Evaluation Report: African Model Forest Initiative

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Acknowledgements:

The evaluation project team would like to acknowledge the project contributors, in particular those under NRCan’s Canadian Forest Service: Policy, Economics and Industry Branch, as well as everyone who shared essential knowledge and comments for this evaluation report.

Jennifer Hollington, who headed up the evaluation, and Gavin Lemieux, the current director of the Strategic Evaluation Division, as well as his predecessor Gerry Godsoe, also directed the evaluation project team. Olive Kamanyana managed the evaluation project team with assistance from Maria El omari. TDV Global Inc. provided evaluation services.

Executive Summary

Introduction

This report presents the evaluation results for the African Model Forest Initiative (AMFI), a contribution program that is a part of the International Model Forest Network (IMFN) project area under Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Forest Ecosystems Science and Application sub-program 2.3.1. The evaluation covered the 2009-2010 to 2013-2014 period with NRCan’s expenses totaling $13 million over this 5-year period.

The AMFI was launched in 2009 following commitments made by the Government of Canada in 2005, at the Gleneagles G8 Summit, to double its aid to Africa, as well as in 2008, at the Quebec Francophonie Summit, to support initiatives that contribute to responsible and sustainable forest management, and to encourage the expansion of the International Model Forest Network in interested Francophone countries. The main goal of the AMFI is to improve the conservation and sustainable management of forest resources in Francophone Africa, including the Congo Basin and francophone Mediterranean countries (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria).  

The activities funded under the AMFI include strengthening and developing (1) model forests (MFs) and (2) regional MF networks in Africa. These entities follow and promote the principles of good governance, human resource and local economy development and the sustainable management of forest-based landscapes, and therefore contribute to improving forest resource conservation and sustainable management. Activities also include (3) innovation and capacity building, (4) knowledge and communications management, and (5) community sustainability.

Evaluation Issues and Methodology

This evaluation was conducted in accordance with the Financial Administration Act and the Treasury Board’s Policy on EvaluationFootnote 1. The objective of the evaluation was to examine issues related to AMFI relevance and performance, and provide key lessons learned, as appropriate.

The study included a document review, a review of all 31 contribution agreements, 33 interviews with managers of the Initiative, representatives from other government departments and external stakeholders, as well as 3 case studies.

Relevance

The AMFI has contributed to meeting the commitments made by the Canadian government in 2005, at the Gleneagles G8 Summit, to double its aid to Africa, as well as in 2008, at the Quebec Francophonie Summit, to support initiatives that contribute to responsible and sustainable forest management, and to encourage the expansion of the International Model Forest Network in interested Francophone countries.

Since the AMFI is a one-time intervention and is not renewable, its relevance is not further discussed in the body of this report, but rather in Appendix 1.

Performance

The AMFI’s key achievements include:

  • In North Africa, the AMFI helped strengthen the Mediterranean Model Forest Network (MMFN) by launching the development process for three model forests (MFs) in the following three countries:
    • In Morocco, the Ifrane MF, which was accepted as a member of the International Model Forest Network (IMFN) following the finalization of its development process.
    • In Algeria, the Tlemcen MF, which has reached an advanced stage of development.
    • In Tunisia, the Kroumirie-Mogods MF, whose development process was on track, has been on hold since December 2010 due to the political instability impacting the country, following the upheavals commonly known as the “Arab Spring.”
  • In Central Africa (Congo Basin region), the AMFI contributed to the creation of the African Model Forest Network (AMFN) in 2009, the strengthening of two pre-existing MFs and the launch of the development process for seven MFs in the following five countries:
    • In Cameroon, the Campo Ma’an and Dja & Mpomo MFs (IMFN members since 2005) have been strengthened.
    • In Rwanda, the North West MF is in development.
    • In the DRC, the Mayombe, Lake Tumba and South Kivu MFs are in development, while development of the North Kivu MF has been interrupted due to armed conflicts in the region.
    • In the CAR, after securing a strong commitment at the political level, the development process of the Lobaye MF was interrupted following the March 2013 coup and resulting civil war.
    • In Congo, the development process of the Dimonika MF was officially launched by the government in April 2014.
  • It also became clear following completion of the study that the MF and MF regional network structures, whose foundations have been initiated, established or strengthened as a result of the Initiative, are beginning to demonstrate their ability to enter into new collaborations in order to develop and carry out projects that support AMFI objectives. For example, the B-ADAPT project, developed and implemented collaboratively through the Cameroon MFs, has, among other things, contributed to improving the economic conditions of local populations.
  • In terms of visibility, it appears that the initiative helped strengthen the perception of Canada in the target regions as a country making a significant contribution to sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin and Mediterranean region. Significant efforts have been made in this sense by the AMFI, in close collaboration with the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) and the Canadian embassies in the target countries.
  • In terms of efficiency and economy, the financial leveraging of the Initiative is estimated at 41 cents per dollar invested. Of note is that the Initiative’s Terms and Conditions did not anticipate a required threshold with respect to this element.
  • Finally, the evaluation found partial achievement of expected results as no conclusions could be drawn due to the limited data available. The challenge of data gaps is confirmed in similar studies on the impacts of this type of intervention for capacity building.

These achievements cannot be interpreted without taking into account the particular circumstances in which the Initiative was implemented.

Intervention Context for an African Model Forest Initiative (AMFI)

With limited management resources, the AMFI was implemented in a very difficult environment in which several countries in the target regions were undergoing periods of political instability and in which operations were slowed down, due in part to a lack of communications and transport infrastructure, limited local and national governance as well as a limited ability to enforce regulations. Moreover, the Initiative was launched in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and its effects were still apparent, in particular the decrease of available funding for global development. As a result, the ability of certain partners of the Initiative to carry out activities was affected.

Lessons Learned

Synthesis studies of evaluations of programs focused on capacity building have highlighted a number of lessons learned. If NRCan were to consider implementing programs similar to AMFI in the future, the importance of some of these lessons should be reiterated. They include collaborative work with Strategic Evaluation Division, partners and recipient entities in the field to:

  • Define the concept of capacity in a way that takes into account local context and need. The intervention environment is often complex, involving a host of stakeholders—governments, civil society, donors, etc.—hence, the importance of coordinating efforts to jointly understand the intended progression from activities to outcomes, determine baseline data and set realistic goals and timelines.
  • Avoid a cumbersome performance measurement system and ensure that the system balances accountability requirements and management information needs. Accountability enables donors, in particular, to disburse funds in a predictable manner. Management information enables partners/recipients in the field to manage their operations effectively. The system should include a feedback loop to support continuous learning and improvement.
  • Determine, at an early stage, a phase-out plan. In fact, the desired result of development programs is to have a sustained capacity within the recipient country in order for the work to continue without donor support. The plan should be designed and updated based on recipient capacity assessment and monitoring, including in the area of performance monitoring and evaluation.

1. Introduction

As stipulated in the Department’s 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 Evaluation Plan, this report presents the results of the African Model Forest Initiative (AMFI) Evaluation.

Pursuant to the Financial Administration Act and the federal government’s Policy on Evaluation and its Guidelines (2009), the evaluation focused on the Initiative’s key issues of relevance and performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy).

This report is organized as follows: Section 2 provides an overview of the AMFI and its context; Section 3 describes the evaluation’s objective, scope and methodological approach; Section 4 presents the key findings by evaluation question; and Section 5 concludes with the key lessons learned.

2. Description of the AMFI

2.1 Definition of the “Model Forest” (MF) Concept

The MF concept was born in Canada and resulted in the development of an International Model Forest Network (IMFN) in 1992Footnote 2. The MF is a geographical area with a specific collaborative approach to sustainable forest management (SFM). This name was given to long-term and large-scale experiments in forest landscape management that adhere to a set of basic principles and promote environmental, economic and social sustainability. A Model Forest is also a voluntary cooperation association whose membersFootnote 3 represent all of the environmental, social and economic forces with a stake in the chosen land base. Stakeholders work to define a common and locally relevant business vision for sustainable forest management, and work together to make it a concrete reality for their mutual benefit.

