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Mid-term evaluation: Adaptation fund project on climate resilience of farming
Commissioning Unit:Uzbekistan
Evaluation Plan:2016-2020
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date:03/2018
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Uzbekistan
1. Recommendation:

It is recommended to analyze the new agriculture policy and legislation framework as well as the key programmes related to the project.

Recently, the government passed new Decrees to reform the agriculture sector, particularly strengthening its extension services and the roles and responsibilities of the Council of Farmers, which was changed to the Council of Farmers, Dekhan Farmers and Household Plot Owners. Additionally, this past year, the government adopted its “Strategy for Further Development 2017-2021” and also in 2017, the government of the Republic of Karakalpakstan approved the "State Programme for the Development of the Aral Sea 2017-2021”. These governmental new instruments are critical for the implementation of the project. The success of the project is mostly based on the adoption of adaptation measures by farming and pastoral communities in the Karakalpakstan region. It requires reaching out many farming and pastoral communities. The main approach to do that is through the development of a sustainable extension service and the capacity development of the Council of Farmers, Dekhan Farmers and Household Plot Owners, a government body linking policy makers with farmers/land users. A full review of these new instruments is needed, to assess how the project strategy fits within this new framework and how best the project can support these reforms within the context of the AF approved project strategy.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/15]

Recommendation is fully supported.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Review new agriculture policy/programmes and newly established institutions/instruments legislation framework, and develop recommendations on sustainable extension service development and capacity building to support the reforms
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/16]
Project team 2019/07 Initiated
1.2 Publish recommendations and disseminate among the project’s targeted groups and beneficiaries; and conduct round table to facilitate their adoption
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/16]
Project team 2019/07 Initiated
2. Recommendation:

It is recommended to review the strategy of the project to emphasize the need to develop and pilot an “outreach model”.

In the first part of the project, the focus was much on piloting and constituting a “catalog of adaptation measures” adapted to the Karakalpakstan region and less on the development of an “outreach model” to reach out to thousands of farmers and communities in the region. Yet, 63% of the AF grant has been allocated to the adoption of climate resilient farming practices by farming and pastoral communities and the implementation of community-based landscape level adaptation measures for soil conservation and moisture retention. One strategy to reach out to these communities has been through output 1.4 that is to establish a science-based extension services for the farming communities. However, this output has a very limited total budget of USD 58,000 (1.2% of the AF grant). It is completely insufficient, and it will not provide the resources needed to end up with a viable and well performing extension service reaching out to thousands of farmers and that will bring change in these rural areas and improve their livelihoods.

It is recommended to fully review the strategy of the project and re-focus the project by building on the initial achievements under output 1.4 to develop an extended “outreach model”– an extension service – version that will be piloted with the support of the project in collaboration with the relevant national, regional and local institutions in the five pilot districts. The recommendation is to put the development of an extension service at the core of project activities moving forward. As the model is being implemented, capacities should be developed, including discussion with relevant institutions to institutionalize such service with corresponding resources, mandates, skills and knowledge for staff, etc. The aim would ultimately be setting up a sustainable extension service[1] as a link between policy and legislation making and farmers (practitioners) but also as a mechanism to increase the efficiency of farms while adapting to climate change and increase the standard of living of farming and pastoral communities. As part of developing a sustainable extension service, it should also include the review of financing needs for implementing some of these adaptation measures, particularly for Dekhan farmers. In relation to current development in Uzbekistan, micro-financing mechanisms should be considered as financing options.

 


[1] A good discussion on “understanding extension” can be found on the FAO website at http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0060e/T0060E03.htm#Extension%20and%20education and on the “role of extension services” on the IFAD website at https://www.ifad.org/topic/resource/tags/rainfed_agriculture/2088038

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/15]

Recommendation is fully supported

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Develop an extended “outreach model”– an extension service – version; and pilot it in collaboration with the relevant national, regional and local institutions in the five pilot districts
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/16]
Project team 2019/07 Initiated
2.2 Conduct discussion with relevant institutions to institutionalize extension service model findings with corresponding resources, mandates, skills and knowledge for staff, etc.
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/16]
Project team 2019/07 Initiated
2.3 Review financing needs for implementing adaptation measures by particularly Dekhan farmers; and consider micro-financing mechanisms as an option
[Added: 2018/08/15]
Project team 2019/07 Not Initiated
3. Recommendation:

It is recommended to review any existing community-based sustainable land management practices and the mechanisms to promote these practices; particularly any extension service experiences in Uzbekistan and in Central Asia.

