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Terminal Evaluation of Capacity-building for the strategic planning and management of natural resources in Belize
Commissioning Unit: Belize
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 08/2019
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Belize
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
1. Recommendation:

It is recommended to develop a project concept, including the strengthening of the environmental information to become part of the GEF7 resource mobilization in Belize.

Issue to Address 

Better environmental data is a critical need for environmental management/monitoring in Belize as well as for national development and for international reporting obligations (MEAs and SDGs). The initial GEF7 STAR allocation for Belize is USD 4.6M (USD 1M for climate change, 2.6M for biodiversity and 1M for land degradation). This allocation is fully flexible; that is, it can be programmed across the three focal areas as needed. Under the GEF7 cycle, the funding of the CCCD programme was discontinued. Belize is still at an early stage to plan the use of GEF7 financial resources; hence there are funding opportunities for projects related to the GEF strategies in climate change, biodiversity, and land degradation. It is recommended to develop a project concept, which would include further support to MAFFESD in developing its capacity to monitor the environment and report this environmental information nationally and internationally. A particular focus should be on improving the collection of environmental data and the role that CSOs can play. 

The funding request could be submitted to the regular GEF funding mechanism. It could also be part of a larger concept project and be submitted under the Impact Programmes, also funded by GEF7. Impact Programmes is a concept developed under the GEF7 cycle to help countries pursue holistic and integrated approaches for greater transformational change in key economic systems, and in line with their national development priorities. The Impact Programmes collectively address major drivers of environmental degradation and/or deliver multiple benefits across many thematic dimensions that the GEF is mandated to deliver. Three main areas for action to foster transformational impact were identified: 1) promoting sustainable food systems to tackle negative externalities in value chain; 2) promoting deforestation-free agricultural commodity supply chains; and 3) promoting large-scale restoration of degradation landscapes for sustainable production and ecosystem services. The focus is on reducing the threats from where and how food is produced. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/02] [Last Updated: 2020/11/18]

UNDP does not control national prioritization processes regarding the allocation of GEF funds. While the recommendation has been made to key national stakeholders, the ultimate decision regarding the earmarking of funds is taken by the Government of Belize. Currently the national portfolio developed guiding the absorption of GEF 7 resources does not include this recommended initiative.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support development of institutional assessment and strategic development planning within the MAFFESD
[Added: 2019/11/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/16]
Government of Belize 2020/10 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Change in government and reconfiguration of government ministries]
2. Recommendation:

It is recommended to develop a succinct roadmap for the way forward after the end of the project.

Issue to Address

The project ended in May 2019. It succeeded in delivering key achievements in three main areas: a) environmental monitoring and environmental information management; b) natural resources valuation into the development process through Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs); and c) resource mobilization strategy to ensure the sustainable implementation of MEAs over the long-term. The government is committed to continue to strengthen these areas, which are much relevant in the context of national development in Belize. In order to help MAFFESD move forward, it is recommended that the project put together a succinct roadmap to propose the way forward focusing on the critical milestones to be met in the medium-term. This roadmap should also document key achievements supported by the project. It would help MAFFESD to keep this priority on its agenda for the foreseeable future. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/02] [Last Updated: 2020/11/18]

It is suggested by GoB that this road map constitutes part of its multi- year prioritization and planning exercises

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Discuss with the Government of Belize the importance of supporting environmental information and data for development
[Added: 2019/11/27]
UNDP 2019/10 Completed The recommendation has been brought to the attention of the Government of Belize. It was pointed out that the support of Environmental Information Systems is currently considered within the context of several ongoing national project/ programmes.
3. Recommendation:

It is recommended that all funded activities to prepare multilateral convention reports use the open environmental information system.

Issue to Address Belize is now equipped with a data infrastructure to store, manage and report environmental information. It is recommended that all funded activities to prepare convention reports use the EIS platform. It includes the GEF funded enabling activities and funding from other donors to prepare convention reports in the biodiversity and land degradation areas as well as the National Communications, the Biennial Update Reports (BURs), and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) report to UNFCCC. The use of the platform will reinforce/ demonstrate the usefulness and consolidate/validate the system. 


Management Response: [Added: 2019/08/02] [Last Updated: 2020/11/18]

Recommendation acknowledged

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Socialization of MAFFESDI EMIS; and Statistical Institute of Belize new National Statistics System 2. Support capacity development around the expansion and maintenance of EMIS
[Added: 2019/11/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/16]
Government of Belize 2020/10 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Change in government and reconfiguration of government ministries]
4. Recommendation:

4.3. Lessons Learnt

Several lessons learned are presented below. There are based on the review of project documents, interviews with key informants and analysis of the information collected for this evaluation: 

- A good design leads to a good implementation, which in turn leads to good project results. There is more chance for a project well designed to be a success. Every steps of the way count in the success of a project; it is a lot easier to succeed when all these steps are relevant and clear to be implemented.

- A project that is a response to clear national needs and priorities is often highly relevant for beneficiaries and its chance of being implemented effectively are maximized.

- Adaptive management is a key management instrument for this type of project, providing the necessary flexibility to review and reinvent the approach to implement the project as needed to secure project deliverables while maintaining adherence to the overall project design.

- Strong leadership from the national executing agency and a project board with all similar projects facilitate collaboration and cooperation among projects and government entities as well as engaging stakeholders resulting in more effective interventions.

- Despite not being a GEF requirement for such small size project, the completion of PIRs using the GEF template is a good management practice. It is a tool to measure – and record - the progress made by the project. Over time, it becomes the “memory” of the project, particularly when there are project staff turnover, and it provides good accountability for what the project has achieved.

- The application of the UNDP NIM modality is an effective management tool to develop national ownership of projects funded by international donors. 

- In order to ensure mainstreaming of gender considerations in a project, it is critical that gender-based expected results be part of the project strategy to become part of the implementation of activities as well as part of reporting project progress.

- CSOs are often engaged in managing/monitoring natural resources, particularly protected areas and biodiversity protection and conservation. They play a key role in the collection of environmental data. They should be key stakeholders in any initiative strengthening the collection of environmental data.

- Reforming the environmental monitoring function in a country is complex and it is not a linear process. It is often mixed with political agendas and a certain resistance to change in existing institutions. A 3-year project timeframe is too short; it does not provide any time contingency for operational and political risks linked to elections, change of government, but also no time to consolidate project achievements before the end of the project. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/17] [Last Updated: 2020/11/18]

Key Actions:

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