Mid-Term Evaluation of the Green Climate Fund Project "Supporting vulnerable communities in Maldives to manage CC induced water shortages"

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Maldives
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
01/2020
Completion Date:
11/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
35,000

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Title Mid-Term Evaluation of the Green Climate Fund Project "Supporting vulnerable communities in Maldives to manage CC induced water shortages"
Atlas Project Number: 00094293
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Maldives
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2019
Planned End Date: 01/2020
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Resilience
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
SDG Target
  • 11.5 By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
  • 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 $): 35,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 35,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Hans Van Noord International consultant
Athifa Ibrahim national consultant MALDIVES
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Government Stakeholder, Civil Society, SOEs
Countries: MALDIVES
Lessons
Findings
1.

3. Findings

In this Chapter the key findings of the IE are presented, based upon the review of the project documentation, interaction with the project management team and the consultations with the main stakeholders during the evaluation mission. The findings are divided over the evaluation categories as presented in the previous sections: i). Project Strategy, ii). Progress towards results, iii). Project implementation, adaptive management and Efficiency and Effectiveness, and iv). Sustainability

3.1 Project Strategy Project Design, alignment and relevance The chosen project strategy, with three closely interlinked components, addresses the national development priorities of the Maldives and is country-driven. The project is well aligned with national development policies, as reflected in the Fund Proposal and the ProDoc, and reiterated in the recently published Strategic Action Plan 2019-202320 of the Government of the Maldives. Freshwater security, linked to climate change drivers and expressed in increasingly variable rainfall patterns and sea-level rise induced salinity of groundwater bodies, is very relevant and stressed by all stakeholders consulted from national institutions to local community representatives. The Funding Proposal and ProDoc incorporate lessons of a series of other relevant past projects (USAID and AF projects), make use of existing proof of concept approach and put emphasis on sustainability issues and identify a series of related risks, as noted in other projects. In its design the Project envisages to address through its strategy the existing barriers with three interrelated and complementary components. The existing barriers, fiscal limitations of the Government leading to largely reactive emergency solutions combined with a difficult economy of scale in providing cost-effective water and sanitation services to remote and dispersed small island communities, are difficult to overcome by the Government in a business-as-usual scenario and require additional assistance.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Relevance Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Theory of Change SDG Integration

2.

3.1 Project Strategy Project Design, alignment and relevance (continuation)

Project Output 1: Scaling up integrated water supply system to provide safe water to vulnerable households (at least 32,000 people). With the revised number of RWH islands from 45 to 25 the target population will reduce to 15,118 instead of 26,133, based on the APR 201822, revised population numbers and annual growth rates. Added with the 4 IWRM systems reaching 4,753 people the total target comes to 19,871 (rounded to 20,000 people). Actual numbers of people benefiting will have to be recorded after commissioning and start of operation of the systems.


Tag: Vulnerable Drinking water supply Water resources Relevance Operational Efficiency Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management

3.

3.2 Progress Towards Results

In order to assess to what extent the project has been able to make progress towards its objective and each outcome, Table 4 has been used to summarize progress towards the end-of-project targets. In this Progress Towards Results Matrix information is presented based on the stakeholder interviews, progress reports and the results framework. The defined MTR (EI) targets in the results framework (5th column) and EoP targets are used to assess progress for the different outcomes and related indicators. The self-reported assessment level of the first APR is from the 2017 APR (4th column). Midterm Level and Assessment of the 7th column are given according to the provided color scheme, with green if targets are achieved, yellow if the project is on target to achieve the target and red if the project is not on track to achieve the set target. Achievement ratings are given in the 8th column, using a 6 point Progress Towards Results Rating Scale (HS, S, MS, MU, U, HU). The last and 9 th column gives further justification for the given rating At outcome level the project level is assessed as on track and with a moderately satisfactory rating. Indicator 1, Use by vulnerable households, communities, businesses and public-sector services of Fund-supported tools, instruments, strategies and activities to respond to climate change and variability, is very broadly defined, with a mid-term target of 8,000 households benefiting (and 20,000hh at EoP). RWH and IWRM systems are in last phase of completion for 25+4 islands, policy and regulatory framework development is ongoing and the capability to generate seasonal forecasts to provide island communities with early warning of climate extremes is being strengthened. Indicator 2, # of households using water supply service delivered is awaiting the completion and operation of the IWRM and RH systems. Indicator 3, % of groundwater recharge rate increase, requires a longer-term horizon. Baselines are being established, providing a quantitative reference point to monitor qualitative and quantitative improvement going forward.

Per output progress towards results is assessed making use of the set targets and the actual achievements the project has been able to make, or has made credible steps towards achieving these targets.


Tag: Drinking water supply Water resources Monitoring and Evaluation Policies & Procedures Capacity Building

4.

