Final Evaluation of UN-REDD Bangladesh National Programme

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Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Bangladesh
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
12/2019
Completion Date:
12/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
35,000

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Title Final Evaluation of UN-REDD Bangladesh National Programme
Atlas Project Number: 00085967
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Bangladesh
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2019
Planned End Date: 12/2019
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Sustainable
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
SDG Goal
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG Target
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
Evaluation Budget(US $): 35,000
Source of Funding: Project budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 32,550
Joint Programme: Yes
Joint Evaluation: Yes
  • Joint with UN Agencies
  • Joint with FAO
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Michael Richards
Zakir Hussain
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: BANGLADESH
Lessons
1.

High level policy support is critical for strategy and institutional readiness. A key assumption of the NPD was that an effective RSC would broker high level support and achieve the necessary inter-sectoral, departmental and ministerial coordination. In Bangladesh, where climate change vulnerability makes adaptation more urgent than forest-based mitigation, and forestry has a low policy priority, it is unclear whether there is sufficient political will for successful REDD+ implementation (especially if the Results-Based Finance and multi-sectoral approach is assumed).


2.

It was unrealistic to expect good achievement of Outcomes 1 and 2 on such a small budget, and without more proactive advisory support, in contrast to Outcomes 3 and 4.


3.

International technical assistance is critical at this early stage in the development of REDD+.


4.

Guidance to, and support for, the PMU from regular PEB meetings is critical.


5.

Support from RTAs needs be more proactive when, as for components 1 and 2, there is no CTA and few international consultants are involved. Quality control of the deliverables was unsatisfactory.


6.

Formulation of the NP in a way that UNDP and FAO worked independently of each other on each set of outcomes, and without some level of mutual accountability or responsibility, was problematic for UN agency coordination.


7.

There should have been short weekly meetings of UNDP and FAO staff to maintain communication and collaboration levels.


8.

Where there are signs of failing coordination between UNDP and FAO, the lead UN agency country office should be more pro-active in promoting it in close collaboration with the country office (if present) of partner UN agencies.


9.

Absence of a safeguards process reduces the opportunities for stakeholder engagement and promotion of gender equity.


10.

It is unrealistic to expect gender equity and mainstreaming objectives to be promoted solely on the basis of reports.


Findings
1.

4. Results and contribution to stated objectives

4.1 Outputs and outcomes

Table 3 presents an assessment of how well the outcomes and outputs have been achieved together with some causative factors. The achievements include:

• Good achievement of Outcomes 3 and 4, with highlights including the FREL/FRL submitted to UNFCCC and positive feedback from UNFCCC; the on-line BFIS GeoPortal (http://geoportal.bforest.gov.bd/) which collates and makes available a wide array of land use data; and the good capacity developed in the Resource Information and Management (RIMS) Unit. These achievements were partly due to good collaboration between the NP and USAID NFI project, inputs of the FAO CTA and numerous USAID funded consultants, consistent support from the MRV TWG and the experience of the PMU NFMS expert.

 


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Communication Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Partnership Project and Programme management Bilateral partners UN Agencies Jobs and Livelihoods Technology Coordination Data and Statistics

2.

4.2 Gender issues

Three reports were commissioned by the NP:

• A literature review of gender dimensions in forest use, management, governance, land tenure arrangements and safeguards in support of REDD+ in Bangladesh

• Gender responsive governance structures, land tenure, and safeguards for REDD+ in Bangladesh

• Gender responsive PAMs for REDD+ in Bangladesh 


Tag: Effectiveness Impact Resource mobilization Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Communication Risk Management Jobs and Livelihoods

3.

4.3 Capacity development

The NP did not itself undertake a needs assessment study, although for the BFD at least it was able to draw on a capacity needs assessment conducted in 2013 (Shaheduzzaman, 2013)1 , and the proposed reorganization initiative of the BFD. As part of the latter, a proposal was sent to government proposing an increase of sanctioned staff members from the current 10,499 to 17,820, and the creation of some new units that would have important roles in a REDD+ implementation phase. 

