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Mid-Term Review Report on Catalyzing Sustainability of Thailand's Protected Area System
Commissioning Unit: Thailand
Evaluation Plan: 2012-2016
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 07/2015
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Thailand
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation: 8.1 Project Governance: The Project Steering Committee has not functioned as expected and has provided little ?steering? when the project really needed it such as when considering improvements to project design and addressing the disbursement stalemate. We recommend: 8.1.1 That UNDP set up a Project Executive Board (PEB) of 3-4 persons who would meet as and when required but not less than every three months. 8.1.2 Then, to maintain a forum for ideas exchange and advice, UNDP should revitalize the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to meet every 3-4 months or as needed.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/09/13] [Last Updated: 2015/12/11]

The recommendation is accepted, but the establishment of the Project Executive Board should be under the authority of DNP, for effective functioning and ownership. The TAG will be meeting every quarter.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Set up the Project Executive Board
[Added: 2015/12/11] [Last Updated: 2017/05/03]
DNP and PMU 2015/10 Completed Delayed due to the change of Director General History
2. Recommendation: 8.2 Issue: Project implementation and management Project implementation and achievement have suffered from a number of factors ranging from a low level of ownership by DNP, weak governance, management style hindering effective lessons and experience sharing among the pilot sites, an overly-bureaucratic disbursement process, lack of action on consultants? reports and other outputs, delays in adopting and upscaling to System level products and training curricula which have been tested and are ready to be institutionalised within DNP. The result has been under-performance by the project and lack of delivery. We recommend: 8.2.1 That DNP exercise a higher level of ownership of the project and consider it as being in support of its core activities and responsibilities and that it works with UNDP to urgently resolve the financial management and disbursement impasse. 8.2.2 That UNDP ensures that the new PEB (see above) is an effective governance body for the project providing policy, advice, and direction and requiring accountability. 8.2.3 That the PMU adopts a more inclusive and participatory management style with an effective web pattern of communication between implementers and beneficiaries. 8.2.4 That the PMU set up a working group comprising relevant DNP units to consider the consultants? recommendations and produce a working paper on how they can be implemented by DNP. The paper to serve as the discussion document for a broader workshop comprising high ranking officials from DNP, MoNRE and NESDB to draft an Action Plan for effective PA management, especially the required enabling environment of policies, legislation, procedures, etc, targeted by Outcome 1 (see below). 8.2.5 That the PMU should adopt the results-based management approach, incorporating the Training-Action-Follow-up (TAF) approach to assess the changes brought about by training. Furthermore, there needs to be a recognition that pilots are not results, but tools through which results are achieved. Before they are rolled out for replication they need to be evaluated, refined and then confirmed as successful models to be written up and offered for replication. 8.2.6 DNP should strengthen the engagement of the National Parks Innovation Institute in the project both at national and site level, so as to obtain the utmost benefit for the DNP system from project products. Staff allocated to the Effectiveness Unit should consider this as part of their core responsibilities with clear performance indicators.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/09/13] [Last Updated: 2015/12/11]

