Terminal Evaluation: Effective Governance for small-scale rural infrastructure and disaster preparedness in a changing climate

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Lao
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
03/2018
Completion Date:
03/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
40,000

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Title Terminal Evaluation: Effective Governance for small-scale rural infrastructure and disaster preparedness in a changing climate
Atlas Project Number: 00069456
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Lao
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 03/2018
Planned End Date: 03/2018
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Environment & Sustainable Development
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.5. Inclusive and sustainable solutions adopted to achieve increased energy efficiency and universal modern energy access (especially off-grid sources of renewable energy)
SDG Goal
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG Target
  • 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
  • 13.b Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities
Evaluation Budget(US $): 40,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 37,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Vincent Lefebre Evaluation
Singha Ounniyom Evaluation
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Effective Governance for small-scale rural infrastructure and disaster preparedness in a changing climate
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Climate Change
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 4554
PIMS Number: 4710
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
Countries: LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
Lessons
Findings
1.

3.1 Project design / Formulation

The project design is addressing climate change issues from different angles: (i) suboptimal centralised interventions’ implementation, (ii) lack of technical and managerial expertise of local Government staff to effectively deliver results, (iii) Laos’ increased vulnerability in times of greater whether patterns’ variability due to climate change in an ever more anthropic-induced degraded environment.

With a greater vulnerability to climate change in the South of the country, the project has focussed its efforts on adaptation and mitigation through removing several barriers1: (i) increasing local planning capacities to better respond to higher climate change risks, (ii) increase availability of information about climate change issues and its consequences, so that the information can be directly interpreted and solutions applied at local level, (iii) increase the resilience of interventions - rural water infrastructures -through strengthening the infrastructures codes and standards, (iv) divulge information on the linkages between climate change, environmental degradation and extreme climatic/weather events and apply ecosystem-based adaptation measures, (v) increase efficiency and effectiveness of the intervention through taking advantage of an existing decentralised mechanism to allocate funds directly at district level (DDF).


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Programme/Project Design

2.

3.1.1 Analysis of logical framework / Results Framework

While the initial project rationale stated that the project would address the NAPA priorities, the review of the logical framework shows that the design was targeting local administrations’ capacities (knowledge on CC, planning, implementing, M&E) with a focus on small-scale rural water infrastructures and final beneficiaries with upgraded /reconstruction of small-scale water infrastructures.

With three outcomes implemented by different stakeholders, the project design sets out clear responsibilities: outcomes 1 and 3 implemented by MoNRE and outcome 2 implemented by MoHA.Still, the project’s logic calls for integrated implementation with a decentralised outcome 2 linked to outcome 3 on EbA measures, hence requiring close collaboration between institutions.

In that respect, the project formulation seems to have adopted a simple design: 2 executing institutions(MoNRE, MoHA), 3 outcomes (capacity building, infrastructures and EbA measures) and the development of climate-resilient infrastructures by using a fast-track implementation mechanism (DDF fund) already in place.


Tag: Results-Based Management Country Government Capacity Building

3.

The lack of a component supporting institutional ownership and Government empowerment was a risk implying that the project would only benefit its targeted population while Government would not take use the project’s benefits for the design and implementation of its domestic policies and strategies at national level.

Indeed, interviews showed that the project was seen primarily as a provincial infrastructure intervention without much activity to ensure that institutional beneficiaries would take advantage of its benefit from it by project’s closure.

The design lacked somehow ambition on how to empower central government with the future lessons learned from the project (e.g. institutionalisation of new construction codes, adoption of decentralised approach for small scale infrastructures, climate-proofing to other sectors, combination of EbA and infrastructures as a national policy...)

An additional project component with financial resources to support government into integrating lessons learned within relevant ministries through an updated national policy framework for climate proofing (improved legal frameworks, policies and strategies...) would have been welcome.


Tag: Ownership Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Country Government

4.

3.1.2 Assumptions and risks

The log frame contains several assumptions and risks: 1. Other risks more pressing than climate change are emerging, 2. Insufficient understand of climate change risks among stakeholders, 3. Districts replicate the conventional non-climate resilient planning procedures, 4. Decentralisation policies and approaches delayed during implementation, 5. Infrastructures design not based on sufficient consultations and not valued by beneficiaries, 6. Local resistance occurs to the introduction of new water management techniques on sociocultural, 7. Land ownership issues in the vicinity of built infrastructure restrict possibilities in introducing new ecosystem based land management approaches grounds.

All those risks may have been well managed by the project if they did occur as they did not significantly alter the project implementation.


Tag: Risk Management

5.

The project formulation process, however, failed to identify some critical technical and institutional risks. These would include:

(i) Coordination issues during implementation between MoHA and MoNRE resulting in delays: because of different implementation approaches by the two ministries and the need to implement concomitantly as outcomes 2 and 3 were closely intertwined, a significant risk to implementation would have been the disjunction of activities from outcomes 2 and 3 resulting in no longer linking infrastructures protection with EbA approaches to ensure sustainability but also no longer evidencing locally – with the final beneficiaries – the need to link environmental protection at watershed level with water-related infrastructures

(ii) Inability of local government to follow-up infrastructures’ status resulting in unchecked degradation because of lack budget for transport or lack of human resources: if institutional ownership can be ensured through the decentralised approach – in terms of implementation -the local Government institutions remain financially dependent of central level for regular/routine district budgets; district authorities can ensure regular monitoring and follow-up of new/upgraded infrastructures only if additional financial means are being made available supposedly from central level. Else, this is a business as usual scenario with little or no additional means to ensure follow-up and ultimately infrastructures’ sustainability

(iii)Difficulty for final beneficiaries to organise themselves and make available financial means to ensure a regular maintenance programme and unexpected repair of infrastructures: local ownership by the beneficiaries is traditionally viewed as the capacity to mobilise labour to ensure maintenance; however, with more extreme events in view, the recurrence of these becomes higher, hence the need for higher construction standards but also the need to ensure financial capacity to cope with infrastructures’ repairs; there is a risk that the added economic benefits of these infrastructures will not be sufficiently translated by the final beneficiaries into financial resources to ensure long-term infrastructures sustainability.

These risks, although analysed a posteriori, have had significant constraints for the project (see findings and in particular sustainability).


Tag: Environmental impact assessment Water resources Human and Financial resources Sustainability

6.

3.1.3 Lessons learned from other projects incorporated into project design

The LDCF2 took into consideration the lessons learned from other projects both in terms of intervention approach and sectors to consider:

(i) Many donors and the Government support the water and sanitation sector in the selected provinces including the construction/rehabilitation of small-scale rural infrastructures (SIDA, UNICEF, CARE, Concern, Red Cross, WB...) through numerous projects

i) Often, the centralised implementation approach by relevant ministries results in a dilution effect of financial resources made available at local level, which is seen by Government as a suboptimal utilisation of resources

(iii) The GPAR programme supported small-scale infrastructures in the water sector in the incumbent provinces but using a more efficient decentralised implementation approach (direct spending at district level through a fund - DDF-).


Tag: Water resources Sustainability Donor relations Human and Financial resources Ownership Country Government Reconstruction

7.

3.1.4 Planned stakeholders’ participation

The planned stakeholdersand an estimate of their actual contribution to the project are indicated inTable 3.

