Ensuring global environmental concerns and best practices mainstreamed in the post conflict rapid development process of Sri Lanka through improved information management

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2022, Sri Lanka
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
Completion Date:
Management Response:
Evaluation Budget(US $):


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Title Ensuring global environmental concerns and best practices mainstreamed in the post conflict rapid development process of Sri Lanka through improved information management
Atlas Project Number: 00080228
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2022, Sri Lanka
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2019
Planned End Date: 04/2019
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.1 Capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other international agreements in development plans and budgets, and to analyse progress towards the SDGs, using innovative and data-driven solutions
SDG Goal
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG Target
  • 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
Evaluation Budget(US $): 15,000
Source of Funding: gef
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 14,682
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Amal Aldababseh
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Ensuring global environmental concerns and best practices mainstreamed in the post-conflict rapid development process of Sri Lanka through improved information management
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Multifocal Areas
Project Type: MSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5031
PIMS Number: 4940
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Disaster Management
Countries: SRI LANKA

3. Findings

3.1 Project Design/ Formulation

The project was considered highly important at the time of design and it remains very relevant to the GovSL’s global environmental obligations not only in relation to the Rio Conventions but also the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), development plans mainly the reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to UNDAF and UNDP Plans in Sri Lanka, and to the GEF global benefits and objectives. The Project Document included the needed outcomes, outputs, activities, indicators, targets, work-plans and the allocated budget per output. The Project focused on addressing key barriers to enhance data generation, validation, and sharing, and the use of data in decision-making processes. The Project thus focused on enhancing policy setting and institutional coordination as they represent distinct barriers to achieve the global environmental benefits. The absence of strong administrative and legal mandate, the frequent changes of the agencies and their top management, and the distribution of subjects among ministries were all barriers to achieving global environmental benefits in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, environmental management was not effectively mainstreamed into regional, provincial and district development planning processes in Sri Lanka. This had led to a significant barrier to achieving global environmental objectives. Thus, the Project design effectively addressed these barriers.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Risk Reduction Biodiversity Environment Policy Natural Resouce management Global Environment Facility fund Communication Programme/Project Design Policy Advisory Agenda 2030 Data and Statistics


3.2 Analysis of the LFA/Results Framework (Project logic/ Strategy, Indicators)

LFA: The Project’s LFA is a key monitoring and evaluation tool used as a base for the planning of detailed activities defined during the Project development phase. According to the Project’s inception workshop report, the LFA has been reviewed, two outputs were added, and indicators were amended/added for the new outputs. Furthermore, a theory of change was developed to reflect on the changes proposed and agreed upon during the inception phase. However, these changes were not fully reflected in updated Project Document. It was noticed that the Project’s LFA was not updated, thus, the PMU and UNDP CO missed reporting on the newly added outputs (1.5 and 1.6) in their quarterly, and annual progress reports. The original LFA followed basically the GEF format and included targets with clear dates to be achieved at the output levels. However, it was noticed that the timeframe proposed to achieve some of the targets is not realistic and did not take the national capacity and context into consideration. This resulted in some weaknesses in the LFA mainly in relation to the evaluation of the timeliness of the project’s achievements. The issue of targets achievement data in the LFA was discussed during the inception phase, and several changes proposed. Furthermore, the recent developments in Sri Lanka during the period of 2014-2016 had affected the scope of work under the Project with more focus given to the work related to the SDG and SFDRR. These changes were not considered and as a result, no specific indicators and targets were refined to better align with the change proposed in the Project’s LFA. Table 2 provides an overview of the TE assessment of the project’s LFA and how “SMART” the achievements are compared to the defined end-of-project targets.

Strategy: The Project Document established a balanced strategy to address challenges to access environmental information related to the Rio Conventions in Sri Lanka. The strategy, as a wellpresented plan, mostly addressed the capacity barriers, risks and issues might hinder the project implementation and hence consistently set the basis for a plan of action. As a result, the PMU was able to make good progress towards achieving the project’s Objective. Furthermore, the strategy survived through to the very-long, unplanned, inception phase and as it was further developed in the updated LFA and effectively remain the strategy for the project, as there have been revisions to the log-frame. The targets achievement per the end of the project as formulated during project development-are generally realistic.

Tag: Monitoring and Evaluation Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Strategic Positioning Theory of Change Technology


3.2.1 Assumptions and Risks

The Project’s LFA included a set of risks and assumptions per outcome and output. The Project Document also discussed some of them under the key Indicators, Assumption, and Risk Section.

Project’s Assumptions

The review of the set of assumptions identified in the Project Document indicated that some of the assumptions are neither necessarily logic nor vigorous. Examples:

  • An assumption was made regarding the involvement of different stakeholders to ensure the continued interest and sustainability of the Project: “the involvement of the National Council for Sustainable Development and the focus on generating good information should ensure that broad commitment is maintained.” This assumption should be based on a clear and thorough analysis as the high interest of the MDM and its work with the national stakeholders would help in ensuring that broad commitment is maintained.
  • It is assumed in the Project Document that “… by improving existing consultation and coordination mechanisms, and promoting information sharing agreements between academia and civil society, the decisions made in relation to the global environment will become more inclusive, legitimate, resilient and robust.” The Project faced a bigger issue when it comes to improving the existing coordination mechanism between different governmental agencies. This assumption was not as accurate as most of the data in relation to the Rio Conventions are generated by the Government.

Project’s Risks

The Project identified 3 risks during the formulation stage13 and included risks per each outcome and output. One risk was rated as a medium level while the other two were considered low-level risks. The risks were classified as technical, and financial. However, during the Project implementation, the PMU identified another 4 risks, they are operational, political, and technical. Risks weren’t monitored carefully (minimum updates in ATLAS, no risk analysis/management in APRs/QPRs). The risks log (only for the 4 risks identified by the PMU) has been updated on annual basis by UNDP CO, with a few mitigation measures proposed per risk. However, TE consultant considers the management of the project’s risks needs a lot of improvement, as they need more substance and concrete mitigation measures, and to be quarterly updated with a clear set of mitigation measures. It was obvious that not all the potential risks were identified in the Project Document during the project formulation stage. Based on the abovementioned, it is the TE consultant’s opinion that not all the potential risks have been identified in the Project design.

