Remarks to NPAS End of Project Forum by UNDP Resident Representative, Bruno Pouezat

Mar 7, 2017

REMARKS

Bruno Pouezat, UNDP Resident Representative

 

End of Project Forum

Strengthening the Operational and Financial Sustainability of the National Protected Area System (NPAS) Project

Theme:  “Protected Areas: an untapped resource for sustaining livelihoods”

Knutsford Court Hotel, 16 Chelsea Avenue, Kingston

7 March 2017

 

Greetings and Acknowledgements

  • NEPA Executives:
  • Mr. Peter Knight, Chief Executive Officer
  • Ms. Vivienne Williams Thompson, Director - Planning, Projects, Evaluation and Research
  • Ms. Elecia Myers, Senior Director (Acting),Strategic Planning and Evaluation Division, Ministry of Tourism
  • Ms. Allison Foster, Project Coordinator
  • Grantees
  • Distinguished ladies and gentlemen

 

I am delighted to represent UNDP on this important occasion this afternoon. This event represents a significant milestone – we are almost there – the closing of the Strengthening the Operational and Financial Sustainability of the National Protected Area System (NPAS) Project dubbed the Protected Areas or NPAS Project.  

The NPAS project, which began in 2010, aims to preserve Jamaica’s rich biodiversity by rationalizing and integrating the national system of protected areas. In short its goal is to improve the management of protected areas for Jamaica’s benefit. The journey to this tremendous moment has been long and difficult but once again the implementation of this project has shown the resilience, unfettered determination,    energy, creativity, collective intellect and tenacity of the persons who played significant roles in this project, characterizing the unyielding strength of the Jamaican people.

Its breathtaking natural beauty and endowment of rich biodiversity combined with its melting pot of cultural diversity indeed make Jamaica a special and unique place. It is not surprising then that UNDP would join with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Government of Jamaica to implement a project to the tune of US$2.2 million that would contribute to the management and protection of Jamaica’s natural legacy.

Enhancing and empowering people through human development is at the core of UNDP’s role and we recognize the contribution that ecosystems, natural resources and in particular protected areas can play in ensuring sustainable livelihoods of persons. Jamaica’s economy is highly dependent on its natural resources and ecosystems play a critical role in addressing the impacts of climate change. We are reminded that the protection and maintenance of biological diversity and important ecosystems keep our prime tourist attractions such as fantastic beaches and picturesque mountains intact, our seas and rivers unpolluted and yielding optimum harvests of seafood; our landscapes intact in the fiercest storms and thus our people safe from harm. It is not difficult to see how economic development, sustainable livelihoods and protected areas intersect.

Effective management of protected areas will help Jamaica to achieve a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 1: No Poverty; Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation; Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and Goals 13, 14 and 15 addressing climate change and protection of life below water and on land. Protected areas will play a critical role in the country’s achievement of its development priorities outlined in Vision 2030 Jamaica: National Development Plan as well as Priority Area 4 under the UN Multi-country Sustainable Development Framework of “A Sustainable and Resilient Caribbean.”  

As such, the NPAS Project has achieved significant results that will advance the country’s efforts in protecting its natural resources. Noteworthy of mention are:

The establishment and operationalization of the National Conservation Trust Fund of Jamaica (NCTFJ) which will serve as a sustainable finance mechanism for the management of protected areas. The NCTFJ is linked to the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund which holds an endowment fund in which an estimated US$5.7million has been deposited for Jamaica by GEF, The Nature Conservancy and the German Development Bank – KfW. The NCTFJ will be initially capitalized by the annual interest from this endowment fund and locally generated funds.

The development of The Draft Overarching Protected Areas Act and the Draft Overarching Protected Areas Policy aimed at improving the policy and regulatory framework for protected areas management. We hope that the policy and legislation will be passed soon.

The award of nine (9) grants to selected entities for implementation of revenue generation mechanisms and conservation based economic activities valuing approximately J$ 19 million. This is a testimony to the diversified approach of the project, operating at the national level while maintaining on the ground presence. Critical to protected areas management is the ability to access sustainable sources of funding and these grants should support the entities in generating further funds to contribute to the overall management of protected areas in their respective localities.

For such a long and interesting journey in the implementation of the project there must be some practical and salient lessons learned. Please bear with me as I highlight a few of the key ones:

A project as ambitious, diversified and involving multiple partners as this one requires an enabling environment and adequate capacity and partnerships for successful implementation

Implementation of such a diversified project requires effective management and coordination from the start with the full understanding and support from all entities involved. Effective oversight is essential for project success as evidenced by the excellent work done by the revamped Project Steering Committee. This leads to my next point that….

Projects should have effective and manageable Steering Committees with effective leaders. The project saw the revamping of the Steering Committee to achieve greater oversight and management.

It is important that the Project Team matches the capacity required to successfully implement the project. A project of this size with so many moving parts requires adequate human resources. Congratulations to NEPA and the other relevant agencies for the outstanding support provided in the last two years of the project which enabled greater achievement than the previous four years.

The donor or development partner and the implementing entity must work closely and communicate frequently and openly. Applying adaptive management such as seen with the monthly bilateral meetings between UNDP and NEPA contributed to successful implementation of the project. These meetings also resulted in better monitoring and mitigation of risks.  They were the fora for interesting ideas I am sure.

As part of adaptive management, getting external knowledge, advice and capacity support can be beneficial as was observed in the awesome technical support provided by Mel Turner, the Technical Advisor for the project

The procurement process and selection and management of consultants should not be underestimated. The procurement process and challenges with some consultants caused significant delays in project implementation.

These are just some of the lessons which I know we will take on board to ensure that the next project is efficiently implemented.

In closing UNDP recognizes that partnerships are essential for addressing many of the development challenges locally and globally. And as such heartily congratulates NEPA and the other agencies such as the Forestry Department, Fisheries Division and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust for successfully completing the project. We thank you for allowing us to share in this partnership and we are committed to the Jamaican Government to provide further support. Certainly, the results and lessons learned from this great project can be shared with the region as part of South-South Cooperation. A lot can be achieved by way of transfer of knowledge and technical expertise and sharing of best practices, lessons learned and experiences among the countries of the region. You will be happy to know that the NPAS Project is seen by our colleagues in the Regional Hub in Panama as a best practice in adaptive management. Jamaica should be emboldened and encouraged to share this wonderful and interesting story and milestone achievement.

Finally I wish to thank Mel Turner, consultants, the members of the Project Team, the Project Steering Committee and all the other persons and entities that made this project a success. UNDP looks forward to continued partnerships and working with the Government of Jamaica as we all work to make “Jamaica the place of choice to live, raise families and do business”.

Ladies and Gentlemen I thank you.

 

 

 

 

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