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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Integrated Community-based Ecosystem Management


  
1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
08/30/2012   
Country:
Namibia
PROJ ID:
P073135
Appraisal
Actual
Project Name:
Integrated Community-based Ecosystem Management
Project Costs(US $M)
 32.43  31.39
L/C Number:
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 7.10  7.04
Sector Board:
Environment
Cofinancing (US $M)
   
Cofinanciers:
Board Approval Date
  06/01/2004
 
 
Closing Date
01/31/2010 03/30/2011
Sector(s):
Central government administration (45%), General agriculture fishing and forestry sector (35%), Sub-national government administration (15%), Other social services (5%)
Theme(s):
Environmental policies and institutions (29% - P) Biodiversity (29% - P) Land administration and management (14% - S) Rural non-farm income generation (14% - S) Participation and civic engagement (14% - S)
         
Prepared by: Reviewed by: ICR Review Coordinator: Group:
Robert Mark Lacey
Judyth L. Twigg Soniya Carvalho IEGPS1

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives:
The Global Environmental Objectives (GEOs) as stated in the Project Appraisal Document (PAD, page 2) are “to restore, secure and enhance key ecosystem processes in targeted conservancies* with biodiversity and land conservation and sustainable use as a goal."

The project development objective (PDO), as stated on page 2 of the PAD, is “Community-based integrated ecosystem management practices are supported by the National CBNRM [Community-Based Natural Resource Management] framework and used by targeted conservancies*.”
The statement of objectives in the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund Grant Agreement (TFGA) is “to assist the Recipient in promoting community based integrated ecosystem management that generates socioeconomic benefits for conservancies*.”
As this is a stand-alone GEF operation, with no IBRD financing, this Review uses the GEOs as the basis of evaluation.
* Conservancies are multiple-zone areas with legal status, registered with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, where resident communities farm more sustainably and collectively manage wildlife and tourism activities. Once they are organized into conservancies, communities are granted rights over wildlife and natural resources use and tourism management on their lands.

b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?
No

c. Components:
There were four components:
1. Ecosystem-based Income Generating Activities (US$2.20 million at appraisal, US$1.82 million at closure). This was to provide resources to enable communities to generate income and other socio-economic benefits. It supported a Community-Funding Facility to finance sub-projects using detailed selection criteria agreed with the Bank. The sub-projects would be in wildlife, tourism, forestry, and multi-sector activities, such as non-timber forest products. The component also funded information dissemination to eligible communities to facilitate their access to the funding facility, as well as technical support for strategic business planning and sub-project implementation support.
2. Sustainable Ecosystem Management (US$2.08 million at appraisal, US$1.85 million at closure). This component was to strengthen the capacity of conservancies to incorporate an integrated ecosystem management (IEM) approach to natural resource management. It supported (a) establishing a methodology for planning and monitoring the use of an IEM approach at the level of the conservancies; (b) the development of management plans in (initially 15, later 16) conservancies using the IEM approach; (c) the implementation of site-specific prioritized activities in the targeted conservancies for ecosystem restoration, wildlife translocation and other ecosystem management activities as outlined in the IEM plans; and d) the development and implementation of an IEM Monitoring and Evaluation system.
3. Targeted Institutional Support (US$1.13 million at appraisal, US$1.36 million at closure). This component was to enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in the fields of strategic planning, implementation, monitoring and replication of activities, with a view to strengthening the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) program and policies. The component aimed to strengthen the capacity of individual conservancies by supporting (a) policy research; (b) an assessment of the current national CBNRM strategy and institutional set up with a view to elaborating and implementing a training plan for the Ministry’s centralized and decentralized staff; (c) a consultative forum to discuss policy issues and progress in the CBNRM program; and (d) equipment, operating costs, training and workshops for individual conservancy management needs. The component also financed training and technical assistance to Ministry and conservancy staff to improve scientific monitoring and evaluation activities and to further adapt the central M&E system to the evolving needs of the CBNRM program.
4. Project Management Support (US$1.69 million at appraisal, US$2.01 million at closure), to fund the necessary equipment and training to the project office staff to enable them to perform technical planning, financial management, procurement, monitoring and other project management tasks.
There were no revisions to the project components.