Tag: Sustainability Programme/Project Design Risk Management Coordination


3.2.2 Lessons from other relevant projects incorporated into project design.

The Project document did not incorporate explicitly lessons learned from other relevant projects. Yet, according to government officials interviewed as well as the UNDP CO team who were involved in the project formulation, the project design benefited from previous projects development and implementation as several outputs were developed based on the work that was going on at the time of project formulation. Consultations took place with relevant initiatives, those were listed in the Project Document, among those: the “Roadmap towards a safer Sri Lanka”; the “Sri Lanka community forestry programme” Project; the “Strengthening capacity to control and manages alien invasive species” project, the “Strengthening the resilience of post-conflict recovery and development to climate change risks in Sri Lanka” Project, the “Rehabilitation of degraded agricultural lands in Kandy, Badulla and Nuwara Eliya Districts of the Central Highlands”, and the “Mainstreaming agro-biodiversity conservation and use in Sri Lankan agro-ecosystem for livelihoods and adaptation to climate change” Project.

Tag: Knowledge management Programme Synergy Programme/Project Design


3.2.3 Planned stakeholder participation

The Project involved key stakeholders from its earlier stages. It begun with the National Capacity Self-Assessment that was completed in 2007, the NCSA involved an extensive consultation process that engaged government ministries and agencies, local government, research organizations, academia, NGOs, civil society, local communities, media, development partners, and other relevant stakeholders. Then, during the PIF formulation, numerous stakeholder consultations were conducted between 2011 and 2012. Finally, the MSP was developed and discussed intensively in 2014 with “Stakeholders consulted in the development of the project document represent institutions”.14 The Project Document highlighted the role of key Project stakeholders, who should be involved in project implementation, to ensure Project efficient and effective implementation. Those represent “government ministries and their subsidiary agencies and departments that are authorized to collect and manage environmental data and information and those that are responsible for fulfilling MEA obligations.”15 While the Project has managed to involve key stakeholders at national and district level like the MDM, Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Census and Statistics, Department of Planning, and the Department of National Botanic Gardens, where strong and pleasant relationships appear. Nevertheless, considering the project was supposed to contribute to building capacities of many stakeholders representatives in the country to make more effective decisions about environmental management, the TE would have expected: (i) to see the MOE playing a more considerable role in the project implementing, and (ii) to review more evidence of partnerships with organizations involved in the field of data generation and management in relation to the Rio Conventions and SFDRR, such as the private sector, the national and international non-state organizations.

The Project managed to reach to a wide range of stakeholders to involve them in various training workshops, and public awareness events. The Project organized very comprehensive district-wise campaigns in Badulla and Gampaha districts. Two sets of training programs were also conducted in the two districts to increase awareness on the use of datasets in decision-making processes. A complete list of these events organized and supported by the project is presented in Annex 8. Another key issue in relation to stakeholder’s involvement is the hosting of the PMU in the MDM premises. This has helped the team to build strong partnerships with different departments and directorates belong to the MDM and ensured the government ownership of the project’s activities and later for project’s results and impacts. Furthermore, the Project established good cooperation with relevant on-going projects implemented at the national and district level including the FAO Project on “Rehabilitation of Degraded Agriculture Lands in Kandy, Badulla, and Nuwara Eliya Districts of the Central Heights.”. The general conclusion, the Project management has been able to involve many stakeholders in project implementation and hence the stakeholders’ participation has been planned adequately, however, a key stakeholder like the MOE should have been strongly involved in this Project.


Tag: National Implementation Modality Partnership Programme Synergy Country Government Awareness raising Capacity Building Civil Societies and NGOs National Institutions Private Sector


3.2.4 Replication approach

The Project’s catalytic role demonstrates its ability to build government staff capacity to adequately sensitized natural resource management and meet national obligations under the Rio Conventions. Through improved training, capacity will be enhanced to develop and implement local actions that inherently deliver global environmental benefits. This could be replicated in other sectors within the MOE and the MDM. The replication of the Project activities was strengthened by the Project implementation arrangements, which involved numerous stakeholder representatives. The work with different government organizations, departments, ministries, and academia are actively supporting related capacity development work. The support the Project provided to the Herbarium is an excellent example to be replicated. The Project’s long-term impact such as the developed capacity enhanced public awareness, and the developed data-driven decision portal (DDDP) would ensure the sustainability of global environmental benefits and outcomes’ replicability of the key principles. The implemented approach for replicability included the following main elements:

  • Establishing a national DDDP would help all data requesters in accessing databases and by strengthening the coordination of activities related to the implementation of the Rio Conventions, SFDRR, and SDGs.
  • The learning-by-doing approach applied helped in building the needed local capacities and awareness concerning data generation and access and ensured the institutionalization of the Project’s work at the national and district level. Consequently, the replication value is very high.
  • The implementation of advanced public awareness and training programs in two piloting districts (Badulla and Gampaha), in cooperation with national organizations and another project, helped in building the capacity at national and provincial levels.
  • The cooperation with the National Herbarium/The Department of National Botanic Gardens on digitizing the valuable data gathered by the Herbarium over more than 200 years would enhance learning-by-doing and facilitate piloting in another province/district.


