Under the auspices of the GEF intervention, the project sought to strengthen the national judicial system and adjust it to present-day changes and conditions in the country’s reality, as well as needs to protect the natural environment. MARENA, the agency in charge of national environmental management, built up its technical and financial capacities to efficiently promote a better application of legal instruments and elevate its level of compliance.
The project’s overall goal was to increase local and national capacities to enforce environmental legislation, in particular the Special Law on Crimes against the environment and natural Resources in support of the Rio Conventions.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America with half of its 5 million inhabitants living in poverty. It is also the largest country in Central America with over 130,000 km2, and with a rich biological endowment.
Despite past and ongoing efforts, there remains much to be done to effectively implement the Rio Conventions at the national level and mainstream environment into local and national policies.
Under the auspices of the GEF intervention, the proposed Project will strengthen the national judicial system and adjust it to present-day changes and conditions in the country’s reality, as well as needs to protect the natural environment. MARENA, the agency in charge of national environmental management, will build up its technical and financial capacities to efficiently promote a better application of legal instruments and elevate its level of compliance.
Likewise, the judiciary will gain the necessary technical knowledge for the correct interpretation and application of the recently approved “Crimes against Natural Resources and the Environment Act”. Thereby, officials will be able to identify non-fulfillment of regulations, assess damages with the necessary technical expertise and sanction according to the just and applicable penalties. This will only be possible through a constant training process within these authorities, providing them with teaching materials and transmitting expert knowledge on matters of environment and natural resources. These tools will constitute the two main pillars for improved compliance with national environmental legislation and consequently international norms, particularly the Rio Conventions.
Following the obstacles and structural causes identified in the NCSA, the purpose of the Project is to carry out a series of interventions aimed at removing, as far as possible, these obstacles in order to be able to achieve a more effective compliance with environmental MEAs.
The project’s overall goal is to increase local and national capacities to enforce environmental legislation, in particular the Special Law on Crimes against the environment and natural Resources in support of the Rio Conventions. To this end, three main outcomes have been defined:
- Outcome 1: The administrative and legal system, as well as other observance institutions at central and local levels, effectively enforce the environmental legislation related to MEA, with emphasis on the recently passed Special Crimes against the Environment and Natural Resources Act.
- Outcome 2: Organizational development and inter-institutional strengthening on environmental mainstreaming in line with the MEAs and other environmental agreements, in an institutionally sustainable manner.
- Outcome 3: MARENA has acquired the technical and methodological capacities to monitor the impact of a more effective enforcement of the environmental legislation, and the way it contributes to act in accordance to compliance with MEAs.
To fulfill this task, the Project will involve directly and permanently, members of NGOs, local governments and municipalities, government and academic institutions. Support and participation of municipalities is of key importance, especially because they are intimately in touch with local environmental problems in the management and enforcement of the national environmental legislation.
The Project will have a direct impact on two specific pilot areas in the departments of Granada-Rivas and Matagalpa–Estelí. These areas are characterized by a high representation of the target structures for the strengthening intervention through the project (judiciary and executive power) and a high population density.
A decisive selection criterion for these two pilot areas is the presence of wide-range projects aimed at achieving goals in common with the project, such as biodiversity preservation, fight against desertification and drought, and mitigation of climate change. Another key element for the selection of these regions is the participation of civil society in all activities carried out by the NCSA.
The project aims to provide a short-term support for a sustainable long-term capacity increase in the areas mentioned above, that would otherwise be unattainable.
Key results and outputs
Outcome 1: The administrative and judicial system, as well as other observance institutions at central and local levels, effectively enforce environmental legislation related to MEA, with emphasis on the recently passed Special Law on Crimes against the Environment and Natural Resources.
- Output 1.1: The following local judicial entities and municipal authorities in previously selected pilot areas are adequately trained and enabled to enforce the law:
- Output 1.2: Exact definition and demarcation of the project’s pilot areas, including the definition of target groups and necessary institutional arrangements with local actors, fine-tuning of criteria for priorization and final selection of pilot areas, on the basis of current conditions, identification of target groups and definition of training strategies, and the signing of coordination agreements with local authorities.
- Magistrates, judges, court clerks, regional prosecutors and other key law enforcement officials.
- Inspectors and technicians of MARENA and National Forestry Institute (INAFOR) territorial delegations.
- Officials at the municipal environmental units.
- Output 1.3: Motivational and capacity building activities for key actors at central and national levels are carried out and institutionalization of the same with special emphasis on the following stakeholders:
- Output 1.4: A managerial and financial plan for sustained training and capacity building is developed and responsibilities appropriately distributed.