Each MF is unique due to its different cultural, geographic, institutional, political and other circumstancesFootnote 4. However, all MFs adhere to common principles that ensure that each site is independent, so that local priorities may be considered and have the necessary attributes for basic domestic and international networking. These principlesFootnote 5 include partnership, a landscape that covers a vast array of forest values, commitment towards sustainability, governance, a program of activities and knowledge-sharing, capacity building and networking.

2.2 Description of the AMFI

The AMFI was launched in April 2009 to strengthen and develop MFs and regional MF networks in Africa following commitments made by the Government of Canada in 2005 at the Gleneagles G8 Summit to double its aid to Africa, as well as in 2008, at the Quebec Francophonie Summit, to support initiatives that contribute to responsible and sustainable forest management, and to encourage the expansion of the International Model Forest Network to interested Francophone countries. Contributions under this program total $15 million, and the funds initially approved for a three-year period were extended in 2011 for a five-year period (2009-2010 to 2013-2014).

The goal of the Initiative is to improve the conservation and sustainable management of forest resources in Francophone Africa, including the Congo Basin and African Mediterranean regions (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria)Footnote 6.

The Initiative is aimed at providing a measurable way to show the commitment of Canada and the regions to supporting good governance, the development of human resources and local economies, as well as the sustainable management of forest landscapes. These goals will be achieved through the following activitiesFootnote 7:

  • MF Development: The purpose of these MFs is to create broad-based sustainable partnerships of local stakeholders that develop strategies and credible objectives for the sustainable development of their communities and surrounding forest landscapes. This activity generates outputs, in particular manuals, training material and other documents, workshop proceedings, and strategic and work plans for the MFs.
  • Regional Network Development: Supporting the development of regional MF networks in each of the two regions through which national MF think tanks can exchange information and innovations to strengthen policies, and regulatory and development frameworks at the community, local and regional levels. Related outputs include: workshop proceedings, establishing relationships with national, sub-national and/or local authorities, concept documents and negotiation proceedings reports.
  • Community Sustainability: Promoting and supporting local alternative activities for economic development, including those for groups of women, which strengthen community development and the sustainable management of local forest resources. This activity generates outputs, including economic development / income-generating projects, market analyses, tools and manuals related to community and economic sustainability.
  • Innovation and Capacity Building: Developing, testing and demonstrating good sustainable forest management practices, promoting participatory action research, and improving community and organizational capacity in the sustainable management of local resources. This activity leads to the following outputs: research projects, manuals, guides, journal articles and other proceedings, workshop and training proceedings.
  • Communications and Knowledge Management: Documenting and sharing the lessons learned for all aspects of the Initiative with other members of the region and the IMFN. This activity leads to a knowledge/information management strategy, communications tools and products, including Web sites.

How these activities are conducted and the outputs they produce will contribute to the expected outcomes presented in the Initiative’s logic model in Appendix 2.

Achieving these outcomes should help contribute to Strategic Outcome 2: “Natural resource sectors and consumers are environmentally responsible” in NRCan’s 2013-2014 Program Alignment Architecture (PAA).

2.3 Program Governance and Administration

The AMFI is administered under NRCan’s International Affairs Division, Policy, Economics and Industry Branch of the Canadian Forest Service (CFS). The governance modelFootnote 8 can be found in Appendix 3.

The Initiative is managed by a policy advisor, assisted since June 2010 by a policy analyst. The Coordinator for the CFS’s Forest Communities Program for the Quebec region also contributed 20% of his time to the AMFI between 2009 and 2012.

The process for an MF to apply to and become a member of the IMFN differs from the process for agreeing to fund their development within the AMFI framework through contribution agreements. This is described in the IMFN CharterFootnote 2.

2.4 Partners and StakeholdersFootnote 9

The AMFI was established through partnerships with various organizations in the form of a combination of in-kind collaborations, signed contracts or contribution agreements.

These organizations include:

  • Existing IMFN MFs, in particular those falling under the Canadian Model Forest Network and the Ibero-American Model Forest Network;
  • Canada-based institutions, such as Université Laval, Cuso International etc., with specific expertise in the regions covered by the AMFI;
  • The various local organizations involved in the development of MF strategic plans, annual work plans and local projects, such as legally registered MFs, stakeholder groups of individual MFs (such as local government agencies, community groups, including women and indigenous populations, NGOs, conservation agencies, etc.), as well as national government entities;
  • Regional organizations such as COMIFAC, AMFN and MMFN, hired for regional activities such as network development, MF development workshops and regional institutional links;
  • International organizations such as the IUCN and ICRAF have close ties with and experience in these regions. They may contribute to long-term sustainability, knowledge sharing and funding; and
  • Intergovernmental organizationsFootnote 10 may help considerably strengthen the Initiative’s ability to generate financial leverage and increase its own and the IMFN’s global visibility.

2.5 Target Recipients

Potential recipients were invited to take part in the AMFI according to their capabilities and ability to contribute to its goals. They were required to submit a detailed project proposal for assessment and, possibly, recommendation for approval. The target recipients are:

  • Canadian provincial, territorial and municipal government organizations;
  • national, provincial or State, or local governments of other countries and intergovernmental organizations;
  • international, national or local non-governmental organizations legally registered in Canada and in other countries.

2.6 Resources

The AMFI’s required resources come entirely from a C-Base fund.

Table 1 below sets out how the AMFI’s forecasted budget is broken down for the 2009-2010 to 2013-2014 period.

Table 1: AMFI 2009-10 to 2013-14 budget
  2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 Total
Salaries & Benefits $108,000 $108,000 $108,000 $0 $0 $324,000
FTE 1 1 1 0 0 1
Operations & Maintenance $730,300 $705,300 $915,300 $0 $0 $2,350,900
Grants & Contributions $1,200,000 $4,175,000 $1,590,000 $3,466,700 $1,858,300 $12,290,00
Premises $11,700 $11,700 $11,700 $0 $0 $35,100
Total $2,050,000 $5,000,000 $2,625,000 $3,466,700 $1,858,300 $15,000,000

Source: Program background documentation

Of note is that, in 2011, when the funds earmarked for the AMFI were extended for a period up to 2013-2014, the change only applied to funds allocated to contributions, which resulted in zero amounts for the other types of expenses for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. 

Actual AMFI expensesFootnote 11 amounting to $13,016,769 are set out in Table 2 below:

Table 2: AMFI expenses for the period from 2009-2010 to 2013-2014
  2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 Total
Salaries & Benefits $82,508 $164,813 $193,504     $440,825
FTE 1 2 2 2 1.3 2Footnote 12
Operations & Maintenance $553,643 $651,343 $473,707     $1,678,693
Grants & Contributions $1,027,460 $2,045,453 $2,664,586 $3,284,597 $1,840,055 $10,862,151
Premises $11,700 $11,700 $11,700     $35,100
TOTAL $1,675,311 $2,873,309 $3,343,497 $3,284,597 $1,840,055 $13,016,769

Source: Data provided by the program and confirmed by NRCan’s financial services on April 29, 2014.

Of note is that the total expenses for managing the AMFI are underestimated. In fact, the total does not include operating expenses for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 fiscal years. These expenses were borne by the Branch responsible for the Initiative.

About 91% of the AMFI’s budget for contribution agreements was indeed pledged for 31 agreements with 19 partners. In terms of the amounts involved, the agreements were entered into primarily (79% of the amount committed) with the following entities:

  • AMFN (AMFN Secretariat) 36%;
  • Cuso International 12%;
  • CESEFOR (MMFN Secretariat) 11%;
  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 11%; and
  • Innu and Lac-St-Jean Forest Communities Development Agency (Lac St-Jean Model Forest) 9%.

The largest financial contribution was entered into with the AMFN Secretariat to support the creation, development and exploitation of an African Model Forest Network. Next is the one entered into with Cuso International to support foreign volunteers working with the local authorities and civil society organizations in the Cameroon MFs, as well as in the DRC and Rwanda as of 2012, to strengthen the governance and accountability of local governmental institutions with respect to sustainable forest management.

The subjects covered by the other agreements include governance issues, the development and implementation of strategic plans and work plans in the model forests, communication activities, etc.

