RMI Ridge to Reef Mid Term Review

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Evaluation Plan:
2018-2022, Fiji
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
04/2021
Completion Date:
03/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

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Title RMI Ridge to Reef Mid Term Review
Atlas Project Number: 00101900
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2022, Fiji
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 03/2021
Planned End Date: 04/2021
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 $): 30,000
Source of Funding: GEF Trust Fund
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 30,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Amal Dabanseh Team Leader Amal Dababseh <adababseh@estidama-jo.com> ARMENIA
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: R2R Reimaanlok Looking to the Future: Strengthening Natural Resource Management in Atoll Communities in the Republic of Marshall Islands Employing Integrated Approaches (RMI R2R)
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: EA
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5544
PIMS Number: 5685
Key Stakeholders: Office of Environmental Planning and Policy Coordination (OERC)
Countries: FIJI
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

The planned completion date of the project is not realistic. To ensure full achievement of all planned end-of-project targets, the project implementation period must be extended

2

There has been a considerable delay in developing the necessary surveys and studies (marine survey, terrestrial surveys, socio-economic studies, LEAP surveys, hydrological survey, network scenario, management plans, delineation of the proposed sites, etc.) due to travel restrictions. As it is not clear when travel restrictions will be eased, an effective adaptive management plan must be put in place with clear measures to undertake the necessary work under a pro-longed travel restriction.

3

The planned completion date of the project is not realistic. To ensure full achievement of all planned end-of-project targets, the project implementation period must be extended

4

There has been a considerable delay in developing the necessary surveys and studies (marine survey, terrestrial surveys, socio-economic studies, LEAP surveys, hydrological survey, network scenario, management plans, delineation of the proposed sites, etc.) due to travel restrictions. As it is not clear when travel restrictions will be eased, an effective adaptive management plan must be put in place with clear measures to undertake the necessary work under a pro-longed travel restriction.

5

Due to the limited technical experts available at the national levels, it is recommended that peer experts, from other Micronesian Islands, provide technical support such as the development of a Conservation GIS database and online cleaning house for the different project sites

6

As for linking cultural expressions to resource management, the MTR Consultant believes it should not be a problematic issue as the Project collaborates with different stakeholders, mainly the Mayors of the outer islands, to take the lead role to promote the sense they are involved in the project as an important partner. The involvement of youth-related organizations is key for sustaining and transferring local and traditional knowledge to young and new generations

7

The MTR recommends making the project’s technical deliverables, lessons learned, and knowledge management productions with a focus on cultural expressions open to the public by sharing the materials through different websites, social media and any other proper tools

8

An external consultant could be recruited to further assist in enrolling Marshallese students from the University of the South Pacific to get the needed capacity building and knowledge in integrated approaches

9

Several awareness sessions need to be organized to ensure the technical capacities are in place after the project closure with a paramount focus on conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and community-based adaptation

10

Development of the project’s communication plan to be prioritized to boost the project’s public awareness and stakeholders’ engagement efforts. Most of the project’s indicators need to be clearly and effectively communicated with outer islands. Poor communications and limited travel are defined as key obstacles to achieving the project’s targets

11

The project’s M&E system should be strengthened. UNDP to play a key role in transforming the M&E system from a management tool to an adaptive management approach through the continuous and effective involvement of stakeholders as part of the project’s adaptive management framework. For example, the quarterly progress reports should be expanded to include an indicative work plan of activities for the next quarter as well as updated risks and mitigation measures. Furthermore, the project reporting function should include the documentation of lessons learned so that institutional memory is preserved, and a reference guide is created to support any future replication of similar project initiatives

12

UNDP-GEF Project Assurance to provide better guidelines and technical backstopping. Support for Implementation Phase of the project is critical to ensure that adaptation management measures are in place

13

The role of the Project Board needs to be strengthened, with more frequent meetings, adequate advance provision of documentation, follow-up mechanisms established, and the inclusion of representation at the local community level

14

The implementing /executing agency and stakeholders of the project can provide valuable technical (and political) support and the Project should draw on these relationships further in its management approach to this project. The MTR would recommend that a greater spirit of cooperation and inclusion of other stakeholders by the Project in all aspects of the project delivery needs to be emphasized

15

The MTR did not see any collaboration with other UNDP, GEF or relevant initiatives, except the Regional R2R. It is recommended that effective and continuous collaboration with all other relevant initiatives, partners, and stakeholders to enhance knowledge sharing and build on each other work

1. Recommendation:

The planned completion date of the project is not realistic. To ensure full achievement of all planned end-of-project targets, the project implementation period must be extended

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree. Implementation of project activities was delayed in light of the:

  • Dengue fever outbreak in Majuro and Ebeye (the two urban centers) that prevents all outer islands travel for a period of six-months (July-December 2019).
  • Covid-19 pandemic border closure and movement restrictions.

