Terminal Evaluation Report "Building and Enabling Environment for Sustainable Development"

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Evaluation Plan:
2019-2023, Cambodia
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
09/2021
Completion Date:
08/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
35,000

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Title Terminal Evaluation Report "Building and Enabling Environment for Sustainable Development"
Atlas Project Number: 00085640
Evaluation Plan: 2019-2023, Cambodia
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2021
Planned End Date: 09/2021
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Governance
  • 3. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
  • 2. Output 1.5.1 Solutions adopted to achieve universal access to clean, affordable and sustainable energy
SDG Goal
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
SDG Target
  • 15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
  • 15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
  • 15.4 By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development
  • 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
  • 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
Evaluation Budget(US $): 35,000
Source of Funding: Project Budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 9,300
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Leandro Fernandez International Consultant for Project Evaluation
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: National Council for Sustainable Development
Countries: CAMBODIA
Lessons
1.

Flexibility in the design of interventions helped adjust to urgent and unexpected needs and has proven essential for adaptive management.

COVID-19 outbreak has required refocus project interventions to support COVID-19 relief and response and maintain a pace of implementation despite pandemic-related constraints. Flexible structures and adaptive management decision-making have timely allowed reallocating funds towards COVID-19 activities, including addressing new and emerging needs.The project management considered the implementation challenges through learning which guided flexibility in project interventions and allowed for greater flexibility and adaptation to changing situations. Challenges in project implementation have highlighted the need for a clear risk management plan, flexible project design and appropriate result framework, and the necessity to incorporate these lessons learned into post-pandemic interventions.


2.

Procuring needed deliverables brings tangible results to beneficiaries, contributing to more robust participation in project activities.

The success of local activities was because they were designed to address local needs, vulnerabilities, and perceptions, to sustain livelihoods while developing the policy framework.  Livelihoods activities in environmental and natural resource management interventions are critical in many contexts and can help change practices and achieve results. Community groups understand the implications of natural resources degradation, and they will participate in projects that address threats to their livelihoods if they realise benefits from their efforts.


3.

Environment and natural resources management taking a value chain approach, while sensitive to socio-economic inequalities, are likely to achieve more sustainable results.

Addressing sustainability models entails a multi-sectoral approach with both vertical and horizontal levels of coordination and management.Multiple institutional synergies and multi-sectorial coordination are vital to strengthening policy interventions. Creating more partnerships and structures is critical to improving the operationalization of the legal and policy reforms. Coordination among the various partners has brought adequate resources required to support the policy change and sustainability.

Capacity building with active participation and collaboration between project implementing entities and beneficiaries enables community-based organizations to form strategic alliances with state institutions, increasing community ownership over the interventions and long-term engagement with local stakeholders.


4.

Projects should extend beyond simply collecting disaggregated data on how many men and women turned up at a project event or activities but ask questions such as why and how this impacts women.

One of the critical results of the project has been developing several national strategies and policies. The development of these documents provided a prime opportunity to mainstream women’s engagement in the governmental system. However, there was limited gender mainstreaming of significance within these documents. Reporting on the number of women does not describe the actual impacts on gender equality that having this experience might have on both that individual and the community around them.It is necessary to measure more than women’s participation. This kind of project provided a unique opportunity for the voices and stories of women to be heard and highlighted. Qualitative data aligned with UNDP and SIDA guidelines that determine women’s participation in decision making, natural resource ownership and access, and socio-economic benefits will create a fuller understanding of how the project has impacted gender equality.


5.

In order to scale up pilot projects and obtain the necessary funding, it is necessary to develop a common approach to environmental and social safeguards, including a Grievance Mechanism (GRM), a Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) mechanism, and human rights-based approach mechanisms to strengthen accountability and transparency towards stakeholders.

Safeguards play a vital role in achieving project benefits at the local level. They guide how we engage local communities to plan and manage our work to improve and protect their lives, rights and livelihoods while conserving nature and ecosystem services. Safeguards are designed to manage risks, uphold human rights, and ensure conservation projects deliver better communities and nature. An environmental and social safeguards framework is essential for the long-term goals, sustainability, and scaling up.  It is recommended to apply an Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework that establishes a common set of standards, policies, planning and implementation mechanisms, and compliance systems that govern how activities on the ground are carried out. The safeguards approach of the National REDD+ Strategy and the REDD+ safeguards information system could be used to report on activities in local communities and CPAs.