3.2 Progress Towards Results (continuation)

Output 2: Introduction of decentralized and cost-effective dry season water supply systems

2.1 and 2.2 Decentralized, sub-national water production and distribution hubs (2.1) and (2,2) Institutional coordination and accountability mechanism. The consultancy was contracted in October 2018 and covers 2.1 and 2.2. Based on review of existing procedures, stakeholder consultation and identification of current issues and challenges the Potable Water Security Plan was published in August 2019, complemented by a validation workshop. The Potable Water Security Plan, having a nation-wide coverage beyond the GCF islands only, contains a water security operational plan, defines an emergency supply system, detailing the hubs and specific arrangements and mechanism and includes an IT Water Management Portal, a detailed database consolidating water information to monitor the actual water supply status.


Tag: Water resources Effectiveness Efficiency Results-Based Management Capacity Building Disaster Risk Reduction Drinking water supply

5.

3.2 Progress Towards Results (continuation)

Output 3 Groundwater quality improved to secure freshwater reserves for longer term resilience

3.1 Conduct Baseline assessments. A consultancy is being carried for 13 project islands to provide an assessment of the groundwater quality and recharge rates and develop a groundwater resources management plan with clear recommendations (including specific management and policy or legal recommendation) to ensure improved aquifer recharging and protection. The report presents a review of available data on previous groundwater assessment reports, presents baseline assessments of geological, hydrological (physiochemical, microbiological, geo-physical) and land-use information of 13 islands. Based on these assessments groundwater management plans are being formulated for the 13 islands for aquifer improvement and protection, definition of a groundwater monitoring framework and recommendations for policy and regulatory framework interventions. Additional to the baseline assessment for 13 islands, a groundwater assessment for the complementary 36 islands is being conducted in collaboration with EPA, making use of the recommendations of the initial groundwater assessment and supported by equipment provided by the project to carry out the groundwater assessment and to facilitate future monitoring. These 36 islands are not all GCF islands, but reflect a complementary additional activity undertaken by the Ministry. 


Tag: Water resources Resilience

6.

3.3 Project Implementation, Adaptive Management and Effectiveness and Efficiency

In this section the project implementation arrangements of the project are reviewed together with how the project team has been able to adapt to changing conditions and emerging challenges and constraints in their management of the project. Work planning and financial management are discussed, combined with the project level M&E systems and the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the project. Finally, stakeholder engagement is assessed, and the reporting and communication, as part of the overall knowledge management of the project are reviewed.

Management arrangements

Project management team The actual implementation of project activities encountered significant delays in its initial setup due to delays in finalizing administrative and legal arrangements between GCF and UNDP. Although the project was approved in November 2015, it took more than a year for the FAA to be signed and become effective. The country context changed considerably over this time frame, and these changes were factored in during the project’s inception stage. Given the delays in formalising the FAA, the then MEE had begun some of the design consultancy work for the IWRM component. As a result, the design work for was completed in time for official implementation to commence after the fund transfer to the IP in July 2017. The inception workshop was held on August 7-9, before the Project Manager and other members joined the Project Management Unit. At present, PMU is fully staffed except for the CTA, 1 project coordinator (RWH) and 1 civil engineer position vacant and has 13 staff members, of which some have only be recruited or joined the project recently. For instance, the communications officer joined recently and has been assigned the additional responsibility as gender focal person. The dual responsibility may hinder the timely implementation of the communication interventions (already lagging behind) and pose the risk of the gender components to be overlooked. 

Another challenge has been the position of the international CTA. Although initially foreseen as a continuous in-country post for an experienced international CTA, a compromise resulted in an excountry home-based CTA with only very limited in-country presence (less than 30 days) resulting in less effective technical support and advisory and communication limitations for about a year. A new incountry based CTA is being recruited and is expected to support the team with infusing global best practices and supportive to PMU in broadening its scope and enabling a more integrated approach to sustainable water management (infusing best practices in hydrology, noting that broad hydrological expertise is very limited in the Maldives, without a dedicated academic curriculum) and documentation of lessons learned to enhance the overall knowledge management of the project. The PMU also faced some challenges in finding and recruiting island level staff for decentralized management and monitoring of implementation progress on the 25 RWH and 4 IWRM islands.

Management arrangements are hands-on, and PMU is assessed as dedicated and technically sound. The team has been able to overcome initial delays and very slow delivery progress to the present level of energy. In retrospect, there is substantial learning in this how to prevent such slow start-up phases, although acknowledging that some of the constraining factors, political change leading to substantial government and policy direction changes, combined with election constraints, would have been difficult to predict or foreseen. All in all, it is commendable how the team has been adaptive (out of necessity) to the changing conditions and challenges they had to face. 


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Gender Mainstreaming Project and Programme management Country Government Technical Support

7.

