2015 Progress Report Award 50457 – Strategic Ecosystems and Biodiversity protected through the implementation of Economic Valuation methodologies, payment of environmental services and adoption of new technologies as of December 2015

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2015 Progress Report - Award 50457 –

Strategic Ecosystems and Biodiversity protected through the implementation of Economic

Valuation methodologies, payment of environmental services and adoption of new technologies

as of December 2015
The Regional Programme of Latin America & the Caribbean (RPLAC) covered work on an ongoing set of projects funded by Spanish Funds, UNDP TRAC funds, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Multi-donor Trust Fund and other. The current initiative (Award 50457), which operates under the umbrella of the Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean, has assisted countries in the region to build their capacities to understand and address the linkages between ecosystem services and their importance for income generation and strengthening of livelihoods. Since its start in 2009, it has supported 18 countries of the region to analyze and plan for the financial sustainability of their protected area systems as key components of natural capital essential to economic growth, livelihoods, climate change adaptation and mitigation. It has also produced major reports for input to regional and national policy processes aimed at ensuring long term production of ecosystem goods and services for benefits at national, regional and global levels, notably the report: – Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC): A Biodiversity Superpower. It also served to mobilize more than $10 million from UN-REDD and FCPF funds to support REDD readiness activities in the region, and contributed to facilitate regional dialogue on sensitive issues, related to REDD+ readiness topics.
According to the mid-term evaluation of the Regional Programme 2008-2013, there is strong evidence of the effective results of the Regional Programme towards supporting national processes to facilitate stakeholder engagement while contributing to the development of national policies and country-level best practices. The technical staff dedicated to climate change, biodiversity and energy-related programming has been crucial to nurture long-term relationships with national partners and administering project activities. Our counterparts, such as Country Offices, government officials and other development agencies feel that the Regional Programme effectively has mobilized large amounts of financial resources for project activities, and has complemented a strong ground level presence for on-site project implementation and monitoring.
The following sections provide a summary of the results achieved in 2015 on each of the outputs of Award 50457: Output- 00062371- Economic Value of Biodiversity; Output 00062372- Protected Areas Financing Strategies; and Output 00089820- Reduction of Poverty and Inequities through Environmental Management and the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources. The report also contains the levels of budgets and expenditure by output during 2015.
In 2015, the Award 50547 finalized some of the action lines that had been its primary focus, namely Outputs 00062371 Economic Value of Biodiversity, and 00062372 Protected Areas Financing Strategies. Over the years, the information and tools generated by these projects has provided the input that decision makers need to incorporate biodiversity and ecosystems management into economic planning, policy, and investment.

Output 00062375 - Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), ended its substantive actions at the end of 2014. The above mentioned three projects will will be operationally and financially closed in the period January to April of 2016.

00062371 Economic Value of Biodiversity - Latin America and the Caribbean
Main objective:

To develop the methodology in order to carry out economic valuations at the national level to more effectively capture the economic value of ecosystems in policy making in the region.

Following the completion and publishing of UNDP’s “Guidebook on Targeted Scenario Analysis: A new approach to capturing and presenting the value of ecosystem services in decision making” in December 2013, UNDP has disseminated the book through workshops, webinars, web pages and social media. To date, the TSA approach has been welcomed and is now being used by UNDP-GEF Projects that support PA Systems’ Financial Sustainability in several countries around the world, showing the impact of this project beyond the region, as an example of how UNDP as a global development organization is taking advantage of it knowledge base in an effective manner.
Given this initial success, the 2015 work plan for 00062371 focused on continuing to disseminate TSA throughout the year. The impact of the TSA dissemination strategy is clearly visible. By the end of 2015, more than 10 countries are engaged or engaging in TSA studies and US$ 100,000 have been leveraged for TSA studies in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador, the Republic of Georgia and Mongolia, including funding from GEF projects, World Wildlife Fund and Conservation international. See Annex 1 for a short paper on TSA that has helped to promote this approach. As the current project is finalizing, going forward, TSA activities will be supported in countries through the BIOFIN programme and GEF projects.
Amongst the key activities in 2015 have been:

  • A key component of the popularization of the method is being able to place it in relation to other approaches. In particular, TSA needs to find its place in relation to standard cost benefit analysis and the TEEB approach. This was done with countries and within UNDP throughout the year.

  • Teaching the method: in 2015, a workshop/short course, was prepared in Spanish and English. The short course is intended to be part of a workshop in wish a prospective applicant actually takes the first steps in conducting a TSA with the close supervision of the instructor.