The actual core stakeholders of the project in addition to the final beneficiaries (villages’ communities) are at national level MoNRE, MoHA and within the selected provinces DONRE and DOHA. As mentioned above, MoNRE was responsible for the outcomes 1 (climate proofing capacity building activities) and 3 (EbA activities) while MoHA was implementing outcome 2 (infrastructures construction through DDF mechanism) with their representatives at provincial/district levels actually implementing the activities as required.

Overall, the final beneficiaries were very receptive to the project with active participation in awareness raising sessions, feedback and discussions on the potential benefits of the project.

The involvement of the provincial level was overall adequate with anticipated supervision and monitoring of activities implemented by district authorities. This would have been most critical as the provincial level had substantially more technical expertise than district levels.

It is surprising to see that MAF’s contribution was very limited (only at board level) while a large proportion of the infrastructures’ rehabilitations were to benefit farmers through increased irrigation areas or farming intensification during the dry season.


Tag: Rural development Local Governance

8.

3.1.5 Replication approach

As mentioned in the PRODOC, the potential for replication of the intervention is very high:

(i) The project is linked to the National GPAR programme which is part of the Government strategy to deconcentrate responsibilities to the subnational level.

(ii) The thematic, while being implemented in the 2 provinces of Sekong and Saravane as they are most prone to extreme climatic events, can be applied just equally in any other province of Lao DPR.

(iii) The adopted methodology to integrate climate proofing in existing procedures is relatively straightforward as it implies upgrading existing procedures and practices(iv) The project has wagered on policy influencing to upscale similar interventions or projects that might adopt a similar approach to development


Tag: Sustainability

9.

3.1.6 UNDP comparative advantage

UNDP has been committed to building up the capacity of the country through mainstreaming environmental and climate change related considerations in the development processes at national, subnational and community levels.

The main advantage of UNDP is its capacity to mobilise financial resources on behalf of Lao DPR and to prepare with the Government project proposals that are endorsed and implemented.

The UNDP’s comparative advantage is several-fold:

(i) UNDP is a neutral platform for development and has been able to build a trustful relationship with Government;

(ii) UNDP is seen by Government as a multipurpose agency that favours a multisector approach to development while other (non-)UN agencies/donors are more sector-based(UNDP is active in most sectors like agriculture, economy, energy and mines, finance, governance...); (

iii) UNDP’s strategy favours a pro-poor approach focussing on the most vulnerable – a focus on the population living under the poverty level - while many other donors will support large-scale interventions that will benefit large swaths of the population; (iv) UNDP will support preferably small-scale investments (e.g. small scale rural infrastructure under this project) benefitting primarily isolated and vulnerable people instead of large scale nation-wide infrastructure programs; (v) UNDP has the ability to bring together specialised UN agencies for a common intervention.


Tag: Strategic Positioning UNDP Regional Bureaux

10.

Under the Laotian context, UNDP has acquired extensive experience with GEF through implementing over 6 GEF-funded interventions, all of them under the climate change focal area and has lead with UNEP the PEI that supports the integration of environmental concerns of poor and vulnerable groups into policy, planning and implementation processes for poverty reduction, pro-poor growth and achievement of the MDGs.

Finally, UNDP can bring valuable expertise –including directly through its country office HR – in RBM & efficient M&E methods to support interventions’ implementation as a mean to raise implementation efficiency and effectiveness. This is most crucial as the Lao DPR staff capacity at the subnational level is limited. UNDP’s support is also valuable for optimising projects’ annual planning exercises during Board meetings.


Tag: Global Environment Facility fund Knowledge management MDGs Strategic Positioning UN Agencies

11.

3.1.7 Linkages between project and interventions within the sector

The project design took into consideration other existing interventions:

  • The ‘Poverty Reduction Fund’implementation method is similar to this project with direct access to budgets for small infrastructures but they do not integrate climate proofing yet
  • The ‘River Basin Committee support’ projects could benefit from this project as well as they do not take into consideration climate change adaptation requirements
  • The ‘National Integrated Water Resources Management Support Program’ supports data collection in the area of IWMR which might be critical for this project for the design of upgraded small-scale infrastructures (infrastructures design calculations)
  • The ‘Capacity Enhancement for Coping with Climate Change Project’ has supported the development of climate change working groups mostly at national level but with some developments at the subnational level and would have brought lessons learned on the effects and effectiveness of project implementation at both national and subnational levels
  • The ‘Land Management– Rural Economic Development Project’ has worked on revising the national guidelines for district planning including mainstreaming climate change aspects into district planning processes
  • The World Wildlife Fund was subcontracted by the WB to assess the national Ecosystem-based Adaptation framework
  • The ‘Enhancing Agriculture Resilience’ project contributed to increasing the knowledge basis on climate change and its impact in relation to agricultural production, food security and vulnerability, including in the Sekong province

Still, it remains to be seen how climate proofing could be integrated into routine Government and donor-funded initiatives while the project did not include a policy component focussing at national level.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Relevance Programme/Project Design

12.

3.1.8 Management arrangements

The 4-year project has been implemented under UNDP’s NIM modality (eventually extended by one year).

The planned management arrangements as per PRODOC are illustrated in the organisational chart shown in Figure 1.

With the overall responsibility of the project laid with MoNRE, the implementation arrangements of the project were the following:

  • Project Board assessing periodically the execution and performance of the project and possibly address unresolved issues presented by the Project Manager
  • National Project Director for overseeing the overall project implementation and ensuring that the project and outcomes are achieved
  • Project Manager running the project on a daily basis(management, administration, coordination, technical supervision...), ensuring that the project’s results will be achieved
  • GPAR Secretariat under MoHA in charge of outcome 2, ensuring that all the activities and infrastructures’ funds are carried out and made available in due time
  • National PSU under MoNRE supporting outcomes 1 and 3

There were no significant modifications of the project structure during implementation despite coordination issues encountered by the stakeholders.


Tag: Implementation Modality Oversight Project and Programme management Country Government

13.

3.2 Project implementation

3.2.1 Adaptive management

The project under the NIM modality was due to be implemented from December 2012 to December 2016. Mobilisation of HR was slow with a 6 months inception phase actually starting 6 months late (May – October 2013). It culminated with an inception workshop conducted by the end of Year 1 (November 2013) focussing on stakeholders’ understanding of the project’s goal, results, planned activities and the NIM modality.

The project was significantly constrained at the start with much delayed initial recruitment processes (e.g. international advisor) resulting in little or no activities implemented during 2013 (Year 1). In addition, successive resignations and recruitments further slowed down the implementation (EbA advisor, infrastructure advisor, M&E specialist).


Tag: Efficiency Implementation Modality

14.

The governance structure of the project was the following:

  • Annual meeting(Board members: UNDP, MoNRE, MoHA, MPI, MoA, UNCDF): the project implementation was based on AWPs formulated by the project team and reviewed/endorsed by the Project Board. Annual planning was divided on a quarterly basis as per log frame structure.
  • Quarterly meetings(UNDP, the project team [MoHA and MoNRE] and UNCDF) to (i) review the delivery of activities as per annual/quarterly plans, (ii) plan activities for the next quarter and (iii) monitor the delivery rate (quarterly project financial transfers authorised when the delivery rate is > 80%). Fund advances authorisations experienced significant delays from a normal 2 weeks lag to more than 1 month, principally due to a slow internal clearance system within MoNRE. There were also delays in the production of UNDP’s CDR. Once budgets were approved, there were no more delays transferring the funds from central to provincial/district level.
  • Monthly meetings(UNDP, the project team [MoHA and MoNRE] and UNCDF): to discuss technical issues and coordinate activities between stakeholders.

