Evaluation on Sound Environmental management for sustainable development

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Evaluation Plan:
2013-2018, Lesotho
Evaluation Type:
Outcome
Planned End Date:
12/2016
Completion Date:
12/2016
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
70,000

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Download document Change in CPD Evaluation ToR. International Consultant_E&E.pdf tor English 126.90 KB Posted 207
Download document Evaluation Report on Sound Environmental management for sustainable development _ Lesotho.pdf report English 463.94 KB Posted 223
Download document CPD Outcomes Evaluation_2016_TOR.pdf tor English 1015.65 KB Posted 283
Title Evaluation on Sound Environmental management for sustainable development
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2013-2018, Lesotho
Evaluation Type: Outcome
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2016
Planned End Date: 12/2016
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Environment & Sustainable Development
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Development plans and programmes integrate environmentally sustainable solutions in a manner that promotes poverty reduction, MDG achievement and low-emission climate-resilient development
Evaluation Budget(US $): 70,000
Source of Funding: Core
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 20,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Richard Carlos Worden Consultant rcworden2002@yahoo.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: LESOTHOLESOTHO
Lessons
1.

There is need to continue using the partnership approach to align projects with GOL priorities, but finds that implementing projects through the central government has proven problematic, particularly during the LREBRE Project, when tariffs were doubled and direct contracting procedures with installers of solar household systems were instituted. Getting the private sector to participate in the follow-on RVCC Project will be a critical element of its ultimate success, or failure. This lesson would suggest that a number of alternatives for working with lower (district and community) levels of government agencies, NGOs and CBOs in civil society, and with the private sector in private-public partnerships, need to be considered. 

 


2.

Difficulty of introducing untested and novel approaches to address extremely difficult and ‘thorny’ development challenges that do not lend themselves to quick or predictable solutions, a fact which should be acknowledged in designing and implementing interventions. Continuing with the example of the SE4ALL Project, the challenge of creating the right incentives to encourage their participation will require an approach of ‘trial-and-error’ and ‘structured learning’ where progress is not expected to be linear, and mistakes and mishaps are not punished by overly prescriptive procedures or crushing deadlines that inhibit experimentation and learning-by-doing. Rather than focusing on a number of preliminary steps and interim outputs (e.g., Country Action Agenda and Investment Prospectus) within the first 12 months, it may be wiser to reduce the number and specificity of those processes and deliverables, leaving it up to the PMU to figure out the best ways to achieve the desired outcomes within more reasonable timeframes.


3.

Need for greater accountability of the GOL’s performance. Working in partnership with GOL institutions had been problematic and challenging in many cases. Again, the LREBRE Project serves as an example of this. There have consistently been long delays in implementation, lack of adequate personnel and equipment, and the GOL has not passed key pieces of enabling legislation at the national level in a timely manner. Therefore, some sort of accountability or project implementation ‘discipline’ appears to be warranted in the future to help ensure that GOL ministries and staff are sufficiently motivated to achieve the 8 outcomes for which they are responsible to achieve, with the UNDP’s support. The need for better capacitated and resourced district staff of GOL institutions was cited in all interviews and documents reviewed.


4.

 Number of issues raised in project documents and interviews about project implementation shortcomings and gaps. Among these were consistent remarks or comments of the general under-staffing of project implementation teams, especially a shortage of ‘in-house’ technical expertise. Logistical issues involving the time, cost, and effort of reaching project sites from project offices located in Maseru was also mentioned as a past mistake that is being corrected in more recent projects. And overly bureaucratic and time-consuming administrative requirements for procurement, reimbursement and disbursement, and reporting actions by the UNDP were reported frequently as being responsible for delays in project implementation. In terms of the long ‘gaps’ between projects, such as the nearly four-year gap between the end of the LREBRE Project in March 2013 and the follow-on SE4ALL Project that has yet to effectively start was noted by the evaluator as a factor limiting the Programme’s overall effectiveness. As a result, the UNDP is essentially working on a project-by-project basis rather than on a continuous, sustained programmatic basis, which undermines the momentum that had been built up by the previous project


Findings
1.
The overall relevance of the CPD outcome is assessed as being highly relevant to both the UN’s strategic priorities, as defined in the CPD and LUNDAP 2013-2017, as well as to the GOL’s national priorities identified in the NSDP 2012/13-2016/17 and Vision 2020.

2.

The effectiveness ratings for all three of the expected elements of CPD outcome were ‘modest to moderate,’ the overall relevance of the CPD outcome is being assessed accordingly as ‘modest.’


3.

Given that the ratings of efficiency for two of the three aspects of the CPD outcome were ‘modest’ while the third outcome was not evaluable, the overall rating for efficiency under the this CPD  outcome is modest.  


4.

While it remains to be seen whether the results achieved under the SE4ALL project will be sustained to create a market-driven, private sector-led approach to renewable energy mini-grids in rural areas that are ‘off-grid,’ there is potential there for continued growth in that sector. However, it is little, if any, doubt that emphasis will continue to be placed on efforts to build greater resilience to disasters and climate change impacts through reduced vulnerability and more ‘adaptive capacity’ development in Lesotho, such as through diversification of rural incomes, and better land and water resources management. Therefore, the overall sustainability of efforts to decrease vulnerability to disasters, especially those driven by climate change, are very likely to continue being national and local priorities.


