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Capacity Building for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in Samoa
Commissioning Unit: Samoa
Evaluation Plan: 2008-2012
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 02/2011
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Samoa
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
1. Recommendation: ? The report suggests that only one out of the 4 outcomes originally agreed upon was actually implemented ? and others substantially changed during the course of implementation questioning the efficacy of the project outcomes as per the original goals.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/07/18]

Our own assessment would suggest that we generally agree with this overall assessment with a few caveats as highlighted below. ? Referring to the first outcome on completion of the National Action Plan, the evaluation reports states that the key output - Preparation of the National Action Plan (NAP) ? was almost complete when the project started. (I have been informed that UNDP co-financed US$8000 for this exercise). Notwithstanding this we understand that NAP has not been officially submitted to the UNCCD because of the new requirements imposed by the UNCCD. While we agree that realigning the NAP requires additional time it is important that this action is completed at the earliest. ? The second outcome dealing with implementation of demonstration sites + related training appears to be one of the four that has been implemented with some moderate success. This component was expected to demonstrate 3 land management practices in different soil and environmental conditions + training/capacity development related to these activities. Under this, the report highlights that only one of the project outputs ? Output 2.4 Enhanced capacities for rehabilitation of degraded watershed areas through promotion of SLM practices - has demonstrated some positive results. We agree with this analysis. ? The other two demonstration sites were significantly modified and their impact is being questioned by the evaluators. This includes the construction of a resource centre as a response to management of drought prone areas. The resource centre is not fully functional/complete yet and there is no evidence of how the recurring costs to run this will be secured nor how this links with more effective management of drought prone areas land use ? as there appear to be no plans that UNDP could access to ascertain its use and sustainability of the centre beyond the life of the project. We do however note that implementation of this activity was approved unanimously by the Steering Committee, in which UNDP participated, with no concerns from any member. This raises the issue of the accountability of such Steering Groups for such decisions and something that we need to discuss not only in the context of this project but others as well. ? Another demonstration activity was the construction of a seawall, which is a significant diversion from the original project document. The Project Steering Committee had divided opinions about this option; the Steering committee notes indicate that UNDP raised concerns over this measure and the technical assessment by Lano Technical Implementation Group suggested the implementation of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA). Notwithstanding this a decision was made to go ahead with the construction of sea wall in October 2008. An EIA was never conducted. Additionally, no financial assessment was undertaken before the construction, and it ended up in substantial over-run in costs. The evaluator states, and we agree, that construction of seawalls are not the most effective solution to coastal erosion. There is ample evidence on this score from around the world.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation: ? The evaluation report states that no activities have been undertaken on the mainstreaming of SLM into development planning process nor any evidence of work relating to development of the Samoa?s SLM investment plan (outcomes 3 and 4).
Management Response: [Added: 2011/07/18]

We however found some evidence of mainstreaming at the local level. Some activities of the project, mainly the nursery, have been incorporated into the work programme of the Forestry Division. Nonetheless, mainstreaming at a larger/strategic scale is still missing and could be prioritized for the last year of the project.

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation: ? The report states that capacity development, which is one of key outcomes of the project, has been delayed to the last year.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/07/18]

This is a significant concern ? however I have been informed that some limited capacity development activities were undertaken, including 6 trainings workshops. The report also includes the positive feedback from the Forestry Division saying that the project has contributed to developing the capacities of its staff. It would therefore appear that we have spent bulk of the $350,000 on one outcome and related (and questionable) demonstration activities. It is clear from the above that there have been lacunas in the effective management of the programmes both from UNDP and Government end. We need to clearly revisit the roles and responsibility and accountability of decisions taken. We accept that UNDP has a clear role to provide substantive oversight of projects ? and this means that clear provisions need to be made in the design of the project to bring on board technical experts right through the life of the project at critical stages to ensure that the outputs and decisions taken are informed by scientific and cutting edge thinking. There need to be put in place very stringent monitoring and evaluation systems and regular visits by the UNDP/MNRE staff to be able to take corrective actions as the project proceeds with budgets provided for this to happen. Also the default mechanism of setting up a PMU unit automatically needs to be revisited. Also the roles and accountability of the project funded project staff and their performance management needs to be revisited, allowing for a matrixed line of accountability to UNDP as well as UNDP?s involvement in the performance evaluation of the project staff annually. It is evident from this project and others that the involvement of the project staff on non-project related work has had a significant negative impact on the programme. M&E functions need to be considerably strengthened and built into the design and delivery of the programme (with adequate funds for this) to ensure timely modifications in the work programme. It is also critical that extensions for project life are critically reviewed and justified. Very importantly there is the urgent need for us to sit down and agree with MNRE on areas of focus for the remainder of the project life. Clearly the lessons emanating from this project apply to many others in our portfolio and have been identified in our quarterly review processes.

Key Actions:

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