Final Evaluation: Reducing the Vulnerability of Cambodian Rural Livelihoods through Enhanced Sub-National Climate Change Planning and Execution of Priority Actions

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Evaluation Plan:
2019-2023, Cambodia
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
01/2021
Completion Date:
01/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
35,000

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Title Final Evaluation: Reducing the Vulnerability of Cambodian Rural Livelihoods through Enhanced Sub-National Climate Change Planning and Execution of Priority Actions
Atlas Project Number: 85641
Evaluation Plan: 2019-2023, Cambodia
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 01/2021
Planned End Date: 01/2021
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Poverty
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.1.1 Low emission and climate resilient objectives addressed in national, sub-national and sectoral development plans and policies to promote economic diversification and green growth
SDG Target
  • 1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
  • 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
Evaluation Budget(US $): 35,000
Source of Funding: Project Budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 17,600
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Hans Van Noord International Consultant hansvannoord@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Reducing the Vulnerability of Cambodian Rural Livelihoods through Enhanced Sub-National Climate Change Planning and Execution of Priority Actions
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Climate Change
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5419
PIMS Number: 5174
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Interior - National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development Secretariat (NCDD-S)
Countries: CAMBODIA
Lessons
1.

A lesson we collectively learn, but which keeps recurring, is the slow start-up phase: in design a practical management arrangement needs to be prepared, but also needs full commitment from the IP to start implementation as soon as possible. In future project design sufficient attention needs to be paid to the detailed project management arrangement and the ability by the Government to proactively facilitate the kickstart process of initial project implementation through preparatory work and close coordination (staff recruitment, clear operational and financial/budget flow roles and responsibilities) to avoid unnecessary delays of project implementation.


Tag: UNDP management

2.

Key challenge remains the building of robust institutional and human resource capacity at sub-national level. This was recognized as (long-term and institutional) barrier, and tackled with targeted capacity building, the use of external service providers and formulation and strengthening of community groups, but requires continued attention post project.


3.

The innovation of the SRL Project lies in the integrated approach of infusing CC adaptation into local governance through participatory planning (VRA tool), supporting the formulation of development and investment plans and ultimately execution of prioritized interventions aimed at reinforcing community resilience and monitoring the outcomes and impact (with PBCRG). This joint effort of enhancing local governance with targeted livelihood support is an excellent pathway for more sustainable climate change adaptation, but requires close coordination between a series of stakeholders. The embedding in the local planning and monitoring approach favours longer-term sustainability.


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4.

Increase of income of household from agriculture is important for improving resilience, but one might consider diversification and stability of income sources (multiple crops, double cropping, more cash crops, animal husbandry and other value chain additions) equally important to obtain and as evidence of a more robust resilience against climate change extremes and other external disturbances (e.g. COVID-19).


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5.

Group formation, although posing serious challenges with regard to sustainability, offers important co-benefits that should be recorded: social cohesion, women empowerment, a means to facilitate capacity building and value addition.


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6.

There is clear potential for emerging best practices from various climate change adaptation projects to be integrated into a more holistic adaptation approach aimed at improving resilience and livelihoods of rural communities. Recent outcomes of the UNDP supported early warning system project on climate information, seasonal forecasting, drought resilient agricultural techniques and farmer field schools are complementary and reinforcing to the approaches piloted under the SRL project, decentralized vulnerability and resilience planning, irrigation scheme support and the PBCRG financing and monitoring modality.


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7.

In addition to the SRL goal to enhance community resilience through improved household income from agriculture, the resilience of households can be further supported by promotion of diversification of income sources through crop diversification, introduction of climate smart and drought resistant varieties and application of recent developed methodologies on seasonal  forecasting, aimed at reducing the impact of climate extremes as floods and droughts. This would add to safeguarding of a more stable agricultural income to reduce present vulnerability levels.


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8.

The project has supported the further improvement of national guidelines and therewith facilitating the further replication and roll-out nationally (intending to cover ultimately 100 districts) through the piloting of the Performance Based Resilience Grant modality. But, continued support and financing (including increased budget allocation to SNAs and related strengthening of institutional capacity of government stakeholders at especially sub-national level) will be essential to maintain this modality post-project and to be able to replicate this approach to other districts in the country. The conditional financing set-up, with participatory performance assessments, are supportive to the further development of planning and monitoring capacities of the sub-national authorities and enhance community ownership, but ultimately will require a further decentralization of budgets available for climate adaptation financing.


