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Mid-Term Review of the 5th Operational Phase of Small Grants Programme
Commissioning Unit: Philippines
Evaluation Plan: 2012-2018
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 11/2017
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Philippines
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

That the CPMU, IP, and Hubs consider developing a management design that maximises the attributes of each organisation while, simultaneously, formulating an integrated and collaborative management style. The notion is that teams working with synergy will achieve more as a group than is possible on their own.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

This is actually what hubs are doing.  However, the CPMU will see to it that this matter is again emphasized in the site conferences this September to November 2017.  The conferences will serve as a good venue for reaching agreements/consensus among the grantees for doing synergistic work.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

That grantees with aspirations for tourism-focused interventions be made aware of potential pitfalls and that these expectations can be ill founded. Also, that Grantees are made aware of the various tools that will help minimize the potential negative impacts of tourism.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

The CPMU had earlier pointed out that this recommendation lacks basis, save for the comment of the evaluator that the concerned communities are treating their eco-tourism projects as panacea, without presenting evidence for it.  The CPMU had in fact pointed out that all tourism-related projects are located in areas where there are already existing tourism activities (Palawan, Aurora, Isabela).  The intent of these projects is to enable the SGP-5 beneficiaries to partake of the benefits of the ongoing tourism in their areas.

Nevertheless, the CPMU shall ask the site hubs to include a discussion on this in their forthcoming site-based conferences, which shall be held in September to November 2017.  Speakers from local tourism offices/groups shall be invited as resource person/s.

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation:

That the CPMU gives more emphasis to the relationship between SGP5 main objective, which sets out a global aspiration, and the small-scale interventions that grantees are putting in place.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

As already pointed out by the CPMU earlier in this process, the projects were already aligned with SGP objectives at the proposal stage.  Each proponent was required to point out in the proposal the biodiversity nexus of its project, and also their contributions to fulfilling SGP-5 targets. 

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

That the ground-breaking work being developed by the CPMU to recognise the complexity of biodiversity conservation interventions related to Landscape and Seascapes concepts are given in-depth consideration, including principles which under-pin “Connectivity Conservation”.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

This will be done, first, through the publication of the proceedings of the First National Biodiversity Conference, which includes sessions on Land/Seascapes.  The documentation is being reviewed now.  Also, during the second quarter of 2018, the best practices of SGP-5 shall be documented and analyzed by the CPMU and the RP (with help from experts in various aspects of biodiversity conservation) and shall be published towards the end of this Operational Phase. This matter shall be included in the documentation.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

That the CMPU and RP be asked to evaluate and report on the adequacy and operational capacity of the ecological, biodiversity and natural resource management skills that is available to support project interventions.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

First, it must be pointed out that the approval process of project proposals considered the eligibility of the proponents to perform the management aspects that they committed in their proposals.  Second, given the small amount of the projects, the grantees are not expected to perform the whole gamut of management activities pertaining to a site, but only the aspects that they committed to.  Third, SGP is in fact interested in the innovations that the grantees can introduce given their limited funds, time, capabilities and access to technology.

Having said that, this matter shall be tackled in the documentation of best practices, where areas where projects could have done better shall be included in the discussion. 

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

That the relationship between Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) and Critical Habitats (CH) are important in terms of conservation at scale. SGP5 interventions should, as a far as possible, strive to establish direct geographic relationships with KBA and CH.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

The CPMU shall prepare an overlay of the map of the projects and the Key Biodiversity Areas and Critical Habitats.  This will be done by October 2017.

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

That in recognition of the significant delays and impediments during SGP5 start-up, the mission recommends a 1.5-year, no-cost extension.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

The CPMU, with support from the UNDP CO and the CPMT, has already obtained an 18-month extension of SGP-5 in the Philippines.

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation:

The CPMU note the institutional impediments faced within the NCIP and take steps to address the limited human and material resources as well as the technical capacity of NCIP in terms of responding to the needs of SGP5.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

This has already been addressed.  In addition to the Memorandum of Agreement, which the CPMU brokered between the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and the Biodiversity Management Bureau (Implementing Partner), the CPMU also urged the NCIP regional offices to form special Free and Prior Informed Consent Teams to conduct the FPIC processes.  Having gotten the agreement of the NCIP regional offices to facilitate the FPIC processes, the FPIC requirement has already been hurdled by SGP-5 grantees. 