3.3 Project Implementation, Adaptive Management and Effectiveness and Efficiency (Continuation)

Finance and co-finance

Regarding financial management no issues are reported. Quarterly and annual financial reports document the financial delivery of the project. No audit issues were flagged in the independent audit of 2018. The initial financial delivery rate, the ratio of what was initially planned in the annual budget and the actual financial disbursement, was clearly impacted by delays and related slow delivery in its first years of implementation (2017: 58.5%, 2018: 34.2% 24), raising concerns for negative impact on the ability to deliver timely. Project delivery has seen clear improvement in 2019 (up to Q3: 76.8%, projection for YE2019 up to 80+%), bringing the project “back on track” towards anticipated delivery of results by EoP. See Table 9 and Figure 2 and 3. The team does not report serious fund flow constraints, hampering actual implementation, but do report that certain financial rules, e.g. required expenditure ceilings before replenishment can be requested, are sometimes complicated and require the team to be alert to ensure appropriate fund flow. Overall efficiency is difficult to assess as it is phased and influenced by initial delays and related slow delivery rates. The evaluation team recognizes a clear improvement over time as the project is now able to implement and deliver important and complicated milestones. For procurement the project makes use of the national procurement procedures, with tender evaluation giving preference to lowest bidder in compliance with tender requirements. For the procurement of the AWSs for MMS single source procurement will be followed to enable procurement of identical systems as the present monitoring network to ensure easy compatibility and efficient O&M. The fact that the large contracts for the RWH and IWRM systems have been granted to a single contractor eases the monitoring process, having to deal with one contractor and supervision consultant. A competitive bidding process was undertaken for each of the IWMR islands and RWH packages, but the same contractor emerged successful for the IWRM and RWH civil works. Economies of scale would enable the contractor to reduce his costs through cost-efficient procurement of inputs, although it is not clear to what extent this has led to competitive pricing of the tender packages and value for money. The team noted a significant delay in contract signature following larger procurements done through the government centralized procurement system and susceptibility of the process to external political changes, adding to delays in the overall timeline of the project. Unavailability of qualified candidates did also hamper the procurement process for technical expertise, forcing the project to retender. For international procurement (e.g. the CTA) time and cost efficiency advantages can be sought through use of the UNDP’s implementation support services including procurement support.

The co-financing, Table 10, gives an overview of co-financing sources, types, confirmed amounts at CEO endorsement and actual amounts contributed at IE. The actual amount of the GoM in-kind contribution is at IE just over 3% of what was confirmed at FP approval. The present percentage of expenditure is very limited compared to the planned amount at FP approval. It is not believed that lack of co-financing has affected project delivery. An important amount of the co-financing budget is earmarked as the commitment of the Government to fund the operations and management of the IWRM and RWH systems for five years after the project ends. As per signed co-financing letter, USD4,193,000 is allocated for O&M of IWRM and IWRM systems and Automatic Weather Stations. As the systems have not yet been commissioned, no O&M costs have yet been incurred.

Coherence in climate finance delivery with other multilateral entities The present project is making use of earlier UNDP-AF and USAID projects that have provided a valid Proof of Concept for adaptation solutions for the climate change-induced water security issues in the Maldives Atolls. The project is directly supporting and contributing to the Maldives NAPA with a clear adaptation focus. As implementation is relatively early with direct impacts for communities yet to be felt when RWH an IWRM systems will be operational, discussion on follow-up scaling-up opportunities still have to be initiated. The commitment to provide access to potable water to all households by the present Government in its term is very supportive of the project’s objectives, as is also evidenced by the commitment to prioritize the water supply systems for the 20 islands, now planned to be implemented in the coming 2 years, the project could not cater to due to budget constraints (see explanation of budget constraints in 3.2 Progress Towards Results, Output 1, activity 1.1). The solar-powered IWRM systems do contribute to a low-emission development pathway, replacing the high-emission fossil fuels alternatives. The evaluation team learned of JICA and WMO projects25 being developed focused on climate change, disaster management and climate information, including support to MMS. As the project is supporting MMS to extend its AWS monitoring system and build capacity for improved seasonal forecasting, it is important to coordinate with the stakeholders of these potential future projects to ensure complementarity and enhance impact. 


Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Efficiency Government Cost-sharing Monitoring and Evaluation Operational Efficiency Procurement Bilateral partners Country Government Capacity Building

8.

