Reducing the Vulnerability of Cambodia Rural Livelihoods (mid-term)

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2018, Cambodia
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
02/2019
Completion Date:
02/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
26,000

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Title Reducing the Vulnerability of Cambodia Rural Livelihoods (mid-term)
Atlas Project Number: 00085641
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2018, Cambodia
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 02/2019
Planned End Date: 02/2019
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.2 Marginalised groups, particularly the poor, women, people with disabilities and displaced are empowered to gain universal access to basic services and financial and non-financial assets to build productive capacities and benefit from sustainable livelihoods and jobs
SDG Goal
  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG Target
  • 1.5 By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
  • 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
Evaluation Budget(US $): 26,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 20,750
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Elinor Bajraktari Senior Evaluator ALBANIA
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Reducing the vulnerability of Cambodian rural livelihoods through enhanced sub-national climate change planning and execution of priority actions
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Climate Change
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 5419
PIMS Number: 5174
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: CAMBODIA
Lessons
1.

Lesson 1: Kick-starting a Project Requires Strong Coordination

One lesson that can be learned from this project is related to its late start. Late starts are common when the project involves multiple parties playing key roles in the project. In this case, it took time for project implementing partners to agree on specific roles and responsibilities, although they were outlined in some degree of detail in the project document. The key lesson here is that to get the project started on time, a lot of preparatory work and coordination is necessary while the project document is receiving approvals from the funder (GEF).


2.

Lesson 2: Effective Use of Adaptive Management

Given the project’s late start and evolving circumstances, the use of adaptive management by the project team and board was crucial for dealing with a number of unexpected contingencies and taking advantage of emerging opportunities. Examples of the project team’s ability to respond swiftly to evolving needs and emerging opportunities were the modification of the funding scheme, the change in the scope of work for the Service Provider, the decision to conduct only two surveys (baseline and endline), etc.


3.

Lesson 3: Building Resilient Local Communities Takes Time and Requires Sustained Engagement

The development of institutional and human capacities at the sub-national level, especially at the commune level in small and remote locations, is a challenging task that requires a long engagement and repeated interactions. As has been outlined in this report, a number of interventions by development partners and the government have taken place in this area. The SRL project builds on foundations laid out by these previous interventions. But the building of capacities of local governments and communities does not end here. Building resilient local communities takes time and requires sustained engagement.


4.

Lesson 4: Climate Change Adaptation and Local Governance are an Inseparable Tandem

The SRL project is classified as a “climate change adaptation” project, but it is equally a project about local governance. This project’s contributions in the area of local governance are inseparable from its contributions in the area of climate change adaptation. Working with sub-national governments on the assessment of vulnerabilities, formulation of development plans, preparation of investment programmes and feasibility studies, monitoring and management of infrastructure projects, and so on, is extremely important for strengthening governance at the local level. It is precisely this focus on the governance aspects of climate change adaptation that makes these initiatives more sustainable and efficient.


Findings
1.

3. FINDINGS

While the amount of information generated by this review was large, the findings presented in this chapter cover only the project’s most essential aspects and are to some extent focused on those issues that require improvement and the attention of project stakeholders. The MTR’s findings are organized in the following sections: i) Project Design; ii) Project Implementation; and, iii) Project Results.

3.1. Project Design

This section examines the project’s logic and design features by focusing on the adequacy of elements like the results framework, management arrangements, identification of risks and assumptions, use of lessons derived from other projects, linkages with relevant UNDP or donor projects, UNDP’s comparative advantage in the area, planned stakeholder engagement, replication approach and exit strategies, etc. The main questions that drive the analysis presented in this section are shown in Box 2 below.It is important to emphasize here that the following discussion does not pertain to how the project was implemented, but only to how it was designed.


Tag: Agriculture Climate change governance Challenges Efficiency Relevance Local Governance Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Risk Management Institutional Strengthening Vulnerable

2.

3.1 Project design

3.1.1. Analysis of the Project Document and Planning Matrix 

• The logic of the proposed intervention is clear and quite well-targeted to the removal of barriers identified above. It is based on a comparative assessment of a range of interventions in climate resilient agriculture conducted by SNV (Netherlands-based international NGO). The highest ranked interventions were found to be drip irrigation; the climate change resilient cropping system developed by ACIAR12; followed by the introduction of improved rice seed varieties, irrigation infrastructure supported by CAVAC and Save the Earth’s building micro insurance scheme. These interventions were found to be complementary rather than exclusive. The SNV report especially emphasized the importance of providing technical training as a complementary investment to irrigation infrastructure. In order to enhance livelihood resilience to climate change in the long-run, the project design is focused on the improvement of management and use of locally available water resources for agriculture, which includes irrigation for dry season cropping, efficient use of rainfall and surface water in the wet season through better storage and distribution systems, introduction of resilient seed varieties and changing cropping patterns to allow two wet season crops (either two rice crops or rice plus another field crop), etc. The project design is focused on small-scale, locally-adaptive water management infrastructure including distribution canals, control structures and small storage reservoirs. This approach assists farmers to increase and diversify their farm income while reducing the risk of crop failure. The project document is also focused on strengthened extension support, diffusion of a diverse range of seeds and offfarm livelihood opportunities.

• The project’s goal is adequately defined and responds to a clearly identified problem. The outcomes (three in total) and outputs (eight in total) are clearly formulated and are wellconnected with each other (see Box 3 below for a brief summary of project outcomes and outputs). For each outcome area, the project document provides a quite detailed and very useful baseline which lays out in clear terms the situation in the country in relation to that specific outcome.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Efficiency Relevance Donor relations Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Institutional Strengthening National Institutions

3.

3.1 Project design

3.1.1. Analysis of the Project Document and Planning Matrix (Continuation)

There are two indicators selected to measure the achievement of Outcome 1: Climate sensitive planning, budgeting and execution at the sub-national level strengthened • Number of District and Commune Investment Programmes that include specific budgets for adaptation actions • Number of engineers and technicians (public sector, private sector and civil society) trained in delivery of climate resilient water infrastructure;

For Outcome 2 (Resilience of livelihoods for the most vulnerable improved against erratic rainfalls, floods and droughts), the first indicator measures the number of climate resilient infrastructure schemes supported by PBCRG. The second indicator measures adoption rates for resilient livelihood measures. • Number of resilient infrastructure measures introduced to prevent economic loss and cofinanced by Commune/Sangkat Fund • Indicator: % of targeted households (gender disaggregated) that have adopted resilient livelihoods under existing and projected climate change

For Outcome 3 (Incentive mechanism is in place at sub-national level to manage greater volume of climate change adaptation financing aligned with local development plans), the indicator measures the success of the project in introducing an improved system of performance measurement and performance-based grant financing. • Fiscal incentive structure that incorporates adaptation as climate change risk management (i.e Performance Measurement for PBCRG) successfully introduced

Overall, the project’s results framework (shown in Annex V) is coherent and provides a good results-chain logic: outputs, outcomes and objectives. Also, indicators, baselines and targets are generally adequate and well-identified. While the logic of the project is solid, there are three design aspects which could have been formulated and integrated more adequately into the project document.


Tag: Agriculture Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Resilience building Natural Resouce management Water resources Efficiency Local Governance Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Vulnerable

4.

3.1 Project design

3.1.1. Analysis of the Project Document and Planning Matrix (continuation)

2. Weak Capacities at the Sub-national Level The capacities of the district and commune governments appeared to be quite weak in the locations visited for the MTR. The administration at this level is quite small – sometimes consisting of just a couple of staff, in addition to the appointed council. Furthermore, newly appointed council members are inexperienced, especially on management and technical issues like development planning and the management of investment projects. One question that emerged from the field visits in the two provinces is whether these administrations will be able to sustain project activities in the long run without further support from the project or other actors. Formulating development and investment plans and managing investments in physical infrastructure is a demanding task that requires manpower and significant technical capacity. The sustainability of some of the project interventions, given the small size of local governments, is not guaranteed. The type of training and coaching provided by the SRL project will need to be sustained beyond the project’s end.


Tag: Efficiency Local Governance Knowledge management Policies & Procedures Programme/Project Design Institutional Strengthening National Institutions

5.

