As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) has a strong dependence on natural resources and biodiversity not only for food and income. The Marshallese relationship with the islands forms the basis of its culture and way of life which has developed in harmony over thousands of years. In the face of global threats, RMI still has pristine waters and coral reefs that contribute to ecosystem services and livelihoods. In recognition of the importance of its natural assets, RMI together with other SIDS responded to global conservation targets through the Micronesia Challenge and specifically for its part, it prepared Reimaanlok to serve as a clear roadmap of the way forward.
This project support operationalizing the Reimaanlok – the National Conservation Area Plan, adopted in 2008 to effectively conserve at least 30% of the nearshore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.
The project objective is to sustain atoll biodiversity and livelihoods by building community and ecosystem resilience to threats and degrading influences through integrated management of terrestrial and coastal resources adopting the principles and processes outlined in Reimaanlok. The project will be implemented in 5 islands/atolls within five years (2017-2022) with a $3.9m support through the Global Environment Facility.
Project Site Interventions:
The project is piloted on five (5) outer islands of Wotho, Mejit, Likiep, Aur and Ebon. The interventions are designed to strengthen local capacities, enabling local communities to implement the integrated natural resource management plans, and providing scale-able demonstrations of sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services. The lessons from this project will guide replication in other sites.
Approach and Methodology
The MTR must provide evidence-based information that is credible, reliable and useful. The MTR consultant will review all relevant sources of information including documents prepared during the preparation phase (i.e. PIF, UNDP Initiation Plan, UNDP Environmental & Social Safeguard Policy, the Project Document, project reports including Annual Project Review/PIRs, project budget revisions, lesson learned reports, national strategic and legal documents, and any other materials that the team considers useful for this evidence-based review). The MTR consultant will review the baseline GEF Core Indicators submitted to the GEF at CEO endorsement, and the midterm GEF core indicators that must be completed before the MTR field mission begins.
The MTR consultant is expected to follow a collaborative and participatory approach ensuring close engagement with the Project Team, government counterparts (the GEF Operational Focal Point), the UNDP Country Office(s), UNDP-GEF Regional Technical Advisers, and other key stakeholders.
Engagement of stakeholders is vital to a successful MTR. Stakeholder involvement should include interviews with stakeholders who have project responsibilities, including national government departments, NGO’s/ Civil Society Organizations , resource owning communities, community leaders, key experts and consultants in the subject area, Project Steering Committee, other project stakeholders, academia, etc. Below is a detailed list of the stakeholders involved with the project. The MTR consultant will center most of its work on Majuro, however, travel to the outer island will be discussed and agreed upon between the Consultant, UNDP, GEF OFP (OEPPC), RTA and the PIU Team at the beginning of the consultancy.
Department of Climate Change (former OEPPC)
Marshall Islands Marine Resource Authority (MIMRA)
Historic Preservation Office (HPO)
Department of Lands and Survey (L&S)
Public School System (PSS)
Ministry of Natural Resource and Commerce (MNRC)
Mayors: Five Target Sites
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Marshall Islands Conservation Society (MICS)
College of the Marshall Islands (CMI)
University of the South Pacific
The final MTR report should describe the full MTR approach taken and the rationale for the approach making explicit the underlying assumptions, challenges, strengths and weaknesses about the methods and approach of the review.
The MTR consultant will assess the following four categories of project progress. See the Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects for extended descriptions.
i. Project Strategy
- Review the problem addressed by the project and the underlying assumptions. Review the effect of any incorrect assumptions or changes to the context to achieving the project results as outlined in the Project Document.
- Review the relevance of the project strategy and assess whether it provides the most effective route towards expected/intended results. Were lessons from other relevant projects properly incorporated into the project design?
- Review how the project addresses country priorities. Review country ownership. Was the project concept in line with the national sector development priorities and plans of the country (or of participating countries in the case of multi-country projects)?
- Review decision-making processes: were perspectives of those who would be affected by project decisions, those who could affect the outcomes, and those who could contribute information or other resources to the process, taken into account during project design processes?
- Review the extent to which relevant gender issues were raised in the project design. See Annex 9 of Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects for further guidelines.
- If there are major areas of concern, recommend areas for improvement.
- Undertake a critical analysis of the project’s logframe indicators and targets, assess how “SMART” the midterm and end-of-project targets are (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound), and suggest specific amendments/revisions to the targets and indicators as necessary.
- Are the project’s objectives and outcomes or components clear, practical, and feasible within its time frame?
- Examine if progress so far has led to or could in the future catalyse beneficial development effects (i.e. income generation, gender equality and women’s empowerment, improved governance etc...) that should be included in the project results framework and monitored on an annual basis.
- Ensure broader development and gender aspects of the project are being monitored effectively. Develop and recommend SMART ‘development’ indicators, including sex-disaggregated indicators and indicators that capture development benefits.
ii. Progress Towards Results
Progress Towards Outcomes Analysis:
- Review the log-frame indicators against progress made towards the end-of-project targets using the Progress Towards Results Matrix and following the Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects; colour code progress in a “traffic light system” based on the level of progress achieved; assign a rating on progress for each outcome; make recommendations from the areas marked as “Not on target to be achieved” (red).
Table. Progress Towards Results Matrix (Achievement of outcomes against End-of-project Targets)
Level in 1st PIR (self- reported)
Midterm Level & Assessment
Justification for Rating
Indicator (if applicable):
Indicator Assessment Key
Yellow= On target to be achieved
Red= Not on target to be achieved
In addition to the progress towards outcomes analysis:
- Compare and analyse the GEF Core Indicators at the baseline with the one completed right before the Midterm Review.
- Identify remaining barriers to achieving the project objective in the remainder of the project.
