Institutional Strengthening of the Forest Sector Development Project in Ethiopia mid term evaluation

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Evaluation Plan:
2017-2020, Ethiopia
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
12/2018
Completion Date:
11/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
50,000

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Title Institutional Strengthening of the Forest Sector Development Project in Ethiopia mid term evaluation
Atlas Project Number: 00087198
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2020, Ethiopia
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2018
Planned End Date: 12/2018
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Sustainable
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 Goal
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
SDG Target
  • 15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
Evaluation Budget(US $): 50,000
Source of Funding: UNDP
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 37,082
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Akter Hamid International Consultant Akhter Hamid <akhter.hamid@gmail.com>
Sisay Nune Local Consultant nune.sisay@gmail.com ETHIOPIA
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, regional bureau of Ministry of Environment and Forestry,
Countries: ETHIOPIA
Lessons
1.

 Lessons Learned
? Strengthening of government institutions without frequent restructuring can be
more sustainable.
? Degraded areas can be better rehabilitated when a combination of technologies is
used. Soil and water conservation practices assisted the rehabilitation as well as
plantations significantly.
? Commitments of communities as well as local government can determine the quality
of implementation and results. However, incentives such as land and forest tenure
certificates can be major sustainability factor.
59
? Local schools can be involved in project interventions by allocating a parcel of land
to each school for fast rotation plantations under ‘Junior Forest Club’ for increased
outreach and impacts.


Findings
1.

Findings of the MTE

Relevance

The environmental problems are addressed by the project where particular emphasis has been given on land degradation and its driving causes. Reversing land degradation in the absence of the right institutions is impossible. Cognizant of this fact the project put an emphasis to strengthen institutions for sustainable forest development and enhanced ecosystem services. As a result, 129,761 ha of degraded land has been rehabilitated through afforestation and reforestation and 9,017 ha of has been covered with short rotation plantation with average77.4% survival rate.

The relevance of the problems addressed by the project and the underlying assumption is rated as ‘Highly Satisfactory (HS)’.

The National Steering Committee of the project as the apex body provides overall guidance for implementation coordinated by the National Programme Coordination Office with the support of the nine woreda project offices through the Regional REDD+ Coordination Offices. EFCCC, MoFEC, UNDP, the Norwegian Embassy and the Swedish Embassy conduct joint monitoring and evaluation of the programme. This is of particular importance as the experience from the Sustainable Land Management project suggests that conducting regular meetings improve implementation towards intended results. The project has employed a participatory, inclusive and collaborative approach where key project partners work closely at different phases of the project cycle. Through the project’s bottom up approach, local communities are engaged in identifying the areas for rehabilitation, afforestation and reforestation, short rotation plantation and other allied interventions. The provision of forest/rehabilitated area tenure right to the local community is a major incentive that would contribute to expected results. The project has reviewed the lessons learnt from relevant project including REDD+, Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project, Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) and Managing Environmental Resources to Enable Transitions (MERET) project during the project designing.

The relevance of the project strategy and route towards expected/intended results is rated as ‘Satisfactory (S)’.

The project addresses both the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy and Growth and Transformation Plan-II (GTP-II). The project plans to rehabilitate large areas to improve agro-ecosystems for food security, forage production, fuel wood and construction material production and other non-timber forest products production to improve livelihoods in addition to fulfil indicators of CRGE and GTP. The project is implemented with full participation and ownership of the stakeholders at national, regional, woreda and community levels. The government and local communities demonstrate a great sense of ownership of project interventions and achievements.

The project contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; and Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss 


Tag: Forestry Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Green Economy Natural Resouce management Relevance Gender Mainstreaming Donor relations Oversight Programme/Project Design Project and Programme management Data and Statistics SDG Integration

2.

Effectiveness

The project logical/results and resource framework is clear, detailed, well laid out and aligned with the project outcomes. The project indicators and midterm and end-of project targets are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. However, gender-sensitive indicators across the project outputs should be included to gauge the gender dimensions of project results. Some targets particularly under output 3 – Private sector involvement in forest development facilitated, Output 4 – Science and innovation for enhancing sustainable forest management promoted and Output 5 – Stakeholder engagement in forest development enhanced were not met as planned.

The effectiveness of the project’s indicators and targets is rated as ‘Moderately Satisfactory (MS)’.

The project’s objectives and outputs are clear and practical. From a slow start in early 2016, the project accelerated its implementation speed. While Output 1 – Institutional capacity of forest sector is strengthened and Output 2 - Forest conservation and development for their multiple benefits promoted registered considerable achievements, the remaining three outputs experienced slow delivery. As of June 2018, outputs 1 and 2 achieved the targets, outputs 3 and 4 were on target and output 5 was set to kick start planned interventions. Therefore, the project objectives and outcomes are feasible within the remaining timeframe (by 2019) provided planned activities are implemented, coordinated and monitored with an accelerated pace and sheer focus ofthe key stakeholders involved in the project at different levels under the result-based management framework.

