Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring has traditionally been defined as a continuous or periodic process of collecting and analyzing data to measure the performance of a program, project, or activity. As an integral and continuing part of project/program management, it provides managers and stakeholders with regular feedback on implementation and progress towards the attainment of stated objectives. Monitoring enables management to take appropriate corrective action to achieve desired results. Effective monitoring requires baseline data, as well as indicators of performance and related measurements, regular reporting, and a feedback mechanism for management decision-making.
Evaluation, on the other hand, is systematic and independent assessments of ongoing or completed projects or programs, their design, implementation and results, which aim to determine whether the actions taken have produced the desired results. Ideally, evaluation should be a continuous process through which measures of performance are defined and systematically compared with program goals and objectives. It may also be undertaken periodically during the lifetime of a program. In practice, evaluations are used by managers to improve their own performance (adaptive management), as well as for reporting (accountability) or as lessons learned to improve future planning.
The objective of Monitoring and Evaluation (M & E) of each component of State ICZMP is, therefore, to track through suitable means that the execution of the work program of each component is progressing as per schedule in terms of physical targets, allotted time span and available financial resources. The objective of M & E is also to see that equipments, services, operation, etc that will be procured by allotted resources are of acceptable quality and in contracted quantities. One of the main objectives of M & E is also to decide on the desirability of a mid-course correction through revised resource allocation, alternative technological means, altered man power deployment, etc. if the M & E indicate such a measure as absolutely necessary. In such a scenario the objective will be to learn from past experiences in engineering solutions, equipment performance or methodology efficacy.
Components of Monitoring
Any ICZM program will have the following five components of monitoring:
- Data acquisition
- Data management
- Information generation
- Information distribution
- Information use
Data acquisition covers both automated and manual data collection, as well as laboratory analysis of collected samples. Data management covers the systematic and logical organization of data. It involves physical storage, association of data with metadata, data validation and verification, ownership and access privileges definition, consistent approaches to dealing with the expected lifetime of data including obsolescence of technical solutions, data backup, and data integration with existing systems. Information generation is accomplished through processing and analysis of data. Often this is performed in conjunction with models. Generating information can be very simple (e.g. creation of a trend line), or require complex numerical modelling (e.g. predicting future morphological changes of the coastline). In order for information generation to be truly useful, it should be transparent and reproducible. Information distribution is the process of dissemination of information in a useable format to different stakeholders. It is to be noted that the key point here is that information should be clear and at the appropriate level. Information use is the process of utilising the information. Typically, this involves determining additional information needs, making decisions and taking actions. Information use often impacts monitoring. For instance, data acquisition location and frequency can change, or it can be decided that better models and processing tools need to be developed.
A solid data base as part of M & E system on relevant aspects of coastal zone is a pre-requisite for any program of investigation and planning of intervention on any or all aspects of sustainable development and/or use of the coastal zone of West Bengal including continued sustainability of the coastal environment. Several investigations and planning efforts can draw data from the same base and be sure about commonality of data so that any integration of results of different investigations will not suffer from uneven data quality and density at any level. The most important items that need to be inventorised include
- details of physical and biological resources of different natural subdivisions of the coastal zone
- extent and magnitude of vulnerability of different sectors of the coastal zone to natural disasters
- extent of bio-diversity and fragility of the eco-system
- details of eco-system functioning and its interaction with physical and physico-chemical processes of different sectors of the coast
- extent of pollution of the coastal environment (mainly water environment)
- current land use pattern of the coastal zone
- socio-economic condition of the coastal population including livelihood details
- management interventions that are already in place and those that are contemplated in future
- measurement of important aspects of physical processes in near shore and coastal areas
Preparation of data base on the above aspects will involve collection of monitored data from the accredited institutions (like water quality data from WBPCB). Some primary data can be reliably generated at the laboratory with field verifications (like land use map of the coastal zone). A large part of the data base is to be built up from ground surveys either in full or in the form of sample survey supplemented by accessing the data being collected by the grass root agencies of the government. These will include, for example, information on socio-economic condition including means of livelihood of local population in Sundarban areas available with Sundarban Development Board and in Digha-Sankarpur area available with DSDA, management measures already undertaken by Irrigation and Waterways Department at Digha to prevent coastal erosion, livelihood enhancement measures of fishermen undertaken by the Fisheries Department, improvement of agricultural purposes, development infra-structural facilities by the SDB, etc.
