Terminal Evaluation of Early Recovery Facility (ERF) Project

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Bangladesh
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
04/2019
Completion Date:
04/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
20,000

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Title Terminal Evaluation of Early Recovery Facility (ERF) Project
Atlas Project Number: 00061275
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Bangladesh
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2019
Planned End Date: 04/2019
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Poverty
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.3.1 National capacities and evidence-based assessment and planning tools enable gender-responsive and risk-informed development investments, including for response to and recovery from crisis
  • 2. Output 3.1.1 Core government functions and inclusive basic services4 restored post-crisis for stabilisation, durable solutions to displacement and return to sustainable development pathways within the framework of national policies and priorities
  • 3. Output 3.6.1 Energy access re-established for crisis-affected populations, with a focus on gender-sensitive, risk-informed and sustainable recovery
SDG Goal
  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG Target
  • 1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
  • 11.5 By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
  • 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
Evaluation Budget(US $): 20,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 9,394
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Wajid Hasan Shah
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: BANGLADESH
Lessons
1.

Overall ownership of ERF at the government =-level has been very high from the beginning in MODMR and especially at DDM. DDM officials (including Bureau of Disaster Management, one of two entities merged into DDM) mention they had received no training on early recovery prior to ERF interventions to train them accordingly. ERF also helped DDM in preparing relevant and necessary training manuals and updating the Statement on Disasters. However, it should be noted that there was no planned exit strategy for ERF. Based on the interviews conducted, it appears that the method by which the Joint Needs Assessment (JNA) was conducted caused a host of unpleasant questions, and that the ERF faced significant transformation after this JNA which apparently has affected ERF in terms of potential impact.


Findings
1.

The main findings of the draft report are based on the following evaluation criteria • Relevance • Effectiveness • Efficiency • Impact • Sustainability Bangladesh is one of the country’s most at risk from the impacts of climate change. According to a recent World Bank study3 , approximately 134 million people in Bangladesh are at risk of being victims of climate change, which will result in declining living standards due to rising temperature and erratic rainfall, and cost the country an estimated accumulated loss of US$ 171 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050. Therefore it is likely that both acute (such as flooding or cyclonic events) and chronic hazards (such as flooding, drought, sea level rise and saline intrusion) will increase in frequency and severity in the coming decades. The nature and scope of the hazards are well-documented in a range of existing literature. The ERF aimed to support and empower the Government’s central coordinating role in coordination/supervision of disaster recovery activities under a flexible and rapid implementation arrangement, in conformity with the UN’s Country Programme Action Plan framework. Thus, ERF appears to be as highly relevant at its onset as it is at the time of the terminal evaluation of ERF. For a more thorough understanding of its relevance, it is necessary to have a better understanding of the targets of the ERF based on the project document. The Intended Outputs of ERF are detailed to provide a better understanding on which basis the evaluation was carried out


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Disaster Risk Reduction Institutional Strengthening

2.

2.2 Intended Outputs mentioned in the Project Document

As detailed in the Early Recovery Facility project document, the ERF had the seven following outputs mention under the Results and Resources Framework. Each of the seven outputs have multiple proposed activities and indicators: Output 1: A functional Early Recovery Facility; Output 2: Well-functioning, coordinated and equipped district and upazila-level disaster management officials; Output 3: Integrated and coordinated volunteer network ready to respond to local and national level disaster events; Output 4: Contribution to the development of innovative community-based solutions to disasters and climate change induced events; Output 5: Support to national-level disasters in response to GoB appeal/request to extend complementary support; Output 6: Support to emergency response coordination, through the Local Consultative Group—Disaster and Emergency Response (LCG-DER) and national cluster system; and, Output 7: Support to Bangladesh to participate in regional and global DRM and CCA initiatives.


Tag: Climate change governance Disaster Recovery Disaster risk management Local Governance

3.

2.3 Achievement of the Intended Outputs

Based on the discussions with relevant stakeholders (GoB) and UNDP Country Office and both current and former ERF Project Officials and other relevant UN officials, it appears evident that in terms of achieving the intended outcomes as mentioned in the ERF Project Document, the overall consensus was that a relatively effective and well-functioning Early Recovery Facility has been put in place thanks to ERF. How well ERF will continue to operate beyond the lifetime of the project remains to be seen and can only be measured with the passing of time; however, by far and large, it appears that Output 1 was satisfactorily and substantially achieved. Given how disaster-prone Bangladesh is, and the fact that Bangladesh is one of the country’s most at risk from the impacts of climate change, the objective of early recovery is in no way any less relevant now than it was at the time of the inception of the ERF. According to a recent World Bank study4 , approximately 134 million people in Bangladesh are at risk of being victims of climate change, which will result in declining living standards due to rising temperature and erratic rainfall, and cost the country an estimated accumulated loss of US$ 171 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050. Therefore it is likely that both acute (such as flooding or cyclonic events) and chronic hazards (such as flooding, drought, sea-level rise and saline intrusion) will increase in frequency and severity in the coming decades. The nature and scope of the hazards are well-documented in a range of existing literature. Thus, there is no doubt of the relevant of ERF in the context of Bangladesh.