d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
Project cost. The ICR provides a final project cost of US$7.04 million, which is the sum of the activities financed by the GEF grant in each of the four components. However, Table (b) of Annex 1 of the ICR shows financing in addition to the GEF grant of US$24.35 million from the Borrower and a number of external partners (see below), giving a total final project cost of US$31.39 million. This financing, and hence the total project cost, is not broken down by component in the ICR, and the project team were unable to provide further information.
Financing. There were significant parallel financing contributions from a number of external partners. In 2005, the Fonds Français pour l'Environnement Mondial (FFEM -- the French GEF) approved a grant worth €1.4 million (US$1.75 million) to support components 2 and 4 of the project. This grant closed in January 2011 with what the ICR reports (page 6) as an overall positive final evaluation. The project ran in parallel with the USAID/WWF-funded LIFE Plus program that supported the overall CBNRM program; LIFE plus ended in 2008. Other donors -- Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), Finland’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and the European Commission -- whose participation had been expected at the preparation stage -- continued their support throughout implementation. The contribution of each non-GEF external partner anticipated at appraisal and provided by closure is shown in the following table.
Source of FundsAppraisal Estimate (US$ million)Actual Estimate (US$ million)
USAID10.29 8.23
European Commission 3.00 3.00
KfW 3.00 3.22
FFEM 1.75 1.88
Finnish Foreign Affairs Ministry 1.00 1.07
TOTAL19.0417.62
Source: ICR, Annex 1
In addition to the amounts shown in the table, the Millennium Challenge Account, funded by the US Government, had started operating in Namibia in 2009, and provided support to the project-related CBNRM activities (no amount is given in the ICR, but the project team subsequently stated the contribution to be about US$5 million per year).
Borrower Contribution. The Government provided US$6.55 million (US$1.23 million in cash and US$5.32 million in kind) for the project, compared to an appraisal estimate of US$6.11 million. This result was achieved despite budgeting and other difficulties (see Section 9a below). In addition to the Government’s contribution, the local communities put in a total of US$190,000 (an average of US$11,875 per participating community).
Dates. In November 2009, the closing date was extended by 15 months, from January 31 2010, to March 31 2011, in order to complete sub-projects under component 1 that had suffered procedures-related delays.


3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

a. Relevance of Objectives:
Substantial.

  • The PDOs are relevant to the Bank’s assistance strategy for Namibia, as expressed in the Interim Strategy Note (2007-2009), which was the latest document available at project closure. The first objective of the Note’s “Framework for Engagement” is to “continue work in established areas of collaboration where the Bank has a good track record and Government interest is clear: education and the environment” (page 10). With regard to the environment, specific reference is made to two ongoing GEF projects, including the one under review, and the intention is expressed to prepare a third one.
  • The PDOs remain relevant for the Government, for whom the development of communal conservancies continues to be a priority. The CBNRM program was widely recognized and supported in the National Development Plan II at the time the project was prepared. Natural resource management is now mainstreamed into the Government’s development strategy as shown by key documents prepared in recent years, “Namibia’s Vision 2030” and the National Development Plans III and IV. “Namibia’s Vision 2030” specifically mentions the need to ensure the development of the country’s natural capital and its sustainable utilization, in order to ensure social, economic and ecological wellbeing.
  • The project’s objectives are also consistent with the priorities of the GEF operational programs for integrated ecosystem management and for arid and semi-arid ecosystems, as well as with GEF Strategic Priority 2 for Biodiversity, as conservation would be enhanced and mainstreamed into various economic activities such as farming, forestry and tourism.

b. Relevance of Design:
Substantial.

  • The components of the project were consistent with the PDOs which were clearly stated. Although the PAD did not contain a Results Framework in the sense that this is currently understood, the project design summary presented in Annex 1 demonstrates a logical linkage from the activities to be financed by the project to the attainment of the PDOs, through anticipated outputs and outcomes.
  • For example, technical assistance and training provided under component 2 would address the capacity and institutional constraints in both local and national organizations to the adoption of a community-based integrated ecosystem management (CBIEM) approach. Such an approach would require a strong degree of cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination between the stakeholders involved -- the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, other Ministries, NGOs, the private sector, conservancies and other local organizations (PAD, page 6). The integrated ecosystem management approach would, in turn, be the key tool in planning, managing and monitoring the three main activities (livestock keeping, use of wild natural resources and tourism) that impact the sustainability of Namibia’s biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • An adaptive management approach was built into project design (PAD, page 47). CBIEM would be promoted by relying strongly on learning and feedback loops. The activities under each component would be piloted and tested before being rolled out to the participating conservancies.
  • Exogenous factors that may undermine outcomes were identified and taken into account in design – for example, the non-representation of members of the broader community among the registered members of the democratically organized conservancies. The project incorporated participatory processes to address any disputes that might arise.