The data base will be used to infer on the following after the implementation of the pilot programmes:
- Status of dynamic equilibrium
- Retreat/advance/equilibrium of the coast line along the Digha-Sankarpur sector over the monitored period
- land loss/land gain/equilibrium in the Sundarban areas inclusive of Sagar Island
- Shrinkage/addition/equilibrium of mangrove covered areas in Sundarban
- Reduction/addition/equilibrium in the population of keystone species in the Sundarban
- Near clean/polluted environment in and around Haldia and Digha-Sankarpur with water quality meeting/not meeting the required discharge standard
- Increase/decrease/equibrium in fish catch (catch per effort) along the coast
- No report/report of dead olive ridley turtle from Sundarban
- No change/change over to multi crop agriculture with availability of grid power in Sagar Island
- Increase/decrese/equilibrium in GDP of the coastal districts of West Bengal
- Increase/decrease in the number tourists visiting Digha-Sankarpur areas
Positive response in any or all of the above indictors will point towards success and sustainability of the interventions introduced by ICMZP.
Monitoring, recording, evaluating and understanding of the physical and ecological processes operative in coastal areas is one of important aspects of coastal research forming an essential input for the contemplated management interventions and ultimately in fine tuning of the prepared ICZMP. At present process monitoring on a regular basis is being carried out by the Calcutta Port Trust. These include bathymetric survey of parts of the Hugli estuary up to the Sagar Point for navigation of approaching ships through the maze of shifting bars/shoals and for determining the extent of maintenance/capital dredging that may be required for navigability, tidal amplitude and velocity measurements in more or less the same area, wave period measurements in a small part of the sea around Haldia port, etc. But unfortunately these data have been categorized as classified and are not available for use/consultation. Daily meteorological data are available only for Sagar, Haldia and Digha stations. Cyclone related data are available with IMD. The above brief discussion clearly brings out that process monitoring along the West Bengal coast is inadequate and sporadic. Although geomorphological maps are perhaps available, data on dynamic form monitoring like berm, beach face and near shore bar mapping through tidal and seasonal cycles, data on near shore bathymetric survey through such cycles, near shore wave period and wave direction monitoring beyond the surf zone, estuarine form monitoring vis-à-vis estuarine process variability (like tide duration, magnitude, velocity, etc) on a daily, seasonal and larger time scale are not available. Therefore any existing synthesis leading to a form-process-material interaction model of different segments of West Bengal coast is speculative and proposed engineering intervention to manage the shore line instability problems are therefore not on required scientific base. The result is continued unpredictable shoreline instability and failure of the engineering solutions to overcome the instability manifested in coastal erosion & accretion. The monitoring of ecosystem functioning in terms of biological processes that has a bearing on functioning form-process-material interaction model. Very few data on these aspects are at present available and consequently the contemplated ICZMP will be prone to failure if such data are not collected and integrated with other data to arrive at an efficient ICZMP.
The proposed two part M & E system will therefore include
- creation of an appropriate data base on relevant items through data acquisition from secondary sources, primary data generation in the laboratory and sites and primary survey or sample survey and will be tailored to be used as indicators for success/failure in the coastal intervention programmmes.
- process monitoring of the coastal zones having open sea and/or estuary
The above work plan by the PMU will provide for the development of essential tools for carrying out M & E of the proposed interventions in coastal areas of West Bengal as part of ICZMP, be it in the form of physical structures, biological shields and/or socio-economic development.
Information on which evaluations are based thus could come from many sources, but monitoring (observation) has a particularly important contribution in providing the basic data that should underpin the evaluation. In this regard, indicators provide a useful tool to identify, prioritize and quantify objectives, monitor their achievement, evaluate the program and ultimately adjust it.
In the context of ICZM three types of indicators are of importance:
- Governance indicators, which measure the performance of program components (e.g., status of ICZM planning and implementation), as well as the progress and quality of interventions and of the ICZM governance process itself;
- Ecological/Environmental indicators, which reflect trends in the state of the environment. They are descriptive in nature if they describe the state of the environment in relation to a particular issue (e.g., loss of biodiversity or over-fishing). They become performance indicators if they compare actual conditions with targeted ecological conditions;
- Socioeconomic indicators, which reflect the state of the human component of coastal and marine ecosystems (e.g., economic activity) and are an essential element in the development of ICZM plans. They help measure the extent to which ICOM is successful in managing human pressures in a way that results not only in an improved natural environment, but also in improved quality of life in coastal areas, as well as in sustainable socioeconomic benefits.
Monitoring of key indicators and evaluation of the monitoring results will point towards the success or otherwise of the interventions which have been proposed in the State Project Report on ICZMP of West Bengal and will form the central theme of the envisaged monitoring and evaluation efforts. As have been outlined earlier the key indicators that are of relevance and are required to be monitored will include the following:
- seasonal field monitoring of retreat/advance of the coast line and beach profile along the Digha-Sankarpur and Sagar island sectors over a sufficient number of years so as to evaluate that equilibrium beach plans and profiles have been attained.