Based on the recommendation, request for the no-cost extension will be discussed at the Project Steering Committee before submission to GEF Secretariat.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.3. Regular meeting with project partners and stakeholders to check on the status of implementation and providing support where needed.
[Added: 2021/05/17]
Program Management Unit/UNDP/existing RPs including IOM, MICS, Jojikum, CMI, and MIMRA. 2021/12 Initiated
1.1. Organize planning meeting for the PMU team to re-strategize approach for the implementation of remaining project activities, in line with the MTR recommendations.
[Added: 2021/05/17] [Last Updated: 2021/06/30]
Project Management Unit (PMU) and UNDP. 2021/06 Completed Planning meeting conducted on 11-6-2021 in Majuro. Planning meeting report will be submitted once cleared by Wini and Joe Padilla. History
1.2. Review the multi-year workplan and integrate (repeal/include) activities that are contributing to targets and outputs, submitted for Board’s approval.
[Added: 2021/05/17] [Last Updated: 2021/06/30]
Project Management Unit and UNDP 2021/06 Completed Completed, and approved by the Board, prior to the MTR. Will submit minutes of the Meeting. History
2. Recommendation:

There has been a considerable delay in developing the necessary surveys and studies (marine survey, terrestrial surveys, socio-economic studies, LEAP surveys, hydrological survey, network scenario, management plans, delineation of the proposed sites, etc.) due to travel restrictions. As it is not clear when travel restrictions will be eased, an effective adaptive management plan must be put in place with clear measures to undertake the necessary work under a pro-longed travel restriction.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree. Covid-19 delayed implementation of these activities, e.g., marine biologist was not able to travel to RMI to support conduct marine survey. In this instance, partners had to find alternate options by engaging local partners such as MIMRA to support the marine survey.    In the delivery of the technical survey, partners with right capacity will be engaged with support provided by the UNDP and PMU team.

Whilst strategies were put in place to cope with COVID in 2020, for 2021 a management plan for the implementation of major activities that will be affected by COVID will be drawn up.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Development and endorsement by the Project Board of a management plan for the implementation of major activities that will be affected by COVID
[Added: 2021/05/17] [Last Updated: 2021/09/10]
PMU and UNDP 2021/12 Initiated History
Hold regular meeting (on weekly basis) to track progress, monitor and address any project issues/holdups.
[Added: 2021/05/17] [Last Updated: 2021/06/30]
PMU/UNDP with RPs, including IOM, MICS, MIMRA, CMI, HPO, Jojikum Youth Group 2021/12 Initiated Hold regular meeting (on weekly basis) to track progress, monitor and address any project issues/holdups. History
Continuous partnerships with local entities in the wider sector that have an input into any corresponding project activities, and to forge partnerships.
[Added: 2021/05/17]
UNDP and stakeholders including MIMRA, Ministry of Education 2023/02 Initiated
Management Plan will also entail a re-visit project activities to assess its relevancy and practicality to be achieved within the remainder of the project period.
[Added: 2021/05/17]
UNDP/PMU/Responsible Partners 2021/12 Initiated
3. Recommendation:

The planned completion date of the project is not realistic. To ensure full achievement of all planned end-of-project targets, the project implementation period must be extended

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree. Implementation of project activities was delayed in light of the:

  • Dengue fever outbreak in Majuro and Ebeye (the two urban centers) that prevents all outer islands travel for a period of six-months (July-December 2019).
  • Covid-19 pandemic border closure and movement restrictions.

Based on the recommendation, request for the no-cost extension will be discussed at the Project Steering Committee before submission to GEF Secretariat.

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

There has been a considerable delay in developing the necessary surveys and studies (marine survey, terrestrial surveys, socio-economic studies, LEAP surveys, hydrological survey, network scenario, management plans, delineation of the proposed sites, etc.) due to travel restrictions. As it is not clear when travel restrictions will be eased, an effective adaptive management plan must be put in place with clear measures to undertake the necessary work under a pro-longed travel restriction.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree. Covid-19 delayed implementation of these activities, e.g., marine biologist was not able to travel to RMI to support conduct marine survey. In this instance, partners had to find alternate options by engaging local partners such as MIMRA to support the marine survey.    In the delivery of the technical survey, partners with right capacity will be engaged with support provided by the UNDP and PMU team.

