Terminal Evaluation - UNDP Third National Report (3NR) to the CBD (PIMS 3456)

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Title Terminal Evaluation - UNDP Third National Report (3NR) to the CBD (PIMS 3456)
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2018
Planned End Date: 06/2018
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 $): 12,000
Source of Funding: UNDP-GEF global project resources
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 11,500
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Josh Brann International Consultant Brann.Evaluation@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: National Reporting to the CBD: Supporting countries to prepare the Third National Report on Biodiversity
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: MSP
GEF Phase: GEF-3
GEF Project ID: 2880
PIMS Number: 3456
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: GLOBAL
Lessons
Findings
1.

V.Relevance

With respect to relevance, the projects are considered relevant/satisfactory, as the projects clearly supports the implementation of the CBD. The projects also conform with GEF biodiversity focal area strategies and priorities for GEF-3 and GEF-4. The projects’ design as an umbrella approach for the disbursement of Enabling Activity funds was a relevant strategy, although it did not fully generate the efficiencies anticipated, at least for the 3NR projects, under which only 47.4% of GEF-eligible countries (74 of 156) accessed the Enabling Activity funding through the umbrella projects, instead of the anticipated 63.5%(99 of 156).


Tag: Biodiversity Relevance Data and Statistics

2.

A.Relevance of the 3-4 NR Project to Implementation of the CBD

The 3NR and 4NR projects supported parties to the CBD to meet their national reporting obligations. The projects were clearly and directly relevant for supporting implementation of the CBD.The 4NR projects also included an element focusing on national assessment of the 2010 biodiversity targets, with the expectation that insights would be included in countries’4NR. This was further and directly related to support for implementation of the CBD, and in particular for assessing global progress toward the 2010 biodiversity targets.


Tag: Biodiversity Relevance

3.

B.Relevance of the 3-4 NR Project Objectiveto GEF Strategic Objectives.

The GEF has limited financial resources so it has identified a set of strategic priorities and objectives designed to support the GEF's catalytic role and leverage resources for maximum impact. Thus, GEF supported projects should be, amongst all, relevant to the GEF's strategic priorities and objectives. The 3NR Phase I project was approved and implemented under the strategic priorities for GEF-3(July 2002–June 2006).11Under the GEF-3 strategic priorities, this project was line with GEF’s Strategic Priority 1 for Capacity Building (CB1), which supports Enabling Activities. The project was also broadly relevant to all Biodiversity Strategic Priorities and Operational Programmes, since countries’ national reports to the CBD provide information about various aspects of biodiversity and its conservation for the CBD parties. The 3NR Phase II project was also under the GEF-3 strategic priorities, as the project was approved by the GEF in September 2005.

The 4NR project was in-line with the GEF-4 GEF’s StrategicPriority for Capacity Building (CB1), which supports Enabling Activities. The project was also highly relevant to the GEF-4 GEF Focal Area Strategy for Biodiversity, in its efforts to make a substantial contribution to implementing most of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly environmental sustainability and poverty reduction, while meeting priorities identified by the COP of the CBD.


Tag: Biodiversity Environment Policy Relevance Global Environment Facility fund MDGs Poverty Reduction Capacity Building

4.

C.Relevance of the Project Approach: Project Strategy and Design

The 3NR Phase I project was the first to propose an umbrella approach, a new modality for aiding countries in undertaking Enabling Activities in the biodiversity focal area of the GEF. The project was specifically designed to assist at least 49 countries in the preparation of their 3NRf or meeting their national reporting requirements under the CBD. This approach was expected to provide the GEF and UNDP opportunities for managing biodiversity Enabling Activities more strategically. Other important benefits were expected to include: improved support services to countries, reduced administration burden on countries and Implementing Agencies, reduced transaction costs for the GEF, and improved quality of programming. Finally, this global project aimed to ensure synergy between the GEF Enabling Activities, the GEF’s strategic approach for capacity-building as implemented through ongoing National Capacity Self-Assessments in countries, and national reporting requirements and guidelines of the CBD.