3.3 Project Implementation, Adaptive Management and Effectiveness and Efficiency (Continuation)

Stakeholder engagement The project documentation and the stakeholder consultations confirm a functional and practical stakeholder engagement. All key stakeholders are represented in the Project Steering Committee, which acts, besides being a formal body to review and endorse annual work plans and budgets, as a technical forum to give guidance and advice to the project management team. It is noted that engagement of some stakeholders is limited at PSC meetings which hampers to some extent a meaningful information exchange between all stakeholders, and requires attention to have full representation at strategic project governance level in addition to technical levels, as much as possible. The Technical Committee provides a forum for technical staff of various stakeholder too advise and guide the project and this forum is actively used to review emerging project reports of consultants and to review and comment on guidelines and the development of standard operational procedure. Relation with stakeholders are informal and pragmatic, with the PMU housed at the DWS and within the ME. As the project is in-house within the WSD of the ME, there is direct and informal collaboration and information exchange with other investments and donor funded initiatives in the water and climate change sector. In addition, the technical committee and PSC provide a dialogue platform for the stakeholders to inform each other on existing or emerging projects to ensure complementarity and avoid thematic or geographic overlap. Stakeholder engagement is satisfactory, by engaging amongst others with WDCs in islands where they are present but missing are linkages to CSOs/NGOs (while acknowledging there are few relevant NGOs in the country) and only limited collaboration with academia or knowledge institutions. Another missing stakeholder is the agriculture sector as important groundwater user for irrigation purposes, stakeholder for spatial zoning of project islands and regulator of pesticides and herbicides as potential contaminant of groundwater.


Tag: Agriculture Water resources Effectiveness Efficiency Communication Knowledge management Operational Efficiency Oversight Partnership Technical Support

9.

3.4 Sustainability

Sustainability is the likelihood of continued, lasting benefits and impact post-project. Assessment of sustainability at mid-term has to consider the risks that are likely to affect the continuation of project outcomes. This sustainability assessment regards four categories of sustainability: financial, socioeconomic, institutional framework and governance and environmental risks to sustainability. 

The overall risk rating for this project as reflected in the ProDoc was considered to be moderate, with the risk log of 11 risks identified, incorporating 7 risks identified through the social and environmental risk screening, 1 operational risk, 2 political risks and 1 organisational risk. The last updated UNDP risk log as reported in the 2019 Q2 quarterly progress report has one additional risk identified, related to potential complaints causing construction delays and the grievance redress mechanism to address and mitigate this risk. Of the other risks three have been downgraded due to mitigation measures put in place (#5: impact of site selection, all land has been allocated without major issues; #7: damage to installed water infrastructure through surges/storm, protective measures in place; and #10: political resistance against tariff restructuring, utility rates amended in 2018 (flat rate), tariff guidelines and SOP will reduce resistance). The evaluation team confirms the existing moderate risk rating, although acknowledging the risk linked to political volatility and change of policy priorities and political leadership, which had impact on implementation progress and rather difficult to mitigate. The present risk # 9, Political pressure to rapidly deliver the water production infrastructure on the target islands during the first year of implementation, is suggested to be replaced as the infrastructure is due to be commissioned, by “Political volatility and change of political priorities and political leadership pose a risk to the sustainability of the project interventions”, with a similar risk rating as the present risk #9. A risk to add to the risk log is the apprehension of the island communities to drink treated water, especially RO water, which they consider “heavy”, which might have negative impact on the sustainability of the project investments. Efforts need to be made to raise awareness and build trust in the water provided. Another minor risk is the possible loss of the traditional practice of household level rainwater collection with the availability of metered water supply. One risk the evaluation team notes is the transfer of mandate over water infrastructure to the Ministry of National Planning and Infrastructure, which could create a certain risk of loss of institutional knowledge and ownership (GCF project as “outlier”). However, a good working relation and proper information exchange are established between ME and MNPI.

Financial risks to sustainability The lasting impact of the financial investment in water infrastructure relies on appropriate operation and maintenance by the Utilities to secure water availability. Repair, replacement and maintenance and cost of staff need to be covered from regular O&M budgets. The commitment by the Government to take up the O&M budgets post-project for a period of 5 years for the project sites, as reflected in the cofinancing budget, provides a good assurance that sufficient means will be available to prevent the water infrastructure systems to become obsolete. For the Utilities it will be critical how they will be able to recover costs from beneficiaries (hh) with a metered connection. The team understands that the Councils and Utilities are exploring additional sources for cost recovery, such as water to be sold to boats and guest houses etc. During the field visit island council representatives stated that it would be beneficial for overall sustainability and cost recovery to include as many houses as possible in the metered connections. Present regulations excluded some households, e.g. extended families with two households in registered premises. As the IWRM and RWH systems become operational it will be important for the project to closely monitor, in collaboration with the Utilities and Island Councils, how operation and maintenance is evolving and how cost can be recovered to enable a cost benefit analysis for the systems developed. The period after commissioning of the IWRM and RWH systems and the start of the O&M by the Utilities in practice will be critical to monitor how the Utilities are able to recover costs, show full commitment to the RWH systems with tap bays (therefore without direct metered cost recovery) and their willingness to scale up these activities, based on their O&M experience. A detailed cost-benefit analysis of the systems after operation start will be essential to understand their future financial viability and to tackle emerging sustainability issues accordingly. Such a CBA could include long-term O&M cost profiles for each investment (RWH and IWRM systems) to have a deeper understanding of the possible rate of recovery and need for cross-subsidisation. The Government is investing significantly in improving sanitation through development of sewerage networks on the target islands. This supports one of the key assumptions of the Theory of Change of the project to tackle, through these investments, non-climate pressures on groundwater would be reduced and potential contamination by present septic tanks could be addressed. Actual quantification has not been collected by the evaluation and this is suggested to be compiled by PMU and ME.


