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«The Latin America and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds – RedLAC – was created in 1999 and cur- rently includes 25 funds from 15 ...»

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Monitoring the Impact of Environmental Fund Projects


on Biodiversity Conservation in Protected Areas

RedLAC Capacity Building Project for Environmental Funds

Scaling up Conservation Finance

The Latin America and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds – RedLAC – was created in 1999 and cur-

rently includes 25 funds from 15 countries. Its mission is to set up an effective system of learning, capacity building

and cooperation through a Network of Environmental Funds (EFs) aimed at contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in the region.

RedLAC, with the support of the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation and the French Fund for the Global Environment (FFEM, for its name in French), implements a capacity building project with the objective of strength- ening the capacity of EFs to develop innovative financial mechanisms for biodiversity conservation, reducing their dependence on donations, and supporting the establishment of new EFs, by systematizing and sharing proven best practices in funds day-to-day operations.

This project, coordinated by the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund – Funbio - on behalf of the RedLAC membership, has the goal of promoting the implementation of new revenue streams for the Funds’ portfolios, creating financially sustainable sources of funding for these institutions to invest in conservation. Having knowledge management as its core, the project will systematize the existing information on different topics of interest for EFs and build new content based on the collective experience of the Funds’ community.

This manual was prepared to support the seventh workshop of the capacity building initiative, focusing on im- pact monitoring of biodiversity conservation by Environmental Funds in Protected Areas. This manual emerges from the work developed by the RedLAC Impact Monitoring Working Group, which debated the theme in 2012 with the support of experts and case study analysis. Funbio organized this workshop in collaboration the Profonanpe, in the city of Lima, Peru on November 09 to 11, 2012.

Organization: Funded by:

© Publius Vergilius Contents Contenido 5 Summary 7 Introduction 11 Overview of Impact Assessment Approaches 17 Environmental Fund Experiences 21 A RedLAC System for Assessing Impacts on Biodiversity – a First Approach 27 Looking Forward 29 Bibliography 33 Annexes 58 Case Study: Monitoring Biodiversity In Alto Chagres 64 Case Study: CLMA FUNDESNAP Monitoring

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Authors of the cases:

Vilna Cuéllar (Fundación Natura Panamá), Rafael Samudio (SOMASPA) and Julieta Samudio (SOMASPA) Imke Oetting (FUNDESNAP) RedLAC Impact Monitoring Working Group (participants in 2012): Alberto Paniagua, Carlos Hernández, Favio Ríos, Humberto Cabrera (Profonanpe); Ana Beatriz Barona (Patrimonio Natural), Christine Valerio, Natalie Rosado, Nayari Díaz (PACT Belize), Claudia Correa, Maria Elena Santana (Fondo para la Acción Ambiental y la Niñez), Edgard Espinoza, Pamela Castillo, Zdenka Piskulish (Costa Rica por Siempre), Edmilce Ugarte (Fondo de Conservación de Bosques Tropicales Paraguay), Fabio Leite (Funbio), José Santamaría, Vilna Cuellar, Maylleli Cabrera, Rosa Montañez (Fundación Natura Panamá).

Invited specialists: Carlos Quintela (RedLAC Capacity Building Project Committee), Curan Bonham (Conservation International), Rudy Valdivia (SERNANP).

Coordination: Camila Monteiro (Funbio).

Monitoring the Impact of Environmental Fund Projects on Biodiversity Conservation in Protected Area: RedLAC Capacity Building Project for

Environmental Funds / Allen D. Putney and Paquita Bath. – Rio de Janeiro:

RedLAC, 2012.

Authors of the cases:

Vilna Cuéllar (Fundación Natura Panamá), Rafael Samudio (SOMASPA) and Julieta Samudio (SOMASPA) Imke Oetting (FUNDESNAP)

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5 | Monitoring Environmental Funds Impact on Biodiversity in Protected Areas Monitoring the Impact of Environmental Fund Projects on Biodiversity Conservation in Protected Areas Over the years, the Environmental Funds (EFs) of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds (Red de Fondos Ambientales de Latinoamérica y el Caribe – RedLAC) have demonstrated the ability to raise and manage funds under criteria related to performance and capital security. However, the impacts of EF funding for biodiversity conservation activities in Protected Areas (PAs) implemented by other organizations remain to be tested and measured. Therefore, the training sub-project “Developing and Validating a System of Impact Indicators for Environmental Fund projects related to Biodiversity Conservation in Terrestrial and Marine Protected Areas” seeks to align impact measurement systems of projects for biodiversity conservation financed by the RedLAC EFs.

This would make it easier to integrate and compare data, improve communication among EFs, donors and other stakeholders, and measure the impact of the RedLAC EFs as a whole. In addition, at the project level, monitoring is key to decision-making for the adaptive management of protected areas. This impact indicator system for EFs, developed by RedLAC, will also serve as a reference point, both for EFs from other regions and for new EFs as they are created.

Biodiversity conservation interventions are primarily formulated as ‘projects’, which are managed through an ongoing process called the ‘project cycle’. While the purpose for this RedLAC project is “to develop and validate an impact indicator system for environmental fund projects related to biodiversity conservation in terrestrial and marine protected areas,” it is worthwhile to highlight that the basic measurement units are conservation projects in protected areas financed by environmental funds.

Within the project cycle, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems for biodiversity conservation projects have similar components. The primary components are performance assessments and impact assessments. Performance assessments measure inputs, activity implementation and outcomes, while impact assessments measure effects and impacts.

In general, the most common approach for measuring impacts on biodiversity has been to identify biological indicators that directly measure the status of conservation targets such as ecosystem integrity, habitat quality, or environmental service preservation. However, there are other alternatives to assess a project’s impact by measuring its effect on threat reduction.