The project strategy and design are considered relevant, although experience from the 3NR Phase I and Phase II projects showed that the umbrella approach did not fully generate the efficiencies expected. Only 75% (74 of 99) of the expected countries ultimately accessed the Enabling Activity funding to complete their 3NR. Other GEF-eligible countries completed their 3NRwithout GEF support(18 countries, two did not submit to CBD), or with a stand-alone Enabling Activity(eight countries, but four did not submit 3NRsto the CBD).A total of 15 GEF-eligible countries did not take advantage of the umbrella Enabling Activity modality, and did not otherwise complete their 3NR through other means. Although the umbrella approach did not facilitate the uptake of Enabling Activities by as many countries as anticipated, it may still have been more efficient than the alternative approach of all countries accessing Enabling Activity funding individually.


Tag: Relevance Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Capacity Building

5.

V.Project Management and Cost-effectiveness (Efficiency)

The projects’ efficiency is rated moderately satisfactory. The efficiency rating is an aggregate of the implementation and execution ratings, plus a qualitative assessment of the other factors analyzed below under each of the headings in this section of the report: Risk assessment and monitoring, flexibility and adaptive management, financial planning, co-financing, and monitoring and evaluation.


Tag: Efficiency

6.

A.Implementation, Including UNDP Oversight

UNDP is the GEF Agency responsible for the project, and carries general backstopping and oversight responsibilities. On the whole there were no notable oversight issues, apart from the fact that UNDPdid not financially close the project in a timely manner (further discussed in Section V.Ebelow on financial management). Implementation by UNDP is considered moderately satisfactory.


Tag: Oversight

7.

B.Execution (Project Management).

This was a direct execution project (DEX), meaning that UNDP was also responsible for project execution (project execution can also be considered “project management”). Project execution is considered satisfactory. Given the timing of the project activities relative to the timing of the terminal evaluation, there was not substantive information available on project management procedures, but none of the available evidence indicates any shortcomings in project management. Shortcomings in financial management related to the timeliness of project closure are discussed in Section V.E.


Tag: Project and Programme management

8.

C.Risk Assessment and Monitoring

The 3NR Phase I and Phase II Prodocs did not include risk assessments, as they were not subjected to the same Prodoc requirements as standard GEF MSPs. The risk assessment requirement was included for the 4NR Prodoc, which identified the following risk:

Experience from the 3NRUmbrella Projects (both UNDP's and UNEP's) showed that many countries have been rather slow in preparing and remitting country requests. Often requests were incomplete or contained inconsistent text. The review of several requests also showed that many countries missed the opportunity to truly involve civil society in consultations. The following measures will be taken to mitigate these risks:

  • Country requests will be accepted in English, French and Spanish;
  • Country requests contain more guidance on their preparation; and
  • Information on operational procedures and substantive guidance will be prepared as a priority activity under this phase and made available in English, French and Spanish.

Tag: Challenges Operational Efficiency

9.

D.Flexibility and Adaptive Management

Flexibility is one of the GEF’s ten operational principles, and all projects must be implemented in a flexible manner to maximize efficiency and effectiveness, and to ensure results-based, rather than output-based approach. Thus, during project implementation adaptive management must be employed to adjust to changing circumstances. The major adaptive management element within the scope of the projects being evaluated was the re-purposing of the positive balance of the 3 NR projects’ funding after the initial completion of the projects, as further described in Section V.Ebelow.


Tag: Project and Programme management

10.

E.Financial Planning by Component and Delivery

The summary of project GEF financing is indicated in Table 5 below. The GEF-allocation was $1,000,000 for each of the four umbrella projects, for a total of $4,000,000. There was no project management budget planned for the 3NR projects, but operational expenses totaled $26,663, plus project management expenses of $126,765 associated with the reprogramming of surplus funds; therefore“actual” project management expenditures totaled $153,428, or 7.7% of the total. For the 4NR projects, project management was budgeted at $5,500, or only 0.3%of the total; actual project management expenditure was $4,443, which was 0.2% of the total.

