Lake Albert Eastern Catchment Management Initiatives, Uganda – Final Evaluation Report, October 2009
BACKGROUND:The Lake Albert Eastern Catchment Management Initiatives (LAECMI) project was originally designed as a five year Integrated Water Resource Management programme (2004-2008), as part of WWF’s action plan for the Albertine Rift Montane Ecoregion, and in line with the Uganda Water Sector Reform Study of 2005 and other key national natural resource management and development priorities. The project started in November 2004 and ended in December 2009. The project purpose was to establish Mechanisms for integrated water resources management established for at least three rivers draining into the eastern side of Lake Albert by the end of 2008.1, with the goal of Catchment management of Lake Albert's Eastern Catchment conserves water, biodiversity and other natural resources such that ecosystem functions are secured and basic human needs met.2. The key stakeholders included the Ministry of Water and Environment through the Directorate of Water Resources Management(DWRM, set up in 2007) and local government and communities in the districts of Hoima, Masindi, Kibaale and Bulissa) with the main beneficiaries being the people living and working in the three selected sub catchments of Rivers Waki, Nkusi and Wambabya.PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVE:The main purpose of this final evaluation was to assess and review the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of the project in order to conclude if it has delivered its intended benefits and ultimately provided value for money, as well as to provide strategic recommendations to guide WWF’s future work in the Integrated Water Resource Management sector in Uganda.METHODOLOGY:The evaluation was carried out through: Stakeholders interviews with a wide range of government , civil society and private sector project stakeholders; Examination of project activities in the field; Examination of project produced reports and data in the project office; Interviews with WWF project staff and the WWF/ GEF/UNDP funded ”Conservation of Biodiversity in the Albertine Rift Project”.KEY FINDINGS: The project is highly relevant to both WWF African Rift Lakes Priority Area and the Albertine Rift Montane Forest Ecoregion conservation actions and also as a pilot project to the Government of Uganda Water Sector Reform process delivering Integrated Water Resource Management IWRM across the country by 2015.1This purpose was revised after the mid-term review in 200. The initial purpose was stated as ”Facilitates participatory and sustainable integrated natural resources management initiatives for the conservation and sustainable use of freshwater resources, biodiversity and associated natural resources in the eastern part of the Lake Albert catchment for the benefit of local people”2 The goal was revised after the midterm review in 2006. The initial goal was stated as “Develop catchment management in the Eastern Catchment that conserves water, biodiversity and other natural resources such that ecosystem functions are secured and basic human needs met.”The project has made modest progress towards achieving its revised purpose. The project has however effectively raised IWRM awareness and capacity. Project efficiency was reduced by project design inadequacies and the difficulty of securing staff with adequate IWRM capacity. Conservation and livelihoods impacts of the project at this stage are limited at this early stage, but the benefits of this project lie in the long term environmental and developmental impacts of continued IWRM implementation in the catchment areas. Government of Uganda now sees this project as a pilot sub-catchment project, which will inform the national roll out of IWRM. Replicability of the project is therefore very high, but dependant on the effective transfer of experience and lessons learned from the project to DWRM.RECOMMENDATIONS1. Follow up, either through another phase of this project or another project and further support of the pilot sub catchment project is required or project sustainability could be otherwise compromised.2. WWF needs to clarify its future role in the overall IWRM strategy delivery by the Government of Uganda in addition to its conservation actions in the African Rift Lakes Priority Area and the Albertine Rift Montane Forest Ecoregion.3. There is an important need to produce sub-catchment management guidelines, based on project experiences, as a final output that in particular details structural and institutional mechanisms. Project information gathering, residence and dissemination should be focussed upon whether the project is to continue or not.4. The Department of Water Resources Management must be encouraged to participate in this and other IWRM pilots with more strength at the grassroots level and not just at central government level.5. Catchment management capacity at project and government level needs to continue, as IWRM capacity is still not institutionalised.6. Alternatives to exotic tree species planting at riparian forest sites should be explored. Also it is necessary to address the issue of providing alternative early financial/resource returns for stakeholders relinquishing riparian sites whilst slower economic returns e.g. economic trees, are maturing.7. WWF-UCO project management capacity needs strengthening8. As part of the exit strategy the following actions need to be taken without delay: Capture and dissemination of project knowledge (CD/website); Agreements by nominated agencies for continuation of activities as proposed in the Exit Strategy; Preparation of Waki Sub Catchment Management Plan9. Ensure review and finalisation of the Project Exit StrategyCOMMENTS FROM THE ORGANISATION, IF ANY:Following the outcome of the evaluation of this project, WWF-Norway agreed to support a three month extension of this project into 2010 to achieve the following: Roles and responsibilities of the project exit strategy agreed with Government of Uganda Guidelines for introduction of IWRM in Uganda (based on the projects experiences) prepared and distributed to stakeholders Funding proposal for continued WWF IWRM work in Uganda developed CD including all relevant project documentation compiled and distributed to relevant stakeholders Final quality assured management plans for Wambabya, Nkusi and Waki sub-catchments producedWWF-Norway is continuing to support piloting of IWRM in Uganda through the Semuliki River Catchment and Water Resources Management Project, which is drawing on the lessons from the Lake Albert project, while WWF-Uganda are looking to increase its engagement with Government of Uganda in support of a national IWRM roll-out, and sourcing new funding for further IWRM work in the country, including the Lake Albert catchment.