secure FCMU continued support but cannot be extended to non-REDD+ work of the FCMU.
NIMOS: 
•    FCMU included in AWPs 2017-2018 (Done, AWP approved by Project Board 27th of Jan 2017)
•    FCMU needs to be institutionalized within SBB: NIMOS PMU cannot address this issue, but will all put efforts in order to sustain the FCMU. 
•    FCMU as part of the PMU: FCMU already has Technical working relations with Planning Office for developing maps. In the 2nd week of Feb 2017 PMU will start discussion with Planning Office to support the development of the Vison 2035.
•    Planning Office has also attended the PB meeting in January 2017 as one of the Observers.
•    Economic Assessment: Will be considered

 

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

A:

The Project requires to review the project work plan from now to the project closure, make corrections, if some activities are no longer needed or the approach has changed in line with political and local circumstances.

Provide a detailed work plan which includes specific budget for each activity.

R:

1. A detailed work plan can support a request for the extension of the project implementation time providing the amount of time needed based on the amount of funding left to be executed. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/03/20]

This is accepted. Some of the issues documented during this project evaluation were also raised as part of Environment cluster evaluation in 2012.  Country Office proposes to conduct a review of its most recent project evaluations to determine whether patterns are systemic to the Environment portfolio or go across sectors/ program areas. The outcome of this exercise will be utilized to shape future projects.

 

NIMOS:

Done, and approved AWP 2017 by PB on January 27th.   

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

A:

The Project Board is too large and it requires a streamline.

So far the Project Board is acting more as an Information platform and not as a decision making body.

R:

To ensure a participation of high level officials in the Board meetings, the Project Board needs to provide an environment for strategic level discussion. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/03/20]

NIMOS:

In December 2016, NIMOS & PMU started talks with IP and TP representatives and RAC to restructure the PB taking into consideration the aspect of conflict of interests.

 

To have more efficient and technical discussions with the Project Board, pre-meetings with Major Groups Collective, ITP’s and representatives of the Government have been organized in 2016 and 2017, prior to PB meetings.

 

 

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

NGOs, Universities, technical institute’s constituency can participate and support the technical discussions and their experience and capacities better used in the readiness process.

R:

1. In the next phase (from now to the end of the project) the PMU team needs to engage better with this constituency through technical small sessions to discuss specific products, or the establishment of a (technical committee) especially the ones related to, but not only, to drivers of deforestation, innovative strategic options and REDD+ strategy.

2.The Mining and Timber Sectors needs to be invited to the REDD+ discussion as soon as a REDD+ Strategy study is finalized and the options are also proposed to engage in an open discussion.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/03/20]

NIMOS:

Engagement Plan was finalized December 19, 2016. Engagement has been ongoing since the Readiness Preparation Phase. We do acknowledge that in 2015 and 2016, the engagement activities were minimal, but by end of 2016, we have increased our efforts for broader engagement. The Community Liaison Officer was contracted in October 2016, and she will be key in this process.

 

As part of the National Strategy for REDD+, engagement and consultation is key, and these activities are part of the overall engagement plan as well.

 

All other studies (Drivers of Deforestation, Land tenure, Corruption Risk Assessment, Innovative Economic Opportunities) also engage broadly with relevant stakeholders (this will contribute to the overall Engagement Strategy)

Key Actions:

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