Request for ceo endorsement/Approval Project Type:  the gef trust Fund

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Project Intervention

42 The project contributes to the goal of creating a sustainable and well-governed path of development for the Socotra archipelago that ensures the conservation of its globally important biodiversity. The project’s objective is that Biodiversity management considerations are mainstreamed effectively into the current process of “decentralizing governance for development16 on the Socotra archipelago. The objective will be achieved through 5 project outcomes that reflect the necessary interventions to address the constraints identified in each element of the mainstreaming framework.

Component 1: Local Governance Support (GEF $; UNDP up to $1m; GoY 0.75 $m)

  1. As a result of this GEF intervention, UNDP-Yemen has agreed to develop and fund a local governance support project for Socotra (see attached UNDP co-financing commitment letter). Such support will focus primarily on the achievement of two interrelated objectives: (a) the creation of an island-wide local government and a resultant integrated planning approach into which biodiversity considerations can become central, and (b) the strengthening of the current public administration structure at the district level, in line with the National Decentralization Strategy (currently under discussion) and in a manner that is sensitive to Socotra archipelago’s (i) wider governance structure as well as (ii) specific developmental and environmental challenges.

  2. The proposed creation of an island-wide authority has been endorsed by the central-government deliberations addressing new institutional arrangements for local governance in Socotra. Such deliberations are taking place in the context of Socotra’s nomination as a prestigious World Heritage site. It is worth noting that a Cabinet decree issued on February 12th 2008 calls for the establishment of appropriate institutional arrangements to enhance the planning and coordination mechanisms in place in the island.

  3. The proposal will be an integral part of UNDP’s new Country Programme work. In effect, the capacity-development component of the proposal will build on the arrangements that Decentralization and Local Development Support Programme, (DLDSP) has already put in place to support the District Local Authorities in Hadebo and Qalansiya. DLDSP is also supporting the formulation of the National Decentralization Strategy, whose main objective is to clarify mandates, functional assignments and required institutional arrangements at the sub-national level of governance. In view of the fact that the decentralization project is expected to be extended, with a wider scope of interventions, from 2009 onwards, the Socotra project provides UNDP with an opportunity to pilot the new consolidated local governance structure.

  4. Socotra provides UNDP and DLDSP an opportunity to pilot the new consolidated local governance structure. In order to achieving its two-fold objective - as indicated in (35) above- Component 1 will focus on the following four areas of intervention:

  • Support the GoY in the design, launch and activation of new institutional arrangements for sustainable island-wide development. Such arrangements will entail not only the set-up of an island-wide authority -as indicated in (35) above-, but the activation of appropriate coordination mechanisms between such authority and concerned international, central and local stakeholders. Thus, the island-wide authority ought to (i) be responsive to international commitments in the event of Socotra’s designation as a World Heritage Site and (ii) ensure that decision-making at the central as well as the district levels are adequately informed by environmental and bio-diversity considerations. For the purpose of facilitating coordination between the island-wide authority and the central government, the project will assess, based on the experiences and set-up of the SCDP Sana’a liaison offices during its first year, the feasibility of setting up a small technical unit at the central level (possibly at the Ministry of Water and the Environment) with a clearly articulated support function. Such a unit might also play an important advocacy role by drawing on its technical expertise to draw the attention of international, national and/or local stakeholders to environmental and developmental challenges that need to be addressed in Socotra. If such an arrangement is found to be feasible, the activation of the unit will be supported by the project through the concerned national counterparts.

  • Support the streamlining of functions and tasks that are currently under the umbrella of EPA’s branch in Socotra, while capitalizing on the know-how and experience gained by SCDP-EPA’s local staff working on developmental and environmental issues. It is envisaged that many of the tasks that are currently carried out by SCDP-EPA will be transferred to the island-wide authority, to the district administrations and specialized agencies/NGOs. The project will also seek to support EPA in strengthening its monitoring and supervision mechanisms, and its ability to collect licenses, fees and fines as stipulated in relevant regulations. Financial transfer mechanisms, so as to ensure the sustainability of EPA’s operations, will also be addressed by this component of the project.

