Addressing climate change vulnerabilities and risks in vulnerable coastal areas of Tunisia

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Evaluation Plan:
2021-2025, Tunisia
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
12/2021
Completion Date:
12/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

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Title Addressing climate change vulnerabilities and risks in vulnerable coastal areas of Tunisia
Atlas Project Number: 00079688
Evaluation Plan: 2021-2025, Tunisia
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2021
Planned End Date: 12/2021
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Resilience
  • 2. Sustainable
  • 3. Others
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 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
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
  • 13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
  • 13.b Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding: Project Budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 16,440
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Fabiana Isler Evaluator BRAZIL
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Addressing climate change vulnerabilities and risks in vulnerable coastal areas of Tunisia
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Climate Change
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5105
PIMS Number: 4697
Key Stakeholders: APAL - Agence de Protection et d'Améagement du Littoral
Countries: TUNISIA
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

The mainstreaming of gender and women’s empowerment into project results would be insufficient, if only project design is considered, and also considering the gender tagging as “Significant Objective”. The strengthening gender-responsive strategies in crisis (conflict and disaster) prevention, preparedness and recovery has not been sufficiently incorporated into the project document. The mainstreaming of gender into project design has been mandated by

UNDP at least since the launching of the Agency’s Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2021. During implementation, there have been more tangible efforts towards gender mainstreaming, but to a limited extent (based on the reading of technical and implementation report from 2016 through to at least 2019). Most of the gender mainstreaming actions happened towards the end of the project. In terms of products prepared by the project we highlight the report “Élaboration d’un diagnostic sur l’intégration de l’approche genre dans le projet – Ghar El Melh et Djerba” from 2021. In terms of and results from actions funded by the project (e.g. through NGOs and benefitting local communities), there have been several actions on the ground mentioned quoted from the 2021 PIR further up. However, even the number of female beneficiaries is still small, and results are modest – especially if the gender policy marking of ‘significant objective’ is considered.

2

The TE recognizes that it is not possible to ‘turn back time’ (of course), and that there is always a raison d’être for why things were as they were. Yet, four key actions from the MTR’s management response were completed too late in the project’s lifetime to have any impact on results or on APAL’s performance as the host institution. At the same time, they were strategic and would require more time to mature and show results. In particular, this recommendation related to the following types of results: (i) certain strategic studies; (ii) actions on the ground, especially those tagged as Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA); and (iii) proposed changes to legislative processes.

3

The Covid-19 pandemic is worsening in Tunisia. The country is embarking in what appears to be a stricter lock-down (again) in May/June 2021 – and beyond (besides the 2020 lockdown). A project duration extension request till end 2021 had been posed by the project to the NCE Team, on the grounds of covid-19 impacts on project implementation. The request was initially denied by the NCE Team. Now, only activities linked to procurement initiated before June 2021 will be allowed to be concluded by December 2021. Still, the period considered effective project implementation will have lasted anyway 6.5+ years. Such duration was considered is excessively long by the RTA, but normal by the TE. With the impact of the worsening of the pandemic in 2021, this could not have been different. The TE finds that NCE Team may not have been sufficiently sensitive to project needs.

4

Monitoring, Evaluation:

- Evidence shows that the need for adjusting project milestones is quite common across the UNDP GEF portfolio. The project had requested three duration extensions, the last one in 2021, which was initially denied by NCE, apparently in an effort to implement newly consolidated SOPs and stricter rules around the repeated rephasing of the GEF grant through end-of-year budget revisions. The TE thinks that this is in reality a sign of poor project planning and scoping. And this is the issue that should be addressed in project design. The impact of the high turnover at management level within at APAL has been an issue and a risk. It could have been foreseen in project design, and project Support to NIM should have been reinforced. As a result, project planning was overly ambitious, vis-à-vis the actual implementation capacity.

- Project indicators and targets must be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/realistic and Trackable/time-bound. If they are not, they create an administrative burden. Avoid vague indicators and indicators that are not measurable within the project implementation period and unrealistic targets.

- Development of a comprehensive M&E systems for the project and usable risk register. Train project staff in the use of the systems. UNDP’s systems are improving but they are not integrated. Also, it is not clear how sound risk management practices will be integrated with Implementing Partners’ systems, as UNDP reinforces the full NIM modality. Regardless, UNDP projects must have adequate means for monitoring and reporting and help with this integration.

5

A Sustainability Plan, Replication/Upscaling and Exist Strategy does not appear to have been developed. This is needed for sustaining products, outcomes and effects to be made explicit plus provide the guidance towards upscaling the results of the project as appropriate

The project does not have a clear Sustainability Plan or Exit Strategy (although UNDP has follow-up plans in the form of new programs, which might not be the same) and continuation of benefits may be in jeopardy unless concrete follow-up strategies and replication are rectified. Quick studies targeted at the tail end of the project will not secure sustainability. Some of the important studies were completed too late in the project’s lifetime to have any impact on expected results or on the host institution’s performance.