3NR Project Phases I and II: The 3NR Phase I project was expected to disburse all of its funding within 12 months of operation, but the project was only able to disburse 54.4% of the total in 2005. Considering that the project did not start disbursement until the start of the 2ndquarter of 2005, the the12-month implementation period was also expected to go through the 1stquarter of 2006. In 2006 all together the project spent another 27.8% of the funds, for a total disbursement of 82.2% of funding. The figure 2below indicates the planned, actual, and cumulative expenditure for the 3NR Phase I project.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Operational Efficiency Project and Programme management

11.

The significant under-expenditure for the 3NR Phase I and Phase II projects was due to multiple factors. For one, only 74 countries drew funds, as compared to the budgeted. At a planned $20,000 per countries, these “missing” 25 countries would alone account for $500,000 of the approximately $675,000 surplus. The remaining $175,000 surplus was due to the fact that the countries that received funding actually used less on average than the budgeted $20,000 per country. Figures for per country expenditure for the 3NR project were not readily available for this terminal evaluation, but for example, actual expenditures under the 4NR project averaged $17,827per country, or $2,173 less than planned. If the 3NR per-country average expenditure was just a bit less, around $17,635per country, then the $2,365difference, when multiplied for the 74 countries that received funding, would account for the remaining $175,000 surplus.

In July 2016, UNDP management approved a re-activation of the remaining balance from the 3NR Phase I and II projects. As per the UNDP management note:

Reactivation of PIMS 3456 National Reporting to the CBD: Supporting countries to prepare the Third National Report on Biodiversity. The project started in 2005 with the GEF grant of US$ 1 million to ‘enable country parties to undertake their national reporting obligations towards the CBD’. The project stopped operating in 2010, with its goals all met, but with funds remaining -$137,406.33 from Phase I and $537,334.45 from Phase II. Reactivation of this funding is requested to continue to provide support countries on implementation of NBSAPs, through a new package of activities whose purpose is in line with the original project objective. A detailed procurement plan has been developed (see annex) with activities and duration. The proposed activities fall under are designed to equip country Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to implement their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and report on how this implementation helps fulfil their obligations to the CBD Strategic Plan 2020. This alignment of the new activities with the original objective will be clearly recorded. The planned activities will enable us to provide much needed support for countries to enhance their capacity for improved reporting to the convention. We envisage that the project can be operationally closed by the end of 2017.”


Tag: Efficiency Human and Financial resources Project and Programme management Service delivery

12.

E.Financial Planning by Component and Delivery

4th National ReportsProject Phases I and II: The 4NR projects were structured such that the Prodoc for Phase I could also serve as the Prodoc for Phase II, although a second GEF approval for the Phase II funding was required. Each phase was for $1.0 million USD in funding. Although the 4NR project funding was allocated with UNDP as the sole GEF agency, it was actually a joint project between UNDP and UNEP. Under Phase I, UNDP was to implement $885,000 and UNEP was to implement $115,000.Under Phase II, UNEP was to implement $20,000 of the $1.0 million in funding.

Under the 4NR Phase I project 42 countries were to receive funding, and under the 4 NR Phase II project an additional 48 countries were to receive funding support, for a total of 90 countries receiving support; by the end of the project 90 countries had received funding. Of these, 85 received funding of $20,000 USD, while the remaining five countries received only slightly less; the average funding amount was $19,970 USD. The lowest amount ($18,000) was allocated to the Solomon Islands. However, the average actual expenditure of the per-country allocated funding was only $17,827 USD.


Tag: Efficiency Human and Financial resources Operational Efficiency Project and Programme management

13.

The support to countries under Outcome 1 was substantially completed between 2008 and 2011, as can be seen in Table 7(although one country, Senegal, did receive support in 2014). According to the 2013 PIR: “To date, all participating countries received funds authorization and the total accumulated financial delivery is 88% (by end Dec 2012). A budget balance exists and it will be channeled to a new related activity, the NBSAP Forum, which will count on a new portal.” The NBSAP Forum activity also fed into the GEF-funded MSP on “Global Support to NBSAPs”(GEF ID #5601). The NBSAP Forum became operational in the 4thquarter of 2013, though there was additional expenditure on this activity in 2015. In total the project spent $123,983, or 6.6% of the budget, on the NBSAP Forum activity. For the purposes of this evaluation the NBSAP Forum activity is being considered as part of Outcome 2 on knowledge management and learning.

