Strengthening Institutional capacity of MNIRENA

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Evaluation Plan:
2013-2018, Rwanda
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
07/2018
Completion Date:
03/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
40,000

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Title Strengthening Institutional capacity of MNIRENA
Atlas Project Number: 00078743
Evaluation Plan: 2013-2018, Rwanda
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 03/2018
Planned End Date: 07/2018
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. 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
SDG Goal
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
SDG Target
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  • 15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
  • 15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
Evaluation Budget(US $): 40,000
Source of Funding: UNDP (project)
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 22,876
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: Yes
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
José Galindo Consultant ECUADOR
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Government, Development Partners, UN agencies, Civil Society
Countries: RWANDA
Comments:

Strengthening Institutional capacity of MNIRENA Evaluation is still ongoing to completion. The evaluation report is now available and only management responses are being done. So, we are requesting you to help in changing the end date till July 30th, 2018.

Lessons
1.

Capacity building at individual and institutional levels is a highly complex challenge, that can only be conceived as a long-term tailor made process. Programme design and implementation should take note of this concept to land programmes that are based on a sequential approach, where each new programme or project moves the process one step forward. Rwanda should visualize that moving the whole ENR sector to the higher stage where it deserves to be, could probably take 10 or 15 years, and surely several programmes and projects such as the one is being evaluated in this report.


2.

The hands-on approach of team experts was appraised as a highly efficient and effective implementation practice. The day by day exposure and experience acquired in planning, problem-solving and decision-making should be considered for future projects and programmes in the sector


3.

Local ownership and empowerment is key, several interviews pointed that critical people at different levels are not always committed to provide sufficient time to devote to the programme team and interventions, leading into unfulfilled potential. Participation of permanent staff should not be conceived as an additional task or responsibility, programme should be better integrated into the institutional practices and be continuously supported with high level endorsement


4.

Programme created capacities and impacted people at a national and crosscutting level, however the absorption of the ENR should be targeted in future initiatives to ensure that these capacities that were created would be retained and further refined by the institution, and not leave after programme ends.


5.

The international cooperation could play a major role in catalyzing capacity building efforts. UNDP is in a key position to bring together the different institutions, integrate stakeholders and align donors into a new planning cycle that builds upon the achievements and pending gaps left by the programme


6.

Information generated by programmes such as this, should be accessible and spread across key people targeted at different institutions. There should be a communication and continuous education strategy ensuring that information and resources generated by the programme are available and effectively used by targeted actors. Management practices should be more rigorous with regards to systematizing, storing, analyzing and using all information generated during the past 4 years


7.

The RBMES was not sufficiently developed considering its political, cultural and behavioral complexities. Issues such as resistance to change, adoption strategy, high level endorsement and stakeholder’s participation should be adequately adjusted and linked to national reality. The RBMES should be based on the users, its capacities and constrains, to ease appropriation and increase usability and engagement from local authorities and permanent staff. Benchmarking could have been useful to understand major trends and implementation challenges


8.

Focal points and key permanent staff assigned to programme implementation is a critical success factor. Counterparts should be competent and empowered to undertake a proactive role in quality assurance and to effectively link consultants with beneficiaries. This is where implication of key clients to reflect, design ant test together is where sustainable capacity building takes place


9.

Programme´s evaluation and monitoring should be more structured and formal. Formal spaces such as Steering Committee Meetings did not take place on a regular basis, progress reports are not completed, inconsistent and do not reflect all expected periods of implementation. There is also a room for improvement in terms of improving the quality of this internal monitoring and evaluation tools


Findings
1.

4.1 Programme Design

The Programme addresses key issues for Rwanda that are important barriers to promote sustainable economic development. It targeted former ministry of natural resources and its affiliated agencies, a relatively young Ministry established in 2011 and currently ill-equipped to deal with the mission ahead of it. There have been significant shortfalls in capacity which constrain MINIRENA’s ability to implement and enforce environmental policy, and to factor in complex cross-cutting environment and climate change issues into strategic planning. The coordination of ENR sector also proved to be a very difficult, especially when it comes to mainstreaming environmental and climate change priorities into national polices and strategies. This issues are still relevant today, and would surely inspire new projects aiming at strengthening the national institutions in charge of enforcing environmental policy in the country.

