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Proposed grant from the global environment facility trust fund

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Key indicators for the GEO include:

  • New forestry policies, regulatory frameworks, and/or promotion programs incorporate biodiversity conservation and sustainable use concepts at the federal level and in at least 3 provinces, from baseline 0;

  • Eco-regional planning tools are in use in 3 provinces and at the federal level, from baseline 0;

  • 70,000 ha in key areas benefiting from improved plantation management practices that incorporate biodiversity-responsible practices, from baseline 0; and

  • Monitoring shows amelioration of threats to and improvements in ecosystem biodiversity (habitats of globally-important biodiversity indicator species) in production landscape.

Key impact indicators are:

Component 1: Strengthened federal, provincial and local forestry institutions integrate and promote biodiversity conservation in forestry plantations through:

  • Biodiversity planning maps for 7 provinces planning and evaluating plantation projects in selected ecosystems of global importance developed with stakeholders and adopted at Federal and Provincial levels;

  • 100% of designated representatives of national forest agency, 7 provincial environmental and/or forestry agencies, and participating extensionists trained to evaluate and supervise environmental impact assessments for biodiversity;

  • 5 of 7 provincial environmental and/or forestry agencies employing strengthened biodiversity regulations in environmental impact assessment (EIAs);

  • 3 of 7 provincial governments have new draft policies for incorporating biodiversity concerns into plantation-forestry concerns; and

  • New draft federal legislation to replace law 25.080 incorporates biodiversity concerns, as do associated new drafts of regulations.


Component 2: Improved development, validation, and dissemination of practices that conserve and restore biodiversity in target areas

  • Roundtables established in 7 Provinces, by EOP, have incorporated biodiversity conservation into discussions for policy development;

  • Best practices including native seedbank, ecosystem toolkits, and economic analysis developed for plantation ecosystems;

  • Best practices disseminated to 3,500 forestry-sector stakeholders through extension programs in 7 provinces, an international conference, and university-level programs on biodiversity conservation and plantations;

  • Increase in biodiversity levels, no. of small- and medium-producers incorporating biodiversity conservation in plantation landscapes by end of project; and

  • Seed bank networks established in order to foment increase of no. of nurseries providing native spp. from 18 to 36.

Component 3: Small, medium and large producers adopting best practices for biodiversity-friendly plantations;

  • At least 20,000 hectares of small and medium producers have been supported in implementing agro-forestry (Misiones) or best management practices for biodiversity conservation (Patagonia and Mesopotamia).

  • Changes in levels of biodiversity awareness as surveyed in targeted subproject areas in Y02 and Y04 increases 50% over baseline.

  • At least 50,000 hectares of large plantations (>1000 ha) are incorporating biodiversity-responsible practices and planning within ecoregions of global importance.

  • Baseline studies and public discussions for establishment of of 7 new protected areas in the productive landscape.

Component 4: Mainstreaming program is effectively managed, with strengthened institutional monitoring and evaluation capacities.

• Project management system working efficiently, according to World Bank rules and federal law. To be measured by output indicators such as audits, disbursement reports, reports, etc;

• SAGPyA’s monitoring system up and running, monitoring and evaluation findings incorporated into ongoing programs, and partnership arrangements exist in at least one participating province.

