Réunion du Sous-Groupe sur MIKE

MIKE Subgroup Meeting

Teleconference records

10 April 2001

In attendance:

Mr Pieter Botha (Chairman – South Africa), Mr Victor Dabire and Mr Kaolo Konate (Burkina Faso), Mr Patrick Omondi (Kenya), Mr Emmanuel Severre (United Republic of Tanzania), Dr Richard Ruggiero (USA), Dr Susan Lieberman (USA), Mr Jorgen Thomsen (Conservation International), Mr Nigel Hunter (MIKE Director Designate), Dr Jim Armstrong (Secretariat), Dr Malan Lindeque (Secretariat), Mr Tom De Meulenaer (Secretariat – Rapporteur).

Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Cameroon were notified of the teleconference, but did not participate. Burkina Faso participated in part of the meeting only.

Introduction:

Mr Pieter Botha welcomed participants, and the agenda was confirmed as follows: Funding for MIKE; Appointment and location of the MIKE Director; MIKE Steering Committee meetings for West Africa and East Africa; Proposed new membership of the MIKE Subgroup; Standing Committee Report; Any Other Business.

At the previous teleconference meeting of the MIKE Subgroup, convened on 12 January 2001, Mr Nigel Hunter was selected as the MIKE Director Designate, and it was agreed to locate the MIKE Central Coordination Unit in Nairobi, Kenya.

1. Funding for MIKE

Dr Armstrong introduced Mr Jorgen Thomsen of Conservation International, who represented the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). Mr Thomsen explained that CEPF is a consortium of donor agencies comprising the World Bank, the GEF, CI, and the MacArthur Foundation, which had joined CEPF since a couple of week. CEPF is a significant donor to MIKE, and was therefore included in the membership of the MIKE Subgroup. Formal representation in the MIKE Subgroup was also part of the contractual arrangements between CEPF and the Secretariat.

CEPF had agreed to co-finance with the EU Commission [?] MIKE projects in West Africa (without modifying the original Terms of Reference of these projects). The amount, USD 275,000, will be channelled through IUCN because the donor has difficulties in allocating funds to a UN Agency. It was made clear that this was a minimum commitment from CEPF to the implementation of MIKE in Africa, and that contributions could increase.

The Secretariat provided further updates on the funding situation:

  • The Secretariat and the Belgian government have a long-standing agreement about the so-called BEESWAX fund that was specifically established to support elephant conservation projects in Tanzania. USD 150,000 of the fund will be re-allocated to MIKE implementation projects in Tanzania. The costs for organising the regional MIKE Steering Committee meeting for East Africa in Dar es Salaam in March 2001 had been paid from this fund. Dr Armstrong stressed that these meeting costs will be recovered from the relevant EU Commission budget lines once that the contract is operational, and returned to the BEESWAX fund for implementing MIKE projects in Tanzania.
  • The Secretariat is awaiting comments from the Belgian government regarding a separate and larger commitment of EUR 500,000 of matching funds in support of the MIKE implementation project of the EC Commission. The commitment must be published in a Belgian Royal Decree, which was expected to happen early in April 2001. The Secretariat confirmed that it would follow up on this matter, and get in contact with the relevant Belgian authorities to seek clarification as to what progress had been accomplished to date.
  • The Secretarial had not yet received a contract from the EC Commission. The delays are said to be caused by new internal procedures and financial mechanisms within the Commission administration, and do not pose a threat to the actual funding commitment. According to the latest information, the contract was expected to arrive at the Secretariat in the course of April 2001. The starting date of the 18-months contract may be around 1 June 2001. The Subgroup acknowledged the Secretariats efforts in getting the EC funding, and looked forward to a successful conclusion in the near future.

The Secretariat pointed out that there are high expectations in Africa about MIKE, and that these have not yet been met due to the delays in the EC funding. The Subgroup expressed some concern that the funding constraints and delays could also lead to uneven implementation of the MIKE projects in different parts of Africa, and that patchy performance could affect the statistical relevance of the MIKE monitoring programmes. The Secretariat commented that lack of financial support from the Commission has indeed affected the timing of the execution of a number of activities on the ground. However, the protocols and the programmes of MIKE relate to trends in elephant population numbers as well as to efforts that go into collecting data at site and national levels. It should therefore not be of major concern that observations are dissimilar in length and in quality. Experience has shown that the levels of implementation of MIKE and the periods over which the programmes run are usually uneven within a region and between sub-regions. Furthermore, MIKE sub-regional coordinators are looking into the possibility to incorporate additional site-specific monitoring information by identifying sets of existing data that are relevant to the sites, and by including these in the MIKE analysis. More countries have better site specific information for incorporation into MIKE than had been expected.