Tag: Environment Policy Natural Resouce management Sustainability Implementation Modality Awareness raising Coordination Institutional Strengthening Data and Statistics


3.2.5 UNDP comparative advantage

In Sri Lanka, UNDP is the designated UN agency to lead the activities in coordination with UN agencies for achieving results under UNDAF Pillar 4 that covers environmental sustainability, climate change, and disaster risk reduction. UNDP is the GEF Implementing Agency for this Project, with the UNDP Country Office responsible for transparent practices, appropriate conduct, and professional auditing. The Project was implemented in line with established GovSL and UNDP procedures. UNDP comparative advantages lie in its global experience and local presence in integrating policy development, developing capacities, and providing technical support. UNDP’s support in designing, accessing the GEF funding, and implementing activities are consistent with the UNDP, GEF and the Governments plans. Furthermore, UNDP CO in Sri Lanka is leading the implementation of several projects related to environment and disaster risk reduction with a big focus on enhancing access to data and improving national capacity to generate, access data, and use datasets in decision-making such as the SDGs tracker, hence, UNDP has the capacity at the national level to provide the Government with political, technical and operational support.

Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Risk Reduction Environment Policy Project and Programme management UNDP management Capacity Building Coordination Policy Advisory Technical Support Data and Statistics SDG monitoring and reporting


3.2.6 Linkages between the Project and other interventions within the sector

The Project has managed to establish strategic cooperation and built linkages with other relevant projects. It collaborated with several national initiatives and projects funded by different donors and development partners in different districts in Sri Lanka, as well as with several UNDP initiatives and relevant projects being implemented at the MDM. Among those:

  • Preparation of Sri Lanka’s Third National Communication (TNC) to the UNFCCC – The Project collaborated with the TNC for collecting metadata for the DDDP, development of a research strategy for environment sector, provincial workshops on evidence-based 24 Terminal Evaluation Report: Ensuring global environmental concerns and best practices mainstreamed in the post-conflict rapid development process of Sri Lanka through improved information management decision making and mainstreaming data collection for climate change convention, promotion of improving data usage for analysis in TNC. This influenced the process of TNC compilation to take a more systematic approach towards data management.
  • Formulating Sri Lanka’s 6th National Report for the Convention on Biological Biodiversity – the cooperation with this Project aimed at promoting usage of data for biodiversity reporting, collecting of meta-data for the DDDP, and providing training programmes on evidence-based decision making in biodiversity sector.
  • Linking with GEF funded NAMA project - Key aspect of the NAMA project was to establish an MRV system for the energy sector. Since the energy sector is comprised of the biggest portion of NDC, the project worked closely with the NAMA project providing inputs and learning from it. One of the key contributions Project was to create awareness about the system and training local official to use it through the local awareness campaigns and local programmes.

Tag: Biodiversity Energy Natural Resouce management Global Environment Facility fund Partnership Programme Synergy Strategic Positioning UN Agencies Data and Statistics


3.2.7 Management arrangement

During the Project’s PIF and PPG stages, the MOE was designated as the Executing Agency (EA) and the main beneficiary following a NIM implementation modality. UNDP is the Senior Supplier and the GEF Implementing Agency (IA) responsible for transparent practices and appropriate conduct. According to the GEF, UNDP is also carrying the Project Assurance role, which meant to support the Project Board (PB) by carrying out independent and objective project monitoring and oversight functions. The Executive is represented by a senior official of MDM, as an individual representing the project, ownership to chair the group. The Senior Beneficiary is the Planning Division of the MDM. The Project faced critical setbacks during the inception phase, these setbacks and issues could be summarized as follows:

  • The development of the project in 2014 coincides with political changes. It took a time to get the Project approved by the end of 2014.
  • The presidential election took place in early 2015. So, it created some governmental confusion which has delayed the project launching.
  • A new Prime Minister was appointed in January 2015. The new government was not sure it is going to stay for a long time. Up until August 2015, Government officials were unable to take a decision. August 2015, the time the President was officially elected.
  • During January – August 2015, 4 Secretaries were changed for MOE and Five Secretaries for MDM due to the political unrest. The Ministries’ names were changed as well as their mandates. So, the Project team had to deliver 4 project’s briefing with different SGs.
  • With the changes in the governments, the new SGs and the head of units were challenging the validity of the Project itself after one year of formulation and based on the new changes in the ground.
  • One problem was related to the cash co-financing. The MOE new management was worried about the co-financing.
  • The MOE decided that they can’t provide the needed co-financing and collectively with UNDP and the Department of Planning decided to move the Project to the MDM as the Ministry was interested to host the Project. Based on this development, the Project Document was signed with MDM in November 2015.
  • As the MDM staff were not fully involved in preparing the Project idea, concepts and document during the PIF and PPG stages, it was not easy for them to understand the Project.
  • The MDM had appointed a National Project Director (NPD), who got retired after a few months, so a new NPD had to be appointed, which had also caused some delay as the Project team had to work with the two NPD to explain what the Project is about.

Tag: Challenges Global Environment Facility fund Government Cost-sharing Election Implementation Modality Monitoring and Evaluation Oversight Project and Programme management Country Government


Based on the new development, some elements of the project management arrangement changed. The below is a summary of the Project management arrangement:

  • The executing agency is MDM in cooperation with MOE, MDI, and Planning Department (PD).
  • The MDM appointed its Additional Secretary as the National Project Director.
  • A Project Technical Coordinator (PTC) is responsible for day-to-day management and actual implementation and monitoring of the project and is accountable to the UNDP Programme team and the Project Director.
  • A Project Associate (PA) was appointed, she was responsible to provide administrative and financial support to the PM. 
  • The Project, with the UNDP support, was able to mobilize 3 United Nations Voluntary (UNVs) to support Project’s implementation. The inclusion of the UNVs provided great support to the PTC and PA. The three UNVs (at least two UNVs at the same time) focused on providing administrative, technical and operational support.
  • The PB is chaired by the Secretary of the MDM.

Tag: Change Management Human and Financial resources Oversight Project and Programme management


3.3 Project Implementation

In line with the UNDP GEF Terminal Evaluation Guide, the Project implementation arrangement and its adaptive management have been reviewed and assessed. The following aspects of project implementation have been assessed: Adaptive management (changes to the project design and project outputs during implementation); Partnership arrangements (with relevant stakeholders); Feedback from M&E activities used for adaptive management; Project finance; Monitoring and evaluation; design at entry and implementation, and UNDP and EA. A six-level scale was used to rate the achievements of project implementation and adaptive management in terms of the criteria above as follows19. The narrative description of the complete evaluation and rating of the results is provided in the following paragraphs. The rating and a description of that rating are summarized in the TE Ratings & Achievements table 1, Page 6.