The effectiveness of project’s objectives, outcomes and feasibility is rated as ‘Satisfactory (S)’.

The project has created income generating opportunities for local population including rural women through seasonal employments in forest development (nursery, plantation), rehabilitation work (soil and water conservation practices), planting high value tree crops such as Mango and Avocado, and a range of alternative livelihood interventions, such as bee keeping and poultry production. Through the promotion of energy saving improved stove the project is also helping to reduce tree cutting for fire woods and improve women health .Though it is difficult to quantify the exact contribution in terms of job creation, to establish 9000 ha of plantation at least 2,700,000 person days are required (approximately 300 person days/ha). The plantations were supported by soil and water conservation practices that further created job opportunities for the local communities. The soil and water conservation practices assisted to control flooding and conserve moisture which has positive effect on plant growth and flood hazard to downstream agriculture and settlements. The various capacity building activities, as part of output 1 and 2 will help the development objectives of the forestry sector at large. The project so far rehabilitated 129,761 ha of degraded lands which will contribute to water development and provision of ecosystem services.  

The effectiveness of project’s development effects is rated as ‘Highly Satisfactory (HS)’.


Tag: Forestry Effectiveness Policies & Procedures Results-Based Management Micro-credit

3.

Effectiveness (continuation) 

Project Implementation and Adaptive Management

EFCCC has established a National Project Coordination Office (NPCO) to manage the project at national, regional through to local level through its regional and woreda level outfits using a well-coordinated and seamless adaptive management mechanism. A Project Steering Committee (PSC) established for REDD+ with the memberships of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission (EFCCC), Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC), Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resource (MoALR), Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE), chaired by the Deputy Commissioner, EFCCC provides oversight to the project. PSC meets quarterly to make operational policies and strategic operational decisions including approval of workplans and budget. It also meets as and when needed to discuss/decide on any urgent project matters. The National Project Coordination Office (NPCO) is headed by a highly qualified, experienced and committed National Programme Coordinator to lead and manage the project. 

The responsibilities and reporting lines are very clear to project staff and respective departmental officials and the project makes timely decisions in a transparent way under its adaptive management framework For example, when some sites selected for afforestation demonstrated environmental constraints and required additional costs in site amelioration efforts the project following extensive consultations decided to proceed with increased investments in order to reduce the risk of poor results and quality. The project also weighed the potential risks of community land displacement if better lands were to be used for afforestation. 

The effectiveness of project’s implementation and adaptive management is rated as ‘Satisfactory (S)’.


Tag: Effectiveness Human and Financial resources Oversight Project and Programme management Country Government

4.

Efficiency

A wide-ranging capacity development initiatives of the project purports to improve the institutional capacity at all levels. Considering the short-term costs and long-term gains of capacity development, rehabilitation of extremely degraded lands in harsh terrains and areas of forest plantation achieved up to the MTE, the project interventions are cost-effective. The participatory and bottom-up approaches followed by project required a fairly significant amount of investments. Due to different capacity development efforts including awareness building and close Consultations made at all level, communities are willing to contribute to the project and have contributed already in kind. The MTE team learned that payments made to labourers in afforestation and reforestation are significantly lower than the market value.

The efficiency of the project’s financial management is rated as ‘Satisfactory (S)’.

In response to a request for additional funding, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to provide an additional funding of NOK 22,500,000 to increase reforestation and forest rehabilitation and increase short rotation forestry plantation coverage, and to showcase the Ethiopian CRGE at COP21 in Paris. Against the national target and global commitment for afforestation and reforestation and rehabilitation of rehabilitated area, Ethiopia wanted to expand the pilot afforestation and reforestation and rehabilitation activities that required additional funding. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) through a Third Party Cost Sharing Agreement signed on 2 December 2016 agreed to contribute SEK 43,000,000 to UNDP for the implementation of the project. This has reduced the funding gap from USD 10,191,226 (as per original project document) to USD 2,814,00 as mentioned in the cumulative project progress report July 2015-June 2018 prepared by NPCO/EFCCC. 

The efficiency of the project’s budget revision is rated as ‘Satisfactory (S)’

The project is implemented as per the National Project Implementation Manual. The project’s annual work plans and budgets are prepared based on relevant cost information and reviewed by the project management. The financial reports provided by the project need to include more details information on project expenditures covering the whole project period. The financial reports should depict expenditures at activity levels under each output instead of providing output level total expenditures.

The efficiency of the project’s financial controls is rated as ‘Moderately Satisfactory (MS)’.


Tag: Efficiency Human and Financial resources Monitoring and Evaluation Policies & Procedures Quality Assurance Results-Based Management Bilateral partners Country Government Capacity Building

5.

