National Biodiversity Project: Conservation of Iona National Park Terminal Evaluation Report

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Evaluation Plan:
2015-2019, Angola
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
07/2018
Completion Date:
07/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
27,000

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Title National Biodiversity Project: Conservation of Iona National Park Terminal Evaluation Report
Atlas Project Number: 64743
Evaluation Plan: 2015-2019, Angola
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 07/2018
Planned End Date: 07/2018
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
Evaluation Budget(US $): 27,000
Source of Funding: European Union
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 21,272
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Valério Macandza International Consultant vmacandza2001@yahoo.com MOZAMBIQUE
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: National Biodiversity Project: Conservation of Iona National Park
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 4082
PIMS Number: 4581
Key Stakeholders: MINAMB; INBAC; Project team; UNDP; UE
Countries: ANGOLA
Comments:

Outcome: Expected CP Outcome(s) (2009-2013):  Pillar #4

Outcome 6: Strengthen national capacities to mainstream environmental protection into national development plans and programmes through a pro-poor growth perspective

Output: Expected CPAP Output(s)

Output 6.1: Effective implementation of biodiversity strategy and action plan

Lessons
1.
  • Placing the leadership of the PSC at Minister level results in low effectiveness and efficiency of project implementation because overloaded central Government agendas prevent adequate overseeing of the project and timely decision-making.
  • Projects to be implemented under NIM should start with a recruited project coordinator fully dedicated to project implementation.
  • The implementation of NIM in its strict sense in situations of weak technical and institutional capacity of the executing agency results in low effectiveness and efficiency of project implementation.
  • Unrealistic project design combined with inadequate adaptive management by the implementing and executing agency results in difficult implementation and failure to achieve intended outcomes.
  • In projects using different currencies, fluctuations of exchange rates between currencies result in actual project budget different from the planned budget, which can negatively affect project implementation.
  • The engagement of local communities in conservation is a slow process of building trust between park staff and local communities. Therefore, in protected areas with people living inside their boundaries and using natural resources for subsistence, projects should target both the achievement of biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic objectives. Social and economic studies aimed at supporting the identification of appropriate mechanism of community engagement should be conducted at the beginning of project implementation.

