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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - The Greater Addo Elephant National Park Project

1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
South Africa
Project Name:
The Greater Addo Elephant National Park Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 39.94  76.24
L/C Number:
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 5.5  5.28
Sector Board:
Cofinancing (US $M)
 0.0  1.29
French GEF
Board Approval Date
Closing Date
04/30/2010 10/30/2010
General agriculture fishing and forestry sector (60%), General agriculture fishing and forestry sector (60%), Central government administration (25%), Central government administration (25%), Agricultural extension and research (6%), Agricultural extension and research (6%), Other social services (5%), Other social services (5%), General education sector (4%), General education sector (4%)
Biodiversity (29% - P) Rural non-farm income generation (29% - P) Social risk mitigation (14% - S) Environmental policies and institutions (14% - S) Small and medium enterprise support (14% - S)
Prepared by: Reviewed by: ICR Review Coordinator: Group:
Hassan Wally
John R. Heath Soniya Carvalho IEGPS1

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives:

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) trust fund grant agreement (p. 15) stated that the objective of the project was to support the Recipient's efforts in: " (i) establishing a megabiodiversity conservation area around the Addo Elephant National Park (AENP) to prevent ecosystem degradation; and (ii) poverty reduction through creation of direct employment in nature conservation and facilitation of development of eco-tourism in the expanded park area."

b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?

c. Components:

Component 1. Conservation Planning. (Appraisal cost US$0.8 million, actual cost US$1.9 million)

    1.1. Conservation Plan. Provide funding to update the terrestrial, aquatic and marine, cultural databases produced during preparation and amend the drafted Conservation Plan as required. Identify biodiversity conservation plans and herbivore conservation research projects, as well as prepare a rehabilitation plan.
    1.2. Strategic (Development) Plan. Support a phased development plan that would guide the Park for the next six years.
    1.3. Park Management Plan. Support development of procedures and policies in the Park Management Plan, which would form part of an Integrated Environmental Management System (IEMS).
    1.4. Monitoring System and Research. Support the implementation of an electronic monitoring and evaluation system that would monitor the impact of Park development on the community, economy and environment.
    1.5. Marine Protected Area (MPA). Support the development of a marine planning framework and an implementation plan.

Component 2. Implementation of the Development Plan. (Appraisal cost US$21.6 million, actual cost US$62.5 million).
    2.1. South Africa National Parks/Park Environmental Infrastructure Provision. Support implementation of the development plan, including provision of environmental infrastructure in which the existing poverty alleviation programs (Working for Water, Poverty Relief) and the development of SMEs have been incorporated.
    2.2. Land Incorporation. Facilitate the incorporation of land through land-owner partnership contracts. Promote fund raising for land purchases, using GEF funds to pay for legal fees and valuations.
    2.3. Contracting Partnerships. Support the legal reform, infrastructure, training and knowledge enhancement needed to remove barriers preventing farmers, land owners and the community from converting from current unsustainable land uses into nature-based ventures within the greater AENP.

Component 3. Institution and Governance Structure. (Appraisal cost US$3.7 million, actual cost US$5.3 million).
    3.1. Integrated Environmental Management System (IEMS). Support the development of an IEMS to enhance Park environmental and general management. An IEMS report would be produced each year.
    3.2. Greater AENP (gAENP) Management Structures. Support the development of a new gAENP management structure for implementation of the day to day management of the expanded park.
    3.3. Project Management Unit (PMU). The PMU would consist of project management, procurement and financial and administrative functions, in line with the Project Implementation Plan (PIP).
    3.4. Park Business Plan. Prepare a business plan that models the financial requirements o f the Park.
    3.5. Management Information and Reporting System (MIRS). Support the design and implementation of an electronic hardware and software system (MIRS) in order to manage the IEMS.
    3.6. Training Programs. Provide training for staff to enable them to apply the various new systems and technologies.