3. Evaluation Objective, Scope and Methodology

3.1 Evaluation Objective and Scope

This evaluation was conducted in accordance with the Financial Administration Act and the Treasury Board’s Policy on EvaluationFootnote 13. The evaluation’s main objective was to examine issues related to the relevance and performanceFootnote 14 of all AMFI activities for the 2009-2010 to 2013-2014 period and to provide key lessons learned, as appropriate.

3.2 Methodology

The data were collected through the following lines of investigation:

  • A document review of nearly 230 documents related to the Initiative, its context, financial information and performance. This review was also completed by Web research on the situation of the forests in the regions targeted by the Initiative, as well as on their best intervention evaluation practices aimed at capacity building.
  • A review of 31 contribution agreements entered into and funded by the AMFI.
  • InterviewsFootnote 15  with 33 key informers to obtain their opinions and observations on the Initiative; and
  • Three case studies covering four MFs in three African countries: Cameroon, Morocco and Rwanda. 

The key informers chosen reflected each group of stakeholders. The groups interviewed are listed in the following table.

Group Number of People Interviewed
Federal Government
NRCan 4
DFATD 2
External Stakeholders
COMIFACFootnote 16 1
CBFPFootnote 17 1
Partner entities in the performance of contribution agreementsFootnote 18 13
Members of target population groups (including women and Aboriginal populations) 8
National governments in the target regions 4

The MFs included in the case studies where chosen in order to be able to explore the application of the many phases of the model forest process, i.e., concept development, implementation, immediate outcomes and medium- and long-term effects, in each of the two regions covered by the Initiative, and in particular in countries with no political instability.

3.3 Limits, Mitigation Strategy and Additional Challenges

The following challenges were encountered during the evaluation:

  • The Initiative’s strategic and operational planning was not sufficiently documented.
  • Limited availability of reference data for the indicators that the Initiative is supposed to influence.
  • Gaps in the availability and quality of the performance data.
  • Implementation of the performance measurement strategy and lack of standardization of project performance reports, limiting the possibility of aggregating performance information.
  • Absence of resources for a field evaluation.

An attempt was made to try to overcome these limits in the evaluation by using several sources of data to answer evaluation questions as fully as possible. However, we were unable to arrive at clear conclusions on how a certain number of outcomes were achieved, in particular the intermediate and final outcomes.

The additional challenges encountered, which are inherent to the very nature of the AMFI and its context, should be added at this point.

In fact, this type of intervention, i.e., development/capacity building, is known for requiring more time for outcomes to materialize and for the difficulties it poses in terms of impact testing. Indeed, synthesis studiesFootnote 19 on the subject are in agreement and raise the same challenge of the limited data available on the medium- and long-term outcomes for this type of intervention, and the need for better-adapted approaches to gauge them. One of these studiesFootnote 20 indicates that these challenges appear to be even greater when measuring the intervention outcomes aimed at capacity building in cooperative associations. Therefore, the task is even more difficult with respect to the AMFI, since the MFs are cooperative associations that also operate in networks, with all of the complexities that this entails.

Furthermore, according to its logic model, the Initiative has set out ambitious goals for itself, especially since it is acting in a context previously known for being extremely difficult, in particular political instability and lack of communications and transportation infrastructures.

Finally, in order to carry out its activities, the Initiative decided to use partners with an on-site presence which, like other stakeholders, pursue the same goals of sustainable forest development. This complicates the attribution of the observed effects to the Initiative’s efforts as opposed to those of the other parties.

4. Evaluation Results and Conclusions

4.1 Relevance

The AMFI has contributed to the commitments made by the Government of Canada in 2005, at the Gleneagles G8 Summit, to double its aid to Africa, as well as in 2008, at the Quebec Francophonie Summit, to support initiatives that contribute to responsible and sustainable forest management, and to encourage the expansion of the International Model Forest Network in interested Francophone countries. Since the AMFI is a one-time intervention and is not renewable, its relevance is not further discussed in the body of this report, but rather in appendix 1.

4.2 Performance - Effectiveness

This sub-section discusses first and foremost the internal and external factors that influenced the implementation of the Initiative, in order to illustrate the particularly difficult conditions in the regions involved and thereby set the context for the Initiative’s subsequent immediate, intermediate and final outcomes.

Evaluation Question: What are the factors (internal and external) that have facilitated or hindered the achievement of expected results?

Analysis:

Facilitating Factors:

Internal:

  • The document review and responses from several interviewees revealed that community-based approaches for the sustainable development of natural resources, such as the one promoted by the AMFI, are greeted with enthusiasm and support by the different players.
  • The dataFootnote 21 also indicate that strong leadership is essential for the success of the MF development process, given that governance involves several parties and objectives.
  • The document review revealed that the key element of success is cooperation with players with experience in the MF development process in other contexts.

External:

  • A few interviewees representing national governments mentioned the alignment of the Initiative’s objectives with the priorities of the governments of the regions involved. The document review also confirmed this alignment with the priorities of the regional authorities in charge of forests.
  • The data indicate that there are a large number of other entities that support, among other things, capacity building in sustainable development in Africa. This attests to the strong need for this type of intervention in Africa.

Hindering Factors:

Internal:

  • Resources dedicated to the management of the Initiative by NRCan/CFS are limited to two FTEs funded during the last two years out of the budget voted by the Branch to which it reports. It has been reported that the absence of an operating budget during the last two years of the Initiative limited the Initiative’s ability to conduct post-project follow-up of the longer-term outcomes and to carry out a periodic consolidation of the performance data. Moreover, the limits imposed on NRCan’s travel budget as of 2009-2010 curtailed the program’s ability to carry out field monitoring.

External:

  • The data indicate that political instability in a third of the countries where the program has been deployed, in particular in the Central African Republic, DRC and Tunisia (Arab Spring), greatly hindered the program’s implementation.
  • The interviews reveal that a lack of communications and transportation infrastructure, limited local and national governance, and limited ability to enforce legislation in the target countries is hindering the Initiative’s implementation.
  • The interviews reveal that the 2008 financial crisis led to a decrease in the funds available for global development. This was felt especially by the MMFN, which is largely funded by the European Union. For example, the budget of the Spanish provincial ministry that hosts the MMFN’s secretariat was reduced by 50% between 2009 and 2013. This greatly affected the ability of this partnership to deliver activities.

Evaluation Question: To what extent have immediate intended outcomes been achieved as a result of the AMFI’s activities?

Immediate Outcome #1: MFs that are meeting the IMFN’s Principles and Attributes.

Summary:

The evidence shows that a model forest has been established in the province of Ifrane, Morocco. Furthermore, at the time of the evaluation, there were an additional nine MFs at different levels of development in six other countries. The AMFI also strengthened the two pre-existing MFs in Cameroon, which means that the IMFN’s principles and attributes continue to be met.

Analysis:

In 2009, activities to develop the Ifrane MF began under the MMFN, which was accepted as a member of the IMFN in October 2011.

At the time of the evaluation, progress was noticed in the establishment of six MFs at different levels of development in four countriesFootnote 22, whereas three other MFs are on hold due to political instability in the host countries.

Progress in model forest development is summarized in Table 3 below:

Table 3: Development of new Model Forests supported by the AMFI
Model Forest under construction Start-up year Familiarization with the approach Choice of MF location Identification of the initial group of stakeholders Organization of MF development workshops Preparation of the MF strategic plan Preparation of annual work plans Submission of application to the IMFN IMFN membership
North West (Gishwati), Rwanda 2011        
Dimonika, Congo 2014            
Mayombe, DRC 2010      
Lake Tumba (Equator), DRC 2010      
North Kivu,
DRC
2010 Interrupted due to political instability
South Kivu
(Mont Biega), DRC
2012          
Lobaye, DRC 2012 Cancelled due to political instability and civil war
Ifrane, Morocco 2009
Tlemcen, Algeria 2010    
Kroumirie and Mogods, Tunisia 2009 Interrupted since 2011-12 due to political situation – Arab Spring.  

Moreover, the two pre-existing MFs in Cameroon (2005) were reinforced by the AMFI, and continued compliance with the IMFN’s principles and attributes was evaluated by a Canadian High Commission mission in Cameroon in 2011, giving rise to adjustments.