    1. Lessons learned and reflected in the project design

The proposed GEF Sustainable Forestry Development Project is considered highly innovative, and at the forefront of a new field. The first international conference on Biodiversity and Conservation Biology in Plantation Forests was held just last year; as of yet there are few examples of projects which seek to integrate biodiversity conservation wholly into the plantation forestry sector. In fact, one of the most attractive aspects of the current proposal is the ability to pilot approaches and techniques in this new field, and to generate lessons learned which can later be applied to the forestry sector in countries throughout the world.
As the proposed project is considered a demonstration project on the cutting edge of its field, there are not yet lessons learned from projects with the similar objectives which can be applied to this project. However, applicable lessons have been drawn from forestry and biodiversity projects and included in the project design.
The design of the proposed GEF project has been based on GEF-related experience from Argentina and on information derived from other relevant GEF and IBRD projects in the region. Key projects considered include the Argentina GEF Biodiversity Conservation Project, the Chile GEF MSP Valdivian Forest Zone Project: Public-Private Mechanisms for Biodiversity Conservation in Region Ten, and the IBRD Argentina Forestry Development Project. In general lessons learned from these include (a) the need to work with private producers, including small- and medium-level producers, as well as NGO sectors in productive activities in order to achieve biodiversity conservation at the landscape level; (b) minimizing or eliminating risks for small producers in the adoption of new techniques; (c) including a strong field presence in the project design and implementation, (d) building on an established organizational base; (e) including, to the maximum extent possible, local experts, in the preparation; (f) ensuring broad stakeholder involvement from public, private and non-governmental organizations; and (g) strengthening monitoring and evaluation at the project level to provide more near real-time adjustments and feedback to project execution.
In preparing the GEF project, full advantage has been taken of lessons learned and relationships established under a number of successful projects in Argentina and elsewhere. Among these are the recently closed Forestry Development Project, which, as the first ever forestry project financed by the Bank in Argentina, focused among other things on improving the sustainable growth of plantations The Bank is also implementing the Native Forests and Protected Areas Project, which focuses on policy, norms, research and information. Both projects have provided useful inputs into the next phase of project development. The proposed GEF project will also draw on the Global Overlays Program, which supported best practices at the country level, and GEF experiences in conservation in other countries. The proposed GEF project will also incorporate biodiversity “overlays” into national forestry sector programs and investments supported by the Bank.
The World Bank’s GEF Portfolio Implementation Review for 2005 supported the need to include mainstreaming into productive landscapes. “Although the global area in official protected areas has increased in recent years, it has become increasingly clear that protected areas in and of themselves will be insufficient to conserve all of the world’s biodiversity. Growing population, the expansion in cultivated area, and increasing natural resource use will greatly limit the possibility of strict protection in the future. Even where species are limited to a particular area that can be strictly protected, the ecological processes that support them—fire, flood regimes, migration routes of seed dispersers—require management at a broader landscape scale. Effective biodiversity conservation across all ecological regions will require greater conservation efforts beyond the boundaries of protected area networks, through mainstreaming biodiversity within production landscapes- and water bodies.”

    1. Alternatives considered and reasons for rejection

An option considered early on during the project design phase was to fully blend the GEF project with the IBRD loan for the new Sustainable Forestry Development Project. These two projects are highly complementary, have been developed in close coordination, and share project teams within the Bank and SAGPyA. However, the different timelines required to prepare the GEF and the IBRD loan projects made partial blending more practical, so as not to delay either project in moving forward. This partial blending does not affect the synergy between the two projects which will be executed in concert.
Another alternative considered was to execute the project activities at a national scale. However, the production landscape, as it relates to forestry plantations, is largely focused in the provinces of the northeast and in Patagonia. For this reason, it was decided to focus work primarily in the provinces of Misiones and Corrientes, with strictly complementary activities in other provinces where plantation forestry has the potential to have a high level of impact on biodiversity, even though it is now operating at a smaller scale. This will allow the project to have the greatest impact in areas where plantation forestry is already underway, while steering plantation development away from sensitive areas where biodiversity could be put at risk.
A third option considered was to implement Component 3 of the loan element (Sustainable Production) largely through tightly-focused activities with specific organizations. However, it was decided that, by using a demand-driven process to stimulate proposals from interested actors, the project could generate a higher level of ownership among stakeholders, increase cofinancing by beneficiary organizations, and generate higher levels of interest from municipal and provincial governments.