Partnership Strategy

Since, partnership is anchored in activities across all project outputs to varied extent, the project has successfully developed partnerships with a wide array of direct and indirect stakeholders for successful project delivery employing different mode of partnership – contractual, collaborative, and consultative partnerships. The project aims to foster partnerships with climate change players in the country for successful implementation of the project for desired impacts and sustainability. The project partners include donor community, Civil Society Organization (CSOs), Research Organizations, Higher Educational Institutions, training providers, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), allied Professional Associations such as Ethiopian Foresters Association, etc will be supported by the project. The project has forged partnership with some of these partners. Donor partners such as the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Sweden Embassy provided significant amount of financial resources to the project. Without this financial resource it would be impossible to run the project. The political commitment of local governments in the intervention woredas mobilized local community to dedicate the necessary time, land and other resources for the implementation of the project. 


Tag: Forestry Efficiency Communication Partnership Bilateral partners Civil Societies and NGOs Country Government Private Sector

6.

Sustainability

The project has established forest management offices at regional and woreda levels, contributed to the forest sector human resource capacity, and provided related material resource support to national, regional and woreda level government offices for sustainable forest development in Ethiopia. The institutional capacity developed at the national and regional levels and project woredas has started extending its outreach to other neighbouring woredas. The project has developed a National Forest Sector Development Programme, which has got three volumes - Situation Analysis; Programme Pillars and Action Areas and Synthesis Report. Preparation of Regional Forest Sector Development Programmes for the regions and city Administrations has also started. With the government’s strong commitment to the environment, forest and climate change issues the sector capacities developed will contribute to the forest sector sustainability and subsequently to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as discussed above.


Tag: Forestry Sustainability Local Governance Capacity Building

7.

3. Findings of the MTE

3.1 Relevance

i. Review the problems addressed by the project and the underlying assumptions. Review the effect of any incorrect assumptions or changes to the context to achieving the project results as outlined in the Project Document Forest cover. The increasing population of the country creates higher demand for food, fuel and fibre, which subsequently leads to deforestation and forest degradation. It is challenging to quantify the economic value of the forest resources despite the recognition of wide ranging economic and environmental roles of forest resources. Unless urgent actions are taken to alter the traditional development path the economic and environmental costs of the declining forest resources would be immense. Due to declining forest resources and widening demand and supply gap for wood and wood products, the government is spending a large sum of money on importing forest and forest products. Furthermore, there is a paucity of forestry data, including data on non-timber forest products. The absence of forest data and information systems impedes informed decision making for sustainable forest sector development. In order to exploit the full potential of Ethiopia’s forest resources there is a need to invest in institutional capacity development, science and innovation and private sector participation. All these entail relevant policy and strategy development and implementation.Against this backdrop, Ethiopia remains committed and demonstrates leadership for green economy by adopting Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy under its Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II). Since the forest sector is a lead pillar of the CRGE strategy, the government formed the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MEF) that was renamed as the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MFCCC) and recently became Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission (EFCCC) to oversee afforestation-reforestation and other allied forestry sector programmes. Since EFCCC needs capacity boost, this project aims to strengthen the capacity of EFCCC and the Ethiopian government’s overall capacity in the forest sector at all levels to spearhead the CRGE strategy and GTP targets. Environmental problems are addressed by the project where particular emphasis has been given on land degradation and its driving causes. Reversing land degradation in the absence of the right institutions is impossible. Cognizant of this fact the project put an emphasis to strengthen institutions for sustainable forest development and enhanced ecosystem services. As a result, 129,761 ha of degraded land has been rehabilitated through afforestation and reforestation and 9,017 ha of has been covered with short rotation plantation with average77.4% survival rate. The relevance of the problems addressed by the project and the underlying assumption is rated as ‘Highly Satisfactory (HS)’.


Tag: Forestry Climate change governance Green Climate Green Economy Relevance Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Ownership Results-Based Management Data and Statistics

8.

3.2 Effectiveness

i. Undertake a critical analysis of the project’s indicators and targets, assess how “SMART” the midterm and end-of-project targets are (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound), and suggest specific amendments/revisions to the targets and indicators as necessary.

The project logical/results and resource framework is clear, detailed, well laid out and aligned with the project outcomes. The project indicators and midterm and end-ofproject targets are SMART -Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. However, gender-sensitive indicators across the project outputs should be included to gauge the gender dimensions of project results. Some targets particularly under output 3 – Private sector involvement in forest development facilitated, Output 4 – Science and innovation for enhancing sustainable forest management promoted and Output 5 – Stakeholder engagement in forest development enhanced were not met as planned. The readiness of government experts, project staffs, donors and target communities at various levels would accelerate the target achievements.

The effectiveness of the project’s indicators and targets is rated as ‘Moderately Satisfactory (MS)’.  ii. Are the project’s objectives and outcomes or components clear, practical, and feasible within its time frame?

