Our review of coral reef management projects identified four areas as key issues in project design. These include:
• Participatory processes and partnering
• Capacity and infrastructure
• Funding and sustainability
• Project feasibility
External donor funded projects, through their preconceived goals, objectives and time frames, are often inclined to fail in part or at least to not be sustainable beyond their life (White et al. 2005). The dependence on external assistance creates both the potential for and the reality of non-sustainable ICM institutions and policies as projects are terminated and staff withdrawn. The majority of community-based ...view middle of the document...
3. Ensure project outcomes are achieved within the proposed funding and timeline.
White et al. (2005) conducted a review of 17 coastal management projects in the Philippines and Indonesia, in attempt to determine the factors that increased sustainability of these projects. The sustainability factors receiving the most attention, from the most to the least common, were:
• education and awareness level raising,
• link of management to biophysical change,
• stakeholder participation in ICM decision-making process,
• legal and policy framework development.
Those that are receiving the least attention among all the projects analyzed are:
• participation of the private sector,
• designing a successful project exit strategy,
• improving economic returns and income generation,
• building capacity for law enforcement,
• ensuring institutional capacity beyond leadership change.
The distinction between the two lists reflects their relative importance in previous research on sustainable management. Factors on the first list have long been recognized as important to successful coastal management activities. However, recent research has emphasized the importance of the second list of factors. These factors also tend to reflect weaknesses in most developing country settings such as poor law enforcement, poverty, the unpredictability of local and national politics and changes in leadership. Successful project exit strategies and increased participation by the private sector may also reflect either the project design or a combination of design and the implementing entity bias of government, in most cases.
ARTICLE IN PRESS
From our review, the most common threats or barriers to effective project design include:
• Unrealistic project goals or timelines.
• Insufficient coordination between partner agencies.
• Insufficient capacity (human, financial and equipment) to perform proposed work.
• Excessive donor requirements for restrictive frameworks, reporting requirements and funding schedules that impair flexibility to complete the project.
Key Lessons Learned and Recommendations
• Use participatory processes during design phase, make sure the project makes sense in a local context, select appropriate agencies and levels of expertise to carry out activities.
• Project framework must be logical but flexible, not too ambitious or complex, and must be clearly defined and communicated to stakeholders.
• Stakeholder and community engagement must be designed to fit in the local/regional context.