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The Project Mid-term Review Conducted with Positive Results

The project mid-term review was conducted from 20 January to 1 February 2013. The review was organized in order to (1) objectively evaluate the level of the achievement of the project after 2.5 years of implementation since its commencement in August 2010 and identify the reasons behind it, and (2) give suggestions and recommendations to concerned organizations with the aim of providing lessons learnt which will be useful for the future direction of it for the last half of the project implementation to August 2015 and also for similar projects.

The review team consisted of eight people including five from Japan and three from Viet Nam. The Japanese side was headed by Mr. Hiroki Miyazono, Senior Advisor of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), while the Vietnamese side was led by Mr. Lo Quang Chieu, the Vice Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Dien Bien Province.



After a series of interviews and field visits, the review team concluded that "almost all the scheduled activities have been/are being implemented in spite of some obstacles" and "part of some outputs has already been attained or are emerging". The review team listed key outputs such as (a) village-level forest management and livelihood development plans (FMPs and LDPs) in all pilot sites, (b) improved capacity in implementing agencies, and (c) technical guidelines for planning and implementation of forest management and livelihood development activities as key reasons to state that "participatory forest management and livelihood development in pilot sites have been largely strengthened." As a result, the review team was optimistic that the "the project purpose will be achieved by the end of the Project."

Although the project received either "high" or "relatively high" evaluation on four key evaluation criteria (i.e., relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and impact), its sustainability was regarded as "fair" due to lack of fund sources to continue the project activities, which was prevailing and difficult issue in financially resource-poor Dien Bien Province.

Upon scrutiny of the past and current progress of the project, the review team came up with the following recommendations for further improvement:

To the Project:

  1. Reconsideration of livelihood development activity options for clear linkage with forest protection and sustainable forest management;
  2. Improvement in monitoring system to obtain qualitative and quantitative data/information particularly regarding changes in the forest status;
  3. Improvement of implementation approach to be more efficient in extending the activities to the larger number of villages;
  4. Documentation and dissemination of good practices;
  5. Sharing of technical materials in different forms, e.g., use of web-site; and
  6. Modification of the Project Design Matrix (PDM) in preparation for the integration of Dine Bien REDD+* Pilot Project (note that the revised PDM was agreed by the authorities concerned of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and JICA to be effective from 1 February 2013).

To the Vietnamese side:

  1. Improved disbursement of the counterpart budget (the PPC should allocate more funds to DARD);
  2. Enhanced commitment and awareness of implementing agencies including the assignment of fulltime counterpart (C/P) staff to the project office; and
  3. Expansion of the project office space and prioritized assignment of car drivers and DARD meeting halls to the project.

The joint evaluation report by the mid-term review team was signed by Mr. Lo Quan Chieu and Mr. Hiroki Miyazono, the leaders of Vietnamese and Japanese sides in the mid-term review team, during the third JCC meeting held on 29 January. The minutes of meetings (M/M) on the results of the mid-term review were also signed by the representatives of JICA, Viet Nam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST), and Dien Bien Provincial People's Committee (PPC) on 30 January.

* REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.




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