  • 4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

    The degree of achievement of the GEO -- to restore, secure and enhance key ecosystem processes in targeted conservancies with biodiversity and land conservation and sustainable use as a goal – is rated substantial. Outputs
    • All 16 conservancies targeted by the project had, by closure, met all eight criteria* established to measure the degree to which a conservancy had adopted a community-based integrated ecosystem management (CBIEM) approach: (i) the activities of the conservancy integrate the management of renewable natural resources; (ii) the conservancy has developed clear and agreed objectives articulated in an integrated ecosystem management (IEM) plan; (iii) the IEM plan integrates all ecological, social and economic dimensions that may impact on the ecosystem; (iv) the Government (through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism) and NGOs are involved in IEM planning; (v) the IEM plan contains appropriate spatial and temporal coverage; (vi) the conservancy develops quarterly activity plans in which key actions are prioritized; (vii) the conservancy has developed a robust mechanism for ongoing planning and evaluation; and (viii) there is continuous technical assistance support for the conservancy’s activity implementation.The area under CBIEM had reached 38,595 square kilometers by project closure, exceeding the target of 25,000.
    *The criteria were developed by an independent consultancy during implementation based on the three pillars of CBIEM set out in the PAD (page 61): (i) the capacity of the conservancy to sustainably use and manage their natural resources, and to encourage biodiversity conservation; (ii) improved access by rural communities to enterprise development and income generation; and (iii) empowerment and capacity building to enable the conservancies to form the skills and experience to develop proactively and sustainably their own futures.
    • The managerial effectiveness of the democratically elected conservancy committees, which govern each conservancy, has been enhanced. The indicator to measure this was that at least 13 (or 80%) of the conservancy committees would be effectively managing and efficiently deploying their resources in accordance with their conservancy plan. A ten-point check list of achievements under three headings -- natural resource management, governance, and financial sustainability and economic development -- was drawn up to gauge the quality of management. All 16 conservancies were judged to have achieved at least eight of the criteria, thereby attaining the target for this indicator. However, only eleven conservancies matched their annual income to their expenditure by closure, and only four were able to assume the responsibility for financing their own staff costs.
    • Ministry of Environment and Tourism partnerships with other institutions such as the private sector, NGOs and local governments have been increased. The original target was that the Ministry should engage in five such partnerships.The actual number of partnerships (fifteen) significantly exceeded this target.
    • In certain cases, conservancies have pooled their resources for ecosystem management on a larger scale. An example cited in the ICR (page 18) is the Mudumu North Complex consisting of four conservancies, three community forests and three national parks. The inhabitants are jointly managing the Complex at the landscape level, including game monitoring, zoning and wildlife corridors, resolution of human-wildlife conflicts, and economic development through wildlife, tourism, agriculture and crafts. As well as the project, this initiative has been supported by FFEM, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Namibian Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation Trust.
    • Supporting legislation was partially enacted. An Environment Management Act was approved in 2007, but a Parks and Wildlife Management Bill and an Access to Biological Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge Bill were still pending approval at project closure. The delay in the latter case was caused by the fact that Namibia was awaiting the final approval of the international Access and Benefit Sharing Protocol proposed at the Nagoya Convention on Biological Diversity in 2010. The ICR reports (page vii) that enactment of the Parks and Wildlife Management Bill is expected in 2012. Although these three pieces of legislation are included among the project’s intermediate outcome indicators, there is no indication in either the ICR or the PAD as to their content or whether the Bank provided any technical inputs to their drafting. The content of the Environment Management Act was subsequently supplied by the project team, but the team was unaware if the Bank had provided any technical input to its preparation. The purpose of the Act was to "promote the sustainable management of the environment and the use of natural resources by establishing principles for decision making on matters affecting the environment; to establish the Sustainable Development Advisory Council; to provide for the appointment of the Environmental Commissioner and environmental officers; to provide for a process of assessment and control of activities which may have significant effects on the environment; and to provide for incidental matters" (Namibia: Government Gazette No. 3966, 27 December 2007).
    Outcomes
    • The project succeeded not only in maintaining, but actually increasing, several populations of targeted threatened fauna and flora. The ICR reports (page 14) that this was accomplished mainly through the project-financed game translocation program. Conservancies communicated to the ICR mission that this was the most positive outcome of the project. The translocations are already improving the tourist attraction of targeted sites while also enabling increased animal harvests through strictly controlled quotas. Examples of the threatened species affected are Black Rhino (18 observed, baseline 8), Lechwe Antilope (135 observed, baseline 21), Black-Faced Impala (203 observed, baseline 150), Desert Elephant (5 observed, baseline 3) and Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra (30 observed, baseline 23).
    • The integrity of the target sites and the preservation of natural habitat was measured through fixed-point photography in eight conservancies. The results show that the integrity of the target sites has increased as indicated by the tree cover. In seven conservancies, the increase between 2007 and 2010 was about 3% on average, but 8% in one case. In one conservancy, tree cover diminished by just over 4%.
    • The ICR (page 17) cites a 2010 study of 28 conservancies (whether these included some or all of the project’s targeted conservancies is not indicated) carried out by the Millennium Challenge Agency. This study assessed the conservancies' capacity to manage their financial, institutional, natural resource, wildlife, human wildlife conflict, business, tendering, and negotiating responsibilities and to identify and manage tourism enterprises and benefit distribution. “The results are positive and indicate that mature conservancies have increased their capacities in moving towards sustainability. Their financial, institutional and natural resources management approaches have improved over the years.”