Tag: Climate change governance Crisis Response Disaster Recovery Disaster risk management Relevance Rural Country Government Institutional Strengthening

4.

2.4 Findings based on the ERF Activities

Given the extent of activities undertaken under ERF, not all projects under the facility could be visited or reviewed. However, some notable projects are mentioned based on the review of ERF activities that are worthy of mentioning, given their potential important and the need to continue the efforts. In 2017 and 2018, ERF implemented projects to save the lives of school children that aim to reduce the loss of lives of school children from earthquake and tsunamis. Under the Community Based Disaster Management (CBDM) Asia II and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-funded School Preparedness Programme Against Tsunami aims to strengthen awareness and preparedness by collecting risk data, producing education materials, reviewing and developing school disaster preparedness plans, designing drill scenarios and conducting safe evacuation drills. The projects contributes to the achievement of the Sendai Framework’s seven targets to reduce lives lost, reduce the number of people affected by disasters, and economic damage from natural and human-induced hazards. It also contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals Target 11 to significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations.


Tag: Climate change governance Natural Disaster Sendai Education Awareness raising Agenda 2030

5.

2.5 Findings based on the Field Visits

Some major findings of the draft report are based on the following field visits: 1) Field visit to northern region (Rangpur division) on June 13-15, 2018; 2) Field visit to on-going ERF activities for the host community in refugee influx areas (Cox’s Bazar, Chattogram division) on June 20-22, 2018; and, 3) Field visit to Mymensingh (Mymensingh division) on June 23, 2018.

Field visit to northern region (Rangpur division): The first round of field visits concerned the UNDP-China Flood Assistance Program in three north-western districts, namely Nilphamari, Kurigram and Lalmonirhat during June 13-15, 2018. On June 13, extensive field visits were conducted based on the list of beneficiaries provided for Saidpur upazila of Nilphamari district. A total of 26 beneficiaries out of a total of 120 recipients were interviewed at their residences in Saidpur. Flood-affected victims were provided relief in the form of a package consisting of two bundles of tin (each bundle of tin contains 8 sheets of tin; thus a total of 16 sheets of tin, enough to build a tin-shed residence was provided), a trunk, cooking apparatus, bed sheets, blankets and pillow covers, mosquito nets, a saw/apparatus and a school bag for children were among the materials given in the north-western flood affected regions in late 2017 and early 2018.


Tag: Food Security Climate change governance Crisis Response Natural Disaster Recovery Programme/Project Design Technical Support

6.

Field visit to on-going ERF activities for the host community in refugee influx areas (Cox’s Bazar, Chattogram division)

The field visit to Cox’s Bazar were undertaken on June 20-22 to visit the Cyclone Preparedness Project office in the district town, and to visit the programs undertaken under ERF for the host community in areas which had seen an influx of Rohingya refugees. The Cyclone Preparedness Project had received capacity building support from the ERF, and the visit to the Project office in Cox’s Bazar included a video presentation on how the Project has made major strides in preparing people in coastal regions aware and prepare for such emergencies, from hoisting cautionary flags, provision of equipment including microphones to announce the potential onset of dangerous weather, to a demonstration of how the radio room of the Storm Warning Center operates in the case of such emergencies.


Tag: Disaster Risk assessments Social cohesion Infrastructure Social Protection Technology Capacity Building Refugee

7.

Field visit to Mymensingh

A field visit to Ward #14 of Mymensingh City Corporation was undertaken on June 23, 2018 to meet with the Ward Commissioner and also visit at least one of the school sites where teachers for the earthquake preparedness training were employed. Under this project, an earthquake preparedness initiative was taken involving several (five) local schools of the ward and a core team of volunteers was trained, relevant equipment provided, and the structural integrity of a number of buildings in the area (including the Government Primary School visited) were tested and necessary remedial measures were taken to enhance the integrity so that they could withstand even a moderate to powerful earthquake. As part of the field trip, a visit was made to #126 Char Para Government Primary School, which was one of the five schools that were under the purview of the training. Two of the three teachers who had undergone training were still with the school, while the third teacher had been transferred to a Government Primary School outside of Mymensingh town. Although initially it was thought that this was the first such training imparted to the teachers of the school, it was found out through personal interviews that the NGO Forum for Bangladesh had conducted an earthquake preparedness training a year before a similar training was provided under ERF. However, the ERF training was found to be more in-depth and for a longer duration than the training provided by the NGO Forum for Bangladesh The ERF had taken initiatives to strengthen the structural integrity of #126 Char Para Government Primary School, which was one of the five schools covered under Mymensingh Ward #14. It may be mentioned that a visit to the school revealed that although many important measures were taken, the area suffers from severe water-logging during the monsoon, and that even half an hour of rain results in the over-flowing of the drain water into the streets and even into the school. The picture of the Principal’s room shows a desk that is elevated by four chairs to avoid damage to the desk.