The project’s objectives and outputs are clear and practical. From a slow start in early 2016, the project accelerated its implementation speed. While Output 1 – Institutional capacity of forest sector is strengthened and Output 2 - Forest conservation and development for their multiple benefits promoted registered considerable achievements, the remaining three outputs experienced slow delivery. As of June 2018, outputs 1 and 2 achieved the targets, outputs 3 and 4 were on target and output 5 was set to kick start planned interventions. Therefore, the project objectives and outcomes are feasible within the remaining timeframe (by 2019) provided planned activities are implemented, coordinated and monitored with an accelerated pace and sheer focus of the key stakeholders involved in the project at different levels under the result-based management framework. The effectiveness of project’s objectives, outcomes and feasibility is rated as ‘Satisfactory (S)’.


Tag: Effectiveness Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Monitoring and Evaluation Results-Based Management Theory of Change Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods

9.

3.2 Effectiveness (continuation)

Progress Towards Outcomes Analysis

The project contributes towards UNDAF 2016-2020 outcome 5: By 2020, key government institutions at federal level and in all regions and cities are able to plan, implement and monitor priority climate change mitigation and adaptation actions and sustainable natural resource management Overall, the project has demonstrated mixed results across all five outputs. Output 1- Institutional capacity of the forest sector strengthened and Output 2 - Forest conservation and development enhanced demonstrated considerable achievements. Output 1 has seen completion of the National Forest Sector Development Programme (NFSDP), baseline study and Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF). Eleven regional Forest Sector Action Plans are being prepared. Under output 2, the project achieved 90 percent of target forestry plantations and 87 percent of target degraded land rehabilitation), Output 4 -Science and innovation for enhancing forest management has attained some progress including capacity gap identification and forestry sector knowledge exchange and experience sharing visits to South Korea, China, India and Sweden participated by forest planners, policy makers and experts, and signed MoUs with South Korea and India to develop national science, research and innovation capacity. However, planned targets of development of a national forestry research strategy, revision of curricula and building capacity of four regional and one national institutions remain to be accelerated before the end of the project period, Output 3 - Private sector engagement in forest development has made slow progress since majority of targets- four awareness workshops organized, incentive mechanism to promote the involvement of the private sector in the conservation and development of forest development, five best practices disseminated on the involvement of the private sector in forest conservation and development, three new technologies for value addition introduced and a document on value chain and market study are not yet achieved Implementation of planned activities under Output 5 - Stakeholder engagement in forest development are yet to start.  As per the updated project progress report covering the period July 2015 – June 2018 prepared by the National Programme Coordination Office, the project has achieved the following key results under different outputs. 

Output 1: Institutional capacity of the sector strengthened - NPC established and functional; - Nine (9)Project Coordination Offices established and functional; - Ninety one (91) project staff hired at various levels; - Sixteen (16) field vehicles and nine (9) tractors procured and distributed; - Procurement process of one dump-truck is in progress; - Three-volume National Forest Development Programme document prepared and launched; - Regional Forest Sector Development Programmes for all regions and city administrations are being prepared; - Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) and Baselines prepared for each project site; and - Key database infrastructure facilities procured and distributed. 


Tag: Results-Based Management Theory of Change Country Government Capacity Building Forestry Effectiveness Monitoring and Evaluation

10.

3.3 Efficiency

i. Consider the financial management of the project, with specific reference to the cost-effectiveness of interventions. The Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Facility at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a national financial mechanism to support the implementation of Climate Resilient Green Economy initiatives of the country. The CRGE Facility has to date executed a number of climate change and forest sector projects and programmes of various sizes funded by different bi-lateral and multilateral donors. The GRCE Facility receives and disburses funds for this project. The funding support for the project from Norway and Sweden is channelled to the CRGE Facility in two different routes – a part of the funds is directly channelled to the Facility and another part is passed through the Multi Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) Office of UNDP (see section 1.3). As per the funding agreements, the Norwegian Embassy requires audited financial statement for each calendar year from both CRGE Facility and UNDP, while the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency requires a certified annual financial statement from UNDP for each calendar year. The project aims to strengthen the capacity of a nascent ministry recently formed with considerable capacity gaps. A wide ranging capacity development initiatives of the project purports to improve the institutional capacity at all levels. Considering the short-term costs and long-term gains of capacity development, rehabilitation of extremely degraded lands in harsh terrains and areas of forest plantation achieved up to the MTE, the project interventions are cost-effective. In estimating the efficiency of the project delivery, one has to consider the outputs of the project that not only contribute to the capacity development at all levels, rehabilitation of degraded lands and expansion of forestry plantation, it also develops rural institutional capacity, and improve climateresilient livelihoods and inclusive food security in project areas. The participatory and bottom-up approaches followed by project required a fairly significant amount of investments. Due to different capacity development efforts including awareness building and close consultations made at all level, communities are willing to contribute to the project and have contributed already in kind. The MTE team learned that payments made to labourers in afforestation and reforestation are significantly lower than the market value. The project has produced a wide array of products/documents including a 3-volume National Forest Sector Development Programme for the next 10 years – a landmark product. All these outputs will contribute to global public goods, which further justifies the expenditure of this pilot project. The efficiency of the project’s financial management is rated as ‘Satisfactory (S)’.