The monthly meeting was the main governance body for the day-to-day analysis of the project; the Project Board was merely the officialising decision taking body; minutes confirmed that most technical issues were solved during the monthly meetings.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Oversight Country Government

15.

Delays affected the implementation of the project with activities postponed or sometimes cancelled (e.g. workshops); seasonal activities were also affected (e.g. grass/tree replanting postponed from one rainy season to another).

A 12 months no-cost extension was granted due to slow delivery, just before the MTR (see feedback from M&E). Based on the review of project achievements, the evaluation found that the project worked towards project goal, objectives and outcomes but the due linkages between component 2 and 3 were not achieved as expected.

Still, the overall focus of the project (project goal, objective, and outcomes) remained unchanged over the whole project period; quantitative results were however modified to reflect better the capacity to deliver outputs.


Tag: Challenges Efficiency

16.

3.2.2 Partnership arrangements

While there was little evidence of official partnership arrangements during implementation, the project worked in close collaboration with (i) the GPAR Secretariat/UNCDF to ensure a smooth delivery of funds through the DDF mechanism, (ii) the Ministry of Agriculture at local level through DAFO to support the design of irrigation/agriculture-related infrastructures, (iii) the ministry of transport for road-related infrastructures. It was unusual to see that there was little or no technical support from central level by the ministry of agriculture or transport.

The partnership with IUCN eventually did not materialise: the anticipated CRVA study could not be granted to IUCN as an open bidding process had to be undertaken. It was eventually won by a specialised consulting firm based in Vietnam (ICEM).

The partnership with UNCDF consisted of financial monitoring of DDF grants while the actual monitoring of results was carried out by the GPAR Secretariat as part of the project’s regular activities.


Tag: Partnership Country Government UN Agencies

17.

3.2.3 Feedback from M&E used for adaptive management

Feedbacks from regular monitoring and evaluation of the project as well as from UNDP oversight were incorporated into changes of planned project activities, results and log frame by early Year 3 just before the MTR; these consisted of the following:

  • Reduction in the number of infrastructure projects: from 48 (4 x 12)2 projects, to 28 (4+12+12)3projects: with extensive delays in Year 1 and 2, it soon became evident that the original 48 infrastructures’ objective was no longer achievable
  • Inclusion of ecosystem considerations into the CRVA process
  • Change ecosystem indicators: from ‘area of ecosystems’ to ‘number of EbA interventions’/’number of micro-watersheds’: the initial PRODOC called for extensive linkages of outcome 2 and 3 covering significant areas; initial infrastructures constructions showed that (i) not all infrastructures required an EbA response and (ii) funds for outcome 3 were too limited to ensure large area protection as planned in the PRODOC
  • Project Extension: from Dec 2016 to Dec 2017 in order to reflect the extensive implementation delays and change in the number of rehabilitated/new infrastructures

Tag: Ecosystem services Monitoring and Evaluation Oversight Reconstruction

18.

3.2.4 Project finance

The total cost of the project (including Q3 2017) from 2012 to 2017 is explained under Table 3

As with other GEF projects, there is no recording of actual spending by co-financers; hence it is not possible to assess their contribution. This is mostly due to the fact that the project finance officer has no leverage to collect any data from other interventions.

Table 4 shows that the project initial operationalisation was spread over 2 years (2013 and 2014) with a PRODOC much too optimistic about project resources mobilisation: a lot of assumptions were made at project formulation stage like immediate infrastructures construction by Year 1, DDF updated guidelines at the start of the project; this was clearly unachievable. It became evident by 2015 that a project extension was needed (0,70M$ spent against 2M$ planned as per PRODOC in 2013/4).

The delivery rate has been well controlled (around 100% in 2014, 2015 and 2016) and interviews showed that this trend would continue for 2017, implying a good financial management system and planning capacity of the project team.

The analysis of the cumulative delivery rate (see Figure 2) show a typical S-shaped curve (sigmoid) against a straight line (linear trend) for the cumulative spending as anticipated at formulation stage; this is more evidence for the need to take into account an extended inception phase to resolve operationalisation difficulties like recruitment and initial involvement of all stakeholders, and to lengthen the project cycle to ensure a smoother implementation.


Tag: Efficiency Global Environment Facility fund Resource mobilization

19.

Outcome 3 was significantly constrained by the recruitment process of the project technical team members (infrastructure, EbA, international advisors) well into 2014 (over 1 year late). Combined with the different implementation approaches by MoHA (through GPAR Secretariat) and central MoNRE, it resulted in disjointed implementation of outcomes 2 and 3 with less EbA resources allocated to protect infrastructures. These were selected and rehabilitated without systematic EbA projects that were developed at a later stage. Excess outcome 3 resources were logically siphoned to capacity building activities - outcome 1 - also implemented by MoNRE.

The project management budget was contained within the planned envelope despite its very low amount (8%); more common values for similar projects have higher management budget (10-15%).


Tag: Efficiency Capacity Building

20.

3.2.5 Monitoring and evaluation: design at entry and implementation

A comprehensive M&E system was designed at the start of the project. It consisted of the following:

  • Inception Report with AWP and summary of the inception phase
  • Annual Progress Review/Project Implementation Review (APR/PIR)
  • Periodic Monitoring through Site Visits: UNDP and regional GEF staff conducted monitoring visits to assess project progress
  • External mid-term and final project evaluations
  • Audits as per UNDP Financial Regulations and Rules

An M&E plan was also formulated at the start of the project - based on the log frame and performance indicators - but progressively disused with subsequent changes of M&E experts. Data was to be combined under the project M&E specialist but staff rotation (at least 3 different M&E specialists were contracted) resulted in actually having 2 separate monitoring systems providing data to the project team. While this did not significantly alter the course of the project, it may have accentuated the dual (separate) approach to implementation (outcome 2 by MoHA and outcomes 1/3 by MoNRE). A Learning and Knowledge Sharing plan (sharing lessons learned) was devised but few communication activities were carried out prior to the MTR.


Tag: Communication Human and Financial resources Monitoring and Evaluation

21.

The MTR conducted in 2016 rated the overall performance of the project as moderately satisfactory. The project implemented most recommendations including (i) the need to link infrastructures and EbA initiatives including the speeding up of EbAs, (ii) increase the engagement of final beneficiariesto ensure ownership, (iii) increase communication on the project, (vi) develop an exit/sustainability strategy.

A document on an exit strategy was produced with clear references to the need to mainstream project’sbenefits into national processes through the “Sam Sang” (decentralization) strategy, climate resilience in building codes, guidelines for ecosystem-based adaptation for rural infrastructures or as an add-on for new donor funded interventions focussing on an extended/upgraded pilot DDF mechanism.