Of note is that the data gathered show that the activities of the funded projects resulted in a large number of outputs aimed at achieving this outcome.

Immediate Outcome #2: Establishing regional networks of MFs.

Summary:

The AMFN was created in 2009 and expanded primarily thanks to AMFI support. Although the MMFN was created prior to the AMFI in 2008, the AMFI contributed to its development and establishment in the African Mediterranean region.

Analysis:

The dataFootnote 23 indicate that these two networks, the AMFN and the MMFN, are active and entering into numerous collaborations with governmental and non-governmental organizations working in the target regions. The joint projects are also an indication of their potential staying power.

The AMFN, launched in Quebec, but whose head office is located in Yaoundé, Cameroon, was created in 2009. Its governance structure is functional. Board of Directors’ meetings are held and minutes recording decisions are filed. The Network is active. Annual reports produced for the periodsFootnote 24 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 show the existence of activities.

The MMFN was launched in 2008 based on a Protocol for Collaboration between the IMFN secretariat, the regional government of Castille-Leon, Spain, as the host of the MMFN secretariat, as well as a dozen national and regional governments (equivalent to provinces in Canada) around the Mediterranean. Between 2009 and 2014, namely the AMFI period, the MMFN increased from one to five model forests with technical support from the MMFN and IMFN secretariats.

The two regional networks organized several events, including their annual meetings. The MMFN held meetings in March 2009 (Spain), June 2010 (Morocco), November 2011 (France), November 2012 (Turkey), and November 2013 (Italy), whereas the AMFN held meetings in 2011 and 2012, and also organized the African Model Forest Conference in March 2013, which generated significant visibility in the region.

The dataFootnote 25 indicate numerous formal and informal collaborations with other IMFN members. The AMFN and the MMFN have both worked together on projects with the Canadian Model Forest Network. For example, the AMFN benefitted from the Lac St-Jean Model Forest experience (through the Innu and Lac-St-Jean Forest Communities Development Agency) when developing knowledge-sharing and economic development projectsFootnote 26. The AMFN also collaborated with the Ibero-American Model Forest Network through the “South-South Exchange” or “AMFN-IAMFN Collaborative Management for Empowerment of Leadership Teams” projects.

Other collaborative agreements have also been signed by both the MMFN and the AMFN with other entities involved in the target regions. For example:

  • Collaborative Partnership on Mediterranean Forests, launched in 2010, includes the following institutions: MMFN, FAO, GTZ, MAAP, IAMF, ONF-I, WWF MedPO and Plan Bleu, EFIMED and IUCN-Med. The goal of this partnership is joint capacity building for the implementation of sustainable forest management and protection of forest ecosystem services under climate change conditions, in particular in six countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey, and in the Mediterranean region in general.
  • The “B-ADAPT” project was funded by the Department of Foreign  Affairs, Trade and Development (Canada) and CUSO International from January 2013 to September 2014, and implemented through the partnership between the AMFN, Cuso International and VSO-Cameroon in two Cameroon MFs, the Campo-Ma’an Model Forest (CAMAMF) and the Dja & Mpomo Model Forest (FOMOD). The goal of this project is to provide direct support to 2,000 producers in these two MFs, by setting up a technical support and services system to create profitable agri-food companies managed by the producers from the two MFs in Cameroon in order to increase their food security and economic development, while improving the ability of these communities to become more resilient to climate change.

Both the AMFN and the MMFN worked together with national and regional forest agencies, received political support (e.g., Rwanda, DRC, Congo, CAR, Cameroon), and took part in advisory work groups on national or regional policies (e.g., CBFP, COMIFAC, Sylva Mediterranea).

Immediate Outcome #3: New skills and knowledge in the conservation and sustainable management of forest resources is acquired by targeted stakeholders.

Summary:

The data indicate that numerous learning and knowledge-transfer activities have been organized within the framework of the Model Forests. They often involve stakeholders known for their expertise and experience, such as Université Laval, ICRAF or Cuso International.  A few examples show that the targeted stakeholders, such as women and indigenous peoples, have acquired and applied new skills and knowledge, such as organizational development skills.

The data also indicate that at least 27 research projects conducted by Canadian and African university students have contributed to the creation and sharing of knowledge and skills development.

Analysis:

The dataFootnote 27 indicate that capacity building is among the focal points of the strategic and annual plans of the regional networks and Model Forests, in addition to being the main activity of several contribution agreements with other organizations. Accordingly, several population groups have taken part in many learning events, in particular workshops and information sessions. These groups include national officials, local elected representatives/leaders, women’s and youth groups, and groups of indigenous populations (Amazighs, Pygmies, etc.), cooperatives, miners, tourist guides, poachers, the local population, students, etc.

Several subjects were discussed during the training sessions, such as MF development and its role in setting up a collaborative and sustainable management of forest landscapes, participatory governance, leadership, agricultural techniques to help fight erosion, improve soil fertility and improve crop yields, techniques for restoring wetlands, cultivation and production of non-timber forest products (NTFP) and traditional knowledge, business creation and management, value chains and marketing techniques, project follow-up and evaluation, environmental awareness, etc.

The Initiative called upon organizations known for their expertise and experience to ensure quality in the delivery and monitoring of learning and knowledge-transfer activities. For example, interns in central Africa were supervised by Université Laval and its partner institutions; the ecosystem restoration project in Rwanda was conducted by the ICRAF, which is renowned in agroforestry.

Manuals and tools have been developed for training sessions. For example, Cuso International has developed several training guides on various subjects such as soap production, solar desiccators, conflict management, etc.

There have been several cases of acquisition and application of new skills and knowledge by targeted stakeholders. In Cameroon, Rwanda and the DRC, for example, communities have been trained in business processes for Model Forest governance, and in organizational development, which has helped them become accountable and organized in order to protect their interests. Capacity building in the organizational development of groups of women and Aboriginal people has provided them with tools to take part in actions to improve their livelihoods.

The AMFN has developed a training-support sequence in business management and creation and in monitoring-participatory evaluation in the two Model Forests in Cameroon, under the name École Pratique Itinérante des FM (EPI). Local expert facilitators have been trained and given the tools to support apprentice entrepreneurs in their efforts. This principle of training trainers in several communities was then used as the basis for the B-Adapt project.

The data gathered indicate that 27Footnote 28 research projects were also done by Canadian and African Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate level graduates, which contributed to the creation and sharing of knowledge and the development of skills.

Immediate Outcome #4: Information and knowledge on Model Forests is generated and disseminated

Summary:

The data indicate that information tools have been produced and numerous public presentations held, with respect to both AMFI management and the management of regional network secretariats, Model Forests and other collaborators.

Analysis:

Although the AMFI management has not developed any formal communication plan, the data show the existence of communications products on the AMFI and Model Forests in Africa, produced both by the AMFI management and the recipients of contribution agreements. In fact, “the management and sharing of knowledge and communications” have been among the strategic points of the AMFN, MFs and MMFN, and their annual reports reveal that a multitude of products have been developed and disseminated among the MF members and abroad. The evidence also points to the existence of presentations at events of varying size.

The communications tools noted include annual reports produced by the MMFN and AMFN, newsletters, the AMFI brochure, articles published in Éléments naturels, Forestry ChronicleFootnote 29, the bookFootnote 30 celebrating the international year of forests, etc.; the participation of MF or MF Network representatives in local and national radio and television showsFootnote 31; the presence of the AMFN, MMFN and Ifrane Model Forest on social media such as Facebook and YouTube, in addition to having their own Web siteFootnote 32; the development and broadcasting of an “AMFN anthem”; the organization of visits to MF sites, etc.

The evidence also shows that the AMFI and the MF in Africa were introduced during annual conferences of regional MF networks and the IMFN 2011 Global Forum in Spain. They were also introduced by the Government of Canada (NRCan and DFATD) at international events such as the International Symposium on Ecosystem and Landscape-level Approaches to Sustainability, in March 2011; the launch of the International Year of Forests at the UN General Assembly, in February 2011; set-up of a kiosk and distribution of promotional material at the 2009 World Forestry Congress; AMFN presentations at CBFP meetings; participation of Canadian Ambassadors at REDD+ workshops in Cameroon and the DRC, etc.