Tag: Implementation Modality Monitoring and Evaluation Partnership Programme/Project Design Project and Programme management


3.3.1 Adaptive Management

The Project widely applied adaptative management due to the complex political and operational situation the Project had to operate within mainly; (1) the political unrest for almost a year, which had led to, (2) a major delay in the inception phase, and (3) changing of the IA as the new senior management did not want to commit to a project with a high-financing. The PMU has prepared the first annual work plans (AWP) which were presented and approved in the IW, based on which the activities and outputs are related to proposed project components and outcomes. Furthermore, the project faced another issue related to the delay encountered in the National Spatial Data Initiative (NSDI). It was agreed that the two national initiatives will cooperate to ensure there is no duplication. A clear plan of action was developed to start the implementation of joint activities in 2016. However, up until the TE mission, the NSDI is facing several operational and technical issues that hinder the team ability to start the actual implementation, which has also affected the implementation of this Project. The TE consultant observed the following adaptatively management measures taken by the Project, however, it was also observed that some of these measures were taken by the PMU without prior approval by the PB.

Tag: Challenges Election Change Management Project and Programme management Conflict


3.3.2 Partnership arrangements

The Project has been successful in arranging partnerships with the main stakeholders MDM, MDI, and Planning Department, for the implementation of the Project’s activities. The Project was hosted at the MDM, this has helped the project to be very close to other projects and initiatives led by the Ministry and other UNDP supported projects within the Ministry. As a result, the Project was able to closely monitor the implementation of other initiatives developed/supported by key international donors (including FAO, World Bank, and EU. However, the project should have established a strong partnership with the MOE (mainly the UNCBD, UNCCD, and UNFCCC focal points) as the main beneficiaries responsible for the Rio Conventions. The Project Document required the project to set up a technical Steering Committee in order to “provide specific technical input as deemed necessary to the Project Steering Committee”. It was proposed to involve MDM, the focal point for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure Project, SLIDA, ICTA, as well as representatives from the line ministries responsible and their respective state agencies, non-state stakeholders like academic and research institutions, NGOs, and CSOs”20. However, there was unclarity in the Project document as it refers to Project Steering Committee and Technical Steering Committee with no detail on their functions and memberships. The Project managed through its capacity development program to build a strong partnership with different organizations and government officials, the project: (i) trained government officers to feed manual data into the metadata portal; (ii) trained of LUPPD field officers to collect accurate data and create maps to feed to the GeoSpatial Data Base (in partnership with FAO); and (iii) trained provincial government officers to collect and store climate-related data (in partnership with the TNC project). For the Private Sector, the Project established a good partnership with the National Institute of Media Training – to train media officials on “how to use data and information for public reporting”.

Tag: Donor relations Monitoring and Evaluation Multilateral Partners Oversight Partnership Country Government UN Agencies Institutional Strengthening Data and Statistics Civil Societies and NGOs Private Sector


3.3.3 Feedback from M&E activities used for adaptive management

The Project regularly used feedback from M&E to appropriately and adequately address new challenges and thereby ensure the achievement of established targets. The M&E plan including the LFA, Project’ IW and IR, Project’s quality assurance reports, and the TE were used as a basis for adaptive management. The changes in the LFA were discussed in detail in Section 3.2 Pages 19-20. The UNDP Project Assurance role has been applied correctly and actively in assisting the PMU in preparing annual work plans, prepare for the Project Boards, and follow up on the procurement and recruitment of national and international consultants. Furthermore, UNDP followed up- as required- on the development of the budget revisions, update to a limited extent the risks and issues logs in ATLAS and provide political support through the participation of the UNDP Resident Representative in the PBs meetings. Nonetheless, the TE consultant observed key weaknesses in the Project monitoring cycle as a key Project’s M&E activities were missing such as quarterly and annual progress reports, and frequently updated risks and issues logs. The PB was very active and provided good support to the PMU. To date, TEN PB meetings took place. The TE consultant was able to review the minutes of meetings for 8 PBs. As a medium size project, the Project did not undergo a midterm review. The UNDP CO was satisfied with the level of support provided by the UNDP/GEF Office responsible for this Project; their provision of financial and administrative support was highly appreciated. In conclusion, the TE considers that the UNDP project assurance role has been correctly applied to this project.

Tag: Challenges Change Management Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management


3.3.4 Project Finance

The TE assessed the actual expenditure and the originally planned budget as well as the leveraged co-financing during the TE mission as presented in Table 4, which provides an overview of the budgeted expenditures of the GEF Project of US$800,000. As of December 2018, US$ 704,298.85 about (88%) of the Project total budget, has been dispersed. However, around US$ 95,701.15 about (12%) are committed. This amount will be used to finalize the work of the project technical advisor, the TE, and the production of the project’s deliverables. The Project budget included US$ 230,000 from the GovSL as an in-kind contribution. As of December 2018, the confirmed Project co-financing from the Government has amounted to an estimated US$ 260,000, around 113% of the total in-kind contribution. The Project did not manage to get the agreed-upon cash contribution (US$ 1 million), however, the GovSL has provided a kind of parallel funding used for the establishment of the NSDI. Although this amount shows the high interest of the GovSL to provide the needed support to the Project, it also showed that the allocation of US$ 1 million as a cash contribution from the GovSL during the PIF and MSP development was unrealistic. Details are provided in Table 5. UNDP provided lower than the planned financial support. As of December 2018, the confirmed UNDP cash contribution amounted to an estimated US$145,069 (89.83%). UNDP also provided an additional US$141,000 as an in-kind contribution. The GEF grant and UNDP contribution have been monitored through the UNDP’s Atlas system. No annual audits have been conducted for this Project.