Whilst strategies were put in place to cope with COVID in 2020, for 2021 a management plan for the implementation of major activities that will be affected by COVID will be drawn up.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

Due to the limited technical experts available at the national levels, it is recommended that peer experts, from other Micronesian Islands, provide technical support such as the development of a Conservation GIS database and online cleaning house for the different project sites

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree. The project will seek to tap resources within the Micronesian NGOs such as the MCT – Micronesian Conservation Trust

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Hiring of suitable technical experts, including those from other Micronesian islands, who can still be able to deliver the work despite being physically absent on the ground. It is important also to engage technical expertise who have worked in the RMI and currently reside in RMI
[Added: 2021/05/17]
Project Management Unit/UNDP 2021/12 Initiated
Strengthening partnership with local stakeholders., with expertise in environment management, such as MIMRA, Ministry of Natural Resources and Commerce
[Added: 2021/05/17]
Project Management Unit 2023/02 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

As for linking cultural expressions to resource management, the MTR Consultant believes it should not be a problematic issue as the Project collaborates with different stakeholders, mainly the Mayors of the outer islands, to take the lead role to promote the sense they are involved in the project as an important partner. The involvement of youth-related organizations is key for sustaining and transferring local and traditional knowledge to young and new generations

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree Wide collaborative effort in delivering this activity is very important to consolidate knowledge at different level of society, especially finding a clear nexus between cultural expressions/traditional knowledge and resource management. Inclusion of youth is important to ensure information and therefore they have been engaged to document some of the knowledge (Jo-Jikum booklet), thereby helping ensure the transfer of knowledge to the next generation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Planning meeting to discuss on further strengthening partnerships. Existing partner (Jo-Jikum, HPO)
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU/UNDP and existing RPs. 2023/02 Initiated
identify potential partner that will be able to support the project (Youth Bureau within MoCIA, Alele Museum).
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU 2023/02 Initiated
7. Recommendation:

The MTR recommends making the project’s technical deliverables, lessons learned, and knowledge management productions with a focus on cultural expressions open to the public by sharing the materials through different websites, social media and any other proper tools

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree The College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) with funding support from the project upgraded the National Spatial Analytic Facility (NSAF) to an online database. This platform will be used to store      information pertaining to the five project sites. This includes technical surveys, maps, management plans, etc, for public viewing. The platform will be upscaled as a national database for environment conservation.

 

Similarly, the information will be shared with the UNDP website, UNDP RSD Facebook and Twitter, Regional R2R website

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a user policy (data entry procedure, user access, vetting process, data verification and packaging, data privacy setting and ownership
[Added: 2021/05/17]
Bill Labija (CMI contract)/PMU 2021/12 Initiated
Updating the NSAF with latest survey results for the five sites
[Added: 2021/05/17]
CMI/PMU 2021/12 Initiated
Develop 5 interactive maps (one per site) displaying available datasets. Content can be embedded in RMI R2R website. Invite public to access data (via journal or radio)
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU 2021/12 Initiated
Sharing project achievements through various platforms in RMI and within UNDP.
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU 2021/12 Initiated
8. Recommendation:

An external consultant could be recruited to further assist in enrolling Marshallese students from the University of the South Pacific to get the needed capacity building and knowledge in integrated approaches

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree. The Chief Technical Advisor will provide additional support to this. The PMU, however had several discussions with USP and had agreed on the course modality. What causes the delay is the inability to secure four candidates, who meet the admission requirements to undertake the course

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Finalize discussions with USP
[Added: 2021/05/17] [Last Updated: 2021/09/10]
PMU 2021/12 Initiated History
Continue recruitment process of four eligible candidates for the course.
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU 2021/12 Not Initiated
9. Recommendation:

Several awareness sessions need to be organized to ensure the technical capacities are in place after the project closure with a paramount focus on conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and community-based adaptation

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree. Community level awareness is planned for the five sites during the formulation of intergrated resource management plans for each island, and demarcation of protected areas. Apart from this, whole community will be trained on strengthening custodianship skills of the protected areas.Sustainability secured by LRC/Local council of each site.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Community awareness targeting all communities in the five sites.
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU 2023/02 Not Initiated
Raise awareness (lessons-learned, best-practices, exchange sessions) of Mayors, community leaders, Site Coordinators
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU/MIMRA 2023/02 Not Initiated
Strengthening/enabling custodianship skills by providing information in order to make informed decision in the protection MPA and TPA
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU 2023/02 Not Initiated
Consult with Mayors and community leadership (including LRC/Council) s to identify the gaps (via Talanoa)
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU 2023/02 Not Initiated
Organized talk-back shows
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU 2023/02 Not Initiated
10. Recommendation:

Development of the project’s communication plan to be prioritized to boost the project’s public awareness and stakeholders’ engagement efforts. Most of the project’s indicators need to be clearly and effectively communicated with outer islands. Poor communications and limited travel are defined as key obstacles to achieving the project’s targets

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree. The development of the communication plan will be prioritized by the PMU

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Development of the communication plan
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU/CTA 2021/12 Not Initiated
Implementation of the plan
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU/CTA 2023/02 Not Initiated
11. Recommendation:

The project’s M&E system should be strengthened. UNDP to play a key role in transforming the M&E system from a management tool to an adaptive management approach through the continuous and effective involvement of stakeholders as part of the project’s adaptive management framework. For example, the quarterly progress reports should be expanded to include an indicative work plan of activities for the next quarter as well as updated risks and mitigation measures. Furthermore, the project reporting function should include the documentation of lessons learned so that institutional memory is preserved, and a reference guide is created to support any future replication of similar project initiatives

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree. Though not mandatory, the QPR, Quarterly Progress Report is being finalized for use by end Q1, 2021. It includes risks & mitigation measures, lessons learnt.  The PMU will continue to work closely with the IRMU M&E staff and RSD M&R staff

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Current QPR includes updated risks and mitigation measures
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU/UNDP 2023/02 Initiated
Support Implementing Partners in producing quarterly workplans and documentation of lessons learned
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU and Partners 2023/02 Initiated
Organize the Planning meeting and discuss, revise M&E plan
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU/UNDP/Partners 2023/06 Not Initiated
12. Recommendation:

UNDP-GEF Project Assurance to provide better guidelines and technical backstopping. Support for Implementation Phase of the project is critical to ensure that adaptation management measures are in place

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agreed Consultation with Integrated Resource Management Unit of UNDP to improve quality assurance

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Consultation with IRMU on improving Project Quality Assurance
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU/IRMU/UNDP 2023/02 Not Initiated
Monitor implementation of recommendations from the project’s quality assurance process.
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU/IRMU 2023/02 Not Initiated
13. Recommendation:

The role of the Project Board needs to be strengthened, with more frequent meetings, adequate advance provision of documentation, follow-up mechanisms established, and the inclusion of representation at the local community level

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agreed. The Board is already meeting twice a year,. The Mayors of the five project sites are executive members of the Board so no decision can be made without their presence

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Continue to carry out the standard procedure for the preparation and circulation of meeting documents before and after each meeting.
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU 2023/02 Not Initiated
Ad Hoc Project Board meetings will continue to be called as and when needed.
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU 2023/02 Not Initiated
Develop and establish a follow-up mechanism
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU 2023/02 Not Initiated
14. Recommendation:

The implementing /executing agency and stakeholders of the project can provide valuable technical (and political) support and the Project should draw on these relationships further in its management approach to this project. The MTR would recommend that a greater spirit of cooperation and inclusion of other stakeholders by the Project in all aspects of the project delivery needs to be emphasized

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree. Continue to strengthen current collaboration and continue to explore inclusion of new stake holders as mentioned above for WUTMI & Youth Groups (MoCIA)

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Continue to strengthen relations and draw lessons learnt specifically on partnerships from the first half of the project for improvement moving forward
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU/UNDP/Partners 2023/02 Not Initiated
15. Recommendation:

The MTR did not see any collaboration with other UNDP, GEF or relevant initiatives, except the Regional R2R. It is recommended that effective and continuous collaboration with all other relevant initiatives, partners, and stakeholders to enhance knowledge sharing and build on each other work

Management Response: [Added: 2021/05/17]

Agree. All efforts made to collaborate with other UNDP GEF in the RMI as part of the project and work together in information sharing

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Identify areas of potential collaboration with RMI UNDP projects such as GEF SGP, GCF Water Security Project, Deep Dive, Coastal Aquifers, Climate Security, TNC/BUR, Japan Funded EDCR, PIOFM 2 apart from other development partners projects - eg WB PREP 2
[Added: 2021/05/17]
PMU/SGP 2023/02 Not Initiated

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