3.1 Project design

3.1.2. Assumptions and Risks

The project document identifies a set of major risks facing the project and associated assumptions. The Project Document identified the following risks and associated assumptions:

Project Objective Risks 1. Large scale climate resilience building investments, such as SPCR, channeled through sectoral budget allocation, undermine the incentives for climate resilient planning perceived by SNAs a. Potential Consequence: Climate resilience planning is not effective because of insufficient engagement (i.e. plans would be prepared as per guidelines but quality would be weak) 2. Power dynamics and political-economic structure at the sub-national level undermine the adaptive impacts of the LDCF investments a. Potential Consequence: resources could be allocated to purposes that do not strengthen climate resilience of local livelihoods. Outcome 1 Risks 3. The cycle of sub-national development planning process limits the window through which climate risks are mainstreamed. a. Potential Consequence: CCA is not mainstreamed into sub-national development plans with support from the LDCF project as intended, because the timing of preparation of these plans is not compatible with the project timeline. 4. Insufficient extension agents with required basic skills/learning potential a. Potential Consequence: Trainees in the climate resilient extension training lack adequate basic skills in agriculture and/or adult learning techniques. This could then reduce the availability of effective extension agents for Output 2.2 5. Insufficient engineers/technicians with suitable skills and learning potential a. Potential Consequence: Trainees do not have sufficient basic technical skills to absorb the climate resilient infrastructure training, with the result that there are insufficient technical staff to support Output 2.1


Tag: Agriculture Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Efficiency Local Governance Integration Knowledge management Policies & Procedures Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Risk Management Country Government Coordination Institutional Strengthening

6.

3.1 Project design

3.1.3. Lessons from Other Relevant Projects

Incorporated into the Project Design The design of the SRL project has benefited from lessons learned from previous and ongoing projects supporting local climate change adaptation initiatives. Among the most important of these are the “NAPA Follow Up” (NAPA-FU) project13 in Kratie and Preah Vihear provinces and the Cambodia Community Based Adaptation Programme (CCBAP) project which supported climate change adaptation interventions through local NGOs. Both projects have demonstrated success in specific technical approaches to local climate change adaptation, and both have piloted versions of the Vulnerability Reduction Assessment (VRA) process, initially developed under NAPA-FU.14 The VRA process, along with District Climate Resilience Strategies and Performance Based Climate Resilience (PBCR) grants, was also piloted by NCDD-S’ pilot Local Governments and Climate Change (LGCC) project in eight Districts/Municipalities. 

The project has also benefited from the experience of NCDD-S in piloting PBCR grants for climate change adaptation investments by sub-national authorities (SNA) through the ASPIRE programme of IFAD. Another project that was identified in the SRL project document to have strong potential complementary to the SRL project is UNCDF’s LoCAL programme, funded by Swedish SIDA and implemented through NCDD-S. The project document also identifies ADB’s SPCR programme for capacity building (which included PBCR grants of $1.2 million for 4 Districts in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey) and a Capacity Building and Disaster Risk Reduction facility, also supported by ADB ($2.9 million for 5 provinces including Kampong Thom and Siem Reap). Coordination of these efforts through NCDD-S was identified as an opportunity for sharing lessons learned and innovative approaches.


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Disaster Risk Reduction Effectiveness Efficiency Local Governance Communication Knowledge management Programme Synergy Inclusive economic growth Poverty Reduction Capacity Building Vulnerable

7.

3.1 Project design

3.1.4. UNDP’s Comparative Advantage

The SRL Project Document identifies some of UNDP’s comparative advantages in the area of sustainable development which represent potential for high-impact work. UNDP’s comparative advantage arises primarily from its strong, multi-disciplinary country presence, a track record of engagement with key stakeholders at policy and project levels over a long period, and institutional experience in implementing previous and ongoing projects on climate change adaptation and strengthening sub-national governance, which presents an important baseline for this project. UNDP is recognized as a partner of choice by the government based on its timely and significant contributions to the country’s development agenda.UNDP’s vast experience enables it to build on previous achievements and apply the lessons learnt to new challenges. Combined with the good image, effective financial system control, procurement systems, close links and trusted partnership with government and non-governmental partners, this experience allows UNDP to ensure continuity in the circumstances of the frequent institutional changes. Box 4 summarizes some key advantages of UNDP in the implementation of environmental projects. 

UNDP has engaged with Cambodia’s MoE since its establishment in 1993 and was the first development partner to provide core support to policy and implementation on climate change in Cambodia since 1999. Key aspects of this support have included support to preparation of the Initial and Second National Communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the National Capacity Self-Assessment (NCSA) and the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), support to Cambodia Climate Change Alliance (CCCA) including management of the CCCA Trust Fund, support to preparation of the Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan (CCCSP), etc. UNDP was the first GEF designated agency to be invited by the government to support the implementation of the LDCF financed “NAPA-FU” project and the institutional review of the Ministry of Environment under the new government mandate. UNDP’s engagement in in the area of climate change adaptation builds on strong foundations of cooperation and partnership with MoE and other key stakeholders. 


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Effectiveness Efficiency Local Governance Partnership Procurement Programme/Project Design Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Strategic Positioning Institutional Strengthening Policy Advisory Technical Support

8.

3.1 Project design

3.1.5. Planned Stakeholder Participation

A broad-based stakeholder participation process was inherent in the design of the SRL project, given that it was intended to facilitate partnerships with a broad-spectrum of stakeholders in different areas related to sustainable development. The project document contains a section that outlines the “Stakeholder Involvement Plan” which lists the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders having a role as partners and beneficiaries of the project. The project document lists the following stakeholders for engagement. 

• Ministries and other public agencies with a mandate to support sub-national development and climate change adaptation. This includes all the government agencies involved in project implementation either as Responsible Parties or through their participation in the Climate Change Technical Team. • Development Partners supporting climate change adaptation, sub-national democratic development and rural livelihoods. This is a quite large and diverse group including multilateral and bilateral agencies (e.g. IFAD, FAO, SIDA, EU, World Bank, ADB, etc.); • Project staff of projects with similar areas of activity (e.g. ASPIRE, USAID-HARVEST, projects supported under CCBAP, etc.); • NGOs active in climate change adaptation and rural livelihoods support (e.g. SNV, CEDAC, iDE and numerous others); • Farmer Organizations; • Private sector entities, including micro-finance institutions and potentially, companies selling agriculture inputs to or buying produce from smallholder farmers.


Tag: Efficiency Relevance Local Governance Partnership Programme/Project Design Project and Programme management Country Government Donor International Financial Institutions UN Agencies

9.

3.1 Project design

3.1.6. Replication Approach

The project document adequately recognizes that the most appropriate and cost-effective interventions to develop climate resilient livelihoods (including identification of locations and beneficiaries, as well as suitable technologies) need to be identified case-by-case in response to local conditions and local needs. It also recognizes that this must be done through participation of local communities that are most knowledgeable about the risks of a changing climate. Also because of uncertainty about the precise nature of climate changes that will occur, as well as the potential for increased variability and frequency of extreme events, measures to strengthen resilience at the community and household level may be as important as technical responses calibrated directly to the predicted trends. This project’s contribution to the replicability of adaptation solutions/pilots pursued through its activities is the institutionalization of the processes and methodologies developed through the project. For example, the vulnerability assessments, planning tools, methodologies for the development of the investment plans, and a range of other instruments are being institutionalized through the involvement of NCDD-S, which is expected to carry over these tools in other districts and provinces not covered by the project. Through the lessons and best practices generated on the successful implementation of adaptation solutions to local problems, this type of piloting is expected to catalyze interventions on a larger scale elsewhere. 


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Efficiency Sustainability Communication Knowledge management Partnership Programme/Project Design Institutional Strengthening National Institutions Vulnerable

10.

3.1 Project design

3.1.7. Management arrangements

The SRL project was designed to be nationally executed in accordance with UNDP’s National Implementation Modality (NIM). 17 Implementation was foreseen for a period of four years, beginning in the second quarter of 2015 and ending in the first quarter of 2019. Figure 6 (below) shows the SRL’s management arrangements outlined in the project document. A Project Board (PB) was to be established to provide high-level guidance and oversight to the project. The PB is given responsibility for high-level management decisions and policy guidance, including recommendations and approval of project plans, budget and revisions. The PB would make its decisions in accordance with standards that ensure efficiency, cost-effectiveness, transparency, effective institutional coordination, and harmony with overall development policies and priorities of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), UNDP and development partners. The PB was to be chaired by a senior official of the National Climate Change Committee (NCCC) and made up of senior representatives from key national implementing agencies, UNDP and other partner agencies. As has been mentioned, NCCC was taken over by the NCSD, whose General Secretary became the Project Director and the chair of the Project Board.