Findings
Recommendations
1

A sustainability plan or exit strategy should be prepared

It would be advisable to prepare a sustainability plan that outlines the follow-up actions and institutional financing to ensure the sustainability of the results achieved—for example, endorsement of the policy framework development and operationalisation of PES on fresh water supply, inter-alia. Pursue and develop sustainable financing and environmental governance mechanism for other ecosystem services (ecotourism and biodiversity conservation), building on and strengthening the work done by the BESD Project and commencing roadmap for leveraging political and private sector support. The sustainability plan could also include an analysis of the risks and opportunities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, institutional capacity and co-financing further to nurture the outcome and legacy of this project

Also, the exit strategy needs to be elaborated to inform participating stakeholders and beneficiaries and future responsible institution of project closure and the process to achieve long-term goals. It is recommended to organise a terminal and desimenation/feedback meeting that invites all known stakeholders, including local communities and others interested in the project's products, services, and related initiatives, such as the GEF-6 INRM,WB project.

 

2

Enact policies and instruments developed under the project.

It is recommended that both RGC and UNDP engage more actively with ministers, decision-makers and high-level officials, to encourage a clear-time frame adoption of the PES draft policy frameworks. There has been significant progress in developing the policy and regulatory instruments for PES development and management and it needs the endorsement for implementation and operation on ground.

3

Monitor and evaluate the medium and long-term benefits of the project.

Considering the impossibility to have been conducted field visits to the targeted communities, it would be interesting to conduct a post-evaluation study to quantify and report the project's impacts on the medium and long-term and the endurance and improvement on the ground.

4

Promote actions to reinforce benefits through MoE support in terms of capacity (skill and institutional) development and technical guidance, and explore opportunities link with the National REDD+ strategy, Voluntary Carbon Markets, PES and ecotourism initiatives. The REDD+ strategy is now coming on-stream, and there is a growing interest in the potential opportunities of linking it with CF management.

5

Ensure availability of management plans and zoning maps to local communities.

It is recommended, following participatory mapping and planning, CPA committees, with support from PDoE and local authorities, to return to each village to explain the critical aspects of the management plan, the boundaries of the different zones and their associated rules and to distribute permanent maps. They are aiming to mobilise the support of all community members to protect CPA activities. The CPA committee should be considered for some incentives to promote and sustain CPAs actively.

Following the same objective of ensuring that the communities are well informed, it is recommended to prepare a summary of the management plan and PES proposal, possibly in the local language, for the members of the village communities.

1. Recommendation:

A sustainability plan or exit strategy should be prepared

It would be advisable to prepare a sustainability plan that outlines the follow-up actions and institutional financing to ensure the sustainability of the results achieved—for example, endorsement of the policy framework development and operationalisation of PES on fresh water supply, inter-alia. Pursue and develop sustainable financing and environmental governance mechanism for other ecosystem services (ecotourism and biodiversity conservation), building on and strengthening the work done by the BESD Project and commencing roadmap for leveraging political and private sector support. The sustainability plan could also include an analysis of the risks and opportunities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, institutional capacity and co-financing further to nurture the outcome and legacy of this project

Also, the exit strategy needs to be elaborated to inform participating stakeholders and beneficiaries and future responsible institution of project closure and the process to achieve long-term goals. It is recommended to organise a terminal and desimenation/feedback meeting that invites all known stakeholders, including local communities and others interested in the project's products, services, and related initiatives, such as the GEF-6 INRM,WB project.

 

Management Response: [Added: 2021/10/01] [Last Updated: 2021/11/12]

Agreed.

 

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Relevant plans developed to ensure the sustainability of the progress/result achieved by the project.
[Added: 2021/11/12]
National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD)/ Ministry of Environment (MoE) 2021/10 Completed Project sustainability is a key government priority. To address this concern, NCSD/MoE has developed related plans covering the following key actions: • Enhance capacity of government institutions, partners, and relevant stakeholders to implement PES’s roadmap, instruments, and legislation/policy. • Integrate PES modality into landscape planning, ecotourism program, REDD+ and other relevant existing projects such as INRM, CAMPAS, GoalWater, and Cambodia Sustainable Landscape and Ecotourism Projects. • Support sustainable financing mechanism (PES, REDD+, Ecotourism, Vivo, …) and implement resources mobilization action plan (Eastern Plant-CAMPAS) for PAs management. • Engage and encourage stakeholders, especially ILC, private sectors, and research institutions to participate and implement of PES program and available resource mobilization strategy and action plan.
2. Recommendation:

Enact policies and instruments developed under the project.