Immediate Outcome #5: Target population groups are engaged in income-generating activities

Summary:

The perception exists among interviewees that the Initiative’s activities have supported the creation of income for recipients. The file review indicates that numerous training sessions have been offered on entrepreneurship in rural areas, and that several people have been involved in income-generating activities supported by AMFI-recipient organizations, in particular the Model Forests of Morocco and Cameroon. However, an overview of the situation based on other available data sources could not be obtained for the evaluation.

Analysis:

Several interviewees feel that projects to improve agriculture, cultivate new species and use NTFP, projects for packaged sales and to organize cooperatives help to increase participants’ income. However, they have not been able to provide an estimate of the number of individuals involved.

The file review shows that strategic plans/MF work plans include a section on income generation/diversification support. Several of the contribution agreements have, in this way, supported capacity-building training focused on different aspects of entrepreneurship and the creation of economic development projects for small producers.

The file review also indicates that many individuals are involved in income-generating activities, in particular in the Model Forests of Cameroon and Morocco. The AMFN and MMFN secretariats have launched initiatives and tested approaches to stimulate supply and boost product marketing. According to the AMFN’s analysisFootnote 33, the EPI fostered “entrepreneurial momentum in two MFs thanks to this training program.” For example, between 2010 and 2012, 304 direct jobs were created in the Campo Ma’an MF, and 70 in the Dja & Mpomo MFFootnote 34. The training offered by Cuso International volunteers led hundreds of female agricultural and agro-forest producers from the MFs in Cameroon to form a network to facilitate the negotiation of prices for their products through packaged sales. According to Cuso InternationalFootnote 35, this is having a real impact on people’s livelihoods and attracting considerable attention from regional government authorities.

However, the number of people involved is not systematically reported and information on the performance of income-generating activities is very limited. In certain cases, such as fruit-tree planting, information on performance is only available once the product is ripe. This limits the possible statements that may be made about this outcome.

Evaluation Question: To what extent have intended intermediate outcomes been achieved as a result of the AMFI?

Intermediate Outcome #1: Increased use by governments and civil society of tools and concepts developed and promoted by Model ForestsFootnote 36.

Summary:

The MF approach is in line with the policy guidelines of the target countries on sustainable forest management and is considered by these target countries as an opportunity to facilitate their field implementation.

Analysis:

In general, regional or national authorities in charge of forests in the regions covered have strategiesFootnote 37 that are in line with the AMFI’s objectives and its approach.

Furthermore, the fact that there are currently six Model Forests in development implies that the concept and its tools have been recognized (participatory governance, landscape approach) by national and local governments and civil society organizations of the countries concerned.

The presence of the national delegations of five African countries at the First African Model Forest Conference in 2013, in addition to representatives from COMIFAC, the International Organization of La Francophonie, and civil society, shows strong interest in Model Forests in the Congo Basin.

As a more concrete example to illustrate this, it has also been reportedFootnote 38 that:

  • The AMFN has signed collaboration protocols with the national ministries for forests, for the development and expansion of Model Forests in Cameroon and the DRC. Furthermore, in Cameroon, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is using tools/techniques promoted by the AMFN under the B-Adapt project. The MF approach is cited as an example in the community forestry guide produced in the DRC with support from the FAO. MF development in Rwanda is being used to support the national strategy for landscape restoration and poverty reduction. The AMFN is also a member of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, which is aimed at improving the coordination of activities that support the COMIFAC’s Convergence PlanFootnote 39.
  • In Morocco, the Ifrane MF evaluation mission report discusses sound founding partnerships with the High Commission for Waters and Forests and the Fight Against Desertification, as well as with private sector members and colleges. The government has also taken over the IMFA’s improved stoves and saffron cultivation projects on a larger scale;
  • As concerns the MMFN, the European Commission mentions Model Forests as tools for sustainable forest planning in its “working document” that accompanies the new forest strategy adopted in 2013.

Intermediate Outcome #2: Governments and civil society are sustainably managing the natural resources and landscapes of the Model Forest.

Summary:

MF adoption by governments and several civil society communities and groups is indicative of their commitment to improving practices. The projects implemented also promise ecological, economic and social benefits. However, given the limits of the data available and the limited timeframe for evaluating such a profound change, we are only able to find, through the evaluation, elements that promise more sustainable management of natural resources.

Analysis:

Given that sustainable development is at the heart of the MF concept, the fact that they are being adopted by governments and communities is indicative of a commitment to improving practices, including expanded political dialogue, and participation and transparency in decision-making concerning natural resource management.

Model Forests in Cameroon, Morocco and Algeria have each adopted a strategic plan to contribute to sustainable natural resources management in their territory. Similar plans are also being rolled out in the three Model Forests in development in the DRC and the Rwanda Model Forest. The projects developed within the framework of the Model Forests and their strategic plan therefore have the potential to be ecologically, socially and economically beneficial.

In fact, a document produced by the AMFN summarizing its achievements for the 2010-2012 period clearly illustrates the social, economic and ecological benefits expected from projects implemented in the Campo Ma’an and Dja Mpomo MFs. In Morocco, the documentation provided by the Ifrane MF reveals interventions to reduce pressure on forests, in particular through the distribution of improved stoves that significantly reduce wood consumption, and through the establishment of agreements with sylvo-pastoral management associations that promote regeneration. In Rwanda, the restoration of wooded areas should help contribute to the rehabilitation of the Lake Karago water catchment by reducing soil erosion on neighbouring hills. In addition to the replanting of 38 hectares, 170 farmers have planted seedlings on their lands.

In addition to the short-term projects conducted by the AMFI, the MF approach is based on long-term governance changes. Besides the examples described above in support of this outcome, it is difficult to rule on the general success of this outcome given the AMFI’s short timeframe.

Intermediate Outcome #3: Utilization of new skills by stakeholders.

Summary:

There are several examples in the evaluation to illustrate the application of new skills by targeted stakeholders. The performance data available have not, however, made it possible to measure the level of achievement of this outcome in a generalized and systematic manner.

Analysis:

As reported for immediate outcome 3, the data from the file review indicate that training activities are taking place, but are not systematically explicit on the use of new skills by participants. Likewise, interviewees listed many skills acquired, but without providing the exact number of users.

Examples noted during the file review show that groups of targeted users seem to be applying new skills.

For example, the women of the Campo Ma’an MF are more socially and economically organized thanks to the MF. They have organized successful packaged sales and have created an authority to have their concerns recognized in decision-making processes involving the territory’s major playersFootnote 40.

Also, within the framework of MF development in Cameroon and the DRC, indigenous peoples have received training on how to mobilize and take part in MF operational mechanisms. This has given them the ability to organize in order to assert their interests with other stakeholders.

Intermediate Outcome #4: Research findings support decision making.

Summary:

Examples have been identified showing research findings that have influenced decisions and project planning. However, due to a lack of sufficient data, no comment could be made on the achievement of this outcome based on the evaluation.

The file review highlighted a few examples of research that has influenced decisions:

  • 300 models of the improved stove prototype developed by the Ifrane MF were distributed by the Government of Morocco to this territory’s population.
  • Several market studies on non-timber forest products and tests on activities with income-generating potential were conducted in the Cameroon Model Forests and enabled the AMFN, the Model Forests and other AMFI recipient organizations to guide resources for the development of economic activities to reinforce value chains.
  • The MF in Rwanda was developed in collaboration with ICRAF and several studies have been conducted to guide the various project stages.

In addition to the few examples provided, the evaluation highlighted other research generated within the framework of the AMFI, but the data available does not draw a broader direct link between the research findings and decision making.

Intermediate Outcome #5: Improved livelihoods of the target populations in the Model Forests.

Summary:

The livelihoods of the poor, women and marginalized groups in the Model Forests appear to be improving through, in particular, collaborations established by the entities created by the AMFI with other organizations.