From a recent discussion with the Acting Director-General in November 2015, the followings are confirmed in response to the recommendations above: (1) There will be a co-manager of the project which will be a government official specifically assigned to be responsible for the project to ensure smooth handling of government process, improve communication with the pilot sites, as to create ownership (2) The Project Management Unit will be reporting directly to the Office of the Director General, with a high-level government official (at the Inspector General level) serving as Project Director, to be able to make decision on approval and other executive decision at the project director level (3) There will be supporting focal points from the government units assigned to work with the project team on specific outcomes (4) A specialist will be engaged as a key consultant to help direct the project implementation, as well as to provide technical support on result-based management.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The new structure is endorsed and activated.
[Added: 2015/12/11] [Last Updated: 2017/05/03]
DNP and PMU 2015/12 Completed History
3. Recommendation: 8.3 Issue: Barriers to further progress at Outcomes level Barriers have been identified which are hindering progress towards the Outcomes and some of these are the subjects of recommendations. They are summarized here according to Outcome for emphasis and augmented as necessary to improve the project?s chances of attaining its Outcomes. We recommend: 8.3.1 That under Outcome 1 which sought improved governance, an enabling environment, and PA System sustainability ? 8.3.1.1 PMU should give prominence and urgency to the planned workshop (see 8.2.4 above) of high level decision makers to discuss recommendations made by the international consultants on improved PA System management and develop an action plan towards the enabling environment required to achieve the outcome. 8.3.1.2 That arising from its planned workshop on the lessons learnt over the past ten years of PAC operation, the PMU should develop a model for effective PAC engagement comprising training needs assessment of PAC members in selected pilot sites, and the necessary curriculum to enhance PAC capacity. Based on the evaluation of the tested model, recommendations should be made for DNP adoption. The PMU must ensure that the model is in place before project closure. 8.3.2 That under Outcome 2 which sought institutional and individual capacities enhanced ? 8.3.2.1 DNP should organize regular knowledge exchange forums on key issues introduced by the project for departmental officials and related partner agencies. Following each thematic knowledge forum, concrete actions should be planned and implemented to integrate the knowledge into DNP?s work to the extent possible. 8.3.2.2 DNP should ensure that training curricula developed by the project on improved PA management and sustainable financing should be integrated into regular training programmes for all PA Superintendents and senior staff. Future training curricula which will result from the pilots, such as on PAC Capacity Building, should also be gradually adopted by DNP. 8.3.3 That Outcome 3, which is a complex outcome with multiple targets such as management approaches, tools and mechanisms tested at all five sites, increased funding levels, and upscaling to PA System level, should be reconsidered and refocused to ensure that the Outcome is achieved, although an extension will be required. 8.3.3.1 The PMU, working with DNP and UNDP, and working with the SRF Consultant, should review the scope of Outcome 3, confirm or revise Outputs, and prioritize the Activities so as to reflect the possibility that there may not be a project extension. The result of these deliberations should be presented for approval to the PEB and the RTA. 8.3.3.2 The following changes/improvements should be considered ? Output 3.1 The PA planning framework has been designed at pilot sites and the focus now should go on to implementation. Output 3.2 Financing mechanism has been identified and implemented at the pilot units and the focus should now go on finalizing the implementation of mechanism at pilot sites, evaluation of the pilots, writing up for replication and for upscaling to System level. Output 3.3 PACs have been strengthened and their role is better defined. But serious co-management still elusive. The focus should now go on community partnerships ? with equal status and equal responsibilities for serious co-management. This should include the policy and legislative provisions for joint management. Output 3.4 Capacities have been enhanced but enhancement has not been measured. It is suggested that this work can be carried out under Outcome 2. Move this Output to Outcome 2. 8.3.3.3 As a priority, the PMU, with the concurrence of the PEB, should arrange for an evaluation consultant to work with stakeholders to assess the level of success of each and any pilot project against its original objectives and targets, record the lessons learnt, refine the process if necessary, and write it up in a manner that can be replicated. Concurrently, the team will need to assess the requirements of actors other than DNP who will have key roles in the replication. 8.3.3.4 In the event that there are time constraints, the PMU should focus on models for the following, listed in our suggested order of priority: 1 Financial mechanism for revenue raising/cost-effectiveness/cost-offsetting (e.g. through Doi Inthanon Conservation Fund, Khao Kitchagoot Sustainable Tourism Project, Tarutao /Reef Guardian Project) 2 Co-management approach (e.g through improved PAC role and through community?s engagement in the sustainable buffer zone management project in Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary) 3 Complex approach (e.g. the case of EFCOM administration and project implementation) 4 Objective-driven management plan and implementation (e.g. by Klong Lan NP) 8.3.4 That for Outcome 4, where a mismatch resulted between the Outcome statement and the Outputs identified in the revised SRF ? 8.3.4.1 UNDP, with the concurrence of the PEB and the approval of the GEF, should revert to the Outcome statement floated at the Inception Workshop, i.e. change the Outcome wording statement from - New models of PA management support effective management of the System to - New models of PA management captured, communicated and advocated so as to create better relevance and harmony between the Outcome and the Outputs which should now be confirmed. 8.3.4.2 PMU should constantly capture and feed the knowledge/lessons learnt from the implementation of pilot activities to DNP Management as well as to the PEB in search of support and advice for scaling up. 8.3.4.3 It is also important for the DNP to display and share the project?s products (with a disclaimer if necessary) within the department as well as with the wider community.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/09/13] [Last Updated: 2015/12/11]