Recommendations
1
UNDP broaden its conceptualization of its strategic partnerships with central level GOL institutions. The UNDP should continue to expand the range of partners it works with, and the way in which it works with them. 
2
UNDP needs to acknowledge the difficulty of achieving the outcomes it seeks in project documents and reflect them in their results and resource frameworks so that it doesn’t end up over-promising and under-delivering. The development challenges that the UNDP is tackling under CPD Focus Area #2 have proven to be extremely resistant to quick and easy resolution. In many ways, they are generational challenges involving reforms to long-practiced traditions and requiring changes in individual behaviors by large portions of the population spread out over large areas of the country. Therefore, it is recommended that the UNDP revisit its approach to preparing project documents and results frameworks in a more realistic and achievable way, fully acknowledging the difficulty of the tasks it is undertaking. 
3

UNDP needs to hold its implementing partners more accountable for achieving outcomes. Therefore, it is recommended that the UNDP consider urging the GEF and other donors to use ‘conditionality’ when preparing loans or grants to the GOL, and evaluate its implementing partners as a ‘common practice’ in all its projects. These steps, and others, might incentivize the GOL to improve its own performance and achievement of mutually agreed-to goals and outcomes.    

4

UNDP should analyze the common threads running through all the evaluations of past projects within this Programme with a view to taking actions to correct consistent shortcomings in project implementation and gaps between projects on all current and future interventions. Finally, the long gaps in between projects should be minimized through ‘bridging mechanisms’ to maintain programme continuity. The GEF-SGP might well fill this role with small “demonstration” projects. Whatever mechanism is used, it is important to avoid the appearance of doing ‘one-on, one-off’ projects, and not being seen as a dependable development partner by the GOL. 

1. Recommendation:
UNDP broaden its conceptualization of its strategic partnerships with central level GOL institutions. The UNDP should continue to expand the range of partners it works with, and the way in which it works with them. 
Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/23]

 Work more closely with districts or lower levels of Governtment ministries, community councils, user groups and other actors at community level. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure representation of local authorities and NGOs in Project Steering Committees. Build partnerships at district and communities level
[Added: 2016/12/23]
Sustainable Development Specialist 2017/12 Overdue-Initiated To be done for ongoing and new projects History
2. Recommendation:
UNDP needs to acknowledge the difficulty of achieving the outcomes it seeks in project documents and reflect them in their results and resource frameworks so that it doesn’t end up over-promising and under-delivering. The development challenges that the UNDP is tackling under CPD Focus Area #2 have proven to be extremely resistant to quick and easy resolution. In many ways, they are generational challenges involving reforms to long-practiced traditions and requiring changes in individual behaviors by large portions of the population spread out over large areas of the country. Therefore, it is recommended that the UNDP revisit its approach to preparing project documents and results frameworks in a more realistic and achievable way, fully acknowledging the difficulty of the tasks it is undertaking. 
Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/23]

Strengthen joint planning and reviewing of projects aimed to achieve this outcome. Identify external factors and opportunities that could be jointly addressed with other actors. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Organise planning and review meetings with government and other actors working in this focus area.
[Added: 2016/12/23]
Sustainable Development Specialist and Deputy Resident Representative 2017/03 Overdue-Not Initiated Dates to be agreed with government History
3. Recommendation:

UNDP needs to hold its implementing partners more accountable for achieving outcomes. Therefore, it is recommended that the UNDP consider urging the GEF and other donors to use ‘conditionality’ when preparing loans or grants to the GOL, and evaluate its implementing partners as a ‘common practice’ in all its projects. These steps, and others, might incentivize the GOL to improve its own performance and achievement of mutually agreed-to goals and outcomes.    

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/23]

Partner with other UN agencies and development partners in advocating for accountability by government for achievement of this outcome.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Organize joint meeting with other UN agencies and development partners to strategize on how to make and /or encourage government to be more accountable towards achievement of its national goals, hence achievement of this outcome.
[Added: 2016/12/23] [Last Updated: 2020/01/02]
Sustainable Development Specialist and Deputy Resident Representative 2017/03 Overdue-Initiated History
4. Recommendation:

UNDP should analyze the common threads running through all the evaluations of past projects within this Programme with a view to taking actions to correct consistent shortcomings in project implementation and gaps between projects on all current and future interventions. Finally, the long gaps in between projects should be minimized through ‘bridging mechanisms’ to maintain programme continuity. The GEF-SGP might well fill this role with small “demonstration” projects. Whatever mechanism is used, it is important to avoid the appearance of doing ‘one-on, one-off’ projects, and not being seen as a dependable development partner by the GOL. 

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/23]

Some initial steps appear to have been taken on the RVCC Project in terms of locating more project field facilitators closer to field activities to reduce the logistical obstacles to accessing them and maintaining a more constant presence and closer working relationships with them. Projects to be designed in such a way that there will be gaps in between of projects.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Start resource mobilization for next programming cycle and formulation of projects that will be building on already on going
[Added: 2016/12/23]
Sustainable Development Specialist and Deputy Resident Representative 2017/12 Overdue-Initiated History

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