Tag: Rural development Climate change governance Efficiency Local Governance Human and Financial resources Implementation Modality Project and Programme management

11.

3.2. Project Implementation

During these years of its lifetime, the project has gone through a number of important stages. The following is the chronology of key events that marked the project’s conceptualization and implementation phases that have spanned the period 2013-2018.

• The Project Identification Form was submitted to GEF on 23 April 2013. • The Preparation Grant was approved by GEF on 26 September 2013. • The concept was approved by GEF on 24 October 2013. • The project was approved for implementation on 25 March 2015. • The LPAC Meeting was held on 21 November 2014. • The project was initiated in July 2015. • The project document was officially signed on 15 January 2016 by UNDP and the Implementing Partner, General Secretariat of NCSD. • Mobilization for project implementation started in January/February 2017. • The first Project Board meeting was held in January 2017 • The inception workshop was organized in March 2017. • Mobilization of resources (i.e. recruitment of staff, experts, service providers, etc.) took place between March and May 2017. • Full implementation of the project started de facto in the second quarter of 2017. • The project inception report was finalized on October 2017. • End date of the project in the Project Document was foreseen on 31 December 2019. Given, the late start of activities, expected end date is June 2020.


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

12.

3.2. Project Implementation (Continuation)

Further, a Project Management Unit (PMU) was established in the premises of MoE, under the direction of the Project Director. PMU is an independent entity, but answerable to NCSD. It is also both supported and monitored by the GEF implementing agency (UNDP). The PMU is led by a Project Manager, who was hired by MoE/GSSD and reports to the Project Director. The PMU consists of a strong technical team of professionals, bringing together a broad range of skills and knowledge in the agriculture, water, pasture and capacity building areas. 


Tag: Efficiency Local Governance Oversight Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Country Government Capacity Building

13.

3.2. Project Implementation (Continuation)

3.2.1. Adaptive Management

The use of adaptive management by the project team was instrumental for dealing with unexpected contingencies and taking advantage of emerging opportunities. While a number of adaptive strategies and actions employed by the project team were observed during the review, this section focuses on those adaptations that played a bigger role in the delivery of activities.One of the biggest challenges faced by this project has been the delay that it experienced in the start-up of the activities. As has already been mentioned, the project’s start date was scheduled for July 2015, but fully-fledged implementation did not start until mid-2017. The main reason for this delay was that it took time for the implementing partners to figure out and agree on roles and responsibilities for the project, although roles and responsibilities are outlined in adequate terms in the Project Document.

To deal with the delay challenge, the project hired a Start-Up Project Advisor who worked in partnership with the key project stakeholders on the set up of the project and produced an Inception Report that described the initial start-up activities and refinements to the design of the project and assisted the project team to understand and take ownership of the project’s goals and objectives. Through this process, the project strategy was reviewed, the performance indicators at output level and the risks associated with the implementation of the project were updated, a stakeholder engagement plan and the project’s M&E plan were drafted and the 2017 detailed work plan and budget and the multiyear work plan were developed. It is important to note here that despite the initial delays, the organization of the inception phase was a real success as it really changed the dynamics of the project and set it on a different path which was dynamic and fast.


Tag: Efficiency Oversight Project and Programme management Quality Assurance Results-Based Management Risk Management

14.

3.2. Project Implementation 

3.2.1. Adaptive Management (Continuation)

Stakeholders interviewed for this MTR considered two surveys sufficient for establishing the project’s impact and contributions. Further, to accelerate the conduct of the first (baseline) assessment, the project team, NCDD-S and NCSD/DCC have provided direct support to the research firm (GIS Ltd.) in the selection of the sample villages and potential beneficiaries.

Another adaptive measure taken by the project was to adjust the flow of funds for the implementation of activities at the sub-national level. To this effect, a Letter of Agreement was signed between UNDP and NCDD-S that allowed the flow of funds directly from UNDP to NCDDS, without going through NCSD/DCC (as shown in Figure 7 below). The modification also disallowed the flow of funds from UNDP to GDA and ALC as they would not directly implement project activities, but only be engaged for technical support, promotion of learning and sharing of training materials.


Tag: Efficiency Global Environment Facility fund Oversight Project and Programme management Results-Based Management

15.

3.2. Project Implementation

3.2.2. Partnership Arrangements

Overall, the project has benefited from a strong partnership between partners involved in the project. The project’s partnership arrangements have included a large number of stakeholders from national and sub-national governments, community and livelihood groups, organizations on the ground, research institutes, NGOs and donor organizations. The core of the partnership arrangement consists of the four major players, shown in Figure 7 below, which have had an essential role in project activities. The MTR found that this partnership has been characterized by a clear division of responsibilities, effective cooperation and good working relations.The division of labour between the key project partners is briefly described in Table 4 below. A number of other partners, not shown in the table, have been directly involved in project activities through one of the major partners. These include MoP, MoWA, MoWRAM, MEF, etc.


Tag: Efficiency Local Governance Donor relations Partnership Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Awareness raising Capacity Building Data and Statistics Civil Societies and NGOs

16.

3.2. Project Implementation

3.2.3. Feedback from M&E Activities

Used for Adaptive Management As noted in the previous sections, adaptive management was crucial for the project team’s response to changing circumstances. This adaptive reaction resulted a good monitoring system that has been put in place by the project team to identify problems and bring them to the attention of the Project Board. To a large extent, the ability of the project stakeholders to react was enabled by feedback received through the M&E system which consisted of a number of mechanisms (i.e. planning, monitoring, risk management, etc.). A primary tool of M&E were the quarterly project reviews conducted regularly each quarter. The MTR team reviewed all quarterly reports produced in the course of project implementation and found them to have been used adequately by the project team to inform the Project Board. They provided the project team and board with the opportunity to take stock of the situation on a regular basis and engage relevant actors into discussion. 


Tag: Efficiency Monitoring and Evaluation Oversight Project and Programme management Quality Assurance Results-Based Management Risk Management

17.

3.2. Project Implementation

3.2.4. Project Finance

As can be seen from Table 5, the project has a budget of US$ 4.8 m, of which US$ 4.6 m is provided by GEF and about US$ 0.2 m by UNDP. Although the project was approved by GEF in 2015, financial allocations began in 2016, with a small amount of about US$ 38,000 allocated (as can be seen in the table below). Actual implementation of the project started in 2017, with about US$ 885,000 allocated. The table also shows the increasing intensity of project activities in these three years of implementation. The allocation for 2018 were twice as high as the allocation for 2017. About 54% of the project’s financial resources have been allocated in the first three years of its implementation. In the remaining one year and a half of the project (assuming June 2020 as the end date of the project) a bit less than one half of the budget has to be spent. Table 5 shows that the third outcome area has the lowest proportion of budget allocated thus far (with 46%).

Table 6 (below) shows the project’s expenditure by category of expenditure and rate of budget execution for each category. As can be seen from the table, the largest categories of expenditure are the PBCR grant and service components, which make up about half of total expenditure thus far. 2018 has been the year in which expenditures have increased considerably for three main reasons – the service contract companies were contracted, the amount of grants paid doubled in comparison to 2017 and the administrative expenses also increased. Spending by category as a proportion of budgeted amounts hovers around 50% this point in the project’s life, with the exception of the “international consultants” category which is about 34%.


Tag: Efficiency Global Environment Facility fund Government Cost-sharing Local Governance Strategic Positioning

18.

3.2. Project Implementation

3.2.4. Project Finance (Continuation)

Flow of Project Funds The project funding model is shown in Table 9 below. Project funds are transferred from UNDP CO to MoE according to the NIM agreement and from UNDP CO to NCDD-S through direct cash transfer (NIM advance) at the request of the Implementing Partners. MoE and NCDD-S have opened bank accounts with a commercial bank. Funds are transferred from UNDP directly to each agency separately in accordance with the activities outlined in the Project Annual Work Plan and Budget which is signed by the Project Director after approval by the Project Board. As was described in section 3.2.1. on Adaptive Management, the flow of funds was modified during the project inception phase to improve the efficiency of the process. In the new model, funds allocated for sub-national level activities flow directly from UNDP to NCDD-S, without going through the NCSD/DCC.23 The modification also disallowed the flow of funds from UNDP to GDA and ALC as they would not directly implement project activities, but only be engaged for technical support, promotion of learning and sharing of training materials.


