Terminal Evaluation BIOFIN Phase I (PIMS 3918)

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Title Terminal Evaluation BIOFIN Phase I (PIMS 3918)
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 06/2019
Planned End Date: 06/2019
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 $): 45,000
Source of Funding: Government of Germany
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 40,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Roland Wong
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Government agencies, Line Ministries, UNDP partners at the member countries
Countries: GLOBAL
Lessons
1.

Lesson #1: The success of BIOFIN can be attributed to its design as an open structure where changes can be easily made. The design of the BIOFIN project was commenced in 2010 and 2011. Implementation of BIOFIN started at the end of 2012 with a fixed budget of €6.5 million supported by the EU and the Governments of Germany and Switzerland. Unlike GEF projects where finite budgets lead to ProDocs that have embedded targets and well defined exit strategies, the BIOFIN project was designed knowing that the €4 million was insufficient to achieve its primary objective of developing a new methodology to raise financing for closing the global biodiversity financing gap (Para 32). As such, the design of BIOFIN was left open ended with qualitative targets for which the cost of achieving was indeterminate early in BIOFIN. Donors for BIOFIN were cognizant of this issue and viewed the need for closing the biodiversity financing gap to be an extremely important development project. This resulted in several additions to the original EU BIOFIN budget of €4 million as illustrated on Figure 1 highlighted by the substantial contributions from the governments of Germany, Norway and Flanders. BIOFIN Phase II is also designed with such an open structure which can add funds from donors when they are available.


2.

Lesson #2: Significant resources that have been added to BIOFIN has accelerated adoption of the BIOFIN methodology globally. With the open-ended structure of BIOFIN referred to Lesson #1, these bilateral resources (as illustrated in Figure 1) were effectively utilized to provide technical assistance to 30 national implementation teams. The BGT also provided excellent technical assistance backup to these teams, involved them in soliciting feedback, and incorporated their feedback into new improved versions. This only served to increase the adoption of BIOFIN methodologies amongst these countries, thereby accelerating adoption of BIOFIN methodology globally.


3.

Lesson #3: Efficiencies in project implementation for a global project can be realized through an experienced and competent centralized project administration. In reference to Paras 86-89, the high competence of the BGT allowed BIOFIN to focus on its primary objective of closing the biodiversity financing gap through technical assistance, and an open-ended project design structure (as is mentioned in Lesson #1). In addition, administration of BIOFIN was managed out of New York HQ (with a key Project Associate based in Istanbul who is guided on procedures from New York HQ) whose execution of all UNDP administrative procedures appear to be compliant with all POPP procedures. This administrative arrangement allowed the BIOFIN Global Team in Istanbul to focus on biodiversity financing issues.


4.

Lesson #4: In consideration that the majority of current biodiversity expenditures come from government, any project dealing with the financing of biodiversity needs to develop a strong sense of ownership by the host government. In almost all of the BIOFIN countries reviewed by the evaluator, all national teams benefited from the presence of former personnel from that country’s ministry of finance. In reference to Para 54 on key partnerships, this was important considering that the primary objective of BIOFIN was to unlock potential sources of finance for biodiversity conservation and management. This lesson is important in that some of the national implementation teams would likely have tried to focus such efforts on their Ministry of Environment, who are really only executing plans using government funds.


5.

Lesson #5: Highly successful models of implementation lend themselves easily for replication on other projects and other countries. One great example of this was the recruitment of former high-level Ministry of Finance government officials. This originally occurred in Costa Rica where the National leader of BIOFIN was a former minister of finance (see Para F-19). His recruitment and leadership and ability to convene other relevant stakeholders ensured that the outputs coming from the national team were effective in communicating with the Ministry of Finance, thereby accelerating BIOFIN knowledge transfers and creating ownership from Costa Rican government stakeholders, the main source of biodiversity financing. This example of recruitment of high-level financial sector personnel for BIOFIN national teams was encouraged by BIOFIN personnel with other BIOFIN countries. While not all countries were able to recruit such high-level personnel, they were able to hire capable personnel who were either from the ministries of finance or had good understanding of the financial sector in their countries. This was a very effective BIOFIN strategy.


6.

Lesson #6: Results-based budgeting is an excellent means of communicating with government financing personnel considering that it is based on providing rationale based on previous results for a request for finance. For almost all BIOFIN countries, proposed budget figures were never based on results considering the lack of documentation and credible monitoring reports on the performance of previous biodiversity management projects. BIOFIN activities were able to instill its 5 step BIOFINs methodology designed to account for previous biodiversity expenditures (under the BER process) that likely exposed the lack of accountability of these expenditures and absence of results on which future needs could be based on. According to BIOFIN financial experts, allocation of budgets based on previous results creates more certainty on how the budget allocation would be used, and what benefits it will provide to the country (as mentioned in Paras 69 and 71). This could only lead to confidence on how results achieved with previous expenditures would eventually lead to future allocations.