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation:

That the CPMU advance its efforts to support a coherent overall land and marine planning approach, including advocacy at the highest levels of government.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

The Philippine Government’s Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) had earlier adopted HLURB Resolution No. 908, s. 2013, the enhanced Comprehensive Land Use Planning System (eCLUP), pointing out that local planning is a systematic and organized presentation of the local government’s vision “from the forests-to-lowland-to- coastal ecosystems of the watershed/sub-watershed system”.  Along this line, the HLURB has issued a 3-volume manual that integrates biodiversity conservation into the planning process. 

Meanwhile, the National Land Use Bill, which proposes the inclusion of biodiversity conservation objectives in land use planning is also pending in the National Legislature and is supported by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.   The CPMU shall closely monitor the progress of the Bill.

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation:

That the CPMU actively advocate to ensure that the CLUP framework and planning approach integrates biodiversity conservation, ecosystem values, and sustainability imperatives.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

This is precisely a target under Outcome II of SGP-5, and is thus being pursued by several grantees in partnership with their local governments.  Nevertheless, the CPMU shall remind the concerned grantees of this matter by calling their attention to the “Procedural Guidelines for Mainstreaming Biodiversity in the CLUP of Local Government Units”, a publication of the GEF-funded and UNDP-BMB-implemented Biodiversity Partnerships Project (BPP).  Soft copies of the manual shall be sent to the grantees and posted in the SGP-5 Philippines website. 

Key Actions:

11. Recommendation:

That DENR, PTRC, and NSC be made aware that the concepts, which under-pin SGP5, are that small grant interventions are designed to support larger interventions. In most locations, larger interventions are not in place and SGP5 is the foremost source of funding and support.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

This matter is known to all even at the proposal stage.  In fact, SGP-5 is known for its catalytic projects that call the attention of local governments and other stakeholders to the biodiversity importance of the areas where they work. 

Key Actions:

12. Recommendation:

That CPMU gives additional emphasis on capacity development, and management systems for Locally Managed Conservation Areas (LMCA), and that the CPMU consider formulation of a Management Systems and Capacity Building programme.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

The CPMU shall use the site conferences as platform for formulating a Management Systems and Capacity Building Program, by considering best practices and lessons learned by the grantees.  This should guide the grantees in further developing their projects (for the remainder of the time) or in formulating their sustainability plans (e.g., include it in project proposals). 

It should be noted, too, that many of the grantees have already identified their training needs at the proposal stage, thus, their respective work and financial plans already provide for these training activities.  However, we see the value of this recommendation in expanding the menu of training needs of the grantees and their partners as they go through the process of managing their protected and production areas. 

Key Actions:

13. Recommendation:

That the CPMU, RP, PSC and PTRC give attention to providing support to the person or persons with vision, commitment and passion and, where possible, provide additional support to “champions”.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

This contrasts with the view of the CPMU that all grantee organizations are biodiversity conservation champions in their respective communities.  The work of SGP-5 is to provide them with opportunities so they can have a voice.  Everybody deserves whatever support the CPMU can give in whatever way it may be useful to them.  In the first place, SGP-5 supports organizations.  In the second place, there was no one pointed out in the MTR as being a champion, save for the general parameters of “person or persons with vision, commitment and passion”.   

Key Actions:

14. Recommendation:

That the CPMU encourage and support Hubs to exert more influence and play a leading role in ensuring that best practice and other appropriate methodologies is shared amongst grantees and replicated.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

Sharing of best practices and other appropriate technologies is the prime purpose of the site conferences, which are conducted by the site hubs.  This is actually being done. 

Key Actions:

15. Recommendation:

That the CPMU and RP investigate and consider applying contemporary resource management and protected area planning tools including: Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool [SMART], Open Standards for Conservation Practise [OS], and Global Footprint.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

Two of SGP-5 grantees (Katala Foundation, Inc. in Palawan, and Friends of the Environment for Development and Sustainability, Inc. in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range) are demonstrating how local communities can adopt/adapt LAWIN, a phone-based application, which operationalizes SMART in the Philippines.  We shall ask these grantees to make presentations on their experience with LAWIN during the site conferences (Palawan and Upper Sierra Madre) and their recommendations on how this can be adopted/adapted by local communities. 

The Country Programme Manager and the Programme Development Specialist are currently studying how to integrate the COMDEKS and Open Standards tools in land/seascape work.  This is in consideration of the fact that the CPMU and its grantees are already using a mapped information database, which was developed based on a checklist agreed upon by the CPMU and the grantees on a land/seascape basis.  It is expected that by January 2018, a simple instructional manual for integration of these tools shall have been developed and distributed to grantees.  An orientation shall be conducted between January and February 2018 to help grantees and their partners adopt this as part of their continuing planning process with their local governments and other stakeholders. 