Tag: Crisis Response Disaster Risk Reduction Natural Disaster Recovery Sanitation Education Infrastructure

8.

2.6 Finance, Human Resources and Project-related Issues

Based on the information provided by UNDP Bangladesh Finance, there appears to be proper utilization of financial resources, though funding has been a major issue. Given the uncertainty of funding, human resources turnover has apparently been an issue for ERF, with the team that oversaw the first half of the project in general not being around for the extension phases. While there was only one fixed-term position under the project, that of the international project manager (who held a P4 Fixed Term Appointment position), aside from that one position, apparently all ERF personnel are on Service Contracts of various durations. However, given the figures provided regarding the human resources, there appears to be no major shift in the number of project personnel on service contracts (not short-term consultancies) in the ERF over the duration of the project. As apparently mentioned by a former ERF team member, after the departure of the international project manager, the team was not the same. It is also necessary to ensure that longer-term contracts for ERF and follow up phase Disaster Relief and Response Facility (DRRF) officials can be ensured to retain experienced project personnel throughout the duration of the project, especially to ensure there is no break in institutional memory.


Tag: Efficiency Resource mobilization Human and Financial resources Monitoring and Evaluation Operational Efficiency Project and Programme management

Recommendations
1

Ensure proper M&E & documentation for ERF & Disaster Relief and Response Facility (DRRF) / Take steps to store and improve institutional memory/ Essential to have full-time M&E personnel

2

Help in modifying the strategic approach of GoB from reactive to pro-active for better alignment with future ERF/DRRF interventions

3

Involve more actively the various other early recovery initiatives for better coordination and learn from other initiatives/ Significant scope for improving interventions at the micro-levels

4

Improve the management structure of ERF or in this case, the follow up phase, the DRRF/ Try to ensure longer-term contracts for effective & efficient project personnel for retaining employees to curtail high employee turnover

5

Avoid repeated extensions of ERF/DRRF facility

1. Recommendation:

Ensure proper M&E & documentation for ERF & Disaster Relief and Response Facility (DRRF) / Take steps to store and improve institutional memory/ Essential to have full-time M&E personnel

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Partially agreed. ERF has a system to store data and information physically and some in online. However, we need to improve the system through digitalization. Important documents including different annual reports, donor reports and study reports have been uploaded on the share points. A number of publications/documents have been developed for different innovative initiatives. One national consultant for M&E will be onboard for the necessary documentation this year, and depending on the availability of financial resources, the project will also engage a full time M&E personal. 

A Monitoring and Evaluation Officer is part of the ERF and DRRF organogram in the approved project document. However, due to budget constraints, the function is currently taken over by the Capacity Building Specialist of DRRF as a team also perform M&E role during the disaster period. A fund/output specific M&E officer is in place now for Rohingya responses in Cox’s Bazar sub-office and other specific disaster recovery initiatives.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop TOR and discuss proposed employment of M&E officer by pulling fund from various projects
[Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2020/06/26]
DRRF project 2020/03 Completed IC contract from July-December 2020 History
2. Recommendation:

Help in modifying the strategic approach of GoB from reactive to pro-active for better alignment with future ERF/DRRF interventions