Tag: Efficiency Global Environment Facility fund Government Cost-sharing Human and Financial resources


3.3.5 Monitoring and evaluation: design at entry and implementation (*)

M&E Design at Entry The Project Document and the CEO Endorsement Request included the standard UNDP/GEF budgeted monitoring and evaluation plan. The allocated budget linked with the Project’s work plan considered as an important M&E component. The M&E Plan included quarterly, yearly and at the end of the project activities. A total of US$ 29,000, about 5% of the total GEF grant was allocated for the M&E activities. The actual cost of the M&E during implementation reached US$30,156.22, about 104% of the original planned M&E budget. The M&E Plan included a detailed description of all UNDP/GEF M&E standard activities including: The Project’s Log Frame Matrix with clear sets of indicators and targets, reports required to be prepared by the project like the quarterly progress report (QPR), annual progress report (APR), project implementation report (PIR), and the terminal review reports.

Implementation of M&E The TE reviews the Project M&E during the actual implementation of the Project and considers that the M&E activities followed the M&E plan and that the UNDP and UNDP/GEF role both have been correctly applied to this project, based on the following notes:

  • The Project’s M&E activities followed the UNDP/GEF standard procedures as the UNDP CO in Sri Lanka has conducted several monitoring visits including attending Project’s activities at district level.
  • The project was subject to continuous monitoring by the UNDP Programme team. The UNDP CO has been very active in preparing the project work plans, budget revision, convening the project board and attending all the meetings, and following up on Project’s recruitment and procurement.
  • The Project’s IW was organized on 14 June 2015 and an inception report has been prepared and shared with concerned partners. Critical adaptive management measures were introduced during the IW as explained earlier (Section 3.3.1, Page 26). The IR included changes proposed during the IW, it captured the discussion, the decisions, and provided an updated copy of the Project Document (Annex 9 provides a summary of the changes made in the Project Document), and hence, the Inception Phase (Workshop and Report) represent a strength in the project cycle despite being organized and developed one year later than the planned date.
  • The Project Board (PB): Project’s changes have been reviewed continuously by the PB. According to the Project Document, the Project is subject to three PB meetings per year. To date, ten PB meetings were convened and very well-written minutes of the meeting are kept at UNDP and MDM (2 meetings were held early 2015 (minutes were not accessed), 18 December 2015, 25 August 2016, 21 October 2016, 1 November 2016, 17 January 2017, 23 August 2017, 26 January 2018, and 29 October 2018).

Tag: Global Environment Facility fund Human and Financial resources Monitoring and Evaluation Operational Efficiency Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management UNDP Management UNDP management


3.3.6 UNDP and Implementing Partner implementation/execution coordination, and operational issues (*)

UNDP implementation (GEF IA): UNDP has the Project Assurance role, which supports the Project Board Executive by carrying out objective and independent project oversight and monitoring functions. The key features of the UNDP implementation are as follows:

  • UNDP continuously examined the project implementation and worked closely with the PMU.
  • The UNDP support to the PMU is regarded as highly satisfactory and timely:
    • The follow up on the monitoring activity by UNDP CO. 
    • Reviewing project budgets and work plans and provide needed advice.
    • The provision of financial resources has also been in accordance with project norms.
    • Facilitate the recruitment and engagement of several consultants in the implementation.
    • Facilitate the Project’s procurement and follow up directly with the vendors and beneficiaries.
    • Provide necessary advice and guidance for the AWPs development.
    • Supporting the Project with 3 UNVs. Although not all of them were available for the full duration of the Project, and the project had to cover the cost of some of them, but the inclusion of the 3 UNVs provided great support to the PTC.
    • High-level support by the participation of the Assistant Country Director and/or the Resident Representative in Project Board.
    • Follow up on Projects risks and issues and propose mitigation measures
      • UNDP Programme Officer keeps regular contacts with the MDM and other State’s partners such as the MOE, MTDI, and DP, which has greatly contributed to ensuring the proper support is mobilized to implement the project.
      • The UNDP Programme Officer followed up on the no-cost extension until the end of 2018. The request was submitted by the EA on 26 October 2018 to the IM, UNDP requested the extension’s approval from the UNDP/GEF. A no-cost extension was granted on 6 November 2018.

The PMU members mainly the PTC maintained good and regular communication with key Project’s stakeholders, followed up regularly on the consultants’ work and kept the EA informed of the Project progress. UNDP is recognized as a supportive partner and the GovSL. The GovSL see the UNDP comparative advantages mainly in mobilizing international technical support. Although the Project took more than one year to start implementing its activities, evidence gathered during the TE mission indicates that once the project was up and running, UNDP fulfilled its oversight and supervision responsibilities, with the appropriate level of engagement and communication with the executing partners and the PMU. The Project is considered as well managed according to the UNDP and the GEF guidelines.

Tag: Implementation Modality Monitoring and Evaluation Oversight Project and Programme management Country Government UNDP Management UNDP management


3.4 Project Results

3.4.1 Overall Results (attainment of objectives) (*)

The TE consultant evaluated the achievements of results in terms of attainment of the overall objective as well as identified project’s outcomes and outputs, according to the UNDP/GEF evaluation guidelines. For this, the performance by outcome is analyzed by looking at three main aspects as identified by the UNDP/GEF evaluation guide: (i) general progress towards the established baseline level of the indicators; (ii) actual values of indicators by the end of the Project vs. designed ones; (iii) evidences of relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency of the results as well as how this evidence was documented.22 The summary of the evaluation of the attainment of the objective of the Project is presented in Table 6. The assessment of progress is based on observations, findings, data collection and observations during the site visit at Sri Lanka, interviews with key stakeholders, data provided in the project’s reports, and technical reports reviewed. The progress at the output level is provided in Annex 10. The Capacity Development Scorecard was prepared in 2014 during the formulation of Project. The results of the assessment were considered as a baseline in the revised Log-Frame. The rating of the assessment of achievement at the time of the TE is presented in Annex 11.