    1. Partnership arrangements (if applicable)

The most important partnerships that the GEF project will establish will be with its counterpart IBRD loan operation for the Sustainable Forestry Development Project. These projects have been jointly prepared and will be implemented in close coordination, ensuring a strong integration of activities and objectives, and leveraging far greater resources than the GEF project could access alone.
The proposed project will also create formal and informal partnerships with private plantation owners and land holders, both large and small. These partnerships will create synergies that will hopefully generate a multiplier effect which will greatly increase the impact of the GEF intervention, and will help ensure that project objectives are fully integrated into the plantation forestry sector.
The project will also establish partnerships with important research institutes, as well as relevant departments within SAGPyA, provincial governments, universities, NGOs, and private producers. These relationships will allow the project to stimulate new techniques and methodologies, promote technical assistance and extension, and effectively implement project activities while helping guarantee the future sustainability of project achievements.

    1. Institutional and implementation arrangements

The proposed GEF project will be implemented by the Direccion de Forestacion of the SAGPyA. The same mechanisms will be used for implementation of the proposed IBRD loan. By utilizing established human capacity, systems, and procedures, these arrangements will greatly reduce the initial training and costs required to correctly implement the project and will assure much higher quality administration and management. In order to ensure sustainability at closure, and in keeping with the CAS objectives of transferring responsibility to line agencies, financing and staffing of the unit would be split between GEF and IBRD-financed consultants and SAGPyA staff and consultants.
This existing administrative unit is under the federal Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Food (SAGPyA). Forestry Development Project (IBRD LN 3948 AR). The Forestry Directorate of SAGPyA will also be closely involved in the implementation of both projects to ensure that the objectives of long-term mainstreaming and policy work proceed smoothly. At the field level the Regional Forestry Extension Officers of the proposed Sustainable Forestry Development Project will have a key role to play in integrating biodiversity conservation into training courses for private forestry extension workers, and in liaising and in providing feedback to the administrative unit. Applied research and studies on conservation will be funded competitively using the same procedures to be used for the forestry project. The National Institute for Agricultural Technology (INTA), which is a key government research institution for the agriculture and forestry sector, and has a strong field presence will also be involved in the project.
The provincial administrations, through their Forestry Directorates (DB), will be involved in the execution of policy and planning related activities at the provincial and local levels. They will also benefit from biodiversity training and from having their natural resources data bases strengthened with biological information generated by the GEF incremental financing. They will be expected to take the lead in tabling any environmental issue at the provincial level discussion roundtables (mesas forestales) supported by the forestry project. In addition, the provincial level governments will also be eligible to present proposals for the small-farmer forestry components in Misiones and biodiversity mainstreaming projects in Patagonia.
Non-governmental organizations at federal and regional levels may take part in components such as environmental education, outreach, biodiversity monitoring, small-farmer initiatives, and other aspects specifically related to their expertise and interest. They will also participate in Provincial Forestry Roundtables to be established under the forestry project.
Academic institutions will participate in activities such as monitoring and evaluation, curricular reform activities, and potentially training efforts. Both regional and national level institutions are eligible although for specific activities that require local presence or longer-term efforts, regional universities may be preferable.
Monitoring and evaluation, and dissemination of results will be undertaken by the administrative unit in SAGPyA. These processes will involve independent experts and possibly academic institutions that may have long-term monitoring efforts in place to maximize benefits and relevance of the data generated and fosters the broad dissemination of lessons-learned. The SAGPyA administrative unit members will also be the counterparts for supervision missions.

    1. Monitoring and evaluation of outcomes/results

Component 4 of the project supports the design and implementation of a robust and low-cost electronic environmental monitoring system which will ensure that the impacts of techniques and methodologies adopted in the forestry sector are positive for biodiversity. This system, which involves a joint effort between the government, private sector, NGOs and academia, will help make sure the results achieved under this project are sustained long after the close of the project.

