Success message
error message
warn message
Project 59495/ARG 10G50: Manejo forestal sostenible en el ecosistema transfronterizo del Gran Chaco Americano
Commissioning Unit: Argentina
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 12/2017
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Argentina
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

 

Recommendation 1: National executing agencies must continue to support the consolidation and dissemination of project results in order to replicate sustainable
land and forest management practices on a broader scale.
 

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/17] [Last Updated: 2018/12/18]

The expected large-scale replication of demonstrated practices will depend on continued assistance by NEAs or new projects for the Gran Chaco. Likewise, the national executing agencies will need to promote learning and knowledge management based on the results of the 160 SFM/SLM practices that were demonstrated. The project finished operations – and closed country offices - in Bolivia and Argentina, and will be closing soon in Paraguay. To ensure further adoption and enable a measurable regional impact on land degradation, it is essential that NEAs:

  • Continue to socialize project results and hold national/regional dissemination events with NEA partners, Chaco stakeholders and interested donors or projects, as a means to encourage larger scale adoption and influence government policy levels. 
  • Assist the designated UPEAs technically and institutionally in assuming their role as centers for demonstration and dissemination. 
  • Organizing national and regional events that were planned, are still pending and are essential (at a very late stage) to make institutional contacts for continued dissemination and adoption.  
  • Broker agreements with programs and projects that offer “entry points” for continued replication. These include the Bosque y Comunidad program and native forest legislation in Argentina, the national watershed plan and related programs in Bolivia, and upcoming projects for green commodities and integrated sustainable development in Paraguay. Likewise, the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) offers a potential vehicle for extending best practices to other areas of the Gran Chaco in each country.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
This recommendation is directed at the local partners. Regarding the agencies, from our end we shall follow up with them on the application of the products and lessons provided by the project for mainstreaming conservation efforts into various institutional agendas including productive sectors and finance. Coordination among agencies for follow up. Socialize results: distribution of systematization material (print and online) Assist UPEAs: coordinate with undp/oas locally Organize events: small scale funding for events Broker agreements: analyze opportunities together
[Added: 2018/12/18]
Local partners and Agencies 2019/12 Initiated
2. Recommendation:

 

Recommendation 2: NEAs and executing partners need to continue providing technical assistance and backstopping support to the various pilot initiatives that were
implemented through the project. The two year period allocated for the implementation of demonstration projects was often insufficient to generate the expected results and follow-up is needed to consolidate results.
 

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/17] [Last Updated: 2018/12/18]

The projects were successfully implemented with boxes and extraction equipment installed; the first harvests were expected shortly after the evaluation visit. However, there will be need for further guidance on the organizational and marketing aspects if the project is to have the expected economic impact and be sustained over time. Marketing guidance is needed for the honey demonstration projects in order to become fully operational and fulfill their considerable impact potential. It is also recommended that NEAs and other Chaco partners facilitate the international certification of organic honey, an investment that would open direct export opportunities and higher prices through fair trade networks.

The international agencies have a mandate to assist countries that goes beyond a 5 year project and will follow up on the technical elements that were developed to support decision making for conservation and sustainable growth. The management response to the recommendations will be followed up by UN Environment on a biannual basis in collaboration with UNDP and GS/OAS.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Within their “mandate to assist countries beyond the project”, agencies will indeed “follow up on the technical elements that were developed to support decision making for conservation and sustainable growth”. Agencies cooperate in the exploration of opportunities for follow up projects to mainstream project efforts. Compile List of individual projects that represent entry points for collaboration and match with emerging financing opportunities e.g. Paraguay adaptation project with UN Environment and financial initiative.
[Added: 2018/12/18]
UN agencies 2019/12 Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: Further GEF support for the Gran Chaco’s Sub-regional Action Program should be contingent on the demonstration of tangible government commitments at policy and budgetary levels.
 

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/17] [Last Updated: 2018/12/18]

The project has established a base that potentially offers the SRAP greater momentum on a regional scale. However, the main limiting factor continues to be government commitment. At the moment, only Argentina appears to demonstrate this commitment. There are parallel initiatives and projects in the three countries (some supported by GEF and UNEP) that could assist the dissemination of sustainable practices. Although a follow-up project for the Gran Chaco has not been proposed (either regionally or nationally), further continuity is needed to build on the progress achieved.  GEF and UN Environment need to ensure that there is an operational government-driven regional program in place – or at least that the national components are functioning - before further support is considered. Future assistance should be focused on assisting ongoing national/regional initiatives and not substituting them.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The SRAP did not sustain the initial momentum and the political will to restore it did not materialize during the project. While the agencies stand ready to support initiatives that would continue mainstreaming and upscaling efforts of valuable tools and lessons produced by the project, we agree that to set up a regional initiative a government-driven regional program that is operational has to be in place. - Continued monitoring of government disposition to establish a regional platform or program. - Analysis of financing opportunities from various sources to develop follow up initiatives, national or regional is ongoing.
[Added: 2018/12/18]
UN Agencies 2019/12 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

 

Recommendation 4: The GEF and UN Environment evaluation offices should conduct a thematic desk review of evaluated regional GEF projects that have been implemented in Latin America.
 