Findings
1.
  • The project was implemented under National Implementation Modality from February 2013 to April 2018. Key project partners were the executing agency (MINAMB), the implementing agency (UNDP CO) and donors (EU and GEF).
  • The design followed the standard structure of projects aimed at addressing development and environmental problems, with intended outcomes, outputs, activities and a logical framework for monitoring and evaluation. The risks for the achievement of project intended outcomes were adequately identified, except that the risk of financial sustainability not improving sufficiently fast for investment in the protected area system was unrealistically rated as low. The financial crisis that affects Angola prevented cash co-financing from the State budget. The PRODOC identifies tourism has the main source of revenue for the financial sustainability of the protected areas network, without considering the weak competitiveness of Angola in the tourism sector at regional level. Not all indicators presented in the logical framework meet the SMART criteria and there is lack of methodologies and sources of data to monitor progress towards the achievement of the stated targets. There are also unfounded baselines, unrealistic and too ambitious targets to be achieved with the available budget, timeframe and the technical expertise available in the country. Important project outputs such as the construction of infrastructure lack indicators to measure the progress from baseline values to targets.
  • The management arrangements included in the project design were robust and included all relevant partners at national, provincial and local level. However, most of these stakeholders were not engaged during implementation. When the project started, the executing agency, INBAC, had just been created and lacked experience in implementing EU and GEF funded project. The project started without an INBAC staff fully dedicated to the project, which caused slow start, delays and low efficiency in implementation.
  • The project is relevant as it addresses biodiversity conservation challenges and development issues that are priorities of the National Development Plan, NBSAP and environmental legislations, and contribute to Angola’s commitments with UN conventions. It is firmly framed within GEF-4’s biodiversity strategy. In terms of UNDP programming, it is linked with the Partnership Framework for Development of the United Nations - UNPAF (2015-2019), United Nations Development Assistance Framework - UNDAF (2015-2019) and Country Program Action Plan - CPAD (2015 – 2019). The project is aligned with and contributed to the achievement of indicators of Sustainable Development Goals # 1, # 6 and # 15.
  • A PSC led by the Minister of Environment with overloaded central Government agenda resulted in far fewer meetings than planned. The long intervals between meetings of the PSC resulted in a slow decision-making process that affected the speed of project implementation. The internal bureaucracy at MINAMB that resulted in a lengthy process of recruiting field rangers and of contracting services (construction of infrastructure and consultancy services) was another important cause of delays in implementation.
  • The executing agency awarded contracts to companies without the technical expertise required to deliver the products of the contracts with satisfactory quality (e.g. preparation of management and rehabilitation plans, community study and assessment of state of biodiversity). This could have been caused by unclear or incomplete Terms of Reference (ToR), and lack of transparency in proposal evaluation and decision-making for the selection of companies. Additionally, the management plan was prepared without socioeconomic and ecological baseline data, and without stakeholder participation.
  • A number of products with unsatisfactory quality were approved by the executing agency. This suggests a lack of comprehensive revision of drafts reports by the project technical team or lack of transparency in the decisions to approve the products of contracts.
  • Reduced staff allocated to the project by UNDP during the first three years of the project resulted in inadequate guidance to MINAMB for successful project execution. The allocation of more dedicated UNDP staff in 2016 combined with increased commitment of INBAC and the field monitoring visits resulted in a rapid recovery of implementation in the last two years of the project.
  • The staff available in the Iona National Park (international park manager, park administrator and field rangers) is involved in environmental education and public relation activities, but lack specific capacity and skills for this task.
  • Park staff routinely conduct wildlife road count data since 2014, but the data is not routinely analyzed and systematized in a monitoring system to provide insights for park management decisions.  
  • Project finances were affected by the reduction of exchange rate between EUR and U$$ throughout the implementation period, which resulted in lower actual project budget than planned. However, the reduction of the actual budget did not affect the implementation of activities because by the end of the project in April 2018 approximately US$ 270,000.00 from EU funds had not been spent.
  • The deployment of management staff, development of infrastructure and purchase of equipment were the main achievements at site level (outcome 1), whereas the development of PESAC was the main accomplishment at institutional level (outcome 2). The benefits of the project are moderately likely to be sustained over the long term because there is Government commitment to integrate park field rangers in the government payroll and there are new GEF- funded projects with similar objectives being implemented by MINAMB, which will reduce the impact of financial crisis on protected areas financing. However, there are still not secured funds for the maintenance of equipment and infrastructure constructed by the project. Tourism development is unlikely to generate revenue to significantly contribute to park management and/or improvement of life conditions of local communities.

Recommendations
1

Recommendation 1: INBAC should raise financial resources to revise the management plan of the Iona National Park for it to become a management guiding tool, and subsequently provide resources for its implementation.

2

Recommendation 2: To increase the environmental and socioeconomic sustainability, in the management of the Iona National Park, INBAC should focus on the: (1) strengthening of patrolling to reduce the negative effects of poaching on wildlife populations, (2) strengthening of environmental education, (3) implementation of the zoning plan, (4) development of community-based tourism to strengthen the awareness of the value of biodiversity to local communities, and (5) provision of water for livestock drinking away from the most sensitive grasslands of the park used by wildlife.

3

Recommendation 3: In protected areas with people living inside or in the periphery such as Iona National Park and most protected areas in Angola, in addition to park administrators and field rangers, INBAC should recruit a community liaison or public relations officer to lead the implementation of social and economic actions of protected areas management, such as stakeholder engagement, environmental education, tourism development and communications.

4

Recommendation 4: In parallel to the routine counting of wildlife along the roads, the Iona National Park should analyze the data collected, to generate trends in distribution and relative abundance of wildlife species that can be used in park management decisions, including the distribution of patrolling effort.

5

Recommendation 5:  INBAC should develop a guideline and standard template to be followed in the design of protected areas management plan and enforce that its preparation is participatory and based on field ecological and socioeconomic data. Participation builds ownership of the management plan by stakeholders and eases collaboration and division of tasks and responsibilities for implementation.