- By reviewing the aspects of the project that have already been successful, identify ways in which the project can further expand these benefits.
iii. Project Implementation and Adaptive Management
- Review overall effectiveness of project management as outlined in the Project Document. Have changes been made and are they effective? Are responsibilities and reporting lines clear? Is decision-making transparent and undertaken in a timely manner? Recommend areas for improvement.
- Review the quality of execution of the Executing Agency/Implementing Partner(s) and recommend areas for improvement.
- Review the quality of support provided by the GEF Partner Agency (UNDP) and recommend areas for improvement.
- Review any delays in project start-up and implementation, identify the causes and examine if they have been resolved.
- Are work-planning processes results-based? If not, suggest ways to re-orientate work planning to focus on results?
- Examine the use of the project’s results framework/ logframe as a management tool and review any changes made to it since project start.
- Examine the relevance of indicators and targets as per the results framework/ log frame and wherever necessary recommend appropriate changes
Finance and co-finance:
- Consider the financial management of the project, with specific reference to the cost-effectiveness of interventions.
- Review the changes to fund allocations as a result of budget revisions and assess the appropriateness and relevance of such revisions.
- Does the project have the appropriate financial controls, including reporting and planning, that allow management to make informed decisions regarding the budget and allow for timely flow of funds?
- Informed by the co-financing monitoring table to be filled out, provide commentary on co-financing: is co-financing being used strategically to help the objectives of the project? Is the Project Team meeting with all co-financing partners regularly in order to align financing priorities and annual work plans?
Project-level Monitoring and Evaluation Systems:
- Review the monitoring tools currently being used: Do they provide the necessary information? Do they involve key partners? Are they aligned or mainstreamed with national systems? Do they use existing information? Are they efficient? Are they cost-effective? Are additional tools required? How could they be made more participatory and inclusive?
- Examine the financial management of the project monitoring and evaluation budget. Are sufficient resources being allocated to monitoring and evaluation? Are these resources being allocated effectively?
- Project management: Has the project developed and leveraged the necessary and appropriate partnerships with direct and tangential stakeholders?
- Participation and country-driven processes: Do local and national government stakeholders support the objectives of the project? Do they continue to have an active role in project decision-making that supports efficient and effective project implementation?
- Participation and public awareness: To what extent has stakeholder involvement and public awareness contributed to the progress towards achievement of project objectives?
- Assess how adaptive management changes have been reported by the project management and shared with the Project Board.
- Assess how well the Project Team and partners undertake and fulfil GEF reporting requirements (i.e. how have they addressed poorly rated PIRs, if applicable?)
- Assess how lessons derived from the adaptive management process have been documented, shared with key partners and internalized by partners.
- Review internal project communication with stakeholders: Is communication regular and effective? Are there key stakeholders left out of communication? Are there feedback mechanisms when communication is received? Does this communication with stakeholders contribute to their awareness of project outcomes and activities and investment in the sustainability of project results?
- Review external project communication: Are proper means of communication established or being established to express the project progress and intended impact to the public (is there a web presence, for example? Or did the project implement appropriate outreach and public awareness campaigns?)
- For reporting purposes, write one half-page paragraph that summarizes the project’s progress towards results in terms of contribution to sustainable development benefits, as well as global environmental benefits.
- Validate whether the risks identified in the Project Document, Annual Project Review/PIRs and the ATLAS Risk Management Module are the most important and whether the risk ratings applied are appropriate and up to date. If not, explain why.
- In addition, assess the following risks to sustainability:
Financial risks to sustainability:
- What is the likelihood of financial and economic resources not being available once the GEF assistance ends (consider potential resources can be from multiple sources, such as the public and private sectors, income generating activities, and other funding that will be adequate financial resources for sustaining project’s outcomes)?
Socio-economic risks to sustainability:
- Are there any social or political risks that may jeopardize sustainability of project outcomes? What is the risk that the level of stakeholder ownership (including ownership by governments and other key stakeholders) will be insufficient to allow for the project outcomes/benefits to be sustained? Do the various key stakeholders see that it is in their interest that the project benefits continue to flow? Is there sufficient public / stakeholder awareness in support of the long-term objectives of the project? Are lessons learned to be documented by the Project Team on a continual basis and shared/ transferred to appropriate parties who could learn from the project and potentially replicate and/or scale it in the future?
Institutional Framework and Governance risks to sustainability:
- Do the legal frameworks, policies, governance structures and processes pose risks that may jeopardize sustenance of project benefits? While assessing this parameter, also consider if the required systems/ mechanisms for accountability, transparency, and technical knowledge transfer are in place.
Environmental risks to sustainability:
- Are there any environmental risks that may jeopardize sustenance of project outcomes?
Conclusions & Recommendations
The MTR consultant will include a section of the report setting out the MTR’s evidence-based conclusions, in light of the findings.
Recommendations should be succinct suggestions for critical intervention that are specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant. A recommendation table should be put in the report’s executive summary. See the Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects for guidance on a recommendation table.
The MTR team should make no more than 15 recommendations total.
The MTR consultant will include its ratings of the project’s results and brief descriptions of the associated achievements in a MTR Ratings & Achievement Summary Table in the Executive Summary of the MTR report. See Annex E for ratings scales. No rating on Project Strategy and no overall project rating is required.
Table. MTR Ratings & Achievement Summary Table for (RMI Ridge to Reef Project)
Progress Towards Results
Objective Achievement Rating: (rate 6 pt. scale)
Outcome 1 Achievement Rating: (rate 6 pt. scale)
Outcome 2 Achievement Rating: (rate 6 pt. scale)
Outcome 3 Achievement Rating: (rate 6 pt. scale)
Project Implementation & Adaptive Management
(rate 6 pt. scale)
(rate 4 pt. scale)