Sustainable Forests and Coasts Semi-Annual Progress Report: October 2010 – March 2011

The first half of FY11 is marked with continued successes in developing effective mechanisms to mitigate threats to biodiversity conservation. The Project´s implementation strategy remains focused on providing the technical assistance needed to reduce threats to biodiversity conservation and increase local capacity to manage natural resources in priority areas, and particularly in protected areas. In the FY11 Work Plan the threats targeted, and the strategies and activities designed to minimize them, were tailored to the project´s results framework and presented in alignment with the Project´s Intermediate Results (PIRs) and are presented in the Introduction of this report. The present Semi-Annual Progress Report provides an update on the implementation of the activities and results contemplated in the approved FY11 annual work plan.

In sum, the project continues to provide a series of incentives to conserve the remnants of high biodiversity areas along the Ecuadoran coast and increase local capacity to manage natural resources, especially in protected areas. These incentives include technical assistance for land titling and meeting other prerequisites for accessing the Ministry of Environment´s (MAE) conservation incentives (Socio Bosque), facilitating market access/linkages, and training in best practices, among others. These incentives coupled with establishing partnerships with local, regional and international organizations, and strengthening local capacities, continue to result in local stakeholders taking ownership in project activities. Parallel to this, the Project formed key alliances to formalize collaboration with local public and private sector actors, and has leveraged over $7 million, and continues to work in close partnership with the MAE.

Especially noteworthy achievements this reporting period include (1) launching a historic red crab stock analysis, (2) presenting climate change adaptation measures for El Salado to local stakeholders, (3) improving fishery practices in the Gulf of Guayaquil, (4) strengthening protected area and mangrove concession management, (5) making the mangrove monitoring and enforcement system more operable in the Gulf of Guayaquil, (6) promoting implementation of priority activities in the Ayampe Environmental Land Use Plan, (7) preparing a pamphlet on land tenure policies, (8) fomenting forest rehabilitation and (9) increasing local capacity for implementing good natural resource management practices.

In addition, upon request by the MAE and in accordance with the project´s expanded scope of work (incorporated via Task Order Modification 2), the project continues supporting the Sub-Secretariat for Natural Patrimony in revising the national forestry policy and preparing a new framework for forestry governance. Progress towards meeting FY11 indicators are presented in the results reporting tables found in Annex 2 of the report and a narrative explanation of such results is presented in Annex 3. The project is on track for completing the results contemplated in the task order agreement, which are articulated in the project´s approved Performance Monitoring Plan. The project recognizes the role that the guidance and continual support the Contracting Officer´s Technical Representative, Rocío Cedeño, has played in meeting its goals and implementing work plan activities to date.