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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Western Altiplano Natural Resources Management Project

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Western Altiplano Natural Resources Management Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 55.6  0
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 32.8  0
Sector, Major Sect.:
General agriculture fishing and forestry sector,
Agriculture fishing and forestry
Cofinancing (US $M)
 8.0  0
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
12/31/2008 12/27/2004
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Christopher D. Gerrard
Roy Gilbert Alain A. Barbu OEDSG

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The overall objective was to improve the management and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, and the incomes of the people who depend upon these resources in the Western Altiplano of Guatemala.

The specific objectives were to help alleviate rural poverty, reduce pressures upon and improve management of the natural resources base by:
(1) increasing social capital around natural resources management (NRM), through support to communities, organizations and local authorities (traditional and municipal) to jointly define and implement a local development vision which takes NRM and sustainability objectives into account
(2) increasing opportunities to sustainably improve productivity and diversify farming and other (off-farm) livelihood systems
(3) extending and strengthening ongoing efforts of indigenous communities to establish permanent conservation areas within broader zones of biodiversity of global importance and to maintain the habitats which sustain this
(4) establishing and piloting a framework for environmental services markets to sustain local incentives for conservation.

The proposed project formed part of the Government's program of interventions relating to the implementation of the 1996 Peace Accords for the Western Altiplano. It was also considered an indigenous peoples development project since 95 percent of population in the project were Mayan.

b. Components
The project had four components:
(a) Sustainable livelihoods ($38.8 million at appraisal, excluding contingencies): This comprised (i) grants to rural community associations in the 54 targeted municipalities to finance sustainable production, NRM, and conservation projects, and (ii) grants to participating municipalities to finance technical assistance, training, and other services.
(b) Biodiversity conservation ($5.4 million at appraisal): This financed activities to strengthen local and national capacity to conserve national habitats containing globally important biodiversity and other areas providing locally and nationally important environmental services.
(c) Environmental services markets ($1.9 million at appraisal): This supported activities to develop a policy and institutional framework for market-based incentives for provision of environmental services.
(d) Project administration, supervision, monitoring and evaluation ($4.7 million at appraisal)

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
Of the total project costs of $55.6 million (including contingencies), the World Bank was expected to finance $32.8 million, the Government of Guatemala $8.6 million, the Global Environment Facility $8.0 million, and project beneficiaries an estimated $6.2 million (primarily in kind). The project was cancelled in December 2004 after it failed to become effective within 18 months of Board approval.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The objectives were not achieved because the project was not implemented, largely due to the fault of the Borrower.

National elections in December 2003 resulted in a change in government. The government administration with whom the Bank and the GEF prepared the project failed to gain legislative approval for the project prior to the elections, since the legislative agenda in the months before the election was dominated by unsuccessful attempts to pass the government's 2004 fiscal year budget. Although the new administration demonstrated support for the project after the elections, it inherited a fiscal crisis. To address the crisis, the administration required sectoral ministries to reassess their priorities. Forced to choose between the Western Altiplano NRM project and a $100 million Land Administration Program, the Ministry of Agriculture chose the latter because it viewed this as the centerpiece of its agricultural program.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

Not applicable.

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

Not applicable.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Not RatedNot Rated
Institutional Dev.:
Not RatedNot Rated
Not RatedNot Applicable
Bank Performance:
Not RatedSatisfactoryThe objectives of the project were consistent with the Peace Accords and the Guatemala CAS. Its design was consistent with lessons learned from the Bank's experience with NRM projects.
Borrower Perf.:
Not RatedUnsatisfactoryThe government failed to obtain legislative approval for the project.
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

The Bank should be cautious in approving projects within six months of a general election in countries experiencing political instability.

8. Audit Recommended?  No


9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The Project Completion Note gave a satisfactory explanation of the reasons why the government failed to obtain legislative approval for the project.

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