Tag: Forestry Climate Change Adaptation Policies & Procedures Results-Based Management Country Government Capacity Building Climate change governance Efficiency Donor relations

11.

Efficiency (continuation)

Project-level Monitoring and Evaluation Systems

i. Review the monitoring tools currently being used: Do they provide the necessary information? Do they involve key partners? Are they aligned or mainstreamed with national systems? Do they use existing information? Are they efficient? Are they cost-effective? Are additional tools required? How could they be made more participatory and inclusive? The project is jointly monitored by EFCCC, MoFEC, UNDP and regional and woreda administrations at national, regional and woreda levels. The CRGE Facility, EFCCC and UNDP Monitoring and Evaluation guidelines are used in monitoring the project. The Project is also jointly monitored by the donors. During the MTE field mission SIDA, EFCCC and UNDP went to SNNP on a region wide visit to see the project activities and progress first hand. Earlier UNDP and EFCCC conducted joint monitoring in three woredas of Amhara namely Meket ,Wadla and Dessie Zuria. At woreda level, monitoring is more regular and systematic as reported by woreda level stakeholders during the MTE mission. A considerable volume of information is collected through this monitoring effort. However, compiling these data and presenting them in an orderly fashion didn’t happen in the initial stage of the project. M&E assesses the progress made from the baseline and particularly it evaluates the indicators. Quality of activities executed to respond to the project outputs are evaluated both on the ground and in the office. The MTE team witnessed some technical drawbacks in plantations in which the way plantations are managed including the size of tree seedlings planted as well as the pit sizes where the seedlings are planted. This needs closer monitoring and technical backstopping to the implementers. Mirab Abaya project office requires some improvements. The MTE team saw the project tractors parked in office premises in all project woredas in SNNPR. Some challenges reported include, but not limited to, lack of tractor operators. 


Tag: Efficiency Monitoring and Evaluation Policies & Procedures Technology Data and Statistics

12.

3.4 Partnership Strategy

Since, partnership is anchored in activities across all project outputs to varied extent, the project has successfully developed partnerships with a wide array of direct and indirect stakeholders for successful project delivery employing different mode of partnership – contractual, collaborative, and consultative partnerships. The project aims to foster partnerships with climate change players in the country for successful implementation of the project for desired impacts and sustainability. The project partners include donor community, Civil Society Organization (CSOs), Research Organizations, Higher Educational Institutions, training providers, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), allied Professional Associations such as Ethiopian Foresters Association, etc will be supported by the project. The project has forged partnership with some of these partners. Donor partners such as the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Sweden Embassy provided significant amount of financial resources to the project. Without this financial resource it would be impossible to run the project. The political commitment of local governments in the intervention woredas mobilized local community to dedicate the necessary time, land and other resources for the implementation of the project. 

Stakeholder Engagement

i. Project management: Has the project developed and leveraged the necessary and appropriate partnerships with direct and tangential stakeholders?

Forest sector development entails active multi-stakeholder engagement throughout the process. A broad based stakeholder engagement is crucial for long-term forest conservation, management and marketing. This Forest Sector Strengthening Project has two dedicated outputs on stakeholder engagement. Output 3 focuses on participation of private sector in forest development through backward and forward linkages. Private sector provides very strong impetus for forest industry development. Output 5 is exclusively on stakeholder engagement for forest development. Activities under this output aims to create platforms to facilitate participation of a wide range of stakeholders including civil society organizations (CSOs), research organizations, tertiary education providers, training institutes, community based organizations (CBOs), relevant Professional bodies in forest development in the country. Implementation of activities under output 3 has been slow and activities under output 5 are being planned for implementation. As stakeholder engagement is crucial for successful implementation of the planned activities for greater impacts, the project has successfully developed partnerships with a wide array of direct and indirect stakeholders employing different modes of engagement


Tag: Forestry Communication Donor relations Knowledge management Partnership Civil Societies and NGOs Country Government Private Sector Advocacy

13.