Tag: Environmental impact assessment Impact Sustainability Operational Efficiency Ownership Risk Management

10.

3.5 Innovativeness in results areas

The evaluation team assesses it to be early to be able to document clear concrete examples of how the project contributed to innovation or thought leadership in the project and country context. An area of innovativeness to consider is the design of the IWRM and RWH where the project has introduced new components, such as the RWH systems include RTP tanks, ultra-filtration and disinfection and the addition of recharge wells to retain excess water in the system for possible later use. Also the use of PV solar systems for the IWRM systems, replacing traditional fossil fuel usage, is an example of innovation. The arrangements being tried out by the project for community engagement, through water committees, which has not been done before, provides an example of additional innovation aimed at strengthening decentralized independence and promoting local ownership by beneficiaries. Ultimately, the overall project strategy, aimed at enabling a paradigm shift from reactive emergency supply of drinking water to creating hubs with proactive decentralized production of sufficient drinking water combined with a related conducive policy and regulatory framework, is an innovative approach in dealing with the emerging climate challenges to remote island communities and in developing practical adaptation approaches. The team also sees a clear scope to build on the emerging collaboration with the Maldives Meteorological Service to improve availability of timely climate and weather information as early warning to remote and scattered island communities. Their vulnerability to droughts and the implications this has for their need to adapt to prolonged periods of water scarcity, requires tailor-made messages to inform the communities to optimize their water use and water availability. This is an area of innovative development the project is suggested to further explore. 


Tag: Vulnerable Innovation Results-Based Management

11.

Cross-Cutting Criteria

3.6 Gender Equity

A gender review of the project outputs and activities was conducted and an updated Gender Action Plan (GAP) for the project was developed this year, as the original GAP was not actionable and required mainstreaming of gender elements into the implementation of all project activities. While the project staff recognizes the importance of including both men and women in the project activities and including female headed households, the activities are limited to involvement of the Women’s Development Committees (WDCs). However, some islands do not have WDCs and need other approaches to increase women’s participation in the project activities. The gender report noted that “Project activities, such as workshops or community consultations, need to move beyond ‘equal participation’ of both sexes to ‘equal engagement and transformational change’ of both groups. Considerations need to be given to address socially constructed gender related barriers (such as inability of women to take part in an extended training outside her resident island due to her domestic responsibilities).This would require project staff to fully understand the different needs, priorities and challenges of men and women in the target population and strategize measures to ensure that these are addressed.”


Tag: Vulnerable Resource mobilization Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Monitoring and Evaluation Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management

12.

3.7 Environment and Social Safeguards

The project had developed and applied a comprehensive ESMP to enable the project to record, monitor and mitigate potential negative environmental or social impact through its (intended) activities. The related grievance redress mechanism is functional, and the evaluation team understands that so far only minor issues have been brought forward, which could be easily addressed at island level. As covered under the section on environmental risks a series of environmental risk were identified and are reflected in the UNDP risk log, initially in the ProDoc, but updated when needed. The mitigation measures presented in the risk log and the ESMP have been effective in preventing or reducing foreseen negative impact. To implement and monitor the ESMP PMU has a dedicated safeguards officer, who has presently this task additional to his other responsibilities in transition from his previous role within PMU. The independent role of the safeguards officer is important, being able to dedicate full time to his responsibility to monitor and document any negative environmental or social impact by project interventions.

With regard to social safeguards, there is no conscious/proactive intervention planned to ensure the most vulnerable are not left behind. For instance, in the IWRM islands, households are provided free connections, but based on submission of the application form. This policy has the risk that the most vulnerable households may be left behind without the benefit of the project. In addition, as the system is based on cost recovery, there is little consideration of how to assist such vulnerable households to access the supplied water throughout the year. While the assumption is that such households will be provided with the social protection benefits for the poor, there is a need to have a discussion around this with the social protection sector. The team is aware that the project staff have stressed the intention to be inclusive and include all households as beneficiaries. Continuous attention however is needed in monitoring as the water supply systems become operational. Another risk is the possible loss of the traditional practice of household level rainwater collection with the availability of metered water supply. However, household level water collection is likely to form the contingency in situation of damage/breakdown of the metered supply system and interventions need to be considered to encourage maintenance of household rainwater tanks


Tag: Vulnerable Drinking water supply Water resources Policies & Procedures Risk Management Social Protection Leaving no one behind

13.