Component 4. Community Development and Social Ecology. (Appraisal cost US$3.2 million, actual cost US$5.1 million).
    4.1. Access to Natural and Cultural Resources. Support research that would identify what natural and cultural resources exist within the Park boundaries, and develop a policy guiding managed access to these resources.
    4.2. Access to Employment. Provide training to community members so they may take up jobs in the Park.
    4.3. Enterprise Development. Support Small Medium Micro-Enterprises (SMME) development opportunities within gAENP in areas such as fencing, arts and crafts, charcoal production, eco-tourism, clearance of invasive species and harvesting.
    4.4. Conservation Education. Support the establishment of a sustainable and cost-effective conservation education program and conservation education center to support community and visitor awareness about the Park.
    4.5. Resettlement Compensation. This aimed to ensure that members of the community unjustly affected by the project would be fairly compensated, partly through creating opportunities in associated projects (Working for Water, Poverty Relief).

Component 5. Economic Development. (Appraisal cost US$6.3 million, actual cost US$1.5 million).
    5.1. Marketing and Product Development. Support the drafting of a marketing plan for the Park, including existing Addo market research information plus a MIRS module to record relevant tourism statistics and a communication strategy.
    5.2. Concessions and Partnerships. Support the implementation of a concessions plan for South Africa National Parks in order to attract private sector investment in eco-tourism facilities.

d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
Project Cost. The project appraisal cost was US$39.94 million including US$1.5 million and US$2.8 million physical and price contingencies, respectively (PAD, Annex 3). The actual cost was US$76.2 million (ICR, Annex I).

Financing. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) contributed a grant of US$ 5.5 million of which US$ 0.2 million was cancelled. French GEF ultimately contributed US$1.3 million (not envisaged at appraisal).

Borrower Contribution. The Borrower pledged US$27.9 million at appraisal; by closing this contribution had grown to US$53.9 million. Of the final contribution, US$14.5 million derived from the South African private sector. “Local sources of the borrowing country” (comprising matching funds from local government) were expected to contribute US$6.5 million at appraisal but ended by contributing US$1.2 million.

Dates. The Grant Agreement was amended in October 2009 to extend the project closing date from April 30, 2010 to October 30, 2010. This extension was to allow the Government additional time to complete the crucial public participation process and to finalize research projects associated with the Marine Protected Area.

3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

a. Relevance of Objectives:

Relevance of objectives is rated substantial.

The project’s objectives were in line with the FY08-12 Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), which was current when the project closed. CPS goals included: (a) environment and natural resource management; (b) eradication of poverty; (c) overcoming the legacy of the apartheid regime and the reduction of inequality in South Africa and the region; and (d) increasing the capacity and efficiency for public service delivery (pp .vii & viii).

The project objectives also reflected the principles of GEF OP 1 (Arid and Semi-Arid Zone Ecosystems) and OP 2 (Coastal Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems).

b. Relevance of Design:

Relevance of design is rated substantial.

The project design included a clear statement of objectives that stated the target area for project activities and the expected environmental and social outcomes. The project objectives were supported by five inter-related components that were well aligned with the objectives. The project's design featured the development of a strategic management and development plan that included an integrated environmental management system and an overhaul of the gAENP management structure. Design also aimed to build the capacity of Park staff, enabling them to apply various new systems and technologies as well as conservation education to support community and visitor awareness. To foster economic development and alleviate poverty, design included an economic development plan that sought to attract private sector investments in eco-tourism and identify development opportunities for small, medium and micro enterprises.

While it was plausible to assume that some of the jobs created by the project would benefit the poor, the project results framework did not spell out the precise linkage between project activities and target groups, and the assumptions on which poverty reduction was based were not identified. Also, no provision was made for measuring the project's contribution to poverty reduction (which was an explicit objective of the project).

