Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (mid-term review)

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2018, Cambodia
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
09/2016
Completion Date:
10/2016
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
25,000

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Title Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (mid-term review)
Atlas Project Number: 76292
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2018, Cambodia
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 10/2016
Planned End Date: 09/2016
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Cross-cutting Development Issue
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.4. Scaled up action on climate change adaptation and mitigation across sectors which is funded and implemented
Evaluation Budget(US $): 25,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 25,000
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: CAMBODIA
Lessons
1.

Need for improved management, communication and coordination

The project can enhance its efficacy and impact through improved management, and communication and coordination mechanisms. The Implementing Partner, Project Management Unit, RTS, TTs, and REDD+ Development Partners can together establish a mechanism that meets regularly for improved communication and coordination. Such a mechanism would be managed by the RTS and hold its meetings congruent to the Technical Working Group on Forestry Reform.


2.

Stronger government ownership of REDD+

Cooperation between agencies has improved and the FA, GDANCP and FiA participate actively in REDD+ institutional mechanisms and activities. The RTS and FCPF PMU continue to establish and sustain constructive partnerships with all agencies. However, stronger government ownership and commitment to oversee and manage all REDD+ activities are required, including the involvement of an increased number of staff on a fulltime, part time and contract basis.

 


3.

Mechanism to engage and expand REDD+ Development Partners

Donor coordination has remained varied and is being addressed through frequent discussions with the RTS, dialogue with development partners and participation in the Technical Working Group on Forestry Reform. There is a need to establish a more effective mechanism to engage and expand REDD+ development partners to enhance support for REDD+ implementation.


4.

Mechanism to institutionalize arrangements

The institutional arrangements for the implementation of the NRS recognize the different roles and responsibilities of government institutions that have jurisdictional authority over forest resources in the country. Implementation of the NRS is expected to follow the RGC’s agency jurisdictions, with different government agencies contributing to developing REDD+ Action Plans for forest areas according to current laws and policies. Between 2016 and 2020, current functions of the institutional arrangements, such as the Cambodia REDD+ Taskforce (RTF) and its Secretariat, Technical Teams, Consultation Group and GG will be retained. However, to oversee the NRS implementation and subsequently moving into the RBP implementation phase, there is a need for discussion on institutional arrangements and review the roles of the RTS, TTs, CG and GG for the needs and effective implementation of NRS.


5.

Strategy for resource mobilization for NRS implementation

An effective strategy for resource mobilization for NRS implementation is required and this should be a priority in 2016-2017.


Findings
1.

The progress reported through the annual and quarterly reports suggest the implementation of R-PP specifically under the FCPF components is progressing very well. This is correct at the activity level but the overall country REDD+ readiness still has significant work to do. The RGC is showing a strong commitment to mainstreaming climate change and intervention mechanisms such as REDD+ into economic development plans, but it is also expressing the need for technical and financial support to ensure initiated efforts succeed and have a long term impact. The challenge to mainstream climate change and readiness for implementing REDD+ action plans at national and subnational level is beyond the current capacity of the RGC and specifically the line agencies.


2.

The institutional arrangements have evolved significantly and positively. A National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) has been established to address development issues at the highest level of policy and to mainstream sustainable development principles in the national policy framework that will have a positive impact on the governance and management of forest resources. Oversight of the allocation of forest land resources for national development plans has been strengthened through a 2012 moratorium on granting contracts for Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) and the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to ensure compliance and improved management of ELCs.


3.

A process to rationalize and harmonize Cambodia’s existing architecture of laws and regulations has been initiated which aims to create a new Environmental Code. The Environmental Code is expected to benchmark international best practices and to adapt these to the context of Cambodia. The Environmental Code is expected to enshrine standards for social and environmental safeguards and a grievance redress mechanism that will contribute to the Cambodia REDD+ implementation framework and UNFCCC requirements for results based payments (RBP).

 


4.

To accelerate the sustainable management and conservation of its forest and biodiversity resources, the RGC has embarked upon significant jurisdiction change of its forest lands and agencies. In March 2016 the RGC announced the consolidation of conservation areas under the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and the unified management of ELCs under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). By April 2016, rapid implementation of this policy measure led to the transfer of 1.6 million ha of protection forests from the Forestry Administration (FA) to the MoE and the transfer of approximately 450,000 ha of land under ELCs from the MoE to MAFF. In addition, a National Protected Areas Strategic Management Plan (NPASMP) has been prepared and an action plan is under development that will provide impetus to mobilizing financial resources and to strengthening implementation. These changes, while positive and conducive for REDD+, increase the need for capacity building, both technical and functional, to ensure the intended impacts are achieved. The coordination mechanism will be affected by these changes and will require significant strengthening to ensure that progress to date is maintained and improved.


5.

