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
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Sustainable
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 Email Nationality
José Galindo Consultant jose@mentefactura.com 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
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: 2018/10/18]

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]
PEU 2019/06 Overdue-Initiated
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]
Poverty Reduction and Environment Unit 2018/09 Overdue-Initiated
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: 2018/10/18]

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
To draft a new project document with realistic indicators and targets
[Added: 2018/08/28]
Poverty Reduction and Environment Unit 2018/09 Overdue-Initiated
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
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: 2018/08/28]

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
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]
UNDP through the implementation of PEAS 2018/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
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
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: 2018/08/28]

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 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]
PEU 2018/07 Overdue-Initiated
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
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: 2018/08/28]

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]
PEU 2018/12 Overdue-Initiated
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: 2018/08/28]

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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