3.5 Sustainability

The project has established forest management offices at regional and woreda levels, contributed to the forest sector human resource capacity, and provided related material resource support to national, regional and woreda level government offices for sustainable forest development in Ethiopia. The institutional capacity developed at the national and regional levels and project woredas has started extending its outreach to other neighbouring woredas. The project has developed a National Forest Sector Development Programme, which has got three volumes - Situation Analysis; Programme Pillars and Action Areas and Synthesis Report : Preparation of Regional Forest Sector Development Programmes for the regions and city Administrations has also started. With the government’s strong commitment to the environment, forest and climate change issues the sector capacities developed will contribute to the forest sector sustainability and subsequently to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as discussed above The land use plan developed under the auspices of the project will contribute substantially to its forest and assisted natural regeneration conservation and development objectives. The rehabilitation of degraded land, protection of natural regeneration and expansion of fast rotation plantations have progressed very well and will contribute to national and global environmental sustainability. The participatory and bottom-up approach to forest development and assisted natural regeneration, and certification of land use rights of local communities for rehabilitated and afforested and reforested areas will reinforce the sustainability of the project outcomes (Figure 4). The technical capacity gain of the communities in rehabilitation and afforestation and reforestation in project areas has been commendable to uptake and upscale project interventions. Alternative livelihoods options initiated by the project will add to the project’s long-term sustainability. 


Tag: Forestry Climate change governance Green Economy Natural Resouce management Sustainability Human and Financial resources Ownership Capacity Building Private Sector

14.

Relevance (Continuation from Finding 7)

iii. Review how the project addresses country priorities. Review country ownership. Was the project concept in line with the national sector development priorities and plans of the country?

Deforestation and unsustainable land management practices in Ethiopia have led to several unintended environmental and socio-economic consequences, including poor soil health, soil erosion, reduced crop productivity, flooding, sedimentation of water courses and dams, loss of carbon and biodiversity assets. As a result the forest sector receives important attention in the national development strategy. Ethiopia has developed the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy that focuses on development and management of forests and reduction of emission from the use of biomass based energy since March 2014. Under the CRGE framework, the country has set targets of significantly reducing deforestation and forest degradation and increasing afforestation, reforestation and forest management to increase carbon sequestration through afforestation (2 million ha), reforestation (1 million ha) and managing 5 million ha of forests and woodlands. This would create 50% of the total domestic abatement potential. The institutional capacity strengthening of the forest sector to implement sustainable forest management is critically important. The project addresses both the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy and Growth and Transformation Plan-II (GTP-II). The project plans to rehabilitate large areas to improve agro-ecosystems for food security, forage production, fuelwood and construction material production and other non-timber forest products production to improve livelihoods in addition to fulfil indicators of CRGE and GTP. The project is implemented with full participation and ownership of the stakeholders at national, regional, woreda and community levels. The government and local communities demonstrate a great sense of ownership of project interventions and achievements. The project contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; and Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss 


Tag: Forestry Relevance Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Integration Policies & Procedures Capacity Building Women and gilrs Youth

15.

3.2 Effectiveness - Progress Towards Outcomes Analysis Continuation from Finding 9

Project Implementation and Adaptive Management -i. Review overall effectiveness of project management as outlined in the Project Document. Have changes been made and are they effective? Are responsibilities and reporting lines clear? Is decision-making transparent and undertaken in a timely manner? Recommend areas for improvement. The project is implemented by EFCCC under the National Implementation Modality (NIM). EFCCC has established a National Project Coordination Office (NPCO) to manage the project at national, regional through to local level through its regional and woreda level outfits using a well-coordinated and seamless adaptive management mechanism. A Project Steering Committee (PSC) established for REDD+ with the memberships of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission (EFCCC), Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC), Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resource (MoALR), Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE), chaired by the Deputy Commissioner, EFCCC provides oversight to the project. PSC meets quarterly to make operational policies and strategic operational decisions including approval of workplans and budget. It also meets as and when needed to discuss/decide on any urgent project matters. The National Project Coordination Office (NPCO) is headed by a highly qualified, experienced and committed National Programme Coordinator to lead and manage the project. The MTE team was impressed with his passion for sustainable forestry and his vision for a reinvigorated forest sector in Ethiopia. During the project stakeholder consultations, it has become evident to the MTE Mission that the responsibilities and reporting lines are very clear to project staff and respective departmental officials and the project makes timely decisions in a transparent way under its adaptive management framework For example, when some sites selected for afforestation demonstrated environmental constraints and required additional costs in site amelioration efforts the project following extensive consultations decided to proceed with increased investments in order to reduce the risk of poor results and quality. The project also weighed the potential risks of community land displacement if better lands were to be used for afforestation. The project management conducted joint field missions as planned and held periodic programme review meetings in different locations with the participation of all relevant stakeholders to discuss project interventions implemented, assess the progress made towards targets and plan/revise activities for implementation based on the forest resource management needs and ecosystems functioning. Any changes made are shared with relevant stakeholders and forwarded to PSC for approval. The effectiveness of project’s implementation and adaptive management is rated as ‘Satisfactory (S)’.


Tag: Forestry Effectiveness Efficiency Implementation Modality Operational Efficiency Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management Results-Based Management

16.