A total of 252 persons including 20 female participants, were trained using the UN-REDD Academy training modules, including: climate change and forests; REDD+; drivers of deforestation and forest degradation; the National REDD+ Strategy; National Forest Monitoring; FREL/REL; PAMs; safeguards; financing; and

 


Tag: Forestry Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Quality Assurance Capacity Building Jobs and Livelihoods

4.

4.4 Sustainability stakeholder participation.

These trainings were conducted by the PMU in different regions of the country. The trainees were drawn from a range of stakeholder groups, agencies and communities. 


Tag: Forestry Green Climate Green Economy Sustainability Resource mobilization Human and Financial resources Results-Based Management Country Government International Financial Institutions UN Agencies Capacity Building Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Coordination Operational Services Technical Support

5.

4.5 Impact

Impact refer mainly to mid- to long-term social and environmental effects, for example, reduced deforestation, improved ecosystem services, poverty reduction, and improved gender equity. Such impacts will only be observable in the REDD+ implementation phase. 


Tag: Impact

6.

5. Implementation

5.1 Budget and Expenditure


Tag: Efficiency Multi Donor Trust Funds Implementation Modality Project and Programme management UN Agencies

7.

5.2 Programme Management

The Programme Management Unit (PMU) was established under the REDD Cell to ensure day-to-day management of the UN-REDD Programme. The PMU is responsible for developing and implementing work plans and budgets in close collaboration with FAO and UNDP, for organizing PEB meetings and for maintaining transparent, up-to-date and accessible records of the NP. Under the leadership of the NP Director, the PMU has been composed of six staff members: Programme Manager, Communications Officer, Governance Expert, Finance Officer, Programme Secretary and Administrative Assistant. 


Tag: Effectiveness Sustainability Resource mobilization Communication Human and Financial resources Project and Programme management Shared Services UN Agencies Capacity Building

8.

5.3 Technical Backstopping

During the NP period, backstopping missions from UNDP and/or FAO RTAs have taken place in December 2015, March 2016, March 2017 and February 2019. The first two visits took place prior to the main operationalization phase of the NP from June 2016. The UNDP and FAO RTAs attended the PEB meeting of February 2019, but prior to that did not participate in PEB or PSC meetings, due to lack of sufficient advance notice and the low number of meetings organised, or in PSC meetings, which were conducted in national language at which UN agencies were observers only. One RTA mission was for one day (to attend the PEB) when it was felt by at least one key informant that a longer stay and engagement would have been beneficial to the NP The Internal Report also noted some confusion about the identity of the UNDP RTA; with three RTAs during the NP, lack of continuity was unhelpful in view of the need to rebuild relationships and trust after each change


Tag: Partnership UN Agencies Coordination Technical Support

9.

5.4 Government of Bangladesh participation

The GoB, through the MoEFCC and BFD, is the lead implementing partner of the NP. Approval of activities in the NP has been efficient, for example, there were very few approval or implementation delays to NP activities following requests by the NP Director. Butsome decision-making processes have been slow with decisions still pending on approval of reorganisation of the BFD and ratification of the updated land cover map. Such delays reflect a wider decision making problem; the Master Forestry Plan and the National Forestry Policy developed in 2016 still await approval. 


Tag: Agriculture Forestry Efficiency Policies & Procedures Country Government Displaced People Technology Coordination

10.

5.5 Use of UN agency normative tools

Table 4 summarises the UN agency “normative tools” used and their utility. These tools clearly made very important contributions to the work. (See the report)


Tag: UN Agencies

Recommendations
1

Recommendation 1: Request UNDP CO for technical assistance support to finalize the NRS.

