Success message
error message
warn message
Terminal Evaluation for Coastal Resilience Building
Commissioning Unit: Timor-Leste
Evaluation Plan: 2021-2025
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 10/2021
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Timor-Leste
Documents Related to overall Management Response:  
1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1 – Tibar Bay Mangroves:

Recommendation 1 – Tibar Bay Mangroves:

There are serious issues in relation to Tibar Bay as described in the case study in section 4.3.3.6. To address this situation it is recommended that:

  • UNDP should, at a higher level than the project (e.g. Resident Representative level), offer support to GoTL to form a united front between MAF and SEE, to again approach the Tibar Port and seek cooperation to implement the restoration plan, which is already prepared, and make use for the 16,000 seedlings already on site. 
  • If cooperation from the port cannot be secured, then it is recommended that UNDP seek ways to support MAF and SEE to implement the restoration plan anyway, as it is understood that the impacted area is not controlled by the port.
  • Restoration efforts should focus immediately on the area that has been killed during port construction, and should focus on planting Sonneratia alba, which is the species that has been killed, and not other species such as Rhyzophera stylosa, which would create a different habitat to what was there previously.
  • Relevant GoTL authorities should also be encouraged to take compliance and enforcement action against the port for not implementing its own EMP and, if proven, for causing the observed mangrove dieback.
Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/29]

Under this project, implementation of the mangrove conservation and restoration plan was not included.

It should be noted that CO and the CRB project team have undertaken many efforts and actions to approach both Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) /Secretary of State for Environment (SSE) and the Tibar Port construction company to complete the implementation of the mangrove restoration plan. However, the realization of the plan is beyond UNDP’s control as construction of the Tibar Port involved highly sensitive political decisions. As many discussions have taken place among all parties involved, it is deemed appropriate that only the relevant Government bodies (MAF/SEE) should seek guidance from higher level government officials to resume the work at the mangrove site.

It was brought to UNDP’s knowledge that the Tibar port authority was somehow reluctant to engage with UNDP’s main partner MAF because the project had been granted a category A environmental license which provided them with details approach to managing/mitigating the environmental impacts in relation to mangroves conservation. UNDP, being an international agency, was not in a position to impose this conservation plan on the Tibar bay port authority which would have already had a fully fledged EIA/ESMP in place.

With respect to the 16,000 seedlings, in coordination with MAF, UNDP engaged FCOTI (a local organization) to transfer and plant the 16,000 seedlings in its project site of Metinaro. This was successfully completed in July 2021.

As mentioned above, the Tibar PPP project is a national project which involves sensitive political decisions, therefore the implementation of the mangrove restoration plan is beyond UNDP’s control. Nevertheless, UNDP through its existing projects and/or future projects that are relevant to coastal/fisheries managements may continue to advocate to the relevant government ministries (including MAF & SSE) to implement the restoration plan in the future.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP facilitate a follow-up meeting or advocacy between MAF, SSE and with the Tibar Port and discuss the progress on the implementation of the Tibar Port’s BAP through its existing project or other similar projects in the future.
[Added: 2022/03/29]
Climate Change & Environment Unit 2021/12 Completed This action has been completed
With the involvement of MAF and SSE, with the Tibar Port the Mangrove Restoration Plan that was prepared by the project for the Tibar site.
[Added: 2022/03/29]
Climate Change & Environment Unit 2021/12 Completed This action has been completed
Meet and discuss with MAF and SSE to continue its monitoring of the mangroves in Tibar and other sites using tools and capacities that were provided by the project.
[Added: 2022/03/29]
Climate Change & Environment Unit 2021/12 Completed This action has been completed
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2 – National Governance & Institutional Arrangements:

