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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Coastal Wetlands Management

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Coastal Wetlands Management
Project Costs(US $M)
 8.3  6.9
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 7.2  6.1
Sector, Major Sect.:
Agriculture Adjustment,
Cofinancing (US $M)
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
12/31/1997 12/31/1999
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
George T. K. Pitman
Andres Liebenthal Alain A. Barbu OEDST

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
To maintain the integrity of five Ramsar Convention coastal wetland areas by involving people who derive their livelihoods from these ecosystems in the planning and implementation of management programs. Secondary objective included identification, monitoring and sustainable management of critical bird habitats common to human and avian populations, and building government and community capacity to implement the program. This GEF project is a component of the larger Bank-assisted Environmental Resource Management Program which closed in 1999 (Cr. -2426).

b. Components
1. Program Management Support to the Department of Game and Wildlife for staffing, environmental and socio-economic surveys and special studies, establishment of monitoring systems, knowledge dissemination, and public awareness programs.

2. Site Demarcation and Management including construction of an education and research center at Songor, observation points and support for habitat enhancement and community development activities.
3. Construct a Pipe and Marine Outfall to divert treated sewage effluent from Sakumo Lagoon and determine from studies how to restore natural tidal flow in the lagoon to improve habitat and water quality.
4. "Community Investment Support Fund" The ICR also lists this as one of the original components an (CISF) to finance income generating activities in the wetlands that are compatible with maintaining wetland ecology. There is no sign of this component in the GEF Project Document or the Bank's SAR (Appendix 2) and the ICR indicates there were no revisions to project objectives.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
At the start of the project, government was required to freeze hiring new staff as part of a civil service reform program for Ghana and this delayed start-up of project activities. Government counterpart funding was irregular and chronically short (averaging slightly under 20% of their $1.1 million obligation). An extension of two years was required to give time for disbursement, even then $0.85 million (10%] of the grant was canceled.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The overall objective was substantially accomplished. Three of the four components were fully achieved, the exception being partial completion of the research center at Songor and other observation centers.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

Government Gazetted the Wetlands Management (Ramsar Sites) Regulations on December 2, 1999. Based on site surveys and demarcation under the project, this recognizes that collaborative government-community management is required as all five Ramsar sites are on private land. Site Management Committees have been established and meet regularly.
    • Ministry of Lands and Forest published: Managing Ghana's Wetlands: A National Wetlands Conservation Strategy.
    • The project implementation unit, the Wildlife Department, has become mainstreamed and effective partly due to capacity building and experience with environmental NGOs under the project.
    • There is strong ownership of the project within NGOs and many local wetland communities.
    • Government support through the Wildlife Department to the NGO Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) significantly built NGO capacity which, in turn, fostered development of community-based environmental management programs, Wildlife Clubs and greatly expanded public awareness of environmental issues.
    • Wetland habitats were improved through community efforts (partly supported by the CISF) which included tree plantations, drainage maintenance, and facilities for sanitary disposal of human wastes - 30% of wetland communities have passed bylaws to control sanitation.
    • Microcredit under the CISF benefited 72 groups of micro-enterprises in the wetland areas who were engaged in farming, fish-processing, cottage industries, commercial and marketing activities - and 60% of the beneficiaries were women - but loan repayment may be problematic.
    • The marine outfall to avoid pollution of Sakumo Lagoon was implemented satisfactorily.

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

Overall, project design underestimated the magnitude of the task and overestimated the capacity of the government and involved line agencies to coordinate and manage project activities. Inadequate appraisal of institutional, planning and procurement realities significantly slowed project start-up. As further evidence of institutional capacity constraints, management of this project improved after closure of the Bank-assisted Environmental Resources Management Project (ERMP) and transfer of management from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Ministry of Lands and Forestry.
  • Initially, too much centralized and top-down decision-making by government agencies delayed the start up of a more collaborative, consultative approach - although this improved remarkably in the latter part of implementation aided by GWS.
  • Site Management Committees are dominated by central government membership (65%) which weakens local ownership and sustainability of local infrastructure improvements.
  • Lack of counterpart funding from government plagued project implementation and is a threat to institutional sustainability.
  • Declining government support to the Wildlife Department limits its effectiveness and undermines its strong partnerships developed with the Ghana Wildlife Society.
  • 6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
    Institutional Dev.:
    ModestSubstantialDesired legislation was approved; local capacity to manage wetlands was significantly augmented through NGO partnership.
    LikelyLikelyBut on the uncertain side of likely.
    Bank Performance:
    UnsatisfactorySatisfactoryPoor appraisal of ID capacity that caused initial problems was successfully redressed during the later stages of supervision.
    Borrower Perf.:
    UnsatisfactorySatisfactoryCommunity and NGO ownership appear to be high and may overcome low central financial support which was never substantial.
    Quality of ICR:

    7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

    Pragmatic appraisal of the institutional framework and implementation capacity is as essential for environmental management projects as for construction projects - dual standards indicates a need to address a skills gap among environmental staff.
      • Appropriate capacity building of environmental agency staff should precede new initiatives.
      • Partnerships and direct support of capable NGOs significantly advances the environmental agenda - it may also help governmental organizations to be come more participatory and inclusive.
      • Participation of local stakeholders should be initiated at the design stage to ensure ownership and well-designed criteria to monitor and evaluate progress and, eventually, project outcomes.
      • Environmental maintenance and conservation programs require long-term commitment from government.

    8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

              Why?  There are many lessons about the timing of local level participation in project activities and engendering local ownership. The mentoring role of the NGO to the nascent government agency would make a good case study. Sustainability needs careful evaluation after a 1-2 years.

    9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

    To be commended for including extensive borrower and NGO feedback. Candid assessment of the project's problems but main report is somewhat repetitive. There is too much emphasis on delays (which are to be expected from a project that requires growth of community ownership). Unrealistically hard on agency performance given lackluster government financial and managerial support

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