Although Outcome 1 activities(the majority of the project budget) were substantially complete in 2011, activities under Outcome 2 (including the NBSAP Forum) continued on with small annual expenditures from 2012-2017. Figure 5below shows the 4NR Phase I and Phase II projects’ planned and annual expenditure, and planned vs actual cumulative financial delivery.


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

14.

F. Planned and Actual Co-financing

The specified planned co-financing for the 3NR and 4NR projects was $1,465,000USDfrom two partners: UNDP, and the NGO Countdown 2010. This is an expected co-financing ratio of 0.37: 1. Table 8below shows planned and actual co-financing. Actual total co-financing amounted to $2,351,362USD, or 161% of planned co-financing.

In terms of the individual GEF funding approvals, the two approvals for the 3NR projects did not include any planned co-financing. The funding request for the 3NR Phase I project stated, with respect to co-financing: “While in-kind orin-cash co-funding may be allocated by individual countries in addition to the support sought from the GEF, this cannot be estimated at present. All co-funding indicated by countries will however be tracked as individual country requests are received and will be reported to the GEF.”(emphasis added) It is unclear if this co-inancing information was actually tracked. The UNDP team responsible for the terminal evaluation was not the team in place during the actual 3NR project implementation, and was not able to provide co-financing data.

The two 4NR projects had $752,950 (Phase I) and $712,050 (Phase II) in co-financing. Although GEF projects are generally expected to have a higher level of co-financing, the CBD national reporting projects covered by this evaluation were Enabling Activities grouped together in an umbrella project, so as Enabling Activities, they would not be expected to be held to the same co-financing standard that “normal” GEF projects are.


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

15.

G.Monitoring and Evaluation

The 3-4 NR projects should not (from a substantive point of view, rather than an administrative point of view) be required to meet all requirements of the GEF M&E Policy that are regular MSPs. These projects were,in terms of substance, solely a collection of Enabling Activities, which individually are not required, for example, to have terminal evaluations. Based on the M&E measures outlined in the respective project documents, M&E design is considered satisfactory. M&E implementation is considered moderately satisfactory, and overall M&Eis considered satisfactory.

M&E Design: Although they are classified as MSPs, it is unclear the extent to which the 3-4 NR projects were subject to the GEF M&E policy, considering that they were an aggregation of Enabling Activities, which have different M&E requirements than “normal” GEF-funded MSPs. The 4 NR project included a few activities (i.e. knowledge management activities) that were not solely Enabling Activities, but these accounted for only $130,000 of budget –around the range of FSP PPGs, which are also not required to have evaluations. Some M&E activities were indicated in the M&E plans in the Prodocs for the respective projects. The 3NR Phase I and Phase II projects had essentially no M&E plan; the MSP Request for GEF funding states only that,“Funds will be awarded to countries through UNDP Country Offices who will be responsible for monitoring project progress as per individual country proposals. Standard UNDP M&E procedures will be applied.”The 4NR project proposals did include a more detailed section on M&E, including a minimal budgeted M&E plan (Table 3 of Part IV of the 4 NR Phase II Prodoc). Generally speaking the projects do not meet the requirements outlined in the GEF M&E Policy; however, it is considered that they are not required to.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Policies & Procedures Programme/Project Design

16.

M&E Implementation: The project M&E activities were implemented as foreseen. The project team provided reports at required reporting intervals(i.e. quarterly progress reports, annual PIR), and UNDP oversight has been appropriate. The project did not have a financial audit (as discussed at the end of Section V.Eabove on financial management), although audits were at least indicated in some of the projects’M&E plans.