6

The project has generated a good amount of data, information and knowledge, some of which has been put out in publications, however, a lot is only found in electronic format in the project’s archives and not readily accessible to the public. Main reports are not even found in Open UNDP.

7

The project has resulted in a lot of benefits, and it will rely on other projects to replicate and further upscale to a more significant level. A follow-up intervention is recommended to further secure the investment made by the GEF/SCCF, Government and UNDP.

8

Project management :

- Project implementation officially starts by signature of the PRODOC. However, the actual project implementation always starts effectively with a delay typically of several months. This inaugural period of several months should be reflected and taken into account in project design. To the extent possible, the period of project mobilization should be attempted shortened.

- Clear standard operating procedures outlining core functions in project management would be useful to avoid the type of arrangement that the coastal resilience project (technically linked to the implementing partner, but operationally linked to UNDP.

- Recruit project managers and project teams early, but make no compromise on the quality of HR. Also, robust capacity building programs in project management and accounting, especially during initial phase is needed.

Management Response Documents
1. Recommendation:

The mainstreaming of gender and women’s empowerment into project results would be insufficient, if only project design is considered, and also considering the gender tagging as “Significant Objective”. The strengthening gender-responsive strategies in crisis (conflict and disaster) prevention, preparedness and recovery has not been sufficiently incorporated into the project document. The mainstreaming of gender into project design has been mandated by

UNDP at least since the launching of the Agency’s Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2021. During implementation, there have been more tangible efforts towards gender mainstreaming, but to a limited extent (based on the reading of technical and implementation report from 2016 through to at least 2019). Most of the gender mainstreaming actions happened towards the end of the project. In terms of products prepared by the project we highlight the report “Élaboration d’un diagnostic sur l’intégration de l’approche genre dans le projet – Ghar El Melh et Djerba” from 2021. In terms of and results from actions funded by the project (e.g. through NGOs and benefitting local communities), there have been several actions on the ground mentioned quoted from the 2021 PIR further up. However, even the number of female beneficiaries is still small, and results are modest – especially if the gender policy marking of ‘significant objective’ is considered.

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

This recommendation will be addressed in the new projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Mainstreaming of gender and women’s empowerment into project results
[Added: 2022/04/04]
UNDP/APAL 2022/04 Completed This recommendation will be taken into account in the implementation of the NAP project and other ongoing UNDP projects and at the CERC cluster level. In addition, the design of a new project (APAL/PNUD) to be submitted to the GCF will integrate the need for gender mainstreaming from the project design stage
2. Recommendation:

The TE recognizes that it is not possible to ‘turn back time’ (of course), and that there is always a raison d’être for why things were as they were. Yet, four key actions from the MTR’s management response were completed too late in the project’s lifetime to have any impact on results or on APAL’s performance as the host institution. At the same time, they were strategic and would require more time to mature and show results. In particular, this recommendation related to the following types of results: (i) certain strategic studies; (ii) actions on the ground, especially those tagged as Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA); and (iii) proposed changes to legislative processes.

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

It is important to recognize that some important actions could only be finalized late in the life of the project, such as the work of laying palm tree Ganivelles as a soft technique for protection against erosion, as well as the strategic studies in connection with the Djerba climate plan and the restructuring of APAL. It is important to note the commitment of APAL and the various actors and stakeholders on the coast to ensure the sustainability and maintenance of these works and for the strategic studies they have contributed in a direct way to the actualization of the NDC of Tunisia.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Follow up the implementation and sustainability of strategic studies and interventions
[Added: 2022/04/04]
APAL/ME/UNDP 2022/04 Completed Transferred to the NAP project
3. Recommendation:

The Covid-19 pandemic is worsening in Tunisia. The country is embarking in what appears to be a stricter lock-down (again) in May/June 2021 – and beyond (besides the 2020 lockdown). A project duration extension request till end 2021 had been posed by the project to the NCE Team, on the grounds of covid-19 impacts on project implementation. The request was initially denied by the NCE Team. Now, only activities linked to procurement initiated before June 2021 will be allowed to be concluded by December 2021. Still, the period considered effective project implementation will have lasted anyway 6.5+ years. Such duration was considered is excessively long by the RTA, but normal by the TE. With the impact of the worsening of the pandemic in 2021, this could not have been different. The TE finds that NCE Team may not have been sufficiently sensitive to project needs.