It is recommended that an experienced consultant who has worked on at least one other NRS is contracted for about 40 days to finalise the NRS, and a two month NCE be granted to allow this to happen. Rationale: The NRS is a complex and difficult document, and the most important output of the NP. In most NPs the CTA has worked closely with the PMU and RTAs to develop the NRS, e.g., the Sri Lanka NRS was developed with the resident CTA and very frequent country visits (8-12 times per annum) by members of the RTA team.

2

Recommendation 2: Operationalise the RSC and create a high-powered body for overseeing climate change related matters.

If there is a REDD+ implementation phase as originally conceived as a multi-sectoral process, the latter should be attached to the Prime Minister’s office. Rationale: The RSC is vital for both readiness and implementation since it would promote high level policy support and cross-sectoral/ministerial coordination. Operationalization of the RSC, including with appropriate multiple stakeholder membership, could be considered as condition for further international financial support to the REDD+ process. 

3

Recommendation 3: Request UN Environment to help investigate funding sources for the safeguards process.

Rationale: The safeguards process, including development of a Safeguards Information System (SIS), is a mandatory requirement by the UNFCCC for a country to receive REDD+ payments. It would also contribute to the processes of stakeholder engagement and feasibility analysis of the PAMs. 

4

Recommendation 4: If it is decided to proceed with a REDD+ implementation phase, make funds available from its own resources for implementation of REDD+ related initiatives.

Financially, GoB is capable of supporting REDD+ related initiatives. BFD/MOEFCC is urged to explore the possibilities of a project, supported by funds from government sources, for addressing some of the key components of a national REDD+ implementation programme. Rationale: As donors for the implementation phase have not been identified yet, support from the government can ensure quick initiation of the implementation phase. In addition, there are some essential components of such a programme, which donors are reluctant to support, a GoB funding will ensure that such components are implemented without any hindrance. 

5

Recommendation 5: If there is a REDD+ implementation phase, request UN agencies and/or USAID for support to develop a Sub-National REDD+ Action Plan (SRAP) for the CHTs.

It is recommended that a 12 month multiple stakeholder consultation and planning process be undertaken with the objective of producing a validated and ratified (by regional stakeholders and GoB) ‘Sub-national REDD+ Action Plan’ (SRAP).1 Given the complex social, governance and tenure issues, low level of trust between EM groups and BFD, and unique governance structures in the CHTs, the proposed SRAP should be developed on the basis of (i) alternative institutional arrangements in which NGOs and EM/local stakeholder and government representatives take the lead; and (ii) a highly participatory planning process in which CHT stakeholders play a full role in analysis of the problems, including the drivers, and identifying responsive strategies or interventions. Rationale: There was widespread agreement among key informants that if there is a REDD+ implementation phase, it should have a priority focus on the CHTs, given (a) its importance for forestbased emissions, and (b) the SUFAL or any other major forestry project do not include the CHTs. The NP Director also noted that the NP budget was insufficient for a detailed planning process in the CHTs.

6

Recommendation 6: Assuming there is a REDD+ implementation phase, request UN agencies for financial support to raise stakeholder engagement and capacity building, including on gender equity and mainstreaming.

Key activities should include: revisiting and implementing the Stakeholder Consultation and Participation Plan; establishment of at least four stakeholder fora (EM/IP groups; civil society; academics and researchers; private sector); development of popular education materials and capacity building of more remote stakeholders; development of materials on gender sensitization and capacity building of stakeholders on gender equity and mainstreaming issues. Not raising, or dampening, expectations associated with REDD+ would also form a vital part of stakeholder engagement. Rationale: the very limited budget for stakeholder engagement compared to other NPs and the importance of stakeholder capacity building and gender equity objectives in participation, sustainability and equitable outcomes in REDD+ implementation.

7

Recommendation 7: UN agencies: Provide or facilitate funding for activities to meet outstanding readiness gaps, such as the safeguards component, stakeholder capacity building, conducting a comprehensive analysis of financing and incentive measures, cost-benefit analysis of PAMs, and other aspects of institutional and stakeholder readiness. Such funding could be conditional on at least an operational RSC and ratification of the proposed reorganization of the BFD.