  • One of the most significant barriers to effective Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and protection and sustainable management of mangroves in Timor-Leste is a lack of clear, formalised, ‘whole-of-government’, national governance and institutional arrangements.  Unfortunately the CRB project has not been successful in establishing these arrangements, even though it was supposed to be the major focus of the overall project objective.
  • It is recommended that GoTL establish clear ‘whole-of-government’ arrangements, through an ICM Working Group under the National Ocean Policy (NOP), for coordinating the mandates, roles and responsibilities of ALL relevant ministries and directorates in relation to improved ICM, including improved management of mangroves and other critical coastal habitats.
  • It is recommended that UNDP seek to find ways to provide further post-project support to GoTL to start afresh, and to develop a new National ICM Plan under the auspices of the new National Ocean Policy (NOP) (which covers the coast & catchments).
  • It is recommended that the new National ICM Plan should:
    • Include infrastructure planning as an essential and integrated component of the overall National ICM Plan, and not as a separate Output.
    • Defines the coast as the area from the upper catchment boundary to the spring low tide mark.
    • Is based on the principles of ICZM.
    • Adopts a truly ‘whole-of-government approach (based on the NOP).
    • Utilizes and integrates, into a single coordinated plan, relevant parts of the various ICM documents & plans developed by the CRB project where they are genuinely useful, and discards those that are not.
    • Adopts EBM, BWN and green engineering approaches.
    • Builds directly on the foundations provided by the CRB project, including promoting mangrove-supportive livelihoods & CBERM.
    • Is more clearly linked to the NPA.
    • Contains a properly developed LogFrame PRF and M&E Plan.
    • Contains properly developed implementation arrangements.
    • It fully budgeted, both from GoTL and development partner sources.
    • Is formally approved / adopted by GoTL for actual implementation.
Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/29]

The project did manage to establish an ICM as per ProDoc, and a Technical Working Group was formed and operational. During the last Project Board meeting, it was agreed that the group will continue to perform its roles beyond the project closure.  

Nevertheless, the recommendations are noted for references in any future relevant opportunities in which strategies and implementation plans will be clearly and realistically spelled out and evaluated and monitored thoroughly.

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3 – Livestock Impacts on Mangroves:

  • Livestock (cattle, goats and pigs) grazing in mangrove areas is currently one of the main, if not ‘the’ main, negative impact on mangroves in Timor-Leste, as described in the case study in section 4.3.3.2. The TE assesses that the main underlying cause of this problem is the fact that livestock are the most valuable sources of protein for local communities in Timor-Leste, and local communities do not have alternative grazing areas and feed sources other than mangrove areas.
  • The livelihoods component of the CRB project failed to provide communities with food security benefits that are at least equal to or greater than the protein-supply value of allowing their livestock to continue to graze in mangroves.  To be effective, the project needed to support the communities to develop viable and valuable alternatives to the current practice of grazing livestock in mangrove areas – which the project did not do.
  • It is recommended that UNDP seek to find ways to provide further post-project support to local communities to improve mangrove-supportive livelihoods, which provide communities with food security benefits that are at least equal to or greater than the protein-supply value of allowing their livestock to continue to graze in mangroves – i.e. which provide alternatives that have ‘net benefit’ compared to grazing livestock in mangroves areas.
Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/29]

UNDP disagrees with the statement as providing communities with food security benefits was not the main output of the project as it requires longer term joint efforts from different parties (at national and local levels) and massive resources (financial and human resources) to ensure sustainability of the outcome.

That said, UNDP has developed other projects that focus on providing livelihood and employment opportunities and information about the existing active livelihood groups will be shared with these relevant projects to explore possibility of further support as outlined in the consultant’s report titled “In-depth Assessment and Case Studies of the Alternative Mangrove Supported Livelihoods Interventions in Two Selected Municipalities”.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
List of livelihood groups has been shared with SEEWAY project
[Added: 2022/03/29]
Economic Development and Prosperity Unit 2021/12 Completed The Action has been completed
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4 – Mangrove-supportive Livelihoods:

  • The livelihoods component of the CRB project suffered from a lack of baseline assessment, value-chain analysis, proper market analysis, business planning and management training, and as a result has been largely ineffective.
  • It is recommended that UNDP seek to find ways to provide further post-project support to GoTL, local governments and local communities to ensure that before any future activities to support mangrove-supportive livelihoods are commenced, proper baseline assessment, value-chain analysis of livelihood options, supported my proper market analysis, business planning and management training, are undertaken first
Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/29]

This is fully noted.