4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

Prevent ecosystem degradation. (Rating: Substantial).
  • The project helped update park planning and management. By project completion all the management plans (Conservation Plan, Development Plan, Park Management Plan and MPA Low Level Plan) had been completed (ICR, p. 12). A Management Information and Reporting System (MIRS) was operational in Addo Elephant National Park (AENP) and in 22 other parks (ICR, p. iv). The project also supported capacity building for the greater AENP management staff through the provision of 514 training days per year (target: 350) and 32 internships (target: 30). In addition the project supported 13 research projects, many of which were directly applied to developing park policies and assisting park management (ICR, p. 22). Management improvement was reflected in the score of the GEF tracking tool (METTS) which, between baseline and project closing, increased from 73 to 76 for the terrestrial area of the greater AENP and from 31 to 50 for the marine area. To support environmental education, the project built and equipped a modern visitor center. Between March 2009 and March 2010, 12,806 students visited the center (ICR, p. v). The project built 154 km of all-season new roads in the Main Camp and Colchester zones, helping to boost both wildlife management and tourism development (ICR, p. 6).
  • The project enabled the park to expand. Fences were removed and animals were given access to new areas. By project completion, 133,000 ha was fence-free (the target was 130,000 ha and the baseline was 13,681 ha), allowing elephants and black rhinos to move to newly-purchased areas. Five species of wildlife were introduced to the expanded park area (ICR, p. 23). Also, South Africa National Parks cleared 75,044 ha of alien species (baseline: 8,426 ha; target value: 65,000 ha). By project closing, the total terrestrial extent of the AENP had increased to 170,115 ha (the appraisal target was 236,000 ha, revised at midterm to 205,000 ha). The shortfall was attributable to the steep increase in the price of land (ICR, p. 23).
  • The expansion of the park's marine area fell short of expectations. Before the project, the park had no marine area. At appraisal, it was expected that 120,000 ha would be added. By closing, 7,414 ha of marine area had been incorporated. At project close, approval was still pending for the greater Addo marine protected area.
  • Four threatened species were targeted by the project. The black rhino population rose from 41 in 2004 to 67 in 2010. The numbers of the two species of fish targeted remained the same between project startup and closing. Also the clump size of thicket bush--another targeted species--remained unchanged. The project implementation span was possibly too short to expect greater increase in species population (ICR, p, 8).

Reduce poverty (Rating: Modest).
  • By project completion, 1,842 external jobs had been created (target: 1,596; baseline: 909 jobs). In addition, 434 jobs were created within AENP administration compared to 106 at project startup (ICR, p. 14).
  • The project helped identify development opportunities for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). By project completion there were 11 SMMEs (target: 10), each of which had been running for two years and had more than 3 permanent employees. In addition, 6 commercial concessions were established (target: 6), expanding tourism infrastructure in the park. Tourist accommodation generated by the project added 505 beds (baseline: 174 beds). The number of tourist entries rose from 94,699 in 2004 to 135,109 in 2010, exceeding expectations (appraisal target:180,000, revised target: 120,000).
  • While it is reasonable to assume that the new jobs created would help to reduce poverty, the data presented by the ICR are insufficient to substantiate achievement of this objective. There are no data in the ICR on the changes in tourism revenues, or the extent to which increased tourism revenues reduced poverty. It is not clear how many people moved out of “marginal traditional farming” (PAD, p. 8) into better paying tourism-related jobs. Thus, the extent that poverty was reduced cannot be assessed.

5. Efficiency:

Efficiency is rated substantial.

The PAD (Annex 4) included an incremental cost analysis, with two scenarios: a baseline without GEF grant; and an alternative with GEF funding. An incremental cost matrix captured the domestic and global benefits in the case of GEF grant.

The ICR (p. 13) reported two efficiency measures. First, at project startup, the ratio of AENP revenue to costs was 94.6 percent, rising to 132 percent by 2009/10, exceeding expectations. (The AENP is one of the few parks in South Africa whose revenues exceed operating costs.) Second, the project attracted private investment: companies bought land near the project area and put them under conservation for 99 years; this was more cost effective than having government purchase a comparable area (ICR, p. 13). Private investment in luxury ecotourism opened up a market in and around the AENP that had not existed before the project.