  • Support the GoY in the implementation of the institutional reforms called for by the National Decentralization Strategy (currently under discussion) in the Districts of Hadibo and Qalansiya: activation of newly-devolved functions, realignment of organizational structures, and streamlining of internal processes. Such support will be provided in a manner that is sensitive to (the proposed) Socotra’s island-wide governance structure. Together with national and local counterparts, the project will work to ensure that there is a clear division of labor between the island-wide and the district administrations, and that required coordination mechanisms are well-defined and in place once the new structures are activated.

  • Support the development of the two district administrations’ capacities to mobilize local resources, manage public expenditure and assets, improve service delivery undertake urban/town management and promote sustainable local economic development (particularly, but not exclusively, through the promotion of sustainable tourism), in line with environmental regulations and international commitments.

Component 2: Mainstreaming Tools

43 A key element of the component of the project will be to review the existing tools available to integrate biodiversity management considerations into land use planning decisions. The project will working closely with the new local authority and districts to influence strategic processes. The component will also review international biodiversity mainstreaming experiences to fully appreciate the array of available spatial planning tools17. These examples will also serve to raise awareness and build the capacity of local decision-makers.

44 The focus will not be on sophisticated GIS-based tools. The main emphases will be on:

  • Developing guidelines and by-laws to strengthen the operations of the CZP.

  • The perspective of local decision-makers, including a gap analysis for the missing information they need to have in order to undertake multi-criteria analyses accommodating economic, operational and conservation needs. Tools will provide additional planning expertise in the Strategic Planning Cell to provide advice on how to tackle important natural resource management issues such as conservation of natural areas, and how future development decisions should take into account the potential impacts on the environment.

  • Ecosystem response tools

  • Conducting rigorous feasibility and sensitivity tests to reduce the risk of imposing inappropriate tools. Importantly, this will be a participatory process that recognizes the fact decision-makers will be making trade-offs. Community attitude survey tools will be incorporated.

  • With these new tools and techniques, improved management practices will be guided, in order to reach the expected improved compliance to the CZP.

Component 3: Strengthening NGO Advocacy

45 One of the keys to empowering the local communities to protect their traditional rights and natural resources, and to ensure that they have an adequate voice in the planning and development process, is to legitimise their control by providing them with the skills and tools necessary to organise and represent themselves through legal bodies, e.g. NGOs and development associations. The recent announcement that elected officials will head local district councils will increase downward accountability to communities, but it will also increase the need for community representatives to be able to participate in strategic planning and decision-making processes responsibly.

46 The project will work with the local community groups already connected to SCPD to assist their preparation and involvement with representational government. This will include:

  • Exposure to alternative development paradigms

  • Facilitation of stakeholder meetings with the Strategic Planning Cell so all stakeholders understand the process that leads to the trade-offs being made.

  • The application of new methodologies such as SCALE – System-wide Collaborative Action for Livelihoods and the Environment – an approach for broadening development impact. The project will support the SCF in applying the SCALE approach to its operations. SCALE is a process framework and a set of practical tools and techniques that result in enhanced livelihoods, improved governance and increased civil society participation. It uses social change methodologies to achieve widespread and lasting change.

47 The component will also assess the capacity needs of the SCF and undertake the required training and capacity-building to develop the SCF as an Intermediary Support Organisation to provide services catalyzing the start-up of new environment and livelihood-related NGOs and CBOs. The SCF will provide the necessary training, information, and support to enable local NGOs and CBOs to contribute to trade-off debates on behalf of their constituents.

  1. The targeted NGO and CBOs encompass existing groups with whom SCDP- SCF is already working (e.g. women and heritage associations), not yet formally recognized CBOs (pastoralists with whom the SCF-livestock project has already intensive contacts) and other production groups with whom contacts are still to be established (e.g. fisheries associations). It is felt that especially through producers’ groups (pastoralists, fishermen, protected area associations) a real improvement can be made on the conservation of biodiversity (redynamisation of ancient grazing patterms, adherence to a ban on wood-cutting, maintaining the ban on hunting, adherence to use of lobster traps instead of nets etc.).