Still, the difficulty to operate design changes during implementation has made it very difficult for the project team to (i) effectively link infrastructures and EbAs as per initial project proposal (having separate MoHA and MoNRE implementation approaches) and (ii) to implement an exit strategy other than ensuring that lessons learned are incorporated into new donor-funded interventions which should be the case as indicated below.


Tag: Communication Human and Financial resources Monitoring and Evaluation Quality Assurance

22.

3.2.6 UNDP and Implementing Partner implementation / execution coordination and operational issues

Both UNDP and the designated IP (MoNRE) were involved in project implementation with UNDP having a supervisory and oversight role with the provision of technical advice and monitoring

Implementing Partner: The project was supervised by MoNRE. Its Department of Disaster Management and Climate Change (DNDMCC) hosted the project team throughout the duration of the project. DDMCC had a change of name to DCC (Department of Climate Change) with a change of mandate in 2017as the mandate for disaster response and recovery was shifted to another ministry.

One of the main characteristics of the project was the asymmetrical implementation approach by MoHA(decentralised) and MoNRE (centralised), leading to almost independent implementation of outcome 2 by MoHA and outcome 1 and 3 by MoNRE that inevitably resulted in disconnecting outcome 2 and 3 results. This is mostly due to the innovative approach of the project and the fact that decentralisation has not been mainstreamed in technical ministries. This hybrid implementation mechanism resulted in long delays when infrastructures go-ahead at district level lead by (D)OHA was waiting for technical clearance by central MoNRE. This project constitutes a testbed for analysis for combining decentralisation of functions with specific technical capacity strengthening at local level. Still, over the course of the implementation, efforts were made to correct this issue through bringing more integration between the three components.


Tag: Local Governance Operational Efficiency Partnership Country Government

23.

Implementing Agency: The added value of the implementing agency (UNDP) in Lao DPR has been its ability to provide regular support to the project team: UNDP was present at monthly and, quarterly meetings and as a Project Board member; hence it had comprehensive knowledge of the project’s level of implementation and was in a prime position to provide advice to Government for key decision making either during technical monthly meetings or during Project Board meetings.

The support of UNDP has been pivotal in enhancing the visibility of the project’s results including press articles, photo-stories, collaboration with UNDP Timor Leste for South-South Cooperation, presentation at UNFCCC COP23, CRVA publications, raising awareness of the project at various fora a including the national Sector and Sub-Sector Working Group,, especially after the MTR.

Also, it contributed to supporting the formulation of new interventions (e.g. GPAR phase II ‘GIDP’ funded by UNCDF/UNDP/SDC that will incorporate LDCF2 results) and through its networking ability has created awareness amongst partners (donors) to emulate LDCF2 results in terms of both participatory and decentralisation approaches.


Tag: Communication UNDP Regional Bureaux Coordination South-South Cooperation

24.

3.3 Project results

3.3.1 Overall results

The assessment of project progress or and review of overall results of the project is presented in Annex 4. A brief assessment of project overall results is presented in the following paragraphs.

Objective Outcome: Local administrative systems affecting the provision and maintenance of small-scale rural infrastructure will be improved through participatory decision making that reflects the genuine needs of communities and natural systems vulnerable to climate risk. Progress to date: Achieved. All 12 districts in the project target area of Saravane and Sekong Provinces in Southern Lao PDR have incorporated climate risks into development plans that include specific CCA actions related to a total of 28 infrastructure projects now completed (+ one extra), informed by previous climate risk and vulnerability assessments. Specific CCA actions include both engineered and ecosystem-based adaptation actions to support climate resilient communities and infrastructure. Climate resilient water supply in Kamkok Village, Thateng district consisting of deep-tube well, water tower and distribution pipe system (engineered adaptation), and ecosystem management plan for the adjacent upstream Phu Ta Yeune mountain forest (ecosystem-based adaptation), enabling long-term protection of the ground-water resources, for example. The community benefits though a more stable, year-round water supply, as well as better protection of ground-water resources, and better protection against flash floods and erosion during the monsoon season.


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Resilience building Ecosystem based adaption Water resources Capacity Building Vulnerable

25.

Output 1.2: Village level water harvesting, storage, and distribution infrastructure adaptation solutions (with associated ecosystem management options) identified, prioritized and integrated into district development plans. This output supports the annual planning exercise carried out by the District Development Support Committees. It will provide technical and organizational inputs to be arranged and delivered by MoNRE and its province and district level structures. It will help districts to secure an additional financial envelope for climate resilient investments, which will be delivered annually to districts bank accounts set up under Outcome 2. It will also provide the starting point for more detailed subsequent field analysis through CRVA, to be carried out under Outputs 1.3 and 1.4. Annex 8 already provides an initial list of potential adaptation solutions derived from the macro V&A analysis exercise carried out during the PPG. While these are not mandatory investments they demonstrate the most likely areas for climate resilient investment and districts may choose for some to be carried forward into detailed design, as presented. Progress to date: Completed. All 12 target districts have integrated climate resilient planning and projects into their district development planning. 37,049 villagers (18,412 female). They are the direct beneficiaries of the projects and will benefit from increased crop production, reduced crop loss due to flooding and drought, climate resilient water supply, and avoided flooding impactswhich will contribute to disaster reduction and improve livelihoods through adaptation to climate change.


Tag: Crop production Climate Change Adaptation Resilience building

26.

Output 1.3: Climate risk, vulnerability and adaptation assessments (CRVA) carried out at 48 project sites in 12 districts of Sekong and Saravane provinces and proposed climate resilient investments adjusted to take account of site specific adaptation concerns. This will support the detailed engineering design of the approved climate resilient investment projects. A fundamental premise is that adaptation solutions are location specific. While there is some value in generic or ‘model’ solutions they will always need to be fine-tuned to physical, environmental and social realities on the ground. In some cases this will lead to an adjustment upwards in financial resources. In all cases the process of introducing and revising an approach via CRVA, will increase local ownership and ultimately the long term sustainability of the investment. Environmental and social screening questions should be incorporated into the CRVA process and tools used to review the small infrastructure projects as they are developed to ensure project impacts are properly considered and also take into consideration the cumulative impacts in the context of wider activities in the area. Progress to date: Completed. All 12 district development plans include climate resilient projects. 37,049 villagers (18,412 female). They are the direct beneficiaries of the projects and will benefit from increased crop production, reduced crop loss due to flooding and drought, climate resilient water supply, and avoided flooding impacts which will contribute to disaster reduction and improve livelihoods through adaptation to climate change.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Recovery Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Vulnerable

27.

Output 1.4: Detailed climate resilient project investments finalized and tender documents prepared in 12 districts, as well as associated dialogues to facilitate the implementation of annual district investment plans in 12 districts. Following on from fine tuning and building local acceptance and ownership, so investments will need to be tendered to contractors for which additional professional technical services will be required. In order cases this expertise will be found at the community level and the resources can be channelled directly from the district level against an agreed work planand set of deliverables. Progress to date: Completed.


Tag: Water resources Procurement

28.

3.3.1.2 Outcome 2: Incentives in place for small scale rural infrastructure to be protected and diversified against climate change induced risks (droughts, floods, erosion and landslides) benefiting at least 50,000 people in the 12 districts of Sekong and Saravane provinces.

