Final Evaluation of National Resilience Programme (NRP)

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Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Bangladesh
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
03/2022
Completion Date:
06/2022
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
No
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

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Title Final Evaluation of National Resilience Programme (NRP)
Atlas Project Number: 00085969
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Bangladesh
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 06/2022
Planned End Date: 03/2022
Management Response: No
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. 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
SDG Goal
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG Target
  • 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding: Project budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 80,874
Joint Programme: Yes
Joint Evaluation: Yes
  • Joint with UN Agencies
  • Joint with UN Women, UNOPS
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Soumik Biswas Team Leader INDIA
Arpita Chakraborty Monitoring and Evaluation Expert (Associate Evaluator) INDIA
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: BANGLADESH
Lessons
1.

A participatory approach in programme design and implementation ensures greater buy-in by government counterparts. NRP’s inclusive design approach followed by tailoring priorities in line with specific requirements of the nodal ministries has been a major contributing factor to its success.


2.

The NRP’s flexible approach to responding to demand-driven initiatives was a key to success and increased both ownership and buy-in among national and sub-national counterparts.


3.

A sub-project approach is indeed to leverage existing relationships with government counterparts. However, to be successful in achieving greater value for money, this approach requires a strong coordination mechanism among the IEs.


4.

For a complex project like NRP, it is necessary to have a narrower focus as it is not practicable to try to address all resilience issues through one technical assistance project.


5.

Technical and capacity-building support services need to be institutionalised within existing institutions with similar mandates. One-off training activities do not contribute significantly toward transformational changes. Targeting training and capacity building to either a ‘core group’ or ‘expert group’ within nodal departments comprising people at operational levels will have greater sustainability of policy actions.


6.

A siloed approach is not the correct way for gender mainstreaming since gender is a cross-cutting issue which needs to be addressed by everybody. Gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting should be integrated into project designs right from the inception of the interventions.


7.

Knowledge management of the NRP needs to be strengthened to establish the relevance of the project interventions in meeting the NRP goals.


8.

Internal monitoring of the NRP needs significant strengthening to capture the success as well as failures of the NRP and for identifying process inefficiencies.


9.

A technical assistance project should aim to work towards more strategic projects instead of smaller interventions. Smaller interventions should always be followed up either with policy directions, up-scaling or mechanisms for replication. Technical assistance programmes take a longer time to be adopted and demonstrate impact.


Findings
1.

Relevance

  • The NRP is seen as relevant in addressing the issues of resilience as identified in the policy documents of Bangladesh and the activities undertaken by the NRP is closely linked to the identified priorities of the GoB at national and sub-national levels. The programme has developed multiple innovative tools and approaches working in a participatory manner with government stakeholders to address disaster and resilience issues in each of the sub-projects undertaken by the three UN agencies. 
  • The NRP has responded flexibly by tailoring priorities in line with the specific needs of Bangladesh and has demonstrated significant flexibility to the changing needs of the country in the context of COVID, cyclone Amphan and flood in 2020 where the NRP provided support in tailoring “build back better” strategies and gender assessment of disaster response in real-time. Discussions with government ministries and other stakeholders have demonstrated a strong buy-in of NRP activities among government counterparts in different Ministries or other institutional entities.
  • The NRP has embarked on some very ambitious projects which have the potential to enhance the resilience of Bangladesh in the long run through policy changes and systemic changes. Chief among these are the AMS implementation, the dynamic flood risk model, the activity on sex and age disaggregated data on disasters with the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics as well as the development of Gender Markers for the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), etc.
  • The design of the NRP as 4 sub-projects implemented by separate UN entities sought to capitalise on the existing relationships of the implementing entities (IE) with the respective Ministries and also to play to the strengths of the individual implementing entities regarding specific goals of the NRP. The sub-programme approach has its benefit in leveraging relationships and complimentary expertise of different IEs. However, it needs strong coordination and a central decision-making body among the IEs to ensure the direction of the interventions are aligned towards the common goal of the NRP and leads to strategic policy level changes instead of overly focusing on smaller outputs.

2.

