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Midterm evaluation report ‘Green Coast: impressive performance'

18-Jan-2007

When the Green Coast project was about half way, the four partners Wetlands International, WWF, Both Ends and IUCN decided it was time to review and look ahead. What has the Green Coast approach achi...

When the Green Coast project was about half way, the four partners Wetlands International, WWF, Both Ends and IUCN decided it was time to review and look ahead. What has the Green Coast approach achieved so far? What are the concrete results for coastal communities? Are there already lessons to be learned? Is the Green Coast concept replicable in other coastal regions? Is Green Coast worth a second phase and, if yes, what should that look like?

Independent evaluators

Many questions, a lot of answers and some assumptions. The four partners in the Netherlands issued a midterm evaluation, and identified three independent and experienced consultants to do the job. Roel Slootweg (The Netherlands) and Asha Rajvanshi (India) visited project locations in Sri Lanka and India, and interviewed stakeholders within government, donor and relief agencies and NGOs. Hilde Janssen (Indonesia) traveled to Aceh and Nias where she did the same job.

Better performance

The evaluation team presented its findings and recommendations in November 2006. Conclusion: the Green Coast project performs remarkably better than many other post-tsunami activities. It does not aim at rapid spending to create visible results. It strongly involves local beneficiaries and, contrary to many other relief initiatives, makes active use of local capacities in the region. Moreover, though other projects are also active at the cutting edge of livelihood and ecological restoration, Green Coast has a long term perspective and uses an approach which generates better results. 

Very proud

Of course the team also noted difficulties and constraints, encountered by local partners when implementing the project components. These are the lessons to be learned. Yet after more than a year of working together in Green Coast, the project partners and especially Wetlands International as leading agency, are very proud of the results achieved. The Green Coast approach seems to offer an answer to the global problem of ecologically degraded coasts and the urgency to build resilient communities.

Some of the main conclusions:

1)  Green Coast has, in a relatively short period of time, produced an impressive output of visible results contributing to the restoration of livelihoods of people hit by the tsunami, combined with an innovative approach to restore coastal ecosystems and landscapes in a sustainable manner. 

2)  The approach followed by the Green Coast project to distribute funds through a small grants facility is a very effective means to reach out to local communities hit by the tsunami and to have these communities actively participate in, and benefit from rehabilitation activities. 

3)  The Green Coast project makes a strong case of restoring the environmental damage done by tsunami as well as post-tsunami relief work and pre-tsunami unsustainable developments, where other relief and rehabilitation activities have done significant harm to the environment of coastal areas. 

4)  As scientific evidence for the effectiveness of some relief measures is contradictory, the science-based approach of the Green Coast project is all the more relevant, to distinguish stories from facts.

5)  The design of the Green Coast project is well conceived and innovative. The small grants components and its communities perspective is considered novel and ‘absolutely unique’ in the context of relief work. The project is unique in creating an internationally collaborative effort for adopting a bottom up approach for restoration of ecosystems and livelihoods.

Absolute necessity

When it comes to the timeline of Green Coast, the evaluation team is very clear: ‘Restoration of ecosystems and livelihoods linked to such ecosystems cannot be realistically achieved in a two-years period.’ Collecting ecological and social-economic baseline information is time consuming, but is an absolute necessity. ‘The bulk of the activities simply have not had time to produce sustainable results yet, in terms of livelihood opportunities for local communities’, the report states.

Green Coast phase 2

Therefore the team strongly recommends to continue with Green Coast phase 2. ‘The programme should not be simply abandoned after this phase. It is clear that tangible outputs for the environment and livelihoods have been obtained, but long-term benefits will only be achieved if follow-up activities are possible.’

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