This refers to the continuation of biodiversity conservation activities beyond the life of the project. It is a subject of increasing concern in GEF projects and many other donor and government programmes. The Proposal that was approved by GEF said this about "Sustainability":


Sustainability and Participation

The basis of the project is to build partnerships, mechanisms and capacities within existing institutions.  No new institutions will be created, instead existing institutions will be strengthened.  The results of the project will be new policies, byelaws, traditional rules, consultation mechanisms, and ways of doing things at local, district, national and regional levels.  The success of the project will be determined by its ability to develop and establish sustainable mechanisms for bringing natural resource supply and demand into alignment with each other, and creating a capacity within existing institutions to regulate this.

Sustainability is then dependent on both the success of project design and implementation, and on Governments (at all levels) willingness to maintain their baseline financing, from both their recurrent and to a limited extent their development budgets.  Governments are putting an additional $1.2 million into the project areas over the project life cycle, as incremental co-financing, over and above their baseline activities.

Governments have repeatedly affirmed their commitment to this project and to the pattern of activity on the ground in the target sites.  District and local governments have expressed their support, as have the local communities consulted during the preparation process.  The new East African Regional Cooperation Secretariat participated in some of the preparatory work, has placed environment high on its priority list, and has stressed its support for such regional initiatives.

Local communities and their representatives were involved in project preparation, and their ongoing participation is vital to the success of the project.  While the transition to sustainable harvesting regimes implies significant behavioural change, the project will work with communities to develop appropriate incentives to undergo, and maintain, this change.  During preparatory consultations it was noted that despite the existence of various other “participatory projects” in all of the areas, an immediate comment from local stakeholders in the Districts was: ‘this is the first time that we have been consulted as to what should be done at local level’.


The Project Proposal addressed sustainability through the incorporation of lessons learned from other projects:


Lessons Learned and Technical Review:

While Integrated Conservation and Development Programmes (ICDP’s) have made some progress in reducing pressures on protected areas, their limitations are increasingly understood.  Similarly, community based natural resource management has shown the importance of decentralizing ownership, but is not yet a total solution.  This project takes elements of both approaches - the development of alternative resource management strategies and the empowering of local communities, and combines them with multi and cross-sectoral policy, planning and management changes at local, national and regional levels. This will shift the individual decision making environment towards a situation where the resulting decisions favour biodiversity.

The first GEF financed East Africa biodiversity project showed the importance of creating an “enabling environment” at the national policy level, but also clearly showed the need to extend this across sectors and down to district and local levels.  This requires the development of clear sets of mandates and institutional responsibilities.  A second key finding was that technical linkages at regional level re-inforce political collaboration.  Both of these issues are addressed in this proposal.

The project is designed for 5 years in the first instance with a short lead-in and final evaluation and tapering phase.  However, it is recognized that sustainable resource use systems and sustainable biodiversity protection systems which involve local people and their community organisations cannot be achieved in a short time span.  While the major components can be put in place in a five-year period, it is anticipated that ongoing low levels of donor support will be needed to nurture and monitor the resulting systems.  Since this ongoing nurturing will require very little financial support and will be primarily a function of district and local level interventions, no difficulty is anticipated in either absorbing these costs into ongoing baseline donor interventions, or obtaining special support.  Project activities and staffing are designed with such tapering in mind.

The values associated with biodiversity are widely accepted by the central governments of the region and there is little risk of change in government commitment.  However, commitment at district and local levels is less clear, and hence the need for this project.  During the preparatory work levels of participation by district governments and their development agencies was high and they indicated commitment to the project.  Since the project is specifically designed to increase these commitments, risks are subjugated to effective implementation.

More risk is associated with the need to formalize the empowerment of both districts and local communities.  While governments increasingly espouse the need for empowering people to manage local resources, action to put in place appropriate policy and legislative frameworks has been limited.  A key risk is that Governments delay the implementation of such mechanisms, and that communities may not accept what is offered.  As empowerment is a globally accepted paradigm, and the proposal targets empowerment mechanisms, this risk is acceptable.

Resource pressure is driven by rapidly expanding populations with no other income source. If population growth and demand continue to outstrip resource production (natural growth and project supported alternatives) then the project will not succeed.  However, this is the problem facing biodiversity conservation worldwide.  In this case the only known alternative is a return to the enforcement mechanisms that have failed.  Addressing this ‘risk’ is the fundamental purpose of the project.


Project Reactions to Sustainability.

1.      The number of project professional staff is limited to only one person at each site (FPO), while at a national level there are two (NPM and NTO).  This was to make sure that project activities are implemented by the existing district and national structures. Project staff from the secretariat to steering committees and are not members; handing over the project activities started from project initiation by facilitating “project ownership by the site steering committee”. See the note on Kajiado in Kenya as an example.

2.      The project activities have been well administered by the steering committees and more biodiversity related issues and activities have been mainstreamed into the district planning process.  The participatory site planning monitoring and evaluation process built a teamwork and confidence and brought in key players.

3.      As the project activity developed, more partners became aware of the biodiversity conservation concepts, and they are more clearly understood by key stakeholders.

4.      The project facilitates other national organisations to create more district institutional

linkages;  examples include:

(a)                Link between TAF – District Biodigesters - biogas (Monduli).

(b)               Link between TAWIRI – and Districts on Bee-keeping.

(c)                Malihai (Wildlife) Clubs and awareness of conservation issues.

(d)               Support to Joint Forest management initiative in Minziro/Chome FRs.


5.      The mandates studies have formed a basis to look into possible roles and responsibilities based on traditional systems of resource use.

6.      The regional and crossborder linkages through the Regional Project Steering Committee and several crossborder site meetings have initiated a neutral and simplified forum to continue crossborder communications without the formal authorities from the capitals.

7.      Linkages to the East African Community Secretariat since the project started hs helped maintain regional momentum. The project is a member of the EAC Environment Committee.

8.      Regional linkages with partner Inter-Governmental Organisations and NGOs eg. IUCN, ACTS, WWF and CARE have enhanced institutional linkages that will continue beyond the project life. A major example is the training process for ICDPs.

9.      NGO support to District processes will go beyond the project life as more links are established.


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