Integra recently conducted a midterm performance evaluation of the third phase of the Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE III), USAID’s largest sustainable land management program in Africa, across six countries in the Congo Basin. CARPE III is the U.S. Government’s major contribution to the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, a partnership between member states, donors, international organizations and other stakeholders for coordination on conservation, development and other initiatives in the region.
The purpose of this assignment was to provide evaluation services that focused on: (1) program performance; (2) program design and implementation strategy; (3) program management and coordination; (4) the prospect for sustainability; and (5) lessons learned and practical recommendations for performance improvement. It was designed to help CARPE management, the Government of Norway and CARPE backstops in Africa Bureau (AFR) and USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3) to review and improve major strategic approaches, management systems and allocation of program resources. The evaluation focused on the program’s performance in climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, sustainable forest management, combating wildlife trafficking and cross-cutting thematic areas like gender, indigenous people, property rights, resource tenure and governance.
To conduct this evaluation, Integra used a non-experimental observational design involving a mixed-methods approach. Data collection methods included key informant interviews, focus group discussions, direct observation, and a literature review. Over the course of six weeks, Integra conducted in-depth reviews of program documents, previous CARPE evaluations and reporting, and relevant literature on climate change mitigation, conservation and wildlife crime. Interviews were also conducted with USAID CARPE staff, Africa Bureau, E3/GCC, FAB, and CARPE implementing partners in Washington, Kinshasa, Brazzaville and field locations across the eight CARPE landscapes.
Integra hopes the findings and recommendations from this midterm evaluation will assist CARPE III program managers to advance sustainable land management throughout the Congo Basin.