RedLAC has adopted a multi-dimensional system to assess the impact of EFs on biodiversity conservation in Protected Areas supported with financing from those Funds. The system is based on measuring effect indicators (threat reduction) and impact indicators (status of conservation targets) for each PA that is funded by a RedLAC Environmental Fund. Raw data is converted into indices that can be averaged to obtain an impact measurement at the PA, EF and RedLAC levels.

It is proposed to implement participatory field measurements through PA staff, each PA’s Management Committee, and local communities. Considering that EFs finance projects executed by other institutions, measurements can also be made by these entities. It is recommended that these entities be trained for the task and that their work be supervised regularly. Furthermore, it is proposed to establish a trust fund to provide long-term financing for periodic measurement of changes in PA habitat coverage and fragmentation using satellite imagery.

The process of technological change is ongoing, and there are new technologies that can contribute to monitoring and evaluating biodiversity projects. A few examples include drones – miniature remote controlled aircraft that can be operated from the ground to take photos or transmit live images; and recording and analyzing the sounds of nature that indicate the presence and abundance of specific species. EFs should be at the vanguard of studying and using new monitoring technologies.

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The goals of the Latin American and Caribbean integrate and compare data; enhance communication Network of Environmental Funds (Red de Fondos Ambi- among funds, with donors and other stakeholders; and entales de Latinoamérica y el Caribe – RedLAC) are: (a) measure the impact of RedLAC as a whole. Furtherto help boost the effectiveness and efficiency of financial more, monitoring serves to inform managerial decisions.

resources; and (b) to increase the impact on biodiversity For example, it can be used to compare the efficacy of conservation and environmental services in the region. different interventions for conservation, and to provide To this end, RedLAC promotes learning, capacity build- critical information for adapting projects to take advaning, and cooperation among its members. tage of lessons learned and improve management.

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1.1 General Framework Biodiversity conservation interventions are formulated primarily as ‘projects’ – a set of activities implemented by a defined group of implementers, including managers, researchers, community members, or other stakeholders – to meet certain goals and objectives. They are managed through an iterative process called the project cycle. While the purpose for this RedLAC project is “to develop and validate an impact indicator system for environmental fund projects related to biodiversity conservation in terrestrial and marine protected areas,” it is worthwhile to highlight that basic measurement units are conservation projects in protected areas financed by EFs.

Within the project cycle, most monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems for biodiversity conservation projects have similar components. Figure 1 helps to visualize the hierarchy and relations of the M&E system and its indicators. The primary components are performance assessments and impact assessments. Performance assessments measure inputs, activity implementation and outcomes. Impact assessments measure effects and impacts.

The overall model presented in Figure 1 is for a given project, and is especially important for project designers.

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Adapted from RedLAC, 2008 The role of the EFs is to finance conservation projects that are implemented by other organizations. In this regard, they have a role as intermediaries between donors and conservation organizations implementing projects in the field. Therefore, RedLAC and its member EFs have regularly been asked to measure the impacts of their biodiversity conservation activities as individual funds, and as a group, in this case specifically in protected areas (PAs). For this purpose, all impact indicators used must allow for aggregation to give an indication of the impact of each EF’s project portfolio and for the projects of all RedLAC EFs.

1.2 Definitions and Types of Monitoring The terms that different conservation organizations use vary considerably. Therefore, for clarity’s sake, Annex A defines the key technical terms used in this manual.

As indicated in Figure 1, a complete M&E system for an EF should include both performance assessments (with

input, process and output indicators) and impact evaluations (with effect and impact indicators). However, it is important to emphasize that this document is limited specifically to:

• Impact assessment with effect and impact indicators (the last two columns in Figure 1);

• The Protected Area (AP) focus; and,

• Using indicators that can be added together.

9 | Monitoring Environmental Funds Impact on Biodiversity in Protected Areas 1.3 Incentives While there are several incentives for an EF to adopt a biodiversity impact assessment system, the primary one is to communicate effectively with key stakeholders regarding the level of success of a given project.

This information is also very important for an adaptive management process, because it makes it possible to assess project activities and identify any necessary adjustments needed as a regular part of the project cycle. Furthermore, a good monitoring system makes it possible to compare the success of different types of interventions, those of different PAs, and each EF’s project portfolio. This is the basis for all adaptive management systems. It also helps report outcomes based on reliable figures for donors, the general public, and internationally to organizations such as RedLAC, and conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the World Heritage Convention.

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There have been many efforts to develop methods to measure the impact of conservation projects, but few have turned out to be practical, useful, and inexpensive. Historically, each institution designed its own monitoring and evaluation system without much reference to existing systems. These systems have various often overlapping purposes such as knowledge generation, program enhancement, accountability, transparency, resource distribution, promotion, and impact assessment. The outcome has been that, although the systems were conceptually similar, their terminology and methodologies varied, making it hard to compare systems and communicate among institutions.

In order to face these issues, conservationist organizations collaborated in a joint effort, the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP), to unify criteria and terminology. This is very important work for organizations such as RedLAC, which want to build conceptual bridges among their members, improve methodologies, and facilitate communications. The CMP efforts have also clarified the evolution of concepts and common denominators, so it is now easy to identify the most significant and potentially usable elements for RedLAC and its member EFs. In fact, the RedLAC initiative to measure the impacts of EFs on biodiversity could play a major role in promoting CMP’s unified criteria and terminology among its members, in addition to the EFs promoting the same among their clients within their respective countries.

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2.1.1 Biodiversity Status In general, the most common methods for measuring biodiversity status are local ecological knowledge, sampling of transects or points, and/or satellite imagery analysis, combined with field reconnaissance (World Bank, 1998). Common biological indicators for Protected Area monitoring include:

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