Component 4: Benefits of Biodiversity Conservation to Local Livelihoods

48 At present there are a number of barriers that make it difficult for local communities, individuals and SMEs to benefit from the rich biodiversity on the island, thus greatly limiting their interest in its conservation and management.

49 This holds in particular for the marketing of plants and other natural products, presently inhibited because of export regulations, that do not foster Access Benefit Sharing (ABS) 18. Whereas nurseries on Socotra produce thousands of seedlings of dragonblood trees and Socotra figs (Dorstenia gigas) that fetch considerable prices at an international level, no sale of these plants (e.g. to tourists) is presently possible. A legal study will be initiated to prepare the necessary amendments to the present regulations, aiming at a regulated commercialisation based on a proper certification19. Where local benefits can be developed on a commercial basis through the private sector, e.g. drugs from medicinal plants, cosmetics etc. from aloes, or resurrected uses for the resin from Dragon’s Blood Trees, the project will also undertake necessary market analyses and affordability assessments. It will also apply UNDP-GEF’s guidance “Local Business for Global Biodiversity Conservation: small business development strategies in biodiversity projects” before assisting to establish any SMEs20.

50 Another barrier that will be addressed by the present project is related with tourism, where most benefits arrive either at an international or national level, but only too a very limited extend at the local rural area, thus providing only limited incentives to communities to the management of the islands’ protected areas . Taxing visiting international tourists (e.g. through an additional levied on airplane tickets), will be looked into, as needs clear regulations that assure that revenues are funnelled into the management of protected areas and tourism.

51 The project will test incentives mechanisms for changes in resource consumption patterns. This will require the undertaking of detailed social assessments in order to improve understanding of local communities’ resource access, use and needs. Guidelines will be developed to ensure the links between local benefits and biodiversity outcomes are examined and monitored.

52 The project will highlight the range of monetary and non-monetary benefits (as set out in the CBD Bonn Guidelines) that can be received from biodiversity resources.

Global Environmental Benefits

53 Few biodiversity gains are anticipated from this project, for Socotra is not currently experiencing any significant biodiversity loss. Only in small, though rapidly increasing areas, has physical change begun to be discernable. The project is about prevention – prevention of biodiversity loss accompanying future development (‘pre-emptive conservation’). It aims to put in place mechanisms that ensure that the long-term development on the islands is sympathetic and sustainable and does not lead to loss of its unique biodiversity. As such, indicators have been designed to demonstrate that the elements of the Mainstreaming Framework are functioning. The assumption is that the functioning Mainstreaming Framework will achieve lasting biodiversity impacts at limited (opportunity) costs.

54 Socotra is a unique archipelago with high biodiversity values that are internationally recognised. Through a number of actions, such as Socotra’s 2007 submission for nomination as a World Heritage Site, the GoY has committed itself to the protection of the archipelago’s biodiversity values. However, due to a number of governance and institutional capacity constraints, the government has found it difficult to operationalise its commitment. As a result, Socotra’s globally significant biodiversity remains at threat.

55 The impact of this project will be to create a framework that internalizes biodiversity considerations into the ongoing development of Socotra. While it is recognized that trade-offs will be made and not all of Socotra’s biodiversity can be protected, the project will allow informed decisions to be made by capable strategic planners and local resource users that acknowledge the global and local benefits of biodiversity. While the final decisions of democratically elected representatives cannot be predicted, it is expected that the impact of this mainstreaming approach will be not only the maintenance of Socotra’s globally significant biodiversity values, but the maximization of biodiversity benefits for Socotris.