The one notable (and obvious) shortcoming of the implementation of M&E activities is that the terminal evaluation was not conducted until long after the completion of the 3-4 NR projects. This was likely due to a combination of factors: a) the fact that the projects were only an aggregation of Enabling Activities (which do not require terminal evaluations);b) some shortcoming on oversight on the part of the responsible GEF Agency (UNDP); and c) the fact that the 4NR project was a joint project with UNEP. In the 2012 PIR for the 4NR projects, the following “problem” was identified: “Evaluations of joint agency projects are complicated because of the need to harmonise procedures”, with the solution being “Wait until 2014 and consult with Evaluation Offices of both UNDP and UNEP.”It was also stated, “there will be consultations with UNDP’s and UNEP’s Evaluation Office on the preferred approach to evaluation.”


Tag: Monitoring and Evaluation Oversight

17.

VI.Effectiveness and Results

A.Conclusion on Effectiveness: Progress Toward and Achievement of the Objectives

The 3-4 NR Projects have achieved the projects objectives and the majority of expected results. The projects’ effectiveness is rated satisfactory. Under the 3NR project, the project was able to support 74 of the planned 99 countries, but all but 15 of the 156 GEF-eligible countries completed their 3NR through one mode of support another (from UNDP, UNEP, or on their own). Of these 15, 8actively refused support, meaning that only 7countries were not supported.

Under the 4NR projects, 90 of the planned 90 countries were supported, although only 17% of countries met the CBD reporting deadline prior to COP 10, and 10% of countries did not submit 4thnational reports by the time of the COP.


Tag: Effectiveness Service delivery

18.

B.Conclusion on Results: Achievement of Planned Results

Project results/achievement of overall outcomes is rated satisfactory. The 3NR Phase I and Phase II projects met the objective of assisting countries with their 3NRs to the CBD, although only 74 of the anticipated 99 countries requested funding under the 3NR umbrella project; however, all but seven GEF-eligible countries ultimately received support in one form or another (i.e. via UNDP, UNEP, through stand-alone Enabling Activities, or actively refused support). The 3NR projects did not have a results framework with indicators and targets by which to assess results. The 4NR projects did have a results framework with targets and indicators.

Detailed and specific information related to project results not otherwise covered in this section is available in the “Self-assessment” column of Annex 8of this report, which includes the 3NR project’s reporting on “Progress in addressing project priorities and in delivering expected products”4NR projects’results framework and the on indicators and targets from the 2008PIR(the final PIR produced) for the 3NR projects.


Tag: Effectiveness Results-Based Management

19.

C.Findings Supporting Conclusions on Results and Effectiveness

Results from the 3rd National Reporting Projects -Phase I and Phase II

At completion of the project activities, 74 countries had received funding under this project and 64 submitted their 3NR to the CBD COP. This is 75% of the 99 countries that were expected to be supported. The full list of GEF-eligible countries and their 3NRfunding status and results are included in Annex 6.

There are a variety of valid reasons that only 74 countries received funding. The GEF-funding context and GEF Agency context are important for understanding the project situation, and the number of countries that received assistance. The 3NR project that is the subject of this evaluation was implemented by UNDP, but there was also a similar UNEP umbrella project approved at the same time. When the UNDP and UNEP projects were being developed prior to GEF funding approval, the idea was that all GEF-eligible countries would receive their Enabling Activity assistance for their 3NR through one of the two umbrella projects. The UNDP 3NR Phase I and Phase II projects were to cover 99 countries, and the UNEP project was to cover “up to” 50 countries. According to UNDP project staff, the two agencies aimed to continue assisting countries they had previously assisted with Enabling Activities.


Tag: Effectiveness Global Environment Facility fund Human and Financial resources

20.

The Enabling Activity application process was intended to be a demand-driven process, and therefore it was up to the countries to determine whether they wanted to receive funding or not. Therefore, UNDP should not be criticized for only funding 74 countries out of an intended 99. Ultimately, out of approximately 156 potentially GEF-eligible countries, seven countries did not receive GEF support in one form or another, and did not clearly refuse support: the five countries indicated in Table 9above(8 did that not receive UNDP funding, less the 3 that received UNEP funding), plus Lao PDR, and Libya, which were not on either UNDP or UNEP’s original Prodoc lists.