Tag: Monitoring and Evaluation Results-Based Management


3.4.2 Relevance (*)

The Project is highly relevant for the GovSL as it addressed an important topic and derived directly from the GovSL national priorities and development plan. It supports the GovSL in complying with global environmental commitment. Key GovSL and stakeholders interviewed during the mission indicated the importance of the Project and explained the need to get more support from UNDP and maybe GEF to continue the work that has started. It is to the TE consultant’s opinion, the Project has managed to raise the awareness of key sectors like decision-makers, students, SMEs, and media on the necessity to use data for decision-making processes. It further managed to enhance national capacities, human and institutional, to improve access to data by establishing a DDDP that integrates all information related to SGDs, SFDRR, and the Rio Conventions. The Project is also highly relevant to the GEF 5 Focal Area Portfolio Objective on CCCD. Although the Project was developed in 2012-2013, its development objectives are also highly relevant to GEF 6 and 7. The project has been highly relevant to UNDP activities in Sri Lanka. It represents a contribution to the fulfillment of Sri Lanka’s current UNDAF, mainly outcome 1: By 2022, people in Sri Lanka benefit from improved data and knowledge management to address inequities and ensure inclusive and responsive decision making, and outcome 4: By 2022, people in Sri Lanka, in particular, the vulnerable and marginalized are more resilient to climate change and natural disasters and benefit from increasingly sustainable management of natural resources, better environmental governance, and blue/ green development. The Project is very relevant to UNDP Country Programme 2018-2022. It contributes to a UNCT-wide initiative - SDGs Sri Lanka- that focuses on strengthening national capacities for disaggregated data collection, analysis on national SDG priorities through the establishment of national SDG baselines, and the establishment of platforms for data sharing across government and with the public. UNDP supports the design and implementation of a data and data management gap assessment with relevant government institutions to strengthen national capacities for monitoring and evaluation, establish protocols for data sharing amongst government entities, and strengthen multi-stakeholder platforms which contribute to trust-building.23 A UNDP initiative focuses on establishing an SDGs Tracker in order to provide an update on the status of SDGs, the associated targets and indicators at Sri Lanka level. Currently, UNDP is focusing on providing data on Goals 7, 13 and 15.

Tag: Environment Policy Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Country Government Awareness raising Institutional Strengthening Agenda 2030 Data and Statistics SDG monitoring and reporting Civil Societies and NGOs Private Sector


3.4.3 Effectiveness and efficiency (*)


The Project has been impacted by major and continuous changes at government senior management level. It affected the speed of implementation and slightly affected the focus of the project. Yet, the Project has been able to complete several keys expected results, and in the process to finalize and achieve the rest before the end of the Project. The Project objective and main outputs have been achieved; most of the established targets have been met. However, almost all targets were not achieved within the proposed implementation period due to the huge delay in the Project’s commencement. The finalization of the transfer of the DDDP to be hosted at the MDM, providing the needed training to ministry’s staff and signed the MOU between the Private Company responsible for the maintenance and follow up on the Portal and UNDP are all crucial and critical to the long term sustainability of the Project’s results, however there are major concerns that these will not be achieved within the remaining time. Considering the above-mentioned facts, Effectiveness was rated Satisfactory.

Tag: Challenges Effectiveness Election Partnership Country Government Institutional Strengthening Private Sector



Project efficiency is considered Highly Satisfactory (HS) for the following reasons:

  • Considering the critical challenges, the project has faced at the early stages of initiation, the adaptability and flexibility of the project EA, UNDP, and PMU have been decent enough to alter the project’s status in order to achieve the project’s objectives. Major project results have been achieved in 2 years24, furthermore, the quality of several project’s results was examined and approved by the TWGs and the PBs.
  • The capacity of the project to ensure that co-financing pledged to the project during the project’s formulation phase materializes during the project’s implementation phase is rated as Satisfactory (S).
  • The cost-effectiveness of the project is deemed Highly Satisfactory (HS) with the inclusion of UNV officers in project implementation which enhanced project’s efficiency and facilitated its work at minimal cost. It helped the PMU to establish crucial cooperation with different projects and their stakeholders like FAO, the World Bank, and the EU. Furthermore, the selection of qualified national consultants and firms helped the PMU to achieve many results with limited allocations as only one international consultant was involved.
  • The M&E of the project was undertaking according to UNDP and GEF procedures and it is rated as Satisfactory (S) while reporting following UNDP/GEF guidelines as undertaken and supported by the project was deemed Moderately Satisfactory (MS).
  • Identification and management of risks and logs are rated as Moderately satisfactory (MS) as throughout project implementation the most critical risks were not always identified nor were appropriate risk ratings and management responses identified and formulated.
  • The capacity of the project to build needed partnerships to tap on additional resources during the project’s implementation phase is rated as Highly Satisfactory (HS).
  • The project involvement of men and women equally into project activities. Gender mainstreaming is therefore rated as highly satisfactory (HS).

Tag: Partnership Efficiency Gender Mainstreaming Human and Financial resources Monitoring and Evaluation Operational Efficiency Project and Programme management Risk Management


3.4.4 Country Ownership

As stated in the Project Document “Sri Lanka is fully committed to meeting its obligations under the Rio Conventions. It is eligible to receive technical assistance from UNDP and thus is eligible for support under the Global Environment Facility. Sri Lanka ratified the key UN Conventions on Biological Diversity (CBD) on 23 March 1993, Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 21 March 1994, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) on 9 December 1998.”25 The country also ratified other important protocols under the Rio Conventions in later years, namely: The Cartagena Protocol, The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol, and The Kyoto Protocol. Further, Sri Lanka is a GEF eligible country. It obtained a UNDP-GEF grant to conduct its National Capacity Self-Assessment (NCSA), which started in 2005 and was concluded in 2006. The country ownership was evident during the Project formulation stage; however, it was further reiterated during project implementation and that is evident in the strong interest and participation of senior government officials in PBs. Concerned technical officers attended all Project’s events and benefited from the capacity development and public awareness components. Furthermore, the GovSL had appointed the Additional Secretary of the MDM as the NPD while the PB was chaired by the Secretary of the MDM. All Projects deliverables were shared with the TWG and got approved by authorized stakeholders presented in the PB. The project is considered very strategic as its implementation coincided with the issuance of the Right to Information Act. As a result of the Act, there has been a great national momentum to generate needed data, make the datasets available for decision-making processes, and use them to comply with global commitment in relation to Rio Conventions, SFDRR, and SDGs. The Project is already linked to two national initiatives on data management: The National Spatial Data Infrastructure and the SDG trackers.

Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Biodiversity Ownership Country Government Awareness raising Institutional Strengthening SDG monitoring and reporting


3.4.5 Mainstreaming

It was evident to the TE consultant that the Project addresses UNDP priorities of developing the Government’s capacity to comply with the Rio Conventions implementation, national obligations, and global commitments. The Project was able to positively mainstream several UNDP priorities. Specifically:

  • The DDDP is a unique and user-friendly tool linked to a mobile application that would help stakeholders in collecting data and sharing the MDM. These tools have been developed and endorsed and would help in enhancing data sharing necessary for Rio Conventions implementation.
  • The Project managed to develop the capacity of a high number of government officials, technical staff, and stakeholders in relation to data collection and management. This is one of the key priorities for UNDP in Sri Lanka.
  • The Project objective is in line with the new UNDP Country Programme 2018-20122 as access to data is considered one of the focus areas for UNDP CO in Sri Lanka. The CO in its new restructuring exercise established a new position called: Supporting data and evidence-based for SD portfolio.
  • The project design has not included a gender analysis and does not specifically focus on gender-related impacts. But the project has identified collecting gender disaggregated data to improve the data policy.
  • International and national consultants included both women and men (around 40% of the consultants were women), while around 60% of the project team position were women (Project Associate, 2 UNVs officers).
  • The Project targeted both women and men in its capacity building and public awareness components. Based on data provided by the PM team, it was noticed that the project was almost successful in the inclusion of around 35% women in its training and capacity building initiatives. Lists of all project’s activities indicating the total number of women and men are included in Annex 8.
  • The Project included the work of UNDP Governance portfolio and a proposal on gender-disaggregated data was developed and shared with the Government.
  • The project actively promotes disaggregated data by gender, community etc., going beyond obvious technical data collection, which is the specific focus of this project. This will eventually lead to strengthening inclusiveness in decision making in the disaster and environment management

Tag: Gender Mainstreaming Gender Parity Institutional Strengthening Data and Statistics


3.4.6 Sustainability (*)

The Project’s main approach to sustainability is to “build upon government’s commitment to effective governance for development at national and local levels.” As the GovSL is investing in data management through the establishment of a Spatial Data Management Infrastructure through ICTA. The project invested in bridging the identified capacity gaps and information needs around this new data management system. The project demonstrated that improved data management can support effective decision-making and the realization of sustainable development goals. The Project engaged the MDM, MOE, Department of National Planning, the and the MDI to ensure that the Project’s results are sustainable.

The Project’s approach of adapting learning-by-doing exercise at provincial and district levels helped planners to think out of the box, look practically at what-if scenarios and increase their understanding on how to use generated environmental data to strengthen development objectives at the local level. The draft project’s exit strategy relies on the continuation of commitments and activities building on the GovSL support without the need for external financing. However, the Project’s exit strategy is still a draft. It needs to include a concrete set of activities that are defined to ensure the sustainability of the Project’s results after the project life and to be discussed officially with the MDM and be included as an annex to an officially signed MOU. Sustainability is defined as the likelihood of continued benefits after the project ends. Consequently, the assessment of sustainability considers the risks that are likely to affect the continuation of project outcomes. Below is the detailed assessment of the four main risks categories based on the UNDP/GEF TE guidelines:

Tag: Sustainability Country Government Institutional Strengthening Data and Statistics


Financial risks

The Project has made a robust arrangement to ensure that the sustainability of key project outcomes mainly the DDDP. The UNDP is finalizing an MOU with the private company responsible for the development, deployment, and transfer of the Portal from its current host to the MDM servers. Under the MOU, the company is required to provide 2 years continuous follow up and maintenance to ensure that the Portal is well maintained, providing technical training to the MDM staff and key stakeholders to enable them collecting, reviewing, and updating new data as of 1 January 2019, and finally, cover the host of the Portal for the next 4 years. However, MDM might still need to cover the cost of some activities associated with the operationalization of the DDDP. Hence, MDM may enter into an agreement with UNDP to ensure that the allocation needed are available.

Institutional framework and governance risks

The Project’s deliverables need to link to the MDM structure and be anchored for institutional sustainability. The MDM is interested to continue the work of the project and the Project’s outcomes have already established the needed institutional capacities and infrastructure that would ensure the project’s outcomes on sustainability, the need to link these outcomes to the MDM work is still missing. Furthermore, at the time of writing the TE report, there was a sociopolitical instability and unclarity on the 2019 budget. Based on the events throughout the project’s commencement and implementation phases the social-political risks had jeopardized the project’s implementation, particularly when Government changes take place. Socio-political risks would lower stakeholder ownership (including ownership by governments and other key stakeholders) and impact project outcomes/benefits to be sustained.

Tag: Sustainability Human and Financial resources Risk Management Institutional Strengthening


3.4.7 Impact

The Project has achieved a major milestone in relation to the establishment of the National Data-driven Portal in Sri Lanka and building national capacities to advance the work on the Rio Conventions, SFDRR, and the SDG at the national level. The project implementation strategy deeply emphasized upgrading the skills of the government staff and individuals through capacity building and training exercises. This was deemed crucial not only to one’s ability to implement the Rio Conventions but also for longterm sustainability of action and ability to address many issues. The concerned government staff has experienced the value of partnerships and stakeholder involvement; they have been exposed to a wider array of environmental information; they have been trained to access this information and use it to develop further informational material that would help them in better reporting their work at the global level. Additionally, they have learned how to engage the media in carrying the correct environmental public awareness campaign. Most importantly, the results of the Project form a basis for the NSDI, the SDGs tracker, the next national reports under the Rio conventions, and the SFDRR.