A central part of the project to ensure that farming and pastoral communities adopt adaptation measures is the establishment of an extension service. This is through such a service that promoting these measures can happen accompanied by appropriate training and knowledge transfer. It is also the mechanism for replicability and scaling up the appropriation of these adaptation measures to surrounding communities and possibly elsewhere in Uzbekistan. A recent government decree (No. PP-3318 of October 10, 2017) strengthened the role of the Council of Farmers as the mechanism to provide a comprehensive support to farmers, dekhan farms and household landowners in “production, processing, storage and sale of agricultural products, including the implementation of modern agro-technical activities”. Based on this decree, the Council of Farmers is becoming a key organization for the development of the agricultural sector in Uzbekistan. In the meantime, the project has been supporting the development of a science-based extension service for these same farmers to assist them in adopting adaptation measures. Currently 2 extension services are functional and 3 more are being established with the support of the project. Within this context, it is recommended to conduct a review of existing community-based sustainable land management practices for farmers and pastoralists in Uzbekistan and in Central Asia as well as a review of international best practices and the review of mechanisms – mostly extension services - to promote these practices to communities.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/15]

Recommendation is fully supported

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Conduct a review of existing community-based sustainable land management practices for farmers and pastoralists in Uzbekistan and in Central Asia
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/16]
Project team 2019/07 Initiated
3.2 Review international best practices and mechanisms – mostly extension services
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/16]
Project team 2019/07 Initiated
3.3 Develop recommendations on promotion the most applicable best practices to rural communities
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/16]
Project team 2019/03 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

It is recommended to review and revised some targets to more achievable level

Most targets are too ambitious, including some targets embedded in output statements such as output 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 and 3.1. These ambitious targets include: at least 40,000 Dekhan farmers have adopted climate resilient conservation agriculture practices and water saving irrigation practices on 80,000 ha; over 70,000 ha of arid land of Karakalpakstan is covered with saksaul and tamarix plantations; 40% of targeted dekhan farmers have established horticulture greenhouses on 20,000 ha of farms; at least 20,000 people organized in at least 10 cooperatives at the Khokimiyat and Makhalla levels. It is not clear how the project can have this reach, particularly when considering that there are no existing extension services in place to strengthen and that as part of its implementation strategy, the project also needs to establish such services. It is anticipated that the project will not meet these targets by May 2020.

At this point, one dilemma facing the project is to decide if it is better to reach out broadly to farming and pastoral communities in Karakalpakstan to raise their awareness on the need to adapt to climate change and what they can do about it or to focus more on demonstrating and piloting an extension service in smaller areas such as the current five pilot districts with the goal of maximizing the number of farming and pastoral communities adopting these measures in these areas; i.e. as opposed to a broader approach to raise awareness but less on the adoption (a change process) of adaptation measures. It is recommended to review carefully these targets within the strategic context of the project moving forward – particularly the focus on developing/piloting an extension service (see recommendation #1) - and identify appropriate and achievable targets by the end of the project. If targets are revised, some indicators in the “Result Tracker” of the PPRs will also need to be revised.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/15]

Recommendation is partially supported

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Review corresponding final targets within the strategic context of the project moving forward with a particular focus particularly the focus on developing/piloting an extension service
[Added: 2018/08/15]
Project team 2019/07 Not Initiated
4.2 Identify appropriate and achievable targets for the end of the project
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2019/01/10]
Project team 2019/01 Overdue-Initiated
4.3 Revised the relevant indicators in the “Result Tracker” of the PPRs
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/16]
Project team 2019/07 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

It is recommended to extend the project until the AF grant will be expended.

As of the end of September 2017, total project expenditures amount to about USD 1.06M representing only 21% of the AF grant versus 56% of the project timeline. When considering the average burning rate of the first 40 months of implementation of USD 26,420 per month and the remaining budget of USD 3.93M, it is doubtful that the AF grant will be fully expended by the end of the project in May 2020; the project monthly expenditures would need to increase five-fold. This low disbursement is partly due to the fact that this project had to face 2 critical delays: one at the start-up phase due to a longer than expected time to sign the project document; and the second delay estimated at 6 months due to the delayed transfer of the second tranche of the AF grant to UNDP Uzbekistan.

