Expert Review of the Coral Triangle Health IndicatorsConfiguration
The team implementing the Regional Technical Assistance (RETA) on Strengthening Coastal and Marine Resource Management in the Coral Triangle of the Pacific (CT Pacific) has reviewed the RETA’s monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system on the health of the Coral Triangle.
The team conducted the review to ensure the RETA’s M&E system and indicators are aligned with updated country and regional development frameworks.
The M&E system has to be aligned and linked with the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) and the requirements of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the major funding source for the RETA.
The review was held at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters on 25 April 2013 and was organized by the Pacific Department.
Bruce Dunn, Environment Specialist of the Environment and Safeguards Division of the Regional and Sustainable Development Department and GEF focal person in ADB, cited the importance of aligning and linking the RETA’s M&E system to maximize its contribution to data and information systems for the CTI and help the countries on their National Plan of Action.
The M&E framework of the CT Pacific RETA is aligned with that of the CTI, according to Luz Baskinas of WWF-Philippines and member of the CTI M&E Working Group. She updated participants on progress made in modifying the indicators by the respective CTI working groups and provided guidance on defining indicators for assessing the RETA’s contributions to the CTI.
One of the major factors to consider is the capacity of each country to measure and report on a regular basis. It is important to identify indicators that are already being monitored and reported on by the countries. Cesar Umali Jr., M&E Specialist for the RETA, cautioned that the RETA team cannot assume that these basic indicators are being monitored and reported in the countries, especially at the national level, as needed for regional aggregation.
This problem was discovered during the baseline data collection exercise done in the five countries covered by the RETA. Further, even if the monitoring is being done, it might not be at an interval that is aligned with the requirements for reporting under the RETA.
For instance, data on the increase in seagrass area, an indicator of increased resilience of coastal and marine ecosystems, are available only for two of the five countries. Reef fish biomass, an impact indicator for the RETA, is available only for Fiji.
Especially challenging is the case of Vanuatu where seagrass area, reef fish biomass, supply of other seafood, and length of coast under integrated coastal resource management are not being reported at the national level. These challenges make the RETA all the more important for the CT Pacific countries, said Marilou Drilon, Senior Natural Resource Economist and head of the coordination unit for the project.
The RETA has to contribute to building capacities needed to ensure that national M&E systems are working. Stakeholders in the communities will be trained to assess, document, and report their own progress in terms of measuring these indicators and to integrate this activity into their other activities.
The RETA will provide training for government personnel in surveying and mapping, and the establishment of coastal sector databases. The review concluded with good indications of interest from each participating country to improve the collection and use of M&E data and to manage programs and projects in a more effective and efficient manner.