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Terminal Evaluation – Expanding Network and Coverage of Terrestrial Protected Area Network
Commissioning Unit: Mauritius
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2023
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 05/2018
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Mauritius
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

TORs. The blame for the fact that some tasks were not completed under components 1 and 2 was mostly focused on the poor performance of the international consultancy firm Eco Africa. However, this 1.5-year contract was awarded only in February 2014, almost four years after the official start of a five-year project and covered most of the project components 1 and 2. The level of effort and the time required to complete all the tasks included in this contract was greatly underestimated. Tasks such as participatory development of strategic documents involving extensive consultation and development and pilot implementation of a PES mechanism, to name these, would have required much more time than what was specified in the contract. This does not diminish the responsibility of the firm to have accepted this contract, but if learning must be drawn from this experience in order to improve the implementation of future projects, they must relate to all the time lost during the 4 first years of the project and on the preparation of the terms of reference, especially when they are of such importance in relation to the project as a whole.

Timing: The development of TORs of major importance for a project and conditioning a sequence of subsequent activities should be a priority from the start of the project, within the first 3 months.

Responsibility: The CTA, the project manager and the UNDP CO should prepare the ToRs based on the specifications provided in the project document and have them validated by experts, at least by persons able to assess rigorously the consistency of the content and conditions of execution, including level of effort, resources allocated and duration, including the RTA and local specialists. These TORs should be circulated and validated by the PSC, and advertised as broadly as possible. If the TORs are not developed within a short delay, the PSC as the supervisory structure should be vigilant and rapidly inquire about the reasons and take action. While there is consensus on the poor performance of the 1st project manager, he was in post for 2 years.

Selection: Procurement rules that require to select the cheapest offer could be misleading and technical criteria should be considered foremost and outweigh the financial criteria, while remaining within the budget of the project.

Description: ToRs prepared with clear, detailed, and scheduled deliverables based on a realistic assessment of the level of effort required to achieve the tasks

Management Response: [Added: 2018/07/06] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

n/a

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

Quality assurance role - UNDP at country and regional levels must ensure that project implementation arrangements and expenditures comply with UNDP rules and that funds are used for agreed purposes.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation:

Monitoring of IAS clearing and results. To develop and implement a monitoring procedure for the clearing of IAS and establish a database. One of the PIRs mentions that the mapping of restored areas under the project have been initiated. However, this is far from being sufficient. The Good Practice Guide to Native Vegetation Restoration in Mauritius mentions that the frequency of maintenance weeding will vary depending on site-specific factors and that “when, where, and how to weed should be determined by monitoring”. In order to expand further clearing of IAS and restoration of native forests at a scale large enough to have a significant long-term impact on restoration of habitats for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, it is necessary to plan IAS clearing operations and monitor interventions and results to assess the interventions effectiveness and efficiency (cost) for continuous improvement, as recommended in the Good Practice Guide. Data could be collected by trained supervisors. The following is not exhaustive and could be complemented by specialists, while retaining simplicity and practical feasibility:

- Planning of the clearing operations could include the following data on the physical site: a few environmental parameters, such as geographical coordinates of the site, state of invasion of the forest and main target IAS species, canopy cover, slope, distance to a watercourse, and presence of vulnerable species (endemic, rare, threatened).

- Monitoring of the interventions: dates of first and subsequent clearings, technique used, number of workers and duration of interventions, area of intervention, weather including occurrence of rain within X hours of the clearing (when herbicide is applied), bundles of cut vegetation left on site.