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/17] [Last Updated: 2018/12/18]

The objectives of this study would be to (i) analyze recurring issues that influence regional project performance and impact, (ii) recommend adjustments to the regional project approaches so as to address these issues, and (iii) offer inputs for the improved design of future regional GEF projects. There have been several regional GEF projects in the region over the past decade that have essentially similar approaches: In the southern cone region GEF has implemented the Bermejo Basin, Lake Titicaca, River Plate Basin and Gran Chaco projects over the past decade. All of these projects have shared an ecosystems-based approach with structural and methodological similarities.  Similarly, their evaluations highlight a recurrence of common issues that have affected performance both positively and negatively. A comprehensive, in-depth desk review with selected stakeholder interviews could provide deeper insight and suggest remedial actions of interest to GEF, UN Environment, OAS, UNDP and other partner agencies. Such a study would look into design and operational issues that influence the performance of ecosystems-based regional GEF initiatives, and propose alternative approaches or modalities for consideration. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
This recommendation is directed at the evaluation office and it is up to them to perform the recommended review. UN Environment has a long-standing track record of successfully implemented regional projects executed by GS/OAS. The partners will continue to apply this successful model building on this experience.
[Added: 2018/12/18]
evaluation office 2018/12 Completed NA since depends on whether the evaluation offices decide to follow up on this recommendation.
5. Recommendation:

 

 

Recommendation 5: GEF and UN Environment should ensure that the Terms of Reference for project audits are expanded to include an assessment of administrative and financial management practices by the project teams and implementing/executing agencies. This would be closer to a performance audit, and could help GEF agencies target problems at an early stage and apply corrective measures.
 

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/17] [Last Updated: 2018/12/18]

The audits conducted by UNDP and OAS provide summarized financial data that are part of the broader corporate audits that cover a wide spectrum of projects and activities. The audit information that is presented lacks any analysis or interpretation, and provides little insight into financial management or delivery issues. Neither the regional PCU, NEAs nor country teams were contacted during (or aware of) the audits, nor were the PCU’s financial records or other documents considered. Future audits need to look more closely at actual financial and administrative operations in order to assess their efficiency and effect on expenditure, and propose remedial actions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
This recommendation is directed at the higher echelons of the organization, who can decide if it is appropriate to add performance audits to the financial audits required from executing agencies. As for the agency itself, it is regularly subject to several types of audits including financial, performance, operations, procedures and others as the internal supervisory boards see fit. The standard UN Environment Project Cooperation Agreement explicitly states the audit requirements, and these are strictly complied with by executing agencies. Broad corporate audits are no longer accepted at UN Environment and specific project audits are required on an annual basis as well as at end of project. This has already been implemented and is a change from the initial audits presented by this project. Comment on UNENv internal audits on processes.
[Added: 2018/12/18]
UN Environment 2018/12 Completed
6. Recommendation:

 

Recommendation 6: GEF needs to assess the suitability of agency/institutional arrangements and resulting administrative guidelines at the project appraisal stage.
 

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/17] [Last Updated: 2018/12/18]

The division of implementation and execution responsibilities among three international agencies with different guidelines raised the administrative workloads for regional and country project teams significantly, distracting attention from more substantive issues. Some of the administrative guidelines that were applied were not considered optimally suited for a project that had to service a large number of dispersed, small-scale initiatives over a wide geographic area. These aspects need to be considered when appraising prospective GEF implementing or executing agencies.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
This recommendation is directed at GEF and it is up to them to take it up. From our perspective, we agree that GEF must consider the complexity of implementing arrangements when suggesting the change of a successful formula. In this case, it was GEF who after a long project preparation phase carried out by UN Environment and GS/OAS asked that UNDP be included as co-implementing agency “because of their local presence in the countries” (UNDP has Country Offices in the three countries that participated in this project). In the end this inclusion not only increased the transaction cost enormously and delayed local implementation of pilots quite contrary to the expectations, but also dispersed actions into three independent UNDP country projects and one regional effort trying to integrate it all. The measure taken on the agencies’ side is an improved assessment of implementing arrangements, in particular when co-implementation is being suggested. Lengthy discussions and analysis has been performed by UNDP and UN Environment officers in the past years assessing the pros and cons of co-implementation. This also included the participation in the “Collaboration Typology Analysis” carried out in 2012 by a UNDP-UNEP task force. If this particular project was to start today, there are many arguments that would speak against co-implementation
[Added: 2018/12/18]
GEF UNEP 2018/12 Completed History
7. Recommendation:

 

Recommendation 7: Future project appraisals by UN Environment should ensure that outputs, outcomes and performance indicators are realistic and achievable with the proposed timeframes.
 

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/17] [Last Updated: 2018/12/18]

Project timelines are often difficult to reconcile with actual processes on the ground. Several outcomes and outputs were clearly unlikely to be achieved within the five-year period, and less so on a tri-national scale. In some cases this was due to late or partial delivery of key outputs that prevented the project from achieving the intermediate states that precede impact. In other cases, outcome indicators were excessively ambitious in relation to the time or resources that were available. Indicators often assume that project deliverables will be applied by project partners – i.e. mainstreaming SLM/SFM policies within governments, harmonizing national policy frameworks – when these require institutional or budgetary decisions that are outside the project’s influence. For these reasons, it is important that project appraisals ensure that outputs and outcomes are achievable within approved timeframes and budgets, as achievable within the project’s attributions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
This comment is about the design/ appraisal phase of the project. Since then, the issues have already been addressed and are being applied in project appraisals. In more recent project appraisals UN Environment Quality Assurance Section (QAS) is ensuring that a Theory of Change exercise is performed in combination with the logframe and indicator development. This is delivering results that are more achievable and better monitored.
[Added: 2018/12/18]
UNEP 2018/12 Completed

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