Sustainability (Continuation from Finding 13)

ii. What are the issues of scale and the options/economic models for the sustainability of the project? The project has developed a National Forest Development Programme outlining national forest action plans for the next 10 years. Regional forest action programmes are being prepared. The success and potential of the model and approaches practiced in this pilot initiative have attracted the attention of wider stakeholders including the government and donor community. The Government of Norway has committed to fund US$ 35 million for afforestation and reforestation in additional 54 woredas. By showcasing the pilot model and approaches on different platforms the government might be able to find donors to support the government’s up-scaling effort. The Second Amendment to the Third Party Cost sharing Agreement signed with Sweden to provide (79 million Swedish Krona (8,729,500 USD) to support the implementation of Institutional Strengthening for Catalyzing Forest Sector Development Project in Ethiopia, which is the 2nd phase of the existing Institutional Strengthening for the Forest Sector Development project. The project aims to sustain the good achievement of the existing project by focusing on building technical capacities at various levels thereby catalyzing large scale investments in wider areas to realize the long-term development planning benefits from a carbon-intensive to a carbon-neutral and climate-resilient development pathway. The Institutional strengthening for Catalyzing Forest Sector Development Project in Ethiopia will take a four-pronged approach to: i) Enhance an enabling environment for strong forest sector delivery; ii) Promote a sustainable forest production; iii) Enhance the forest ecosystem services; and iv) Foster model environmental stewardship The per district project staff costs, logistics and other associated costs could become expensive to scale up the project. The project could consider cluster coordination mechanism for woreda level implementation. At present, coordination of project activities in Shashogo woreda from the Lemu project based proved effective. Project staff, logistics per district/woreda might be expensive to scale up the project.

iii. Analyze the concept of mobilizing “free labor”. What is meant by this? How “free” is it? Is it replicable or problematic? ‘Free labor’ from community aims to contribute to government’s effort in mass mobilization to reverse land degradation in the country. It gives community a great sense of ownership. ‘Free labour’ is free in the sense that this is not included in project budget/expenditure. Since it is a contribution from the community to the project it is not free in absolute sense as the ‘free labor’ providers expect returns from their labor in the form of social, economic or environmental gains. It can be replicated in similar contexts and initiatives like community access road construction, community water harvesting and other community infrastructures.

iv. How can we make sure that Government/UNDP/donors can assist the tree felling and sale of timber products in the future in accordance with desirable principles (including support to marketing etc.)? The project needs to develop Forest management plan for the plantations and management & Use Plans for the rehabilitated watersheds. The forest plantations management plan will comprise standard procedures and implementation plans dedicated to the rotation periods of each plantation sites. Among which the management guides when/how/where to harvest (utilize)and market forest and non-forest products. There should be aggressive awareness campaign& training sessions on these issues and the communities need to be empowered with relevant information to ensure guidelines and good practices are adhered to at all levels. 


Tag: Forestry Environmental impact assessment Sustainability Business Model Donor relations Risk Management

Recommendations
1

Recommendations

The MTE suggests the following recommendations for successful project delivery, improved project management, greater project communication and visibility, and enhanced sustainability of the project outcomes. 

Recommendation 1 ; Since the project has completed its baseline survey just prior to the MTE, it could not be used to assess progress against the baseline data for this evaluation. Therefore, the project should update the logframe with the baseline information collected in the survey and track project progress from now onwards using the update logframe.

2

 Recommendation 2 :The project log frame should include gender sensitive indicators to delineate women participation in the project and assess how the project contributes to gender equality and women empowerment.

3

Recommendation 3: The project should have more joint monitoring involving relevant stakeholders. At nation level it could involve EFCCC, MoFEC, UNDP and donors. At woreda level the woreda administration, Forest office and technical committee members should be part of joint monitoring.

4

 Recommendation 4: The project should put a mechanism in place to validate/verify the reported area under rehabilitation and plantation.

5

 Recommendation 5: Project communication and visibility should be strengthened. As part of communication strategy the project could produce monthly newsletter and one pager on project success stories/best practices. The signposts in project sites should be erected/improved.

6

Recommendation 6:The project should, where feasible, encourage planting more indigenous species in land rehabilitation for better ecosystem health.

7

 Recommendation 7: The government should consider absorbing project staff in EFCCC’s regular staffing structure after the end of the project to retain the capacity gain for long term sustainability.

8

Recommendation 8: To gauge the effect of learning/training programme, the project should use the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey following each training course. By employing KAP questionnaires, the project will collect both qualitative and quantitative data on learning/training activities. KAP survey will enable the project to ascertain the degree to which knowledge and skills acquired by the training participants are put into practice. KAP survey will examine three key points: whether the trainees have understood and retained the main points of the training (knowledge), whether the trainees have found imparted knowledge and skills are useful for them or not (attitude), and whether they have used these knowledge and skills (practice) 

9

Recommendation 9: The project had inception workshop and the maiden annual project progress report included a brief narrative on the workshop. However, no inception report has been produced. An inception report should be prepared and archived. 

