Assessment of Development Results: Lao PDR

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Evaluation Plan:
2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
ADR
Planned End Date:
12/2010
Completion Date:
07/2011
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
150,000
The evaluation examines contributions and strategic positioning of UNDP?s support to the country?s development under the current country programme 2007-2011. The evaluation found that UNDP has made important contributions. Most notably, it has been playing a lead role in supporting the Government coordinate aid in the country where approximately 70 percent of public investment comes from external sources. It has also helped the Government integrate poverty reduction into its national development plan, strengthen local governance, enhance the transparency of parliamentary debates, introduce an environmental assessment of foreign investments, put in place a national system for the clearance of unexploded ordinances, develop response capacities to natural disasters, and align its legal system to international treaties and conventions on human rights and the environment. The report points out that further effort would be needed for the benefit of UNDP?s work to reach ordinary citizens: for example, the national development plan needs to be implemented in a truly pro-poor manner, the legal system must be strengthened to enforce treaty obligations, and strengthened local government capacity needs to be effectively utilized by channeling development funding through it. UNDP programme activities themselves need to be more pro-poor and gender-mainstreamed in substance.

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Title Assessment of Development Results: Lao PDR
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: ADR
Status:Completed
Completion Date:07/2011
Planned End Date: 12/2010
Management Response:Yes
Corporate Outcomes (UNDP Strategic Plan 2008-20013)
Evaluation Budget(US $): 150,000
Source of Funding:
Joint Programme:No
Mandatory Evaluation:No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Team Leader
GEF Evaluation:No
Key Stakeholders:
Location of Evaluation:Global
Countries: LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 As the government?s lead development partner in aid coordination, UNDP should continue to take initiatives to ensure the system functions effectively. UNDP could also support the capacity development of the government and the National Assembly on monitoring and evaluation of policy impact and development assistance.
2 Taking advantage of its leadership role in aid coordination, UNDP should help the government to build consensus among development partners on priority actions for achieving national strategy goals, how the roles should be shared, what approach should be taken in implementing the activities, and how the activities should be financed. Through such a coordinating mechanism, UNDP should involve partners from the conceptualization stage of its projects and activities, rather than coming up with a proposal of its own and trying to mobilize funds ex post.
3 UNDP should focus on projects and activities more closely linked to its human development mandate and comparative strengths, reorienting existing activities where necessary.
4 UNDP could pursue the cause of gender equality more vigorously, based on a coherent strategy, in collaboration with UN Women, Lao Women?s Union, Committees for the Advancement of Women at the national, provincial and district levels, and possibly other development partners. In doing so, it should also strive for better mainstreaming of gender in its own programmes as well as in various government departments and agencies.
5 Based on the national strategy that features growth with equity, UNDP should make greater efforts to support the government in mobilizing resources towards implementing policies and programmes that would stimulate the pro-poor economic sectors, direct gains from economic growth to the poor and remove key constraints they face. UNDP should also pay more attention to designing its projects and activities in a pro-poor manner, addressing key constraints faced by the poor in the country, especially those who have difficulties in participating in and gaining from the growing economy.
6 The DDF mechanism for strengthening the capacity of subnational administrations should be scaled up, replicated throughout the country, and supported with greater infusion of resources for its sustainability. UNDP should also attempt to spread the use of such mechanisms as the Citizen Report Card, the One Door Service, the Service Delivery Information System to improve the quality of service delivery.
7 UNDP?s good work in strengthening people?s voice and participation should be continued, with stronger efforts to involve the emerging civil society in the development process.
8 The environment programme of UNDP should continue its reorientation towards policy implementation and local-level interventions that aim to achieve both sustainable environment and sustainable livelihoods.
9 The model of the Community Radio Project should be scaled up and replicated across the country.
10 For greater effectiveness and efficiency of resource use, UNDP should seek to exploit potential synergies among its various activities, especially with its local-level activities.
1. Recommendation: As the government?s lead development partner in aid coordination, UNDP should continue to take initiatives to ensure the system functions effectively. UNDP could also support the capacity development of the government and the National Assembly on monitoring and evaluation of policy impact and development assistance.
Management Response:

Agreed. Several initiatives are already under way to continue supporting the Government in ensuring that the system functions effectively ? i.e. improvement in the functioning of the sector working group, informal and formal coordination of development partners around key development issues. The MPI (Ministry of Planning and Investment) support programme has a component in assisting the Planning Department in the M&E of the implementation of the National Socio Economic Development Plan (NSEDP). PEI (Poverty-Environment Initiative), through the MPI support programme, will promote the inclusion of equitable, sustainable and climate-resilient development considerations in the implementation and monitoring of the NSEDP. The next phase of support programme to the National Assembly is being formulated. This will address enhancing the oversight and representational capacity of the National Assembly in a range of sectors and areas (that are likely to include amongst others to support including quality and equitable growth that sustains the natural resource base through PEI).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Support to the improvement of the functioning of the Sector Working Group a. finalisation of standard TOR of the SWG b. initiatives to encourage cross SWG discussion c. better linkage between the work of SWG and the RT meetings Poverty Reduction unit 2015/01 Completed
1.2 Well functioning NSEDP M&E in place including the monitoring of key Poverty-Environment indicators. Poverty Reduction Unit and Environment Unit 2015/06 Completed The 8th NSEDP has a comprehensive M&E framework
1.3 Develop and implement guidelines and strengthen capacity for incorporating PE issues into provincial, district and sectoral annual work plans Poverty Reduction Unit, Environment Unit 2015/12 Completed Public involvement guidelines for EIA and Initial environmental examination guideline are currently under preparation and it should be finalized by December 2015. Update on 1 March 2016: The training for the Participatory Planning Guideline and the annual development plan was developed under the PEI-NSEDP, and the training for local government was done already in 2015. Also the application of public involvement guideline and EIA/IEE TNG were delivered in Q3 and Q4 of 2015. In 2016 we will deliver a training on the application of EIA/IEE, and PI to PONRE and DONRE.
1.4 Formulation of the next phase of the support programme to the National Assembly that will include developing a strategic framework strengthening its oversight and representational capacities across a range of sectors Governance Unit, Environment Unit 2014/05 Completed The strategic framework was endorsed in the LPAC meeting on 12 May 2015.
2. Recommendation: Taking advantage of its leadership role in aid coordination, UNDP should help the government to build consensus among development partners on priority actions for achieving national strategy goals, how the roles should be shared, what approach should be taken in implementing the activities, and how the activities should be financed. Through such a coordinating mechanism, UNDP should involve partners from the conceptualization stage of its projects and activities, rather than coming up with a proposal of its own and trying to mobilize funds ex post.
Management Response:

Agreed. Through the co-chairmanship of the RTP, UNDP has been supporting the Government to build consensus among development partners on development priorities as evidenced in the discussions at annual RTIMs and high level RTM. However, the challenge is to strengthen the link between planning and budgeting. UNDP has also supported the development and implementation of the Vientiane Declaration on Aid Effectiveness which assigns roles to various development partners in taking the lead in different areas according to their comparative advantage. Partners are involved extensively from the formulation stage. However the challenge remains in ensuring its effective implementation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Strengthen the link between national planning process and budgeting through collaboration with the IFIs (WB and ADB), advocating for open dialogue with the Government at the 2012 RTIM on the need to strengthen the link between planning and budgeting. Poverty Reduction Unit 2012/12 Completed
2.2. Support the Government to coordinate the revision of the Vientiane Declaration Country Action Plan, assigning clear roles to lead DPs and Sector Working Groups Poverty Reduction Unit 2012/12 Completed
3. Recommendation: UNDP should focus on projects and activities more closely linked to its human development mandate and comparative strengths, reorienting existing activities where necessary.
Management Response:

Agreed. Under the newly approved CPD, UNDP has already reflected this shift in line with its comparative advantage.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Discontinue projects in the areas where UNDP CO does not have comparative strengths Poverty Reduction Unit 2012/03 Completed
a. Trade ? given that there are already many players in the field and limited capacity in the CO, no new trade projects initiated during the new CPD Poverty Reduction Unit 2012/03 Completed
b. HIV/AIDS - given that there are already many players in the field and limited capacity in the CO, no new HIV/AIDS projects initiated during the new CPD Poverty Reduction Unit 2012/03 Completed
3.2 Support the Government to better understand the process and implications of LDC graduation Poverty Reduction Unit 2009/01 Completed Another workshop was conducted in 2015
a. Organize a technical workshop on LDC graduation and increase political awareness on the issue Poverty Reduction Unit 2012/06 Completed
b. Use the NHDR as a tool to monitor the progress towards the LDC graduation to help ensuring potential negative impacts on human development is mitigated. Poverty Reduction Unit 2015/06 Completed The 5th NHDR is in progress and it will focus on analysis of LDC graduation.
4. Recommendation: UNDP could pursue the cause of gender equality more vigorously, based on a coherent strategy, in collaboration with UN Women, Lao Women?s Union, Committees for the Advancement of Women at the national, provincial and district levels, and possibly other development partners. In doing so, it should also strive for better mainstreaming of gender in its own programmes as well as in various government departments and agencies.
Management Response:

Agreed. Focused attention will be paid to mainstreaming gender in a selected on-going programmes. Gender equality and promotion of women is already part of the selection criteria for the provision of grants by The GEF Small Grants Programme.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Develop a concrete gender mainstreaming actions in a few selected on-going projects: a. GPAR (Governance and Public Administration Reform) b. support to the National Assembly Governance Unit 2015/06 Completed GPAR SCSD has created gender mainstreaming actions through Capacity Development Modernization Fund (CADEM)where proposals on gender should be under special consideration. Through the National Assembly Support Project, insertion of gender sensitivity into law making manual was given to ensure gender issue starts from law making process.
5. Recommendation: Based on the national strategy that features growth with equity, UNDP should make greater efforts to support the government in mobilizing resources towards implementing policies and programmes that would stimulate the pro-poor economic sectors, direct gains from economic growth to the poor and remove key constraints they face. UNDP should also pay more attention to designing its projects and activities in a pro-poor manner, addressing key constraints faced by the poor in the country, especially those who have difficulties in participating in and gaining from the growing economy.
Management Response:

Through the RTP, UNDP plays an important role in advocating a responsible and sustainable natural resource based growth. In addition, it strongly emphases the need to attract quality Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to optimize development results. This issue continues to receive a great deal of attention, as reflected by regular references made in Government speeches and discussions during a number of sessions in National Assembly. The Poverty-Environment Initiative will continue to strengthen capacity of targeted central and provincial authorities to integrate poverty-environment concerns in private investment management for quality, sustainable and inclusive growth. The CO will continue its efforts in designing the projects in a pro-poor manner.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 The PEI Phase II programme will build on the body of work and lessons from Phase I, with the objective to strengthen capacity of targeted central and provincial authorities to: a. Implement national and provincial investment strategies b. Improve the effectiveness of ESIA system, as a safeguard for sustainable and climate resilient development c. Conduct targeted economic and environmental research and policy analyses for more informed investment management decisions. Environment Unit, 2012/12 Completed
5.2 Continue advocacy through the RTP and National Assembly for increase allocation of revenue from resource sectors to social sectors especially health and education Poverty and Governance Units 2012/12 Completed
6. Recommendation: The DDF mechanism for strengthening the capacity of subnational administrations should be scaled up, replicated throughout the country, and supported with greater infusion of resources for its sustainability. UNDP should also attempt to spread the use of such mechanisms as the Citizen Report Card, the One Door Service, the Service Delivery Information System to improve the quality of service delivery.
Management Response:

We concur with the recommendations by the ADR assessment team to further strengthen the capacity of Sub-National Administration by up scaling successful initiatives undertaken so far. UNDP is actively supporting and encouraging recent government policy that brings a revitalized focus on local administration (PM Ordinance #16/2012). Additionally, the new National GPAR programme 2012-2015 provides a platform to operationalize support for district administration strengthening and scaling up of such initiatives such as the DDF and One Door Service centers, particularly through the UNDP/UNCDF Joint Programme ?Strengthening Capacity and Service Delivery of Local Administrations? SCSD 2012-15, which supports sub-national administration. The new GEF LDCF project will use the DDF mechanism to deliver additional financial resources (CC finance) to support more climate resilient small scale infrastructure development. This is an opportunity for the DDF mechanism to mainstream resilient development planning and to diversify and consolidate local service delivery but also fund mobilization.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Develop next generation DDF, which introduces performance based block Grants for Districts, that potentially reach half the districts in Lao PDR: a. Develop update DDF systems and guidelines b. DDF implementation capacity development for district administrations c. Transfer of DDF block grants ? capital and recurrent expenditure to district administrations Governance Unit 2015/07 Completed JP initiated Q2 2015 & subject to normal project assurance & results monitoring.
6.2 Improve policies and capacities that enable local administration to initiate & monitor service delivery and progress towards MDGs a. One Door Service centres extended to large number of Districts b. Citizen Report Card on District services to survey levels of satisfaction c. Monitoring tools and data for key service delivery by districts, with MDG focus Governance Unit 2015/06 Completed a. ODSC has extended to large number of Districts b. CRC was changed to Service User Feedback c. Monitoring tools were developed and used by districts where the pilot has been made in two provinces.
6.3. Improve climate resilient development through enhanced local planning and service delivery (GEF LDCF project on Small scale climate resilient rural infrastructure). Environment Unit and Governance Unit 2012/07 Completed
7. Recommendation: UNDP?s good work in strengthening people?s voice and participation should be continued, with stronger efforts to involve the emerging civil society in the development process.
Management Response:

UNDP deploys its efforts at different levels to strengthen the people's voice and participation while involving the emerging civil society in the development process. UNDP strengthens the enabling environment of the civil society sector by supporting (7.1) the legal framework and the development of effective and proportionate regulation related to civil society (7.2) the environment and mechanism conducive to the development of a co-operative and mutually respectful relationship between government and national civil society and (7.3) by supporting and cooperating closely with actors strengthening the skills and capacity of national civil society necessary to create and maintain a healthy accountable and independent sector. The UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme provides grants to local non-government organizations such as Non-Profit Associations, Mass Organizations, Academic Institutions and Community Based Oragnisations. Grants directly support civil society and enables local organizations to prove their ability and effectiveness and therefore emerge as real development actors. The SGP also mentors grantees by building their capacity to develop, manage and monitor projects and by promoting knowledge chairing among the beneficiaries of the programme and the wider public.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Through its 'Civil Society Support Programme', UNDP supports the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that the promulgated Decrees on National Civil Society (non-profit associations and foundations) are implemented in an effective way in order to ensure that the emerging civil society can participate in the development process and let its voice be heard by facilitating the following activities: UNDP Governance 2015/06 No Longer Applicable The Decree is yet promulgated and this is beyond the control of UNDP.
a) Decrees (and its implications) are known by the general public and civil servants responsible for the registration and monitoring of national civil society both at the central and the provincial level UNDP Governance 2015/06 No Longer Applicable
b) Strengthen the institutional capacity of institutions responsible for CS by setting up a database linked to an interface (intranet/website) for registration purposes and by informing the general public about civil society in Lao PDR UNDP Governance 2015/06 Completed The database system was set up for registration purpose. General public access is planned to be implemented by MOHA.
7.2 UNDP through its Civil Society Support Programme facilitates dialogue between mutually Government and national civil society through UNDP Governance Unit 2015/06 Completed
a) ensuring that national civil society representatives are represented meaningfully in major (policy) forums at the national level and the international level (Round Table Meeting and Sector Working Groups / ASEAN meetings / Human Rights related meetings) UNDP Governance Unit 2013/12 Completed It was done through RTM, GSWG, and UPR
b) national civil society actors have the opportunity to demonstrate to the general public and the Government of Lao PDR what they contribute to the development of Lao PDR UNDP Governance Unit 2015/06 Completed NPAs displayed their products in market fair during RTM and NA session.
7.3 UNDP cooperates closely with actors supporting the capacity development of national civil society including consortiums that is essential in creating an accountable and independent environment. The agencies supporting civil society actors directly include French Embassy, Swedish Development Cooperation, US Embassy, European Union, Kenan Institute, Oxfam Novib and other International Organizations Governance Unit 2012/12 Completed Periodic meetings with consortiums and others were conducted both formal and informal forum.
7.4 SGP will continue providing financial and managerial support to grantees Environment Unit 2015/06 Completed
8. Recommendation: The environment programme of UNDP should continue its reorientation towards policy implementation and local-level interventions that aim to achieve both sustainable environment and sustainable livelihoods.
Management Response:

Previous process or policy oriented projects such as NSCA, NAPA and the development of the National Agro-biodiversity Programme, have led to the development of follow up projects with substantial provincial focus (NCSA Follow up, IRAS/NAPA Follow up 1, Agro-biodiversity project). The environment programme is now much more focused concentrated on local level interventions and policy implementation. Policy development remains an element of each of the larger projects or programmes within the portfolio but is now much more linked to field level interventions. New projects such as the IBSA funded ?Integrated irrigated agriculture in Bolikhamxay? or the GEF funded ?Improving resilience of small scale rural infrastructure? or NAPA Follow up 2 project, are all in line with this renewed focus. Most projects and programmes combine environmental management and livelihoods development. Previous projects and programmes such as the Small Grants Programme and the Poverty Environment Initiative will be further expanded.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1 Initiate the implementation of the new IBSA irrigation project Environment Unit 2012/12 Completed IBBA irrigation project was initiated in 2012. The project has been running successfully and ended on June 30. The report of Terminal Evaluation is being prepared and will be finalized in July 2015.
8.2 Finalize the formulation of the new NAPA Follow up 2 project on Climate Resilient Small Rural Infrastructure Environment Unit 2013/01 Completed The NAPA follow up 2 projects on climate resilience in small scale infrastructure was formulated and approved and initiated in 2013.
8.3 Initiate PEI Phase 2 Environment Unit 2012/12 Completed PEI phase 2 was successfully initiated in 2012 and it will be completed in December 2015.
8.4 Further development (additional resource mobilization) and up-scaling of SGP Environment Unit 2014/12 Completed SGP was closed after audit findings in early 2014. At the request of GoL, SGP was restarted in late 2014.
9. Recommendation: The model of the Community Radio Project should be scaled up and replicated across the country.
Management Response:

Indeed the community radio initiative has been a unique model to increase people?s access to information in a range of areas beneficial to improve their socio-economic status. It is one of the few forums that allow communities to share their concerns, success stories and demonstrate their creativity. This was piloted in two districts in 2011 (one in Xiengkhouan province and the other in Sekong). Based on the success and need to replicate this, the current phase of the project (2011-2014) is upscaling this in four more districts in XiengKhouan, Sekong and Oudamxay Provinces. The potential for sharing lessons amongst these community radio areas are being fully tapped into.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
9.1 The strengthening and the scaling up of community radios in 6 districts of 3 Provinces will be done by 2014(Xieng Khouang Province: Khoun, Nong Het; Sekong Province: Thateng, Dakchuang; Oudomxay Province: Houn, Namour) UNDP Governance Unit 2014/12 Completed
10. Recommendation: For greater effectiveness and efficiency of resource use, UNDP should seek to exploit potential synergies among its various activities, especially with its local-level activities.
Management Response:

Agreed and this is an on-going effort in the Country Office.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
10.1 Continue the close collaboration among 3 units (Environment, Poverty and Governance) under the Poverty-Environment initiative 3 units (Environment, Poverty and Governance) 2014/12 Completed
10.2 Collaboration under the new GEF project on climate change adaptation, between Environment and Governance units Environment and Governance units 2014/12 Completed
10.3Explore closer linkage between the UXO work (UXO unit), with the planning (Poverty unit and Governance unit) to achieve better integration of UXO planning with the overall development planning at local levels UXO, Poverty and Governance units 2015/06 Completed
10.4 Close collaboration between Governance, Poverty Unit and Environment Unit to promote better enabling environment for the civil society, contribute to their organizational development and promote better development effectiveness principles Governance unit, Poverty Unit and Environment Unit 2016/12 Initiated
10.5 Increase coordination and synergies at provincial and district levels (based on mapping of activities all 2015/06 Completed The draft mapping has been developed.
10.6 Strengthen the link between the Round Table Process and SWGs especially those co-chaired by UNDP (Governance and UXO) as well as SWGs which UNDP actively participate in (Agriculture and Rural development; Natural Resources and Environment) all 2015/06 Completed
10.7 Further develop linkages, synergies and knowledge sharing between small SGP projects and larger EU projects Environment Unit 2015/06 No Longer Applicable

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