Analysis:

The data available in the files of projects directly funded by the AMFI do not enable the evaluation to quantify the extent to which the livelihoods of the poor, women and marginalized groups have been improved. However, several elements indicate that these groups are better equipped to improve their own livelihoods.

For example, women from all Model Forests under construction in the AMFN and Maghreb have decided to join efforts since 2012 to create a framework for enhancing women’s business development knowledge and know-how in order to alleviate poverty in rural areas, protect forest resources and encourage the emergence of the rural womanFootnote 41. In 2013, with support from the AMFN, they launched the Réseau des femmes entrepreneures des FM d’Afrique [African MF Businesswomen’s Network], which brings together nearly 200 groups of women.

Furthermore, it appears that the AMFI’s projects facilitated collaborations with significant leverage that in return helped with the achievement of several of the outcomes targeted by the Initiative, namely Intermediate Outcome 5. The most eloquent example of this is the “B-Adapt” Project (detailed in section 4.3). This project’s intermediary reportFootnote 42 gives a clear indication of an improvement in the livelihoods of the population groups targeted by the Initiative.

Evaluation Question: To what extent have the intended final outcomes been achieved as a result of the AMFI?

Final Outcome #1: Improved conservation and sustainable management of forest resources in the Congo Basin and Mediterranean regions of Africa.

Summary:

There has been some progress, but it is still too early to come to any conclusions. The data show that methods were changed by adopting more sustainable practices in some of the Model Forests examined (Morocco, Rwanda, Cameroon), which should lead to progress in achieving this long-term goal.

Analysis:

The dataFootnote 43 confirm certain more sustainable practices. The following are a few examples of this:

  • In Morocco, pressure on the forest has decreased as a result of better sylvo-pastoral management, reduced wood consumption through the use of improved stoves and of solar water heaters, and through the introduction of alternative economic activities (saffron cultivation, sale of local products) that help alleviate poverty.
  • In Rwanda, the Lake Karago water catchment has been restored. The restoration was based on a multi-party governance approach to the Model Forest to encourage community support and long-standing interventions.
  • In Cameroun, in the Campo Ma’an and Dja & Mpomo Model Forests, all of the interventions helped to increase the agricultural productivity and food security of a significant number of producers, which points to a decrease in burning frequency and in poaching in forest areas.

Final Outcome #2: Canada is viewed as making a significant contribution to sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin and Mediterranean regions of Africa.

Summary:

The data indicate that the Initiative helped strengthen the perception of Canada in the target regions as a country making a significant contribution to sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin and Mediterranean regions of Africa.

Analysis:

It has been reported that NRCan, through the AMFI, has supported other Government of Canada programs, in particular the DFATD’s Central and West Africa Program. The AMFI’s goals and activities in the Congo Basin complement one another and have reinforced many of Canada’s development goals in the sub-region. Information and opinions were shared both in Ottawa and Africa on the sub-region’s forest-related issues during the AMFI’s term. This synergy helped strengthen Canada’s contributions on forest-related issues in the two target regions in Francophone Africa.

It has also been reported and confirmed through the document review that the Initiative contributed to the recognition of Canada’s support to sustainable forest management during events such as:

The World Forestry Congress in 2009; the launch in 2011 of the International Year of the Forest by the United Nations; a similar event on the IMFN during the United Nations Forum on Forests in 2011; the 2011 IMFN Global Forum and International Symposium; the 2012 Francophonie Summit in the DRC; and the African Conference on Model Forests.

Furthermore, a few interviewees highlighted the following points:

  • The association, as generally perceived in the countries targeted by the Initiative, between Canada and the dissemination of the MF concept, which itself connotes sustainable forest management.
  • The Initiative helped to strengthen Canada’s candidacy to place a facilitator in the “Congo Basin Forest Partnership.” Canada held this role between 2010 and 2012, and led the dialogue between the Congo Basin countries and donors, which allowed it to enhance its visibility in the region.
  • Compared with a simple cash contribution to a multilateral organization, by allowing field demonstrations, the AMFI has done a great deal for Canada’s brand image in the target countries.

4.3 Performance – Efficiency and Economy

Evaluation Question: Are the Initiative and its activities the most economic and efficient means of making progress towards the intended outcomes?

 

Summary:

The evaluation cannot offer any conclusion on the Initiative’s economy and efficiency due to:

  • The ambiguity surrounding the definition of the achievement of the AMFI’s outcomes; and
  • The difficulty placing a monetary value on the Initiative’s outcomes.

To this can be added:

  • The multiple factors that have interfered with the Initiative, which were discussed at the beginning of Section 4; and
  • The limits listed in Section 3.

The evaluation can however conclude that output production was met overall. Moreover, the financial leverage was estimated at 41 cents per dollar spent.Footnote 44

Analysis:

  • Output Production

The file review indicates that nearly all projects were successfully completed after producing the expected outputs. In one case, a project in the Central African Republic was cancelled due to political instability in that country. Some multi-year projects also had to have their annual work plans adjusted in response to changes in their working environment (e.g., instability in North Kivu, DRC), but, overall, the project activities produced the expected outputs.

  • Financial Leverage

Since the basic information for calculating the financial leverage has not been collated, the evaluation focused on extracting contribution agreements from the files Footnote 45 in an attempt to arrive at an estimate.

Direct Financial Leverage

The evaluation only considers as direct contributions those made by direct partners to projects initiated by the AMFI to set up Model Forests and Model Forest networks in the target regions. An exception was, however, made for the “B-Adapt” project, whose funds have also been included in the calculation. In fact, the information provided by the Initiative’s management and corroborated by the file review data allowed the evaluation team to conclude that the AMFI’s funding played a decisive role in the development and successful implementation of this project.

The estimated amount is provided for information purposes because of the potential margin of error surrounding the calculation. In fact, there are several limits to the calculation, including:

  • Not necessarily exhaustive data since the program was still waiting for a few reports;
  • Failure to consider co-financing-related data for the 2013-2014 fiscal year since the final reports for projects ending March 31, 2014, were not yet available when this report was drafted.
  • Adjustment of the amount of total program spending (as at April 29, 2014) by subtracting from it an amount already reflected estimated at $533,700 for accounts payable at the end of the fiscal year and applicable withholdings. These expenses are not considered in the calculation to ensure a balance with the preceding point.
  • Moreover, the project reports do not contain sufficient information about the origin of the contributions by the partners, who are themselves members of the IMFN and have also received AMFI funding. Therefore, the evaluation cannot guarantee that all of the IMFN amounts have been removed from the calculation.

Keeping in mind the aforementioned limits, the total amount of direct external contributions to the AMFI projects was established as amounting to $1,870,100, 43% in cash and 57% in kind. Table 4 below details the types of contributions to AMFI projects by source.

Table 4: Direct external contributions to AMFI projects.
Entities Cash In kind Total
Canadian and International NGOs (environmental protection/Development) 20% 80% 59%
MF network, Model Forests and MF stakeholders 87% 13% 33%
Canadian academic institutions 19% 81% 7%
OGDs 100% 0% 1%
Multilateral organisation 100% 0% 0%
Others 44% 56% 0%
Total 43% 57% 100%

Taking into account the funds contributed by the DFATD and Cuso International as part of the “B-Adapt” project, i.e., $2,928,549, total contributions amount to $4,798,649. This amount, carried forward to the Initiative’s total expenses (as at April 29, 2014), adjusted by the amount corresponding to accounts payable at the end of the fiscal year and the applicable withholdings, i.e., $12,483,069, provides an estimate of the direct financial leverage of 1:0.38 (i.e., 38 cents per dollar spent).

Indirect Financial Leverage

The evaluation considers as indirect financial leverage the projects funded by third-party organizations set up in collaboration with the structures developed/bolstered within the framework of the AMFI (i.e., African Model Forests and their networks; the AMFN and the MMFN), in the regions targeted by the AMFI and that contribute to the AMFI’s objectives.

As an example of this type of project, the AMFN is working with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on the implementation between 2013 and 2015 of the “COBAM-LUKOLELA”Footnote 46 project funded by the African Development Bank, which will be partly carried out on the territory of the Lake Tumba MF in the DRC for the amount of US$270,000 (equivalent to CA$278,073Footnote 47).