Tag: UNDP management

9.

PBCRG, performance based climate resilience grant modality, is aimed at introducing an incentive mechanism at sub-national level to manage greater volume of climate change financing, aligned with local development plans. It results in a set-up, which strengthens and facilitates financial sustainability. But, continued support and financing (increased budget allocation to SNAs) will be essential to maintain this modality post-project and to be able to replicate this approach to other districts in the country. The PBCRG mechanism has been piloted before (UNDCF LoCAL and ASPIRE) and applied and tested by the project in order to systematically include climate change adaptation interventions in sub-national planning, budgeting and monitoring. The project has supported the further improvement of national guidelines and further replication and roll-out nationally (intending to cover ultimately 100 districts). In 2018 baseline assessments were conducted and performance targets were set. The annual PBCRG-assessments show that performance scoring has increased from 29% (baseline in 2017) to 59% in 2018 and 64% in 2019. The PBCRG modality, that requires communes to co-finance climate resilience interventions with SRL resources, was new for them, so some communes initially hesitated to cooperate. But since they could see the benefits of co-sharing (2/3 investment fund comes from SRL and 1/3 from the commune budget) the communes have become more willing to use this modality. An assumption of a little over $2 of co-financing for every $1 of LDCF finance was made in the ProDoc. In practice in 2018 the ratio was $0.33 to every $1 of LDCF and in 2019 this increased to $0.36. These variances in co-financing ratio are part of the piloting effort, but it is important to review for future application in other districts if these changes in ratio have implications for the quantitative targets set at the beginning of the project and on the quality of the execution. The PBCRG modality is most efficient if it can be tuned to coincide with the regular budgeting and planning cycle of the sub-national authorities. The modality contributes to the transition process of transferring functions to sub-national authorities and giving them access to more substantial funds for CCA financing. It also catalyzes ownership and engagement of the communities to take care of maintenance of the investments made and promotes participatory monitoring of the local investment/development plans. NCDD-S intends to replicate the PBCRG modality with GCF funds to 50 districts, with 10 covered under SRL and 10 from other project support


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10.

The VRA approach as further developed and applied by the project uses existing data sets from global, regional and national level to identify climate vulnerability at district and commune level. This GIS-based approach generates maps with indication of risk classes which are used as input to discuss these geographic areas with the communes. The project has been able to include more objective vulnerability data into the planning process by utilizing information on ID poor classes, livelihood patterns and agricultural information (as generated by the baseline impact assessment). Limitations of the methodology are linked to the specific skills needed to generate GIS-based maps and the availability of detailed national data layers. The required assessment methodologies need to be internalized within the national institutions and systematically implemented. While the VRA tool has been developed and applied over the last decade or so recent approaches have been developed to accurately model climate change impact. Combined with hydrological models more accurate information can be generated on flood risk assessment, in the context of disaster risk reduction, while downscaled climate models are able to generate seasonal forecasts and inform communities timely on drought and flood risk. Availability of affordable and detailed remote sensing imagery enables the use of detailed community maps. These maps have proven value for planning dialogues with community members as these landscape photos are easily understood by the community members compared to the more abstract GIS generated hazard/risk maps. This would further facilitate the planning process and prioritization and identification of climate change adaptation interventions.


Tag: UNDP management

11.

The end line survey concluded that the present implementation stage is relatively early to identify actual impact and attribution to the project, linked to the present maturity and capacity of the relatively recent formed groups and the functionality of irrigation infrastructure that for some communes only have direct impact from this year. A suggested limited survey could take place in another 2 years or so, mid 2022, making use of the established methodology and with a focus on the key impact indicators, as defined in the impact assessments. It is acknowledged that an external service provider has to be engaged for this survey, which could be of more limited scale than the full-blown baseline and end line surveys.


Tag: UNDP management

Findings
Recommendations
1

Recommendation 1: Finalize the exit strategy and target explicitly critical sustainability elements, such as Provincial HR, capacity, O&M budget, continued group support, roles of line Ministries (MAFF and MoRWAM) and also replication potential, beyond the present target Provinces. An important element of an updated exit strategy is how best practices emerging from the SRL project can be replicated and scaled up nationally. In such a replication strategy attention should be given to available resources within the government and potential external funding sources, e.g. projects in the pipeline as the Korean funded Solar Water Pumping Project in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap and the GCF project concept aiming at replication of the PBCRG modality in more districts. SRL team. (To present and discuss during closure workshop with key partners and SNAs). IP

