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Final Evaluation of Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project
Commissioning Unit: Iran
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2023
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 01/2022
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Iran
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

This project has developed and successfully tested model to address water issues and contribute in restoration of the Lake Urmia. The Urmia lake basin is a large area, there is need of more assistance to replicate the successful model from this project. Similarly, other lakes of Iran also need such programme to address the threats. Hence, it is recommended to explore more support from different donor agencies and implement such model in wide areas

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Partially accepted.
As the project has been active for over 15 years, exploration of further funds by CIWP might mean a pre-mature intention to extend the project. Also the current human resource and technical capacities of CIWP and DoE might not suffice to deliver commitments over additional financial resources. However CIWP will keep exploring more financial support, in case there is an interest from DoE or UNDP to initiate another project.

Also, with its current financial resources the project is perfectly able to work on sustaining its achievements in Sustainable Agriculture and diversified livelihoods in the LU basin. In addition, these achievements are being replicated in Shadegan and Bakhtegan wetlands in Khuzestan and Fars provinces respectively. Still, and as mentioned above, the project will follow a donor development plan in its 2022 AWP.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Review and fine-tune project approach for future phases and next steps 2. Update the Project's stakeholder analysis 3. Collect more evidences in support of the project reviewed approach for better reporting and advocacy purposes 4. Update and implement the advocacy plan to seek and approach donors 5. Develop a resource mobilization strategy/action plan to absorb more financial resource for up-scaling and testing new approaches
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team and UNDP CO 2022/12 Completed
2. Recommendation:

The Government of Iran should adopt successful model from this project and acknowledge in its policy to incorporate them into their nationwide wetland restoration programme.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Accepted

As part of the 2022 AWP, the project plans to approach the key government stakeholders to introduce the project model. This plan is expected to contribute to the inclusion of the project model in the National wetland restoration programme.
To do so, CIWP will develop knowledge and policy products and will effectively communicate them with the members of its Steering Committee at the national level.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Study policy mechanism gaps regarding adoption of the project model and its inclusion in the nationwide wetland restoration programmes 2. Develop policy recommendations 3. Communicate the policy recommendations to relevant national and sub-national entities for inclusion in policies and programmes
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team, Department of Environment, Ministry of Jihad-e Agriculture 2022/12 Initiated
3. Recommendation:

It is learned that several organisations are working to address the problem related to water in Iran and they are unaware of the model developed by this project. Hence, it is recommended to disseminate success stories or lessons learned to wider audiences so that others working in Iran and elsewhere to resolve water related problems will benefit.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Accepted.

As part of the 2022 AWP, the project plans to approach the Regional Water Companies of the Ministry of Energy to introduce its successful models and experiences. This will include the inclusion of the project model in their water allocation programmes.
CIWP will also recruited a national consultant to explore the options to improve national water policies in favor of wetland conservation. The consultant is also expected to help developing a legal mechanism for ensuring the transfer of saved water (from CIWP's Sustainable Agriculture initiative) to the Lake Urmia.
Furthermore, CIWP will approach the Ministry of Jahad Agriculture to hand over project's successful achievements in Sustainable Agriculture. It will also include the improvement of MoJA's agricultural policies and actions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Update and implement the advocacy plan at national, province and local levels with main focus on ULRP (Urmia Lake Restoration Programme)
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team 2022/12 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Each training should be followed by the post training evaluation to assess change in level of knowledge and awareness after training. It is recommended to conduct post training assessment. Also capacity development trainings of future projects should make provision of post training assessment.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Partially accepted.

The pre-test and post-test are already part of the training modules conducted by CIWP. Yet, CIWP will conduct an internal assessment to understand the gaps and strengths of current assessment modality.
CIWP will also put a system in place in which the results of the assessments are clearly communicated with the trainers and trainees to improve the quality of future interventions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Revise monitoring protocols to enhance capturing results via pre and post training evaluations 2. Feed the collected data into M&E database and results-reporting processes
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team 2022/12 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

More alternative livelihood options should be explored to switch lake based economy for alleviating pressure from the lake.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Partially accepted.

