The GEF/UNDP ASCLME Project is pleased to announce the release of its Mid Term Evaluation (MTE) report. The MTE was conducted by Dr. Yegor Volovik, who has done an excellent job of identifying the strengths and challenges the Project has experienced to date. The MTE provides a thorough and detailed assessment of the Project and suggests actions for the Project Coordination Unit, ensuring the Project will continue to achieve success and meet any challenges head on.
ASCLME Project Director Dr. David Vousden said that "The Mid Term Evaluation clearly demonstrates the successes the Project has had to date and provides some valuable lessons nad best practices for other International Water projects. Equally importantly, as the Project moves toward converting the MEDAs into a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and a Strategic Action Programme, it gives us guidance as to those areas that need further improvement or realignment and therefore where the PCU needs to focus its energies. Dr. Volovik has done an admirable job of translating interviews with stakeholders across the region and his analysis of the ASCLME's work to date into this important document, providing us with vital input at a critical stage in the Project's life".
A particular action noted in the report is the importance of sustaining the regional impetus of coordinating partnerships and institutions across the region which the Project has set in motion, fully endorsing the creation of a Western Indian Ocean Sustainable Ecosystem Alliance (WIOSEA), first conceived of at the joint stock-taking meeting of the GEF-funded projects in the region. This Alliance would build upon the foundations laid by the ASCLME Project and its partners in supporting coordinated, region-wide initiatives in resource management supported by sound scientific research. Rather that replacing existing bodies in the region, WIOSEA would instead seek to facilitate building relationships, identifying areas of action and responsibility, while targeting efforts and funding, with an emphasis on ensuring appropriate region-wide research for management needs at the regional and global levels. The proposed Alliance would recognises the vital role existing bodies already play in the region and would therefore focus on strengthening and supporting these bodies whilst building their capacity to fulfil their mandates. Importantly, WIOSEA recognises the sometimes significant differences in viewpoints and understanding of marine scientists, policy-makers and managers, and will address this information gap through a robust "Science-to-Governance" mechanism (and vice-versa). WIOSEA's mission would very much be to develop a regional partnership between all stakeholders which would not only provide a mechanism to oversee SAP implementation, but also ensure that a long-term and sustainable funding base and the infrastructure needed to address the actions identified within the SAP are secured.
Finally, the ASCLME Project wishes to thank everyone who gave valuable input to the MTE process and, indeed, all those whose efforts and participation in the Project to date have ensured its success, particularly the countries of the region, members of the Project Steering Committee, sister GEF projects SWIOFP and WIO-LaB, important regional and international partners and other stakeholders who have played vital roles in the Project's achievements to date as reflected in the positive conclusions of the Evaluation document.
The Mid Term Evaluation (MTE) Document is available here.