Concerning the FCPF grant progress, under Component 1, all REDD+ management arrangements and key institutional elements, Project Executive Board (PEB), National REDD+ Taskforce (NRTF), REDD+ Taskforce Secretariat (RTS), Technical Teams remain in place and active. Effective participation of stakeholders in the REDD+ readiness remains strong and consistent through the active participation of the Consultation Group (CG) and the Gender Group (GG). The capacity building of these management and institutional arrangements has progressed well. There has also been significant progress in awareness raising and information access at the national level, and in selected provinces at the local level where the agents and drivers of deforestation are dominant. Stakeholder engagement will be further strengthened with the ongoing implementation of the Consultation and Participation Plan and an annual work plan (AWP). The proposed Additional Funding under this component will focus on continued support of the national REDD+ coordination mechanism and provide technical assistance to ensure the effective functioning of the National REDD+ Taskforce Secretariat. The ongoing jurisdiction change process in the forestry sector are positive and conducive for REDD+ but increase the need for capacity building, both technical and functional. These changes necessitate further and significant coordination, engagement, and communication at subnational level to enable active and broader participation of local constituency. 


6.

Under Component 2, land use and land use change analysis of agents and drivers of deforestation and national circumstances have been carried supported by the spatial mapping for 2006, 2010, and 2014 land use and land cover.

The National REDD+ Strategy (NRS), and the NPASMP were finalized and implementation of the REDD+ subnational demonstration activities is well underway. Reviews have been completed of REDD+ cost and benefit analysis, approaches and options on benefit sharing and a REDD+ fund mechanism. However, strengthening of policy implementation and capacity for monitoring policy effectiveness remains a big challenge for the RGC line agencies. This is an area where the FCPF grant support could increase the impact of efforts under the R-PP to ensure the country is ready for results based payments.

The NRS was developed under the overall guidance of the Cambodia REDD+ Taskforce Secretariat with technical inputs from REDD+ Technical Teams, CG, GG and key institutions including, the FA, General Department of Administration for Nature Conservation and Protection (GDANCP) and the Fisheries Administration (FiA). Over 1,000 participants were consulted through a series of national and subnational consultations in 20 provinces. These consultations brought together representatives of community forestry, fisheries, and protected area networks, Indigenous Peoples (IPs), civil society organizations (CSOs), nongovernment organizations (NGO), international non-government organizations, academic institutions, and the private sector. The final working draft of the NRS was presented at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 in Paris in December 2015. The draft is under final review by the FA for final validation and endorsement by the Cambodia REDD+ Taskforce Secretariat and approval by the RGC. Subnational demonstration activities are underway that continue to build capacity and provide valuable lessons that will contribute to the preparation of the National REDD+ Strategy Action Plan. The FCPF grant has enabled Cambodia to establish five new demonstration sites in partnership with the three key agencies of the FA, MoE, and FiA. The broad objective of these sites is to identify key drivers of deforestation and to test innovative approaches, methods, and tools to address these drivers. In addition, approaches for co-management are also being tested.

Cambodia is a trailblazer in implementing REDD+ pilot projects. The RGC started to implement REDD+ pilot projects following the Bali COP in 2007, with the approval of a first REDD+ pilot in the Oddar Meanchey Community Forests in May 2008 and in the Seima Protection Forest REDD+ pilot in 2009. These pilot projects are amongst the most advanced in the Greater Mekong region. In developing these pilots, the RGC has made maximizing transparent and equitable community benefit sharing an explicit policy priority under the Council of Ministers Decision no’ 699 that approved the first pilot project.

Demonstration activities provide valuable insights, lessons and options for successful REDD+ implementation. Consolidation of lessons and identifying opportunities and options for upscaling REDD+ actions need to be undertaken. It is necessary at this point to ensure an increase in the breadth of knowledge through increasing capacity at the subnational level during this readiness phase.


7.

Under Component 3, a Forest Reference Level FRL submission has been prepared and endorsed by both MoE and MAFF and is waiting for official endorsement from the RGC before submission to the UNFCCC for technical assessment in 2017. The general approach in developing the FRL is well outlined but will be formally evaluated once submitted to the UNFCCC as planned in 2017 and includes national circumstances. Inter-linked to Component, the FRL will be improved and refined as more accurate activity data is collected.

The scope of the initial FRL covers deforestation, degradation and enhancements and removal of CO2 through afforestation with two carbon pools (above-ground and below-ground biomass). However, information on carbon is expected to be further elaborated once further data from the Forest Reference Level becomes available. The FRL is based on an historical average of net emissions from deforestation for the period 2006 to 2014 taking into account national circumstances and data availability. The methodological approach takes into consideration UNFCCC and IPCC guidance and takes into consideration Decision 1/CP.16 Appendix 1E (safeguard natural forest).


8.

