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Mainstreaming Conservation of Migratory Soaring Birds into Key Productive Sectors Along the Rift Valley
Commissioning Unit: Jordan
Evaluation Plan: 2013-2017
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 10/2014
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Jordan
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation: UNDP Jordan is recognised as the sole Implementing Agency for all aspects of the MSB project
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

Agreed by BirdLife. This would simplify the management arrangements significantly, including simplification of work planning, budgeting, and technical and financial reporting. Over the past 3 years, BirdLife and UNDP Jordan have worked in an efficient and productive way to ensure that the project moved to a ?satisfactory? rating

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2. Recommendation: Birdlife International is recognised as the sole Executing Agency/Partner for the MSB project
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

Agreed by BirdLife. As with recommendation 1, this would simplify the management arrangements, including simplification of work planning, budgeting, and technical and financial reporting. It would ensure that BirdLife was clearly responsible and accountable for the implementation of the project

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3. Recommendation: Disbursement of the GEF grant is made according to these revised implementing and executing arrangements
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

Agreed by BirdLife. It follows logically from recommendation 1 & 2

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4. Recommendation: The disbursement of the GEF grant through the Executing Agency is coordinated by the RFF and arranged by sectors (not countries and vehicles) according to an agreed strategic framework to be developed during the development of the new of the Project Document. In particular the RFF has the authority to withhold GEF funds in the event that funding agreements with Birdlife Partners are not adhered to
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

Agreed by BirdLife. This is a strategic, logical and helpful recommendation. It will ensure that resources (human, financial and technical) are focused on (1) addressing the most significant threats, (2) prioritizing work by sector, and (3) working in countries where there is the best opportunity to address the threats and engage with the sectors. It will however continue to make strategic and operational sense to work with and through vehicle projects where these are available and opportunities for ?double mainstreaming? can be realized

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5. Recommendation: The authority of Birdlife International as the Executing Agency is clearly articulated and recognized by participating countries. This will require the recognition through agreement of the primacy of RFF MSB flyway policies over national interests and agendas where this relates to the GEF grant
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

Agreed by BirdLife. It will be important to align national interests with flyway interests through agreement on priority threats/sectors/countries based on the findings of the current project. This will need to be revisited annually through the work planning and budgeting process

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6. Recommendation: National Execution is carried out through Birdlife Partners and according to substantive agreements between them and the RFF
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

Agreed by BirdLife. This was the original intention of the project, and in most cases BirdLife Partners have proved themselves effective in project implementation. Soaring bird conservation on the flyway is a priority issue of concern for the BirdLife Partners greatly enhancing the prospect for longer term commitment to and sustainability of action on the flyway

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7. Recommendation: In the case of countries in which it is legally impossible to work through Birdlife Partners (e.g. solely in Egypt due to restrictions on NGOs and CSOs receiving funds from abroad) current national execution arrangements will persist largely unchanged
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

Agreed by BirdLife. This arrangement is essential at present in Egypt where national NGOs face severe restrictions on receiving funding from foreign sources. UNDP, NCE (BirdLife in Egypt) and EEAA (Egyptian Government) have worked effectively together during tranche I

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8. Recommendation: The exercise planned to develop a Project Document for the second half of the project is unusual for a GEF project. However, given the weaknesses in the original it seems to be a good idea to critically review it and develop something more efficient. This should not be a full-sized Project Document. It is recommended that UNDP Jordan as the Implementing Agency seeks clarification from the RTA (Bratislava) and provides clear instructions for the procedure of developing the document. The document itself should be streamlined, provide a concise strategy for achieving the existing outcomes and objective, a heavily revised LFM/SRF with clearer (and fewer) indicators, precise and binding management arrangements, a budget and work plan. The emphasis should be to ?keep it simple?, easy to understand and as short as possible. The project is succeeding and with a number of revisions which are critical will likely reach a satisfactory or even highly satisfactory conclusion by the close of the project. These revisions are essential to the financing and management arrangements and the LFM/SRF. They do not change the project objective and outcomes except for outcome 4 which needs to reflect the RFF to a greater extent (essentially these will be keeping the intention of the fourth outcome but reflecting the role of the RFF to a greater extent). The project already has secure GEF funding for a period of ten years (plus any extension) and any adaptations or revisions recommended by the MTR amount to no more than a substantial Management Response to an mid-term evaluation. Developing a second Project Document will prove to be an onerous task and will distract from the project?s operation and progress. Rather than produce another Project Document (the project already has three according to the GEF website) this process should be downgraded to a substantial project planning exercise led by the RFF to restate the strategy and address the inefficiencies in the original design or as a result of the confusion during the first three years of the project
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

