Terminal evaluation of the Government Financing Project Paving the Roads to Sustainable Development Goals through Good Local Governance (Roads2SDGs)

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Evaluation Plan:
2019-2023, Philippines
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
10/2021
Completion Date:
10/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
20,000

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Title Terminal evaluation of the Government Financing Project Paving the Roads to Sustainable Development Goals through Good Local Governance (Roads2SDGs)
Atlas Project Number: 00104536
Evaluation Plan: 2019-2023, Philippines
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 10/2021
Planned End Date: 10/2021
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Governance
  • 3. 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
  • 2. Output 2.2.2 Constitution-making, electoral and parliamentary processes and institutions strengthened to promote inclusion, transparency and accountability
SDG Goal
  • Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
SDG Target
  • 11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • 2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment
Evaluation Budget(US $): 20,000
Source of Funding: Project budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 8,241
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Maricel Fernandez-Carag Independent Evaluator
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Department of Interior and Local Government
Countries: PHILIPPINES
Lessons
1.

Relevance: Active Citizens Engagement The Project has provided avenues for discussion and engagement between and among CSOs/POs, academe, and private sectors on their potential role in supporting LGUs, which led to the establishment of consortia called the GHUBS. These actors have been instrumental in localizing SDGs and in augmenting the capacities of LGUs in implementing governance reforms. In a recent study commissioned by UNDP on GHUBS, by giving them institutional identity, organizational form, and legal existence, GHUBS will acquire the personality to effectively engage regional offices of the national government, local government units, existing networks of state and non-state development actors in long-term development collaborations. The regional aspect of the partnership; however, needs to be assessed given the geographical dispersal of some regions where provincial HUBS with regional consolidation might work. Moreover, the Mandanas Ruling as provided in EO138 Series of 2021 will provide opportunities for GHUBS to work closely with LGUs. The Roads2SDGs provided technical support to GHUBS in the development of their Sustainability Plans that focuses on their unique strengths and expertise. Since the ruling will automatically release and increase local governments’ share of national government revenue and entails full devolution of certain functions of the executive branch of the government. There would be a need for capacity building on the part of the LGUs in order to implement the EO138.

Because of partnership with UNDP, outputs are multiplied due to quality assurance and teamwork. Partnership with UNDP is primordial in assessing and implementing projects due to its technical assistance, quality assurance, and good governance improvements.


2.

Efficiency and Effectiveness: Reformed institutions, processes and procedures Instituting accountability mechanisms in the program (CMGP) and project (Roads2SDGs) is a key ingredient toward good local governance. The governance reform framework with accountability mechanism instituted in its design enhanced accountability, transparency and ownership of LGUs and other stakeholders through the participation of the CSOs and other stakeholders. This has upheld an inclusive and participatory processes. The Project ensured that PLGUs, relevant NGAs, CSOs, and other stakeholders are involved in the project from planning to monitoring towards achievement and sustainability of governance reforms. This framework or structure should be maintained and sustained if the government is truly sincere about implementing the principles of good governance particularly at the local level. Within the over-all framework of the CMGP, the Roads2SDGs has become a catalyst for convergence and synchronization of initiatives between and among several NGAs. Collaboration of efforts among NGAs optimizes sharing of resources and maximizes joint benefits. Harmonization of efforts also reduces duplication of projects and makes other similar initiatives cohesive and relevant, as it ensures that policies/guidelines issued by agencies are consistent and aligned with one another thus, creating larger impact in development. For example, previously, the matter on Asset Management was a mere policy issuance from COA but had never been cascaded down/implemented by the LGUs for several years. With the Project, the push for road governance reforms has become the perfect convergence and entry point for both COA and DILG, together with other related NGAs, for formulating a step-by-step manual on Local Road Asset Management (LRAM). Similarly, the Project has provided a venue for collaboration between DILG and GPPB-TSO in the formulation of a Road Procurement Management Guidelines for PLGUs; and several units within DILG (particularly between OPDS and BLGD) for the synchronization of their initiatives on the SDGs -- by integrating SDG Localization in Roads with Results Matrices and localization of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 which is also aligned and consistent with UNDPs Country Programme Document (CPD) 2018-2021 at outcome and output indicator levels including the UNDAF. The governance reform component of the project has brought success in the development of the Provincial Governance Reform Roadmap (PGRR) of 76 out of 78 provinces endorsed by the Provincial Development Councils (PDCs) and adopted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP). However, capacity development (CAPDEV) does not end in the support for formulation of a medium-term local plan like to PGRR, there is a need to maintain capacities for sustainability of efforts and commitment to implement and update this plan if they would like to see its effectiveness over time. Transition to new local leadership as a result of the May 2022 elections may also affect the project’ prioritization and sustainability unless PGRRs have been institutionalized by way of resolutions. Other PLGUs have passed resolutions to open plantilla positions like those related in internal audit. The quality assurance (QA) component of the project has resulted into the development of quality assurance manuals and tools that have capacitated the PLGUs in the QA process of roads construction and maintenance with governance components including SDG indicators. This is an innovative process that could be sustained even beyond project lifetime.