Tag: Efficiency Global Environment Facility fund Government Cost-sharing Implementation Modality Operational Efficiency Project and Programme management Financial Inclusion

19.

3.2. Project Implementation

3.2.5. Monitoring and Evaluation

Design at entry The design of the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system provided in the Project Document was overall adequate. It comprises standard tools used in most UNDP projects in accordance with established UNDP and GEF procedures. The primary tools identified in the Project Document are Inception Workshop, Inception Report, Measurement of Means of Verification for Project Progress and Performance (measured on an annual basis), APR and PIR, progress reports, Mid-term Review, Terminal Evaluation, Audit, and visits to field sites. The Project Document also provides a detailed Indicative M&E Work Plan and Budget. As part of the M&E framework, the Project Document also foresaw the conduct of a household baseline survey at project inception and two follow-up surveys at mid-term and end-of-project. The sampling frame was suggested to be smallholder farm households in the project target area, with the expectation that some, but not all, of the households sampled at baseline would become project beneficiaries. The follow-up surveys were intended to be conducted on a panel basis, i.e. the same households will be surveyed as in the baseline. This approach would permit comparison of outcomes for the direct beneficiaries and for a comparison group of non-beneficiary households and, with suitable adjustments for exogenous differences between the groups, would allow statistically robust conclusions about the impact of the project activities. It was expected that the basic content of all three surveys would be very similar and therefore, sharing a survey instrument would facilitate cross-comparisons as well as resulting in cost savings. Some adjustments to the basic survey were foreseen to ensure that the specific indicators in the project results framework could be adequately measured. The impact survey was intended to be contracted to an academic or research institution with suitable skills. The Project Document also foresaw the measurement of the performance of sub-national administration in planning and implementing climate change adaptation actions using a performance measurement system with standardized indicators and individually-set targets for each district. The primary purpose of this system was to support PBCR grants. However, the performance measurement system was expected to yield information that could also be used to measure the project’s impact, and in particular the achievement of improved SNA capacity. Where the M&E design could have been stronger is on the monitoring and measurement of certain project parameters, which with hindsight proved to be challenging to monitor. The uptake of capacity for participants in the training programme, co-financing, etc. The rating of the Monitoring and Evaluation design at entry point is “Moderately Satisfactory”. 


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Monitoring and Evaluation Programme/Project Design Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Theory of Change Capacity Building

20.

3.2. Project Implementation

3.2.5. Monitoring and Evaluation (continuation)

The UNDP Project Adviser has been closely involved in project activities and working closely with the PMU. He has been providing substantive support by discussing the progress and problems, assisting with advice and monitoring project activities. The following crucial M&E tools have been instruments in the project: 

1. Board meetings have been regular and meaningful. Three meetings have taken place so far. Board members have been fully engaged in discussing implementation issues and the project’s status, reviewing previous board meeting recommendations and planning implementation of outstanding issues in the work plan.

2. An impact baseline survey was carried out by a local contractor between April and May 2018 in both target provinces (Kampong Thom and Siem Reap). 28 target villages out of 160 target villages known as “treatment villages” and 10 non-target villages known as “control 2” were selected for the baseline assessment. Sub-national authorities, with support from NCDD-S, facilitated village meetings in the 28 selected villages to identify potential beneficiaries (25-30 householders per village) based on which the respondents for the assessment were randomly chosen. A total of 1,563 household respondents comprising of 726 treatment, 422 control-1, and 415 control-2 households were surveyed. Further, 25 focus group discussions (FGDs) with more than 500 participants and 50 key informant interviews were undertaken. The survey is crucial for establishing a clear baseline and forging a good understanding of the situation on the ground. The project has also developed the methodology for small-scale Follow Up survey.


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Efficiency Local Governance Human and Financial resources Monitoring and Evaluation Oversight Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Technology Data and Statistics

21.

3.2. Project Implementation

3.2.5. Monitoring and Evaluation (continuation)

The project could have tracked more effectively a number of crucial parameters. The following are the most important. • One element that the project team could have tracked better is the uptake of outputs (studies, training, etc.) and the degree to which the outputs were serving their intended purpose. For example, the project could have monitored more closely the extent to which research and analytical documents produced by the project were incorporated into the authorities’ policies and programmes. While some evidence was generated during the interviews for this MTR (see the sustainability section for a brief discussion of this), it would have been useful if the project had kept track of this in a more systematic way. • Another thing that the project team could have tracked is the degree to which the capacity of participants in the various training programmes improved. This was an important activity of the project which could not be assessed by the MTR team because of the lack of data. • Experience of infrastructure initiatives, the lessons they generate and the extent to which they get scaled up. It is too early to talk about replication of infrastructure projects, but one characteristic of them is that they serve to produce lessons which when shared may lead to replication. They can be vehicles for transmitting experience and play a crucial role for upscaling and replication. However, it is not clear how their lessons are collected, analyzed, synthesized and shared. The project should develop a tracking mechanism for pilot initiatives, including documenting results, lessons, experiences and good practices. • The project should monitor co-financing more effectively by developing a tracking system at the infrastructure project level. 


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Efficiency Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management Results-Based Management

22.

3.2. Project Implementation

3.2.6. Execution and Implementation

Performance of the Executing Agency (MoE/GSSD) As has been noted already multiple times, given the NIM nature of this project, the implementing partners of this project is NCSD’s General Secretariat (GSSD), which also acts MoE’s Department of Climate Change (DCC). The Secretary General is the National Project Director and the Director of DCC/GSSD is the National Project Manager. They have been supported by a project team consisting of a Project Coordinator, a Finance Assistant, an Administration Assistant, and a National Communication Officer. The project team deserves credit for the accelerated pace of implementation in the second half of 2017 and throughout 2018.

Equally important in the project has been the role of NCDD-S which, as has been mentioned, has been responsible for the livelihoods and infrastructure components at the sub-national level. The NCDD-S has consisted of the following key positions: • Climate Resilient Planning Adviser • Social and Gender Adviser • National Infrastructure Adviser • Senior Financial Officer • Provincial Project Management Adviser • Provincial Finance Officer. As the project is implemented under the NIM modality, for most of the activities it has had to follow the rules and procedures of the government. Most procurement has been handled by government counterparts, using their own procurement rules and regulations. Both NCSD and NCDD-S have their own manuals (procedures) for administrative and financial matters (including procurement) which are distinct. NCSD was previously supported by another UNDP project in developing the manual of rules (these rules were developed to manage the Climate Change Alliance grants). When procurement cannot be handled by the government entities, UNDP has provided support, using its own rules and regulations. During the planning stage when procurement matters are discussed in the Project Board, procurement which requires UNDP support is placed in the same budget, but under the responsibility of UNDP.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Challenges Efficiency Human and Financial resources Implementation Modality Oversight Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Coordination

23.

3.2. Project Implementation

3.2.6. Execution and Implementation (continuation)

Performance of Implementing Agency (UNDP) UNDP has provided the necessary support throughout the entire cycle of the project, including in its identification, preparation of concept, appraisal, preparation of detailed proposal, approval and start-up, oversight, supervision, completion and evaluation. UNDP has also played a key role in the monitoring and evaluation of the project, working closely with project partners to ensure that the outputs of the project were on track through field visits, consultations and reviews with stakeholders. Beyond that, UNDP has also provided technical advice and advisory support to the project. This support has been primarily channeled by UNDP’s team dedicated to this project which has consisted of a National Project Advisor and a Project Assistant. Also, at the CO level, the respective Programme Analyst (in charge of environmental projects) and the Oversight Analyst have also played a crucial role in providing managerial, technical, oversight and advisory functions and supports to the project, too.


Tag: Efficiency Global Environment Facility fund Human and Financial resources Implementation Modality Monitoring and Evaluation Oversight Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Strategic Positioning

24.