 

Progress to date: achieved. Over 37,000 men and women in the target 12 districts benefited from 29 climate-resilient infrastructure projects completed during the reporting period. They are: Irrigation system upgrades up to climate proofing standard (14projects), climate resilient water supply (7projects), flood gate improvements (2project), community bridge (4projects), and check dam upgrade (2 projects).These investments now secure safe and uninterrupted supply of irrigation and freshwater, improved flood protection and connectivity and mobility of residing population in the face of intensified hydro-meteorological hazards. The project has helped revise the DDF guidelines adding the climate risk elements and resilience performance criteria to facilitate the district and provincial planners and decision makers in the process for preparation and review of provincial/district plan proposals.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Water resources Effectiveness Least Developed Countries Fund Human and Financial resources

29.

Output 2.2: At least 48 small-scale infrastructure investment projects (1 per district per year), including components of water harvesting, storage, distribution and/or irrigation of the priority lists that have been CRVA assessed are implemented benefiting 50,000 people. Output 2 will follow a phased approach. In the first year 12 infrastructure investments will be selected from the V&A report for further analysis and funding, applying the detailed CRVA approach. From the second year onwards the selection of investments will follow the same technical approach (V&A and CRVA) but influenced also by the newly established performance based mechanism leading to differing levels of financial allocation from one district to the next. Progress to date: Completed. In 2015, four infrastructure and two EbA measures have been piloted in Sekong and Saravane (two projects per province). In the following year, 12 infrastructure projects have been completed, and an additional 13 projects have been completed during 2017. As a result, 37,049 (18,412 females) villagers get direct benefits from these projects.


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Risk Reduction Natural Disaster

30.

3.3.1.3 Outcome 3: Natural assets (such as wetlands, forests and other ecosystems in sub-catchments) over at least 60,000 ha are managed to ensure maintenance of critical ecosystem services to sustain critical rural infrastructure, especially water provisioning, flood control and protection under increasing climate change induced stresses, in Sekong and Saravane provinces.

Progress to date: Partially Achieved. In total, the project intervened in 9 sub-catchment areas covering an area of 30,387 hectares to restore the vegetation, reduce/arrest soil erosion and stabilize the slope.The project provided district planners a specialized training in EBA methods of risk reduction and conducted some awareness activities on importance of EbA for local communities that their livelihoods are strongly associated with the health of these selected critical ecosystem.A new version has been approved of the “Manual for the Assessment of Districts’ Performance under the SCSD Program – District Development Fund (DDF), MoHA-SCSD Guideline No 07/2012”, to include requirements for the climate resilience grant system.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Ecosystem based adaption Water resources Reconstruction

31.

Output 3.2: Awareness-raising activities implemented, learning materials developed and disseminated and regular dialogues held between communities and tiers of the local administration on the linkages between ecosystems management and small-scale climate resilient infrastructure solutions. The main aim of this output will be to provide clear guidance and direction on how ecosystem based approaches can be integrated into local development planning, using infrastructure investments as a starting point.The opportunities for achieving this are likely to vary considerably from one district to the next depending on prevailing land use and management practices. This Output will need to be delivered in parallel with Output 3.1 since it underpins the development of the ecosystem management and action plans. Much of the work will involve motivating local officials and other stakeholders to visit specific sites, view problems on the ground, and jointly identify solutions. The frequent repetition of this approach each year of the project will induce behavioural changes in the way planning is carried out, through the integration of more evidenced based information and through the involvement of a wider range of stakeholders in formulating and agreeing local plans. This work will build directly on the national water dialogues that have been carried out by MoNRE with support from IUCN. Progress to date: Completed.146 (21 females) provincial and district officers have been trained on EbA. 685 (446 females) villagers have been participated and gain knowledge on EbA through awareness raising activities carried out by the project. In March 2016, the team assisted the local PONRE and DONRE staff of two districts (Thateng, Sekong province and Kongsedone, SLV province) to draft the EbA rule to maintain the ecosystem and the water-related infrastructure projects. The team had also done the village consultation for their feedback on its rule. After the EbA rules and regulations were developed, the teams conducted the workshop on dissemination of its rule and the combination with the raising awareness on EbA to the local peoples in 9 target villages of two districts, SLV and SK provinces.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Ecosystem services Communication Knowledge management Capacity Building

32.

3.3.2 Relevance

As far as the relevance is concerned, the program concept and design are highly relevant to country policies, strategic objectives and priorities. The Team concludes that the Project is fully conforming to the country strategies, policies and programs related to climate change issues. This also includes all activities under the project, which are well in tune and fully aligned with the national development policy, including all three project outcomes on capacity building, small-scale infrastructure development, and ecosystem-based management.

The project is a direct response to the challenges identified in the project document. Indeed, it seeks to develop capacities for an “Effective Governance for Small-scale Rural Infrastructure and Disaster Preparedness in a Changing Climate”. It is focusing on the removal of barriers through a ‘three-pronged’ approach: (i) by strengthening the national, provincial and district capacities for planning for rural infrastructure that incorporates climate considerations; (ii) by providing direct financing for infrastructure projects to vulnerable districts through the existing District Development Fund (DDF) mechanism; and (iii) by implementing ecosystem-based adaptation measures that provide additional climate resilience at the watershed level of project infrastructure intervention.


Tag: Rural development Climate Change Adaptation Ecosystem services Relevance Programme/Project Design

33.

The project is also relevant in the sense that it responded to GoL priorities that are well documented in sector policies, strategies and plans. It is part of the development strategy for Lao PDR, which includes the alignment of the project with the following relevant parts:

  • Sam Sang Initiative (“3 Builds”) proclaimed by the Prime Minister Order 16/2012 with the objective to improve the delivery of public services.
  • Five Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan VIII (2016-2020) – (8thNSEDP) MoNRE Vision toward 2030 (Natural Resources and Environment Strategy (NRES), 10 Years -2016- 2025)
  • National Adaptation Program of Action to Climate Change (NAPA - 2009) priority one and priority two.
  • The Strategy on Climate Change of the Lao PDR (2010) National Governance and Public Administration Reform Program (NGPAR)

The project is also designed in alignment of GEF priority areas. GEF funds and support projects focused on climate change, biodiversity and land degradation issues. The LDCF2 project is, therefore, designed to be fully in line with these GEF priority areas. RATING:Relevant (R)


Tag: Relevance Strategic Positioning Country Government

34.

3.3.3 Effectiveness and efficiency

Effectiveness (relation between actual outcomes and the project objective): The initial project objective is to improve local administrative systems affecting the provision and maintenance of small scale rural infrastructure through participatory decision making that reflects the genuine needs of communities and natural systems vulnerable to climate risk. Three outcomes were formulated:

Outcome 1: capacities provided for local administrative institutions to integrate climate risks into participatory planning and financing of small scale rural water infrastructure provision;

Outcome 2: incentives in place for small-scale rural infrastructure to be protected and diversified against climate change induced risks benefitting at least 50,000 people in 12 districts of Sekong and Saravane provinces;

Outcome 3: natural assets managed to ensure maintenance of critical ecosystem services, especially water provisioning, flood control and protection under increasing climate change induced stresses, in Sekong and Saravane provinces Outcome 1 results: direct relationship to objective, however empowerment remains weak

The district technical staff has now the basic skills to mainstream climate change risks into planning processes: these include identifying innovative solutions to adapt to extreme climatic events and carrying out CRVAs.