Funds for the Roads2SDGs are not only for capital outlay but could be considered funds for capital development that indirectly benefits other sectors such as health, education, peace and security, human rights and gender, climate change, among others.


3.

Sustainability: Leadership and Political will Leadership plays a crucial effort in the success and failure of any program or project. A program or a project that is given the right political support flourishes and could be sustained for the longer term if coupled with a well-functioning institution. As an example, the experience of Kalinga province, is proof of an effective implementation of a project such as the Roads2SDGs through leadership and political will that also motivated and encouraged commitment of the provincial government staff and the community as a whole. For example, the provincial governor personally reached out to the barangay level, i.e community level and encouraged dialogue from project initiation to monitoring and evaluation (M and E), which in turn, provided a sense of ownership and belonging of the project down to the community level. This has resulted into the lessening of the occurrence of local insurgencies in their area as the community people would generally say, “the government is near, and we are part of it and the government is working and we can feel it.” A project, in order to be effective, will have to be championed by an effective and transformative leadership. The DILG applied the core governance principles of partnership, accountability, transparency, and equity. These are important elements that have been proven effective in the project. DILG treated the PLGUs as partners in the governance processes as they were involved in the project from planning, designing, organizing, reporting, and M and E. DILG acted as an enabler and mentor to the PLGUs ie. “handholding” which means treating LGUs as partners and not merely recipients are essential to success. For example, R.A. 9184 mandated to handhold LGUs in implementation of projects by administration is achieved, thus, lengths or outputs of projects as per indicative timelines are duly implemented. Champions from the top management of the national government are needed to sustain or promote the project.


4.

Gender Mainstreaming and other Cross-cutting issues: Changed mindset, behaviors, and paradigms Culture, gender and development, human rights are mainstreaming issues that were covered in the Roads2SDGs project. These are important elements or factors to the success of the project. In the workshops, trainings and dialogues, the project ensured that all sectors are represented, and the disaggregation of male and female were reported. Although gender-responsive, there has to be more work in gender mainstreaming i.e., changed behavior on the part of the beneficiaries. One good example is the CSO participation in the case of South Cotabato. CSOs were involved actively in the governance process which has led to the success of the implementation of the project. Merit reform in the form of the CMGP and the Roads2SDGs design to be conditionally given a grant from the government for the PLGUs roads project was proven to be effective to institute reforms in the system as well as changing the mindsets and behavior of the people. The compliance and the carrot scheme are effective ways to instill positive behaviors and dispel negative bureaucratic behaviors including nepotism, red tape, etc. which became a strategy for “collective reform mindset” for PLGUs. Innovative and performance mindsets are also set through the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG). This puts primacy to integrity and good performance among LGUs across several governance areas. For example, in setting their PGRRs with seven governance reform areas. This could build a model work culture that is transparent, collaborative and participatory worth emulating, for example, in the case of Kalinga.


Findings
1.

Relevance

Based on the findings of the terminal report, the evaluation concludes that the project, “Paving the Roads2SDGsthrough good local governance,” was relevant and necessary at all levels of government from national to local governments; the logical framework was innovative; horizontal and vertical partnerships were established; governance hubs were capacitated while also providing support in capacitating the LGUs and the governance framework were employed. SSC mechanisms were also employed and found relevant. However, for more relevance, future interventions need to better reflect the local needs of the local governments according to their profile and geography.


2.

Effectiveness

The project has been effective in achieving all planned output level results in accordance with the identified indicators. There were challenges in the implementation including delays and disruption brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic; however, these were addressed and overcome in an effective manner without incurring changes to the overall project objectives. The project has also contributed to the outcome level results by installing capacities and knowledge required to empower citizens from increased connectivity to basic services and through effective road governance.


3.

Efficiency

The terminal evaluation considers that the project has been highly efficient in achieving its planned results with the exception of some operational obstacles in the rolling out of systems and devices. Most delays are exogenous or outside the control of the project including the Covid19 disruption.


4.

