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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Biodiversity Protection Project

1. Project Data:   
Project ID:
Project Name:
Biodiversity Protection Project
Czech Republic
Natural Resources Management, Environment
L/C Number:
Partners Involved:
Prepared By:
Andres Liebenthal, OEDST
Reviewed By:
Ridley Nelson
Group Manager:
Gregory Ingram
Date Posted:

2. Project Objectives, Financing, Costs, and Components:

The objective of the project was to protect and strengthen forest and related ecosystem in the Czech Republic. Specific objectives were:

(i) protection of three representative ecosystems-zones containing alpine meadows (Krkonose), lowland forests and wetlands (Palava) and mountain forests (Sumava);
(ii) supporting the activity of transnational biodiversity protection networks associated with each of the three areas; and
(iii) fostering systems of financially sustainable biodiversity protection through the introduction of user fees and related charges for visitors and concessionaires.
Project components included a wide range of activities to develop management techniques for a variety of representative ecosystems, environmental management and community support for protected areas, development of revenue generation mechanisms for protected areas, professional development and training, improvement of infrastructure and operations in protected areas, and administration of a small grants program for biodiversity NGOs.
Total projects costs of $2.51 million were financed by a GET grant of $2.45 million and counterpart funds of $0.06 million. Cofinancing expected at appraisal from the Austrian Ecofund ($0.50 million) and USDA ($0.05 million) did not materialize.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

Overall, the project achieved its objective of strengthening the protection and management of the three targeted ecosystems and the associated transnational protection networks, but was unsuccessful in initiating or proposing the introduction of user fees and related charges intended to underpin the financial sustainability of biodiversity protection.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

Various project components have resulted in positive signs of improved ecosystem health, improved environmental health and public awareness programs, support for non-governmental small-scale conservation efforts, and institutional capacity building for the management of Czech protected areas.

5. Significant Shortcomings (include non-compliance with safeguard features):

The project was not able to initiate or, in most cases, even propose actions to promote new revenue-generating mechanisms to benefit either the protected areas or local communities. This is a matter of concern, since the project did not create the financial means to sustain project activities in the future. While the Government has indicated that it will finance these activities out of the budget, the fact that it actually provided only 30% of the counterpart funding expected at appraisal for the implementation phase of the project, to the extent that these funding constraints appear to have constrained the quantity and professional development of counterpart staff, makes it uncertain that it will provide adequate funding for future operations.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
SatisfactoryMarginally Satisfactory
    The project failed in the objective of introducing revenue-generating mechanisms to underpin the financial sustainability of protected area management.
Institutional Dev.:
    The project did not create the financial means to sustain project activities in the future.
Bank Performance:
Borrower Perf.:
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

The objective of introducing revenue-generating mechanisms for protected areas was hampered by the difficulties of influencing established attitudes and policies at the national and local levels. In retrospect, proportionally more attention should have been given at every stage of the project to identifying and analyzing these barriers and communicating with relevant stakeholders. A well designed analytical study (out of the 21 financed by the project) might also have helped clarify the issues and define the options for addressing these constraints.
Also, as discussed in the ICR, it would have been useful for the project design to have included explicit targets and indicators for measuring progress. The use of appropriate indicators would have enabled managers to monitor and make decisions based on up to date information on the success, cost-effectiveness and basic usefulness of the various components. The absence of indicators makes it difficult to evaluate the efficacy and efficiency of the project, with the attendant loss of learning and managerial effectiveness.

8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

          Why?  To verify sustainability of project results in the future.

9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR provides an interesting and well-written overview of the implementation experience of the project. The presentation could have been improved if it the analysis had responded directly to the objectives of the project, rather than being structured around the programmatic areas. Also, the ICR discusses funding by the McArthur Foundation, but does not include it in the Project Financing Table (8B). Finally, having recognized the absence of monitoring indicators as a flaw in project design, it would have been important for the ICR to have identified performance monitoring indicators for the future (operational) phase of the project, and laid the groundwork for monitoring and evaluation of the project's future operation by the Borrower.

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