The Programme is aligned with the national development agenda, and responds to clear mandates in terms of its political and institutional frameworks. The major subject of this cooperation, former MINIRENA, is responsible for coordinating the ENR Sector’s contribution to the EDPRS 2 (2013 –2018) development outcomes through the 5 year ENR Sector Strategy. The Programme was envisioned as a key tool to support MINIRENA to achieve the overarching objective of the ENR Strategy which is to ensure that environment and natural resources are utilized and managed productively in support of equitable and sustained national development and poverty reduction.


Tag: Environment Policy Institutional Strengthening National Institutions

2.

It can also be said that Programme’s activities and specific needs respond to technical ground and were based on previous cooperation processes. It addresses the key institutional weaknesses identified in the EDPRS 1 self-assessment, the capacity needs assessment and needs identified by the Technical Assistance provide by SIDA for the development of the Monitoring and Evaluation system.

However, the design proved to be too ambitious considering that capacity building and creation of institutional cultures are long term processes. Instead of planning a comprehensive step by step approach, the Programme proposed to implement five complex outputs simultaneously, without considering the existing structural constrains in terms of human resources, procurement, technical capacities and institutional culture. In parallel to this Programme, former ministry of natural resources MINIRENA was also implementing other projects, when existing capacity to implement development projects was still limited. The design could probably have been more careful in terms of the real absorption capacity of the host entity.


Tag: Monitoring and Evaluation Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management

3.

4.2 Assumptions and risks

The PRODOC acknowledges a quite comprehensive list of risks and assumptions related to the Programme. These somewhat anticipated challenges that were acknowledged and were bound to be faced by different actors involved in the Programme’s implementation, allowing an appropriate corrective and proactive anticipation and proper management of most of the risks.

However, the major risk affected dramatically the Programme was not considered in the original PRODOC. The shortcuts in the available funding was not anticipated, and somehow came as a surprise for all parties involved in the process. In the same direction, the fact that USD 3,2 millions were still open in the original budget, with no clear funding source identified, was also a critical aspect affecting Programme implementation which was not considered properly. The internal review of the project addressed later, in June 2016,a realistic approach towards what was possible and more likely to bring more impact with the available resources.


Tag: Challenges Human and Financial resources

4.

4.3 Relevance and participation of stakeholders

The cross-cutting nature of ENR strategic objectives makes it difficult for ENR chair to provide effective cross-sectoral co-ordination of the ENR Sector. The Programme was the right answer to the need to integrate sub-sector plans and present a coherent strategy that has a clear linkage and specific role in terms of fulfilling the sector needs towards contributing to the national major policy goals.

The Programme found a niche in relation to former MINIRENA’s contribution towards major policies and planning priorities of the country. It was designed to ensure that former MINERENA’s mandate was achieved through influencing other sectors mainstreaming environment in major national planning and decision making processes such as Rwanda 2050, EDPRS 1 and 2, GGCRS, 7 years Government Strategic Plan, and the pursuit of a green economy approach for economic transformation in the country.


Tag: Policies & Procedures Awareness raising Capacity Building

5.

4.4 UNDP comparative advantage

The Programme received support and attention from technical and high-level staff from UNDP Rwanda. They participated actively during the design process and forged an effective liaison with government counterparts to ensure quality assurance and Programme alignment with UNDP`s objectives of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) and the rights-based approach. By the time planning took place for this Programme, the regional UNDP office was affected by instability and this lead to a relative low participation in the Programme.

In general terms, UNDP relationships with government counterparts and other stakeholders was found strong and positive and led to increase ownership and facilitate communication channels, particularly in spaces such as the Steering Committee meetings. UNDP is co-chair of the ENR sector. In that role UNDP supports the ministry to coordinator the sector, liaise with other donors in the sectors, to mobilize resources required by the ministry to fulfill its core mandate. The case of Sida Swedish, EU and others are concrete examples. On the course of the implementation of this programme, the ministry was accredited by the Global Climate Fund (GCF) as the first government institution to mobilize resources to implement GGCRS.


Tag: Gender Equality Partnership Coordination Technical Support

6.

UNDP has a longstanding relationship with the environment sector in the country, even time before the first EDPRS1 was launched. Giving its position as co-chair of the ENR sector, UNDP has played a strategic role when it comes to align and ensure proper division of labor when it comes to donor supporting national priorities in the environment sector, and promoted a sector-wide approach instead of subsector specific interventions. It played also a fundamental role in terms of mobilizing technical support aimed at improving the understanding of trends and major issues affecting the sector.

UNDP was recognized to be a fundamental partner to bring all donors together, and to approach capacity building not only from the perspective of individuals but also institutions and systems in place to allow an enabling environment for these individuals to operate properly.