In the meantime, according to the “Adaptation Fund Policy fore Project/Programme Delay (Amended in October 2017)” – Article 3.1, the starting date of a project is the first day of the project’s inception workshop (Decision B.18/29)[1], which would be October 22, 2014 for this AF project. Moreover, according to Article 14 of this policy “an implementing entity may request for a project extension beyond the original completion date for up to 18 months for a concrete adaptation project if (i) no additional funds are required; (ii) the project’s originally approved scope will not change; and (iii) the entity provides reasons and justifications for the extension”. According to Article 13, a project extension must be approved by the AF Board and that any request for additional time must be done through the submission of a request for a time extension using the AF template appended to the policy. Finally, according to Article 12, any delays should be reported through the PPRs.

Considering the above, it is recommended to review the starting date according to the AF policy and report this in the next PPR. It is also recommended to extend the project for at least 6 to 9 months corresponding to the implementation delays occurred so far. However, the exact duration of the time extension should be decided closer to the termination date of the project. It is proposed to review the timeline during the last quarter of 2018 when more detailed financial information will be available, including the remaining budget from the AF grant and submit a time extension request to the AF by November 2018.

 


[1] AF Policy for Project/Programme Delay (Amended in October 2017) - Article 3.1: For concrete adaptation projects/programmes the Board decided to consider the start date the first day of the project/programme’s inception workshop (Decision B.18/29).

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/15]

Recommendation is fully supported.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Develop and submit the Project Progress Report for fourth tranche
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2019/01/10]
Project team, SDC, RTS in IRH 2019/01 Overdue-Initiated Thematic data and information are collected. Financial data are being collected.
5.2 Submit request for with request for at least 6 to 9 months no cost extension of the project based on detailed financial information about remaining budget from the AF grant by November 2018
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2019/01/10]
Project team, SDC, TRS in IRH 2019/01 Overdue-Initiated
6. Recommendation:

It is recommended to support Uzhydromet in making weather information and forecasts and climate change models available to farming and pastoral communities.

The project is making good progress under outcome 1; it is contributing to strengthen the capacity of Uzhydromet by investing in better equipment to collect weather data and by supporting the organization in developing weather forecast and models to assess climate change impacts. As per the World Meteorological Organization, investments in this area bring socio-economic benefits; all economic studies have consistently concluded with benefit-cost ratios greater than one. However, it is also clear that these services do not generate economic and social value unless users benefit from decisions as a result of the information provided. Therefore, in order to optimize the investments made in this area, it is recommended that the project focuses in making weather information and forecast and climate change models available to farming and pastoral communities (users). A feasibility study may be needed to assess the user needs related to weather information and to assess the potential bottlenecks that may exist to make this information readily available, such as public access to this type of information.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/15]

Recommendation is fully supported

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Implement activities aimed at making weather information/forecast and climate change models available to farming and pastoral communities (users)
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/16]
Project team 2019/07 Initiated
6.2 Conduct a feasibility study to assess the user needs related to weather information, and assess the potential bottlenecks to make this information readily available
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/16]
Project team 2019/02 Initiated
7. Recommendation:

It is recommended to conduct a gender analysis in the five pilots.

Gender considerations were not included in the design of this project and no specific sections discuss gender aspects of the project in the project document. In the meantime, the project team reports gender disaggregated data in PPRs. One indicator is singularly targeting women: “Number of female lead horticulture greenhouses established” but no quantitative target is set for this indicator. Considering that the project is targeting different groups of farmers (commercial farmers, dekhan farmers and small plot owners), it is recommended that the project conducts a gender analysis in the pilot areas to better understand gender roles and gender issues in farming and pastoral communities. It is recommended to conduct this analysis sooner than later, to provide critical information for the development of greenhouses as anticipated in the strategy of the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/15]

Recommendation is fully supported

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Conduct gender analysis in the pilot areas to better understand gender roles and gender issues in farming and pastoral communities
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2019/01/10]
Project team 2019/01 Overdue-Initiated
7.2 Extract from the analysis finding/information critical for development of greenhouses by female lead households/farms/dekhans farms/cooperatives
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/16]
Project team 2019/04 Initiated
8. Recommendation:

It is recommended to organize “Open Farmers’ Days” on pilots to bring national and regional decision makers and farmers/pastoralists together, observing field results and exchanging knowledge.