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Agreed. DRRF has identified major gaps in disaster management for the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief in order to take pro-active initiatives, including coordinated recovery and mainstreaming of build back better approach. DRRF has widen the partnerships with the relevant ministries, like the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Chittogram Hill Tracts, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Education for promoting resilience. A number of initiatives have been taken for strengthening pro-active initiatives and building resilience.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Provide capacity building and training to the Disaster Management officials, CSOs and NGOs
[Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2021/06/27]
DRRF project 2021/09 Initiated Activities are planned for the Annual Work Plan of 2021. However, the planned activities are delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. History
Provide support to Fire Service and Civil Defense (FSCD) Authority for their reform initiatives
[Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2021/03/03]
DRRF project 2021/12 Initiated Activities are in progress. Multi-ministerial level dissemination of the initial findings had been discussed on 08th December 2020. Hiring a consultant for Legal issue on reform initiatives is under process. The effort will continue further in 2021 and beyond. History
Provide support to MoCHTA for a Feasibility Study on preparing DPP on “Risk-Informed and Resilient development of Chattagram Hill Tracts (CHT) districts against Landslide”
[Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2020/06/26]
DRRF project 2020/03 Completed The report has already been submitted to the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MoCHTA). The ministry is now planning for a Development Project Proposal (DPP) formulation process. However, the priority may change due to COVID-19. History
Provide support to National Resilience Programme (NRP) in EQ preparedness and awareness programme in 5 earthquake prone Cities
[Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2020/12/25]
DRRF project 2020/12 Completed Necessary field level support and consultation on EQ risk information at city corporation level were delivered with National Resilience Programme. History
Implement school safety Tsunami Awareness Programme, Phase II in CXB area of Bangladesh
[Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2019/12/13]
DRRF project 2019/11 Completed Tsunami awareness campaign was conducted in Cox's Bazar in coordination with relevant stakeholders. History
3. Recommendation:

Involve more actively the various other early recovery initiatives for better coordination and learn from other initiatives/ Significant scope for improving interventions at the micro-levels

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Agreed. The on-going and planned actions mentioned in the Recommendation 2 are equality applicable. In addition, UNDP will plan a national recovery workshop and participate in the Need Assessment Working Group.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Organize a national recovery workshop for improving multi-sectoral coordinated approach
[Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2021/03/28]
DRRF project 2021/03 Completed In collaboration with the National Resilience Programme (NRP) of UNDP, the inception workshop with limited numbers of sectoral ministries has been completed. History
Participate in Need Assessment Working Group for identifying recovery initiatives
[Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2020/12/25]
DRRF project 2022/12 Completed Joint needs assessment was conducted. History
4. Recommendation:

Improve the management structure of ERF or in this case, the follow up phase, the DRRF/ Try to ensure longer-term contracts for effective & efficient project personnel for retaining employees to curtail high employee turnover

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Agreed. DRRF needs a dedicated team with a long-term contract while the long-term commitment has not been confirmed yet by the development partners. Currently, most of the staffs are in Service contract on an annual basis. For retaining employees, a number of initiatives have been taken on a regular basis, including staff international training, exposure visit, and annual retreat. Refresher trainings for temporary technical officers who are engaged in emergency response and recovery are also conducted at certain intervals. A DRRF model is a cost-efficient and effective approach for UNDP to advocate for recovery approach and investment, mobilize resources and respond to disasters and emergencies. It includes a mechanism for quickly scaling up its capacity with the funds mobilized through the pre-approved Disaster Window. To maintain a predictable, core DRRF with the required capacity to respond, advise and advocate, UNDP will secure budget to cover the costs of the core Facility from its internal resources. However, some of the operational costs may be recovered from funds mobilized through the Disaster Window and the UNDP funds reprogrammed according to the needs. The core DRRF will be co-located with the UNDP Country Office, including an office space for the Project Manager and DRRF team. Experiences from the ERF indicate that while it is possible to fund core DRRF personnel through funds mobilized through the Disaster Window throughout the project period, a related uncertainty of long-term employment is still a challenge.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Explore long-term commitment from development partner
[Added: 2019/11/06]
DRRF project 2022/12 Initiated History
Initiate recruitment of a full-time project manager
[Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2021/08/27]
DRRF project /UNDP CO 2021/11 Initiated Planned to recruit Project Manager by November 2021. History
Develop a roster for technical officers for emergency response and recovery
[Added: 2019/11/06]
DRRF project /UNDP CO 2018/11 Completed UNDP CO has developed a roster for emergency response and recovery in consultation with DRRF project.
5. Recommendation:

Avoid repeated extensions of ERF/DRRF facility

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Agreed. DRRF will develop a national assessment framework to determine am exit strategy or its continuation in the final year before the project duration expires. Meanwhile, DRRF will invest significantly in the national capacity building in early recovery planning and programming so that the Government can internalize the gains. Its aim is to support the Government to efficiently manage and mainstream early recovery intervention and coordination in the national disaster management processes. DRRF will also help enhance the capacity of the government officials, volunteer groups and humanitarian actors under the SURGE mechanism. This model can also be replicated and scaled up by the Government and other actors with contextual adjustments.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop and implement a sustainability strategy, including setting up a similar facility within MoDMR
[Added: 2019/11/06]
DRRF project 2021/09 Initiated
Design a new UNDP-led facility after a mid-term review, which will be aligned with the new context of recovery (rather than extension of current from of DRRF
[Added: 2019/11/06] [Last Updated: 2021/07/27]
DRRF project 2021/10 Initiated The procurement of consultants (One National and One International) for conducting the mid-term evaluation is underway. History

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