However, for the record, the project did conduct the value-chain analysis albeit late which was useful in the selection of at least 25 groups that were supported including trainings. Other key mangrove-supportive livelihoods including the training for eco-tourism operators through an established partnership with local organizations such as ETDA. Additionally, while some aspects of the livelihood interventions and all groups were not fully sustained, the survey conducted by the project among 22 groups showed that 15 of these reported increased revenue despite the impact of COVID during the time.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5 – Eco-tourism infrastructure:

  • The eco-tourism infrastructure that has been built with CRB project support suffers a number of very significant deficiencies and weaknesses, as described in the case study in section 4.3.3.3. The very poor quality and safety standards of the eco-tourism facilities is an extremely serious concern, especially in a country subject to high seismic risk, and within a project that is supposed to be building resilience, including resilient infrastructure. 
  • There is a risk of people using the facilities being injured or worse, exposing UNDP to potential liability.  It also raises the question as to why UNDP would engage in the construction of physical infrastructure when it has no expertise in this area, or why it would not engage a professional construction company to manage this component.
  • It is recommend that UNDP should URGENTLY commission an expert review of all infrastructure that has been built by the project by appropriately qualified engineers/building inspectors, to identify risks and mitigation measures, and take action to implement these measures urgently.
  • It is also recommended that UNDP might reevaluate of it should continue to get involved in building physical infrastructure in TL in future, given the potential risks and liability exposure, and considering the seismic risks in the country.
Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/29]

The statement is disagreed by UNDP as it was not concluded based on comprehensive review of evidences/data or on commission of an expert's review that UNDP should not be involved in physical infrastructure building. Many mangrove ecotourism sites have been built properly to ensure safety and the resilience. Additionally, Timor-Leste, with UNDP, has just started its first GCF-funded project in 2020 that focuses on building 130 rural infrastructure and making them climate resilient and this project is built on the past experiences from SSRI and DARDC projects.

Like all infrastructure the operation and maintenance aspects are the key to its sustainability and continued safe operation. While the project supported the implementation and establishment of management plans for each of the site with local Authorities, the continued maintenance and operation responsibilities is based on the management arrangements that have been established.

In building these ecotourism infrastructures, which are the first of its kind in Timor-Leste, UNDP opted for CSOs rather than private sectors because this was done with the view of improving the local capacities for future projects/opportunities. It is evident that these groups are empowered and confident in building coastal infrastructures alike.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6 – Geo-engineering / hydrological interventions:

  • The geo-engineering interventions supported by the CRB project may cause negative environmental and social impacts, as described in the case study in section 4.3.3.5.
  • It is recommended that UNDP work with GoTL, local governments and communities to assess any potential negative impacts, including on groundwater resources, of the geo-engineering interventions that have been supported by the project, and to implement appropriate mitigation plans where necessary.
  • It is also recommended that from now, GoTL and local governments prohibit any further geo-engineering interventions in mangrove areas, as the risks of negative impacts are too high, without rigorous scientific oversight.
Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/29]

This statement is not agreed as it was not done based on expert reviews. Additionally, all interventions made by the project were done based on consultations and approval by the relevant parties of the Government at the national and local levels.

Recommendations are noted for similar opportunities/projects in the future.

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7 – Mangrove planting:

  • It is recommended that UNDP in cooperation with MAF undertake a scientifically rigorous, quantitative, statistically valid survey, by relevant scientific experts and not project staff, of the success (or otherwise) of the survival, mortality and growth rates at all mangrove planting sites, as an end-of-project status report and baseline for future, long-term monitoring.  These should include quantitate survey data, full photographic catalogue and mapping on the national GIS system.
  • It is recommended that UNDP seek to find ways to provide further post-project support to GoTL, local governments and communities to:

 

  • Improve livestock exclusion fencing, including maintenance and long-term sustainability.

 

  • Ensure that all future mangrove planting activities:
  • are properly planned and designed,
  • focus on rehabilitating genuinely degraded areas, and not on planting mangroves in areas that are not naturally colonized by mangroves,
  • use inappropriate species, 
  • do not substantially change the natural habitats and ecology in some areas; and
  • are supported by a rigorous, quantitative, ongoing monitoring program to assess and report on the success of the planting in terms of mortality, survival and growth rates at all sites over time.
Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/29]

Th recommendations are noted but activities post project closure are not possible at this stage due to funding constraints. However, adequate number of technical staff from MAF were trained to monitor the growth of the mangroves well into the future.

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation:

Recommendation 8 – Communication & awareness:

  • It is recommended that UNDP seek to find ways to provide further post-project support to GoTL to continue national and local-level education and awareness activities on mangroves and other coastal management and adaptation issues.
  • It is recommended that for all future awareness activities carried out or supported by UNDP, on any issue, a proper Knowledge, Attitude & Practice (KAP) survey should be carried out at the beginning and end of the project so as to measure actual changes in KAP in relation to the project issue.
Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/30]

The recommendations are noted for any future projects and activities on mangroves and coastal management and adaptation. No key actions needed.   