3.8 Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management

As the project has been focused on establishment of the IWRM and RWH systems, the related regulatory framework and guidelines, SOPs and in the knowledge building and management plan of the aquifers, less attention has been given to documenting the emerging lessons and practices. As the water systems are now close to commissioning it is an appropriate time to invest in documenting and reporting these case studies, lessons learned and emerging good practices, as described under the reporting and communication sections, for a wider audience. Dissemination of these knowledge products, making use of social media, but also of traditional media, newsletters and factsheets, will be required to have a transparent repository of project documents. The organised and systematic implementation of an agreed communication plan is crucial to attain a sound knowledge management set-up. An annual review workshop or knowledge sharing event could serve as a platform to present these kinds of knowledge products to the direct stakeholders, media and a broader public.


Tag: Communication Knowledge management Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management

Recommendations
1

4.2 Recommendations

Based on the findings and conclusions presented above a limited series of practical and actionable recommendations is directed to the project management team and relevant stakeholders. It is recommended to:

Recommendation 1. Revise some of the project indicators: reflecting change in # of target islands and population (Output 1 and 2) and realism and feasibility of groundwater indicators (Output 3). Inclusion of indicator/or at least documentation of achievement (see Annex G of IE Report) reflecting the impact of regulatory/policy development support. (See table in pg. 57 of the report) 

2

Recommendation 2. Strengthen the PMU with a CTA able to infuse integrated approaches of water management and facilitate the knowledge management capacity (need to have bridging and catalytic role) and provide guidance on financial sustainability and scalability of the project strategy.

3

Recommendation 3. Focus on the development of a stronger communication /awareness outreach (including social media and human interest stories), to enhance the visibility of the project in its later phases, through documenting emerging best practices and key lessons, including detailed documentation of baseline conditions to monitor later community level impact. This will be facilitated through formulation of a detailed communication plan with related timelines and responsibilities.

4

Recommendation 4. Develop an exit strategy, phasing out plan, to identify and promote critical elements for sustainability/lasting impact PP including retaining PMU and project staff and limit brain drain/turnover. The PSC is recommended to take the lead in guiding the development and facilitating the political support for a realistic exit strategy to enhance sustainability post-project.

5

Recommendation 5. Recognize and emphasize the critical role of Utilities to ensure strong capacity building support to staff will enhance their ability to deliver quality of service in O+M and recover costs. The involvement of Utilities in decision-making and regulatory setting (engagement in PSC and technical committee) is vital and their role in M&E and documentation of lessons learned and project interventions impact is to be underlined. Utilities will also be critical partners in the use and application of seasonal forecast to optimize their operations and be timely prepared for drought and rainy periods.

6

Recommendation 6. Seek for stronger and more frequent collaboration with other relevant stakeholders on a broader spatial context of water management: land use zonation/plans, conservation zones, linkage to agricultural sector and climate-smart agricultural approaches to optimize/minimize groundwater extraction for commercial purposes (e.g. MNPI, Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture).

7

Recommendation 7. Develop linkage to broader climate change context and climatic drivers: build on the collaboration with MMS to develop improved climate information availability (seasonal forecasting) and information availability. Early warning information dissemination reaching island councils and to be used by utilities to plan for droughts or rain periods.

8

Recommendation 8. Document and record co-benefits as essential learning after the RWH and IWRM systems are operational, including possibly a cost-benefit analysis covering the first years of operation.

9

Recommendation 9. Allocate appropriate budget for Gender Action Plan implementation and reflect this in the AWP/B:

- Updated GAP to be implemented fully with structured timeline and responsible partners for implementation with appropriate budget allocation and a dedicated staff at the PMU.

- Gender related activities to be mainstreamed into the annual work plans of the project and funds to be allocated.

- In the IWRM islands, the households are currently filling the application forms for free metered connections at household level. There has to be proactive participation of vulnerable households to ensure the inclusion of the most vulnerable, under the principle of no one is left behind. For instance, single mothers or other vulnerable households may not be able to prioritize and dedicate time to fill out the forms, and hence may be left behind and miss out on the free household connections and may face additional financial burden if they want to connect at a later stage. Documentation of these inclusive efforts together with the island councils will be part of participatory M&E.

See Table 11 Overview of recommendations

1. Recommendation:

4.2 Recommendations

Based on the findings and conclusions presented above a limited series of practical and actionable recommendations is directed to the project management team and relevant stakeholders. It is recommended to:

Recommendation 1. Revise some of the project indicators: reflecting change in # of target islands and population (Output 1 and 2) and realism and feasibility of groundwater indicators (Output 3). Inclusion of indicator/or at least documentation of achievement (see Annex G of IE Report) reflecting the impact of regulatory/policy development support. (See table in pg. 57 of the report) 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/31] [Last Updated: 2020/11/15]