7.

 

Lesson #7: Successful projects have recruited professionals with related experience. BIOFIN was highly successful in the recruitment of its national implementation teams as well as global technical advisors (see Paras 44, 53 to 55). Since there was a clear linkage between BIOFIN and projects involving the preparation of NBSAPs, all national implementation teams recruited personnel involved with NBSAPs with the knowledge that finding persons with a joint skill set of biodiversity and financing would be almost impossible. With the need for BIOFIN technical assistance for other countries emerging, the Global BIOFIN Team promoted many of the leaders of the national implementation teams to become these technical advisors. If these persons were not involved in BIOFIN, national implementation teams would have struggled to transfer information from NBSAPs to inform PIRs and support other BIOFIN methodological steps.


8.

Lesson #8: Successful preparation of a BFP requires the complete application of all 5 BIOFIN methodology steps. The BGT provided several examples of various countries who wanted to participate in the BIOFIN program, but initially had chosen not to apply all the steps of the methodology. For those countries, this resulted in a deceleration of progress towards a credible and useful BFP. Para 122 mentioned that all BIOFIN countries near the conclusion of BIOFIN Phase I had rigorously completed all 5 steps of the BIOFIN methodology to be able to prepare BFPs. In many ways, this is vindication of the quality of the BIOFIN methodology workbook, with the latest version of 2018 close to reference quality with few if any edits in future to be made. This outcome has allowed BIOFIN Phase II to focus more on implementation of financing solutions for biodiversity.


9.

Lesson #9: Despite the success of a “demand driven” project, project implementers need to be constantly promoting the project outputs and not allowing project momentum to dissipate. The BIOFIN global team was constantly active in promoting the BIOFIN methodology to a number of other partners including global CSOs and other donors. This has resulted in the recognition by several BIOFIN countries that the BIOFIN approach and methodology can be applied to close financing gaps in other economic sectors such as energy, agriculture, and social services (as mentioned in the Philippines).


10.

Lesson #10: The importance of setting up appropriate venues for workshops is a key to early establishment of national project teams. In reference to the highly satisfactory rating of effectiveness in Para 113, some BIOFIN national teams had taken the position that BIOFIN activities were taking away from the valuable time of the stakeholders, many of whom are government officers. By assuming this position, several BIOFIN national teams arranged for appropriate venues with a level of comfort and food that would be viewed as adequate compensation and attract their interest. As a result, BIOFIN events were able to easily attract government officers, personnel from academia, and highly qualified consultants.


11.

Lesson #11: It is important to understand government budget lines and how they can be adjusted or adapted to reflect key biodiversity budget allocations. Several BIOFIN countries did not have specific biodiversity budget allocation expenditures. With biodiversity expenditures needing to be extracted from existing budgets, most of these expenditures fell under the general heading of “environment”. Further to Para 82, the Philippine national implementation team understood the importance of these budgetary lines or cost codes, thus enabling the national implementation team in the Philippines recommend to their counterparts the addition of biodiversity budget lines to government cost code systems. Such actions can be replicated in other BIOFIN countries.


12.

Lesson #12: For a new project introducing new concepts such as biodiversity financing, the selection of pilot countries to introduce new concepts should have, as a baseline, good local capacities, and have made some initiatives on biodiversity financing. Examples of successful Phase I countries are the Seychelles and Costa Rica which are small countries where tourism is an important sector. Larger countries have generally not been as successful due to inherent and additional complexities to dealing with BD. However, a cross-section of the 8 pilot countries ranges from small countries to large countries that are very diverse. This wide cross-section of countries was able to provide several lessons in deploying a global methodology for determining levels of biodiversity financing.


13.

Lesson #13: Remote countries with small populations represent a higher risk of being unable to staff critical positions that promote and manage biodiversity. Such countries would include the Seychelles and Fiji, both of which have a high interest in biodiversity but would require highly skilled staff fulltime to manage, conserve and promote biodiversity in their countries. For both countries, populations are not large enough to fully staff highly qualified professionals such as veterinarians, plant specialists, pathologists and agricultural specialists who for example, would be able to provide oversight on the inflow of potentially invasive species entering their countries, for example, in cargo containers and air flights (Para F-18).