- yearly monitoring through remote sensing about erosion/growth through deposition/emergence/disappearance of coastal island systems of the Sundarban areas inclusive of Sagar Island
- yearly monitoring through remote sensing and limited check field observations on shrinkage/increase of mangrove covered areas in Sundarban
- yearly monitoring through field survey of status of bio-diversity in Digha-Sankarpur and Sagar island areas to evaluate the health of bio-diversity of the areas
- periodic and regular water quality monitoring (especially BOD and bacterial count) of coastal waters in and around Haldia and Digha-Sankarpur to evaluate that the water quality is meeting the required standard
- periodic data collection on fish catch (catch per effort) along coasts to evaluate that the health of coastal fish population is maintaining the required standard
- continuous field monitoring of coastal process through deployment of suitable field monitoring equipments
- yearly monitoring of crop and other agricultural and horticultural yield to evaluate their productivity due to the proposed interventions
- yearly monitoring and evaluation of GDP of the coastal districts of West Bengal
- monthly monitoring of movement and visit of tourist to Digha-Sankarpur and Sagar island areas
Positive response in any or all of the above indictors will point towards success and sustainability of the ICMZP. Most of these monitoring and evaluation will be carried out as planned under paras 387 to 392. A few of the monitoring related to water quality, GDP, fish catch, agricultural and horticultural production, fish catch etc are routinely collected by the concerned departments of the government. These data will be accessed avoiding duplication of monitoring works.
(a) Performance M & E systems
Performance of the M & E system will depend upon the correct choice of monitoring and evaluation items for a corresponding set of items of actions of an intervention program. It will also depend on the choice of correct methodology and equipment for the monitoring and evaluation exercise. Once these are achieved the adopted M & E system will perform satisfactorily and provide information about the efficacy of the adopted intervention program to address the chosen problem related to the ICZM.
(b) Effectiveness M & E systems
398. A chosen M & E system will be effective if and only if the system is operated efficiently by qualified personnel and the generated data are processed effectively to extract the required information on the efficacy of the intervention program being monitored and evaluated.
Results framework will have the following structure:
- Achievement of physical targets (e.g. progress in construction, progress in procurement of manpower and equipments, etc.)
- Financial management (fund flow and expenditure status, budget status, status of financial records and audit, etc.)
- Environmental scenario (e.g. status of water quality, bio-diversity, etc.)
- Socio-economic scenario (e.g. level of living standards, level of socio-economic vulnerability, livelihood status, etc.)
Arrangements for Result Monitoring
The following arrangements will be made for result monitoring:
- Field visit, inspection and field measurements
- Laboratory analysis
- Reporting system
- Monthly/quarterly review meeting
- Research publications/reports
- Review meetings at the state level (half yearly)
- External monitoring and evaluation (annual)
While formulating the above arrangement for results monitoring, the following specific arrangements will be an integral part of the monitoring:
- A description of steps taken to achieve the Project objectives during the past one year.
- A summary of achievements relative to each objective specified in this progress report.
- A description of project outcome data collected and its interpretation.
- An assessment of progress relative to targets.
- A list of concerns about progress toward activity objectives and suggested remedial steps.
Program Management Reports
Reports on ICZM project execution, implementation and outcome shall be generated by the concerned implementing agencies on quarterly, bi-annual and annual basis. Particularly important will be Quarterly Program Activity reports (QPAR) that will be generated quarterly based on both environmental and physical/structural monitoring and Quarterly Financial management report (QFMR) that will be provided by the implementers of the programs to be linked to program activity reports. The returns and reports of the implementing agencies shall be submitted to PMU. PMU will scrutinize the reports/returns and place them before the government for state level review.
Program Operations Management Information System
The Program Operations Management Information System will be as follows:
- Development of ICZM information system and database to link all data generated and interdisciplinary information
- Preparation of ICZM page on the website including the institutional model/structure, information on individual scientist/engineer, progress and project reports on ICZM organisation, methods, practices and results as well as results of ICZM monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
- Exchange of information with other coastal states about the implementation of the environmental conventions and the ICZM aspect.
- International exchange/share of information about the ICZM-West Bengal activities, outcome and failures, if any.
- Integration of cross-sectoral information into the ICZM-West Bengal MIS.
- Development of networks to bring together those working in the same or similar line/ environment/ecosystems/ areas.
Data Collection Tools
There are a number of useful tools that could aid the monitoring and evaluation process in ICZM. Data collection is but one of the important tools and is attained through various ways. Data collection tools will widely vary in conformity with the monitoring items and should provide information that allows the understanding of the coastal physical, biological, chemical and geological processes; the state of coastal health; ocean and coastal biodiversity; the functions performed by coastal ecosystems; climate variability and climate change; structure and dynamics of coastal settlements and livelihood of the inhabitants and coastal resources management. Digital analysis of remote sensing data products, field monitoring of coastal processes, laboratory analysis of coastal water samples, field monitoring of bio-diversity, survey on coastal resources and livelihood of coastal population will be the principle tools for monitoring and evaluation. GIS platform and statistical analysis packages are important tools that will be used for data analysis, mapping, data storage and dissemination.