Sustainability

The evaluation concludes that the project has attained moderate to high degree of sustainability. It now rests on provincial ownership of the project given the Mandanas implication to budgeting for local governments. It also changes the way DILG defines its relationship with the LGUs and whether or not to include the governance framework components of the Roads2SDGs project or part of it in the continuation of the over-all CMGP program


Recommendations
1

Consider the socio-cultural dimensions of the project down to the lowest level of local government. There are more than 80 provinces in the Philippines with diverse background. These diversity and profile should be intrinsic into the analysis and solutions offered. Integrate efforts from the Roads2SDGs project to the localization of the SDGs to contribute to the result matrices set in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and in future PDPs along with Ambisyon 2040 and the SDG2030.

2

There should be a compendium of best practices so that other LGUs could refer to and benchmark. The successful experience of Kalinga and other provinces with good practices is built around a supportive political leadership, capacitated staff, social environment that is collaborative and participatory approach even before project initiation which then addresses the issues of community participation, harmony, social mobility and achievement of peace and development. It is therefore recommended that if given an opportunity and funding, conduct and collect data on the direct impact of the project after 5 years or more particularly in its contribution to the SDGs. This could be a research impact that will show the real change in the real world including a reflection from the beneficiaries.

3

Include the aspect of crisis management and scenario modeling to address future hazards and risks associated with the implementation of the project in crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters and climate change which could affect the quality of roads infrastructure and other development initiatives.

4

Continue coaching and mentoring of LGUs. Widen the scope of GHUBs membership and expand their roles as coaches/mentors in each municipality in the province. GHUBs could better provide technical assistance to the provinces if they are positioned or institutionalized in the governance/management of the province through the Provincial Development Councils and at local development councils.

Carry out a stock-taking evaluation of training capacity of different recipients of the capacity building activities conducted in this project, and what partnership opportunities could be leveraged to inter-link these for the institutionalization of GHUBs in the governance framework. Some members of the GHUBs have a long-standing experience and partnerships with the LGUs.   

5

For horizontal transfer, it is recommended to assess the feasibility of transferring technology and skills at the local level by breaking it down        into phases and adapting it to the existing circumstances, availability of data, human resources, and the like.  There is also a need to develop a roadmap for follow-up transfer actions, including continued capacity development, which may be covered if there will be continuation of the project by the DILG or to be carried out by PLGUs themselves with the assistance of UNDP and relevant government agencies. To further foster the sustainability of the transferred tools and skills, it is recommended to facilitate local coordination channels with PLGUs to continue to engage partners including DILG and other international organizations and the GHUBs to further ensure continuity and sustainability of the results of the implemented project.

6

To keep the momentum and for regular progress updates, it is recommended that the project should have a specific project board separate from the project board of the CMGP.  In this way, there is a separate follow up and reporting of project activities solely for the Roads2SDGs project.

7

In terms of preparation of plans and programs, it is highly recommended that the government will need to strengthen the awareness on the gender dimension at all levels and among stakeholder institutions and implementing partners, to improve gender mainstreaming within any project. It is advisable to organize a Gender Team or appoint a gender focal person in project implementation and coordination to help with gender mainstreaming within the project, improvement of gender-related indicators, support data disaggregation and analysis.

1. Recommendation:

Consider the socio-cultural dimensions of the project down to the lowest level of local government. There are more than 80 provinces in the Philippines with diverse background. These diversity and profile should be intrinsic into the analysis and solutions offered. Integrate efforts from the Roads2SDGs project to the localization of the SDGs to contribute to the result matrices set in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and in future PDPs along with Ambisyon 2040 and the SDG2030.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/07/04] [Last Updated: 2022/07/04]

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) jointly launched the Conditional Matching Grant to Provinces (CMGP) initiative to improve the quality of local road networks across the country. The Program addresses the underinvestment in local roads and improvement of national-local roads connectivity to increase economic activity and improve access to facilities and services in the provinces.

In need of support, DILG partnered with UNDP and launched the Roads2SDGs project. The project is specifically designed to provide technical assistance in improving the road planning and design, quality assurance and in strengthening citizen participation to ensure transparency and accountability in road project implementation.

 

While the recommendation is acknowledged, the solutions offered by the project are limited by the scope of the CMGP Program where the project is latched on.

 

The project  provided technical assistance to all provinces in conducting provincial assessments, which serves as a baseline for the formulation of their respective Governance Reform Roadmap. The Provincial Governance Reform Roadmap is a five-year reform plan in seven reform areas, consisting of annual strategies and actions for the provinces to achieve their desired goals/target. The process also involves the mainstreaming of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the end states, annual milestones/objectives and strategic actions including the cross-cutting themes such as gender, social inclusion, environment, and peace.