  1. Describe the consistency of the project with national priorities/plans:

56 Socotra has been recognized by the GoY as the country’s principal conservation area that receives frequent (international) attention and as such plays an important nursery function for decision makers. Moreover, the practical experiences and achievements of EPA-SCDP has given valuable lessons to managers and communities from other (mainland) Yemeni conservation areas (e.g. Hawf, Bura’a and Aden wetlands). The GoY has high expectations that the proposed Socotra mainstreaming project will guide spatial planning in other (conservation) areas as well. The proposal was agreed as Yemen’s top biodiversity RAF priority in a meeting of the Minister of Environment, OFP, UN Resident Coordinator and GEF regional representatives of the three Implementing Agencies on 4 February 2007. It was subsequently confirmed during the OFP’s teleconference with GEFSEC in April 2007. The priority of the GoY for this project is further reflected by the 2008 national budget in which 150 000 USD (cash) of the overall GoY’s 750 000 USD contribution to this initiative is inscribed.

57 The GoY agreed to UNESCO declaring the Socotra archipelago a Man and Biosphere Reserve in July 2003 and has submitted its candidature for inscription as natural Word Heritage Site in February 2007, evaluated on the ground by IUCN, with high level attention by the prime minister and various ministers, in November 2007. A decision by UNESCO is expected by July 2008.

58 The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan was adopted by the Cabinet in January 2004. The strategy calls for a sustainable and decent standard of living for the Yemeni people while respecting the limits of nature and the integrity of creation. The strategy and action plan aims to conserve Yemen’s ecosystems by developing and maintaining a comprehensive and adequate network of protected areas This will be supported by a number of other key actions including an effective coordinating management mechanism; adequately funded management plans; an improved information system; the conservation and rehabilitation of key endangered species; implementation of community-based in-situ conservation programmes of key endangered flora and fauna; improved knowledge and understanding of species and ecosystems; effective control and monitoring systems; and a legislative framework for the trade, use, and control of alien invasive species.

59 The Environment Protection Law (1995) is the primary piece of Yemeni legislation relating to the environment. Article 5 establishes the Environment Protection Council that subsequently became the Environmental Protection Authority; Article 8 instructs land-use planners to “take into consideration the environmental factors whenever they prepare and implement land-use planning”.

60 An important constitutional amendment was ratified in 2001 reaffirming the commitment of the people of Yemen to environment protection. Article (35) of the constitution states: “the protection of the environment is the responsibility of the state and society and is a national and religious obligation for every citizen”.

61 The Second Five-Year Plan (2001-2005), which is the latest approved plan, adopted interventions including:

  • Restructuring of the environment-related agencies, strengthening their relations and coordination, activating the role of its institutions, and completing issuing the necessary laws and regulations that seek to protect the environment.

  • Adopting the environment as a principal variable for all investment decisions, production and consumption, as well as incorporating its domains in programmes and activities in order to position it as a basic determinant in the planning process.

  • Activating programmes for natural conservation parks and regions as well as preserving biodiversity.

  • Advancing environmental awareness and culture campaigns addressing environmental issues while involving the private sector, NGOs and local councils in taking responsibility of environmental protection and ensuring requirements for environmental safety.

  • Upgrading skills and capacities of those working in environmental protection and administration, and establishing an environmental protection fund to provide the necessary resources to combat contamination and to finance preventive programmes.”

62 Yemen’s governance structure generally operates at three levels:

  • Central (Sana’a) – the Executive Branch consisting of directly elected President, appointed vice-president, prime minister and deputy prime ministers and the appointed Council of Ministers. Also includes the line Ministries (Health, Education, Water, Electricity, Agriculture, Public Works) and administrative Ministries (Finance, Planning, Civil Service, Local Administration). Central Authorities, such as the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) can be created with direct powers and budgets to operate on-the-ground.

  • Governorates – there are currently 22 governorates. Each governorate has an appointed Governor, Elected Council, Administration and Executive Organs (which provide sector services). After the September 2006 elections, the President announced his intention for Governors to be elected in the future. Socotra falls under the Hadramawt Governorate, the largest governorate in Yemen. The governorate’s capital is Al Mukalla, a port city on the southern coast of mainland Yemen, situated approximately 500 km from Socotra with which it is connected by a bi-weekly airline connection.

