Mount Elgon Regional Ecosystem Conservation Programme

The Mt Elgon Regional Ecosystem Conservation Programme (MERECP) was jointly funded by the Governments of Norway and Sweden. MERECP supported a trans-boundary ecosystem initiative under the auspices of the East African Community (EAC). MERECP started in 2006 with a total funding of NOK 34.2 million (approximately USD 6 million), initially for a period of 4 years.

LTS evaluated the overall achievements of the MERECP programme with an emphasis on the achievements in the redesign phase. The team assessed the regional relevance of the MERECP towards the agreed areas of co-operation in the Protocol for the Sustainable Development of the Lake Victoria Basin; evaluating the outcome, impact, sustainability and indicative cost-effectiveness (by relating the activities and costs compared to the outputs obtained) of the programme; and assessing the institutional arrangements for the management, implementation and the M&E functions of the programme.

LTS reviewed the strengths and weaknesses and found lessons to be learned from the organisation and management of MERECP; compared the current institutional arrangement vis-a-vis the previous; and assessed the Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) and reporting systems of the MERECP, including whether targets, indicators and monitoring were necessary to judge performance.

The LTS evaluation provided factual (quantitative and qualitative) information on the efficiency (the relationship of input to output) and effectiveness (the relationship of output to outcome/impact) of the Programme; assessing partners’ planning processes; assessing the sustainability of the achievements of the program; and assessing partners’ risk management during planning and implementation. LTS assessed communication and co-ordination processes between implementing partners; assessed financial planning and reporting as well as follow-up, including anti-corruption mitigation measures; the relevance of the projects in relation to Kenyan and Ugandan policies and strategies, including ongoing processes of developing national REDD+ plans and strategies; and the level of funds that had reached the target groups/target institutions compared to the direct and indirect administrative costs of the LVBC. LTS also assessed how gender was dealt with in the programme, including how the LVBC gender policy was reflected in the implementation of the MERECP and the arrangement for joint financing (Norwegian Embassy in Kampala as the lead, Sida (Kampala, later Nairobi) as the silent partner). LTS provided recommendations regarding the design of a possible second phase of MERECP based on the lessons learned during the first phase.

Update 18 January 2012: the MERECP End-Review Report has now been published and is available to view online here

REDD+ Readiness Preparation Proposal

The World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility is a leading multi-lateral effort to get countries “ready” to reduce emissions for deforestation and forest degradation and enhance carbon stocks (REDD+). The REDD Readiness Preparation Proposal for Uganda (R-PP) serves as a tool for guiding Uganda’s preparations to become ready for REDD+. The development of this proposal was coordinated by the REDD Working Group and supervised by the REDD Steering Committee. The R-PP presents the following priority actions for implementation during 2012-2014: defining institutional arrangements for implementing Uganda’s REDD+ Strategy, developing operational procedures and guidelines for REDD+ implementation, elaborating strategies for REDD, preparing a national reference emissions level and reference level, setting out an MRV system and implementing a framework that caters for social and environmental impacts. LTS assisted with a technical peer review of the draft R-PP and elaboration of its content prior to submission to the World Bank. The scope of LTS services included:

  • A review of the completeness, clarity and adequacy of the draft R-PP in meeting the compliance requirements set out by the World Bank
  • Recommending areas for improvement and specific means to fill gaps and where necessary prepare/edit text
  • Incorporation of the findings of the LTS-led Forest Sector Review in the R-PP
  • Responding to queries as necessary after the World Bank has considered the R-PP

Transforming Tanzania’s Charcoal Sector Feasibility Study

Tanzania is 90% reliant on woodfuels, in particular charcoal in urban areas, and this is contributing to significant forest loss which is pushing the country to the brink of a charcoal crisis. Annually the charcoal sector contributes about US$ 650 million to the economy and employs tens of thousands of rural people who supply an essential energy product to nearly a million urban households and institutions. While charcoal is indispensable to the Tanzanian economy, it is also devastating to the environment. Deforestation results in annual emission of about 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and consumption are rising by nearly 9% annually. LTS undertook a feasibility study for the “Transforming Tanzania’s Charcoal Sector Project” which aimed to investigate and support developments in the production and the use of sustainable charcoal and utilisation of biomass briquettes as a true alternative to charcoal. The innovative project explored links to the voluntary carbon market to make sustainable forestry more economically attractive across the supply chain. LTS developed a feasibility study which required the consultants to:

  • Analyse, expand on and validate the main features of the project concept note;
  • Identify and specify Switzerland’s comparative advantage over other Development Partners active in the sector;
  • Assess the capacities of suggested implementing partners for successful project implementation;
  • Assess the possibility of using the Voluntary Carbon Credit Market to incentivize a switch to sustainable charcoal production, including the relevant Ministries’ stances on the issue;
  • Assess systematic constraints and risks in the market systems of sustainable charcoal and biomass briquettes, and generate feasible solutions and mitigation measures for these;
  • Make recommendations for the inclusion of a Making Markets Work for the Poor approach in both components of the project;
  • Complement missing data in the project concept note, with special focus on the baselines and targets for the proposed outcome indicators;
  • Conduct a gender analysis of the charcoal sector; and
  • Make research recommendations in relation to verifying the baselines and documenting project impact.

Estimating Cost Elements of REDD+

The costs of REDD+ are made up of four main elements: Opportunity Costs, Implementation Costs, Transaction Costs and Institutional Costs. All four of these cost elements must be considered if we are to estimate the combined costs of REDD+ pilot activities. In 2011-2012, LTS International, in collaboration with UNIQUE, conducted the first ever REDD+ costing analysis at a national level.The country of study was Tanzania and the study was carried out for the UN-REDD programme.

The REDD+ cost curve is a useful and flexible tool well suited to the Tanzanian context where REDD+ projects continue to be designed and real data continues to become available. The cost curves allow project developers to determine the carbon price that would be required to meet the opportunity cost of selected land use practices, and the total amount of emission reduction that could be obtained for each land-use type. The tool allows for forecasting the impact of policy changes, such as improved forest law enforcement or agricultural subsidy programmes, on the total REDD+ costs within any given project. The tool also allows for national cost curves to be generated from individual project data inputs over time.

The LTS study concluded that the anticipated revenues from REDD+ cannot be expected to cover all REDD+ costs for projects aiming to address deforestation drivers such as agricultural expansion or charcoal production. As such, REDD+ initiatives need to be closely integrated with other sectoral investment plans (such as agriculture and energy) to ensure harmonisation of plans, and to offset implementation costs.

Current REDD-readiness planning in Tanzania is being undertaken in anticipation of a future REDD+ compliance market. While REDD+ revenues may be significant initially, they are certain to decline as deforestation rates drop. It will be important to channel a significant share of revenues into raising the value and productivity of both forests and surrounding landscapes to provide alternative and sustainable revenue streams in the future. This is illustrated in the figure below.

Figure 1: REDD+ Revenue Streams and Increasing Opportunity Costs

In August 2012, the work done in this project was presented in the paper “A bottom-up approach to estimating cost elements of REDD+ pilot projects in Tanzania“, published in the journal Carbon Balance and Management.

In October 2012, LTS’ Estimating Cost Elements of REDD+ report was included in the UN-REDD Newsletter (Issue #33). 

Feasibility assessment for Mpingo REDD+ Pilot Project in Kilwa District

LTS conducted a technical and financial feasibility assessment for the Mpingo REDD+ Pilot Project, financed by the Government of Norway and implemented by the Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative in Kilwa District, Tanzania. The project aims for carbon offset certification with the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and intends to achieve biomass regeneration of miombo forests, and to avoid biomass degradation, through fire management. The next phase of the project is to assist with the preparation of a draft methodology and draft Project Description (PD) for submission into the VCS double approval process for baseline and monitoring methodologies.

In partnership with Value for Nature, LTS has developed a REDD feasibility report outlining baseline and project scenarios and an analysis of their implications for methodological issues such as the baseline quantification approach, stratification, monitoring, leakage and project emissions, among others. The project’s feasibility has also been calculated through comparing its potential costs and revenues and drawing conclusions towards its overall technical and financial feasibility, taking risks into account. In the next phase of methodology and PD development, LTS has been responsible for preparing the draft PD containing the full application of the draft baseline and monitoring methodology as submitted for the VCS first review and approval.

Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme

The WSSSRP was a continuation of the EC support to Water Law in Nigeria with a total budget of Euro 119.63 million (EC, Federal Govt Nigeria, Unicef). The project provided broad interventions across four fronts to achieve improved water supply and sanitation under an entirely new policy and institutional framework and water sector reform, resulting in improved decentralised delivery of services. The project worked with 39 Local Government Authorities in 6 States to benefit 3 million people from 1,400 rural communities and 60 small towns. LTS expert input was concerned with advising and ensuring that policy and law developed at the State level was harmonised with Federal Water Law. The Federal Water Law was concerned with new forms of decentralised administration and management of water including river basin commissions as well as privatised management of infrastructure. Consequently the law now being developed at the State level must provide the appropriate legal basis for these new institutional arrangements and forms of management and these must be compliant with the national constitution.

Integrated Assessment of Land Use Options

The government of Malawi with support from its cooperating partners intends to undertake a comprehensive program to address Climate Change issues in its development agenda. To this effect the government has embarked in the definition of its National Program for Managing Climate Change in Malawi (CCP). The goal of the formulation phase is “to develop an evidence-based strategic framework, national program and funded Phase I implementation plan for managing response to climate change in Malawi.” This formulation phase will focus on: (i) institution building, (ii) climate risk and adaptation assessments, and (iii) definition of strategic/ programmatic investment analyses and interventions, both for mitigation and adaptation.

The objective of this consultancy is to strengthen integrated land use planning in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by Climate Change by systematically exploring land use management options for climate financing in Malawi to deliver both climate (adaptation/mitigation) as well as development (e.g. environmental, economic, social) co-benefits. The outputs will cluster around two areas: (i) technical assessment of land use management options in the face of climate change to inform carbon finance investments and sustainable land use management, and (ii) supporting a government-led process for the preparation of key watershed investments based on land and climate management priorities and opportunities, which should help to inform, prioritize and coordinate future catchment management investments, including those to be made under on-going or planned investments such as future phases of the Shire River Basin Management Program.

LTS provided the following services:

  • Collation of material to produce a knowledge base for Land Use Management Analysis
  • Development of an Analytical Framework for this Integrated Assessment
  • Establishment of a baseline and preparation of potential future environmental, climate and land use scenarios
  • Biophysical and economic analysis of alternative scenarios
  • Consultation with and Capacity-building of Key Stakeholders
  • Prioritisation of watersheds and identification of Key Potential Land Use Management Investments.
  • Design of portfolio of potential land use management investments for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Preparation of a land use management Investment Plan for 5 priority watersheds in the country.
  • Preparation of online database available via National Climate Change Programme Website, including an interactive PDF allowing users to produce their own maps offline.
  • Main techniques used were:
  • Integrated land use and climate change impact modeling
  • Cost benefit analysis of existing spatial and agronomic data; field surveys to enhance understanding of household level economics and constraints; review of existing data on ecosystem services.
  • Carbon finance portfolio assessment through local and national consultations; institutions and platforms for stimulating supply of certified emissions reductions (CERs), linking buyers to sellers of CERs.
  • Watershed planning

Enhancing Community Resilience Programme: M&E Services

The ECRP (DFID’s first climate resilience programme in Africa) provides support to 1.2 million people in vulnerable communities to manage, cope with and recover from the impact of both current and future changes in weather patterns. Funding is provided to NGOs to scale up tried and tested interventions. The role of LTS is to support NGO implementing partners to develop and implement robust baselines and M&E frameworks, and to conduct external reviews and evaluations.

  • LTS implements this £1.5million DFID contract in a consortium with the Centre for Development Management (CDM).
  • ECRP is implemented by two groups of NGOs in Malawi, and is funded jointly by DFID, Irish Aid and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
  • LTS provides ongoing M&E support to the implementing partners to ensure effective monitoring, evaluation and learning.