Given the change in project scope from the initial project formalization period, it is understandable that there would be a change in the targets which can be achieved by the end of the project, however it would not be advisable to change the original indicators to ones that would fit based on changing conditions, as it could set a bad precedent to adjust targets to fit our needs. The changes in scope and its implications to the project targets have been documented and reported to GCF.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Implement the Island Climate Resilient – Groundwater Management Plan (ICR-GMP) in selected island[s] with particular emphasis on the following: 1.1.1 Conduct island level training for household groundwater recharge systems as proposed in the (ICR-GMP) 1.1.2 Implement groundwater recharge systems such as infiltration galleries and recharge trenches at island level as recommended in the (ICR-GMP) 1.1.3 Establish long-term monitoring system for collecting information on recharge rates and ground water quality using appropriate methodologies as proposed in the monitoring framework of (ICR-GMP )
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, WSD, MoFA, Island Council, NGOs 2021/03 Initiated
Integrating groundwater recharging emphasis in the design phase of water projects.
[Added: 2020/01/31]
WSD, MNPI, EPA 2020/12 Initiated Incorporating recharge structure in the EIA process to ensure replication
Incorporate GCF groundwater program activities in national strategic action plan
[Added: 2020/01/31]
MNPI, WSD 2019/12 Completed Incorporated into the National Strategic Action Plan History
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2. Strengthen the PMU with a CTA able to infuse integrated approaches of water management and facilitate the knowledge management capacity (need to have bridging and catalytic role) and provide guidance on financial sustainability and scalability of the project strategy.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/31] [Last Updated: 2020/11/15]

A CTA was on board on home-based basis with missions to Maldives as necessary, from February 2018 to April 2019. After the CTA consultant ended his contract, it was agreed that a home-based CTA staff position would be a more effective arrangement. The recruitment of the CTA was ongoing during the interim evaluation period and has now been selected.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Recruit and establish CTA within PMU, ME
[Added: 2020/01/31]
UNDP 2020/03 Overdue-Initiated Recruitment has been completed, candidate’s arrival for assignment due Mar 2020
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3. Focus on the development of a stronger communication /awareness outreach (including social media and human interest stories), to enhance the visibility of the project in its later phases, through documenting emerging best practices and key lessons, including detailed documentation of baseline conditions to monitor later community level impact. This will be facilitated through formulation of a detailed communication plan with related timelines and responsibilities.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/31] [Last Updated: 2020/11/15]

PMU and UNDP had identified the need for strengthening of project communications, and the interim evaluation has highlighted that the current communication focuses on internal needs and is limited in terms of its contribution to external visibility of the project. The team now has to consolidate all baseline information and ensure the quality of all key baseline values. E.g. groundwater recharge rates, water related health issues, water shortage data, water delivery data (emergency water distribution cost and time, reduction in GHG emission).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Establish an E library (for general public) for the water sector under the ICT consultancy which would host reports and documents formulated under the project (Refer to ToR)
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, WSD, ME IT, UNDP Support 2022/03 Initiated
Monitoring of project impacts / results 3.3.1Consolidate all baseline data on project islands which can provide an analysis of the project impacts 3.3.2 Monitor, Analyze, Evaluate and Report the progress on the baseline data with regard to the project implementation in the project quarterly reports and APR. 3.3.3 Undertake additional assessment as and when required with regard to the project impacts / results
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, WSD, UNDP Support 2022/12 Initiated
Documentation of lessons learned and recommended best practices. Disseminate information to relevant stakeholders. 3.4.1 Consolidate information of lessons learned from project activities 3.4.2 Reporting of lessons learned and recommended best practices in project quarterly reports and APR 3.4.3 Disseminate and discuss information from the findings with relevant stakeholders in the form of a workshop
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, UNDP Support 2022/12 Initiated
Finalize detailed communication plan with timelines and responsibilities
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, UNDP Support 2020/03 Overdue-Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4. Develop an exit strategy, phasing out plan, to identify and promote critical elements for sustainability/lasting impact PP including retaining PMU and project staff and limit brain drain/turnover. The PSC is recommended to take the lead in guiding the development and facilitating the political support for a realistic exit strategy to enhance sustainability post-project.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/31] [Last Updated: 2020/11/15]

The PMU, with UNDP support, can utilize the PTC for development of an exit strategy as the PTC has key stakeholders and government counterparts of the project who would partner with Ministry of Environment on various aspects of the project interventions for continuity. The exit strategy once developed, can be approved by the PSC at a strategic level, to enable a smooth transition and after end of project. UNDP will support this transition as needed.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Raise issue at PSC, including but not limited to these areas; a. Advocacy and awareness for uptake of produced water and build confidence on quality of produced water b. Training and functional capacity development at utilities (Act. 1.5 and 1.6). c. Capacities for rainfall forecasting and timely water shortage alerts linked with utility planning and decentralized water distribution d. Formulate cost recovery strategy for O&M
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, WSD, UNDP Support 2020/05 Overdue-Initiated
Draft exit strategy finalized and approved by PSC
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, UNDP Support 2020/08 Overdue-Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5. Recognize and emphasize the critical role of Utilities to ensure strong capacity building support to staff will enhance their ability to deliver quality of service in O+M and recover costs. The involvement of Utilities in decision-making and regulatory setting (engagement in PSC and technical committee) is vital and their role in M&E and documentation of lessons learned and project interventions impact is to be underlined. Utilities will also be critical partners in the use and application of seasonal forecast to optimize their operations and be timely prepared for drought and rainy periods.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/31] [Last Updated: 2020/11/15]