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

Conducting Study to fully gauge the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on vulnerable populations, including those that are a climatically vulnerable. This will be planned in a new project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure the future projects, like the National Adaptation Plan, to capitalise on the COVID lessons learned.
[Added: 2022/04/19]
Project team 2022/04 Completed
4. Recommendation:

Monitoring, Evaluation:

- Evidence shows that the need for adjusting project milestones is quite common across the UNDP GEF portfolio. The project had requested three duration extensions, the last one in 2021, which was initially denied by NCE, apparently in an effort to implement newly consolidated SOPs and stricter rules around the repeated rephasing of the GEF grant through end-of-year budget revisions. The TE thinks that this is in reality a sign of poor project planning and scoping. And this is the issue that should be addressed in project design. The impact of the high turnover at management level within at APAL has been an issue and a risk. It could have been foreseen in project design, and project Support to NIM should have been reinforced. As a result, project planning was overly ambitious, vis-à-vis the actual implementation capacity.

- Project indicators and targets must be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/realistic and Trackable/time-bound. If they are not, they create an administrative burden. Avoid vague indicators and indicators that are not measurable within the project implementation period and unrealistic targets.

- Development of a comprehensive M&E systems for the project and usable risk register. Train project staff in the use of the systems. UNDP’s systems are improving but they are not integrated. Also, it is not clear how sound risk management practices will be integrated with Implementing Partners’ systems, as UNDP reinforces the full NIM modality. Regardless, UNDP projects must have adequate means for monitoring and reporting and help with this integration.

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

In the future, more attention will be given in practices for project scoping, planning, risk management and stakeholder capacity assessments. Trainings and capacity building will be mobilized.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure for all the portfolio project, to have an M&E sight at all steps of the implementation - or refer to the CO M&E specialist. Ensure at least 3 review of the project in its cycle.
[Added: 2022/04/19]
Project team 2022/04 Completed Transfered to the Team to ensure a full monitoring t=of the project.
5. Recommendation:

A Sustainability Plan, Replication/Upscaling and Exist Strategy does not appear to have been developed. This is needed for sustaining products, outcomes and effects to be made explicit plus provide the guidance towards upscaling the results of the project as appropriate

The project does not have a clear Sustainability Plan or Exit Strategy (although UNDP has follow-up plans in the form of new programs, which might not be the same) and continuation of benefits may be in jeopardy unless concrete follow-up strategies and replication are rectified. Quick studies targeted at the tail end of the project will not secure sustainability. Some of the important studies were completed too late in the project’s lifetime to have any impact on expected results or on the host institution’s performance.

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

Exit Strategy is  being prepared and drafted and Agreements to ensure the continuity of collaboration between the national partner APAL and the municipalities and other institutions have been signed. The project successfully found a framework for exchanging data and information between the institutions by signing these agreements, which remain in force beyond the project's deadline.  In addition, a network for information and data exchange has been created to improve coordination and sharing between the different stakeholders in the management of coastline.

The CO took note of this and is checking all projects have prepared one.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Put in place systematic processes for exit strategy preparation and update twice a project life.
[Added: 2022/04/19]
Team Leader - CO M&E 2022/03 Completed Transfered to M&E specialist to train the teams and put processes in place
6. Recommendation:

The project has generated a good amount of data, information and knowledge, some of which has been put out in publications, however, a lot is only found in electronic format in the project’s archives and not readily accessible to the public. Main reports are not even found in Open UNDP.

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

APAL will share with the members of the CoPil the documentation produced in the framework of the project.

it have been shared with the steering comitee. Cf Minutes of the steering committee (14th December)

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
APAL to share the minutes of the COPIL to the members
[Added: 2022/04/19]
APAL/ project team 2022/01 Completed The minutes have been shared with the steering comitee. Cf Minutes of the steering committee (14th December)
7. Recommendation:

The project has resulted in a lot of benefits, and it will rely on other projects to replicate and further upscale to a more significant level. A follow-up intervention is recommended to further secure the investment made by the GEF/SCCF, Government and UNDP.

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

The project to be submitted to the GCF will be based on the results of the "Coastal Resilience" project as well as the project that has just started “National Adaptation Plan: Advancing risk informed development and land-use planning in Tunisia”.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Continue on submitting proposals to GEF on the adaptation to climate changes, as the National counterparts are in demand
[Added: 2022/04/19]
Team Leader / CERC colleagues 2022/04 Completed A new project is starting - approved and Signed = National Adaptation Plan, as well as a new project to be submitted to GEF7.
8. Recommendation:

Project management :

- Project implementation officially starts by signature of the PRODOC. However, the actual project implementation always starts effectively with a delay typically of several months. This inaugural period of several months should be reflected and taken into account in project design. To the extent possible, the period of project mobilization should be attempted shortened.

- Clear standard operating procedures outlining core functions in project management would be useful to avoid the type of arrangement that the coastal resilience project (technically linked to the implementing partner, but operationally linked to UNDP.

- Recruit project managers and project teams early, but make no compromise on the quality of HR. Also, robust capacity building programs in project management and accounting, especially during initial phase is needed.

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

These recommendations will be addressed in the new projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure for all future project to recruite the project team as early as possible, in compliance with POPP regulations.
[Added: 2022/04/19]
Team Leader / HR 2022/04 Completed To be implemented in the future projects

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