6

Recommendation 6:  In future projects, MINAMB should delegate the leadership of the PSC to the Secretary of State of Environment or to the General Director of INBAC for this body to meet more often, which will facilitate monitoring and evaluation, accelerate decision-making processes, and consequently increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the project.

7

Recommendation 7:  In future projects, MINAMB should delegate the authority to approve contracts of consultancy services for protected areas to INBAC, to prevent delays and speed up project implementation.

8

Recommendation 8:  Despite implementation under NIM, given its initial stage of developing technical expertise, the executing agency (MINAMB) should request assistance from the implementing agency or from external sources in the selection of contractors and in the review of deliverables to ensure that the deliverables are of satisfactory quality.

9

Recommendation 9:  In future project, the implementing agency (UNDP) should allocate adequate staff to provide guidance to the executing agency throughout the implementation period.

10

Recommendation 10:  UNDP should intensify efforts to explain National Implementation Modality rules to avoid misperceptions and wrong interpretation of its role and responsibility by both executing agency and donors, but also provide adequate assistance and guidance to the executing agency throughout the implementation period.

11

Recommendation 11:  The design of future projects must be adapted to local circumstances and conditions and be based on a comprehensive and participatory analysis of risks, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses to ensure that the project is composed of realistic outcomes, outputs and activities to make an impact on the ecological or socioeconomic environment.

12

Recommendation 12:  To facilitate monitoring and evaluation during the implementation phase, all outputs must have the corresponding indicators with realistic baseline and target values, and means of verification with robust methods to measure the performance of the project towards their accomplishment.

13

Recommendation 13:  In projects using different currencies, the implementing and the executing agency should negotiate with donors the conversion of the full amount of funding to the currency to be used by the implementing agency at the start of the project, to buffer the effects of variability in exchange rates, in particular the reduction in the rate and in the total funding provided.

1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1: INBAC should raise financial resources to revise the management plan of the Iona National Park for it to become a management guiding tool, and subsequently provide resources for its implementation.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/02]

Management Response: UNDP agrees with the recommendation and will support INBAC in its efforts to allocate and/or raise funds for the revision and implementation of the management plan. Considering that the budget allocation by the Government to environment has tended to decrease over the last years and that several other parks have no management plans at all, it may be difficult to allocate government resources to a revision of the management plan of Iona NP. On the other hand, it may be possible to attract regional funding to the transboundary Iona-Skeleton Coast area that could also benefit a revised, joint management plan for the two areas.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Attract regional funding to the transboundary Iona-Skeleton Coast area.
[Added: 2018/07/02] [Last Updated: 2018/10/31]
INBAC 2018/12 Completed INBAC obtained follow up funding from the EU for a regional project with Namibia on Iona-Skeleton Coast Transfrontier area.
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2: To increase the environmental and socioeconomic sustainability, in the management of the Iona National Park, INBAC should focus on the: (1) strengthening of patrolling to reduce the negative effects of poaching on wildlife populations, (2) strengthening of environmental education, (3) implementation of the zoning plan, (4) development of community-based tourism to strengthen the awareness of the value of biodiversity to local communities, and (5) provision of water for livestock drinking away from the most sensitive grasslands of the park used by wildlife.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/02]

Management Response: UNDP agrees with the recommendations and will support INBAC in raising funds for follow-up actions in the park. It should be noted that some park ranger training will be provided through GEF5 and GEF6 projects that can take up these points, while environmental education and community based tourism are components of a follow-up project in Iona and Skeleton Coast National Parks funded by the EU (without UNDP involvement). At least along the coast, the implementation of the zoning plan will also be strengthened through the GEF6 MPA project. Water for livestock will be provided through the Government funded Water for All program. An existing MoU between Ministry of Environment and Ministry of the Interior could also lead to greater involvement of police in patrolling of protected areas.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Provide training to park rangers through GEF5 and GEF6 projects.
[Added: 2018/07/02]
INBAC with UNDP support 2019/01 Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: In protected areas with people living inside or in the periphery such as Iona National Park and most protected areas in Angola, in addition to park administrators and field rangers, INBAC should recruit a community liaison or public relations officer to lead the implementation of social and economic actions of protected areas management, such as stakeholder engagement, environmental education, tourism development and communications.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/02]