    5. Efficiency:

    Efficiency is assessed as substantial.
  • No economic or financial analysis of the project or any of its components was carried out at either appraisal or closure.
  • As is customary with a stand-alone GEF operation, the incremental cost was calculated and found to be US10.15 million at closure (ICR, page 16). This calculation is somewhat misleading since it does not include all the financial resources dedicated to the project. However, after all the other contributions (from Namibian and external sources) are added, the total incremental financial cost (US$26.07 million) remains slightly less than the amount foreseen during preparation (US$26.32 million). Most targets were achieved or exceeded, one more conservancy was added to the originally planned 15, and the total area benefiting from the CBIEM was 54% greater than originally foreseen.
  • Although no information is available specific to the 16 conservancies supported by the project, the ICR (Annex 3, page 36) cites a 2010 National Association of Conservancy Support Organizations (NACSO) study as showing that “the formation of communal conservancies is unlocking massive income/benefit generation opportunities, and in the process, providing legal focal institutions through which private sector partners are contracted for lucrative trophy hunting and joint venture lodge tourism opportunities.”
  • The study calculates that, between 1994 and 2009, income to all conservancies and other local stakeholders involved in community-based natural resource management grew from zero to N$42.5 million (US$5.2 million equivalent). Between 2005 and 2009, the total revenues, including cash (salaries, jobs from the tourism sector and various payments) and proceeds from other sources (e.g. meat sold and consumed, plants utilized and sold), for all conservancies increased substantially from US$ 1.4 million in 2005 to US$ 3.5 million in 2009. The number of conservancies also rose from 42 in 2005 to 59 in 2010.
  • Joint ventures with the private sector established 24 lodges for wildlife-observing tourists and 36 trophy hunting concessions in communal conservancies. These are particularly rich in benefits for the communities in that they generate not only substantial direct income, but also a range of smaller enterprises, including community campsites, community guide services, handicraft production, sale of natural plant products, community forest enterprises, and various forms of sustainable wildlife use (premium hunting, shoot-and-sale, and own-use of game). During 2009, more than 330,000 kg of meat from trophy-hunted animals, valued at nearly N$ 5 million (US$0.6 million) were distributed to residents of conservancies.
  • At the end of 2009, a total of 1,366 full-time and approximately 9,000 part-time jobs were attributed to enterprises or the collective incomes returned to conservancies through these enterprises.
  • These indications of the beneficial impact of conservancy activities for participating communities are consistent with the conclusion of a 2008 study* that the total program of investments in the community-based natural resource management program (involving all conservancies) in Namibia between 1990 and 2005 yielded an economic rate of return of 15%. * J.I. Barnes: “Community-based Tourism and Natural Resources Management in Namibia: Local and National Economic Impacts,” Chapter 16 of “Responsible Tourism – Critical Issues for Conservation and Development,” edited by Anna Spenceley, Earth Scan. London, 2008.

    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
    Coverage/Scope*
    Appraisal:
    No
    %
    %
    ICR estimate:
    No
    %
    %

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

    6. Outcome:

    The project successfully achieved its objective of improved ecosystem management through a community-based integrated approach. The evidence indicates that the approach has made a significant contribution to the securing and enhancement of key ecosystem processes in the targeted conservancies and hence to the protection and growth of endangered species and natural habitat. Although there are no direct measures of efficiency in the use of project resources, objectives were largely attained or exceeded by spending fewer resources than foreseen in more conservancies operating in a wider geographical area. In addition, there is reasonably robust evidence that local populations (including those in the conservancies targeted by the project) have benefited considerably from conservancy-related economic activities. Relevance of both objectives and design was substantial. Overall outcome is assessed as satisfactory.