The success of outcome 2 and 3 will depend mostly on the capacity of the project to reach out to farming and pastoral communities. Additionally, as a project it is crucial to build along the way the capacity of organizations such as Uzhydromet, Council of Farmers, local authorities, and also decision makers from ministries at regional and national levels. In addition to workshops and other training events, it is recommended to organize “Open Farmers’ Days”, where decision makers, local authorities, researchers, Council of Farmers representatives and of course farmers and pastoralists come together to visit, observe, exchange and share knowledge in the field. This is an excellent approach to acquire knowledge, build trust among stakeholders (farmers-local/regional organizations-national organizations), which should also lead to more adoption of climate change adaptation measures.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/15]

Recommendation is fully supported.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1 Organize “Open Farmers’ Days” for decision-makers, local authorities, researchers, Council of Farmers representatives to visit, observe, exchange and share knowledge in the field
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2019/01/10]
Project team 2019/01 Overdue-Initiated The event will be organized once in October 2018 and twice (March, October) in each year during 2019-2020
9. Recommendation:

It confirms the Project Board decision to adapt the management structure ensuring more project presence in Karakalpakstan

Despite the current adequate management arrangements for the implementation of the project with an office in Tashkent focusing on outcome 1 and 4 and one office in Nukus focusing on outcome 2 and 3, it is expected that more project presence and effort is needed in the Karakalpakstan region in the near future to undertake more activities in the region, particularly reaching out to farmers and pastoralists. The Project Board has already reviewed this question and made the decision to change the current position of the project manager of the UN Joint Programme into a combined position taken also the responsibilities for coordinating the activities under outcome 2 and 3 of this project. The Reviewing Team confirm this decision that is being implemented since January 2017.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/15]

Recommendation is fully supported.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
9.1 Re-classify position of National Field Coordinator to more thematic oriented position specifically focused on agro conservation and water saving technologies and practices implementation to increase project presence and effort in the Karakalpakstan region to undertake more activities and reaching out to farmers and pastoralists
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2019/01/10]
Project team, SDC 2019/01 Overdue-Initiated Position of National Field Coordinator to more thematic oriented position has been re-classified. Hiring of Task Manager is underway.
10. Recommendation:

It is recommended to add three more risks to the risk log of the project and report their status yearly.

The review of the risk log revealed that the risks identified at the outset of the project are not comprehensive enough. They cover some good risk areas but the nature of this type of project has additional risks. It is recommended to add three (3) risks to the risk log of the project and report their respective status yearly through the PPRs. There are:

  • A change in political support for promoting and integrating adaptation measures into the agricultural sector – (low);
  • Insufficient capacity development and practical know-how within key state institutions and local authorities by the end of the project to allow sustainability of project achievements – (medium);

Implement legislative changes in a timely manner that are required to develop an adequate enabling environment for the promotion and use of adaptation measures – (low).

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/15]

Recommendation is fully supported.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
10.1 Add the three (3) risks to the risk log in ATLAS and update its status by mid and end point of each year, and report their respective status yearly through the PPRs
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2019/01/10]
Project team 2019/01 Overdue-Initiated 3 new risks uploaded to the risk log in ATLAS.
11. Recommendation:

It is recommended to carefully monitor the project management expenditures, aiming to meet the target of the approved AF budget of 7.2% by the end of the project.

As of the end of September 2017, the ratio project management costs over total expenditures is about 20%. That is high and it needs to decrease to a more acceptable level. It is recommended to carefully monitor this ratio and implement measures to bring this ratio down to a more acceptable level aiming at meeting the ratio of 7.2% of total expenditures by the end of the project as per the approved AF budget.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15]

Recommendation is fully supported

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
11.1 Monitor ratio project management costs over total expenditures, and implement measures to bring this ratio down to a more acceptable level aiming at meeting the ratio of 7.2% of total expenditures by the end of the project as per the approved AF budget
[Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2019/01/10]
RBEC, CO, PMU 2019/03 Initiated The project received additional TRAC resources to keep the expenses under agreed rate of 7.2% at activity level 5

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