Component 4 will also draw on the resources and experience of the SAGPyA, as well as specialized programs, consultancies, and participatory processes, to monitor and evaluate project results and impacts. Institutions with specific capacity in monitoring, evaluation and systematizing information such as the SAGPyA geoprocessing office, as well as other organizations including the academic sector, research organizations, and specialized NGOs, will be incorporated to help achieve project outcomes and objectives. The results of monitoring and evaluation will be disseminated at local, national and global levels to support the goals of sustainability, and will be incorporated as necessary into the project implementation strategy. Annex 3 of this document details the project monitoring strategy, including the use of the SP2 Biodiversity Mainstreaming Tracking Tool.

Component 3 will include the monitoring of biodiversity in agroforestry and silvopastoral ecosystems in order to measure the impacts of different management techniques on species.

    1. Sustainability and Replicability

Institutional Sustainability

Project design aims at ensuring sustainability by mainstreaming conservation into day-to-day plantation management, so that over the long-term the conservation of biodiversity is integrated into every day practice. The focus on commercial plantations, economic incentives, partnerships, and win-win situations as the primary means of mainstreaming seeks to create a framework for sustainability. In addition, basic legal, policy, and law enforcement issues that may cause biodiversity loss in plantation forestry will also be analyzed and addressed. Partnerships with small and large producers, federal and provincial governments, and academia will underpin mainstreaming across a wide array af actors, thus strengthening the propects for sustainability beyond the project period. The creation and dissemination of environmental information and the results of monitoring will also help guarantee sustainability by raising biodiversity concerns in society at large.

Capacity building and awareness are an integral part of the project‘s sustainability. Technical specialists, policy makers, planners, producers and communities will be included in training, extension and education activities. An environmental education campaign will reach a larger population as well. By training not only current but also future generations of producers, policy makers, and researchers, the project will secure the adoption and mainstreaming of biodiversity by the wide range of involved stakeholders long into the future.
Project stakeholders, including producers, government officials, and NGO technical specialists, have already expressed an interest in incorporating the information which the proposed project will produce into their planning, and in applying new techniques for the development and management of plantations. To date it has been the lack of knowledge and information, rather than willingness to apply it that has been the primary problem in the sector. This suggests that project results will be well accepted and objectives internalized by the sector, both of which are highly positive for long-term sustainability.
Financial Sustainability

The proposed GEF Sustainable Forestry Project has been developed to foster financial as well as institutional sustainability, with low recurrent costs needed after project end, and a focus on economically-viable practices. The proposed project is designed to support a number of interventions with a high up-front investment that will provide long-term benefits at extremely low recurrent costs. The provision of tools which will support the integration of biodiversity information into the plantation sector, collection of information, and activities such as mapping and zoning represent high initial costs, yet will shape the sector for decades to come with few additional investments. Similarly, by investing in capacity building and extension during the life of the project, the needed knowledge base to support the adoption of biodiversity-friendly techniques will be guaranteed. Once developed, this knowledge can be disseminated and applied indefinitely with little additional cost. Perhaps most importantly, the project will only support techniques and practices which are economically viable, thus allowing producers to make decisions that are both market- and biodiversity-friendly.


The GEF project is also designed to be replicable, both within and outside of Argentina. The project will work with a diverse group of stakeholders including producers of different sizes, and in a variety of ecosystems, testing techniques for incorporating biodiversity conservation into plantation forestry. The end result is intended to be the generation of best practices for the sustainable management of plantation forests, for global, regional and local benefits. Because best practices will be generated for a variety of plantation sizes and ecosystems, those identified through the project will be appropriate for replication in diverse situations in Argentina and beyond.