    a. Outcome Rating: Satisfactory

    7. Rationale for Risk to Development Outcome Rating:

    Assessment of the risks to development outcome yields a mixed picture, with low, moderate and high risks.
    Low risks are:
    • Technical. Interventions were well designed and benefited from high levels of knowledge and relevant experience.
    • Lack of interest/ownership by non-conservancy stakeholders. Interaction with service providers, the private sector and local governments is increasing over time. This interaction is likely to widen and deepen given the high returns from a fast-growing tourism sector and the fact that a considerable proportion of wildlife habitat is titled to communities.
    • Government commitment and ownership. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has demonstrated its commitment to supporting the management of the conservancies to ensure ecological and economic sustainability.
    • Institutional. Close collaboration with, and commitment from, relevant government agencies to supporting conservancies and CBIEM has been growing.
    Moderate risks are:
    • Social. Community-based conservancies have strong roots in Namibia, conservancies have proved popular and are growing, and the movement has received continual support from Government, contracted service providers and external partners. The communities emphasize equitable sharing of economic and social benefits from conservancy activities. There is, however, a danger of excluding communities (including indigenous peoples) outside the conservancy network, which may be difficult to address.
    • Economic. Although the economic benefits to the communities from a CBIEM approach have been documented in general terms (see Section 5 above), they are yet to be systematically quantified for the targeted conservancies in an up-to-date analysis. Moreover, sustaining the kinds of benefits already identified will require continued external support, since most of the additional income generated for the communities is consumed.
    • Governance. While the conservancies that have been supported under the project have adopted more transparent governance structures, these structures require continuous technical assistance and training, especially when members rotate. In addition, new conservancies will require training and infrastructure support to set up appropriate governance structures.
    High risks are:
    • Financial. Community-based natural resource management initiatives are expensive and require long-term financial support if the communities are eventually to become self-sustaining. Conservancies are a long way from matching their income to their expenditures and only a few can cover even their wage costs. The growth in the number of conservancies signifies the need for not only continual, but increased, government and external partner commitment. This would be even more the case if technically successful but costly joint initiatives like the Mudumu North Complex (see Section 4 above) were to be replicated.
    • Natural disasters. Namibia has been vulnerable in recent years to serious flooding that has affected some of the conservancies’ territories. This risk is likely to increase over time given changing global and regional climatic patterns.
    Overall, risk to development outcome is rated moderate.

    a. Risk to Development Outcome Rating: Moderate

    8. Assessment of Bank Performance:

    a. Quality at entry:

    • The selection of communal conservancies for project intervention was rigorous, using carefully established criteria and a participatory process involving communities. The process is well described in Annex 16 of the PAD (“Conservancy Profiles and Prioritization Process”). The selection was completed and agreed with the Government prior to negotiations. The consultative process with NGOs, communities and different levels of government is described in detail in Annex 20 of the PAD (“Local governance and participation in communal conservancies”). It helped to ensure the absence of disputes during implementation.
    • Project preparation built on the high priority demonstrated by Namibia to natural resources management since the 1990s, with a rapidly growing base of communal conservancies. The Bank team also built on strong donor support for the sector and played a positive role in developing donor collaboration further.
    • The project was one of the first GEF operations involving GEF’s OP12 on Integrated Ecosystem Management. It sought to adopt lessons both from an early review of OP12 design experience and from previous experience with community-based natural resource management in Namibia and elsewhere. These lessons included the need to (i) support community governance to develop and introduce bottom-up accountability and participatory democracy principles as quickly as possible; (ii) achieve financial sustainability in conservancies, defined as the ability to cover routine operating costs; (iii) develop the capacity of conservancies to undertake integrated planning, management and monitoring of their ecosystems; (iv) establish comprehensive but simple performance and impact monitoring at local and national level; (v) revise traditional wildlife conservancy, regulation of conservancies, and economic and rural development activities to lower costs, increase impacts and ensure sustainable exit strategies; (vi) support the emergence of regional conservancy associations; and (vii) foster partnerships with the private sector for the establishment of ecosystem-based income-generation activities.
    • There were three moderate shortcomings in quality at entry. First, the interaction with internationally financed NGOs operating in the natural resource management sector in Namibia was not well defined, leaving open the possibility of disputes involving the respective roles of the project, these NGOs and Government in setting parameters and guidelines for local resource use decisions. Second, there were weaknesses in M&E design (see Section 10 below). Third, the risk of delay in implementing the sub-grants component, due to the need to develop strong community ownership and clearly defined processes and tools, was underestimated, while the risk of NGO opposition, while identified, was inadequately mitigated.