  • Technical support to studies in Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Uruguay. As part of the dissemination of the methodology outside the region, support was given to Ghana, Lebanon, South Africa and Viet Nam.

  • Summary of TSA studies: The analysis of four TSA in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador and the Republic of Georgia is being completed in order to produce short lessons-learned document that will further improve the TSA approach in the next generation of studies. The lessons learned paper will be completed in the first trimester of 2016.

Project 62371 – Budget and expenditures in 2015:

Source of Funds

Total Budget 2015

Total Expenditures as of 31 Dec. 2015

Total Delivery rate as of 31 Dec. 2015





The end of year balance will be transferred to the new Regional Climate Change Programme (Award 92646), which is also funded by Spain.

00062372 Protected Areas Financing Strategies
Main objective:
To support the financial sustainability and efficiency of Protected Areas Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Based on previous work related to Financial Sustainability of Protected Areas carried out in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Gordon and Betty Moore financed project “Strengthening National Protected Areas Financing Systems in Three Latin American Countries, working in Chile, Guatemala and Peru concluded in April 2014. Resulting in important innovative outcomes related to the improvement of the process to prepare the protected areas systems’ budget, investment mechanisms to increase public funding to PAs and significant advances in knowledge management (KM). An important asset left by the Project was the establishment of partnerships between PA agencies and ministries of finance in the targeted countries. These partnerships have been instrumental to improve the budgeting process of PAs; and it is now the supporting platform for the new UNDP-lead initiative Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) and other projects related to PA finance in the targeted countries.
Using the project’s national experience in the pilot countries, the document Guide to Improving the Budget and Funding of National Protected Area Systems: Lessons from Chile, Guatemala and Peru” was drafted in 2014, and completed and published in Spanish and English in 2015. The tool gathers the best experiences and lessons learned from a 2-year initiative on how to improve phases of Protected Areas Systems (PAS), including effective budgeting, results-based performance indicators for conservation, cost-effectiveness and economic impact. The document captures all the lessons of the project throughout its implementation. This innovative tool was initially presented in the IUCN-WPC in Sydney, Australia in November 2014. A launch of the guide in Latin America and the Caribbean took place during the UNDP-backed BIOFIN-Financing for Biodiversity conference in Santiago, Chile (25-27 January 2016), which gathered over 60 representatives from 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and also from Africa, Asia, Pacific, and Central and Eastern Europe.
The Guide has been distributed globally; and it is now been used in the LAC region to strengthen sustainable finance plans (SFP) under the BIOFIN initiative in Guatemala, Ecuador, and Chile. These SFP are designed to support the implementation of the countries’ National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP). It is expected that more BIOFIN countries in LAC and other regions will follow this approach.
Project 62372 – Budget and Expenditures in 2015:

Sources of Funds

Total Budget 2015

Total Expenditures as of Dec. 31st. 2015

Total Delivery rate as of Dec. 31st. 2015





Moore Foundation




Total - Project




The end of year balance will be transferred to the new Regional Climate Change Programme (Award 92646), which is also funded by Spain.

00089820: Reduction of Poverty and Inequities through Environmental Management and the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
Main Objectives:
Proper environmental management is a prerequisite for sustained economic growth and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Environmental degradation and climate change are endangering the economic progress made by the region in recent decades, in addition to constituting a factor for social and economic exclusion. There have been innumerable innovative experiences addressing this problem in the region, but they quite often remain as isolated projects, or if they are able to shape more comprehensive public policies they generally fail to transcend national settings and achieve adoption in other countries and contexts. It is essential, in the framework of the post-2015 agenda and future sustainable development goals, to formulate policies that address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development in order to bring about true change in current patterns of consumption and production.

Emphasis has been given in the UNDP’s 2014-17 Strategic Plan to measuring impacts on the generation of sustainable development and income opportunities for the most vulnerable populations. Likewise, the UNDP’s Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean seeks to promote dialogue, foster analysis, and systematize and share best practices and knowledge in order to develop methodologies and instruments for addressing the many dimensions of poverty, accompanying the transition to the post-2015 agenda and sustainable development goals, fomenting the sustainable use and management of natural resources in order to generate income and reinforce livelihoods in the region, and promoting sustainable investment and solutions for ecosystems of shared regional importance such as the Amazon. The idea is to integrate capacity-building, knowledge management and south-south cooperation into this work.