3.3. Project Results

This section of the report is organized along the standard dimensions of UNDP evaluations: i) relevance - the extent to which the project has been relevant to the country’s priorities and needs; ii) effectiveness - whether the project has been effective towards the achievement of desired and planned results; iii) efficiency - whether the process of achieving results has been efficient; iv) sustainability - the extent to which the benefits of the project are likely to be sustained; and, v) mainstreaming – the extent to which considerations related to gender, human rights and SDGs have been incorporated into project activities. 

3.3.1. Progress Towards Results :The project contributed to a range of outcomes which are difficult to pin down in their entirety because of the “high-level policy” nature of the project, with potential for far-reaching effects across multiple sectors and levels of government. Moreover, it is difficult to talk about ultimate results because the project is still underway, and even when completed full effects of many activities will take time to play out. Nevertheless, it is possible to provide an overview of the project’s more immediate contributions, which are summarized in Table 8.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Resilience building Effectiveness Efficiency Local Governance Country Government

25.

3.3.1. Progress Towards Results (continuation)

During the Inception Phase, the project team updatetd the RRF at the output level (as shown in Table 9 further in this section and Annex V at the end of this report). A detailed assessemnt of progress towards the achievement of output targets can be found in Table 9 below. The following is a brief summary of progress for each output area, focusing on the main challenges lying ahead for the project.

• Output 1.1: Progress with this output is overall good, but there are challenges with a couple of components, as follows. - The project has met the target for the following output indicators: - Local councils and key stakeholders at sub-national level are aware of gender and climate change. -Provincial CCA Planning Workshop: Introduction to VRA and CCA mainstreaming into CDP/CIPs. ? Initial CCA Planning Meeting in each district and Supporting for VRA's conduction in village level. - District CCA Action Plans. - The project has not met the target for the following output indicators: - VRA conducted in selected villages. (Status of this was 45% completed by the time of the MTR). -Priority actions from VRA, including livelihood support and infrastructure investments, responding to climate change risk integrated into CDP/CIPs. (Status of this was 45% completed by the time of the MTR). - Commune Support Office trained on DVA and GIS-based vulnerability maps and vulnerability scorecards. (Status of this was 75% completed by the time of the MTR).


Tag: Agriculture Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Resilience building Environmental impact assessment Effectiveness Communication Knowledge management Institutional Strengthening Civil Societies and NGOs National Institutions Vulnerable

26.

3.3.1. Progress Towards Results (continuation)

• Output 2.2: o The project has met the target for the following output indicators: ? Carry out FNA with potential beneficiaries in target villages. o The project has not met the target for the following output indicators: ? Women’s Livelihood Groups formed. (Status of this was 63% completed by the time of the MTR). ? Climate-resilient livelihood activity and training. (Status of this was 16% completed by the time of the MTR). ? Group saving supported. (Status of this was 35% completed by the time of the MTR). ? FWUC/Water user groups formed. (Status of this was 15% completed by the time of the MTR). 

• Output 3.1: o The project has met the target for the following output indicators: ? Minimum Access Conditions and Performance Measurement System. o The project has not met the target for the following output indicators: ? Baseline Performance Assessment and Performance Target Setting. This is an ongoing activity. ? Annual reflection workshop on the outcome of performance assessment. This is another ongoing activity.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Resilience building Water resources Effectiveness Sustainability Vulnerable

27.

3.3.2. Relevance

This section provides an assessment of the relevance of the project. While there may be many criteria for assessing relevance, here it will be assessed along the following dimensions: i) relevance to the country’s needs and priorities; ii) relevance to UN Country Priorities and UNDP’s Country Mandate and Strategy; and, iii) relevance to GEF objectives. Relevance to the country’s needs and priorities - The feedback received from national stakeholders, including government officials, community members and research institutions participating in project activities, donors, and the UNDP CO staff was unambiguously positive. It is clear that the project is fulfilling an important role in the country. The project is also relevant to the national processes on adaptation to climate change. The SRL project is well aligned with the following national strategic documents:

• Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency, first adopted in 2005 and updated in 2013, which focuses on four key areas: agriculture, infrastructure, the private sector and capacity building and human resources development, while good governance is placed at the core of the strategy. The Rectangular Strategy recognizes the need for action to address the impacts of climate change on agriculture and on irrigation infrastructure, which are key concerns of the project.

• National Strategic Development Plan 2014-2018 (NSDP), which elaborates the principles of the Rectangular Strategy. NSDP core targets that are directly addressed by the project include reduction in the poverty rate and increases in paddy yield and irrigated area. The project is also aligned with the decentralization objectives of the Rectangular Strategy and the NSDP.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Resilience building Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Policies & Procedures

28.

3.3.2. Relevance (continuation)

Relevance to UN Country Priorities and UNDP’s Country Mandate and Strategy – The project is in line with the key planning documents of the UN and UNDP in the country - UNDAF, UNDP’s Country Programme Document (CPD) and Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP). The project supports UNDAF’s outcome area for economic growth and sustainable development: • Outcome 1.1: Sustainably developed agriculture sector promoting equitable physical and economic access to an increased number of safe and nutritious food and agriculture products. • Outcome 1.2: National and local authorities and private sector institutions are better able to ensure sustainable use of natural resources (fisheries, forestry, mangrove, land, and protected areas), cleaner technologies and responsive to climate change. The project also supports a number of key goals identified in UNDP’s CPD Outcome 2: By 2015, national and local authorities, communities and private sector are better able to sustainably manage ecosystems good and services and respond to climate change.


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Resilience building Relevance Global Environment Facility fund Policies & Procedures Strategic Positioning UN Country Team Poverty Reduction Vulnerable

29.

3.3.3. Effectiveness

This section provides a brief overview of the project’s effectiveness, including main achievements and challenges. As has been shown in the previous sections of this report, the SRL project has gone through two distinct periods. The first period was one of a very long delay in kick-starting the project. Between one and half to two years were wasted because of this delay. However, once the project got off the ground with the Inception Workshop in March 2017, implementation has proceeded fast, and a lot has been accomplished, as evidenced in the results’ section of this report. The project’s focus has largely remained aimed around the two objectives of helping local authorities implement water infrastructure projects and supporting the formation of livelihood groups. Further, it was clear from the field visit in the targeted locations that this project has focused on the poorest of the poor. Most of the livelihood groups that were visited for this MTR consisted of women in very poor communities. The degree of their participation in the discussion of community problems during the meetings that were witnessed by the MTR team was impressive.

During the implementation stage a number of challenges have been encountered and delays have been experienced in certain areas, as with the hiring of the Service Provider or the Research Firm for the conduct of the baseline survey. But these are contingencies that are common in projects of this nature that involve many transactions among multiple agents. The project has also had to deal with deeper rooted challenges. For example, the capacities at the district and commune level are quite weak and cannot be addressed overnight. Capacity development is a long-term process that requires sustained engagement over a long period. The commune level in particular is prone weak capacities, especially with newly appointed commune councilors. This is also because the communes are very small, and their administrations include only a couple of staff. Some of the activities implemented at this level are technically quite demanding, especially the formulation of development and investment plans. Capacity building at this level requires significant resources and coaching/training. Furthermore, some sub-national administrations have limited fiscal capacity and cannot meet the co-financing requirements. This is particularly the case for the most disadvantaged locations which are very small and/or remote. In other cases, basic development needs and priorities (rural roads) conflict with adaptation needs (irrigation system).


Tag: Challenges Effectiveness Efficiency Local Governance Poverty Reduction Capacity Building Vulnerable

30.

3.3.4. Efficiency

This section provides an assessment of the project’s efficiency. To assess efficiency, the report focuses on a number of parameters which are closely associated with efficient project management. These parameters are categorized into the following categories: i) budget execution rates; ii) cost structure; iii) timeliness of project activities; iv) synergies and linkages with other projects; and, v) flow of funds. 

Budget Execution Rates Budget execution rates can be an adequate indicator of the project’s efficiency because inefficient projects usually have delays in expenditure which results in higher amounts of spending occurring at accelerated rates closer to project end dates. This typically leads to hurried decisions and hastened implementation which is rarely efficient. Table 11 shows the project’s execution rates based on planned expenditure as per Project Document. Clearly, the project had a slow start with no to little activity in 2015 and 2016. However, in 2017 the pace of activities picked up and in 2018 project expenditure reached US$ 1.7 m. Overall, up until the point of MTR about 54% of the total project budget had been spent. This leaves 46% of the budget to be spent in the remaining one year and a half (assuming no project extension will take place). Given that for 2018 the project was able to spend US$ 1.7 m, it is feasible for it to spend the rest of the budget by June 2020. 