The significant increase in counterpart funding (from US$28 million to US$54 million) is testimony to the project’s leverage, another measure of efficiency. However, there is no information on the extent to which the unit costs of infrastructure built by the project were comparable to other projects of the same type.

a. If available, enter the Economic Rate of Return (ERR)/Financial Rate of Return at appraisal and the re-estimated value at evaluation:

Rate Available?
Point Value
ICR estimate:

* Refers to percent of total project cost for which ERR/FRR was calculated

6. Outcome:

Relevance of both objectives and design was substantial. The first objective was substantially achieved, with significant improvement in park planning and management despite the shortfall in extending the area of the park. The second objective was modestly achieved: revenues and jobs increased but poverty reduction was not quantified. Efficiency was substantial, given increased revenue generation relative to costs and the leveraging of outside funds.

a. Outcome Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

7. Rationale for Risk to Development Outcome Rating:

The local government is committed to the greater AENP and South Africa National Parks is now better placed to manage the park system (ICR, p. 16). Park revenues are expected to follow trends in international tourism and will probably increase. There is some uncertainty surrounding the pending approval of the Marine Protected Area because the fisheries lobby may convince the Government of South Africa that the environmental and economic benefits do not outweigh the economic and political costs (ICR, p. 16). Also, high land prices might slow the growth in the extent of protected areas, as well as depressing investments (ICR, p. 16).

a. Risk to Development Outcome Rating: Moderate

8. Assessment of Bank Performance:

a. Quality at entry:

According to the ICR (p. 4) the Quality Assurance Group at the Bank (QAG) rated Quality at Entry (QAE) satisfactory. The project was prepared in two years. Design benefited from targeted studies financed under the Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) which was also useful in providing baseline data. Design also built on lessons learnt from the GEF Cape Peninsula Biodiversity project and other South African experiences with the conversion of dry land farming areas to game reserves and removal of invasive alien species (ICR, p. 4). In addition, preparation included a socioeconomic assessment of the greater AENP and eastern Cape border communities. However, the ICR (p. 16) highlighted that design could have benefitted from additional risk analysis specially to rising land prices, more focus on strengthening South Africa National Parks handling of social/community issues; and a more accurate definition of some performance indicators such as biological monitoring and poverty.

Quality-at-Entry Rating: Satisfactory

b. Quality of supervision:

The Bank team provided technical and administrative timely guidance during supervision. The same task manager was responsible for the project from early implementation through completion. The Bank team set high standards for implementation with strong focus on results, building capacity, involving stakeholders and efficient administration (ICR, p. 17). The supervision team was flexible and responsive to changes. For example, rising land prices prompted the team to revise some end targets. The team also promptly rectified any procurement problems that were identified through financial management assessment. The ICR (p. 17) highlighted that the Bank followed safeguard compliance issues diligently.

Quality of Supervision Rating: Satisfactory

Overall Bank Performance Rating: Satisfactory

9. Assessment of Borrower Performance:

a. Government Performance:

According to the ICR (p. 17) the Government showed continuous commitment to the project through provision of counterpart funding that significantly exceeded the appraisal estimate. The Government showed strong interest in the project and supported programs that have an important demonstration effect, contributing to the work of South Africa National Parks in other parts of the country. Furthermore, greater AENP was able to hire ten additional park personnel through increased budgetary funding provided by the Government. The ICR (p. 17) highlighted that government funds were always delivered on time. However, Government was partly responsible for the delayed proclamation of the greater Addo Marine Protected Area.

Government Performance Rating: Satisfactory

b. Implementing Agency Performance:

The implementing agency, South Africa National Parks, was a strong performer, providing the necessary guidance and coordination (ICR, pp. 17-18). The planning unit provided competent leadership and remained strongly committed to the project's vision. Regional park managers were supportive of the project's efforts to introduce novel approaches to conservation contracts, easements and partnerships with the private sector and with local communities. The project coordinator had a private sector background and his practical experience greatly facilitated project implementation (ICR, p. 18).

Implementing Agency Performance Rating: Highly Satisfactory

Overall Borrower Performance Rating: Satisfactory

10. M&E Design, Implementation, & Utilization:

a. M&E Design:

The PAD (Annex 1) listed a number of quantitative and qualitative indicators that would adequately capture the achievement of project outcomes/outputs. After MTR, targets for two indicators, terrestrial area under park management and area under private land, were revised downwards in response to an increase in the purchase price of land and the unwillingness of some owners to sell their lands (ICR, p. 7). A Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) was used to assess performance against 30 criteria for protected area management effectiveness (ICR, p. 7). For biological monitoring, the PAD included a broad nonspecific indicator. In order to measure such nonspecific indicators, South Africa National Parks and the Bank agreed to monitor a few selected species facing the highest degree of threat (ICR, p. 8). M&E design would have been stronger if it had included indicators gauging poverty alleviation and increments in park revenue.