Under Component 4, important progress was made in establishing monitoring systems for forests through the National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS), integration of activity data, establishment of a national forest definition and completion of the land use classification system. A National Forest Inventory (NFI) was designed and a field manual developed. Historical forest inventory data was collected and analyzed to develop country emission factors for the preparation of the initial FRL submission. Analytical work has been undertaken for the Safeguards Information System (SIS) but further work needs to be done and is already being initiated with drawing of lessons from the demonstration and pilot project sites in Oddar Meanchey and Seima. Because of the development of monitoring systems being in their early stages, it is not yet clear how and what the likely sources of emissions displacement or leakage will be. However, it is anticipated that an assessment of leakage will be carried out as the GHG accounting framework becomes clearer and is supported by a verifiable measurement system.

Land use data for 2014 has been developed by using improved methodologies. In addition, the RGC made the strategic decision to undertake land use and land cover mapping at two to four year intervals. This is ambitious, but warranted, as current data has inconsistencies that need to be resolved to contribute to improving accurate estimation of emissions and this is, in part, the reason for the need for additional funding. Frequent and improved land use and land cover mapping will help in resolving the challenge of inconsistencies and will improve the FRL and the accuracy of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions estimation from the forestry sector. Such a frequent regime will require remote sensing data and significant technical data collection and verification capacity at national and subnational levels. The current level of technical capacity for MRV at both national and subnational levels can at best be described as limited, and recent jurisdictional changes in forest resource management create an impetus for greater strengthening of capacity. The establishment of a national MRV system will lead to the strengthening of capacity for monitoring and reporting REDD+ activities and provide critical data and information relevant for forestry sector investment plans. The Additional Funding sought will increase the likelihood of the RGC developing robust, evidence-based sector strategies and investment plans.


Recommendations
1

1. REVISE NATIONAL REDD+ STRATEGY TO REFLECT JURISDICTION CHANGE

Noting progress made in developing the National REDD+ Strategy the MTR recommends that the RGC to consider revising and finalizing the NRS to reflect recent jurisdictional changes.

2

2. APPROVE FOREST COVER/LAND USE ASSESSMENT 2014

The MTR notes the completion of the forest cover/land use change assessment for the period 2006 to 2014. The MTR endorses the RGC decision to undertake future assessments at two-year intervals. Further the MTR recommends to the RGC early approval of forest cover/land use cover assessment 2014 as this will lead to completion of the NRS, FRL, and the NFMS.

3

3. FINALIZE AND SUBMIT CAMBODIA’S FRL TO UNFCCC FOR TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT

The MTR recommends the submission of Cambodia’s Forest Reference Level (FRL) to the UNFCCC within the prescribed timeline that would ensure technical assessment of the FRL is undertaken and completed in 2017.

1. Recommendation:

1. REVISE NATIONAL REDD+ STRATEGY TO REFLECT JURISDICTION CHANGE

Noting progress made in developing the National REDD+ Strategy the MTR recommends that the RGC to consider revising and finalizing the NRS to reflect recent jurisdictional changes.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/11/22]

UNDP CO in agreement but finalization of NRS depends on RGC decision making.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Bring status of NRS revision to the attention of Chair RTF, and Head RTS.
[Added: 2016/11/22] [Last Updated: 2017/04/24]
RTF and RTS 2017/03 Completed In Q1 2017, the National REDD+ Strategy (NRS) has been finalized and endorsed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and Ministry of Environment (MoE) with integration the recent jurisdiction changes.
2. Recommendation:

2. APPROVE FOREST COVER/LAND USE ASSESSMENT 2014

The MTR notes the completion of the forest cover/land use change assessment for the period 2006 to 2014. The MTR endorses the RGC decision to undertake future assessments at two-year intervals. Further the MTR recommends to the RGC early approval of forest cover/land use cover assessment 2014 as this will lead to completion of the NRS, FRL, and the NFMS.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/11/22]

UNDP CO in agreement but approval of forest cover/land use cover assessment depends on RGC decision making.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Request Chair RTF, and Head RTS to accelerate approval of forest cover/land cover assessment.
[Added: 2016/11/22] [Last Updated: 2017/04/24]
RTF and RTS 2016/12 Completed The completion of the forest cover/land use change assessment for the period 2006-2014 has been approved by RGC in 2016.
3. Recommendation:

3. FINALIZE AND SUBMIT CAMBODIA’S FRL TO UNFCCC FOR TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT

The MTR recommends the submission of Cambodia’s Forest Reference Level (FRL) to the UNFCCC within the prescribed timeline that would ensure technical assessment of the FRL is undertaken and completed in 2017.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/11/22]

UNDP CO in agreement but approval of forest cover/land use cover assessment depends on RGC decision making.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Request Chair RTF, and Head RTS to enable timely submission of FRL Hold discussions with REDD+ development partners
[Added: 2016/11/22] [Last Updated: 2017/04/24]
RTF and RTS 2017/03 Completed The Cambodia Forest Reference Level (FRL) has been completed, endorsed by the RGC and submitted to UNFCCC for technical review. The initial technical assessment by UNFCCC has been completed in March 2017. The FRL will be reviewed and updated based on the technical comments and feedback from UNFCCC and will be resubmitted to UNFCCC by September 2017.

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