Tag: Efficiency Implementation Modality Project and Programme management Results-Based Management

31.

3.3.4. Efficiency (continuation)

Synergies and Linkages with Other Projects

Another angle from which to assess the project’s efficiency is by examining the extent to which its activities have been coordinated and synergetic with the activities of other UNDP projects. From an efficiency perspective, it is important to understand how various project activities have reinforced each other and the degree to which similar UNDP interventions have functioned as one. As far as cooperation and coordination between UNDP projects in the area of climate change, environmental protection and community development is concerned, interviewees for this review pointed to regular joint meetings, coordination of activities, joint communications with government representatives, etc. One strong positive aspect of the SRL project is that it builds on previous interventions, including UNDP projects such as “NAPA Follow Up” (NAPA-FU) project29 in Kratie and Preah Vihear provinces and the Cambodia Community Based Adaptation Programme (CCBAP) project which supported climate change adaptation interventions through local NGOs. Both projects have demonstrated success in specific technical approaches to local climate change adaptation, and both have piloted versions of the Vulnerability Reduction Assessment (VRA) process.

The CO has already taken certain steps to ensure greater cross-project collaboration. Following a review that took place in 2015, UNDP Cambodia has eliminated the cluster approach to managing its projects. So, in the current CPD cycle which runs from 2016 to 2018, UNDP projects, which are mostly NIM, are organized around four programme areas: • Resilient Livelihoods • Development Financing • Voice and Participation (which includes issues of human rights and governance) • Value Chains (which includes economic development activities)


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Resilience building Efficiency Programme Synergy

32.

3.3.4. Efficiency (continuation)

Synergies and Linkages with Other Projects 

The evidence collected during this MTR suggests that despite significant connections between the SRL project and some UNDP ongoing projects (CCCA in particular), the potential for strong synergies is not fully capitalized. Certainly, there is sharing of information at the level of meetings organized by the CO and some events have been organized jointly between the CCCA and SRL projects (including a learning event and annual retreat to share progress and lesion learned). However, cooperation between the two projects is not strategic and does not take full advantage of commonalities they share, especially at the sub-national level. 

UNDP should further strengthen project linkages as much as possible within the existing constraints presented by the fact that projects are subject to different funding sources and windows. The CO could in particular aim for further integration and consolidation of its operations at the at the sub-national level where some of its projects are currently operating and have grant components. This strategy could include integrated frameworks for project planning and implementation at the regional/local level and matched with the CO’s plans at the national level. There is also potential for better coordination with the efforts of development partners in the area of climate change adaptation both at the national and sub-national levels.


Tag: Efficiency Local Governance Integration Operational Efficiency Programme Synergy Strategic Positioning Country Government

33.

3.3.5. Sustainability

While the sustainability of project outcomes is shaped by a number of factors, the focus of this section is on risks related to financial, sociopolitical, institutional, and environmental sustainability of project outcomes. 

Financial resources Financing is quite relevant for the continuity of the results of the pilot initiatives involving communities and local governments at the sub-national level. At this level, continued financing is important because it is an indication of commitment and ownership from the partners, and as such an important aspect of sustainability. The use of a clear set of performance-based conditions/criteria in the PBCR model to motivate performance and generate co-financing is a strong mechanism for strengthening financial sustainability and scaling up the grant programme in other locations. It may enhance an enabling environment at the sub-national level to attract and manage greater volume of climate change adaptation finance.

However, there are two outstanding challenges here. First, as was noted already in this report, some communes are too small and remote and unable to generate sufficient co-financing. When their real priorities do not coincide with adaptation matters (drought or flood issues), there is usually no money available for co-financing, so they cannot benefit from the financing scheme. Second, it remains to be seen how PBCR model could be institutionalized further by integrating it in the financing model through which MFE allocates and distributes funding to local governments on a regular basis. 


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Efficiency Sustainability Resource mobilization Ownership

34.

3.3.5. Sustainability 

Socio-economic

There are always socio-economic risks to the sustainability of project outcomes emanating from the country’s political stability and security situation. However, the area of climate change adaptation and rural livelihoods is less political in nature and a clear priority of Cambodia’s leadership. Furthermore, the SRL project has demonstrated good ownership by socio-economic groups and local communities, which lowers socio-economic risks. Given this, the likelihood of sustainability from the socio-economic perspective is rated as “Likely”.


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Sustainability Local Governance Ownership Poverty Reduction Institutional Strengthening National Institutions Vulnerable

35.

3.3.5. Sustainability 

Institutional Framework and Governance (continuation)

• Further, as noted earlier in this report, some of the livelihood groups created by this project are not properly institutionalized and their organization is weak. Getting these groups to operate on self-sustaining fashion is a tall order. These groups as well will require sustained support, financially, technically and also politically. The project could take a closer look at the sustainability issue of these groups and try to come up with a clearer exit strategy.

• Also, questions remain around the sustainability of some of this project’s water infrastructure initiatives, whose purpose was to demonstrate in very practical terms solutions to adaptation problems. The main question is here is that if the project contributed to the renovation/repair of a particular piece of infrastructure (i.e. an irrigation canal), how are going to make sure that the next renovation will be done by the community and the respective local government working together on the basis of the methodologies and processes promoted by the SLR project? The issue of maintenance here for the very long run is crucial. And, further, the scaling-up of these models to other communities requires stronger institutionalization in terms of maintenance, financing, and contributions of local users in the form of user fees, the role of water user associations, etc. There is a range of issues that requires more thinking and closer attention from the project stakeholders in the months to come. 

• The same argument applies to some of the methodologies promoted by the project (such as the VRA process). It will take sustained support and several years of engagement before sub-national counterparts can fully internalize the methodologies that were developed with the help of the SRL project into their systems and create the capacities for systematically implementing them. Given this, the likelihood of sustainability from the governance perspective is rated as “Moderately Likely”.


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Resilience building Environmental impact assessment Water resources Sustainability Vulnerable

36.

3.3.6. Mainstreaming

The MTR found that the project has mainstreamed reasonably well cross-cutting programming principles such as capacity gender equality, human rights, and especially the rights of vulnerable groups, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), etc.

Gender

The SRL project has had a significant focus on the gender dimension. The project design places women in the project target area at the center of the project by clearly recognizing that they experience specific challenges in their daily lives which are exacerbated by the effects of climate change. The project document recognizes that the needs and priorities of women, and particularly those of poor and vulnerable women, differ from those of men. However, project document also recognizes that the roles of women and men are inter-dependent and there are few, if any, areas of social or economic activity that are purely women’s concerns. Hence, project involves active participation of both sexes in most livelihood activities. The project’s gender strategy combines mainstreamed measures to ensure that women have equal opportunity with men to be heard, participate and benefit from project activities, together with measures specifically targeted to support women without overlooking the need to ensure the support and engagement of men. It adopts a three-pronged approach that ensures a meaningful participation of women, rather than mere token representation. The gender strategy has focused on (1) raising the awareness of the overall community of the differential gendered aspects of climate change; (2) ensuring and facilitating participation of women and vulnerable groups in all aspects of project implementation and (3) specific livelihoods support to poor and vulnerable women. To prioritize gender mainstreaming, the project has hired a dedicated Project Gender and Social Specialist as one of the key staff in the project. Further, capacity building on gender in livelihood and climate change adaptation has been provided to project staff, counterparts, and other project stakeholders.


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Disaster Risk Reduction Effectiveness Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Local Governance Knowledge management Policies & Procedures Capacity Building Vulnerable Women and gilrs

37.

3.3.6. Mainstreaming (continuation)

Livelihood activities have been based on the principle that specific interventions are needed to address the climate change vulnerabilities of poor women in the community, and that these interventions need to integrate technical support for livelihood enterprises that are specifically available to women with limited land, labour and capital resources, with social capital building to assist in overcoming the disadvantages these women face within the community. The project has promoted the formation of women savings group in order to strengthen economic opportunities for women, especially those in the poorest communities. Also, the majority of participants in the livelihoods groups that have been formed so far are women. This was clearly evident during meetings with community groups formed by the project organized in the framework of this MTR.

