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Aligning project processing schedules to government planning and budgeting cycles will help minimize startup delays in Asian Development Bank- (ADB) financed projects.

This project’s effectiveness date did not align with the government’s planning and budgeting cycle, resulting in limited preparatory activities during the first year.  Establishment of the project management office and subsequent recruitment of the project management consultants were significantly delayed, causing project implementation to commence only 2 years after loan effectiveness. To minimize the recurrence of long startup delays, project processing schedules should carefully consider country systems in loan approval and loan effectiveness, ensuring that potential delays are mitigated through appropriate measures including advance actions.

Project costs should be based on realistic assumptions.

The total project cost was estimated at $62.32 million during appraisal.  At completion, it came out 42.2% lower. Overestimation of the demand from local government units (LGUs) and a $4.9 million interest savings accounted for the substantial difference.  Future projects need to more thoroughly assess cost assumptions to ensure that cost estimates are realistic and do not lead to unnecessary commitment charges.  Consideration should also be given to the absorptive capacity of the executing and implementing agencies, specifically their ability to deliver outputs on time and at the scale set at appraisal.

A sequential implementation approach may be more favorable for projects requiring multilevel and multistakeholder coordination.

Given the project objectives, it was inevitable to engage 2 implementing agencies, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).  However, because of the need for multilevel and multistakeholder coordination, project implementation became complex. Under this situation, piloting the project in one region during the first 2 years and replicating it in other regions afterwards, may have been more beneficial and should have been explored. A sequential approach to implementing the key activities would also have improved project performance and made coordination more effective.

Integrated natural resource management is possible under a devolved governance structure.

While integrated natural resource management is best undertaken from a broader, ecosystem-wide perspective, this project has shown that it can be done under a devolved governance structure.  Careful selection of implementing partners, clear delineation of responsibilities, tight coordination, and participation by all relevant stakeholders are key to succeeding in this endeavor. 

Future project design needs to address disaster risks and vulnerability.

Healthy or restored natural systems comprise the most critical ingredient to reducing human vulnerability and economic losses from the natural disasters, which have become more intense and frequent in the country.  While strategic interventions to address this objective are proceeding in earnest, much still needs to be done to incorporate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in natural resource development and management.  In the coastal areas, sturdier seawalls, more resilient roads, houses, community infrastructure, and water and other vital services need to be built alongside mangrove rehabilitation and reforestation.  Insurance systems to protect high-value investments in coastal resource management should also be considered in the design of future projects.

Background

In January 2007, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), at the request of the government of the Philippines, approved a $33.8 million loan, and a $9.0 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) it administers, for the Integrated Coastal Resources Management Project. The project covered 6 priority marine biodiversity corridors and ecosystems in the provinces of Cagayan, Cebu, Davao Oriental, Masbate, Romblon, Siquijor, and Zambales.

The project’s envisaged impact was enhanced coastal resources; its intended outcome was sustainable management of coastal resources.  It had 4 planned outputs: (i) policy and legal framework for integrated coastal resource management (ICRM) rationalized, institutional capacities strengthened, and governance improved; (ii) ICRM institutionalized and functional at the local levels, and coastal ecosystems and resources in the threatened areas of biodiversity are protected and managed; (iii) alternative and supplementary livelihoods provided; and (iv) health and social conditions in the coastal communities improved.

For output 1: the project supported the development of an institutional framework for national and local government coordination on ICRM;  the finalization of the ICRM national policy; operationalization of user fees and resource rents for marine protected areas (MPAs), mangroves, coral reefs, beaches, and foreshores; training of  government staff on the various aspects of ICRM; and the establishment and/or strengthening of multisector local government ICRM organizations, including fisheries and aquatic resources management committees, bantay dagat (marine watch teams), and nongovernment organizations. Policy and institutional strengthening outputs exceeded targets: guided self-assessment by participating LGUs yielded eco-governance index that rose from 76% in year 4 to 91% in year 6, surpassing the 80% target.

For output 2:  the project assisted 79 participating local government units (LGUs) in preparing ICRM plans and funded 411 subprojects. Mangrove rehabilitation and reforestation were completed on 3,094 hectares (ha) and 1,286, respectively; and watershed rehabilitation and reforestation on 4,355 ha and 6,250 ha, respectively.  75 MPAs covering 24,908 ha; no-take zones on 5,432 ha in the 6 priority biodiversity corridors and marine ecosystems; and 5 regional ICRM centers for biodiversity monitoring, research, training, and demonstration activities were established.

Under output 3: 322 enterprises, comprising 267 aquatic and land-based enterprises and 55 eco-tourism enterprises, were established. The achievement was less than the revised target because of delays in the preparation of ICRM plans, which determined the suitable types of enterprises to be established. The enterprises provided employment opportunities to 12,647 people, with 44% women.  However, against a target 60%, only 26.4% of the 322 enterprises remained operational a year after they were established.

Under output 4: the project constructed social and environmental facilities in 13 LGUs, benefiting 59,326 households in 134 barangays, which exceeded the assumed target of 68 barangays at appraisal. Facilities built include the Carmen River flood control structure in Cebu, and the Boston water supply system and Cateel drainage system in Davao Oriental.

However, while several important targets were unverifiable, others were only partially achieved at project completion.  Moreover, when this report was prepared, there was insufficient information to assess achievements at the outcome level, which are more realistically ready for assessment over the medium to long term.  Because of these weaknesses, the project was rated less than successful by ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.  The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was the executing agency, with implementation responsibilities assigned to DENR, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and LGUs.

Project Information
Project Name: 
Integrated Coastal Resources Management
Report Date: 
September, 2018
Country: 
Project Number: 
Project/Modality: 
Project loan
Grant
Loan Number: 
L2311, G0071
Source of Funding: 
OCR, GEF

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