Management Response: UNDP agrees with the recommendation and will attempt to incorporate it into its GEF5 and GEF6 projects, although funding for such a position would have to be ensured by Government in order to increase sustainability of the position.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Advocate for the recruitment of a community liaison officer within INBAC for the implementation of social and economic actions in protected areas.
[Added: 2018/07/02] [Last Updated: 2018/12/12]
UNDP 2019/06 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4: In parallel to the routine counting of wildlife along the roads, the Iona National Park should analyze the data collected, to generate trends in distribution and relative abundance of wildlife species that can be used in park management decisions, including the distribution of patrolling effort.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/02]

Management Response: UNDP agrees that data collected should be analyzed by the park staff (or possibly students working with INBAC) although we have some doubts about the quantitative value of the road counts. In future projects, it would be better to use the time of project staff to establish and implement quantitative monitoring methodologies.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To perform quantitative monitoring methodologies for fauna surveys in future projects.
[Added: 2018/07/02] [Last Updated: 2018/10/31]
INBAC with UNDP support 2019/12 Completed Several fauna surveys in national parks using quantitative methodologies have been contracted and implemented in GEF5 project.
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5:  INBAC should develop a guideline and standard template to be followed in the design of protected areas management plan and enforce that its preparation is participatory and based on field ecological and socioeconomic data. Participation builds ownership of the management plan by stakeholders and eases collaboration and division of tasks and responsibilities for implementation.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/02]

Management Response:  UNDP fully agrees with the recommendation. Participation has been built into the elaboration of management plans under the GEF5 project, although the result of this still needs to be seen since the management plans (Bicuar, Cangandala, Kissama) have not been finalized nor intermediate products presented yet.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop participatory management plans for Bicuar, Cangandala, Quiçama, Maiombe and Luando PAs in the scope of GEF5 and GEF6 projects
[Added: 2018/07/02] [Last Updated: 2018/12/12]
INBAC with UNDP support. 2019/07 Completed The management plan for Cangandala NP is now completed and can serve as a model for future management plans for protected areas in Angola.
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6:  In future projects, MINAMB should delegate the leadership of the PSC to the Secretary of State of Environment or to the General Director of INBAC for this body to meet more often, which will facilitate monitoring and evaluation, accelerate decision-making processes, and consequently increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/02]

Management Response:  UNDP fully agrees and has promoted this delegation for some while already. Recent SC meetings of GEF funded projects implemented by UNDP in Angola were generally chaired either by the Secretary of State for Environment or by a National Director, plus UNDP CD or his representative.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Delegate the leadership of PSC to the Secretary of State of National Director.
[Added: 2018/07/02] [Last Updated: 2018/12/12]
MINAMB and UNDP 2019/07 Completed
7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7:  In future projects, MINAMB should delegate the authority to approve contracts of consultancy services for protected areas to INBAC, to prevent delays and speed up project implementation.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/02]

Management Response:  This delegation has effectively happened in the first half of 2017 and has greatly reduced administrative delays related to contracting within the Ministry. In the future, MINAMB may also strengthen its procurement mechanisms and UNDP could support this process through institutional capacity building.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
MINAMB should delegate the authority to approve contracts related to PAs to INBAC.
[Added: 2018/07/02] [Last Updated: 2018/12/12]
MINAMB 2019/05 Completed
8. Recommendation:

Recommendation 8:  Despite implementation under NIM, given its initial stage of developing technical expertise, the executing agency (MINAMB) should request assistance from the implementing agency or from external sources in the selection of contractors and in the review of deliverables to ensure that the deliverables are of satisfactory quality.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/02]