- Monitoring of the results: description and quantification of regrowth and regeneration of IAS within a specific radius around cut stump, occurrence of new IAS species, evidence of impacts such as erosion, and description and quantification of (target) native species regeneration.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

Regulatory framework for private reserves. To develop and enact a regulatory framework to enable the creation and management of private reserves that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services while providing benefits to land owners. The legislative framework should enable the establishment of incentives to encourage landowners to enter the programme, including through payment for ecosystem services schemes.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

PES. The implementation of conservation and restoration actions entails high costs and, in order to scale up conservation and restoration with the participation of the private sector, it is necessary to develop adequate financial incentives. Ecosystem valuation was included in the ProDoc under output 1.4, and the development and testing of a Payment for Ecological Services (PES) scheme was included in the TORs of the consulting firm Eco-Africa, as part of an Integrated Financing Strategy for PAs. This part of the contract was not completed and it must be said that the level of effort required to achieve the development and testing of a PES was clearly underestimated.

A meta-analysis of 89 restoration assessments in a wide range of ecosystem types across the globe indicated that ecological restoration increased provision of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 44 and 25% respectively, and that values of both remained lower in restored versus intact reference ecosystems.[1] IAS were among the degrading actions addressed by 4 of the studies examined, and extirpation of damaging species and planting of trees were among the restoration actions in 8 and 16 studies.

Such results should motivate a reflection (possibly as part of a MSP or as a component of a larger project) on the possibility of establishing voluntary PES schemes as an alternative or complement to binding stewardship agreements with private land owners. PES can be defined as (i) voluntary, (ii) contingent transactions between (iii) at least one seller and (iv) one buyer (v) over a well-defined Ecosystem Service, or a land use likely to secure that service. This could involve valuation studies for high value ecosystem services likely to be improved by conservation, restoration and sustainable use of ecosystems and natural resources (such as carbon storage, regulation of climate and water flow, provision of clean water, and maintenance of soil fertility), an analysis of the market for specific PES to identify service providers (sellers) and users (buyers) of the ES, and the identification of several elements required to operationalize the PES scheme[2].

In line with the Mauritius NBSAP 2017-2025, namely target 7 aiming at developing a policy framework with incentives for pro-biodiversity practices, target 3 related to setting up sustainable incentives for biodiversity conservation and restoration, and target 11 aiming at conserving at least 16% of terrestrial areas and inland waters, it is recommended to further the efforts undertaken under the PAN project to bring the private land owners on board and build on i) existing outputs of the PAN project such as the biodiversity stewardship pilot experiences as MoUs between 7 private companies and the MoAIFS providing a financial incentive of 400,000 Rupees for clearing IAS over 5 ha of native forest, ii) reflections and consultations to develop the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme and the Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement template (currently under review by the State Law Office), and iii) the valuation study of ecosystem services provided by the watersheds of 2 important reservoirs presented as part of the NBSAP 2017-2015.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

IAS control field guide. It is recommended to produce a practical and user-friendly field guide for IAS control, from the instructions provided in the Good Practice Guide to Native Vegetation Restoration in Mauritius, with clear and simple instructions in the form of illustrations accessible to non-specialist field workers and separate sheets for the different techniques, in a format resistant to be handled in the field.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

Business plans. It is recommended to complete the PANES Financial and Business Model building on the (incomplete) draft developed by the consulting firm and submitted at the Validation Workshop and on the identification of human resources requirements for all competency areas needed to implement the PANES (as part of the Strategic Action Plan for the Implementation of the PANES).

It is also recommended to develop individual business plans for each of the 2 National Parks and for the Bird Sanctuary as part of their management plans, based on the following assessments:

  • Identification and assessment of available finances for the individual PA based on the operational budget (for salaries, maintenance, fuel) and infrastructure investment budget (such as roads, visitor centres), annual revenue generated on the site such as tourism entrance fees, income from concessions such as ecotourism development, and payments for ecosystem services;
  • Assessment of the costs and financing needs for the basic management of the individual PA including recurring operational costs (such as salaries, fuel for transportation, office maintenance), and infrastructure investment costs;

Assessment of the annual financing gap for operations and infrastructure investment based on the previous assessments and identification of additional options and sources of revenues to leverage supplemental financial resources.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

Key Actions:

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