They however still remain dependent on the DDF mechanism for implementation and still require external support for the actual design and technical solutions; moreover, there was little evidence that the skills were applied outside the DDF framework through direct Government implementation.

While there is theoretical understanding of the linkages between ecosystem management and infrastructures sustainability, the solutions on how to actually implement them remain somehow elusive for the district staff and even more so for the population.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Ecosystem services Effectiveness Country Government

35.

Outcome 2 results: direct relationship to objective but less effective than planned

The DDF mechanism has been a very effective solution to mainstream climate change considerations into rural infrastructures: it had the advantage of direct implementation with (in theory) little or no central interaction.However, the need to review the infrastructures’ designs by MoNRE was time-consuming (long process for approval –back and forth exchanges of information to improve the designs) and somewhat cancelling the effects of the decentralisation; this process improved drastically over the implementation of the project with little modification of design for infrastructures construction by the end of the project and evidenced the effectiveness of outcome 1.The technical oversight should in some way be applied also at local level (e.g. provincial level), hence transferring technical expertise from central level to the subnational level.Interviews showed that the updated guidelines for climate proofing of infrastructures are straightforward but may be too tailored to the DDF mechanism and would require extensive modifications for adoption by the Government, an activity that was not integrated into the project.


Tag: Effectiveness Oversight Policies & Procedures Technical Support

36.

Outcome 3 results: weak relationship to objective; ineffective as implemented by the project

Too little too late was implemented to create wide-ranging awareness on how to implement EbA measures to protect rural infrastructures.

This may have to do with the actual project design that created 2 separate lines of implementation for outcomes 2 and 3, supposedly a less complex solution because of the 2 ministries involved. The alternative of an integrated EbA-infrastructure package was not considered because deemed too complex to implement with two different ministries. This may be so but resulted in any case in not significantly improving the resilience of most infrastructures at watershed level. Another approach has to be sought to effectively link rural infrastructures with environmental protection for enhanced sustainability.


Tag: Challenges Effectiveness Donor relations

37.

Efficiency (project costs): The 5 year-long project spent in total 4,98M$ over 5 years (1M$/year) to upgrade 28(+1) rural infrastructures and protect up to 9 sites with EbA measures (0,15M$/subproject). Interviewed experts considered that the infrastructures lifetime duration may well double/triple (up to 10-15 years instead of 5 years) although they will still lag way behind international standards.

This is also a best-case scenario as it will depend on the M&R strategies put in place by the final beneficiaries and district authorities. In that case, the efficiency may depend entirely on the actual ownership and empowerment by the local stakeholders (district authorities and infrastructures committees).RATING for Effectiveness: Moderately Satisfactory (MS)RATING for Efficiency: Satisfactory if there is evidence of a functional mechanism for M&R (S)Unsatisfactory if there is no evidence of it (U)Overall project outcome RATING: Moderately Satisfactory (MS)


Tag: Efficiency Local Governance

38.

3.3.4 Country ownership

The level of country ownership for project implementation is moderately satisfactory. The project was designed to implement strategic actions outlined in the Lao Government Climate Change Action Plan (2010), the National Adaptation Program of Action to Climate Change Impacts (NAPA) 2009), the NGPES (2003), the national five-year plans (NSEDP VII for 2010- 2015 and NSEDP VIII running from 2015 – 2020). These national sectoral and development plans recognize and contain climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster preparedness strategies and plans that were meant to strengthen and reinforce activities to effectively support effective natural resources management and livelihood programs in line with the development plans of all joined project implementation agencies. The project was designed, planned and implemented jointly by relevant government agencies with active participation of representatives from concerned government officials and civil societies and communities representatives. The project management arrangement system and procedures have been set up and implemented through not only direct involvement and responsibility of two lead ministries of MoNREand MoHA at central level and their respective branches at provincial and district level, but also with a wide range of other government institutions and partners including MPI, MAF, MPWTC, provincial and district governors, and District Development Support Committees.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Resilience building Natural Resouce management Local Governance Ownership Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management Country Government

39.

3.3.5 Mainstreaming

Project mainstreaming into UNDP CPDs & UNDAF:

The project has applied a holistic Community Risk and Vulnerability Analysis (CRVAs) approach combined with poverty reduction and sustainable development to carry out the planned activities, which covered two UNDP country programs(2012-2016 and 2017-2021). The project is very well aligned with both documents. It is significantly contributing to sustainable natural resource and environmental management and adaptation to climate change under UNDP CPD’s outcome 2, UNDAF’s outcome 8 on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and natural disaster vulnerabilities. It is also aligned with the UNPF’s outcome 3 and UNDP strategic plan outcome 5 - Countries are able to reduce the likelihood of conflict and lower the risk of natural disasters, including from climate change.In particular, the project is directly contributing to one of the key intervention areas of UNDP on the increase of climate resilient of communities through small-scale infrastructure initiatives.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Vulnerable

40.

Gender mainstreaming: The Evaluation Team found that gender considerations and ethnic group issues were acknowledged in the Project Document as important factors for success given the differentiated roles of men and women in natural resources management, disaster risks reduction and climate change resilient, and for the sustainability of the project. These considerations were especially taken into account when designing and implementing Community Risk and Vulnerability Analyses (CRVAs) at project site level, to ensure gender equal access to project resources that address the vulnerabilities and adaptation needs of all ethnic groups. Interviews showed significant changes in the daily task load for women especially (activity transfer but not role change) both for irrigation schemes and water supply systems (see gender impact pg. 49).


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Resilience building Natural Resouce management Gender Equality Vulnerable

41.

3.3.6 Elements of Sustainability

Sustainability is the likelihood of continued benefits after the project ends. As under GEF criteria, each sustainability dimension is considered critical, the overall ranking cannot be higher than the lowest one

Overall project sustainability RATING:Moderately likely

3.3.6.1 Social & cultural risks to sustainability

Extensive efforts were undertaken to enhance project’s results ownership -especially at community level -.Community ownership is variable but in general weak: while some communities developed a strong sense of ownership in relation to the infrastructures, the approach remained very classical with maintenance carried out by the communities and repairs by Government. When there is a breakdown, communities will expect the Government to assess the situation, make the necessary repairs or even ask for a community contribution; this means that it is up to Government to take the lead in case of repairs.

Interviews showed that there was no significant mind-set change of district authorities and local communities on how to approach the issue of infrastructures sustainability. Through climate proofing infrastructures life expectancy was just extended – possibly 2-3 fold – but when damages will eventually occur, it will be up to Government to resolve the issue (see recommendations on how to change this approach) This has to do with the development approach adopted by Government/UNDP:

(i) pro-poor activities do not create enough financial resources for the beneficiaries to design a functional local M&R mechanism (ii) there is no indirect system to collect part of the infrastructures accrued benefits and reinject it into the sector (see socio-political sustainability).

In certain cases, ownership can be weak as well (e.g. some water supply systems with free of charge access to pumped/tap water, committees that do not meet regularly for some irrigation dams). Once communities are used to utilise freely the system or leave it unchecked, it will be very hard to reverse policy and request fee and contributions.

