How will the Philippines measure the success of its flagship reforestation program?
The participation of public and private entities is a crucial element in developing a monitoring and evaluation framework that includes the issues of all relevant sectors at national and sub-national levels.
The Enhanced National Greening Program was set the task of reforesting the remaining 7.1 million hectares of forest land in the Philippines by 2028. To ensure that the Program will fulfill this task, “key government agencies and private organizations must be consulted for better monitoring of the program,” emphasized Rodel Lasco, country coordinator of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Philippines.
ICRAF Philippines, Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Forest Management Bureau and the United Nations Development Programme are working with other organizations in the public and private sectors. Together, they are developing a theory of change that will constitute the Program’s monitoring and evaluation framework.
Faisal Noor, a monitoring and evaluation consultant with ICRAF Philippines, underscored that the theory of change is the ‘main ingredient’ of the Framework. It will illustrate how the Program can achieve its goal of ‘sustainably managed environment and natural resources for improved socio-economic well-being of secured and empowered communities by 2030’.
To achieve this impact, the Program identified five pathways, each of which addresses issues related to reforestation: 1) climate change adaptation and mitigation; 2) biodiversity conservation; 3) sustainable forestry management; 4) poverty reduction; and 5) food security. These impact pathways will be measured based on sets of indicators identified during past consultations with government agencies and through field works conducted at several Program sites.
The indicators were ranked by participating agencies and private organizations during the Enhanced National Greening Program Stakeholder Consultation Workshop held 13 November 2018 in Quezon City, organized by ICRAF Philippines and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Forest Management Bureau with funding from the United Nations Development Programme.
The draft theory of change shows a total of 25 indicators, several of which transcend the impact pathways of the Program. The indicators were categorized under three themes: 1) partnership and collaboration; 2) capabilities and accountabilities; and 3) knowledge and awareness. The participants were grouped based on these themes and conducted a ranking exercise to determine the indicators that would be prioritized in the theory of change.
For partnership and collaboration, the number of awarded tenure and management instruments was identified as the key indicator. Eric Buduan, senior program officer of the Forest Foundation Philippines, explained that the government and private entities must collaborate to ensure that tenure and management instruments work effectively. This must be complemented with education and capacity building initiatives to train such entities to tackle tenure-related issues.
For knowledge and awareness, the number of individuals trained in sustainable forest management was chosen as the key indicator. Jean Jardeleza of the Ateneo Institute of Sustainability explained that sustainable forest management must be a key element of the Program since this will allow communities to use the available forest products and maintain the forests for future generations.
For capabilities and accountabilities, the number of jobs generated by the Program was ranked as the top indicator. Karen See, an ICRAF researcher, reiterated that the Program was not only a reforestation initiative; it also aims to provide livelihoods for communities.
To improve accountability of the Program, which had emerged as a major issue in its first phase, the number of individuals trained in the whole project development cycle was identified as the second-most important indicator.
Floradema Eleazar, a consultant with the United Nations Development Programme, suggested to also identify indicators that will measure the unintended negative effects of the Program. This would ensure that the Program can still be measured in case of unforeseen circumstances. Jardeleza and Elsa Tagufa from the Department of Budget and Management added that gender and social inclusion and indigenous knowledge must also be considered in the theory of change. This was because issues not only arose at sectoral levels but also in the socio-cultural and political environments.
The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) is a centre of scientific excellence that harnesses the benefits of trees for people and the environment. Knowledge produced by ICRAF enables governments, development agencies and farmers to utilize the power of trees to make farming and livelihoods more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable at multiple scales. ICRAF is one of the 15 members of the CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. We thank all donors who support research in development through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.