10

Recommendation 10: The project should prepare report for each training programme it conducts highlighting training objectives, participants category, training schedule and brief description of training topics covered/training curriculum. The reports should be annexed with annual progress reports.

11

Recommendation 11: The project should consider to increase the remuneration the project pays to participating women in project sites. 

12

Recommendation 12: The project should have more joint monitoring involving relevant stakeholders. 

13

Recomendation 13: Availability of quality seeds poses constant challenge for the project. The project should consider to include a start-up fund scheme under the Private Sector Participation output. Under this scheme aspiring entrepreneur(s) with relevant technical knowledge and skills and business acumen would receive grants from the project to produce quality seeds under the strict protocol of the project. 

1. Recommendation:

Recommendations

The MTE suggests the following recommendations for successful project delivery, improved project management, greater project communication and visibility, and enhanced sustainability of the project outcomes. 

Recommendation 1 ; Since the project has completed its baseline survey just prior to the MTE, it could not be used to assess progress against the baseline data for this evaluation. Therefore, the project should update the logframe with the baseline information collected in the survey and track project progress from now onwards using the update logframe.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
update the log frame with the baseline information collected in the survey and track project progress from now onwards using the updated log frame.
[Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/08/03]
UNDP< EFCCC 2019/05 Completed Completed History
2. Recommendation:

 Recommendation 2 :The project log frame should include gender sensitive indicators to delineate women participation in the project and assess how the project contributes to gender equality and women empowerment.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Assess how the project contributes to gender equality and women empowerment, among others;
[Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/11/15]
UNDP , EFCCC 2020/12 Completed Completed History
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: The project should have more joint monitoring involving relevant stakeholders. At nation level it could involve EFCCC, MoFEC, UNDP and donors. At woreda level the woreda administration, Forest office and technical committee members should be part of joint monitoring.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Conduct joint monitoring involving relevant stakeholders. At national level it could involve EFCCC, MoFEC, UNDP and donors
[Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/08/03]
UNDP, EFCCC 2019/06 Completed Completed History
4. Recommendation:

 Recommendation 4: The project should put a mechanism in place to validate/verify the reported area under rehabilitation and plantation.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
put a mechanism in place to validate/verify the areas under rehabilitation and plantation
[Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/08/03]
UNDP , EFCCC, Norway 2019/05 Completed Completed History
5. Recommendation:

 Recommendation 5: Project communication and visibility should be strengthened. As part of communication strategy the project could produce monthly newsletter and one pager on project success stories/best practices. The signposts in project sites should be erected/improved.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
produce monthly newsletter and one pager on project success stories/best practices. The signposts in project sites should be recited/improved.;
[Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/08/03]
UNDP , EFCCC 2020/12 Completed Completed History
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6:The project should, where feasible, encourage planting more indigenous species in land rehabilitation for better ecosystem health.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
encourage planting more indigenous species in land rehabilitation for better ecosystem health
[Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/08/03]
UNDP , EFCCC 2019/06 Completed Completed History
7. Recommendation:

 Recommendation 7: The government should consider absorbing project staff in EFCCC’s regular staffing structure after the end of the project to retain the capacity gain for long term sustainability.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Hold discussion with EFCCC
[Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/08/03]
UNDP 2020/06 Completed Completed History
8. Recommendation:

Recommendation 8: To gauge the effect of learning/training programme, the project should use the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey following each training course. By employing KAP questionnaires, the project will collect both qualitative and quantitative data on learning/training activities. KAP survey will enable the project to ascertain the degree to which knowledge and skills acquired by the training participants are put into practice. KAP survey will examine three key points: whether the trainees have understood and retained the main points of the training (knowledge), whether the trainees have found imparted knowledge and skills are useful for them or not (attitude), and whether they have used these knowledge and skills (practice) 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Agreed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Hold discussion with EFCCC
[Added: 2019/01/01] [Last Updated: 2020/08/03]
UNDP 2019/05 Completed Completed History
9. Recommendation:

Recommendation 9: The project had inception workshop and the maiden annual project progress report included a brief narrative on the workshop. However, no inception report has been produced. An inception report should be prepared and archived. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation:

Recommendation 10: The project should prepare report for each training programme it conducts highlighting training objectives, participants category, training schedule and brief description of training topics covered/training curriculum. The reports should be annexed with annual progress reports.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Key Actions:

11. Recommendation:

Recommendation 11: The project should consider to increase the remuneration the project pays to participating women in project sites. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Key Actions:

12. Recommendation:

Recommendation 12: The project should have more joint monitoring involving relevant stakeholders. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Key Actions:

13. Recommendation:

Recomendation 13: Availability of quality seeds poses constant challenge for the project. The project should consider to include a start-up fund scheme under the Private Sector Participation output. Under this scheme aspiring entrepreneur(s) with relevant technical knowledge and skills and business acumen would receive grants from the project to produce quality seeds under the strict protocol of the project. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/05]

Key Actions:

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