Technology transfer will aim to ensure that information on best practices and that from research will be made easily available to a wide audience. Furthermore, training packages developed for both the public sector and other stakeholders will be made available for general use and distribution of information generally will be done through the website being developed and managed under the institutional development component being funded through IBRD loan. Linkages will also be made with universities and other research institutions, so as to disseminate information and results to researchers and teachers. There is also the potential to involve other international organizations such as FAO and CGIAR, who have already expressed their interest. These and other organizations with activities in the region would be instrumental in replicating successful practices and utilizing lessons learned.
Partnerships with producers may also become a portal for dissemination of best practices based on successes that come out of the proposed program
Critical risks and possible controversial aspects
The main risks are as follows:

  • Producers may lack enthusiasm or find it difficult to adopt low-impact production methods necessary to favor biodiversity, as they will undoubtedly increase costs and reduce returns. They may also resent regulation that impedes their land use options. Consequently, to mainstream biodiversity into productive landscapes, incentives have been included to compensate participants for losses foregone The project team has taken care in designing, consulting, and promoting an appropriate mix of regulation and incentives, and because this mix has been discussed in detail with stakeholders, the risk should be minimized.

  • Institutional weaknesses, corruption, and heavy bureaucratic procedures may deter producers from participating. Institutional development, dialogue, robust monitoring system, roundtables, and a clearly defined project area should minimize these risks.

  • The policy environment may not be conducive to conservation in plantation areas, as current regulations and legislation, and subsidy programs do not provide incentives for adopting biodiversity- and ecosystem-friendly practices in the planning and management of plantation forests. To reduce this risk, the project will analyze the present policy environment and propose alternatives to national and provincial policies and incentives related to plantations that may adversely impact biodiversity. Policy reform, however, has shown to be challenging in the past, and to improve the chances of success consultation and consensus building with stakeholders and policy makers will be undertaken prior to any new draft legislation being presented to the Federal Council of the Environment in Argentina (COFEMA) and to Congress. (COFEMA is composed of the provincial ministers of the environment and the Federal Secretary of the Environment and provides the critical link between the federal and provincial government on environmental legislation.) This risk has been carefully analyzed and it has been determined that even if modifications to the current policy environment are less than expected under the proposed project, the project could still achieve the set objectives.

  • Several components of the project require federal and provincial level coordination; this has its risks because few existing and effective models of cooperation presently exist in Argentina. In order to encourage cooperation and reduce risks, the IBRD project will finance the establishment and implementation of Provincial Forestry Roundtables whose aim it is to foster collaboration. Stakeholders for both IBRD and GEF will participate in the roundtables, which will constitute key fora for fostering consensus approaches to ensuring the environmental sustainability of plantation development and that biodiversity is taken into consideration in plantation activities, among other concerns.

  • Despite the fact that forestry plantations are economically viable in Argentina, and are producing increased amounts of wood to the local and international markets, their impact on biodiversity and the environment has become increasingly controversial. This debate is likely to continue for sometime and could prove to be a risk to the project. In order to mitigate the effects of this, the project will draw on established scientific methods and techniques for conservation, and ensure that the consultation process through federal and provincial forestry roundtables is open, inclusive and transparent, to ensure that the development of the plantation sector goes hand-in-hand with internationally acceptable standards for conservation.

  • In consideration of the risks above, the World Bank runs a reputational risk in the execution of the project.




Low producer acceptance of project objectives


Producers have already shown great interest in working with project and in incorporating information and tools produced by project into plantation planning and management.

Institutional weakness deters producers from participating


Project will strengthen institutions through capacity building activities, provision of tools and information, and implementation of mechanisms to create dialog with producers.

Policy environment not conducive to biodiversity conservation in plantation areas


Project will work to strengthen the policy environment to improve incentives for conserving biodiversity in plantation areas.

Lack of federal and provincial coordination


Project will seek to strengthen and improve coordination among different levels of government that impact the forestry sector.

Work in biodiversity conservation in plantations seen as controversial


Consultations with numerous NGOs have been positive proactive NGOs are already working in this area.

Reputational Risk


The project is a “green project”, and is designed to provide benefits to the environment and people of Argentina. Productive sectors must be engaged proactively if biodiversity is to be mainstreamed.
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