Ongoing monitoring, evaluation and learning has resulted in the programme’s ability to adapt and refine its activities each year whilst maintaining a focus on outcome level change. ECRP beneficiaries have grown their incomes and assets in the face of the changing climate and were shown to fare better during extreme events such as the 2015 floods.


Malawi faces significant climate challenges and poverty, often with disastrous results. ECRP supports a scaled-up response, through (1) community-based adaptation programmes in vulnerable districts; (2) improved information sharing on DRR and climate change adaptation; (3) effective early warning system for slow onset disasters, and (4) strengthened government-led disaster risk reduction and climate change programmes. This was DFID’s first resilience programme in Africa, and therefore effective learning has been important. This contract aims to ensure effective learning about programme delivery through ongoing M&E that improves implementation and impact.


The LTS team has:

  • Developed and supported implementation of a programme level M&E framework that relies on a range of evaluation approaches (Theory-based and utilisation focused; real-time learning to inform flexible programming;  VfM analysis, including cost-benefit analysis; and impact assessment using qualitative and quantitative counterfactual analysis).
  • Applied a range of data collection methods and indicator selection methods including: household surveys; participatory methods; resilience proxies; practitioner learning journeys / facilitation of learning events and processes.  
  • Developed cloud-based management information systems for both partners ensuring the availability of high quality monitoring data.
  • Supported implementing partners on monitoring and evaluation, including reviewing and providing advice on project proposals and amendments
  • Coordinated and organised baseline surveys, reviews and evaluations.
  • Made recommendations to enhance the ECRP’s efficiency and effectiveness and disseminate lessons learnt in Malawi and internationally.

Value and benefits

The focus is on ensuring that evidence from M&E feeds back into learning and influence on policy and programme work, in Malawi and internationally.

Ongoing monitoring, evaluation and learning has supported the programme to adapt and refine its activities each year whilst maintaining a focus on outcome level change. ECRP beneficiaries have grown their incomes and assets in the face of the changing climate and were shown to fare better during extreme events such as the 2015 floods.









Analysis of the Fiscal Regime for Forestry in Liberia

Since 2006, the Government of Liberia has undertaken a comprehensive review of its forestry sector, aiming to achieve a world standard for transparency, good governance, equitable sharing of forestry benefits, respect for local communities and sustainable development. New forest use mechanisms have been introduced and companies were cleared in 2009 to operate under these arrangements.

The purpose of this evidence-based policy assignment was to offer advice on the appropriateness of the current fiscal framework for forestry, and determine what, if any, reforms would enable the sector to develop. The LTS economic and policy analysis had a particular focus on up-front payments of Land Rental Bid Premium and provided the Government with options and scenarios that to inform the President on the final decision on the Bill passed by the National Legislature. LTS undertook a benchmarking of Liberia’s fiscal regime against those of Ghana, Gabon, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic and conducted scenario modelling to develop economic and financial models to evaluate Liberian forest projects and investments.

Studies for Understanding Timber Flows and their Control

These two studies formed part of the work plan of the FLEGT Asia programme, the overall goal of which is the promotion of good forest governance, contributing to poverty eradication and sustainable management of natural resources in Asia. In the context of the Government of Lao PDR (GoL) and the Government of Thailand’s (GoT) preparations for VPA negotiations with the European Union (EU), these studies provided thorough understanding of the domestic and imported timber flows in each country, and their control through Government agencies. These informed the GoL, GoT and the EU about the tracking of timber flows in the countries and requirements on consultation, within the framework of FLEGT VPA. The studies were conducted in close cooperation with the Laos and Thai Governments, in particular the FLEGT Focal Points. Our two teams were responsible for the following core tasks:

  • Desktop analysis of timber production and movements
  • Development of a generic model for each country that maps the principle timber supply chains
  • Description of documentation, field verification, licensing and control tasks of the government agencies
  • Identification of key points in the supply chains where timber from non-verified sources could enter
  • Field based analysis of example supply chains
  • Revision of generic supply chain models
  • Stakeholder workshops on FLEGT and stakeholder engagement in Laos
  • Presentation of preliminary findings at national workshops

Update, October 2012: The Timber Flows and their Control in Thailand report has now been published and is available for download here.