Tag: Oversight Partnership Procurement Quality Assurance Capacity Building Technical Support

7.

5.PROGRAMME EXECUTION

This chapter analyses how the Programme was implemented, what was the management approach, and how it could adapt to major challenges and change. It considers stakeholder participation, financial planning, monitoring and evaluation during implementation.


Tag: Project and Programme management

8.

5.1Adaptive Management

Implementation of the Programme was not stable throughout the four years’ period, leading into three differentiated moments:

Slow start up: difficulties in procurement’s process at the side of movement, setting up the team and fix administrative and financial arrangements.

Full implementation: international and national experts on board, manuals, training, and enhanced coordination is visible and generates great expectation

Scale down: after budgetary cuts were announced, complete stop in 3 out of 5 outputs all experts, counterparts and expected activities were cut. The RBMES advancing at a slow phase while SPIU was still supported and strengthened.The Programme faced hard challenges and innumerable circumstances that affected its expected performance and delivery. Issues like the high turnover of the ministry ‘s staff, resistance to change and shortage of funding obligated the project team to find alternatives and maintain a flexible approach towards implementation.


Tag: Challenges Human and Financial resources Operational Efficiency Procurement

9.

Another area where adaptive management was proved relates to the funding of the five baselines thanks to the support of the BTC. It is not yet clear if these should have been carried out within the scope of the original contract with NIRAS, however once the need has been identified and the budgetary cuts arose, UNDP through this programme was able to find a funding partner to fill the gap. Studies were developed with the financial support of a new cooperation partner that was not originally supposed to contribute with funding.

The nature of the Steering Committee as it was conceived, allowed a great space for flexibility, sometimes at the extent of the originally planned activities and priorities presented in the original logical framework. This is a space where quarter allocations were prioritized and redirected per emerging issues and demands.

On the opposite side, the output that showed less ability to deal with adaptive management is the one related to RBMES. The company hired to develop the system did not seem to fully understand the real nature of the assignment, it faced serious challenges to maintain a stable collaboration mainly due to weak recruitment. During the past two years, the team faced three different project managers, and the current one is not even placed in Rwanda now. They presented a remedy strategy and are striving to deliver with a lot of time pressure, despite this, the existing team is not even hired to work on a full-timebasis, leading into serious doubts about its chance to deliver a quality RBMES on time.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Procurement Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Efficiency

10.

5.2 Programme Financing

The original budget according to the PRODOC was worth USD 10 million for the four years’ period. Out of these resources UNDP was supposed to mobilize US $1,800,000, ONE Fund with support from the Swedish government US $5,000,000, and the remaining US$3,200,000 was supposed to be leveraged throughout the Programme implementation period.

As reported by the implementing agency, by December 2017 a total of US $3,629,951 was executed, roughly one third of the original funding commitment. At the end of year 2015 UNDP communicated to MINIRENA that expected funding was not going to be available, which lead led to cut off three out of the five original outputs of the program. This situation explains that 65% of the resources were executed during the first two years(Graphic 1).


Tag: Efficiency Human and Financial resources

11.

5.3 Monitoring and Evaluation

Monthly and quarterly reports were developed, apparently not in a consistent manner, considering that the information received for this evaluation has gaps and is incomplete. Information to inform decision making and report on the advance of the Programme in terms of measuring the major outcome indicators (poverty alleviation, GDP and exports increase, etc.)was not gathered. There was no evidence of a written M&E plan.

According to the PRODOC the programme was supposed to deliver at least five different M&E tools to ensure a proper track of the Programme implementation. By the time this evaluation report was drafted, the evaluator did not find evidence of a Monitoring Schedule Plan. Only6 out of 15 expected quarter progress reports were presented to the evaluator, as well as 2 out of 3 annual audit reports, and 1 out of 3 expected Annual Progress reports. Steering Committee meetings were not regularly accomplished, and just few minutes of these were shared to the evaluator.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Monitoring and Evaluation Quality Assurance

12.

6.PROGRAMME RESULTS

6.1 Overall results

This chapter analyses the major results obtained by each of the Programme ´s outputs, comparing initial objectives presented in the logical framework with the perception of people interviewed and the different supporting documents and reports that have been received so far.

In general terms, the two remaining outputs after the Programme scale down, are the ones presenting more results and a greater level of activity completion. However, the progress made in delivering other three outputs are also presented, and at some extent have left a certain route open for future accomplishment. Annex 5 presents a detailed report on the different activities achieved according to the original targets, as reported by the project team.


