Terminal Evaluation of the Promoting Sustainable Bio-energy Production from Biomass In Timor-Leste

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Evaluation Plan:
2015-2020, Timor-Leste
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
04/2020
Completion Date:
03/2020
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
45,000

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Title Terminal Evaluation of the Promoting Sustainable Bio-energy Production from Biomass In Timor-Leste
Atlas Project Number: 00077146
Evaluation Plan: 2015-2020, Timor-Leste
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 03/2020
Planned End Date: 04/2020
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Poverty
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.1.1 Low emission and climate resilient objectives addressed in national, sub-national and sectoral development plans and policies to promote economic diversification and green growth
  • 2. Output 3.5.1 Energy access re-established for crisis-affected populations, with a focus on gender-sensitive, risk-informed and sustainable recovery
SDG Goal
  • Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
SDG Target
  • 7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
Evaluation Budget(US $): 45,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 25,180
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Terminal Evaluation of the Promoting Sustainable Bio-energy Production from Biomass In Timor-Leste
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Climate Change
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 4344
PIMS Number: 4250
Key Stakeholders: The Government of Timor-Leste, Ministry of Public woroks (State Secretary of Electricity)
Countries: Timor-Leste
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

To address the concern on the sustainability of the Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) initiative, TE recommended that the remaining Project funds are used to carry surveys to gather information on the willingness and ability to pay and on experiences of end-users with the 21,000 stoves that have been distributed. This could answer questions, such as: Are these still used? Do end-users have suggestions for improvements?  Do they receive sufficient post-sale support?

2

Once the political situation has stabilized, post-project activities (where and if possible, supported by UNDP) should focus on getting the RE Law approved with the Government making appropriate budget available for implementation of the Law, e.g., by funding (with support by other development partners) bioenergy, bio-briquetting, solar and other renewable and rural energy programs.

3

Rather than subsidizing technology, another way forward would be to back up finance (loans, guarantees) for business development, i.e. for producers to innovate and expand and for producers/businesses to set up marketing and distribution channels. Another funding path is to financially support local government to implement local renewable energy development plans (such as the 100% ICS suco plans promoted by the Project). A third way is to have other Ministries involved. For example, the Ministry of Education could be involved to integrate clean cookstoves in the school feeding program

4

TE has also suggested setting up an ICS producer association as already mentioned by MTR. TE’s recommendation is to have such association, maybe, with wider stakeholder membership, including development partners and NGOs to enable learning from past experiences, share lessons learned, cooperate in carrying out surveys and assessments, and coordinate funding and program planning. The association could also be a vehicle for future government and/or donor-supported projects to deliver with training for producers on cookstove innovation and business development, raise awareness and facilitate its private sector members to set up marketing, distribution and after-sales support channels.

5

The current SBEPB Project has supported the demonstration of ICS and, unlike other stove programs in the past, it has encouraged some commercialization by supporting business development of local producers and promoted sales of stoves with a reduced subsidy.  However, hampered by external factors (political instability, reduced co-financing, lack of interest shown by financial intermediaries), the Project has not been able to lift the market to the next phase of ‘deployment’ in its short period (see Box 22).  Also, the end-user does not seem to be ready yet to pay a price which is closer to the actual cost of producing and transporting the stove to the end-user. 

Developing a sustainable and scalable clean cookstove and fuels industry is a long- term effort and will require a commitment of 10-15 years and good coordination between the various public sector and private sector partners. It will take much longer than the typical duration of a donor- or NGO-supported project of a few years only. This needs the Government’s longer-term commitment (setting targets and making budget available), while UNDP could coordinate with other funding and development partners as well as local stakeholders on defining a follow-up project. The table in Box 24 gives a summary of actions to be supported in such a program and stakeholders and actors involved, while Box 26 gives an overview of factors that affect the sustainability of cookstove dissemination.

1. Recommendation:

To address the concern on the sustainability of the Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) initiative, TE recommended that the remaining Project funds are used to carry surveys to gather information on the willingness and ability to pay and on experiences of end-users with the 21,000 stoves that have been distributed. This could answer questions, such as: Are these still used? Do end-users have suggestions for improvements?  Do they receive sufficient post-sale support?

Management Response: [Added: 2020/07/06] [Last Updated: 2020/07/30]

Agree. The goal of 20,000 stoves has been surpassed, but only with 80-90% subsidy. As per the MTR recommendation, the project has launched 50% subsidy scheme in March 2020 to test the willingness and ability of the households to pay.