Findings
Recommendations
1

As a means of reinforcing current benefits of the BIOFIN project, the BIOFIN Global Team should continue strengthening BIOFIN’s network of stakeholders who have the capacity to finance biodiversity.

2

Provide support to appropriate institutions to encourage decentralization of or augment their efforts to decentralize NBSAPs processes to a sub-national level (to provincial levels or regional landscapes) on which off-the-shelf proposals can be based.

3

The BIOFIN Global Team with backstopping from UNDP should strengthen its technical assistance to national implementation teams on private sector engagement strategies

4

Provide comprehensive guidance to national teams on de-risking financing biodiversity during preparation of off-the-shelf biodiversity financing proposals.

5

Initiate efforts to undertake a full-fledged biodiversity expenditure review (BER) for the private sector.

6

Continue and strengthen the BIOFIN Global Team’s oversight role on national team implementation to ensure proper M&E and to ensure national teams are “doing better” as a means of reducing the biodiversity financing needs.

7

It is important to make efforts to break down the meaning of biodiversity into “mainstream” terminology while introducing the topic of financing biodiversity with public and private investors.

1. Recommendation:

As a means of reinforcing current benefits of the BIOFIN project, the BIOFIN Global Team should continue strengthening BIOFIN’s network of stakeholders who have the capacity to finance biodiversity.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/07/05] [Last Updated: 2019/07/05]

Fully Accept: The BIOFIN team will step up efforts extend the global network in the suggested areas,being the private sector and community levels

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Invite at least five major investors/philanthropists for the BIOFIN 4th Global Conference in 2020
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2020/04 Not Initiated
1.2 Establish in at least one country cooperation with the small grants programme
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2020/06 Not Initiated
2. Recommendation:

Provide support to appropriate institutions to encourage decentralization of or augment their efforts to decentralize NBSAPs processes to a sub-national level (to provincial levels or regional landscapes) on which off-the-shelf proposals can be based.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/07/05] [Last Updated: 2019/07/05]

Fully accept: Further pilots of the BIOFIN Process at the sub-national level will be important in order to demonstrate to which degree different solutions emerge, and could have a more direct impact

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Roll-out sub-national level bf process in priority countries Philippines and Bhutan
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2022/12 Not Initiated
2.1. Roll-out sub-national level bf process in priority countries Philippines and Bhutan
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2022/12 Not Initiated
3. Recommendation:

The BIOFIN Global Team with backstopping from UNDP should strengthen its technical assistance to national implementation teams on private sector engagement strategies

Management Response: [Added: 2019/07/05] [Last Updated: 2019/07/05]

Fully accept: Develop a workstream on private sector conservation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Include a workstream on private sector in each of the upcoming regional and global workshops
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2021/12 Not Initiated
3.2 Organize at least three webinars related to private sector finance and conservation
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2020/12 Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Provide comprehensive guidance to national teams on de-risking financing biodiversity during preparation of off-the-shelf biodiversity financing proposals.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/07/05] [Last Updated: 2019/07/05]

Fully Accept: Carry out stock taking of de-risking for biodiversity investments and develop guidance document

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Develop guidance document on de-risking biodiversity projects
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2020/12 Not Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Initiate efforts to undertake a full-fledged biodiversity expenditure review (BER) for the private sector.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/07/05] [Last Updated: 2019/07/05]

Fully accept: Pilot a full fledged private sector expenditure review durin BIOFIN Phase II

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Select one of the five new BIOFIN countries to do a full-fledged private sector expenditure review
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2020/12 Not Initiated
5.1 Select one of the five new BIOFIN countries to do a full-fledged private sector expenditure review
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2020/12 Not Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Continue and strengthen the BIOFIN Global Team’s oversight role on national team implementation to ensure proper M&E and to ensure national teams are “doing better” as a means of reducing the biodiversity financing needs.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/07/05] [Last Updated: 2019/07/05]

Fully accept: Develop a comprehensive M&E system tailored for BIOFIN Phase-II implementation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Develop a new quarterly workplan template
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2019/12 Not Initiated
6.2 Develop a central M&E Database/dashboard
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2019/12 Not Initiated
7. Recommendation:

It is important to make efforts to break down the meaning of biodiversity into “mainstream” terminology while introducing the topic of financing biodiversity with public and private investors.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/07/05] [Last Updated: 2019/07/05]

Fully accept: Develop explanation of concept biodiversity for different stakeholders.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Develop a brief guidance document that explains the concept of biodiversity from the perspective of different stakeholders such as the private sector, ministries of finance, general audience and the conservation community
[Added: 2019/07/05]
BIOFIN Global Team 2019/12 Not Initiated

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