Global Footprint tools, however, are too complex to apply at this time of the project.  Besides, it is respectfully submitted that the tools are best applied in a multi-focal project, particularly one that includes climate change and land degradation.  It is hoped that the next Operational Phase of SGP in the Philippines will be a multi-focal one.  This recommendation shall be passed on to the Executing Agency, the Implementing Partner and the GEF-Country Focal Point for their consideration as they develop the design of the next OP.

Key Actions:

16. Recommendation:

That, where considered appropriate, grantees be asked to revisit their funding applications to ensure there is clarity amongst all partners about the actual problem interventions are addressing.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

This is part of their regular reporting plan.  However, the CPMU shall include this matter in the discussions during the site conferences this September to November 2017.  In addition, the CPMU and the RP recently re-designed the Terminal Report template to ensure that the reports can clearly articulate their achievements vis-à-vis the problems their interventions are addressing.  The RP has sent out the aforementioned revised template to each grantee, with instruction to take a closer look at the items there and revisit their project proposals to ensure that they can respond to the queries in the revised template. 

Key Actions:

17. Recommendation:

That all project proposals are reviewed to ensure adequate provision is made for compliance and enforcement, and that application of the SMART patrolling and monitoring system be investigated and, if necessary, adapted to work with NGO, CBO, etc.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

The CPMU generally disagrees with this.  The proponents/grantees must be free to design their projects based on how they appreciate the problems they intend to address.  However, the CPMU, the Project Technical Review Committee and the National Steering Committee may make suggestions as they see fit.  Having said that, it is best that the proponents themselves capitalize on their strengths to ensure project success.  Focus is important, especially given the small amount of these projects.  It also behooves to note that compliance and enforcement is suited for specific project themes.  Mostly, it forms part of projects that are geared towards protected area management, as it is an important aspect of protected area management work.  In fact, an examination of the protected area management projects supported by SGP-5 would reveal that most, if not all, of these projects have law enforcement components.

Nevertheless, as SGP-5-supported projects are now in place, this recommendation will be referred to the Executing Agency and the Implementing Partner for their consideration in designing the next operational phase of SGP.

Key Actions:

18. Recommendation:

That the CPMU give priority during the remaining period of the SGP5 to:

  • Endeavours to source co-funding;
  • Encourage provincial governors to become more active and, where appropriate, launch community-based partnerships;
  • Give priority to the formulation of community-level regulations or enactments for biodiversity-friendly production.
Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

We highly appreciate the first two items.  The CPMU is currently working with the People’s Survival Fund (of the Philippine Government’s Climate Change Commission) and the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (of the Department of Agriculture) to explore co-funding schemes.  Co-funding is also among the agenda in talking to local governments. 

Three partnerships with local governments are already covered by agreements that pursue community-based partnerships.  The CPMU is working with the grantees of Northern Samar towards a similar agreement.  The grantees there are finalizing their agenda with the Provincial Government and are already scheduling a meeting in October 2017 with the Governor to present their agenda.  It is hoped that the agreement can be signed by November 2017.

We understand that the third item relates to the indicator under Outcome 3, which targets community-level regulations or enactments for biodiversity-friendly production.   As we had earlier reported to the consultants, such item has already been removed from the indicators.  Instead, the CPMU is now advocating the adoption of the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), a participatory, community-based methodology of certification, as a means of certifying the products of our beneficiary communities as biodiversity-friendly, based on a checklist prepared by the Biodiversity Partnerships Project (GEF-funded, implemented through UNDP and the Biodiversity Management Bureau).  

Key Actions:

19. Recommendation:

Opportunities for up-skilling CPMU staff to be involved in training courses using the Open Standards for Conservation Practice are available and ought to be investigated and supported.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

The Country Programme Manager attended the capability-building workshop on COMDEKS in January 2017.  The Programme Development Specialist also attended the Open Standards for Conservation Practice course given by The Protected Areas Learning & Research Collaboration in July 2017.

Key Actions:

20. Recommendation:

Consideration be given to a multi-focal approach in future SGP interventions that more accurately reflect the land/seascape approach and IUCN Category V Protected Landscape Management principles.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/11/26]

We greatly appreciate this comment.  Land/seascape work in fact requires multi-focal work to enable grantees/projects to confront complex environmental problems.  The CPMU is already making representation to the GEF-Country Focal Point for a multi-focal SGP-6 that should at least include chemicals, land degradation and climate change, in addition to biodiversity conservation.  Several SGP-5 grantees now participate in the discussions for GEF-7.  Two members of the National Steering Committee also sit in the GEF NSC.  They carry this advocacy.

Key Actions:

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