A consultant to be responsible for knowledge management and M&E documentation will be hired to address this shortfall. The PEB and the technical advisory group will be consulted to guide the clear direction of the project in the last year, especially on Outcomes 1 and 3.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Hire consultant for KM and M& E
[Added: 2015/12/11]
PMU and DNP 2015/11 Completed
Organise Strategic Planning Meeting, consisting of PMU, PEB, and TAG.
[Added: 2015/12/11] [Last Updated: 2017/05/03]
PMU and DNP 2015/12 Completed History
4. Recommendation: 8.4 Issue: Meaningful involvement of communities The project has engaged well at the community level and the response has been very encouraging. This positive rapport should be capitalized on to build a relationship of mutual trust between the communities and DNP and, in particular, manage and reduce the impact of some communities on the PAs. We recommend: That the PMU, while respecting cultural and traditional nuances as well as ethnic rights, should work with community leaders to achieve a partnership for mutual benefit from Protected Areas. The immediate aim of this partnership should be true co-management following capacity building at community level to raise awareness, understanding and appreciation of the values and vulnerabilities of PAs. The ultimate aim is to decrease, and eliminate where possible, the impacts of communities who live and work within PAs. Consideration should be given to alternative income generation to reduce the use of agricultural chemicals, fire and similar impacts. As noted above, co-management must be founded on appropriate policies and legislation as well as a commitment on the part of the government to work in true partnership with the communities.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/09/13] [Last Updated: 2015/12/11]

This will be taken into account in the strategic planning process as mentioned in the recommendataion.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation: 8.5 Issue: Monitoring and Evaluation and the SRF The project M&E Plan is incomplete, the SRF does not provide Indicators for the Outcomes and the PSC has been ineffective. In the absence of a thorough M&E system, many problems may not have been identified early enough, others may have gone unnoticed, and the project has suffered. We recommend: 8.5.1 That the PMU should engage an expert consultant to lead a review of the SRF seeking improvements to the Indicators for the Objective and the Outcomes, a revision of some Outputs to ensure their relevance to the respective Outcome, and an adjustment of Baselines and Targets to reflect new Indicators. The review should be carried out according to UNDP guidance as discussed in section 3 of this report. At the same time, it should revise the M&E Plan and populate it with Targets from the revised SRF and timelines. It should then monitor impact or progress towards it (achievement/results) as well as the manner in which progress has been achieved (or not), that is, process. Use both impact and process monitoring to keep the SRF under continuous review, recommending changes (adaptive management) with the concurrence of the TAG to the PEB. 8.5.2 For its part, the DNP should review the mandate of its Innovation Institute, strengthening its role in M&E across the department and including monitoring of the project guided by the targets set in the revised SRF. 8.5.3 More specifically, consideration should be given to the following amendments to the SRF ? ? Move Output 3.4 to Outcome 2 (see 8.3.3.2 above) ? Change the wording of Outcome 4 statement (see 8.3.4 above) ? Develop new Indicators for each of the four Outcomes ? Identify Baselines for each of the new Indicators reflecting the current state of progress or achievement ? Identify Targets for each of the new Indicators ? To the extent possible and as appropriate, use gender-disaggregated Indicators, Baselines and Targets (see 8.7 below)
Management Response: [Added: 2015/09/13] [Last Updated: 2015/12/11]

The review of SRF will be done during the strategic planning consultations. The M&E system and documentation will be improved with the support from the knowledge management and M& E Consultant already on board. The Innovation Institute has been restructured back into the research and development unit. The project will now be directly affiliated with the Director General Office. Key actions will be the same as recommended.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation: 8.6 Issue: Communication, sharing and outreach An effective communication strategy is advisable for any project. However, this becomes an essential ingredient for a project comprising a series of pilots, testing new approaches and aiming to have them applied widely. It is therefore essential for this project to utilize all means available to communicate and share the knowledge gained and the products produced (such as key reports, manuals and discussion papers prepared by consultants). We recommend: 8.6.1 That the PMU should review the CATSPA webpage in the Innovation Institute?s website (in addition to its Facebook page) and use it as a mechanism for communication within the project and beyond to all stakeholders and others who are interested in the project. 8.6.2 It is also important for the DNP to display and share the project?s products (with a disclaimer if necessary) within the department as well as with the wider community.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/09/13] [Last Updated: 2015/12/11]