    Quality-at-Entry Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

    b. Quality of supervision:

  • The ICR reports (page 22) that “supervision has been unusually proactive and diligent.” In the less than seven years between approval and closure there were 16 supervision missions with detailed filed Implementation Status Reports and aide-memoires. The Reports were candid and adjusted their ratings to reflect the prevailing circumstances. Implementation benefited from an appropriate skill mix in the supervision team, with specialists in environment, agriculture, financial management, and social safeguards. Social and environmental safeguards were well monitored, with appropriate actions taken. There was good continuity with the same Task Team Leader remaining with the project from preparation until late 2009, just over a year before closure. The Mid-Term Review (held in November, 2007) was comprehensive and thorough and resulted in an action plan with recommendations that were later implemented.
  • The team was pro-active in addressing implementation issues as they arose, including those hindering the sub-grants component. At the end, all sub-projects were operating and the component was fully disbursed. The team also dealt effectively with issues inherited from the preparation stage. Successful efforts were made to coordinate and work productively with international NGOs operating in the sector and to clarify their role vis-à-vis that of Government. The M&E system was improved, indicators were sharpened, and their measurability was enhanced (see Section 10 below).

  • Quality of Supervision Rating: Highly Satisfactory

    Overall Bank Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

    9. Assessment of Borrower Performance:

    a. Government Performance:

  • The Government has shown commitment to, and ownership of, the project throughout preparation and implementation. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism assumed full responsibility for implementation with outsourcing to NGOs, conservancies and the private sector for non-core activities. The National Association of Conservancy Organizations played a strong coordination role, ensuring that the various NGOs worked in tandem with one another and promoted programmatic monitoring efforts through the collection of the data required to produce the Annual State of Conservancy Reports.
  • There were delays in approving enabling legislation (see Section 4 above), but as the ICR notes (page vii), expecting three bills to be passed by Parliament (over whose decisions the Administration has little control) during the course of a five-year project was ambitious.
  • The amount of counterpart funding provided, albeit with some delay, exceeded that foreseen at appraisal and included – unusually for a GEF project – a substantial cash contribution.

  • Government Performance Rating: Satisfactory

    b. Implementing Agency Performance:

  • The main implementing agency was the Directorate of Environmental Affairs (DEA) within the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The ICR (page 23) states that it provided strong leadership by coordinating the participation of four directorates within the Ministry. The Community-Based Natural Resource Management Support Division, a dedicated unit residing in the Directorate of Parks and Wildlife Management, also played an important role in project implementation..
  • Activities were effectively coordinated at planning, project, and local levels with the Directorate of Forests that was moved during implementation to another Ministry (Agriculture, Water and Forestry). As a result, community-forest and conservancy legislation and practices were well aligned.
  • The Directorates leveraged resources to undertake activities that were captured in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism's annual work plan, thereby ensuring that they were mainstreamed rather than being viewed as temporary add-ons.
  • The implementing agencies played a full role in improving the project’s M&E system during implementation, and in adapting and enhancing an already existing “Event Book" system of monitoring activities in all the targeted sites (see Section 10 below). The Ministry has expanded this system for community forests and national parks.
  • For day-to-day operations, a Project Office was based within the Ministry reporting both to the Directorate of Environmental Affairs and to the Directorate of Parks and Wildlife Management. It included five staff, a coordinator, a procurement officer, an accounting officer, a monitoring and evaluation specialist and a secretary. While there some staff turnover and replacements were not always found in a timely manner, implementation was not unduly affected. The Project Office also assisted with the preparation and implementation of a second GEF operation -- the Namibia Coast Conservation and Management Project – particularly regarding financial management and procurement procedures.

  • Implementing Agency Performance Rating: Satisfactory

    Overall Borrower Performance Rating: Satisfactory

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

    a. M&E Design:

  • The M&E system was conceived as a bottom-up process of monitoring and feeding data at relevant levels for progress and performance measurement using the wildlife-based “Event Book” system in conservancies, which was part of the Management Oriented Monitoring System under the USAID-supported LIFE Plus program.
  • The main weakness in M&E design was that many of the key outcome and intermediate outcome indicators were not easily measurable – for example, conservancies were to adopt an “integrated ecosystem management approach;” 80% of conservancies were “effectively managing and deploying” their resources “efficiently and sustainably;” conservancies would enter into “effective partnerships” with the private sector and other stakeholders; the “integrity of the target sites would remain secure” with no “significant” change in habitat; participation processes within conservancies would be monitored without specifying how.