 

All 78 provinces covered have formulated their respective PGRRs and all PGRRs were officially adopted by their respective Sangguniang Panlalawigan as a medium-term local plan for provincial road management. DILG is continuously monitoring PLGUs in the achievement of reform targets.

 let’s re-organize the MR, start with the CMGP national program and how the project was designed to support this. While the recommendation is acknowledged, the solutions offered by the project are limited by the scope of the CMGP Program where the project is latched on

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to transmit final Terminal Evaluation Report to DILG, highlighting evaluation recommendations for their consideration.
[Added: 2022/07/04] [Last Updated: 2022/07/11]
Project Focal 2022/03 Completed The final terminal evaluation report was officially transmitted to DILG on April 28, 2022. History
2. Recommendation:

There should be a compendium of best practices so that other LGUs could refer to and benchmark. The successful experience of Kalinga and other provinces with good practices is built around a supportive political leadership, capacitated staff, social environment that is collaborative and participatory approach even before project initiation which then addresses the issues of community participation, harmony, social mobility and achievement of peace and development. It is therefore recommended that if given an opportunity and funding, conduct and collect data on the direct impact of the project after 5 years or more particularly in its contribution to the SDGs. This could be a research impact that will show the real change in the real world including a reflection from the beneficiaries.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/07/04]

The project was able to publish four (4) magazines highlighting success stories of provinces and communities and illustrates the impact of road infrastructure projects complemented by initiatives to promote good governance. Magazines were distributed to DILG Central and Regional Offices, PLGUs, and partner CSOs. See link here for copies of the magazines. The project will also be producing a video that will highlight its accomplishments and results achieved, as well as capture success stories of communities on the ground.

 

The research impact is acknowledged and will be submitted to DILG for consideration in the conduct of its future evaluations/studies.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Production of Project Video, highlighting the partnership, results, and success stories.
[Added: 2022/07/04] [Last Updated: 2022/07/11]
UNDP Project Team 2022/07 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Given the limited resources available to produce a project video, the project management decided not to continue with the proposal. However, the project provided technical support to DILG-CMGP in coming up with a Transition and Sustainability Plan with reference to the reforms, results and results achieved by the Project. The plan serves as a guide to ensure that the tools/systems introduced by the project will be utilized by provinces even after the project and the gains on good local road governance will be sustained. The Transition and Sustainability Plan was completed and submitted to DILG in December 2021. ]
History
3. Recommendation:

Include the aspect of crisis management and scenario modeling to address future hazards and risks associated with the implementation of the project in crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters and climate change which could affect the quality of roads infrastructure and other development initiatives.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/07/04]

UNDP acknowledges the recommendation highlighting the importance of crisis management and scenario modeling in project development and planning stage. Throughout the duration of the project, implementation risks have been identified, analyzed, and monitored to mitigate its effects and lessen the impact to the achievement of project deliverables. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the project implemented alternative strategies to deliver commitments such as development of e-learning modules and conduct of webinars.

For future UNDP projects, it will employ stronger risks identification and mitigation measures covering crisis management and scenario modelling, at the project design stage.

As this is a DIM project, UNDP will transmit this recommendation to the DILG for their consideration.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to transmit final Terminal Evaluation Report to DILG, highlighting evaluation recommendations for their consideration
[Added: 2022/07/04] [Last Updated: 2022/07/11]
Project Focal 2022/03 Completed The final terminal evaluation report was officially transmitted to DILG on April 28, 2022. History
4. Recommendation:

Continue coaching and mentoring of LGUs. Widen the scope of GHUBs membership and expand their roles as coaches/mentors in each municipality in the province. GHUBs could better provide technical assistance to the provinces if they are positioned or institutionalized in the governance/management of the province through the Provincial Development Councils and at local development councils.

Carry out a stock-taking evaluation of training capacity of different recipients of the capacity building activities conducted in this project, and what partnership opportunities could be leveraged to inter-link these for the institutionalization of GHUBs in the governance framework. Some members of the GHUBs have a long-standing experience and partnerships with the LGUs.   

Management Response: [Added: 2022/07/04]

As part of the continuity and institutionalization of GHUBS, technical support was provided to GHUBS in preparing their Sustainability Plans that will guide them to continue to support LGUs as they assume bigger roles with the implementation of Mandanas-Garcia Ruling in 2022. All 16 GHUBS have formulated their individual sustainability plans.