The mandate of CIWP's Sustainable Livelihood component is to explore and diversify environmental-friendly and less water-consuming livelihood alternatives for the local communities.  
While this recommendation is already being addressed, CIWP will develop further mechanisms to grasp or generate more alternative livelihood options based on the realities of the target communities. This will happen through targeted and ad-hoc consultations with communities, small and medium size enterprises as well as banks and relevant governmental organizations.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Conduct a socioeconomic-ecological assessment on the existing livelihoods 2. Develop a guideline containing a set of criteria to identify livelihoods contributing to/adaptive wetland conservation 3. Promote the identified livelihoods 4. Assist the local community in accessing markets and branding for the contributory/adaptive livelihoods
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team and Wetlands Secretariat 2022/12 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

It is recommended to use local knowledge and capacity to promote alternative livelihood activities, while providing necessary training in market research and branding.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Accepted.

CIWP plans to explore options for improving the marketing capacities of rural products as well as identifying new national and international markets.

It includes developing agreements with Iran's existing digital marketing platforms to sell the products of wetland communities.
CIWP will also develop cooperation with Iran's major marketing chains to sell the products of communities.
The project will also try to explore possible international buyers for the rural products.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Integrate local knowledge and capacities in development of alternative livelihood options (see actions for recommendation no. 5) through participatory planning and implementation procedures. 2. Consolidate the existing literature in the project repository 3. Capture the local knowledge in two-minute short films (contest for short films) for dissemination on social networks 4. Produce and distribute e-brochures on the local knowledge 5. Explore how to tie and link the local markets and the national markets and provide opportunities to expand the local products
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team and UNDP 2022/12 Initiated
7. Recommendation:

It is recommended to explore more constructive collaboration with FAO or other implementing agencies working with the similar objectives to create better synergies.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Accepted.

CIWP included this in its communication and advocacy plan to exchange knowledge and experience with similar organizations and projects. It includes organizing meetings and field visits and publishing joint knowledge products.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Arrange knowledge sharing meetings with FAO and other implementing agencies through UNDP as the head of the UNCT's environment pillar 2. Hold other knowledge sharing meetings with similar entities, e.g. the Dutch Embassy, Japan Embassy, UNESCO, ULRP
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team 2022/12 Initiated
8. Recommendation:

It is recommended that UNDP and DoE should convince donor to make project life more than one year. At least 4 to 5 years needed for any project to accomplish integrated conservation approach and see tangible impact.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Not accepted.

After over 15 years of implementation of CIWP, the common sense regarding successful implementation of RBM-based projects is to conclude it. Future collaborations between DoE and UNDP can be defined based on lessons learned from CIWP.
Instead, CIWP will invest in a successful and efficient exit phase to ensure that its achievements and produces have buy-in by government and societies. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Action has been already taken. The next round of the project lasts for three years which is ongoing at the moment.
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team and UNDP 2021/03 Completed
9. Recommendation:

Project timeline does not match the crop calendar. When bidding is done in summer time and by the time facilitators are selected and given responsibility, it will be late and farmers have already started the procedure without support from the facilitators. It is recommended to start bidding for facilitators earlier so that selection process will complete before the plantation period and farmers could receive support from the facilitators.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Accepted.

This point will be addressed in the 2022 AWP to initiate the procurement process in a timely manner to avoid the risk of mismatch between agricultural and financial calendars.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Explore options for better synchronization of the cropping calendar with project fiscal year and communicate options with UNDP and the Donor.
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team 2022/12 Initiated
10. Recommendation:

It is recommended to provide incentives for facilitators for bringing new ideas to contribute in overall object of the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Accepted.

CIWP will continue organizing events and programmes in which innovative ideas related to the rehabilitation of Lake Urmia and improving the environmental-friendly livelihoods for the local farmers are shared and incubated, such as annual festivals for innovative ideas.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Explore, develop and implement feasible mechanism(s) for incentivizing project facilitators and other partners 2. Use various opportunities to collect new ideas, e.g. festivals, conferences, events, etc.
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team 2022/12 Initiated
11. Recommendation:

The project established 3 monitoring stations in three satellites wetlands. As the lake is very big, more monitoring points should be identified and monitored by establishing more monitoring station. It is recommended to utilise meteorology and agriculture department’s capacity to establish monitoring station in other parts of the Urmia lakes. To make this effort wide, supports should also be explored.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Partially accepted.