  • Local Districts – there are currently 333 districts. Each district has an equivalent structure to the governorate, headed by an appointed District Director. After the September 2006 elections, the President announced that the new District Councils will be headed by elected district directors. This is expected to take place by the end of the year. There are two districts on Socotra - Hadibo and Qualansiyah.

63 Yemen has embarked on a process of decentralization, with the promulgation of the Local Authority Law in August 2000 (Law No.4, 2000). This Law was implemented in February 2001 when governorate & district council elections were held for the first time in Yemen’s history. Subsequent elections have been held in September 2006. The Local Authority Law seeks to decentralize the Yemeni government politically, administratively & fiscally by restructuring the distribution of mandates, functions and budgetary resources between the local and central government thereby increasing local administrative and budgetary autonomy. Prior to 1999, fiscal allocations were controlled tightly by the central government and channelled through central ministries/entities, creating delays and inefficiency in the implementation of local development projects and resulting in inflated costs. Most revenues raised at the local level through taxes and fees were transferred to the central government and disbursed through central ministries and in a few cases, through their de-concentrated branches at the local level. The new Law provides that local authorities raise their own revenues in addition to central revenues but keep the former and allocate it only for investment purposes at the local level. The Law also consolidates local authority for planning, development, and administration into one elected body – the District Local Authority – the Administrative Unit.

64 The first mainstreaming tool developed for Socotra was a 10-year development Master Plan for the Socotra Archipelago. In 1996, the GoY declared Socotra as a special natural area in urgent need of protection through Government Decree IV. This Decree also called for assistance to formulate a Master Plan for Development of the Socotra Archipelago.

65 The Yemeni Island Promotion and Development Authority is a body established primarily to develop and promote the islands of the Red Sea and Socotra for tourism. It is supposed to help in planning and implementation of development by the private sector but its mandate appears to be already covered by other Ministries and such conflict tends to render it ineffective.

  1. Describe the consistency of the project with gef strategies and strategic programs:

66 The proposal is consistent with the GEF-4 Biodiversity Strategic Objective 2: ‘To Mainstream Biodiversity in Production Landscapes/Seascapes and Sectors’, specifically under Strategic Program 4: Strengthening the Policy and Regulatory Framework for Mainstreaming Biodiversity. Planned interventions aim to overcome the identified constraining factors of poor governance and weak capacity. The project will ensure that biodiversity considerations are effectively internalized into the planning and management processes of the Socotra archipelago. At the same time, the project will strengthen incentives for development businesses on Socotra to integrate biodiversity considerations. The project design builds on the STAP guidance for mainstreaming and follows the approach set out in GEF Working Paper 20 Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Production Landscapes 2005. Additional guides have been used to adapt a Mainstreaming Framework specifically for Socotra21.

  1. Outline the Coordination with other related initiatives:

67 Under the GEF project approved in 1997 titled Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biodiversity of Socotra Archipelago, which became the Socotra Conservation and Development Programme (SCDP), a second important mainstreaming tool was developed. A Conservation Zoning Plan was finalised in October 1999. The GoY approved the CZP in April 2000, by Prime Ministerial Decree, and then ratified the decision by Presidential Decree No. 275 in September 2000. The Socotra Archipelago became the first Protected Area declared in Yemen. The CZP focuses on the preservation of existing traditional uses and practices of the local Socotri communities to ensure future sustainable use of natural resources. In most cases, traditional practices are highly compatible with the objectives of biodiversity conservation. The close link between the need to preserve traditional practices of the local communities and the objectives of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use receive full support in the CZP and at the local level. The CZP incorporates a set of explanatory maps and illustrations, and creates several key zones in Socotra:

  • Resource Use Zone: includes areas managed to ensure long-term protection of the unique biological diversity of Socotra Archipelago, while at the same time providing a sustainable flow of natural products and services to meet community needs through traditional practices. Such practices are enforced effectively by the community itself, and are large enough to absorb natural resource uses without detriment to overall long-term natural values. For the marine component, all waters within the 12 nautical miles around the archipelago form the Resource Use Zone. [Approximate total area covered (terrestrial) – 890 km2; percentage of total land area – 24%; approximate total area covered (marine) – 16,498 km2]. Its objectives are to:

  1. To protect and maintain the unique biological diversity of Socotra Archipelago, as well as other natural, cultural and landscape values of the area in the long-term.