Therefore, ultimately the main shortcomings not with respect to results or effectiveness, butis the inadequate financial tracking of the excess funding allocated for 25 countries (allocation for 99 less the74 funded) that were not funded under the umbrella project. The tracking and use of the excess funding under the 3NR Phase I and Phase II projects has been discussed in previous Section V.Eof this report, on Financial Management. Per the final project PIR, at project completion, there was no more active demand for 3NR funding and an amount of $285,189 remained undisbursed (corresponding to 19% of the total budget). UNDP planned to approach the GEF Secretariat and propose that remaining GEF funds in the 3 NR project be transferred to the 4NR project; however, it does not appear that this occurred. As of July 2016, a balance remained of $137,406.33 from Phase I and $537,334.45 from Phase II.


Tag: Effectiveness Communication Human and Financial resources Operational Efficiency

21.

Additional Results 2016-2018 with Re-Programmed Surplus 3 NRPhase I and Phase II Funds: As previously described in Section V.E on financial management, in 2016 it was determined that there was a positive balance of $137,406.33 from Phase I and $537,334.45 from Phase II. UNDP approved an approach whereby these funds would be used to achieve additional results that were in-line with the project’s original objective (as discussed in previous Section V.Eon financial management), and in coordination with the active Global NBSAP revision support project.

The following activities were planned to use the surplus 3NR projects’ funds:

  • Activity 1: Develop framework for learning on NBSAP monitoring and implementation
  • Activity 2: Scale-up demand-driven learning facility
  • Activity 3: Engagement of indigenous populations, women and local community engagement in the implementation of revised NBSAPs
  • Activity 4: Global protected area road map
  • Activity 5: Project Coordination and Overall Support

Tag: Forestry Biodiversity Human and Financial resources Results-Based Management Coordination

22.

Activity 2: Scale-up demand-driven learning facility: Concept: Scale up existing e-learning work to respond to the emerging needs of countries; e.g. self-paced tutorials, web-hosted and facilitated courses, webinars and in-person workshops.

The project developed learning material on key themes: (a) sustainable production and consumption, including sustainable commodity platforms, sustainable commodity supply chains and targeted scenario analyses; (b) integrated land/water/marine planning, including land use planning; (c) restoration for ecosystem services and climate resilience; (d) resource mobilization, using the BIOFIN approach and expanding learning, training and outreach efforts; (e) effective biodiversity communications; and f) effective control of illegal wildlifetrade.

 


Tag: Effectiveness Communication Knowledge management

23.

Activity 3: Engagement of indigenous populations, women and local community engagement in the implementation of revised NBSAPs:Concept: Create mechanisms and pathways for increasing the engagement of indigenous populations, women and local communities in key policies that affect them, with an emphasis on the intersection between biodiversity and development.

The project supported support for side events at key international forums, and provided targeted support for the participation of indigenous and women representatives at key forums. These included COP 13 of the CBD in December 2016 in Cancun, Mexico, and the UN Oceans Conference in New York, USA in June 2017.


Tag: Effectiveness Capacity Building Indigenous people Women and gilrs

24.

Activity 4: Global protected area road map:Concept: Work with CBD, UNEP-WCMC, countries and NGO partners to develop a global road map for fully achieving Target 11.

UNDP supported the CBD to build the global protected areas road map. CBD gathered information received during the six regional workshops, organized by the CBD Secretariat during 2015-2016, on the status, gaps and opportunities for the elements of Target 11, along with the roadmaps for national priority actions to achieve Target 11, has been further synthesized and analyzed to showcase the global status of each element of Target 11. In 2015-16, the CBD Secretariat organized six regional workshops in Africa, Asia and Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The workshops involved the collection of information on the status, gaps and opportunities for the elements of Target 11 from 108 Parties, and of roadmaps from 101 Parties. These roadmaps contained more than 1400 national priority actions addressing all elements of Target 11. These workshops constitute the first phase of the CBD Secretariat’s two-phased strategy, to facilitate the achievement of Target 11 by 2020. Details of the CBD Secretariat’s two-phased strategy for protected areas were presented to the twentieth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and to the first meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) as information documents UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/20/INF/43and UNEP/CBD/SBI/INF/41.