A communication specialist will be hired to be responsible for the communication plan and outreach materials. The project will improve its communication materials (blogs, documents, facebook); and have series of advocacy out every quarter, starting from Jan 2016

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Hire Communication Specialist
[Added: 2015/12/11]
PMU and DNP 2015/11 Completed
Produce materials and improve on the existing channels
[Added: 2015/12/11] [Last Updated: 2017/05/03]
Consultant and PMU 2016/12 Completed History
7. Recommendation: 8.7 Issue: Gender Mainstreaming There have been no efforts to mainstream gender issues into project planning and implementation. Gender mainstreaming in project planning where women?s as well as men?s concerns and experiences are taken into account would help to ensure that both men and women benefit equally from project interventions and that gender equity is attained. In return, it will also contribute to greater outcome, impact and sustainability of project as women?s and men?s needs and potential are fully addressed. In most cases, reporting on gender mainstreaming is weak due to a lack of clear goals or expected results, and a lack of gender disaggregated indicators. We recommend: That if there is a project extension, in its last annual planning workshop, the PMU should engage a gender consultant to introduce the concept of gender mainstreaming and lead the participants through the gender mainstreaming planning process which includes four steps, viz: 1 Gender analysis based on gender-disaggregated data to provide basic understanding about men?s and women?s different roles, needs, and conditions within the project?s context. This could include, for example, numbers of male and female participants/beneficiaries of project activities, their specific needs/conditions, and their roles/potential contributions to the planned activities. 2 Designing how the project?s interventions/activities could address different gender roles/needs while still responding to the objectives, outcomes and outputs of the project. 3 Designing gender-disaggregated indicators for each of the interventions/activities 4 Conduct M&E based on the workplan which incorporates gender-disaggregated indicators and prepare a report which includes gender-disaggregated data/results.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/09/13] [Last Updated: 2015/12/11]

This will be taken into account in the strategic planning process as recommended.

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation: 8.8 Issue: Exit strategy for sustainability of project benefits The project operated at a pilot scale and it relies for its impact on upscaling and replication. This makes an effective Exit Strategy / Sustainability Plan absolutely essential. A key highlight of the strategy should be an Exit Workshop. We recommend: That the PMU, with the endorsement of both DNP and UNDP, should organize a Sustainability/Exit Workshop some two months before project closure, inviting all known stakeholders and others who may have an interest in the project?s products, services and other benefits. At the Workshop, the PM will present her Project Terminal Report (maybe in draft), then the PMU will outline the gains made by the project and seek an expression of interest from specific stakeholders for taking over and sustaining each gain. Ideally, this should be followed by an official exchange of letters handing over, and accepting, the responsibility.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/09/13] [Last Updated: 2015/12/11]

The PEB will lead the development of the exit strategy.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop Exit Strategy.
[Added: 2015/12/11] [Last Updated: 2017/05/03]
PEU and PMU 2016/06 Completed History
9. Recommendation: 8.9 Issue: Project extension If the DNP can demonstrate that there is still the will to sustain the project and with a clearer understanding and acceptance of the various roles and responsibilities, the restructuring and acceptance of the PEB as the top body for project governance, the enhancement of support by the TAG, the streamlining of the financial management procedures, and the removal of other barriers that have hindered it to date, the Evaluators believe that the project is viable and that it has a good chance of attaining its objective. However, in order for this to happen, the recommendations made in this report must be accepted and implemented. If this does not happen within the next five months (by October 2015) the value of any extension will be jeopardised and the project should be terminated as currently planned by December 2015. We recommend: That after ascertaining that each of the above recommendations has been accepted and considered in the Management Response, UNDP with the concurrence of the PEB, should obtain GEF approval for the project to be extended by another 12 months at no additional cost to GEF to terminate in December 2016.
Management Response: [Added: 2015/09/13] [Last Updated: 2015/12/11]

The request for extension will be for 1 year (Jan-Dec 2016), with the aim to wrap up key activities at field levels by July 2016, and the activities at central level by October 2016.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Prepare document for project extension request
[Added: 2015/12/11] [Last Updated: 2017/05/03]
UNDP and PMU 2015/12 Completed History

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