  2. To maintain and, if appropriate, contribute to the improvement and strengthening of existing traditional management practices for the sustainable use of natural resources.

  3. To protect the natural resource base from being alienated for other land and resource use purposes that would be detrimental to the unique biological diversity, and to the subsistence of the local community who relies on it.

  • General Use Zone: Set within (accounting for c.6 % of) the Resource Use Zone, the General Use Zones include sites where a significant level of habitat modification and/or resource exploitation has already occurred or is required to support essential economic interests of the community of the archipelago. [Approximate total area covered (terrestrial) – 55 km2; percentage of total land area – 1.4%; approximate total Area covered (marine) – 1 km2]. Its objectives are to:

  1. To allow for the development of essential infrastructure required to improve the standard of living of the local community (i.e. roads, power lines, transportation & health facilities, etc.).

  2. To focus infrastructure & commercial development efforts in suitable areas, thus limiting damage to the environment to an acceptable level.

  3. To regulate and guide infrastructure and commercial development, so as to minimize environmental damage to neighbouring protected areas and natural landscapes as well as to minimize negative impact on natural terrestrial and marine habitats (i.e. compulsory Environmental Impact Assessment, Coastal Zone development guidelines).

  • National Park Zone: Natural areas of land and sea, designated to: (a) protect the ecological integrity of the unique ecosystems of Socotra Archipelago for present and future generations; (b) exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the objectives of conservation of biodiversity and of the preservation of natural landscapes and; (c) provide foundation for scientific, educational, recreational, and physical opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and culturally compatible. [Approximate total area covered (terrestrial) – 2,748 km2; percentage of total land area – 73%; approximate total area covered (marine) – 1,514 km2]. Its objectives are to:

  1. To protect the unique natural habitats and landscapes of the Socotra Archipelago that are of high international and national significance for scientific, educational, recreational or ecotourism development purposes.

  2. To support the needs of the local community and subsistence resource users in particular, insofar as this will not adversely affect the objectives of biodiversity conservation.

  3. To perpetuate, in as natural a state as possible, representative examples of the unique biotic communities, genetic resources, and species found in the Socotra Archipelago and to provide ecological stability and maintain biodiversity.

  4. To manage visitor use for educational, cultural and recreational purposes at a level that will maintain the area in the current natural or near-natural state.

The National Park areas encompass Areas of Special Botanical Interest. These contain the highest concentration of rare and endemic plants of the archipelago, including such species as the dragon’s blood (Dracaena cinnabari), the various frankincense species (Boswellia spp.), Begonia socotrana and Dorstenia gigas (see 25 above). Special attention is paid to the conservation of this unique heritage by assigning priority to the management and protection of these areas. A major problem is the lack of regeneration of several species, attributed to a high and permanent grazing pressure, that used to fluctuate much more in the past. Other areas of high conservation importance for key zoological groups fall within the boundary of the National Park, and will be mapped in detail later.

  • Nature Sanctuary Zone: These are areas of unmodified or slightly modified land and sea that retain their natural character and influence without permanent or significant human habitation that will be protected and managed so as to preserve natural or near-natural natural conditions. These sites are strategically located for the recruitment of plants and animals into other areas through the dispersal of seeds, eggs, and larvae by wind and water. These areas also host important breeding areas. Nature Sanctuaries are susceptible to degradation by natural events or human activities, and the risk of irreversible environmental damage is high unless the site is strictly protected. [Approximate total area covered (terrestrial) – 95 km2; percentage on total land area – 3%; approximate total area covered (marine) – 154 km2.] Its objectives are to:

  1. To preserve unique landscapes as well as rare and fragile habitats, ecosystems, and species in as undisturbed a state as possible.