DILG-OPDS is also exploring the possibility of tapping the services of GHUBS in their efforts to continue to provide capacity development to LGUs to ensure that reforms in local road governance will be sustained during the transition, as well as in the monitoring of the performance of LGUs in project implementation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to turnover GHUBS TORs, memberships and contact details and sustainability plans to DILG-OPDS for future engagements
[Added: 2022/07/04]
UNDP Project Team 2022/01 Completed
5. Recommendation:

For horizontal transfer, it is recommended to assess the feasibility of transferring technology and skills at the local level by breaking it down        into phases and adapting it to the existing circumstances, availability of data, human resources, and the like.  There is also a need to develop a roadmap for follow-up transfer actions, including continued capacity development, which may be covered if there will be continuation of the project by the DILG or to be carried out by PLGUs themselves with the assistance of UNDP and relevant government agencies. To further foster the sustainability of the transferred tools and skills, it is recommended to facilitate local coordination channels with PLGUs to continue to engage partners including DILG and other international organizations and the GHUBs to further ensure continuity and sustainability of the results of the implemented project.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/07/04]

DILG, with the assistance of UNDP, prepared  Transition and Sustainability Plan to ensure that the reforms in local road governance introduced by CMGP and Roads2SDGs project will be sustained during the transition and beyond. In line with the recent development on the national policy framework, specifically in view of the changes made in fiscal support and in the roles of national and sub-national stakeholders in the government. The transition plan outlines target milestones and priority interventions within the 3-year period, while the sustainability plan identifies specific action steps to ensure that the institutional requirements are in-place for local governance reforms to sustain beyond the 3-year period. The plan will also inform the overall capacity development plan of OPDS which includes continuing capacity development support to PLGUs and rollout to cities/municipalities.

 

Currently, the tools and modules introduced by the project are already being rolled out to municipalities including Quality Assurance Assessment Tool (QAAT), Agency Procurement Compliance and Performance Indicator (APCPI) Training and Procurement Planning in partnership with GPPB, and the Local Road Asset Management. The use QAAT tool is also being expanded for water supply projects and vertical structures

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to turn over the CMGP and Roads2SDGs Project Transition/ Sustainability Plan to DILG-OPDS
[Added: 2022/07/04]
UNDP Project Team 2021/12 Completed
6. Recommendation:

To keep the momentum and for regular progress updates, it is recommended that the project should have a specific project board separate from the project board of the CMGP.  In this way, there is a separate follow up and reporting of project activities solely for the Roads2SDGs project.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/07/04]

UNDP acknowledges the recommendation. This is aligned with the existing policy of the organization to establish appropriate oversight mechanism to ensure accountability for activities, results, and the use of resources. All UNDP projects must be governed by a multi-stakeholder board or committee to review performance and address implementation issues to ensure quality delivery of results. Since the implementation and activities of CMGP and Roads2SDGs are connected and complement one another, both PMOs decided to utilize the existing Project Board of the CMGP.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to transmit final Terminal Evaluation Report to DILG, highlighting evaluation recommendations for their consideration.
[Added: 2022/07/04] [Last Updated: 2022/07/11]
Project Focal 2022/03 Completed The final terminal evaluation report was officially transmitted to DILG on April 28, 2022. History
7. Recommendation:

In terms of preparation of plans and programs, it is highly recommended that the government will need to strengthen the awareness on the gender dimension at all levels and among stakeholder institutions and implementing partners, to improve gender mainstreaming within any project. It is advisable to organize a Gender Team or appoint a gender focal person in project implementation and coordination to help with gender mainstreaming within the project, improvement of gender-related indicators, support data disaggregation and analysis.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/07/04]

UNDP acknowledges the recommendation of the evaluator on the terminal evaluation of the project. The organization is committed to supporting governments to eliminate inequalities through targeted, gender-focused programmes and ensuring that all development efforts consider the experiences, needs and contribution of women.  

 

At the project level, Roads2SDGs was able to assist DILG in developing an assessment tool on gender responsiveness of road infrastructure and related facilities, designed to augment the exiting Harmonized Gender and Development Guidelines sector specific checklist on infrastructures. Integration of Gender and Development in the enhanced Local Roads Network Development Planning (LRNDP) process and the quality assurance standards was enhanced to incorporate gender sensitivity in the evaluation of designs and implementation of road projects

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to engage a Gender Advisor to deepen gender mainstreaming in projects
[Added: 2022/07/04]
Programme Focal 2021/12 Completed UNDP has engaged with the Bangkok Regional Hub’s Gender Advisor to increase the gender ratings of its projects

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