  • b. M&E Implementation:

  • The supervision team put considerable effort into strengthening the M&E system with a view to ensuring responsiveness of the indicators to project interventions, and to establish linkages. Measurable criteria were developed for such concepts as “ecosystem restoration” and “integrated ecosystem management.” Natural habitat protection was concretely defined (percentage of tree cover measured by point photography). Despite these improvements, the Implementation Status Reports consistently rated M&E as moderately satisfactory due to what the ICR (page 8) calls “the difficulties in reaching agreements on the robustness of the indicators and the methodology to measure them.”
  • Day-to-day activities of the conservancies were closely recorded and monitored using the “Event Book” system. This system had been introduced and developed in Namibia at the end of the 1990s, and it was strengthened through the project. The ICR (page 7) describes it as simple but rigorous. It encourages conservancy involvement in the design, planning and implementation of natural resource monitoring. Each conservancy decides what resources it needs to monitor, bearing in mind issues on which conservancies are obliged to report to the Ministry. An annual "audit" of the system is conducted where all data are collated and compiled into a conservancy’s Annual Natural Resource Report, which is sent to the Ministry and provided to the National Association of Conservancy Support Organizations (NACSO) to update its monitoring databases.
  • A major monitoring and evaluation exercise was conducted by four independent teams in 2010, close to project closure, to assess the extent to which the integrated ecosystem management approach had been mainstreamed into the administration and activities of the conservancies. A selected number of sites were evaluated with regard to status of sub-projects, appointment and financing of contracted service providers, training programs, capital investments and work in progress, purchases of goods, and translocation of wildlife.

  • a. M&E Utilization:

  • The ICR reports (page 8) that the "Event Book" system is now applied in state and private sector parks in Namibia and in other countries in Africa and Asia.
  • According to the ICR (page 8), the project’s M&E system has contributed to a high-quality data base developed by NACSO and known as CONINFO. Each conservation area (conservancy, concession, national park) has its own folder within which all relevant data are stored. The project has also contributed to “state-of-the-art reporting" (ICR, page 8), such as the annual Conservancy Assessment Report.

  • M&E Quality Rating: Substantial

    11. Other Issues:

    a. Safeguards:
    This Category “B” project triggered four safeguards policies: OP 4.01 (Environment), OP 4.12 (Involuntary Resettlement), OP 4.04 (Natural Habitat) and OP 4.10 (Indigenous Peoples). Environment.
    The project was not expected to have any significant negative impact on the environment. The ICR reports (page 10) that an environmental and social assessment (ESA) was prepared in accordance with Namibia’s national environmental assessment policy, the Environmental Management Act (approved in 2007) and the applicable Bank safeguards policies. This was to ensure that any harmful environmental consequences of the conservancy sub-projects were mitigated. According to the ICR (page 10), none of the investments required a full Environmental Impact Assessment, except for two joint venture community tourism projects where mitigation measures were implemented in a satisfactory manner.
    Social.
    OP 4.12 was triggered because of the possibility of restricted access to natural resources as a result of project activities such as establishment of core wildlife areas or game camps and of tourism facilities such as camp sites or lodges. However, such developments were planned in conservancy areas with no permanent settlement, and the ICR reports (page 10) that measures were taken to provide adequate compensation for the potential loss of resource access. No people had to be resettled due to project activities. Whenever land was required, the obligatory permits were obtained from the relevant land boards or the traditional authority.
    Natural Habitat.
    Protection of natural habitat features was one of the project’s outcome indicators: Increase the integrity of the target sites with no significant habitat change. This indicator had been set at appraisal, and agreement was reached during implementation that it would be measured by the fixed point photography technique (which the ICR describes on page 15 as “one of the most effective and robust methods of monitoring vegetation change”). The results indicate that the integrity of the target sites had increased as indicated by the change in the percentage of tree cover between 2007 and 2010 (see Section 4 above).
    Indigenous Peoples.