Mr Hunter added that he expected that at national level, where valid local information could be incorporated in the MIKE analysis, and at sub-regional level the overall quality of the MIKE analysis would not be affected by the disjointed funding and project implementation. At continental level however, the analysis could be less good than had been hoped, but such data should still be valuable for CoP12. The Secretariat shared this view and added that in the run up to and immediately after CoP12, it intends to look for longer-term financial commitments from the EC Commission.

In the mean time, Mr Hunter, as MIKE Director Designate, drafted Terms of Reference for MIKE Sub-Regional Support Officers for the four African regions (see ANNEX 1). The four positions will be advertised for recruitment as soon as possible but no appointment was likely to be made until the EC contract is signed. It was confirmed that the USD 275,000 of CEPF for West Africa could become available before the matching funds from the EU Commission materialized. IUCN was developing a plan of work for this amount so that MIKE implementation in West Africa could be initiated.

The MIKE Subgroup recognised that it was unfortunate that the implementation of MIKE was going to be different in sub-regions, and that this was largely conditioned by the EC Commission funding. It encouraged the Secretariat to enter into contractual agreements with the EC Commission as soon as possible.

2. Appointment and location of the MIKE Director

The Secretariat reported that Mr Nigel Hunter had been appointed as Director Designate of MIKE (the appointment still needs to be contractually formalised, and therefore, the title "Director Designate" is used). However, the original plan to have Mr Hunter employed through UNEP and stationed at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi became problematic when UNEP announced in writing that such an arrangement would be subject to a 13,5% overhead cost to cover UNEP administration. Moreover, this 13,5% overhead would have to be charged on the total MIKE budget. Because the available funding did not allow for these additional costs, the Secretariat, in negotiations with UNEP, was considering employing the MIKE Director independently. Appropriate alternative office space had already been found in Nairobi. The Secretariat was liasing with IUCN and TRAFFIC East/Southern Africa about the appointment process, and about administrative support for the MIKE Central Coordination Unit in Nairobi.

The MIKE Subgroup agreed with and supported the course of action as undertaken by the Secretariat.

3. MIKE Steering Committee meetings for West Africa and East Africa

The Secretariat reported that both meetings had been successful in stetting up and developing the basic organisational infrastructure for implementing MIKE in the sub-regions. The reports of the meetings – in English and in French – will be made available on the CITES web site.

11 countries participated in the Steering Committee Meeting for West Africa, held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 19 to 21 February 2001. Of the relevant countries in the sub region, only Liberia was unable to attend due to logistical difficulties. A sub-regional MIKE Steering Committee for West Africa was adopted that will be chaired by Nigeria. Because of the large size of this sub region, it was also decided to create a subgroup of the Steering Committee, consisting of 4 countries, for providing daily support to sub-regional implementation.

4 of the 5 relevant countries attended the Steering Committee Meeting for East Africa, held in Dar es Salaam, the United Republic of Tanzania, from 27 to 29 March 2001. Rwanda was unable to participate because of travel constraints. The United Republic of Tanzania will chair the sub-regional MIKE Steering Committee for East Africa that was adopted.

Both MIKE Steering Committee meetings focused on: coordination at the national site level and at the sub-regional level; the relationship with continental and international implementation of MIKE; the links with ETIS; data collection and analysis at all the different monitoring levels; data protocols (and collection of comments for improving the demonstrated protocols); current levels of monitoring and controlling in the national sites; review of funding and staff requirements for each country; and counter part contributions.

All countries that participated in the meetings committed personnel to assist with the implementation of MIKE. The Secretariat further noted that information gathered during the meetings indicated significant ongoing patrol efforts in practically all MIKE sites. Countries were generally very supportive of MIKE because the programme could contribute to local and national wildlife management in general. Several countries expressed an interest in using the MIKE process as a platform for data collection on other species occurring in the sites.

The MIKE Subgroup thanked Burkina Faso and the United Republic of Tanzania for hosting the meetings.

