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Recent Evaluations of Biodiversity and Forestry Projects

SCAPES Final Evaluation

The Sustainable Conservation Approaches in Priority Ecosystems (SCAPES) program, which operated from 2009 to 2014, was USAID’s largest global conservation initiative, focusing on transboundary landscapes in Latin America, Africa and Asia. With funding from the Office of Forestry and Biodiversity, four partners implemented nine projects in 19 countries. SCAPES operated under four key principles: Conservation activities should

  • take a threats-based approach to address conservation issues;
  • aim to achieve financial, social, and ecological sustainability for interventions;
  • apply adaptive management and be responsive to changing situations, information, and enabling conditions;
  • and scale-up knowledge and impact to increase conservation success at sites, across the partnership, and among the global conservation community.

The Office of Forestry and Biodiversity commissioned an evaluation of SCAPES in 2013-2014 that included a theory of change-based approach to learn about the effectiveness of different conservation interventions in different contexts. It also included elements of a traditional performance evaluation to understand progress towards the program objectives and landscape conservation goals.

U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Participating Agency Program Agreement (PAPA) Evaluation

The Office of Forestry and Biodiversity manages the USFS PAPA agreement, which numerous USAID missions use to support work in biodiversity conservation, forestry, climate change and disaster management. Inter-agency agreements between USAID and the USFS date back more than 30 years; the current PAPA with the US Forest Service Office of International Programs (USFS-IP) was established in 2007 and ended in 2017.

In 2014, the Office of Forestry and Biodiversity completed a performance evaluation of the PAPA to strengthen management and inform the development of the next agreement. The goal of the evaluation was understand how the PAPA is being used, how well it is delivering on its intended objectives, and to provide recommendations that increase overall PAPA effectiveness. The evaluation included interviews with more than 40 USAID and USFS staff, as well as a deep dive into several priority buy-ins.

USAID’S Global Conservation Program Evaluation

The Global Conservation Program (GCP) was a partnership between USAID and six U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations, which aimed to conserve globally significant areas of biodiversity. Partner organizations implemented international site-based programs, from Brazil's Pantanal wetlands to Southeast Asia's lower Mekong basin. The programs were designed to test innovative approaches that achieve greater conservation impact at multiple scales, from the community level to large landscapes and seascapes that often cross political borders. Projects sought to contribute to human livelihoods while addressing pressing conservation threats. GCP partners also strengthened local capacity by using in-country personnel, organizations and facilities. The GCP also supported learning initiatives to generate new conservation knowledge and share effective practices. The GCP was USAID’s only global conservation initiative, complementing an array of Agency-funded biodiversity activities around the world.

Forest, Climate and Communities Alliance: Lessons Learned

The Forest, Climate, and Communities Alliance (FCCA) was an initiative funded by E3/FAB under the Global Development Alliance (GDA) between 2009 and 2013. FCCA was one of the first USAID-funded projects for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+). The Rainforest Alliance (RA) implemented FCCA in Ghana and Honduras.

Operating in two different contexts allowed FCCA to generate important lessons learned that may be useful as countries around the world search for approaches to prepare for and implement successful REDD+ mechanisms. While not a formal evaluation, the FCCA Lessons Learned review was commissioned in 2013 to contribute to the understanding of what may be effective, and under what conditions, when promoting REDD+ in conjunction with forest and agricultural product certification.

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