13.

6.1.1 Output 1: Strengthened planning and co-ordination capacity for informed policy and decision-making.

Baseline: Poor cross-sectoral co-ordination and limited capacity for effective strategic planning, policy analysis and formulation. With regards to the baseline, the project played a major role in terms of improving the institutional structure, providing technical and financial support to the creation and functioning of the SPIU.

As reported by the project team in Annex 4, out of the nine output targets defined in the logical framework, just three were reported as completed, one was partially completed and five were not completed at all(Graphic 4).

Graphic 5 shows evidence about the slow startup process, with a high percentage of targets not completed. By the 2-4 years period performance improved tough it was affected by the budgetary cuts and some targets had to be sacrificed. By the end of the Programme, target implementation improved significantly, although it did not achieve all expected targets.

Table 1 presents in detail the most relevant results achieved for each indicator defined in the logical framework. Most indicators formulated at the output level in the logical framework do not have a baseline and were not measured or assessed at all. This explains the need to have a qualitative approach towards presenting the objectives achieved for each output indicator.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Institutional Strengthening

14.

6.1.2 Output 2: Strengthened operational performance of MINIRENA for improved service delivery

Baseline: Weak internal policies and systems constrain effective operational management. High staff turnover, poor performance management and low capacity of staff to deliver timely and quality results.With regards to the baseline, the project generated practical tools such as institutional manuals, templates and procedures. The planning capacities acquired were tested just recently, when the SPIU could draft the seven years Strategic Plan for the whole sector.

Out of the twelve output targets defined in the logical framework, just two were reported as completed, three were partially completed and seven were not completed at all.

Graphic 7shows that this output had a faster start up in comparison with the other outputs. However, it was more affected by the budgetary cuts and practically stopped during the 2-4 years’period, however it presented partial activity during the last year of implementation.

Table 2 presents in detail the most relevant results achieved for each indicator defined in the logical framework. Most indicators formulated at the output level in the logical framework do not have a baseline and were not formally measured or assessed at all. This explains the need to have a qualitative approach towards presenting the objectives achieved for each output indicator.


Tag: Operational Efficiency Policies & Procedures

15.

6.1.3 Output 3: Strengthened capacities for outreach, engagement and partnerships with state and non-state institutions in the ENR sector.

Baseline: low capacity to develop productive institutional relationships and influence key stakeholders contributing to poor co-ordination and insufficient mainstreaming of environmental issues. With this regard, the Programme claims to have mapped civil society and private sector ´s actual and potential contribution towards achieving the ENR goals and activities. Before the budgetary cuts, the Programme provided technical support in strategic communication for the ENR sector, particularly the former MINIRENA.

As reported by the project team in Annex 4, out of the eleven output targets defined in the logical framework, just one was reported as completed, six were partially completed and four were not completed at all(Graphic 8).

Graphic 9 shows a slow startup process during the first year, with a high percentage of targets not completed. By the 2-4 years’period performance improved tough it was affected by the budgetary cuts and all targets were just partially implemented. By the end of the Programme, no target was implemented for this output.

Table 3 presents in detail the most relevant results achieved for each indicator defined in the logical framework. Most indicators formulated at the output level in the logical framework do not have a baseline and were not measured or assessed at all. This explains the need to have a qualitative approach towards presenting the objectives achieved for each output indicator.


Tag: Coordination Technical Support Civil Societies and NGOs Private Sector

16.

6.1.4 Output 4: Results based M&E System for ENR Sector developed and implemented

Baseline: Limited institutional capacity and strategic co-ordination of monitoring and evaluation between sub-sectors. RBMES is not yet in implementation phase, butit reached important process results such as a set of 165 indicators and baseline studies.

This is the second most successful output in terms of implementing targets. Out of the eleven output targets defined in the logical framework, four were reported as completed, four were partially completed and three were not completed at all(Graphic 10).

Graphic 11presents a relatively good first year of implementation. Although this output is one of the two survivals after the budgetary, its performance decreased considerably during the 2-4 years period. Performance improved substantially during the 5thyear of implementation.

Table 4 presents in detail the most relevant results achieved for each indicator defined in the logical framework. Most indicators formulated at the output level in the logical framework do not have a baseline and were not measured or assessed at all. Thisexplains the need to have a qualitative approach towards presenting the objectives achieved for each output indicator.


Tag: Environment Policy Monitoring and Evaluation

17.