2

Recommendation 2: Focus on documentation and sharing of best practices and lessons learnt in final KM workshops, in order to share key outcomes of the project’s learning. The project has generated a considerable amount of learning to share with a wider audience. The impact assessments and in particular the endline survey recently finalized offer a wealth of data on emerging impacts and beneficiary feedback. However, the survey reports are relatively inaccessible for many stakeholders and deserve a short consolidation in a compact document, highlighting key lessons and results (for instance a two-pager presenting the methodology, key findings, limitations and recommendations). SRL team

3

Recommendation 3: Continued support and financing is recommended in order to increase the budget allocation to SNAs and will be essential to maintain the PBCRG, performance- based climate resilience grant modality, post-project and to be able to replicate this approach to other districts in the country. It results in a set-up, which strengthens and facilitates financial sustainability, but will require longer-term financial support to the SNAs. NCDD-S.

4

Recommendation 4: PBCRG is aimed at introducing an incentive mechanism at sub-national level to manage greater volume of climate change financing, aligned with local development plans. The PBCRG modality is most efficient from a planning and capacity building perspective if it can be tuned to coincide with the regular budgeting and planning cycle of the sub-national authorities. NCDD-S.

5

Recommendation 5: Recently a new project is initiated aimed at solar water pumping, titled “Promoting the use of solar technologies for agricultural and rural development in Cambodia and Myanmar”, funded by the Republic of Korea. As this project is implemented in the same target provinces as the SRL Project, Kampong Thom and Siem Reap, it is recommended to utilize the built capacities in the districts and communes aimed at irrigation such as water user groups, related irrigation maintenance groups and to make use of the capacity of groups focusing on climate resilient agricultural practices. In addition, lessons of the EWS project on drought resistant agricultural techniques are recommended to be included in the interventions of this new project. SWP Project and Government partners.

1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1: Finalize the exit strategy and target explicitly critical sustainability elements, such as Provincial HR, capacity, O&M budget, continued group support, roles of line Ministries (MAFF and MoRWAM) and also replication potential, beyond the present target Provinces. An important element of an updated exit strategy is how best practices emerging from the SRL project can be replicated and scaled up nationally. In such a replication strategy attention should be given to available resources within the government and potential external funding sources, e.g. projects in the pipeline as the Korean funded Solar Water Pumping Project in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap and the GCF project concept aiming at replication of the PBCRG modality in more districts. SRL team. (To present and discuss during closure workshop with key partners and SNAs). IP

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/25] [Last Updated: 2021/01/25]

Agreed

An exit strategy for the project was prepared during the last year of the project focusing on some of the critical sustainability elements of the project, including provincial HR capacity, Operations and Maintenance budget for the small-scale infrastructure, provision of continuous support to the groups formed under the project and roles and responsibilities of government agencies at national and provincial levels.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Conduct consultation meetings on the draft exist strategy and collect additional feedback.
[Added: 2021/01/25]
NCDD-S 2020/10 Completed The exit strategy was discussed with all stakeholders and updated accordingly. The exit strategy was finalized in Dec 2020.”
1.2. Form SNA team to provide follow up and coaching support to established farmer groups
[Added: 2021/01/25]
NCDD-S 2020/11 Completed NCDDS in collaboration with SNAs provided follow-up and coaching support to established FGs in the target communes.
1.3. Form management committees to be responsible for operation and maintenance of water schemes.
[Added: 2021/01/25]
NCDD-S, SNAs 2020/11 Completed SNA formed 50 management committees to take care of operation and maintenance of water schemes.
1.4. Establish 4 chick hatchery and vaccination centers to ensure sustainability and replication of best practices on poultry production
[Added: 2021/01/25]
NCDD-S 2020/12 Completed Provided 4 chick hatchery and vaccination centers to sustain and replicate good practices on poultry production.
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2: Focus on documentation and sharing of best practices and lessons learnt in final KM workshops, in order to share key outcomes of the project’s learning. The project has generated a considerable amount of learning to share with a wider audience. The impact assessments and in particular the endline survey recently finalized offer a wealth of data on emerging impacts and beneficiary feedback. However, the survey reports are relatively inaccessible for many stakeholders and deserve a short consolidation in a compact document, highlighting key lessons and results (for instance a two-pager presenting the methodology, key findings, limitations and recommendations). SRL team

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/25] [Last Updated: 2021/01/25]