Management Response:  Since the beginning of Iona project, procedures of contracting in the UNDP-GEF projects in Angola have evolved and in recent contracting procedures, UNDP has been fully involved and supported the Government in all phases. UNDP also reviews all deliverables before making payments, although it must be said that in some cases this review happens too late to still make major corrective actions without delaying project implementation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
MINAMB should request assistance from the implementing agency (UNDP) in the selection of contractors and review of deliverables
[Added: 2018/07/03] [Last Updated: 2018/10/30]
MINAMB 2019/12 Completed
9. Recommendation:

Recommendation 9:  In future project, the implementing agency (UNDP) should allocate adequate staff to provide guidance to the executing agency throughout the implementation period.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/02]

Management Response:  UNDP certainly agrees with this recommendation. Adequate staffing of the CO to support an increasing number of UNDP-GEF projects will be a challenge that will need constant attention and innovative approaches to address (e.g. through UNVs, JPOs, etc.).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Allocate adequate staff in future projects to provide guidance to the executing agency.
[Added: 2018/07/03] [Last Updated: 2018/08/14]
UNDP 2019/03 Initiated
10. Recommendation:

Recommendation 10:  UNDP should intensify efforts to explain National Implementation Modality rules to avoid misperceptions and wrong interpretation of its role and responsibility by both executing agency and donors, but also provide adequate assistance and guidance to the executing agency throughout the implementation period.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/02]

Management Response:  The CO has repeatedly held workshops with the Government partners involved in NIM projects to explain the details of the modality and respective roles and responsibilities. These workshops were perceived as useful by the Government participants and should be repeated in the future. More important, however, is the continuous interaction with the executing partners and it is the experience of this CO that weekly meetings with the National Directors and/or national coordinators of all projects are needed to avoid delays in implementation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To hold weekly meetings between UNDP and National Directors and/or coordinators of all projects.
[Added: 2018/07/03] [Last Updated: 2018/12/12]
UNDP and MINAMB 2019/07 Initiated
11. Recommendation:

Recommendation 11:  The design of future projects must be adapted to local circumstances and conditions and be based on a comprehensive and participatory analysis of risks, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses to ensure that the project is composed of realistic outcomes, outputs and activities to make an impact on the ecological or socioeconomic environment.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/03]

Management Response:  UNDP fully agrees with the recommendation and is making great efforts in projects currently under development (PPG) to base project design on such a comprehensive analysis of the situation. With increasing capacity of the Government counterparts and increasing presence of competent NGO partners in the country, this task is becoming easier though still challenging.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
PRODOCs of the future projects should be adapted to local circumstances.
[Added: 2018/07/03] [Last Updated: 2018/12/12]
UNDP 2019/07 Initiated
12. Recommendation:

Recommendation 12:  To facilitate monitoring and evaluation during the implementation phase, all outputs must have the corresponding indicators with realistic baseline and target values, and means of verification with robust methods to measure the performance of the project towards their accomplishment.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/03]

Management Response:  UNDP agrees and is making an extra effort to make sure that this recommendation is fully followed in the GEF-6 projects currently being designed.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Identify clear indicators for project outputs in GEF6
[Added: 2018/07/03] [Last Updated: 2018/12/12]
UNDP 2019/07 Initiated
13. Recommendation:

Recommendation 13:  In projects using different currencies, the implementing and the executing agency should negotiate with donors the conversion of the full amount of funding to the currency to be used by the implementing agency at the start of the project, to buffer the effects of variability in exchange rates, in particular the reduction in the rate and in the total funding provided.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/03]

Management Response:  While we agree that this would be a good solution to the currency fluctuation risk, in the case of the EU such a negotiation would have to take place at central level and for large, multi-year projects it would most likely not be possible to negotiate such an arrangement since it would block large amounts of donor funds over several years and reduce donor control over the project. Fortunately, there are other ways to control this risk by more closely tracking the funds received in both currencies (rather than only in US$) so that eventual budget shortfalls are detected in time and can be responded to.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Tracking the funds received in currencies other than US$ more closely.
[Added: 2018/07/03] [Last Updated: 2018/12/12]
undp 2019/07 Initiated

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