Upon enquiry from the USA, the Secretariat explained that of the selected MIKE sites in West Africa, about 50% are forest sites and 50% savannah sites. More detailed information was going to be made available to the USA. The Secretariat confirmed that at the meetings, several countries indicated their desire for additional sites over and above those initially selected for MIKE. Some of these sites were being offered under the range states own funding sources, e.g. a forest site in Kenya (Mount Elgon). The USA stated that the US Fish & Wildlife Service was interested in immediate as well as longer-term support to both MIKE and non-MIKE sites in all countries.

4. Proposed new membership of the MIKE Subgroup

The Secretariat had been asked to consider if the four elected chairs of the sub-regional MIKE Steering Committees could become co-opted members of the MIKE Subgroup. This was regarded as favourable because it would be more helpful for the implementation of MIKE, provide better direct input, and facilitate the decision making process.

The elected chairs are Tanzania for East Africa, Nigeria for West Africa, and Namibia for South Africa. In Central Africa, the MIKE pilot programme is scheduled to conclude in June 2001. There is interest in organising a meeting to transfer the pilot into full MIKE implementation in the 6 countries in this sub-region (comprised of 7 countries when Chad would join in). These countries will form the Steering Committee for Central Africa, and would also have to appoint a chair. However, at this point in time, there was no funding to organise the meeting (which would best take place late in May).

At requests about the possibility to co-opt Asian members, the Secretariat explained that despite continuous efforts, no support had been obtained for the MIKE programme in Asia, and that therefore, no chairs could be elected for the two sub-regions, East Asia and Southeast Asia. A MIKE workshop in Thailand remained without follow-up because of lack of funding (the EU and USA donors had so far declined to support MIKE in Asia). For the time being, the Asian continent will continue to be represented in the MIKE Subgroup by the current members, i.e. Saudi Arabia as Asian representative and Thailand as alternate Asian representative.

The MIKE Subgroup unanimously supported the proposed extension of the membership of the MIKE Subgroup to include the elected chairs of the sub-regional MIKE Steering Committees.

5. Standing Committee Report

The Chairman introduced document SC45 Doc.22, prepared by the Secretariat on behalf of the MIKE Subgroup for presentation at the forty-fifth meeting of the Standing Committee in Paris (France) on 19-22 June 2001. The Chairman invited the participants in the teleconference for comments on the draft document.

Several members of the MIKE Subgroup encouraged the Secretariat to incorporate the detailed reports on the MIKE Steering Committee meetings in West Africa and East Africa, on the MIKE training workshop for Southern Africa and on the MIKE meeting for Central Africa. These reports show the scope of the ongoing work, demonstrate the progress made under MIKE, and could help to attract support for MIKE. The Secretariat agreed in principle with this suggestion: some of the reports exist already in English and in French, while a few need to be finalised. SC documents need to be ready 6 weeks in advance of the meeting, i.e. by early May, which gives the Secretariat enough time to complete the reports. But given the size of the documents and the time constraints it would be unrealistic to expect full translations (all SC documents need to be translated in the three languages of the Convention). Alternatively, the reports could be attached to SC45 Doc.22 in a single language as information documents. The MIKE Subgroup supported this suggestion.

Mr Thomsen noted that the description of the CEPF consortium (in a Footnote) needed to be updated to include the MacArthur Foundation, and promised to forward the correctly spelled name of the Foundation to the Secretariat.

Tanzania commented that the pledge of USD 150,000 to MIKE implementation from the Belgian BEESWAX fund, referred to under item 5 in the draft report, will be allocated to site specific activities in Tanzania, and not to general MIKE projects. The Secretariat confirmed that this was the case, as was explained earlier in the teleconference (cf. Agenda item 1). With that reassurance, Tanzania recommended to keep the reference to the BEESWAX fund in the draft report as is.

The USA suggested including a reference to the existence of bilateral support to MIKE-related projects in Africa, which may be substantial in some cases. Mr Thomsen commented that it would be good to mention the problems with raising funds for the implementation of MIKE in Asia. The Subgroup agreed with both suggestions. In addition, the USA suggested that the Secretariat might wish to collect information on bilateral support programmes for MIKE related projects, and to report on the outcome of such inquiries at the next meeting of the MIKE Subgroup. The Secretariat commented that it was aware of only a few of such bilateral support programmes, but that it lacked knowledge of their details or scope. It invited the USA to provide relevant information that might be available on this issue. It was also agreed that building a database with such information would become the responsibility of the Central Coordination Unit, once it was in place.

The Secretariat agreed to amend SC45 Doc.22 in the light of all the comments mentioned above, and to finalise the document in time for submission to the Standing Committee.