Under such one case of water supply system, organising the committee was delayed because additional EbA activities were expected by the end of the project, evidencing again the issue of having two separate lines of implementation and not adopting a more holistic approach to climate proofing infrastructures by combining EbA and infrastructures construction using higher standards.

There are also notable exceptions (e.g. dam with floodgates favouring fishing and irrigated agriculture)where the community can organise itself to create a repairs/maintenance fund, meaning that local resources can be eventually made available when the stakes/potential benefits are high.


Tag: Rural development Sustainability Human and Financial resources Ownership

42.

3.3.6.2 Technical risks to sustainability

Interviews confirmed that the infrastructures are of much higher construction standards. This does not mean that they are on par with international standards for rural infrastructures. If their lifetime is 2-3fold increased, they are still vulnerable to extreme events and poor design as was observed on several occasions.

This brings forward the issue of local capacity to correct initial design issues or engage Government/community resources for repairs to ensure long-term use.

Such mechanism does not exist and it is on a case by case basis that issues may be solved or not,depending on (i) community ownership to resolve the issue by own means, informing authorities when there is a problem(lack of community technical capacity and financial means), willingness (priority) and capacity (logistics) of authorities to assess the issues and come up with a solution (availability of financial resources and/or community mobilisation).

This may have been a missed opportunity to design a comprehensive mechanism to ensure long-term operational readiness of rehabilitated infrastructures.

In conclusion, if the horizon is limited to an arbitrary 2-3 times longer lifetime for climate proofed infrastructures, then the technical risks remain quite low if some basic maintenance is secured. However, even these infrastructures are not immune to serious damage in case of extreme events.

Technical sustainability RATING:Moderately likely (ML)

 


Tag: Challenges Sustainability Reconstruction

43.

3.3.6.3 Institutional and organisational risks to sustainability

The institutional risks are very high for this project because it did not include a project component specifically designed to mainstream lessons learned at central level for replication and Government empowerment (e.g. adopting a new code/standards of construction, EbA-infrastructure linkages approach...). This is why the MTR urgently recommended the formulation of a comprehensive exit strategy to ensure that benefits are not lost by project’s closure.

Eventually, UNDP and the project team reduced substantially these risks by supporting/encouraging the mainstreaming of the project’s results into new donor-funded interventions (UN-HABITAT, GPAR phase II). This should however be considered as a stop-gap measure because it remains entirely donor-driven and not integrated into Government policies for deconcentrating further planning and technical responsibilities to the subnational level (see socio-political sustainability).Moreover, institutional instability remains a risk with climate change/disaster management responsibilities’ transfer between ministries that can affect significantly any policy effort to integrate climate proofing into relevant institutions.At this stage, these are the best options to ensure that the benefits of this project are useful and have some prospects of maintaining benefits over the next few years.Still there are also some positive aspects: the upgraded DDF guidelines were officially approved, although there is little evidence of mainstreaming CR into Government routine procedures there is evidence of Government ownership for critical/strategic infrastructures with the releaseof national funds to complement project funds for some key infrastructures (including government taking-over of community mobilisation if needed), meaning that Government co-financing can be effective of the project’s results.


Tag: Policies & Procedures Risk Management Sustainability Ownership

44.

3.3.6.4 Economic and financial risks to sustainability

The economic and financial risks of the project are high because of the approach adopted in the project: its main focus is poverty reduction (reduce the poverty level and raise livelihood standards of final beneficiaries) through increasing the sustainability of infrastructures so that they can bring benefits on a more long-term basis for communities.

This social approach is largely valid for improving drinking water supply even though it has also brought indirectly some economic benefits (more household gardening as per evaluation interviews).

With regards to irrigation and flood protection, a pro-poor policy to development is insufficient because the potential for creating additional economic value has been largely overlooked with nearly exclusive support for the actual infrastructures. This may be logical to limit project’s scope (at least for financial reasons) but complementarities with other sectors then become critical and need to be sought at project formulation stage.

The project did not support the beneficiaries in taking advantage of these infrastructures beyond traditional use to create wealth and through a feedback mechanism ensure technical sustainability in addition to creating an economic impact (e.g. support farmers through expansion / intensification, invest into new activities because of added value of flood gates (fisheries, tourism...)


Tag: Water resources Sustainability Human and Financial resources

45.

3.3.6.5 Environmental risks to sustainability

The initial PRODOC clearly called for linking EbA measures with CR infrastructures. Due to a series of implementation issues, it was not possible to develop simultaneously projects that took into consideration CV infrastructures and EbA measures to limit their degradation risks. Still, measures were taken a posterior when most infrastructures were already completed. Interviews showed that this created some confusion on the part of both local district staff and final beneficiaries regarding the added value of these EbA measures that were seen more as project requirement (an add-on to be completed by project’s end) than being part of a larger-scale strategy to ensure long term sustainability of the infrastructures.

There was little understanding in securing EbA measures after infrastructures‘ completion although capacity building training efforts proved their effectiveness with both district technical staff and local beneficiaries, aware of the need to link EbA with infrastructures.

This was most obvious for EbA measures taken nearly rehabilitated infrastructures (where beneficiaries are infrastructure users and have greatest responsibility on local land degradation), meaning remote environmental degradation affecting downstream infrastructures were not seen as relevant.


Tag: Disaster Risk assessments Reconstruction Capacity Building

46.

3.3.6.6 Socio-political risks to sustainability

At local level, interviews showed that autonomous decision making to take advantage of project’s results (e.g. apply updated guidelines locally for new infrastructures, integrate them into routine activities) is not yet on the authorities’ agenda as these still rely on guidance from the central level to use and develop/improve new concepts and initiatives. In that respect, the project has shown the limits of the Sam Sang Initiative on de-concentration and is evidence that empowerment will remain limited (hence the need for a more donor-driven agenda) as long as there is no clear policy to mainstream these project’s results into Government’ agenda as there might still be a perception that it is still difficult to move forward on development by combining climate resilience initiatives with economic development.


Tag: Sustainability Policies & Procedures

47.

3.3.7 Potential impact

In this terminal evaluation, the impact of the project has been assessed in terms of changes or benefits achieved in social, economic, institutional, environmental areas as well as the changes achieved in terms of gender. An average rating for the impact was given.

3.3.7.1 Social Impact

Under component 1, a lot of activities were undertaken to raise awareness of communities (and district staff) on a number of issues (environmental degradation, accrued occurrence of extreme events, linking environmental degradation with drought/floods...). Activities were also carried out to ensure that communities are organised (through WUC and village committees) as a strategy to enhance infrastructures sustainability (maintenance mechanisms and sense of ownership) and mobilise communities to support EbA measures. Interviews showed that there is, in general, a greater sense of community in supported communities: the project has facilitated the (re-)activation of community groups, community dialogue and cohesion because of the need to participate in common decision-taking processes at project level (selection of infrastructure sites, in-kind contribution for infrastructures [mostly labour], support during CRVA and the development of EbA measures - full participation -).

Awareness on environmental degradation and infrastructure damage remains weak (but not the link with extreme events) and clearly additional support is necessaryto support communities. There is still limited understanding of district staff in matching financial resources with CR criteria and the separate implementation of outcomes 2 and 3 did not help this process (e.g. district authorities still select infrastructures on a cost/economic basis with less attention to ensure CR, resulting in out of scope proposals that are inevitably rejected.