Tag: Effectiveness Partnership Capacity Building

25.

Activity 5: Project Coordination and Overall Support:

The above activities required coordination and support from the UNDP Biodiversity Support Program team. The budget allocation for this activity is discussed in previous Section V.Eon financial management.

Results from the 4NR Project –Phase I and Phase II.

The following results were achieved under the 4NR projects:

  • A total of 9 0countries were supported(out of a planned 90) for carrying out 2010 Biodiversity Targets National Assessments and producing the fourth national report to the CBD COP.
  • The following publication was presented for discussion at the CBD COP9, and then distributed: “Towards 2010 -A guide for setting 2010 national biodiversity targets and for preparation of the fourth national report to the Convention on Biodiversity” (2008); published with the UN University Institute of Advanced Studies and the CBD Secretariat.
  • The 4NR Web Portal was functional and constantly updated.

The average amount of time for countries to complete their 4NR enabling activities was 14.1 months, while the maximum was 32 months (Bahamas), and the minimum was two months (Mongolia). In the cases of the shorter completion times, it might be assumed that the countries had actually already done a significant amount of the work prior to receiving their funding:33 countries went from funding approval to CBD submission in less than 12 months.


Tag: Biodiversity Effectiveness Coordination

26.

D.Impacts and Global Environmental Benefits

The GEF Evaluation Office and UNDP require a rating on project impact, which in the context of the GEF biodiversity focal area, relates to actual change in environmental status(e.g. improvements in the status of genes, species, ecosystems, etc.). The impact rating is not highly relevant in the context of the 3-4 NR Projects, since the projects were an aggregation of GEF Enabling Activities, designed to support countries in meeting their reporting requirements under the CBD. Therefore, according to the intentional design and strategy of the project, the project may contribute to long-term impacts, but these would only be expected long after project completion, and would be too diffuse to identify the contribution of the 3-4 NR projects. However, an impact rating is provided as requiredfor the terminal evaluation, and consequently, impact ratings for the project must be assessed as follows:

Environmental status improvement is assessed as negligible;•Environmental stress reduction is assessed as negligible;and•Progress toward stress/status changes  is assessed as negligible


Tag: Environment Policy Environmental impact assessment Impact

27.

VII.Key GEF Performance Parameters

Sustainability is one of the five main evaluation criteria, as well as being considered one of the GEF operational principles. UNDP-GEF project evaluations are also required to discuss the mainstreaming of UNDP program principles; this analysis is not considered relevant for these projects, as further detailed in Annex 9 of this evaluation report.

A. Sustainability

The rating for the sustainability criteria is Not Applicable / Likely. The projects covered by this terminal evaluation were umbrella projects for GEF Enabling Activities, supporting countries that are party to the CBD to complete their 3-4NRto the CBD. Therefore, there were no expectations with respect to sustainability of results, and the sustainability evaluation criteria is considered not applicable. However, in any subsequent GEF or UNDP portfolio-level analysis where a rating is required, the sustainability criteria may be considered likely. This applies to the underlying components of sustainability required to be assessed for evaluations: financial sustainability, socio-economic sustainability, institutional and governance sustainability, and environmental sustainability.

The 3NR –Phase I funding request stated, with respect to sustainability, The project foresees that sustainability of the project results will be improved by building upon existing knowledge and capacities within countries. It is expected that the preparation of Third National Reports in individual countries will build upon the achievements, capacity and knowledge generated in earlier enabling activity projects. In particular the synthesis of biodiversity information foreseen in the preparation of the Third National Reports is expected to utilize an earlier body of knowledge as well as be informed by lessons learnt and good practices identified in planning, preparation, analysis, and participatory processes undertaken in earlier enabling activities.


Tag: Biodiversity Sustainability Knowledge management

28.

Gender Equality and Mainstreaming

The projects covered by this terminal evaluation were designed and implemented prior to the adoption of UNDP’s Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017, and the project design did not include a gender analysis. The projects did not include gender-disaggregated indicators. Under UNDP’s project “Gender Marker” assessment system implemented organizationally as part of the Gender Equality Strategy, the 4NR project was rated in 2015 as “Gender Equality”.