Effectiveness

  • Overall, the NRP has achieved most of the targeted outputs that each of the sub-projects undertook. Certain activities are in their final stages of implementation or pending validation and/or approval from the GoB. Since the NRP has been provided with an extension till December 2022, based on the present status of the projects it is likely that all the outputs as demarcated in the annual work plans of the sub-projects will be achieved by the end of the programme.
  • Pilot projects are an effective means to demonstrate and scale-up project interventions. Under this programme, some pilot actions have been supported which has led to knowledge and awareness generation regarding DRM. However, this is at a very operational level and presently there is no roadmap under the NRP to scale up and lead to strategic and systemic changes.
  • The success of the NRP is mainly contributed to the strong technical teams supporting the project implementation and the government’s ownership of the NRP. The NRP has benefitted from the enthusiasm of key GOB officials who were willing to achieve transformational changes. However, while the NRP has been successful in the technical aspects of resilience-building when it comes to innovative approaches to gender mainstreaming in planning and disaster management, the NRP had the potential to do better. The NRP needed a more integrated approach to project design and implementation regarding gender issues.
  • Besides the other effective interventions, the NRP has achieved some extraordinary numbers with respect to people trained through the programme. While the NRP has achieved a significant number of people trained, the effectiveness of the training provided, and the impacts of the training are not apparent in all cases.

3.

Efficiency

  • Over the programme period, NRP has contributed to developing institutional mechanisms, systems, and methodologies to enhance resiliently and in some cases gender-inclusive, planning at national and sub-national levels. Collaborating with relevant government ministries under the existing systems/mechanisms through regular involvement of officials in consultations and building in the process their capacities have reinforced ownership and enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of NRP. 
  • NRP has contributed to increased awareness at the ministry and community level regarding the need for resilient planning and the disproportional effect of disasters on women and vulnerable populations. By engaging at the grassroots levels with community members as well as with policy-makers at the higher levels, NRP has tried to strike a balance between a top-down approach and a bottom-up approach through (i) developing innovative system enhancements and (ii) capacity-building programmes or workshops.
  • Acknowledging the strengths of the NRP, it is also imperative to note the weaknesses of the programme as possible learning for future programmes. NRP has a unique project management structure which lacks any central decision-making body on the direction of the NRP by itself. Both the JPSC and JPIC set up are too formal to influence project decisions or facilitate discussions and debates on project ideas. In terms of the coordination of NRP with other development partners working in the same sector but not directly involved in NRP significant coordination is found mainly in two areas- i) taking the learnings/ results into consideration while designing NRP interventions, ii) informal arrangements and coordination with other donors and counterparts during COVID restrictions.

4.

Impact

  • Given the short time frame of the NRP, it is too early to assess the impact of the NRP programme. The impacts are expected to be significant once the recommendations from all the policy tools and system enhancements are fully integrated and adopted by the governments given that these have been developed in a consultative manner. 
  • The evaluation findings suggest that NRP has made significant progress against its output targets in all the sub-projects and is highly likely to complete most of the ongoing interventions till the closing of the programme in December 2022. 

5.

Value for Money

  • Many of the policies and toolkits developed through NRP have significant potential to strengthen systems and processes but are yet to be fully rolled out or benefits of those which have been piloted or implemented are yet to the accrue are difficult to monetize, and the efficiency of the NRP with respect to VfM is difficult to measure at this stage. In terms of economy of VfM analysis, the approach of NRP to build on earlier donor-funded projects is also a commendable approach and generates value for money on a broader scheme of development and resilience initiatives.

6.

Sustainability

  • The high level of ownership and engagement of the government counterparts in all the ministries with the NRP provides the evaluation team with enough confidence to conclude that the interventions supported by the NRP would continue even in the absence of the project. Having said that, it should be noted that most of the NRP interventions are yet to be fully integrated into the government systems. At the present moment, none of the interventions of the NRP is replicable without external assistance. The programme has not had the chance to mature enough to ensure sustenance without external aid. The design of the NRP with the government being an equal partner will be the biggest contributor to its sustainability beyond the project lifetime, once the project has had the opportunity and time to mature.

7.

Gender

  • The NRP has had success in mainstreaming resilience and gender sensitisation in the government decision-making process. Some of the key interventions of the NRP that have already found acceptance with the GOB which includes: the inclusion of gender consideration in Standing Order on Disasters 2019 and NPDM 2021-25; Inclusion of the DIA framework in the feasibility report template; Development of Dynamic Flood Risk Model for local level flood management; Implementation of the AMS in LGED from scratch – provides a holistic gender-inclusive asset management system including asset management plans for roads and bridges built and maintained by LGED; Piloting of SADDD collection on disasters by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

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