In this context, project 00089820 was launched in 2014, in the framework of the Regional Programme to address the relationship between environmental management - in particular, the sustainable use of natural resources - and the reduction of poverty and inequities. The goal is to systematize and analyze experiences in the region (public policies, tools and methodologies, UNDP portfolio experiences, etc.) that promote this interaction with an eye to generating and sharing knowledge and fostering more sustainable development models. In 2015, the following actions were implemented:

Activity 4.1. Preparation of a study on the impacts on sustainable development of environmental portfolio projects and public policies fostering connections between poverty reduction and environmental management.

The study carried out a detailed analysis of the environment and energy portfolio of UNDP in LAC in order to systematize case studies and successful experiences that could contribute to generating sustainable development and help establish clearer connections between the environment and poverty reduction from the standpoint of income generation and support to livelihoods. The study also included a review of the region’s existing public policies for fostering ties between poverty reduction and sustainable management of natural resources Finally, as part of the study, a manual with a conceptual framework and specific indicators for strengthening livelihoods was prepared (see Annex 2 for the main conclusions of the study). Going forward, the UNDP GEF unit will incorporate the findings and proposed indicators in future programming.

Activity 4.2. Preparation of communication material and fostering of south-south cooperation on policies and experiences that foment connections between poverty reduction and environmental management.

In 2015 a Community of Practice in Sustainable Development was established for UNDP LAC, with more than 100 participants from UNDP Country Offices and the Regional Hub. The goal of the meeting was to formally establish this network of practitioners, achieve collective understanding of the future development agenda and its implications for UNDP’s work, present tools and methodologies for more comprehensive programming, and share experiences of the UNDP’s environmental and socioeconomic portfolio in the region in order to foment and strengthen inter-country knowledge networks. See Annex 3 for the Agenda of the meeting. A full report of the meeting can be found here: https://intranet.undp.org/country/rc/RSCLAC/SDCOP2015/Forms/AllItems.aspx. As a follow up to the meeting, the Sustainable Development and Resilience Cluster established a data base of existing expertise in the region in the areas of Poverty Reduction/MDGs/SDGs, Environment and Natural resource Management; Climate change and Energy, and Disaster Risk reduction. This data base served as a base for inviting candidates to apply to formal expert rosters, which will be established in 2016.

Activity 4.3. Formulation of a program for the sustainable development of the Amazon.

Cooperation with the Amazon SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network), led by the Sustainable Amazon Foundation (FAS) to help formulate a plan to provide a platform for sharing sustainable development solutions and experiences in the region. In 2014, the Moore Foundation granted USD 50,000.00 to UNDP to support the development phase of a program for the Amazon under the aegis of the SDSN-Amazon. During 2014 and 2015, key activities were undertaken, including consultations on ongoing Amazon-wide initiatives, stocktaking reports in the Amazon countries, and the layout for Program Concept, which will form the basis for a full programme formulation and subsequent resource mobilization for implementation.

Key outcomes achieved in 2015 include (see Annex 4 for a full report):

          1. Regional consultations on Amazon-wide initiatives: In Manaus, with the Academy of Sciences of Brazil and the Inter-American Network of Academy of Sciences (IANAS) and the Global Network of Science Academies; and in Lima, Peru a workshop was held as part of the 2014 COP 20 Lima Climate Change Conference, and involved the leadership of Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA). The key focus was to identify the participants’ ideal visions for their communities and determine the motivations and barriers involved in improving the lives of their indigenous groups

          2. Stock taking reports in 8 Amazon countries and 5 country level consultations on the state of the Amazon, challenges and opportunities for sustainable development:

          3. Synthesis document of the stocktaking reports (to be finalized in 2016)

          4. Creation of a data base with SDG indicators for Amazon regions in 5 countries,

          5. Drafting of an initial Program Concept and proposed governance structure.

UNDP has supported the initiative through its engagement in dialogues with government institutions, relationships with other partners, and support for the program formulation through its network of Country Offices in the 8 countries that share the Amazon basin. It is currently carrying out the final programme formulation. UNDP has accompanied the process providing technical oversight through the review of national reports and synthesis report, ensuring the inclusion of both environmental as well as poverty reduction perspectives.

Activity 4.4. Support to COs in formulating sustainable development projects (integration of aspects of inequity and poverty reduction, environmental management, gender and indigenous peoples).