It is recommended that both RGC and UNDP engage more actively with ministers, decision-makers and high-level officials, to encourage a clear-time frame adoption of the PES draft policy frameworks. There has been significant progress in developing the policy and regulatory instruments for PES development and management and it needs the endorsement for implementation and operation on ground.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/10/01]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
NCSD/MoE is taking the lead to bring forward the PES draft policy framework toward adoption. No further action under the scope of the project as the project was closed in Q2 2021.
[Added: 2021/11/12]
NCSD/MoE, other relevant Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) agencies, UNDP 2021/10 Completed Progress made in leading PES agenda: • The government issued Sor Cho Nor.1119, a government legal instrument, recommended NCSD/MoE to conduct PES’s feasibility. This is a strong commitment of government to enhance financial sustainability for environmental and NR management. • PES’s fund management mechanism and PES’s modality have been developed and are under the process of endorsement. • PES’s management plan is developed to ensure long term monitoring of ecosystem function and its services at the pilot sites. • PES’s Roadmap 2022-2030 had been drafted and is under consultation with relevant stakeholders. This draft roadmap includes PES scale-up proposals in other potential PAs. • PES’s operation procedures (Prakash) have been drafted and will be finalized and endorsed by MoE. NCSD/MoE continues to lead and steer the adoption and implementation of the PES framework. UNDP will also continue the support through the ongoing relevant projects.
3. Recommendation:

Monitor and evaluate the medium and long-term benefits of the project.

Considering the impossibility to have been conducted field visits to the targeted communities, it would be interesting to conduct a post-evaluation study to quantify and report the project's impacts on the medium and long-term and the endurance and improvement on the ground.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/10/01]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
No further action under the scope of the project as the project was closed in Q2 2021.
[Added: 2021/11/12]
NCSD/MoE, UNDP 2021/10 Completed • The monitoring plan including site visits has been implemented by UNDP with satisfaction. • The medium- and long-term benefits of the project can be assessed via other related projects monitoring – Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN), Integrated Natural Resources Management (INRM).
4. Recommendation:

Promote actions to reinforce benefits through MoE support in terms of capacity (skill and institutional) development and technical guidance, and explore opportunities link with the National REDD+ strategy, Voluntary Carbon Markets, PES and ecotourism initiatives. The REDD+ strategy is now coming on-stream, and there is a growing interest in the potential opportunities of linking it with CF management.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/10/01]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
MoE takes up the relevant actions forward. No further action under the scope of the project was closed in Q2 2021.
[Added: 2021/11/12]
Responsible Unit(s) NCSD/MoE, UNDP 2021/10 Completed MoE will continue to provide capacity building to all relevant stakeholders, especially government staff and local communities to ensure the BESD relevant activities implementation will continue. This recommendation will also be addressed by other ongoing development projects led by NCSD/MoE: • BIOFIN Project to ensure the responsible institution/department have enough capacity to develop and implement biodiversity financial plan. • INRM project on sustainable agriculture, agriculture conservation, ecotourism, the value change, and ABS. • CAMPAS project, to implement sustainable financial plan. • Cambodia Sustainable Landscape and Ecotourism project (WB), to promote community-based ecotourism and livelihood development. • Enabling small scale REDD program (plan Vivo). • Leverage and scale up PES’s application in at least 10 potential PAs. This plan could be done through UNDP’s applicable small grant projects and others available sources.
5. Recommendation:

Ensure availability of management plans and zoning maps to local communities.

It is recommended, following participatory mapping and planning, CPA committees, with support from PDoE and local authorities, to return to each village to explain the critical aspects of the management plan, the boundaries of the different zones and their associated rules and to distribute permanent maps. They are aiming to mobilise the support of all community members to protect CPA activities. The CPA committee should be considered for some incentives to promote and sustain CPAs actively.

Following the same objective of ensuring that the communities are well informed, it is recommended to prepare a summary of the management plan and PES proposal, possibly in the local language, for the members of the village communities.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/10/01]

Agreed 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
MoE is taking lead to ensure the development of management plan and PES mechanism using participatory approach. No further action under the scope of the project was closed in Q2 2021.
[Added: 2021/11/12]
NCSD/MoE 2021/10 Completed • MoE is developing Kulen National Park zoning and management plan which also cover all communities in the National Park. Cambodia Sustainable Land Scape and Ecotourism project( CSLEP) is actually taking over from BESD to continue working with these communities. • DCL/GDLC will continue to work with PDoE, local authorities and community for providing more awareness raising and ensure they are all get informed. • Cambodia Sustainable Landscape and Ecotourism Project, with the support from Work Bank, will take over to implementing BESD’s activities on community development. • The ecosystem mapping for potential PES has been integrated in Phnom Kulen NP Zoning. • PES mechanism has been integrated into Kbal Chhay management plan.

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