Agreed

The Project Team has consolidated good practices and lessons from project implementation – including booklets, photo albums, case studies and video documentary, which has been shared with both internal and external audiences. The Country Office will continue to share these and integrated good practices in future projects in the country. A project completion workshop, which was planned in early Dec 2020 could not be held due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.2. The project team is working on consolidating good practices in various forms such as photo albums, good practice booklets, case-studies and video documentary for sharing and learning.
[Added: 2021/01/25]
Project team 2020/12 Completed The SRL project team has consolidated the good practices booklets, photo albums, case-studies and video documentary for sharing and learning.
2.1. Conduct project completion workshop.
[Added: 2021/01/25]
Project Team 2020/12 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Due to Covid-19 pandemic the planned completion workshop had to be cancelled. However, documentation and project communication materials have been shared with all stakeholders. ]
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: Continued support and financing is recommended in order to increase the budget allocation to SNAs and will be essential to maintain the PBCRG, performance- based climate resilience grant modality, post-project and to be able to replicate this approach to other districts in the country. It results in a set-up, which strengthens and facilitates financial sustainability, but will require longer-term financial support to the SNAs. NCDD-S.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/25] [Last Updated: 2021/01/25]

Agreed

The NCDD-S has enhanced budget allocation to SNAs and based on positive outcome of this project, plans to replicate this model to other districts/communes in the country. UNDP, in consultation with other UN agencies will continue to support the government to ensure sustainability of the PBCRG mechanism.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1. Continue to support SNAs on budget allocation for PBCRG
[Added: 2021/01/25]
NCDD-S 2021/03 Initiated NCDD-S/SNAs have either maintained or increased budget allocation to SNAs for PBCRG performance- based climate resilience grant modality, and this approach is planned to be replicated in other districts/communes.
3.2. Providing further support NCDDS in preparing submission of a GCF grant
[Added: 2021/01/25]
UNCDF 2021/03 Initiated UNCDF is currently providing support to NCDDS in the preparation and submission of $10-million proposal for GCF grant to scale up PBCRG in 50 districts.
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4: PBCRG is aimed at introducing an incentive mechanism at sub-national level to manage greater volume of climate change financing, aligned with local development plans. The PBCRG modality is most efficient from a planning and capacity building perspective if it can be tuned to coincide with the regular budgeting and planning cycle of the sub-national authorities. NCDD-S.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/25] [Last Updated: 2021/01/25]

Agreed

The NCDD-S and SNAs have officially adopted the PBCRG guidelines and is actively discussing with the Ministry of Planning to integrate the grant mechanism within the overall budgeting and planning cycle at sub-national level.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1. Work with Ministry of Planning to integrate PBCRG modality into regular budgeting and planning cycle of SNAs
[Added: 2021/01/25]
NCDD-S 2021/03 Initiated NCDD-S and SNAs have adopted the PBCRG guideline and efforts are ongoing with Ministry of Planning to integrate this modality into regular budgeting and planning cycle of sub-national authorities.
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5: Recently a new project is initiated aimed at solar water pumping, titled “Promoting the use of solar technologies for agricultural and rural development in Cambodia and Myanmar”, funded by the Republic of Korea. As this project is implemented in the same target provinces as the SRL Project, Kampong Thom and Siem Reap, it is recommended to utilize the built capacities in the districts and communes aimed at irrigation such as water user groups, related irrigation maintenance groups and to make use of the capacity of groups focusing on climate resilient agricultural practices. In addition, lessons of the EWS project on drought resistant agricultural techniques are recommended to be included in the interventions of this new project. SWP Project and Government partners.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/25] [Last Updated: 2021/01/25]

Agreed

 

The Republic of Korea-funded project “Promoting the use of solar technologies for agricultural and rural development in Cambodia and Myanmar” is designed as a follow up project. The capacities and infrastructure established under this project will be fully utilized in the implementation of the new project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1. Consultation with stakeholders to ensure synergies between achievement in the target areas of SRL project and the new solar irrigation project.
[Added: 2021/01/25]
UNDP 2021/03 Initiated Further consultations are needed with key national government counterparts and SNAs to select potential districts/communes in the two target provinces of SRL project where the existing small infrastructure irrigation schemes, including livelihood improvement groups are more appropriate to the new solar irrigation project.
5.2. Further utilize the built capacities in the selected districts and communes including farmer groups and water user groups.
[Added: 2021/01/25]
SWP project and Government partners 2021/06 Initiated

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