The focus of the year was on support for the formulation of the second phase of the Project “CAMBio” in Central America, in collaboration with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), which could potentially become a comprehensive program addressing environmental, economic and social dimensions, providing loans for sustainable agriculture. Several technical workshops and discussions with donors were held, and as of the beginning of 2016, the project is about to be presented formally to the Swizz Cooperation’s (COSUDE/SDC). The result thus promises to be substantial, as donor funds are expected to be around US$ 4 million, whereas funds for green lending amount to USD 60 million, provided by CABEI.

Another activity that was supported was the exchange of experiences in the field of local and inclusive economic development. Seven countries and technical staff from the UNDP Regional Hub participated in a workshop organized by the Colombia Country Office in October 2015, which aimed at creating a community of practice in this field and also included a fair of exchanges, to support greater South-South collaboration between countries in the region.

Project 89820 – Budget and Expenditures in 2015:

Sources of Funds

Total Budget 2015

Expenditures as of Dec 31st. 2015

Delivery rate as of Dec 31st. 2015

Moore Foundation








Total / Project




Award 50457 – 2015 Total Budget & Disbursements:

Sources of Funds

Total Budget 2015

Expenditures as of Dec 31st. 2015

Delivery rate as of 20 Dec 31st. 2015





Spanish Funds




Moore Foundation








The end of year balance of the Spanish Funds will be transferred to the new Regional Climate Change Programme (Award 92646).

Annex 1: Introduction to Targeted Scenario Analysis (TSA):

A new approach to capturing and presenting ecosystem service values for decision making
The challenge with traditional academic ecosystems valuation studies has been that they are often not immediately policy relevant. Many such studies are of little use for policy analysis, because they were not designed from the outset to measure the economic costs and benefits of outcomes that result from specific policy interventions in which decision makers are interested. For example, many economic valuation studies generate “point estimates” of the economic value of something (a tiger, a wetland, a protected area, a forest), rather than of the economic consequences that could result from a specific policy intervention, such as a management plan for a coastal zone where there will be trade offs depending on what is proposed for development.

Academic researchers often feel frustrated when decision makers do not seem excited by the opportunity to use the results of their elaborate economic valuation work, but they should not be surprised: What decision makers would most like to see are studies designed from the outset to serve as an integral part of a specific analysis tailored to assessing carefully defined policy or management interventions.

“…. More than 200 coastal economic valuation studies of the monetary value of marine ecosystem goods and services in the Caribbean currently exist. However, despite this wealth of valuation studies and estimates, it is not clear whether these efforts have had a meaningful impact on policy or decision making concerning the management and use of these valuable natural resources; to date, there has been no assessment to address this critical question….” (Kushner et al, 2012).

TSA Objective

Targeted Scenario Analysis (TSA)1 is an innovative analytical approach, developed by UNDP that captures and presents the value of ecosystem services within decision making, to help make the business case for mainstreaming sustainable policy and investment choices. TSA can generate and present data related to the management of ecosystems in a way that is more relevant to the choices facing a public or private decision maker.

TSA approach

TSA compares different ecosystems management approaches at sector level to assess potential economic losses or gains in terms of sectoral output. The TSA approach is client and sector-focused (the targeted decision-maker of a selected sector with capacity to lead decisions of policy reform and investment). The product is TSA is a balanced time-bound presentation of economic and financial evidence, for the decision maker, that weighs up the pros and cons of continuing with business as usual (BAU) or following a sustainable development path in which ecosystems are more effectively managed. This alternate path is termed sustainable ecosystem management (SEM). This increases the likelihood that this data will be used to make policy and management decisions that result in effective and sustainable management of ecosystems and ecosystem services.

TSA is not about “selling” the idea of SEM. The focus is on identifying when, and under what circumstances, SEM is advantageous when compared with BAU. TSA is an inclusive alternative to traditional economic valuation techniques. It builds on and combines traditional cost benefit analysis (CBA) and economic valuation methods. TSA compares the implications of two contrasting management strategies on the basis of relevant criteria and socioeconomic indicators (both quantitative and qualitative) for a specific productive sector. For example:


Sample Indicators


Change in productivity 

Annual revenues, net profits 

Costs, investment costs 


Consumer surplus (total willingness to pay) 

Producer surplus 

Estimated cost of sector development strategies


Number of new jobs and salary level 

Number of part-time jobs 

Ratio of high-paying versus low-paying jobs 

Equity and fairness

Ratio of salaries by gender 

Ratio of benefits by ethnic group 

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