GEF – UNDP – FAO PROJECT: REDUCING RATE OF LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY AT
SELECTED CROSS BORDERS SITES IN EAST AFRICA.
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":
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.
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
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.
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’.
Project Proposal addressed sustainability through the incorporation of lessons
learned from other projects:
Learned and Technical Review:
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.
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.
Reactions to Sustainability.
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.
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.
As the project activity developed, more partners became aware of the
biodiversity conservation concepts, and they are more clearly understood by key
The project facilitates other national organisations to create more
Link between TAF – District Biodigesters - biogas (Monduli).
Link between TAWIRI – and Districts on Bee-keeping.
Malihai (Wildlife) Clubs and awareness of conservation issues.
Support to Joint Forest management initiative in Minziro/Chome FRs.
The mandates studies have formed a basis to look into possible roles and
responsibilities based on traditional systems of resource use.
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.
Linkages to the East African Community Secretariat since the project
started hs helped maintain regional momentum. The project is a member of the EAC
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
NGO support to District processes will go beyond the project life as
more links are established.
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