Rationale: several readiness gaps are due at least partially to the budgetary shortfall for outcomes 1 and 2. 

8

Recommendation 8: UNDP Country Office: In the REDD+ implementation phase (if there is one), facilitate coordination between the NP and other UNDP supported forest sector projects, and adopt a more pro-active approach to ensuring better collaboration between UNPD and FAO teams.

1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1: Request UNDP CO for technical assistance support to finalize the NRS.

It is recommended that an experienced consultant who has worked on at least one other NRS is contracted for about 40 days to finalise the NRS, and a two month NCE be granted to allow this to happen. Rationale: The NRS is a complex and difficult document, and the most important output of the NP. In most NPs the CTA has worked closely with the PMU and RTAs to develop the NRS, e.g., the Sri Lanka NRS was developed with the resident CTA and very frequent country visits (8-12 times per annum) by members of the RTA team.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/09]

Agreed. UNDP agreed to hire an international consultant and provide technical support to the NRS.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Hire an international consultant
[Added: 2019/12/27]
PMU/ UNDP CO 2019/05 Completed A consultant was contracted and a final NRS was produced within the duration of the UN-REDD Bangladesh National Programme. The NRS is currently at MOEFCC awaiting approval.
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2: Operationalise the RSC and create a high-powered body for overseeing climate change related matters.

If there is a REDD+ implementation phase as originally conceived as a multi-sectoral process, the latter should be attached to the Prime Minister’s office. Rationale: The RSC is vital for both readiness and implementation since it would promote high level policy support and cross-sectoral/ministerial coordination. Operationalization of the RSC, including with appropriate multiple stakeholder membership, could be considered as condition for further international financial support to the REDD+ process. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/09]

Agreed, but it is beyond jurisdiction of UNDP/UN agencies to operationalize a government entity. UNDP/UN agencies can provide technical assistance, if requested.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Raise the issue to the Project Board Meeting
[Added: 2019/12/27]
UNDP CO 2019/07 Completed This issue was raised in the final Project Board Meeting. The Government assured operationalization of the same. History
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: Request UN Environment to help investigate funding sources for the safeguards process.

Rationale: The safeguards process, including development of a Safeguards Information System (SIS), is a mandatory requirement by the UNFCCC for a country to receive REDD+ payments. It would also contribute to the processes of stakeholder engagement and feasibility analysis of the PAMs. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/09]

Agreed. UNDP and UNREDD would reach out to UN Environment to explore funding sources.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Check back with UN Environment
[Added: 2019/12/27]
UNDP CO / UN-REDD Regional Office 2019/07 Completed UN-REDD Regional Office checked back with UN Environment. However, no fund is available now.
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4: If it is decided to proceed with a REDD+ implementation phase, make funds available from its own resources for implementation of REDD+ related initiatives.

Financially, GoB is capable of supporting REDD+ related initiatives. BFD/MOEFCC is urged to explore the possibilities of a project, supported by funds from government sources, for addressing some of the key components of a national REDD+ implementation programme. Rationale: As donors for the implementation phase have not been identified yet, support from the government can ensure quick initiation of the implementation phase. In addition, there are some essential components of such a programme, which donors are reluctant to support, a GoB funding will ensure that such components are implemented without any hindrance. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/09]

Agreed, but it depends on decision to be made by the government, which is not under control of UNDP and FAO. Nonetheless, UNDP and FAO would share this recommendation with the Project Board meeting to further facilitate the process.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Raise the issue to the Project Board Meeting
[Added: 2019/12/27]
UNDP CO / FAO 2019/07 Completed This issue was raised in the final Project Board Meeting. The Government stressed that both own fund and external support are needed to implement the strategy.
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5: If there is a REDD+ implementation phase, request UN agencies and/or USAID for support to develop a Sub-National REDD+ Action Plan (SRAP) for the CHTs.