6.1.5 Output 5: Strengthened legal, regulatory and fiscal framework and enhanced institutional capacity of RNRA to effectively governmining operations

Baseline: Weak regulatory and fiscal frameworks and limited enforcement capacity, predominance of small-scale operators using outdated technologies and poor compliance with HSE and international best practice standards, low investment and insufficient technical, legal and financial capacity to engage with mining companies.

As reported by the project team in Annex 4, out of the sixteen output targets defined in the logical framework, eight were reported as completed, four were partially completed and four were not completed at all(Graphic 12).

Graphic 13demonstrates an outstanding first year of implementation, and later an important delivery during the 2-4 years period. This output was cancelled after the budgetary cuts and this explains its discrete performance by the end of the Programme.

Table 2 presents in detail the most relevant results achieved for each indicator defined in the logical framework. Most indicators formulated at the output level in the logical framework do not have a baseline and were not measured or assessed at all. This explains the need to have a qualitative approach towards presenting the objectives achieved for each output indicator.

 


Tag: Challenges Rule of law Human and Financial resources Policies & Procedures

18.

6.2 Relevance

The program’s timing was quite opportunistic to support the ENR sector’s mandate, considering that it was incubated at the time where EDPRS 1 was ending and evaluated. At that moment,it became more clear that the sector needed to be strengthened to ensure that another productive sector mainstream and integrate environment and CC. Moreover, giving the critical role of former MINIRENA this objective became acritical success factor for ensuring the contribution of the sector towards vision 2020 –2050, EDPRS, 7 Years Sector Strategy, Natural Accounting system, Green Growth Development Strategy. This confirms that program objectives were clearly aligned with major national development objectives and policies.

The program served as a logical consequence of sector development needs.It was built based on the Capacity Needs Assessment that was carried out in 2012. Somehow the design follows up on previous capacity-building interventions that targeted specific subsector such as forestry, but this time the aim was to address a sector wide approach by strengthening MINIRENA’s capacity to coordinate, monitor and mainstream environment in other key economic and productive sectors such as Mining, Energy, Agriculture.


Tag: Relevance Capacity Building Technical Support

19.

6.3 Cost-efficiency/ effectiveness of the Programme

The project faced serious delays during the startup process. Procurement and hiring of key staff proved to be inefficient and caused unnecessary delays in building the technical assistance team. Anticipating this risks and incorporating them into the programme planning could have lowered its impact in overall project execution. The first three outputs were the ones more affected by the slow start up process. In cases, such as Outputs 2 and 3, it was just not possible to recover and gain implementation rhythm. Graphic 14 shows that the two most successful outputs in terms of targets achieved were the ones that consumed a more resources.

Apparently, information generated by the project does not seem to be accessible and spread across key people targeted at different institutions. The experience faced by the evaluator to access data generated or relevant to the programme, suggest that management practices were not efficient with regards to systematizing, storing, analyzing and using all information generated during the past 4 years. This practice could lead to future duplication, misuse or untapped potential. It is highly recommended that the Programme considers this as an outstanding priority for the exit strategy during the last 6 months of the Programme.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency

20.

Capacity-building activities and efforts facilitated through the programme were developed in an efficient manner, making a reasonable use of the resources available, and generating an impact in targeted staff and beneficiaries in general. However, most of the training that took place was supposed to be further completed and finalized during the four years’i mplementation period. When the programme was downscale most capacity building activities stopped and the overall effectiveness was seriously affected. Expectations that were raised were not able to be met, and most of the beneficiaries just could not continue their training programs as expected.

The hands-on approach of team experts was appraised as a highly efficient and effective implementation practice. The day by day exposure and experience acquired in planning, problem solving and decision making should be considered for future projects and programmes in the sector.

On the other hand, the least cost effective output refers to the RBMES. The team hired to undertake this assignment faced serious difficulties in defining its role, setting up a proper team and ensuring aneffective and punctual delivery. After three project’s coordinators, six months prior to the end of the programme thesystem has not yet reached an implementation stage; the company responsible, NIRAS,now face the final and decisive six months with a project leader that does not live in the country, and a part -time team in charge.


Tag: Capacity Building Effectiveness

21.