  2. To ensure that future generations have the opportunity to experience understanding and enjoyment of areas that have been largely undisturbed by human activity over long periods of time.

  3. To maintain the essential natural attributes and qualities of the environment over the long term.

  4. To enable the local community living at low density and in balance with the available resources to maintain their lifestyles.

68 UNDP supports the decentralization process through the Decentralization and Local Development Support Programme (DLDSP), executed by the UNCDF. The project provides support to 48 Districts in 8 Governorates, specifically to help build the capacity of the District Local Authorities (consisting of the elected local councils, their administration, and the executive agencies of the line ministries) in public expenditure and asset management with the overall goal of alleviating poverty through local development.

69 DLDSP provides support to the Ministry of Local Administration (MoLA) to initiate the implementation of a restructuring and capacity development strategy and ensure the ministry provides critical base support to local authorities. At the policy level, the DLDSP provides support to the Government GoY in close coordination with MoLA on the development of the National Decentralization Strategy for Strengthening Decentralization and its implementation program to be launched in 2008. The National Strategy addresses the following policy issues:

  • The reform of the policy and regulatory framework of the local authority system encompassing fiscal & sector decentralization as well as local level civil service policies.

  • The clarification of mandates and functional assignments for each levels of governance (central, governorate and district) and the alignment of relationships within and between each level

  • The restructuring of institutional structures at the governorate and district levels to ensure relevance to mandate and function

  • The introduction of the necessary capacities at each level to ensure effective and efficient operations and the achievement sustainable local development which is the ultimate objective of decentralized governance

70 The Decentralisation and Local Development Support Project (DLDSP) does provide some support to build the competence of the two district local authorities which are nominally responsible for service delivery. The capacity development program provided by the DLDSP, in close collaboration with SCDP, includes, integrated-program based planning and budgeting as well as implementation including procurement, financial management, and supervision of project implementation and monitoring. In addition, the DLDSP is providing basic administrative capacity development to both district local authorities. SCDP, with technical backstopping of GTZ and funding of the Hadramout governorate, supports the solid waste collection system, implemented by the local district authorities. This represents the only significant support for decentralized governance on Socotra. Specific DLDSP support to Hadibo and Qualansiyah includes:

  • Working with the relevant authorities to fill technical and administrative staffing gaps and activation of district administrative departments and executive organs

  • Capacity development of district administrative Diwan departments in basic administrative skills

  • Capacity development of the district local authority in public expenditure and asset management (PEM)

  • Refining the outcome of district development plans and investment programs to achieve improved services, expanded public infrastructure and the effective promotion of local economic development to meet national development targets and the MDGs.

71 DLDSP support to the Hadramout Governorate includes:

  • Fine-tuning the scope of responsibility of the governorate local authority and realign and activate its departments to effectively perform this function

  • Accurately defining and activating the support function of the governorate local authority towards its districts

  • Enhancing public expenditure management capacity of the governorate and develop its capacity in integrative planning (between its districts) and strategic planning for governorate level socioeconomic development.

72 The present initiative will operate in tandem with SCDP-EPA, and benefit greatly from its facilitating role regarding conservation and development at the local, Socotra as well national level. The ongoing collaboration between the SCDP with the DLDSP will be intensified. A coordinator will be appointed, reporting supervising the DLDSP facilitation teams on the island and reporting to SCDP-EPA. The initiative will also benefit from SCDP’s role in facilitating exchanges amongst the national protected areas network.