Emphasis has been made to include the utilities from the civil works stage and in island-level implementation and management, and their capacity development needs identified in the capacity assessment exercise undertaken. The role of utilities in O&M and M&E needs to be formalized as this is closely related to the operational continuity of systems built for the project. Furthermore, utilities need to be provided with adequate capacity development and data regarding water shortages and rainfall patterns.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Draft and review O&M agreement with the operator
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, PTC, UNDP support 2020/08 Overdue-Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6. Seek for stronger and more frequent collaboration with other relevant stakeholders on a broader spatial context of water management: land use zonation/plans, conservation zones, linkage to agricultural sector and climate-smart agricultural approaches to optimize/minimize groundwater extraction for commercial purposes (e.g. MNPI, Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture).

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/31] [Last Updated: 2020/11/15]

The project needs to actively foster engagement with related line ministries to incorporate the learnings from the project and align strategies and goals with efforts by other ministries, to create a lasting impact. For this a technical cross-sectoral group needs to be established, current land use policies need to be reviewed and project data needs to be used to inform land use policies on target islands.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Set up technical cross-sectoral working group to engage with other water user sectors to determine groundwater to determine rates of unsustainable withdrawals, risks of pollution and key mitigation measures
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, WSD, CCD, MNPI, MoFA 2020/07 Overdue-Initiated
Map groundwater recharge areas to inform land use policies on target islands;
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, WSD, CCD, MNPI 2020/12 Initiated
Undertake review of current land use policies and plans to identify needs and opportunities for setting green zones to enable natural replenishment and protection of groundwater.
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, WSD, CCD, MNPI, MoFA 2020/12 Initiated
7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7. Develop linkage to broader climate change context and climatic drivers: build on the collaboration with MMS to develop improved climate information availability (seasonal forecasting) and information availability. Early warning information dissemination reaching island councils and to be used by utilities to plan for droughts or rain periods.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/31] [Last Updated: 2020/11/15]

Collaboration with MMS is ongoing, with project supporting existing network of weather stations of MMS and formalizing a MoU to establish data sharing collaboration with ME Water Dept. (e.g. rainfall alerts, rainfall vs. groundwater recharge, water shortage prediction).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Finalize and sign handover directive with MMS for O&M arrangement post-installationafter completion of AWS systems
[Added: 2020/01/31]
Finalize and sign handover directive with MMS for O&M arrangement post-installationafter completion of AWS systems 2020/12 Initiated
Procure and establish 6 additional auto weather stations
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, MMS, CCD, Water Dept 2020/12 Initiated
8. Recommendation:

Recommendation 8. Document and record co-benefits as essential learning after the RWH and IWRM systems are operational, including possibly a cost-benefit analysis covering the first years of operation.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/31] [Last Updated: 2020/11/15]

Emphasis to be given to capturing of co-benefits as part of M&E and communications work. PMU to record the co-benefits based on the baselines established by the project. Main co-benefits of project are; rise of social and environmental wellbeing and economic productivity due to reduction in water insecurity; lowered burden of ill health; reduced GHG emission due to reduced transportation requirement of emergency water supply; reduced flood damage due to increased rainfall capture and diversion; increased capacity of water resource management; lowered social and economic cost of water provision.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Identification of baseline data for co-benefits and capturing missing data and report in QPRs and APR
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU, Utilities, Island Councils 2020/12 Initiated
9. Recommendation:

Recommendation 9. Allocate appropriate budget for Gender Action Plan implementation and reflect this in the AWP/B:

- Updated GAP to be implemented fully with structured timeline and responsible partners for implementation with appropriate budget allocation and a dedicated staff at the PMU.

- Gender related activities to be mainstreamed into the annual work plans of the project and funds to be allocated.

- In the IWRM islands, the households are currently filling the application forms for free metered connections at household level. There has to be proactive participation of vulnerable households to ensure the inclusion of the most vulnerable, under the principle of no one is left behind. For instance, single mothers or other vulnerable households may not be able to prioritize and dedicate time to fill out the forms, and hence may be left behind and miss out on the free household connections and may face additional financial burden if they want to connect at a later stage. Documentation of these inclusive efforts together with the island councils will be part of participatory M&E.

See Table 11 Overview of recommendations

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/31] [Last Updated: 2020/11/15]

GAP and its components are a crucial and non-negotiable requirement of any project and has to be implemented and integrated into the project activities. PMU and UNDP could together explore possibilities for additional funding, budget repurposing or task integration into other activities for the GAP implementation and monitoring when work planning for 2020

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Identify points of integration with GAP and other activities and include in work plan
[Added: 2020/01/31]
PMU 2020/03 Overdue-Initiated History

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