6. Any Other Business

The USA explained that the MIKE Subgroup is a subgroup of the Standing Committee, in which only Parties and their government representatives can take part. Some of the major donors that were invited to become members of the MIKE Subgroup, such as CEPF, do not meet these criteria, and should therefore better be referred to as "ex-officio members", as is currently the case for the EC Commission.

The MIKE Subgroup agreed with the suggestion, and the description of the composition of the MIKE Subgroup will be amended accordingly.

7. Next meeting

The next teleconference meeting of the MIKE Subgroup will be organised six weeks after the 45th meeting of the Standing Committee. The proposed date is Tuesday, 14 August at 14.00 hrs. Geneva time.

It was agreed that members of the MIKE Subgroup who intended to participate in the Standing Committee meeting on 19 to 22 June 2001 in Paris should take the opportunity to organise an extra meeting. The Chairman will not attend the SC meeting, but it was decided to try to add him to the meeting via a teleconference call.

Action Items

  1. Seek clarification from Belgian Authorities regarding status of EUR 500,000 matching funds to MIKE [Secretariat]
  2. Enter in contractual arrangements with the EC Commission as soon as possible [Secretariat]
  3. Provide information on the forest MIKE sites in Africa to the USA [Secretariat]
  4. Ensure that the chairs of the sub-regional MIKE Steering Committees participate in further meetings of the MIKE Subgroup [Secretariat]
  5. Incorporate suggestions and amendments of the MIKE Subgroup in Document SC45 Doc.22 for presentation at the 45th meeting of the Standing Committee in Paris (France) on 19-22 June 2001 [Secretariat]
  6. Colleted information on bilateral support programmes for MIKE related projects [USA]
  7. Update the description of the composition of the MIKE Subgroup (indicating ex-officio membership) [Secretariat]

ANNEX 1

MIKE is a site based sampling system, which will provide information at national, sub-regional and continental levels in Africa and Asia, under the co-ordination of a MIKE Central Unit, headed by the MIKE Director. Africa is divided into 4 sub-regions (West, Central, Southern and East). Funds are now available to facilitate implementation in all 4 sub-regions of Africa over the next 18 months. There is therefore a need to recruit 4 sub-regional support officers as soon as possible to help with the implementation programme.

Duties

  1. Each Sub-regional Support Officer (SSO) will be responsible for working with the Sub Regional Steering Group (the Chair of such groups are currently called the Sub-regional Co-ordinator), the National Officers and the Site Officers and the Sub-regional TAG representative.
  2. Each SSO will work at the site level in order to facilitate the full functioning of that site in its use of TAG approved protocols, its monitoring effort and its delivery of information.
  3. Each SSO will also work at national levels in relation to Aerial surveys, etc.
  4. Each SSO will facilitate the storing , analysis, management and onward flow of the site information at national levels
  5. Each SSO will be responsible for overseeing the delivery of training required in their Sub-region
  6. Each SSO will store, analyse, manage and onward flow of the site information at Sub-regional levels
  7. Each SSO will be responsible for overseeing the proper expenditure of budgets allocated to the Sub-regions and for the proper reporting of such expenditure
  8. Each SSO will provide progress reports in accordance with the reporting procedures provided by the MIKE Director
  9. Each SSO will be answerable to the MIKE Director

Appointments

  1. The appointments will initially be for 18 months and the locations will be Ouagadougou (West), Still to be determined (Central), Windhoek (Southern) and Nairobi (East).

Qualifications and experience

  1. SSOs must have the technical competence to fully understand and provide training in the methodologies required by MIKE as well as competence in the analysis and management of the information collected. Familiarity with Microsoft Office (especially Access) and Arcview will be important.
  2. SSOs should have a minimum of 5 years experience in elephant population survey work, anti-poaching efforts, etc. related to the savannah and forest ecosystems relevant to one or more of the Sub-regions.
  3. SSOs must demonstrate an ability and willingness to work in the field, achieve expected outputs on time and with adequate quality and undertake proper administration and reporting activities.
  4. For West and Central Africa, fluency in French as well as English will be important
  5. SSOs should have a degree, preferably a masters, in a subject matter that directly relates to the experience and technical skills required by the duties listed above

Application

Any person interested in one of these 4 positions should apply by written letter to the CITES Secretariat (marked for the attention of the Deputy Secretary General). The letter should indicate which Sub-Region(s) the applicant wishes to be considered for and a CV should be attached. All applications should be submitted not later than the 11th May 2001.