As the data collection systems and purposes for the  Meteorology Organization and Ministry of Agricultural Jahad are different and they can not match in many aspects, this recommendation might not have a significant added value to the any of the concerned organizations.
Nonetheless, CIWP will explore options for improving the communication between 2 organizations regarding their collected data. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Explore the government's data management system to identify potential data intersection 2. Communicate potential data intersection to the relevant agencies 3. Exchange data with the relevant agencies 4. Suggest the implementing partners to add additional stations
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team, Department of Environment 2022/12 Initiated
12. Recommendation:

It is recommended to help facilitators absorb funding to make provision of technical and machinery support to poor farmers who could not afford to buy or rent machinery.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Partially accepted.

Supporting the comminutes for purchasing heavy farming machineries, is not the core mandate of CIWP's community intervention. Rather, the project invests in improving the structural and soft aspects of participation in the rehabilitation of Lake Urmia. Therefore it will impose heavy financial commitments to CIWP and would put the project at the risk of being exposed to unrealistic expectations.
CIWP will follow this recommendation by negotiating with possible social funds and banks to ease the conditions for agricultural machinery loans for CIWP-affiliated communities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Explore potential for provision of agromachinery through banking system and Ministry of Agriculture 2. Develop a guideline for micro-credit funds for provision of technical and machinery support to poor farmers 3. Develop a fundraising plan for provision of technical and machinery support to poor farmers from local donors/charities, relevant agencies, or start-ups
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team and UNDP 2022/12 Initiated
13. Recommendation:

The project has trained many people on SA technology and the lake restoration practices. Also, the project team has gained a lot of experience to work for the water issues, SA and restoration of the lake. These people should be used for future interventions in other areas of the Urmia lake/basin and also in other lakes within Iran.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Accepted.

From 2022 to 2025, CIWP is engaged with upscaling of the project experience in Fars and Khuzestan provinces. The project pioneers from the LU basin will be engaged in the transfer of the knowledge to the communities in Shadegan and Bakhtegan.
On the other hand, CIWP will put a plan in place to strengthen community-based groups so that the trained people can continue contributing to the Sustainable Agriculture.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The action has already been taken. Facilitators and project technical and administrative staff are working in the next phase of the project in LU and beyond.
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team 2021/12 Completed
14. Recommendation:

There could be more sources of water to the lakes. Obstruction to those sources will affect water supply to the lake. Also, increase or decrease of water level of the lake could be due to changed situation in those sources. Hence, it is recommended to study sources of water of the lake and analyse if they are under threat.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Accepted.

Each basin has a certain quantity of annual water budget. These water resources are utilized by various sectors. CIWP is already working with the major water-consuming sector (agriculture) to improve their water efficiency and explore legal solutions to allocate the saved water to the rehabilitation of the lake.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Study policy mechanism gaps regarding water sector/water agencies/water management 2. Identify stakeholders to approach 3. Develop and advocacy plan on the water policy gaps 4. Communicate the policy recommendations to relevant authorities/decision makers for inclusion in water management policies and programmes
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team and UNDP 2022/12 Initiated
15. Recommendation:

Only addressing water volume issue of the lake will not address the entire issues of the lake restoration. There should be plan for conservation of biodiversity of the lake and also need regular monitoring of water and biodiversity. Moreover, issues related to use of water by public also need to be addressed. Without addressing this, the PES program could not sustain. Hence, it is recommended to implement biodiversity conservation and water quality monitoring programs and also develop clear policy regarding use of water.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/18] [Last Updated: 2022/06/30]

Accepted.

CIWP will conduct activities and studies to understand the interrelation between LU basin's hydrological regime and its biodiversity and ecosystem quality. The results of the study will inform LU basin's integrated watershed management plans and will be communicated with the relevant stakeholders.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Conduct an ecohydrology study with a more focus on biodiversity conservation 2. The result of the study to be addressed in the LU's management plan
[Added: 2022/06/18]
Project team 2022/12 Initiated

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