b. M&E Implementation:

At an early stage of implementation a management information reporting system (MIRS) was developed with an environmental and financial management component (ICR, p. 7). Under the MIRS, 12 outcome indicators and 22 output indicators were measured regularly to assess progress under each component. Separate assessments were carried out for the terrestrial and the marine protected areas using METT (ICR, p. 7). The park's conservation development framework was strengthened by using data from a geographical information system and a database of all cultural sites was developed (ICR, p. 15)

a. M&E Utilization:

There is little in the ICR about M&E utilization but the project team told IEG that monitoring data were used to assess conservation efforts and management effectiveness in protected areas.

M&E Quality Rating: Substantial

11. Other Issues:

a. Safeguards:

According to the PAD (p. 32), this was a Category B project, calling for a partial environmental assessment). It triggered three safeguard policies: Environmental Assessment (OP/BP 4.01); Physical Cultural Resources (OP/BP 4.11) and Involuntary Resettlement (OP/BP 4.12). In response to (OP/BP 4.11), South African legislation and South Africa National Parks’ own heritage policies, the project developed in 2003 a Cultural Resource Framework (ICR, p. 8). A cultural heritage resource mapping exercise with management plans was developed and completed for each site. In addition, AENP staff was trained to identify cultural heritage sites, implement the plans, and compile plans for new sites (ICR, p. 8). For (OP/BP 4.12), a Resettlement Policy Framework was completed during project preparation. Subsequently, a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) was developed to ensure that people adversely affected by the project would be adequately re-housed (ICR p. 9). A Resettlement Working Group was established, and met each quarter to monitor application of the resettlement safeguard. 29 households were resettled. According to the ICR (p. 9), 11 families were moved into municipal housing, 10 households were moved to houses provided by South Africa National Parks and 8 households are scheduled to move to housing projects but are waiting for relocation. South Africa National Parks employed the affected people in the Park’s various management programs, or provided assistance through the grant program of the Small Medium Micro-Enterprises financed by the project (ICR, p. 9).

b. Fiduciary Compliance:

Financial reporting requirements were fully complied with (ICR, p. 9).

c. Unintended Impacts (positive or negative):

A State of Biodiversity Management Report was tested in AENP and later replicated in all 22 of South Africa's national parks (ICR , p. 15).

d. Other:

12. Ratings:

IEG Review
Reason for Disagreement/Comments
Moderately Satisfactory
There is no evidence of the extent of poverty reduction.  
Risk to Development Outcome:
Negligible to Low
Approval of the Marine Protected Area is still pending.  
Bank Performance:
Borrower Performance:
Highly Satisfactory
The Government was partly responsible for the delayed approval of the Marine Protected Area.  
Quality of ICR:
- When insufficient information is provided by the Bank for IEG to arrive at a clear rating, IEG will downgrade the relevant ratings as warranted beginning July 1, 2006.
- The "Reason for Disagreement/Comments" column could cross-reference other sections of the ICR Review, as appropriate.

13. Lessons:

The following lessons are emphasized:
  • Implementing a participatory approach to achieve biodiversity conservation with government programs, private sector and local communities can be effective both for improving biodiversity conservation and for promoting economic development. The project provided a good example on how stakeholders could play a positive role to support biodiversity conservation without compromising development.
  • Income generated through nature based tourism can compete successfully with that generated through agricultural activities, especially considering that agriculture income is limited by the poor soil conditions and water availability. The project experience demonstrated how the linkage between pro-poor job creation, investment from private sector and biodiversity could be an engine for regional economic growth.
  • Sound science remains essential to conservation planning and responding to stakeholder demands. The project showed how scientific evidence can be used to raise community awareness and build commitment to protecting natural resources.

14. Assessment Recommended?

To verify the achievement of the project's objectives and the sustainability of park activities.

15. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR thoroughly assesses project achievements and reports candidly on shortcomings. However, the contribution to poverty reduction is not quantified.

a. Quality of ICR Rating: Satisfactory

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