Tag: Ecosystem services Natural Resouce management Impact Human and Financial resources

48.

3.3.7.2 Economic Impact

The project commissioned a purely economic analysis of a representative selection of infrastructures, concluding that there was a positive RoI for bridges and dams, and a negative RoI for water supply systems. This is not surprising but it did not consider indirect positive effects that the water supply systems may result into in terms of economics (less water-borne disease, more time for field works...). For infrastructures related to agriculture (e.g. dry season rice fields, off-season vegetable production), there has been a positive impact of the intervention on poverty reduction through mainly increasing own consumption and creating surpluses for sale at markets. The economic impact was nonetheless not so significant because farming supporting activities (expansion/intensification / diversification) were not included into the project or sought through complementarities (no income generation approach). This may be a lesson learned for future interventions as income generation is critical to ensure infrastructures sustainability and reduce pressure on environmental resources.


Tag: Agriculture Environmental impact assessment Water resources Impact Poverty Reduction

49.

3.3.7.3 Institutional Impact:

The impact of the project has been substantial on local institutions (district authorities and to a lesser extent at provincial/central levels).

Interviews showed a high degree of satisfaction of most if not all technical staff, in terms of capacity building activities with an increased understanding in (i) the general aspects of CR, (ii) the design of CR projects and technical specifications, (iii) upgraded standards for CR infrastructures.

It remains however very difficult to mainstream this knowledge outside of project limits.

A major issue that did affect this particular project has been the high turnover of technical staff (as well for the project team); while it may be a generic constraint outside of project’s scope, it does affectnegatively project’s results – in particular its efficiency - and strategies need to be developed to work around this issue (e.g. support the development of a local HR policy within the State apparatus).


Tag: Impact Human and Financial resources Capacity Building

50.

3.3.7.4 Environmental Impact:

The environmental impact of the project remains very limited: 9 EbA measures were developed to address to reduce exposure of infrastructures to extreme events but these will likely have limited physical impact on the infrastructures as they are very area-specific.The impact will likely be higher for EbA measures located closely to the infrastructures (immediate vicinity or within a small watershed), hence population canmake the linkage between EbA measures and infrastructures protection.

3.3.7.5 Impact on Gender:

While the project did adopt specific methodologies to create awareness amongst men and women during implementation so as to generate more interest (hopefully resulting in increased ownership), the impact of the project is more obvious for the actual infrastructures:

Travel time to carry water home from wells and ponds has been reduced, resulting in extended work in fields for women, more social interactions between women at home; frequency has been reduced as well. There has been also a(slight)increase in homegardening although it is difficult to assess whether the positive effects were more related to improved food security or income generation.There was little evidence that EbA measures had any positive or negative direct effect on women.


Tag: Impact Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Poverty Alleviation

Recommendations
1

Integration of CR guidelines into new generations of development projects

2

Integration of DDF CR guidelines in Government’ routine plans and actions

3

 Sharing the benefits/added value of CRVAs with relevant stakeholders 

4

Empowering beneficiary communities to ensure follow-up of EbA measures and maintenance of infrastructures

5

Develop a district follow-up programme of infrastructures and EbA measures as part as routine activities carried out by (provincial) district DONRE

1. Recommendation:

Integration of CR guidelines into new generations of development projects

Management Response: [Added: 2018/03/29] [Last Updated: 2020/12/15]

Agreed that CR guidelines have the potential to substantially increase the lifetime of infrastructure, in particular when they are tied to EbA measures

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 CR Guidelines to be shared with new GIDP project funded by UNCDF, UNDP and SDC
[Added: 2018/03/29]
UNDP 2017/12 Completed Information shared at GIDP LPAC and other meetings during project development
1.2 CR Guidelines to be shared with UNHABITAT project “Enhancing the climate and disaster resilience of the most vulnerable rural and emerging urban human settlements in Lao PDR”
[Added: 2018/03/29]
UNDP 2017/12 Completed Information shared with UNHABITAT bi-laterally and other meetings
2. Recommendation:

Integration of DDF CR guidelines in Government’ routine plans and actions

Management Response: [Added: 2018/03/29] [Last Updated: 2020/12/15]

Agree that efforts should be made to integrate CR into routine tools and methods through the DDF, and efforts should also be made to empower government with the actual benefits of mainstreaming CR through guidelines and methodologies

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Staff to discuss with relevant department’s head within MONRE and to other ministries
[Added: 2018/03/29]
PSU/MONRE, UNDP/UNCDF 2017/12 Completed DCC in MONRE has shared information within ministries. UNDP has also shared information on CR Guidelines with development partners and other ministries during workshop, stakeholder consultations and bi-lateral meetings.
2.1 Staff to discuss at provincial level
[Added: 2018/03/29]
PSU/MONRE, UNDP/UNCDF 2017/12 Completed DCC in MONRE has shared information within ministries. UNDP has also shared information on CR Guidelines with development partners and other ministries during workshop, stakeholder consultations and bi-lateral meetings.
3. Recommendation:

 Sharing the benefits/added value of CRVAs with relevant stakeholders 

Management Response: [Added: 2018/03/29] [Last Updated: 2020/12/15]

Agree that CRVA provides an integrated sequential approach to responding to climate change for infrastructure vulnerability and it should be further centralised/decentralized.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Staff to discuss with relevant department’s head within MONRE and to other ministries
[Added: 2018/03/29]
PSU/MONRE, UNDP/UNCDF 2017/12 Completed DCC in MONRE has shared information within ministries. UNDP has also shared information on CRVA with development partners and other ministries during workshop, stakeholder consultations and bi-lateral meetings.
3.1 Staff to discuss at provincial level and district level
[Added: 2018/03/29]
PSU/MONRE, UNDP/UNCDF 2017/12 Completed DCC in MONRE has shared information within ministries. UNDP has also shared information on CRVA with development partners and other ministries during workshop, stakeholder consultations and bi-lateral meetings.
4. Recommendation:

Empowering beneficiary communities to ensure follow-up of EbA measures and maintenance of infrastructures

Management Response: [Added: 2018/03/29] [Last Updated: 2020/12/15]

Agreed that infrastructure community groups (WUC/WUA) could be strengthened

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Staff to discuss with relevant district offices DONRE for on-going strengthening of community groups
[Added: 2018/03/29]
PSU/MONRE 2017/12 Completed DCC in MONRE has shared information with DONRE
4.2 Information on GEF SGP to be shared with MONRE, PONRE, DONRE and community groups
[Added: 2018/03/29]
PSU/MONRE, UNDP 2017/12 Completed UNDP has shared information on GEF SGP and latest GEF SGP Call for proposals with PSU, which has in turn been shared at provincial, district and community levels.
5. Recommendation:

Develop a district follow-up programme of infrastructures and EbA measures as part as routine activities carried out by (provincial) district DONRE

Management Response: [Added: 2018/03/29] [Last Updated: 2020/12/15]

Agreed that follow-up of beneficiary communities by district technical staff remains a necessity

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Planning for identification of new resources for follow-on project to support on-going activities by DONRE and PONRE
[Added: 2018/03/29]
PSU/MONRE, UNDP 2017/12 Completed PSU has requested UNDP to support on new project development possible through GEF 7

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