A survey to assess the willingness and capacity to pay as well as end-users experiences of those who have got the cook stoves through 80% and 50%subsidy scheme will be conducted in June 2020. Moreover, a sustainability /exit strategy plan will also be developed.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Final report on last stoves distribution Completion of the survey and development of the sustainability /exit strategy
[Added: 2020/07/06] [Last Updated: 2020/10/07]
UNDP 2020/09 Completed Report is finalized History
2. Recommendation:

Once the political situation has stabilized, post-project activities (where and if possible, supported by UNDP) should focus on getting the RE Law approved with the Government making appropriate budget available for implementation of the Law, e.g., by funding (with support by other development partners) bioenergy, bio-briquetting, solar and other renewable and rural energy programs.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/07/06] [Last Updated: 2020/07/30]

Agree. The situation will be closely monitored by UNDP, and once the situation stabilised, UNDP will follow-up with Government on any revision/update required and on the submission of the Law to Council of Minister for approval.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Follow-up on any revision/updates needed and on the submission to the Council of Ministers for Approval. This action can be done through the CCCD Project. However, it is to be noted that approval is beyond the control of UNDP.
[Added: 2020/07/30] [Last Updated: 2020/08/03]
UNDP CO 2021/09 Initiated History
3. Recommendation:

Rather than subsidizing technology, another way forward would be to back up finance (loans, guarantees) for business development, i.e. for producers to innovate and expand and for producers/businesses to set up marketing and distribution channels. Another funding path is to financially support local government to implement local renewable energy development plans (such as the 100% ICS suco plans promoted by the Project). A third way is to have other Ministries involved. For example, the Ministry of Education could be involved to integrate clean cookstoves in the school feeding program

Management Response: [Added: 2020/07/06] [Last Updated: 2020/07/30]

The recmendations to finacially support local government to implement local renewable energy and integrate clean cookstoves in the school feeding program is noted. These options will be considered in future similar interventions.

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

TE has also suggested setting up an ICS producer association as already mentioned by MTR. TE’s recommendation is to have such association, maybe, with wider stakeholder membership, including development partners and NGOs to enable learning from past experiences, share lessons learned, cooperate in carrying out surveys and assessments, and coordinate funding and program planning. The association could also be a vehicle for future government and/or donor-supported projects to deliver with training for producers on cookstove innovation and business development, raise awareness and facilitate its private sector members to set up marketing, distribution and after-sales support channels.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/07/06] [Last Updated: 2020/07/30]

This recommendation is well-noted and will be considered in the similar future project/ interventions. The is because idea of establishing the ICS producer association was discussed with the local ICS producers; however, they do not have the capacity/ willingness to establish and operate such as association. As the project has ended and cannot support the establishment and operationalization of this association.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

The current SBEPB Project has supported the demonstration of ICS and, unlike other stove programs in the past, it has encouraged some commercialization by supporting business development of local producers and promoted sales of stoves with a reduced subsidy.  However, hampered by external factors (political instability, reduced co-financing, lack of interest shown by financial intermediaries), the Project has not been able to lift the market to the next phase of ‘deployment’ in its short period (see Box 22).  Also, the end-user does not seem to be ready yet to pay a price which is closer to the actual cost of producing and transporting the stove to the end-user. 

Developing a sustainable and scalable clean cookstove and fuels industry is a long- term effort and will require a commitment of 10-15 years and good coordination between the various public sector and private sector partners. It will take much longer than the typical duration of a donor- or NGO-supported project of a few years only. This needs the Government’s longer-term commitment (setting targets and making budget available), while UNDP could coordinate with other funding and development partners as well as local stakeholders on defining a follow-up project. The table in Box 24 gives a summary of actions to be supported in such a program and stakeholders and actors involved, while Box 26 gives an overview of factors that affect the sustainability of cookstove dissemination.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/07/06] [Last Updated: 2020/07/30]

The recommendation is well noted. As mentioned in the response to recommendation 3, the project has initiated the reduction of the subsidy level in the last months of project operation. The project is testing the 50% subsidy scheme among customers of clean cook stoves in order to gather evidence of customers’ willingness to pay. The results of the testing exercise will be used to discuss potential sustainability of the ICS production in future projects and programs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Present the survey report on customer willingness and capacity to pay to the government and advocate for developing a joint follow-up project with the government and other stakeholders.
[Added: 2020/07/06] [Last Updated: 2020/08/03]
UNDP and Government 2021/08 Initiated History

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