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation:

Recommendation 9 – Follow-up Phase 2 Project:

  • There is an urgent need for a targeted, follow up ICM project, which builds upon, fills the gaps and learns the lessons from the CRB project, as outlined in this TE report. 
  • It is recommended that any such Phase 2 project give highest priority to Recommendations 2 to 8 above. Recommendation 1 requires immediate attention.
Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/30]

This is noted for any future projects.

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation:

Recommendation 10 – Lessons for future projects:

  • The TE identified a number of lessons from the CRB project and it is recommended that UNDP and GoTL take these on-board and apply them to all relevant future projects, as follows:
  • Project design: The CRB project suffered a number of design weaknesses including in relation to the Project Results Framework (PRF).  The design was also extremely ambitious, complex and multifaceted, attempting to support an extremely wide-range of activities at a large number of sites, working through a large number of groups, while at the same time leaving out four important coastal municipalities. These factors hampered effective implementation. It is recommended that for all relevant future projects, UNDP and GoTL should:
  • Ensure that the project design has a strong, clear and well articulated PRF, with objectives, outcomes, outputs and activities that are logically linked in a properly developed Logical Framework hierarchy, and with targets and indicators that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound).
  • Adopt project designs that are focused on a smaller set of high-priority ‘demonstration activities’ at a smaller number of ‘pilot sites’, spread evenly and equitably throughout all municipalities, as the bases for replication and scaling-up across other sites in subsequent phases.
  • Include an explicit activity to develop a documented and budgeted replication and sustainability plan for post-project continuity of project outcomes and benefits, before project end.
  • Project implementation – Activities vs Outcomes: The PMU exhibited a tendency towards ad-hoc, activity-based project implementation, with insufficient attention to a more strategic, programmatic approach aimed at achieving the overall objectives and outcomes.  This problem was also picked up in the MTR, which identified a tendency towards ‘activism’. It is recommended that when implementing future projects, UNDP and GoTL should:
  • Give greater focus to a more strategic, programmatic approach aimed at achieving the project’s overall objectives, outcomes and impacts. 
  • Avoid the rush to ‘tick-off’ as many activities as possible, and focus more on achieving lasting, sustainable outputs, outcomes and real long-term benefits for Timor-Leste.
  • Stakeholder engagement: The project made concerted efforts to consult with local-level stakeholders on the planning and implementation of activities. However, the project prioritised working through local NGOs rather than local governments, thus dis-enfranchising local governments and creating dissatisfaction and even hostility to the project – which is a very negative outcome (this issue was also identified by the MTR).  The TE also received reports from local stakeholders that communication was very much one-way from the project team, and they felt that they were not being listened to – this is a fatal flaw in stakeholder engagement. It is recommended that when implementing future projects, UNDP and GoTL should:
  • Give higher priority to working through and giving greater agency to local governments than NGOs.
  • Make greater efforts to listen to and act on the views of local stakeholders during community consultations.
  • Social & environmental (S&E) safeguards: The TE has serious concerns about the way that S&E safeguards were addressed by the project.  The ProDoc failed to identify a range of S&E issues relating to the project. During implementation, S&E issues were ‘ticked off’ in the PIRs while missing serious issues, and completely ignored the main environmental issue identified in the ProDoc – acid sulphate soils. The project did not assess potential S&E impacts from fencing, mangrove planting and especially the geo-engineering interventions (see Recommendation 6 above). There was also a lack of full and thorough consultations with local communities to work within their long-standing traditional rights and respect their cultural practices.  The TE considers this to be a serious failing of the project, which created ill will amongst local communities and potentially affects future UNDP initiatives. It is recommended that when implementing future projects, UNDP and GoTL should:
  • Give much greater attention to ensuring that the S&E safeguards are fully and thoroughly addressed in the project design.
  • Give much greater attention to complying with S&E safeguards during project implementation.
Management Response: [Added: 2022/03/30]

The recommendations are noted for references in any future relevant opportunities in which strategies and implementation plans will be clearly and realistically spelled out and evaluated and monitored thoroughly.

Key Actions:

Latest Evaluations

Contact us

1 UN Plaza
DC1-20th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel. +1 646 781 4200
Fax. +1 646 781 4213
erc.support@undp.org