Tag: Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming

Recommendations
1

Key Recommendation 1: It is recommended that for any future umbrella enabling activity projects, if a terminal evaluation is required, it should be conducted within the final three months of project execution, as per GEF and UNDP evaluation requirements. [UNDP]

2

Key Recommendation 2: It is recommended that all UNDP-GEF projects undergo an audit at least once, at least one year prior to project completion. If audit costs are not prohibitive in the respective jurisdiction where project management is located, it is recommended that audits be a standard part of annual project financial management. [UNDP]

1. Recommendation:

Key Recommendation 1: It is recommended that for any future umbrella enabling activity projects, if a terminal evaluation is required, it should be conducted within the final three months of project execution, as per GEF and UNDP evaluation requirements. [UNDP]

Management Response: [Added: 2019/03/19] [Last Updated: 2020/12/29]

We agree with this recommendation. For any future umbrella enabling activity projects, if a terminal evaluation is required, it should be conducted within the final three months of project execution, as per GEF and UNDP evaluation requirements. This terminal evaluation was initiated within three months of the full disbursement of the reprogramed 3NR funds and prior to project closure; however, the entire process took longer then expected.  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
A terminal evaluation will commence within three month of project closure of the GEF Project – Global Support to Sixth National Reports.
[Added: 2019/03/19] [Last Updated: 2020/12/16]
IRH 2020/02 Completed The terminal evaluation was completed in June 2020. https://undpgefpims.org/attachment-revision-file?attachmentRevisionId=1765677 History
2. Recommendation:

Key Recommendation 2: It is recommended that all UNDP-GEF projects undergo an audit at least once, at least one year prior to project completion. If audit costs are not prohibitive in the respective jurisdiction where project management is located, it is recommended that audits be a standard part of annual project financial management. [UNDP]

Management Response: [Added: 2019/03/19] [Last Updated: 2020/12/29]

As per the UNDP audit policy cited below, audits for low risk DIM projects are not conducted per project but per unit and UNDP-GEF unit is annually audited.  These projects are rated as low risk, therefore individual project audit was not required.

 

Here is the supporting excerpt from the UNDP audit policy:

Audit Policies Applicable to Directly Implemented Projects (DIM)

The projects that are directly implemented by UNDP are covered during the periodic audits that are carried out by UNDP Office of Audit and Investigations (OAI) as well as the financial audits carried out by the UN Board of Auditors (UN BoA), UNDP external auditors. 

Notwithstanding, a separate audit of a directly implemented project may be required. Some DIM projects have a limited duration and/or could be large, complex or high risk, that they may not be adequately covered by only relying on the periodic audits performed by OAI of the audits performed by the UN BoA

In these instances, OAI commissions the audit of a DIM project to supplement its periodic audits of UNDP business units and improve the level of assurance that it provides to stakeholders.  The audit of DIM projects could be performed by either by an audit firm hired by OAI to carry out a financial audit on its behalf (a majority of cases) or by OAI where an audit of systems and controls is performed.

As in the earlier scenarios, the audit of DIM projects is risk-based where the risk assessment is performed by OAI using eight risk indicators that are assigned to each DIM project (four quantitative such as the volume of expenditure and four qualitative such as exceptional circumstances or political situations).  Each DIM project is given risk rank and the following thresholds are applied to select those DIM project that require an audit:

  • if the DIM project is rated high risk and its annual spend is ≥ $2,000,000;
  • if the DIM project is rated medium risk and its annual spend is ≥ $4,000,000; and
  • if the DIM project is rated low risk and its annual spend is ≥ $6,000,000

The follow-up on the audit issues and audit recommendations arising from the audit of DIM projects is performed by OAI as an integral part of its follow-up on all OAI-issued audit recommendations.”

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
No action needed
[Added: 2019/03/19]
N/A 2018/12 No Longer Applicable [Justification: N/A Audit was not required.]

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