Tag: Impact Communication Partnership Technology Institutional Strengthening Agenda 2030 Data and Statistics SDG monitoring and reporting


Recommendation 1: The project adopts a comprehensive exit strategy to ensure Project’s results sustainability


Recommendation 2: The Project’s DDDP and the associated training to be officially launched at a national workshop.


Recommendation 3: Institutionalize linkages with other ongoing activities to ensure the delivery of the remaining results like NSDI and SDGs Trackers


Recommendation 4: Ensure the delivery of the remaining training programmes concerning the hosting, updating, and maintaining the Data Portal


Recommendation 5: The Project has managed to produce a set of valued public awareness products. It is recommended to develop a dissemination plan for those public awareness and outreach tools as part of the CBD, CCC, CCD, DRM future work, to ensure that future initiatives would build on the Project activities and results and will incorporate the project’s products in its work.


Recommendation 6: The work has just begun through this Project. UNDP and GovSL through other initiatives and projects should continue working on the upgrading of the national capacity, the infrastructure, and project’s deliverables produced to ensure that the Country will achieve the Project’s Objective


Recommendation 7: Capture lessons learned from this Project and share at the national/ regional/ and global level

1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1: The project adopts a comprehensive exit strategy to ensure Project’s results sustainability

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/05]

Compiled an ‘Exit Strategy’ to sustain activities of the project, such as the MetaData Portal (MDP) and SDG Tracker.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Internal UNDP Meetings
[Added: 2019/04/03]
(UNDP/ MDM). 2018/12 Completed Internal meetings completed
Discussions with responsible agencies for implementation of the exit strategy
[Added: 2019/04/03]
(UNDP/ MDM). 2018/12 Completed Exit strategy in place
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2: The Project’s DDDP and the associated training to be officially launched at a national workshop.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/05]

As UNDP has no funds beyond the project for such events, discussions are required with the ministry and UNDP senior management on additional funds required for this. However, this will greatly depend on availability of funds

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Meeting with the senior management
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/09/11]
(UNDP, Ministry of Disaster Management, and Ministry of Environment. . 2019/08 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Not Completed due to lack of funds]
Meeting with the ministry
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/09/11]
(UNDP, MDM, MOE). 2019/08 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Not Completed due to lack of funds]
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: Institutionalize linkages with other ongoing activities to ensure the delivery of the remaining results like NSDI and SDGs Trackers

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/05]

Continuation of the discussions with the NSDI and the SDG tracker teams to link the MDP

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Meetings with the relevant agencies (ICTA officials-NSDI and Citra Lab officials-SDG Tracker)
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/09/17]
UNDP 2019/08 Completed The ICTA and NSDI has been linked to the MDP. SDG Tracker's focal point will initiate the process once the transition process of the database is completed http://datasmart.lk/organization/view_organization_data_catalog/icta History
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4: Ensure the delivery of the remaining training programmes concerning the hosting, updating, and maintaining the Data Portal

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/05]

Scheduling a workshop series to involve capacity building of stakeholders in order to utilize the project’s products

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Meeting with the Developers (Loon’s Lab)/Trainers
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/05/16]
(UNDP, MDM, Loon’s Lab) 2019/04 Completed Meeting with the developer/trainee was completed, including the content of the program. History
Meetings with implementing partners
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/05/16]
(UNDP, MDM, Loon’s Lab) 2019/04 Completed Initial meeting with the implementing partner was completed identifying the invitees. Further a training is anticipated in the near future. History
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5: The Project has managed to produce a set of valued public awareness products. It is recommended to develop a dissemination plan for those public awareness and outreach tools as part of the CBD, CCC, CCD, DRM future work, to ensure that future initiatives would build on the Project activities and results and will incorporate the project’s products in its work.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/05]

Hand-over the promotional material to the Ministry of Disaster Management

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Compile all the deliverables of the project to handed over
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/09/10]
UNDP 2019/08 Completed Project deliverable and handing over made to the Ministry of Public Administration & Disaster Management History
Collect the remainder of promotional products (posters, pull-up banners, caps, etc.) to be handed over
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/09/11]
UNDP 2019/08 Completed Before the project hand over all deliverable have been compiled History
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6: The work has just begun through this Project. UNDP and GovSL through other initiatives and projects should continue working on the upgrading of the national capacity, the infrastructure, and project’s deliverables produced to ensure that the Country will achieve the Project’s Objective

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/05]

Promote usage of the MDP and the SDG Tracker in Rio Reporting and other mechanisms that require data (via the MDP)

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Discussions regarding the use of the MDP and SDG Tracker at workshops/awareness campaigns
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2021/04/06]
UNDP 2021/03 Completed The MDP experience has been taken on board for consideration for the development of the data portal, “Partnership Market Readiness” a project funded by the World Bank. The lessons of the MDP will also be used in future UNDP Projects. History
Meeting with TNC team to include TNC meta data into the portal
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/09/26]
UNDP 2019/08 Completed Meeting the TNC team was held, and History
Meeting with 6th NR team on incorporating biodiversity data to the portal
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/09/26]
UNDP 2019/08 No Longer Applicable [Justification: The project could not achieve this due to lack of funds. ]
7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7: Capture lessons learned from this Project and share at the national/ regional/ and global level

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/05]

Compile lessons learnt / case studies / success stories of the project

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Compile a lesson learnt document.
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/09/17]
UNDP 2019/08 Completed Lessons Learnt has been compiled and document according to the PPM format History
Hand-over the materials to the Ministry of Disaster Management.
[Added: 2019/04/03] [Last Updated: 2019/10/30]
UNDP 2019/09 Completed The Project has been trying to hand over the meta data portal to Ministry of Disaster Management Center, but due to absence in ownership this is not closed. However the remaining work of this project has been integrated to the current Third National Project and Integrated Water Management project. History

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