The following are some practical activities undertaken by the project that involved women. Their participation is showed in a gender disaggregated fashion: • 251 provincial, district and commune councilors (89 women – 35%) are better aware of gender and climate change through provincial awareness-raising workshops in the two target provinces on 26 and 28 March 2018. • SNAs (province, district and commune) further enhanced their knowledge and skills in terms of CCA planning through refresher trainings. A total of 389 SNA participants, 129 of whom were women (representing 33%), participated in the refresher trainings from May to June 2018.


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Effectiveness Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Local Governance Technology Capacity Building Vulnerable Women and gilrs

38.

3.3.6. Mainstreaming (continuation)

Human Rights Approach

Overall, the SRL project has followed a human rights approach by targeting the most vulnerable groups and regions and addressing the rights of women, people with disabilities, etc. The following is a brief summary of the main dimensions.

• Through the combination of its activities targeting resilient livelihoods through adaptation, the project has contributed to the basic right to a safe and ecologically-balanced environment.• It has promoted participatory transparent processes not only in project activities, but also within the government through the process of participatory development planning. The project has made local governments more open, transparent and accountable to the public. • Through the water infrastructure projects, the project has contributed to job creation, poverty reduction and reduced vulnerabilities, which are crucial aspects of human rights. • The project has also contributed to reducing the number of people seeking jobs outside the province and country.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Natural Resouce management Effectiveness Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Human rights Local Governance Policies & Procedures Disabilities Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Awareness raising SDG Integration SDG monitoring and reporting Vulnerable Women and gilrs Youth

Recommendations
1

Reassess at the Onset of the Rainy Season Progress with Infrastructure Projects and Chart the Way Forward

As has been shown in this report, one of the most critical aspects of the project is the design and construction of the water infrastructure projects. Activities on this front are behind the schedule and need to be accelerated. As discussed in the report, there are two limited windows of opportunity during the dry seasons to make quick progress with construction works.

At the end of the current dry season, the project team and board should take stock of the situation and assess the likelihood of completing the remainder of the infrastructure projects by mid-2020. This will require a detailed analysis of the progress of each infrastructure project supported by the project. If the prospect of completing all infrastructure projects by mid-2020 will look unlikely, then the Project Board should come up with a clear plan of action that sees all the infrastructure through and also outlines the necessary timelines for completion, including need for project extension. 

The project team should also develop a clear action plan targeted to the formation of community groups. This is another area that is lagging behind and that would benefit from a clearer acceleration strategy. Transferring funds to these groups and supporting their economic activities will require a lot of engagement that takes time and resources. The project team should develop a matrix that shows in great detail the stage at which every group’s formation is, including a preliminary assessment of their sustainability. The project team needs to develop a clear plan for how this engagement will take place for each group in the remainder of this project. Also, the end-line survey is a complex survey that will require time to organize adequately. The project team should start with preparations without wasting time. 

2

Safeguard the Sustainability of Infrastructure Projects

The project team should examine more closely the issue of sustainability of the water infrastructure projects. The analysis suggested under Recommendation 1 for each infrastructure project should also cover the dimension of sustainability and include a preliminary assessment of potential exit strategies. Ideally, for each infrastructure project there should be a sustainability plan that specifies what will happen to that piece of infrastructure upon the completion of the project. Who will own it? Who will pay for the maintenance? Who will pay for repairs when needed? How is it going to be managed? Are the water users groups created in some locations going to be able to maintain these assets? Will local governments be able to step up to the challenge of organizing maintenance on a regular basis? All these questions, and others, should be addressed in a systematic way and for each project individually because the circumstances and context around each project are different.

Project stakeholders should also discuss the issue of insufficient funding for some of the infrastructure projects that are completed only partially because of limited resources from the project and local government’s own contributions (i.e. renovation of only half of an irrigation canal). Also, the possibility of further institutionalizing the role of the national government (MEF) in providing additional funding through the PBCR model should be examined. Where feasible, the Project Board could identify possible ways for creating more depth in these projects by allocating a sufficient amount of financing.

3

Build on Existing Community Groups rather than Reinventing the Wheel

This report has also noted that some of the community groups that are created by the project are quite weak and their sustainability is questionable at this point. Given that Cambodia has a long history with the creation of such groups, the important question is - What have we learned from the previous experiences with these groups? In the locations that were visited for the MTR, it was noted that there were a number of community groups that had been established by previous projects. Would it have been more appropriate to focus on strengthening existing community groups, rather than creating new ones? Would it not be more effective to channel funds to villagers’ cooperatives, where they exist and require strengthening, rather than create new community groups? There is still time for project stakeholders to focus on these questions and examine the experience of existing groups in each location and see how current efforts could build on those existing groups. So, two specific recommendations are associated with this analysis. First, the project could conduct a systematic assessment/study to understand what is the experience of these other groups in each location and to identify challenges and opportunities related to the groups that are being formed with the aim of strengthening their sustainability. Second, the project team could develop for each community group that is created under the project an exit strategy that identifies the challenges that the group will face after the end of the project’s life and ways to mitigate those challenges. 

4

Strengthen Synergies and Linkages between Projects

NCSD/DCC should strengthen collaboration and linkages between the SRL project and other technical assistance projects under its leadership, particularly the CCCA project. Where feasible, it should establish more integrated frameworks for project planning and implementation. 

At the same time, UNDP should strengthen synergies between its projects operating in the area of climate change adaptation and sub-national governance – and, in particular, between SRL and CCCA. Further, UNDP should recognize that there are no actual divisions between climate change adaptation projects at the local level and local governance. These are two sides of the same coin. UNDP should explore the establishment of mechanisms for managing more closely together aspects of projects that share similar objectives, especially when the sub-national level is concerned. Such mechanisms may involve not only integrated implementation of activities related to information sharing and data systems, but also joint implementation tools related to training, awareness raising, planning, monitoring and evaluation, etc. 

5

Using the M&E System to Track Important Parameters

The project team should examine how the M&E system is used to track important aspects of the project with a view to improving the availability of information for management purposes. Measuring some of these dimensions was a challenge in this MTR. The following are a few dimensions worth considering.

• Uptake of project outputs (studies, training, etc.) and the degree to which they serve their intended purpose – The project should monitor more systematically the extent to which project activities related to research and training get absorbed by beneficiaries.

• Capacity of stakeholders/beneficiaries – The project should track the degree to which the capacity of participants taking part in the various training programmes organized by the project has improved.

• Experience of infrastructure initiatives, lessons they generate and the extent to which they get scaled up – It is too early to talk about replication of infrastructure projects, but one characteristic of them is that they serve to produce lessons which when shared may lead to replication in other locations. They can be vehicles for transmitting experience and play a crucial role for upscaling and replication. However, it is not clear how their lessons are collected, analyzed, synthesized and shared by the project. This requires more systemic thinking and actions. The project should develop a tracking mechanism for pilot initiatives, including documenting results, lessons, experiences and good practices.

• Co-financing – The project should track co-financing for infrastructure projects more effectively by strengthening the monitoring database (PID) that has already been developed.

6

Strengthen Engagement with SDGs at the Sub-national Level

The SRL project has significant potential linkages to the SDG process in the country, especially at the sub-national level, but there has been little explicit recognition of this in the project document or implementation strategy, and no significant action on the ground. Given the commitment of the Cambodian government to the SDG agenda and its importance for UNDP, the project team, NCSD and UNDP could consider linking more effectively some of the project activities to the SDG-related activities going on in the country. At a minimum, project stakeholders should explore how to use the SRL platform to promote more actively the SDGs at the subnational level. This will require a clearly articulated strategy, approved by the Project Board, and should be done in close coordination with other national and UN structures that promote the SDGs in the country.

1. Recommendation:

Reassess at the Onset of the Rainy Season Progress with Infrastructure Projects and Chart the Way Forward

As has been shown in this report, one of the most critical aspects of the project is the design and construction of the water infrastructure projects. Activities on this front are behind the schedule and need to be accelerated. As discussed in the report, there are two limited windows of opportunity during the dry seasons to make quick progress with construction works.