6.4 Impact

The Programme could achieve an impact in all the original outputs, more significant and sustainable in the case of ENR`s operational performance, and planning and co-ordination capacity for informed policy and decision-making. Interviewers agree that the project could promote visible change in terms of strengthened capacities to develop sectorial policies and plans such as the most recent 7 years Sector Strategic Plan (SSP). The creation of SPIU has increased project implementation capacity and improved coordination with donors, the Ministry now implements a diversified portfolio of complex projects. Operational performance was also increased, the Ministry has now an operational manual, templates to report, working formats and institutional procedures.

As expected, the Programmewasnot likely to present a real contribution or impact in terms of the original outcomes as per the PRODOC. There is no evidence about the intention to even track their impact in terms of GDP, exports or international cooperation. As mentioned before, this is mostly due to de inadequacy of the selection of these indicators, considering that Programme outputs and activities were heading into a different result. The Programme was more likely to contribute to national development agenda from an intangible perspective, whose final impact is likely to be seen and measured in a much longer period.


Tag: Impact Institutional Strengthening Policy Advisory

22.

Not achieving all the expected results and original outputs could have impacted the sector in a negative way, specially giving the high expectations that were raised and the exposure awarded to MINIRENA. The evaluator anticipates a reputational risk for the ENR sector, considering the high-level exposure and crosscutting nature of the Programme’soutputs. The project was supposed to raise MINIRENA’s positioning and visibility among other national priorities and institutions, if funding would not have been a problem, probably this could have been achieved.

The Programme could contribute to analyze the context and perspectives of the ENR sector. Before the Programme there were almost no tools to trace were the sector was coming from, and where should it be heading to. According to national authorities, to some extent this has contributed to open up their minds, to reflect about the way they used to work and realize that there is always place for continuous improvement and institutional strengthening. With regards to this, contributions such as the operational manual for MINIRENA were fundamental for improving operational performance and cost effective management.


Tag: Impact Operational Efficiency Institutional Strengthening

23.

Although the RBMES is not still in place yet, its indicators are likely to generate a considerable impact in the short and midterm if adequate follow up is pursued. These indicators reflect core sector priorities and are potentially powerful tools to monitor other sectors compliance`s with environment and national resources targets; as well as in incorporating of climate change into economic planning and decisionmaking.

In terms of coordination and mobilization of the ENR sector, the project achieved great impact basically by reviving groups that existed before and were somehow already institutionalized back in 2008. Spaces such as the Joint Sector Review Meetings generated a base ground for mainstreaming environment and building capacities within each subsector and major stakeholders such as energy, agriculture, irrigation.

Severalinterviewsmentioned that capacities have increased in the ENR sector, providing greater structure and professionalism in processes such as human resources and finance. Entirely new issues were presented and explored such as mining engineering and occupational safety. People who benefited directly from capacity building ensure that the skills transferred are very instrumental in day by day operations. The enhanced capacities of SPIU played a critical role to support and lead the ENR sector’s seven year-plan. The plan was validated recently with minor observations and allowed capitalizing the most relevant lessons learned throughout project implementation.


Tag: Impact Coordination

24.

6.5 Sustainability

Although the creation of the SPIU was meant to be a major sustainability driver for the Programme, so far there is no clear exit strategy drafted or shared among the different people interviewed during the mission. This final 6 months are critical to organize a sound closure process, ensuring follow up of critical processes such as the RBMS and sustainability of the results achieved. This evaluation highly recommends an update of the original capacity needs assessment that inspired this programme, to be considered as an integral strategy to close the project and guide the interest of Sida Swedish and other cooperating agencies to fund a second phase of this Programme.

The Ministry should consider planning the exit strategy with the participation of the Programme ´s closest partners. UNDP has a longstanding commitment as co-chair of the ENR sector and will continue its support to the Ministry. Another key partner Sida Swedish is also considering to fund a second phase of this Programme, oriented to close the gaps left by the RBMES. The Belgium Technical Cooperation also confirmed their willingness to continue its cooperation with the country in environmental and forest issues


Tag: Sustainability Partnership

25.

Capacities built among key staff are likely to stay in the sector after the project ends, although not necessarily within the new Ministry, considering that there is still a limited capacity to absorb additional staff. Policies, plans and manuals created by the project are also likely to stay relevant after the project ends, assuming that these will be able to overcome turnover and changing priorities from new authorities.

Attention should be placed in participation spaces such as the Joint Sector Review Meetings and the Thematic Groups, which were reactivated thanks to the project, and should be maintained now after the project is over. A key sustainability factor resides in the fact that UNDP is co-chairing the sector working group. This position is key to bring together the different institutions, integrate stakeholders and align donors into a new planning cycle that builds upon the achievements and pending gaps left by the programme.