Including this amount would establish the total leverage at 1:41Footnote 48 (i.e., 41 cents per dollar spent).

It should be noted that, in addition to this project, the MMFN benefitted from significant EU fundraising for the development of Model Forests in the Mediterranean region of Europe given that the MMFN’s goals are in line with the European Union’s priorities. For example, the Commission of the European Union contributed €1.5 million (equivalent to CA$2,052,150Footnote 49) in funds for the development of Model Forests in countries around the Adriatic Sea (former Yugoslavia). This amount is not taken into account due to the lack of a clear causal link with the AMFI.

4.4 Conclusions

Relevance

The AMFI has contributed to meeting the Canadian Government’s commitments for which it was established. Since the AMFI is a one-time intervention and is not renewable, its relevance is not further discussed in the body of this report, but rather in Appendix 1.

Performance

The AMFI’s key achievements include:

  • In North Africa, the AMFI helped strengthen the Mediterranean Model Forest Network (MMFN) by launching the development process for three Model Forests (MFs) in the following three countries:
    • In Morocco, the Ifrane MF, which was accepted as a member of the International Model Forest Network (IMFN) following the finalization of its development process.
    • In Algeria, the Tlemcen MF, which has reached an advanced stage of development.
    • In Tunisia, the Kroumirie- Mogods MF, whose development process was on track, has been on hold since December 2010 due to the political instability impacting the country, following the upheavals commonly known as the “Arab Spring.”
  • In Central Africa (Congo Basin region), the AMFI contributed to the creation of the African Model Forest Network (AMFN) in 2009, the strengthening of two pre-existing MFs, and the launch of the development process for seven MFs in the following five countries:
    • In Cameroon, the Campo Ma’an and Dja Mpomo MFS (IMFN members since 2005) have been strengthened.
    • In Rwanda, the North West MF is in development.
    • In the DRC, the Mayombe, Lake Tumba and South Kivu MFs are in development, while development of the North Kivu MF has been interrupted due to armed conflict in the region.
    • In the CAR, after securing a strong commitment at the political level, the development process of the Lobaye MF was interrupted following the March 2013 coup and resulting civil war.
    • In Congo, the development process of the Dimonika MF was officially launched by the government in April 2014.
  • It also became clear following completion of the study that the MF and MF regional network structures, whose foundations have been initiated, established or strengthened as a result of the Initiative, are beginning to demonstrate their ability to enter into new collaborations in order to develop and carry out projects that support AMFI objectives. For example, the B-ADAPT project, developed and implemented collaboratively through the Cameroon MFs, has, among other things, contributed to improving the economic conditions of local populations.
  • In terms of visibility, it appeared that the Initiative helped strengthen the perception of Canada in the target regions as a country making a significant contribution to sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin and Mediterranean regions of Africa. Significant efforts have been made in this sense by the AMFI in close collaboration with the DFATD, and the Canadian Embassies in the target countries.
  • In terms of efficiency and economy, the financial leverage of the Initiative is estimated at 41 cents per dollar invested. Of note is that the Initiative’s Terms and Conditions did not anticipate any required threshold with respect to this element.
  • Finally, the evaluation found partial achievement of the Initiative’s other expected results as no conclusions could be drawn due to the limited data available. The challenge of data gaps is confirmed in similar studies on the impacts of this type of intervention for capacity building.

These achievements cannot be interpreted without taking into account the particular circumstances in which the Initiative was implemented.

Intervention Context for the African Model Forest Initiative (AMFI)

With limited management resources, the AMFI was implemented in a very difficult environment in which several countries in the target regions were undergoing periods of political instability and in which operations were slowed down due in part to a lack of communications and transportation infrastructure, limited local and national governance, as well as a limited ability to enforce regulations. Moreover, the Initiative was launched in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and its effects were still apparent, in particular the decrease of available funding for global development. As a result, the ability of certain partners of the Initiative to carry out activities was affected.

5. Lessons Learned

The MF approach consists of an ongoing and adaptive process for developing a double capacity, namely the ability to become organized in the form of voluntary participatory governance, and the ability, through this method of organization, to design, implement and monitor sustainable development projects, and integrate the lessons learned from them into subsequent developments of its project and its own operating structure.

Synthesis studies of evaluations of programs focused on capacity building mentioned in Section 3.4 have highlighted a number of lessons learned. If NRCan were to consider implementing programs similar to the AMFI in the future, the importance of some of these lessons should be reiterated. They include collaborative work with the Strategic Evaluation Division, partners and recipient entities in the field to:

  • Define the concept of capacity in a way that takes into account local context and need. The intervention environment is often complex, involving a host of stakeholders – governments, civil society, donors, etc. – hence, the importance of coordinating efforts to jointly understand the intended progression from activities to outcomes, determine baseline data and set realistic goals and timelines.
  • Avoid a cumbersome performance measurement system and ensure that the system balances accountability requirements and management information needs. Accountability enables donors, in particular, to disburse funds in a predictable manner. Management information allows partners/recipients in the field to manage their operations effectively. The system should include a feedback loop to support continuous learning and improvement.
  • Determine, at an early stage, a phase-out plan. In fact, the desired result of development programs is to have a sustained capacity within the recipient country in order for the work to continue without donor support. The plan should be designed and updated based on recipient capacity assessment and monitoring, including in the area of performance monitoring and evaluation.

List of Appendices

Appendix 1 – Relevance of the AMFI

Appendix 2 – AMFI Logic Model

Appendix 3 – AMFI Governance Model

Appendix 1 – Relevance of the AMFI

  1. Is there a continuing need for the AMFI and its activities?

The AMFI’s activities seem to meet a continuing need to alleviate poverty and environmental degradation in Africa through sustainable development practices, including sustainable forest management based on participatory governance.

The document review and interviews revealed a continuing basic need for sustainable forest management and sustainable development in Africa. The options explored to achieve this include developing strategies for multi-party/multi-sector commitment, consultation and coordination for sustainable forest management at all levels of government and civil society in the countries and regions concerned. The AMFI is therefore part of the answer to this problem.

A study published by the World BankFootnote 50 in 2013 indicates that historic low rates of deforestation in the Congo Basin are likely to significantly increase in the future due to development forces. By adopting a multi-sector analytical framework, the study focuses on “highlighting options to limit deforestation while pursuing inclusive and sustainable economic growth.” The proposed options include participatory planning of land use, participatory management of forests, institutional and community-based capacity building, and a relaunch of research and development focused on a sustainable increase of productivity in the agricultural sector.

A 2013 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsFootnote 51 discussing the state of Mediterranean forests indicates that the course of development of Mediterranean countries shows troubling signs of non-sustainability. In fact, the combined effects of climate change and rapid population growth in North Africa are exacerbating the issue of scarce water resources and the impact on the insecurity of the natural habitats of a large number of endemic species in the region, thereby increasing the risk of a loss of biodiversity. This report stresses the importance of adopting management strategies for Mediterranean forests that strengthen their ability to adapt to water stress and focus on a fair balance between the water needs of the different sectors of activity of national economies.

The report concludes that the most critical aspects of the process of reviewing policy guidelines applicable to Mediterranean forest management are “the effective involvement of all of the players involved at the territory level (local governance and land tenure system) and the full support of the training, research, innovation and communication sectors, as well as better cooperation between all economic sectors.

The key informants also indicated during interviews that the diversity of the services rendered by forests and their critical role in global climate balance dictate the need to ensure their sustainable management at all levels: social, environmental and economic. This results in the need for multi-player consultation-based governance.

  1. Is the AMFI and its activities aligned with government priorities and NRCan strategic objectives?

The activities of the AMFI are aligned with the Government of Canada’s priorities in terms of sustainable development and the alleviation of global poverty. The Government of Canada particularly supports international measures for capacity building in vulnerable countries dealing with climate change repercussions. However, given that they are more focused on international development, the AFMI’s activities are not perfectly aligned with NRCan’s strategic outcome to which they refer, which is more domestic in nature.

The document review indicates that the AMFI’s activities support the Government of Canada’s priorities, particularly in terms of international cooperation. The AMFI appears regularly in the annual report to Parliament on Official Development AssistanceFootnote 52.