  1. Describe the incremental reasoning of the project:

73 In the absence of GEF intervention, UNDP and the GoY, will not undertake the component 1 project and will not support the development of an island-wide governance structure. Therefore the planning process for the archipelago will continue to be fragmented with various agencies vying for control and, given the weakness of the local government structures and the apparent indifference those at the Governorate level, most of the significant decisions will continue to be taken at the central level in Sana’a. As a result, spatial planning will remain ad hoc and vulnerable to opaque decisions that serve the interests of the well-connected at the expense of the Socotris and Socotra’s biodiversity values. Mainstreaming of biodiversity considerations will be almost impossible. SCDP will remain on the periphery of development decision-making and will on be able to react to poor decisions in the confrontational manner it has had to adopt to date. Trade-offs involving globally significant biodiversity values will be made without full information of the biodiversity values and little appreciation of how local Socotris could benefit from those values. Irreplaceable biodiversity values will be lost, probably unnecessarily, and the losses will undermine ecosystem function and services, thus diminishing any short-term development gains achieved.

74 The SCDP will continue to do good work. However, differences of opinion between the donors on the direction SCDP should take are already limiting the SCDP’s impact. SCDP’s extension into service delivery beyond the mandate of EPA will also limit its sustainability. Community development activities will continue to be undertaken without measuring the link between this community assistance and biodiversity outcomes, or how such assistance can be used to foster increased support for the CZP. The DLDSP will continue to provide support to the two districts on Socotra, however its support will focus more the establishment of budgetary controls and fiscal management. DLDSP will not take a specific focus on Socotra with the GEF intervention.

  1. Indicate risks, including climate change risks, that might prevent the project objective(s) from being achieved and outline risk management measures:

    Risk description

    Risk Rating

    Risk Mitigation Strategy

    Present strong and high-level government commitment to decentralisation is not sustained


    Decentralisation is a major component of UNDAF and programmes of other partners and will receive strong influence on the GOY to keep this high on the agenda

    Non-commitment on the part of Governments and donors to financially back the decentralization process


    UNDP committed considerable resources in its 2007 – 2011 UNDAF into the decentralization process. Other donors are following this example.

    Non-acceptance on the part of the Government to endorse proposed regulations and bylaws (on ABS, taxing, etc)


    There is a strong commitment of the GoY (also expressed by the Feb. 2008 Cabinet Decrees, see annex) to accommodate such regulations. The proposed project builds on this commitment.

    Non-acceptance of the creation of a single island-wide administration


    Ongoing efforts to increase the international profile of Socotra (e.g. World Heritage Site nomination). Continued lobbying of SCDP and its partners (including high ranking governmental officials, embassies, etc).

    Slow and limited staffing and budgeting of the new island-wide administration


    The formulation of a parallel project (DLDSP – SCDP) with a foreseen budget of 1 million $US, will provide specific incentives and assistance for the creation and functioning of this island-wide administration

    Acceptance of the importance of biodiversity and the Conservation Zoning Plan as basis for spatial planning on Socotra


    Ongoing efforts of SCDP-EPA, in the field of Conservation – Development. Efforts to increase the international profile of Socotra (see above)

    Local communities are aware of the importance of biodiversity on Socotra and mobilized to influence local administration’s decision in this regard


    The project puts considerable resources into the strengthening of the capacity of SCF to catalyse integrated Conservation and Development on Socotra.

    Climate change is projected to reduce considerably the extend of sub-humid habitat of Socotra where a large number of endemic species can be found, including the dragon blood tree 22


    The reinforced implementation of the CZP will be important in mitigating at least some of the impacts of climate change. A research programme is under formulation by Edinburgh Botanic Garden to assist EPA in formulating mitigation measures, including the extension of protected areas over several altitude – climate classes, allowing migration of species in times of aridification.

  2. explain how cost-effectiveness is reflected in the project design:

75 The proposed project is based on a pre-emptive approach, organising and streamlining the spatial planning on Socotra, replacing the present defensive approach that only reacts upon (major) breaches of the Conservation Zoning Plan. The present ‘fire-fighting’ approach that has been tried over the last few years has proven to be costly as shown in 2003 when a stretch of 12 km of tarmac road had to abandoned as it would pass through a nature sanctuary, at an estimated cost of 15 m US$. Moreover the accumulation of minor breaches, that did not allow a large-scale mobilisation, have shown to have an important impact on the environment, with losses of habitat of several key endemic species, and reduction in eco-tourism potential that are difficult to quantify at this stage.

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