It is recommended that a 12 month multiple stakeholder consultation and planning process be undertaken with the objective of producing a validated and ratified (by regional stakeholders and GoB) ‘Sub-national REDD+ Action Plan’ (SRAP).1 Given the complex social, governance and tenure issues, low level of trust between EM groups and BFD, and unique governance structures in the CHTs, the proposed SRAP should be developed on the basis of (i) alternative institutional arrangements in which NGOs and EM/local stakeholder and government representatives take the lead; and (ii) a highly participatory planning process in which CHT stakeholders play a full role in analysis of the problems, including the drivers, and identifying responsive strategies or interventions. Rationale: There was widespread agreement among key informants that if there is a REDD+ implementation phase, it should have a priority focus on the CHTs, given (a) its importance for forestbased emissions, and (b) the SUFAL or any other major forestry project do not include the CHTs. The NP Director also noted that the NP budget was insufficient for a detailed planning process in the CHTs.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/09]

Agreed. UNDP and FAO are willing to provide support to the government.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Raise the issue to the Project Board Meeting
[Added: 2019/12/27]
UNDP CO / FAO 2019/07 Completed This issue was raised in the final Project Board Meeting. The Government stressed sub-regional planning for all regions, not only for hill region once project concept note on Sub-National REDD+ action plan for CHT has been submitted to the Government.
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6: Assuming there is a REDD+ implementation phase, request UN agencies for financial support to raise stakeholder engagement and capacity building, including on gender equity and mainstreaming.

Key activities should include: revisiting and implementing the Stakeholder Consultation and Participation Plan; establishment of at least four stakeholder fora (EM/IP groups; civil society; academics and researchers; private sector); development of popular education materials and capacity building of more remote stakeholders; development of materials on gender sensitization and capacity building of stakeholders on gender equity and mainstreaming issues. Not raising, or dampening, expectations associated with REDD+ would also form a vital part of stakeholder engagement. Rationale: the very limited budget for stakeholder engagement compared to other NPs and the importance of stakeholder capacity building and gender equity objectives in participation, sustainability and equitable outcomes in REDD+ implementation.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/09]

Agreed. If UNDP is involved in the implementation phase, surely UNDP and FAO will ensure inclusiveness, stakeholder engagement and capacity building.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Raise the issue to the Project Board Meeting
[Added: 2019/12/27]
UNDP CO / FAO 2019/07 Completed This issue was raised in the final Project Board Meeting. The Government agrees that capacity building and gender equity are keys to development.
7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7: UN agencies: Provide or facilitate funding for activities to meet outstanding readiness gaps, such as the safeguards component, stakeholder capacity building, conducting a comprehensive analysis of financing and incentive measures, cost-benefit analysis of PAMs, and other aspects of institutional and stakeholder readiness. Such funding could be conditional on at least an operational RSC and ratification of the proposed reorganization of the BFD.

Rationale: several readiness gaps are due at least partially to the budgetary shortfall for outcomes 1 and 2. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/09]

Agreed. UNDP is ready to support the Government to identify potential funding sources, provided the Government requests UNDP.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Raise the issue to the Project Board Meeting
[Added: 2019/12/27]
UNDP CO / FAO 2019/07 Completed Two project concept notes have been submitted to government (1- on safeguard and 2 – sub-national REDD+ Plan).
8. Recommendation:

Recommendation 8: UNDP Country Office: In the REDD+ implementation phase (if there is one), facilitate coordination between the NP and other UNDP supported forest sector projects, and adopt a more pro-active approach to ensuring better collaboration between UNPD and FAO teams.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/27] [Last Updated: 2020/11/09]

Agreed. If there is an implementation phase, UNDP and FAO will support coordination among forestry projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Draft a project concept note on REDD++ implementation jointly with FAO
[Added: 2019/12/27] [Last Updated: 2020/12/30]
UNDP CO/ FAO 2021/06 Initiated History

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