- Police-judicial assistance authorities
- Environmental law enforcement staff, such as the inspectors and technicians at the MARENA and INAFOR territorial delegations.
- Environmental ombudspersons.
- Legal advisors to government agencies
Outcome 2: Organizational development and inter-institutional strengthening on environmental mainstreaming in line with the MEAs and EAs, in an institutionally sustainable manner.
- Output 2.1: Preparation of a proposal for the structure and functioning of MEA focal points.
- Output 2.2: Training and equipping of EA focal points at MARENA.
- Output 2.3: Capacity strengthening at the MINREX to meet the objectives of this project.
- Output 2.4: Implementation of institutional arrangements with other agencies and co-operation agents to establish sustainable mechanisms to finance the capacities needed by the project.
- Output 2.5: Raising of environmental political awareness as a crucial factor for sustainable development and the fight against poverty
Outcome 3: MARENA has acquired the technical and methodological capacities to monitor the impact of a more effective enforcement of the environmental legislation and the way it contributes to act in compliance with MEAs.
- Output 3.1: Design of a monitoring methodology, including the inter-institutional construction of synergic or multi-purpose indicators (to be used by several MEAs); pilot phase for compliance of monitoring procedures carried out.
- Output 3.2: Establishment of an on-line information node for monitoring the compliance with MEAs in MARENA’s National Environmental Information System.
- Output 3.3: Design and implementation of a methodology and indicators, through a first impact assessment or monitoring exercise of the strengthened enforcement of national environmental legislation in support of MEAs.
- Output 3.4: Preparation and publication of a first national report on compliance with EAs, as an input to the National State of the Environment Report, published annually by MARENA.
Reports and publications
Monitoring and evaluation
Project Inception Workshop: will be held within the first 2 months of project start with those with assigned roles in the project organization structure, UNDP country office and where appropriate/feasible regional technical policy and programme advisors as well as other stakeholders. The Inception Workshop is crucial to building ownership for the project results and to plan the first year annual work plan.
Day to day monitoring of implementation progress: will be the responsibility of the Project Manager, based on the project's Annual Work Plan and its indicators, with overall guidance from the Project Director. The Project Team will inform the UNDP-CO of any delays or difficulties faced during implementation so that the appropriate support or corrective measures can be adopted in a timely and remedial fashion.
Project Progress Reports (PPR): quarterly reports will be assembled based on the information recorded and monitored in the UNDP Enhanced Results Based Management Platform. Risk analysis will be logged and regularly updated in ATLAS.
Annual Project Review/Project Implementation Reports (APR/PIR): This key report is prepared to monitor progress made since project start and in particular for the previous reporting period (30 June to 1 July). The APR/PIR combines both UNDP and GEF reporting requirements.
Periodic Monitoring through Site Visits:
UNDP CO and the UNDP RCU will conduct visits to project sites based on the agreed schedule in the project's Inception Report/Annual Work Plan to assess first hand project progress. Other members of the Project Board may also join these visits. A Field Visit Report/BTOR will be prepared by the CO and UNDP RCU and will be circulated no less than one month after the visit to the project team and Project Board members.
Mid-Term of Project Cycle:
Mid-Term Evaluation: will determine progress being made toward the achievement of outcomes and will identify course correction if needed. It will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of project implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and will present initial lessons learned about project design, implementation and management. Findings of this review will be incorporated as recommendations for enhanced implementation during the final half of the project’s term.
End of Project:
Final Evaluation: will take place three months prior to the final Project Board meeting and will be undertaken in accordance with UNDP and GEF guidance. The final evaluation will focus on the delivery of the project’s results as initially planned (and as corrected after the mid-term evaluation, if any such correction took place). The final evaluation will look at impact and sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development and the achievement of global environmental benefits/goals. The Terminal Evaluation should also provide recommendations for follow-up activities.
Project Terminal Report: This comprehensive report will summarize the results achieved (objectives, outcomes, outputs), lessons learned, problems met and areas where results may not have been achieved. It will also lie out recommendations for any further steps that may need to be taken to ensure sustainability and replicability of the project’s results.
Learning and Knowledge Sharing:
Results from the project will be disseminated within and beyond the project intervention zone through existing information sharing networks and forums.
The project will identify and participate, as relevant and appropriate, in scientific, policy-based and/or any other networks, which may be of benefit to project implementation though lessons learned. The project will identify, analyze, and share lessons learned that might be beneficial in the design and implementation of similar future projects.
Finally, there will be a two-way flow of information between this project and other projects of a similar focus.