In terms of the RBMES, the project created working groups to ensure its appropriation and sustainability such as the System Oversight Group, System Development Team, and the District Reference Team. This output is the one at higher risk in terms of sustainability, considering that systems are not in place, that the programme would not have time to close the process as expected and there is no evidence of increased budgets or specialized governmental resources to take the RBMES forward


Tag: Sustainability Policies & Procedures Capacity Building

Recommendations
1

The project team together with the different stakeholders must develop a clear exit strategy based on the findings and recommendations of this report. This evaluation highly recommends an update of the original capacity needs assessment that inspired this programme, to be considered as an integral strategy to close the project and prepare the exit strategy. This exercise should guide the commitments of SIDA and other cooperating agencies to fund a second phase of this Programme

2

Donors and the ENR sector should make an effort to build on the findings of the Programme and design a follow up or second phase project. The issues inspiring the original Programme are probably more relevant today than four years ago, and there is probably no higher or competing priority for the sector

3

Mainstreaming environment and climate change is a continuous and long-term process, this reality should be conceived as a long-term investment and incorporated into greater governmental budgets allocated to the sector, as well as a diversified set of self-generating sources of funding. Therefore, sustainable financing should be at the heart of capacity building strategies and not neglected or left aside as was the case of this programme.

4

Rwanda needs to continue investing in building human and institutional capacities, strengthening its capacity to fulfil its mandate and respond to environmental trends and opportunities. One Programme alone would not be able to mainstream environment at a national level. There is a need to build coalitions and constantly engage other Programmes, national and international organizations to continue to build national and local capacities.

5

Information management systems should be the next priority for institutional capacity building. The evaluation recommends the team to develop a database with all existing information, including the different products, consultancies, training workshops and other services funded by the programme. Within this process, there is the need for the programme to disseminate the products, learning and results achieved. It is recommended that the possibility to publish certain key products be published, posted on the participating institutions website, and generate material to reach a wider audience

6

It is recommended to revise the time frame for the design of this type of projects, possibly to be between 6 and 7 years are needed to concretize them in an appropriate way, without forcing national processes. Recent experience suggests the need to plan at least one full year for start-up and one for closure, which would leave 4 to 5 years for implementation

1. Recommendation:

The project team together with the different stakeholders must develop a clear exit strategy based on the findings and recommendations of this report. This evaluation highly recommends an update of the original capacity needs assessment that inspired this programme, to be considered as an integral strategy to close the project and prepare the exit strategy. This exercise should guide the commitments of SIDA and other cooperating agencies to fund a second phase of this Programme

Management Response: [Added: 2018/03/02] [Last Updated: 2020/12/28]

Accepted. UNDP to support the review of the previous capacity assessment as well as develop an impactful project document for the second phase of the project, which will be part of an encompassing and more integrated programme for the entire ENR sector

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to work with the Ministry of Environment and SIDA in Rwanda to review and potentially update the previous capacity assessment in order to identify gaps and come up with a clear strategy to improve capacity. This will carry forward into the new programme under development.
[Added: 2018/08/28] [Last Updated: 2021/12/13]
PEU 2019/06 Completed Capacity needs assessment was conducted and capacity development plan History
Under the new programme, UNDP will include components to enhance the capacity of key ENR sector institutions to monitor the implementation of the national Green Growth and Climate Resilient Strategy. An exit strategy will also be designed as part of the new programme.
[Added: 2018/08/28] [Last Updated: 2021/12/13]
Poverty Reduction and Environment Unit 2018/09 Completed SCENR Programme includes activities to enhance the capacity of key ENR sector institutions to monitor the implementation of the national Green Growth and Climate Resilient Strategy. Also, the Green Growth and Climate Resilient Strategy was revised under SCENR History
2. Recommendation:

Donors and the ENR sector should make an effort to build on the findings of the Programme and design a follow up or second phase project. The issues inspiring the original Programme are probably more relevant today than four years ago, and there is probably no higher or competing priority for the sector

Management Response: [Added: 2018/03/02] [Last Updated: 2020/12/28]

Accepted. UNDP will work to mobilize current donors and new potential partners during the drafting of the new programme document to ensure a funded, high-quality and relevant project document with realistic indicators and targets to address the prevailing challenges in the ENR sector.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Organize regular meetings between the Ministry of Environment and development partners to mobilize technical and financial resources to support the implementation of the project and the broader sector strategic plan (SSP)
[Added: 2018/08/28]
PEU 2023/06 Initiated
To draft a new project document with realistic indicators and targets
[Added: 2018/08/28] [Last Updated: 2021/12/13]
Poverty Reduction and Environment Unit 2018/09 Completed SCENR Programme was developed to enhance the capacity of ENR Sector History
3. Recommendation:

Mainstreaming environment and climate change is a continuous and long-term process, this reality should be conceived as a long-term investment and incorporated into greater governmental budgets allocated to the sector, as well as a diversified set of self-generating sources of funding. Therefore, sustainable financing should be at the heart of capacity building strategies and not neglected or left aside as was the case of this programme.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/03/02] [Last Updated: 2020/12/28]

Accepted. It should be noted, however, that the previous programme was purpose-built to focus on capacity strengthening in specific areas while other programmes in UNDP’s portfolio targeted resource mobilization for the sector (notably the Poverty-Environment Programme and UNDP’s support to establish the National Fund for Environment and Climate Change (FONERWA) to mobilize resources.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP will also continue supporting the national environment and climate Fund-FONERWA to mobilize the resources needed to implement the National Strategy for Transformation- NST
[Added: 2018/08/28]
PEU 2023/06 Initiated
The new Poverty-Environment Action for the SDGs programme will continue UNDP’s support to long-term mainstreaming of environment and climate change across key sectors and the priorisation of resource allocation by both the Ministry of Finance and other targeted sector Ministries.
[Added: 2018/08/28] [Last Updated: 2021/12/13]
UNDP through the implementation of PEAS 2018/12 Completed The support of long-term mainstreamin of environment and climate change across sectors is continuing, thanks to the continuation of the PEA-project in October 2018. History
4. Recommendation:

Rwanda needs to continue investing in building human and institutional capacities, strengthening its capacity to fulfil its mandate and respond to environmental trends and opportunities. One Programme alone would not be able to mainstream environment at a national level. There is a need to build coalitions and constantly engage other Programmes, national and international organizations to continue to build national and local capacities.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/03/02] [Last Updated: 2020/12/28]

Accepted and already on track. In the next five years UNDP will deepen the synergies across its sector portfolio of new programmes. As co-chair of the ENR sector, UNDP will also continue to work towards engaging stakeholders and other partners in the sector to collectively build institutional capacities at all levels.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To organize discussions with other partners in Environment and Natural Resources sector
[Added: 2018/08/28]
Senior Management and Poverty Reduction and Environment Unit. 2023/06 Initiated
To enhance the linkage between different UNDP supported projects, to have more impact and avoid duplications, all projects supporting the ENR sector, including capacity building, will be gathered under one encompassing programme
[Added: 2018/08/28] [Last Updated: 2021/12/13]
PEU 2018/07 Completed SCENR Programme was developed to enhance the capacity of ENR Sector History
5. Recommendation:

Information management systems should be the next priority for institutional capacity building. The evaluation recommends the team to develop a database with all existing information, including the different products, consultancies, training workshops and other services funded by the programme. Within this process, there is the need for the programme to disseminate the products, learning and results achieved. It is recommended that the possibility to publish certain key products be published, posted on the participating institutions website, and generate material to reach a wider audience

Management Response: [Added: 2018/03/02] [Last Updated: 2020/12/28]

Partially accepted. UNDP will work to improve the information management, through production and dissemination of knowledge products together with the implementing partners. Resources are, however, not available to implement some components of the recommendation, such as the database development, which is also not considered a priority by national partners

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Allocate resources to produce and share knowledge products and best practices under both the existing (closing) project and the new one
[Added: 2018/08/28]
Poverty Reduction and Environment Unit 2023/06 Initiated
Publish project best practices on the UNDP website
[Added: 2018/08/28] [Last Updated: 2021/12/13]
PEU 2018/12 Completed Project practices are published on UNDP Website History
6. Recommendation:

It is recommended to revise the time frame for the design of this type of projects, possibly to be between 6 and 7 years are needed to concretize them in an appropriate way, without forcing national processes. Recent experience suggests the need to plan at least one full year for start-up and one for closure, which would leave 4 to 5 years for implementation

Management Response: [Added: 2018/03/02] [Last Updated: 2020/12/28]

Not accepted. The programme cycle for UNDP is 5 years, as this is the time frame for the Country Programme Document, which inform all project interventions in the country. It is also difficult to make financial projections for longer periods if neither donor nor core/TRAC resources are known.

Key Actions:

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