The AMFI is aligned in a broad sense with the Government of Canada’s commitments, such as:

  • Commitment made in 2005 by the Government of Canada at the Gleneagles G8 Summit to double its aid to Africa by 2008-09.
  • The Government of Canada’s commitment within the framework of Quebec’s Declaration in 2008 (Francophonie Summit) to support initiatives that contribute to responsible and sustainable forest management, and to encourage the expansion of the International Model Forest Network in interested Francophone countries.
  • 2012 Budget “Stronger Canada-Africa Connections.” 
  • The 2013 Throne Speech indicates that Canada continues to help the world’s most unfortunate.
  • Canada’s international assistance priorities for 2013-2014 include alleviating poverty in developing countries and providing humanitarian aid to vulnerable persons in crisis situations. The following are among the efforts made to accomplish these priorities:
    • Increase food security by strengthening rural and agricultural development management policies and processes, in particular those affecting small farmers (especially women),
    • Encourage sustainable economic growth, including through capacity building in sustainable natural resources management, by offering greater support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, especially those managed by women, and by investing in human capital.
    • Partner with the private sector on development by, among other things, encouraging multi-lateral partnerships with the private sector and non-profit organizations that clearly benefit the poor in developing countries.

These efforts seem to closely reflect the AMFI’s goals.

However, given that the AMFI’s activities are based on international development, they are not perfectly aligned with NRCan’s strategic outcomes. The AMFI’s placement under NRCan is explained by the fact that it is the repository of the Government of Canada’s expertise on forestry. Also, NRCan’s role to manage this file is explained by the fact that the AMFI is a component of the IMFN, the secretariat of which is housed at the Department.

  1. Is there a legitimate, appropriate and necessary role for the federal government in the AMFI?

The Government of Canada has a legitimate role to play in the AMFI through Canada’s legislation, in particular the Department of Natural Resources Act, which authorizes the Department to intervene in matters of international cooperation, and also through the international agreements supporting sustainable development to which Canada is a party.

The document review indicates that the Government of Canada has a legitimate role under section 6 of the Department of Natural Resources Act, which stipulates that “in exercising the powers and performing the duties and functions assigned to the Minister by section 5, the Minister shall (among other objectives), (h) promote cooperation with the governments of the provinces and with non-governmental organizations in Canada, and participate in the promotion of cooperation with the governments of other countries and with international organizations.”

As a member of the Francophonie, the Government of Canada contributes to its missions as defined in its ten-year strategic plan adopted at the 10th Summit in Ouagadougou in 2004. One of these missions is to contribute by cooperating with efforts to alleviate poverty through a sustainable development strategy.

As a signatory to the 1992 Statement of Forest Principles, it adheres to the principles of collaboration between nations and participation by developed countries in the activities of developing countries as concerns, among other things, the ecologically viable conservation and utilization of forests, the promotion of viable production and consumption plans; the elimination of poverty and promotion of food security; scientific research, forest inventories and evaluations; education, training and social aspects of silviculture and forest management, etc.

As a signatory to the 1992 UNFCCC, Canada has played an active role in climate change negotiations, such as in Copenhagen, where one of the measures taken by Canada includes national support for appropriate mitigation measures in developing countries, including reducing emissions from deforestation, forest and agriculture degradation, which could become subject to international measurement, reporting or verification.

And also as a signatory to other agreements, such as the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity as a donor country (lender) for international development (signatory to the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness).

  1. Is NRCan’s role appropriate in the context of the role of other stakeholders?

There are many other organizations with legitimate and appropriate roles to play in the AMFI’s target regions and whose interventions have the same goals as the AMFI’s. Actually, since NRCan/CFS does not have a presence in the regions targeted by the AMFI, the latter has called upon several of these organizations to implement its activities. These organizations are interested in pooling efforts for sustainable development and the AMFI has contributed by funding work in the field that is in line with MF development objectives.

The document review and interview data have identified numerous other organizations with legitimate and appropriate roles to play in the countries targeted by the AMFI and whose interventions have the same objectives as the AMFI.

These organizations include all levels of government of the host countries, the United Nations, international development organizations, NGOs (including for the environment), and international development ministries of other countries. Examples: DFATD, Agriculture and Agrifood Canada, UICN, CUSO International, VSO, UNFF, UNDP, FAO, CBFP, IVC, COMIFAC, African Union, CIFOR, World Bank, CBFF, International Institute for Sustainable Development, African Development Bank, international development agencies of other countries, such as Germany, France, the USA, etc.

Many benefit from financial support and have the capacity and expertise to implement initiatives in the field. However, they still need to align their funding efforts with other partners.

In order to deliver the AFMI’s activities, NRCan has funded several of these organizations for their field work that is consistent with MF development objectives.

Appendix 2 – AMFI Logic Model

Figure 1: AMFI Logic Model

 
Text version

Figure 1: AMFI Logic Model

Activities
-Model Forest Development
-Regional Network Development
-Innovation & Capacity Building
-Knowledge Management and Communications
-Community Sustainability

Output
-Manuals, training materials and other documentation
-Workshop proceedings
-Model forest strategic and work plans
-Workshop proceedings
-Relationships are established with national, sub-national and/or local authorities
-Concept documents and negotiation proceedings
-Research projects
-Manuals, guides, journal articles and other reports
-Workshop and training proceedings
-Knowledge/information management strategy
-Communications tools and products including web sites
-Economic development/ income generation projects
-Market analyses
-Tools and manuals related to community and economic sustainability

Immediate outcomes
-Model forests are established
-Regional model forest networks are established
-New skills and knowledge are acquired by targeted stakeholders
-Increased information and knowledge is generated and disseminated on Model Forests
-Target population is engaged in income- generating activities

Intermediate outcomes
-Increased use of tools and concepts are developed and promoted
-Governments and civil society are sustainably managing the natural resources and landscapes of the model forest
-Utilization of new skills by targeted stakeholders
-Research findings support decision making
-Improved livelihoods of targeted populations in model forests

Final outcomes
-Improved conservation and sustainable management of forest resources in the Congo Basin and Mediterranean regions of Africa
-Canada is viewed as making a significant contribution to sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin and Mediterranean regions of Africa

SSA 2.3.1 FESA
-Increased use of scientific knowledge of Canada’s forest ecosystems by governments, industry and non-governmental organizations

Appendix 3 – AMFI Governance Model

Responsibility Centre Key Roles Participants
NRCan–CFS
  • Risk assessment of recipients
  • Review and approval of proposals and work plans
  • Technical assistance in model forest and regional network development
  • Documenting and sharing lessons learned for all aspects of the initiative with others in the regions and throughout the IMFN
  • CFS (IMFN Secretariat)
  • Recipients
Recipients of contribution agreements
  • Development of proposals and/or work plans for review and approval by NRCan–CFS
  • Promoting and supporting local alternative economic development activities, including those for women’s groups, which enhance community development and the sustainable management of local forest resources; developing, testing and demonstrating sustainable management practices, promoting participatory action research, and enhancing community and organizational capacity for sustainable management of local resources (specific activities dependent upon recipient)
  • Boards of Directors and staff for recipients
  • CFS (IMFN Secretariat)
IMFN International Advisory Council
  • Provide input and advice on opportunities for linking with international organizations and in the identification of emerging trends in sustainable forest management
  • IAC members
IMFN Networking Committee
  • Provide advice and identify opportunities for involving new model forests in the IMFN and vice versa
  • CFS (IMFN Secretariat)
  • IMFN members
  • Regional Networks
African Model Forest Network Advisory Committee
  • Provide advice on model forest development in the Congo Basin and Mediterranean regions of Africa
  • Liaise with national and regional organizations
  • Regional and international organizations
  • National and regional governments
Regional and International Organizations
  • Provide technical advice on activities
  • Assist in delivery of regional projects and programs
  • Explore opportunities for hosting regional network secretariats
  • Funding for activities
  • Staff
Canadian Model Forest Network, model forests throughout the IMFN
  • Provide technical advice for program and projects
  • Capacity building expertise for model forest development
  • Board of Directors
  • Model forests and their stakeholders