    • OP 4.10 was triggered because San* populations were located in some of the conservancies. An Indigenous Peoples Development Plan (IPDP) was developed during preparation in coordination with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The San -- who no longer live as hunters and gatherers but reside in permanent settlements -- would, according to the Plan, be enabled and empowered to participate in decision making in their conservancies, especially in sub-project planning and implementation. During the Mid-Term Review, an assessment of the IPDP was carried out by a Bank Social Development Specialist, who considered it comprehensive. The main weakness was the poor quality of data on the San peoples. The IPDP was implemented by the Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA). The ICR reports the assessment’s conclusion that most of the planned activities until 2007 had been carried out, albeit with delays.
    • Compliance with OP 4.10 was again evaluated by a Bank Social Development Specialist in September, 2010. The mission’s aide memoire reported that, overall, the project had supported capacity building and income generating sub-projects that had ensured compliance with both OP4.10.and OP4.12, and that the project had facilitated the further integration of the San people into the mainstream development of Namibia. There were, nonetheless, differences in implementation of the activities depending on the target sites. In some cases, the San were unable to access services provided by NGOs, resulting in weaker community institutions and limited institutional capacity.
    • Following the evaluation, WIMSA prepared a report outlining how most of the recommended actions would be accomplished, including: a) assistance with the formation of a long-term game water point plan; b) support to negotiations and capacity building with Devils Claw buyers; c) grazing management support; and d) a pamphlet for Ministry and Forestry Department staff to increase sensitivity to San concerns.
    *The term San refers to a diverse group of indigenous peoples living in Southern Africa who share historical and linguistic connections.

    b. Fiduciary Compliance:
    Financial Management and Audits.
    The ICR reports (page 10) that, while financial management staffing, internal controls, record keeping, budgeting systems, flow of funds and internal audit arrangements were conducted satisfactorily, it was found in the initial stages of implementation that financial reporting and monitoring and information systems needed enhancement and further guidance. This was supplied by supervision missions and the situation improved. The final supervision mission found the project’s financial management arrangements capable of recording correctly all transactions and balances, supporting the preparation of regular and reliable financial statements, and safeguarding assets. Annual external audits and the final audit took place as prescribed, and the findings were to the satisfaction of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and of the Bank. The ICR does not state whether there were qualifications in any of the external audit reports. The project team subsequently informed IEG that "the project received unqualified audit reports for the following years, 31 March 2009 to 31 March 2011. Even the years before that were unqualified. There were however some house keeping issues raised in the management letter, that the project failed to resolve until the project closed. The issues were not considered material to warrant qualifications in the audit reports."
    Procurement.
    The ICR reports (page 10) that all procurement was satisfactorily handled in accordance with Bank procedures. All
    goods procured under the project have been donated to the targeted conservancies and to the collaborating Directorates of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

    c. Unintended Impacts (positive or negative):
    The Community-Based Integrated Ecosystem Management approach, piloted in Namibia by the project, has been adopted by the Millennium Challenge Account and mainstreamed into their conservation program for Namibia (ICR, page 20).

    d. Other:



    12. Ratings:

    ICR
    IEG Review
    Reason for Disagreement/Comments
    Outcome:
    Satisfactory
    Satisfactory
     
    Risk to Development Outcome:
    Moderate
    Moderate
     
    Bank Performance:
    Moderately Satisfactory
    Moderately Satisfactory
     
    Borrower Performance:
    Satisfactory
    Satisfactory
     
    Quality of ICR:
     
    Satisfactory
     
    NOTES:
    - 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 lessons in the ICR are mostly specific to the project rather than of general applicability. Three general lessons that may be drawn from the project’s experience are:
    • The importance of spending effort and resources on developing and adapting a robust M&E system with measurable indicators that can be related to progress in meeting the project’s development objectives. In this case, considerable effort was made in this respect during implementation which enabled previously imprecise indicators to be measured.
    • Although community-based integrated ecosystem management (CBIEM) has become a widely accepted approach to biodiversity protection and fostering, its success in a particular context depends on the fulfillment of certain key preconditions, including the willingness of government and external partners to provide continually the necessary financial and technical support to nascent community organizations. In Namibia, CBIEM initiatives have proved to be expensive to implement, and most conservancies are still some way from achieving financial autonomy.
    • When adopting a community based approach to ecosystem management, it is important to ensure that groups that may not normally be part of community organizations, but who, nonetheless, have an important stake in the ecosystem, are not excluded from the benefits. In this case, measures were taken to foster the integration of groups not belonging to conservancies, but some difficulties were encountered in ensuring that indigenous peoples benefited from project-supported initiatives.

    14. Assessment Recommended?

    No

    15. Comments on Quality of ICR:

    The ICR is thorough and contains all of the elements necessary to evaluate the project. It is a little repetitive and over-detailed in places and would have benefited from further editing. Information on the content of enabling legislation, and the extent of the Bank’s technical input to it, would have been useful. There is lack of clarity about the financing of the project: the contributions of other external partners are given in Annex 1 of the ICR, but it is not stated which components most of these funded since component costs include only the GEF grant. The ICR does not state whether there were qualifications in any of the external audit reports. Some acronyms are not explained.

    a. Quality of ICR Rating: Satisfactory

    (ICRR-Rev6INV-Jun-2011)
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