At the end of the current dry season, the project team and board should take stock of the situation and assess the likelihood of completing the remainder of the infrastructure projects by mid-2020. This will require a detailed analysis of the progress of each infrastructure project supported by the project. If the prospect of completing all infrastructure projects by mid-2020 will look unlikely, then the Project Board should come up with a clear plan of action that sees all the infrastructure through and also outlines the necessary timelines for completion, including need for project extension. 

The project team should also develop a clear action plan targeted to the formation of community groups. This is another area that is lagging behind and that would benefit from a clearer acceleration strategy. Transferring funds to these groups and supporting their economic activities will require a lot of engagement that takes time and resources. The project team should develop a matrix that shows in great detail the stage at which every group’s formation is, including a preliminary assessment of their sustainability. The project team needs to develop a clear plan for how this engagement will take place for each group in the remainder of this project. Also, the end-line survey is a complex survey that will require time to organize adequately. The project team should start with preparations without wasting time. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/02/18] [Last Updated: 2021/02/28]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
A detailed matrix of the progress with its likelihood of completion
[Added: 2019/03/04] [Last Updated: 2019/12/19]
NCDDS/SNAs 2019/12 Completed Planned action completed History
Prepare a clear follow up plan of action.
[Added: 2019/03/04] [Last Updated: 2019/12/19]
NCDDS/SNAs 2019/12 Completed Planned action completed History
Regularly and closely monitor and report the progress
[Added: 2019/03/04] [Last Updated: 2019/12/19]
NCDDS/SNAs 2019/12 Completed Planned action completed History
2. Recommendation:

Safeguard the Sustainability of Infrastructure Projects

The project team should examine more closely the issue of sustainability of the water infrastructure projects. The analysis suggested under Recommendation 1 for each infrastructure project should also cover the dimension of sustainability and include a preliminary assessment of potential exit strategies. Ideally, for each infrastructure project there should be a sustainability plan that specifies what will happen to that piece of infrastructure upon the completion of the project. Who will own it? Who will pay for the maintenance? Who will pay for repairs when needed? How is it going to be managed? Are the water users groups created in some locations going to be able to maintain these assets? Will local governments be able to step up to the challenge of organizing maintenance on a regular basis? All these questions, and others, should be addressed in a systematic way and for each project individually because the circumstances and context around each project are different.

Project stakeholders should also discuss the issue of insufficient funding for some of the infrastructure projects that are completed only partially because of limited resources from the project and local government’s own contributions (i.e. renovation of only half of an irrigation canal). Also, the possibility of further institutionalizing the role of the national government (MEF) in providing additional funding through the PBCR model should be examined. Where feasible, the Project Board could identify possible ways for creating more depth in these projects by allocating a sufficient amount of financing.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/02/18] [Last Updated: 2021/02/28]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Identify dimensions of sustainability and preliminary assessment of potential exit.
[Added: 2019/03/04] [Last Updated: 2019/12/19]
NCDDS/SNAs 2019/12 Completed Planned action completed History
Develop a clear action plan for formation of community groups/management committees.
[Added: 2019/03/04] [Last Updated: 2019/12/19]
NCDDS/SNAs 2019/12 Completed Planned action completed History
3. Recommendation:

Build on Existing Community Groups rather than Reinventing the Wheel

This report has also noted that some of the community groups that are created by the project are quite weak and their sustainability is questionable at this point. Given that Cambodia has a long history with the creation of such groups, the important question is - What have we learned from the previous experiences with these groups? In the locations that were visited for the MTR, it was noted that there were a number of community groups that had been established by previous projects. Would it have been more appropriate to focus on strengthening existing community groups, rather than creating new ones? Would it not be more effective to channel funds to villagers’ cooperatives, where they exist and require strengthening, rather than create new community groups? There is still time for project stakeholders to focus on these questions and examine the experience of existing groups in each location and see how current efforts could build on those existing groups. So, two specific recommendations are associated with this analysis. First, the project could conduct a systematic assessment/study to understand what is the experience of these other groups in each location and to identify challenges and opportunities related to the groups that are being formed with the aim of strengthening their sustainability. Second, the project team could develop for each community group that is created under the project an exit strategy that identifies the challenges that the group will face after the end of the project’s life and ways to mitigate those challenges. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/02/18] [Last Updated: 2021/02/28]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Mapping out and assessing the existing community groups in target villages.
[Added: 2019/03/04] [Last Updated: 2019/12/19]
NCDDS/SNAs 2019/12 Completed Planned action completed History
Develop action plan for supporting/strengthening the community groups.
[Added: 2019/03/04] [Last Updated: 2019/12/19]
NCDDS/SNAs 2019/12 Completed Planned action completed History
4. Recommendation:

Strengthen Synergies and Linkages between Projects

NCSD/DCC should strengthen collaboration and linkages between the SRL project and other technical assistance projects under its leadership, particularly the CCCA project. Where feasible, it should establish more integrated frameworks for project planning and implementation. 

At the same time, UNDP should strengthen synergies between its projects operating in the area of climate change adaptation and sub-national governance – and, in particular, between SRL and CCCA. Further, UNDP should recognize that there are no actual divisions between climate change adaptation projects at the local level and local governance. These are two sides of the same coin. UNDP should explore the establishment of mechanisms for managing more closely together aspects of projects that share similar objectives, especially when the sub-national level is concerned. Such mechanisms may involve not only integrated implementation of activities related to information sharing and data systems, but also joint implementation tools related to training, awareness raising, planning, monitoring and evaluation, etc. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/02/18] [Last Updated: 2021/02/28]

Partly agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a calendar of events and meetings, where possible.
[Added: 2019/03/04] [Last Updated: 2019/12/19]
NCSD and NCDDS 2020/12 Completed Planned action completed History
Where possible, conduct joint events - learning and annual retreat.
[Added: 2019/03/04] [Last Updated: 2019/12/19]
NCSD and NCDDS 2020/12 Completed Planned action completed History
5. Recommendation:

Using the M&E System to Track Important Parameters

The project team should examine how the M&E system is used to track important aspects of the project with a view to improving the availability of information for management purposes. Measuring some of these dimensions was a challenge in this MTR. The following are a few dimensions worth considering.

• Uptake of project outputs (studies, training, etc.) and the degree to which they serve their intended purpose – The project should monitor more systematically the extent to which project activities related to research and training get absorbed by beneficiaries.

• Capacity of stakeholders/beneficiaries – The project should track the degree to which the capacity of participants taking part in the various training programmes organized by the project has improved.

• Experience of infrastructure initiatives, lessons they generate and the extent to which they get scaled up – It is too early to talk about replication of infrastructure projects, but one characteristic of them is that they serve to produce lessons which when shared may lead to replication in other locations. They can be vehicles for transmitting experience and play a crucial role for upscaling and replication. However, it is not clear how their lessons are collected, analyzed, synthesized and shared by the project. This requires more systemic thinking and actions. The project should develop a tracking mechanism for pilot initiatives, including documenting results, lessons, experiences and good practices.

• Co-financing – The project should track co-financing for infrastructure projects more effectively by strengthening the monitoring database (PID) that has already been developed.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/02/18] [Last Updated: 2021/02/28]

Partly agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a tracking mechanism for pilot initiatives, including documenting results, lessons, experiences and good practices.
[Added: 2019/03/04] [Last Updated: 2019/12/19]
NCDDS/SNAs 2020/12 Completed Planned action completed History
6. Recommendation:

Strengthen Engagement with SDGs at the Sub-national Level

The SRL project has significant potential linkages to the SDG process in the country, especially at the sub-national level, but there has been little explicit recognition of this in the project document or implementation strategy, and no significant action on the ground. Given the commitment of the Cambodian government to the SDG agenda and its importance for UNDP, the project team, NCSD and UNDP could consider linking more effectively some of the project activities to the SDG-related activities going on in the country. At a minimum, project stakeholders should explore how to use the SRL platform to promote more actively the SDGs at the subnational level. This will require a clearly articulated strategy, approved by the Project Board, and should be done in close coordination with other national and UN structures that promote the SDGs in the country.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/02/18] [Last Updated: 2021/02/28]

Partly agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Use the SRL workshop and events at sub-national level to raise and promote the SDGs.
[Added: 2019/03/04] [Last Updated: 2019/12/19]
NCSD 2019/12 Completed Planned action completed History

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