Agreed by BirdLife. BirdLife is very supportive of what is recommended above. The current project document would benefit from greater clarity and conciseness

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9. Recommendation: The project has made considerable headway on a number of critical issues such as wind energy in Egypt and hunting in Jordan and Lebanon. Indeed these have emerged as some of the most urgent threats to the MSBs. However, it would be premature to declare at the midpoint of the project that the ?mission is accomplished?. In Lebanon and Jordan the project has made a number of significant steps towards developing a sustainable and responsible hunting system. In Egypt the project has made inroads into an industry which is emerging as a major threat to the flyway along its length. These are notable successes and they need to be reinforced, the project needs to ?stay with? the process and see how far it can get. To ensure that there is accountability, the measure of how far the project can get in these two sectors can be further defined in a revised or realigned LFM but it must stay with the process and engaged with the sectors. This is a contradiction in the Project Document which on one hand recognises that mainstreaming is a long term process while on the other hand appears to assume that some issues of mainstreaming can be ?signed off? on just when they appear to be succeeding
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

Agreed by BirdLife. Despite excellent progress, it is essential that the project is able to continue to work where needed on the energy sector in Eygpt and hunting sector in Lebanon. Despite good progress by the project, these threats in these countries remain the highest priority to safeguard migratory birds on the flyway

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10. Recommendation: The RFF already has continued support from BirdLife International which will continue after the closure of the GEF funded project. The Project Document requires a commitment from BirdLife International of cash co-financing amounting to double the GEF grant. This is a considerable commitment upon a project that is now beginning to work well and much of its success can be attributed to BirdLife International?s and the Implementing Agency?s (UNDP Jordan) willingness to try to make it work and commit resources when necessary. Furthermore, the MTR questions the authority of the ?triggers? in the Project Document and defers to the indicators provided in the LFM/SRF the majority of which have improved from a very low base to a satisfactory level and continue to improve. If BirdLife International is unable to meet the 1:2 cash co-financing ratio this should not affect the second half of the project. The RFF will continue to receive support of a very high quality from BirdLife International and thus it is recommended that the trigger is either ignored or changed to reflect the actual costs of supporting the RFF rather than an arbitrary co-financing ratio. Rather than setting the Executing Agency or Partner the onerous task of trying to demonstrate co-financing commitments at this midpoint of what is essentially a succeeding project which BirdLife has quite clearly demonstrated that it will be responsible for the financing (of the RFF); the project should be tasked with developing a financial plan which will identify BirdLife International financing and other elements of financial support and funding gaps for which strategies can be developed. After all the RFF will be needed well into the future to coordinate MSB interests along the flyway and not just for the lifetime of the project
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23]

Agreed by BirdLife. The 2:1 cash co-financing of the RFF is a significant challenge for BirdLife. Overall, BirdLife is confident that substantial co-financing will be leveraged, although it will be difficult to secure formal commitments in advance of tranche II commencing. BirdLife would report on co-financing leveraged on an annual basis in line with an overall 3:1 target for the project as a whole

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11. Recommendation:

The project develops an exit strategy during the final eight months of the project. Exit strategies are, in evaluations, frequently prescribed but rarely described leaving project managers to try and figure out what an exit strategy looks like. Fortunately a UNDP-GEF-GTZ project has developed a very useful exit strategy and is reproduced here as Annex 11 and can be modified with the UNDP-GEF-GTZ Multi-country Capacity Building.

Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/23] [Last Updated: 2018/11/08]

The project has already moved to a new phase as a national project but also has regional components. A proper exit strategy will be developed once the current phase is finalised.

 

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