STATUS AND CHALLENGES OF IMPACT EVALUATION IN NEPAL Birendra Bir Basnyat Ph.D Executive Director Centre for Natural Resources Analysis, Management and Policy Research (NARMA Consultancy), Kathmandu, Nepal March 2009
Nepal • With an area of 147,181 sq.km, Nepal is a country of enormous geographical diversity, • With altitudes ranging from less than 100 m in the Tarai to 8,848 m in the High Mountains, there exist different climates and different types of farming systems within it • In 2001, the total population was 23.2 million, and estimated more than 25 million
Focus of Today’s Presentation • Impact Evaluation Status in Agriculture Sector • Institutional Setup • Challenges • Future Plan/Agenda
1. Status Organizational Responsibility- National Planning Commission and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Government Priority- Highest priority accorded to Monitoring and Evaluation, Written in Plan Documents, Often Articulation, Intends to formulate plans and programs based on the results of evaluation Monitoring and Evaluation Division established in the MOAC and Departments under it Once there was an Independent Analytical Unit at the National Planning Commission to monitor and assess the implementation of a 20 year Agriculture Perspective Plan (APP) which has been providing a framework for the agriculture policies and programs since 1997 (start of the Ninth Plan)
Status Contd. IMPLEMENTATION A very few impact evaluation carried out by Government, examples • Impact Study on Effectiveness of Agricultural Extension carried out in 1975 (Government budget)- Perhaps, the most extensive study • A few special evaluation studies- many External Funding Agencies, usually carrying out, examples • Impact survey of JOCV Horticulture Extension Project, 2008 (JICA) • Impact of APP Support Project (DFID), 2008 • Research impact study, 2006 (DFID) • Special evaluation studies- often carried out UTILIZATION OF THE RESULTS • Mostly done to comply donors or external funding agencies’ requirements • Results incorporation- very few evidences, not explicitly acknowledged, policy and program influences-almost none
2. Institutional Set-up National Planning Commission (Sets overall development objectives, coordinates, monitors, evaluates, prepares national periodic plans): Monitoring and Evaluation Division Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (principal institution responsible for policy and planning activities for the agricultural sector) : Monitoring and Evaluation Division (All ministries do not have M and E Division, sometimes integrated with Planning Division) Reaches to grassroots levels through district offices of the aforementioned agencies But departments and agencies do not have M and E Divisions
2. Institutional Set-up contd. • MOAC is organized into four departments (Department of Agriculture (DOA), Department of Livestock Services (DLS), Department of Cooperatives (DOC) and Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC); • three department level central organizations (Agriculture Information and Communication Centre, National Agriculture Research and Development Fund and Seed Quality Control Centre); • two councils (Nepal Agriculture Research Council and Nepal Veterinary Research Council); three boards (National Dairy Development Board, National Cooperative Development Board and National Tea and Coffee Development Board); • three companies (Agriculture Inputs Company Ltd, National Seeds Company Ltd. And Dairy Development Corporation) and • five committees
3. Challenges POLITICAL • Responsibility shifted to the External Funding Agencies • Lacking Government/Client Ownership • Weak Policy Influences/no acknowledgment • Independent evaluation SOCIAL • Evaluators-part of the problems (Lacking objectivity and boldness TECHNICAL • Methods lack scientific rigorousness, seriousness
4. Future Agenda • Making M and E act professional, independent and rigorous • Periodic, special themes, big projects and not driven by donors • Carrying out impact evaluation of donor assisted projects through independent evaluation sponsored by the government/client-ownership building? • Participatory and involvement of donors • Strong organization of evaluators/networking • Code of conduct for the evaluators-? • Dissemination of results/priority
Independent Analytical Unit was terminated in 2003 with the establishment of APP Monitoring and Analytical Unit (APP MAU) at the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperetives (MOAC). There were two key reasons for its termination. • First, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperetives was not in favour of IAU attached to the National Planning Commission. For MOAC it was an intervention in its jurisdiction by the NPC. As overall responsibility of agriculture development is the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, it requested the cabinet to shift the responsibility of coordinating, monitoring and evaluation of APP to the MOAC from the NPC. It proposed to establish APPMAU at the MOAC by closing the IAU established at the NPC. Although NPC did not support this decision, the government decided as to the proposal of the Minister of Agriculture.
Second reason was the termination of the ADB TA for the IAU. While ADB offered reduced scope and funding for the TA consultants, the Government was looking for some tangible support with expanded scope and funding. A negotiation was in progress between the ADB and the NPC to resolve this issue, a fresh issue on the selection of consultants emerged between the NPC and the ADB. Both were not ready to change their position. ADB then decided to close down TA Project instead of appointing government's recommended person as a TA consultant.
Now the general feeling among most of the persons and professionals is that it was a mistake to terminate IAU and establish APPMAU at the MOAC. The latter has not been efficient and effective as was IAU. Support of the sectoral ministries to APPMAU was too weak and lacked committment and support. APPMAU still exist today but its performance has been sub-optimal.