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Mid-term evaluation of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics

Executive summary. March 2016










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    Mid-term evaluation of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics 2016
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    This report is an evaluation of the project “Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics”, which is a comprehensive framework for improving and ensuring the sustainability of statistics in agriculture, livestock, aquaculture, small-scale fisheries and forestry production in developing countries. To implement the Global Strategy, a five-year Global Action Plan (GAP) was developed to strengthen statistical capacities in 90 countries – 40 in Africa, 20 in Asia-Pacific, 20 in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), five in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and five in the Near East. The GAP runs from July 2012 to December 2017, with a total budget of USD 83.8 million.
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    Mid-term Evaluation of the UNEP/FAO/GEF Project Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA) 2009
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    The project “Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA)” is a global initiative with several actors involved in the implementation. The project involves UNEP as the implementing agency, FAO as the executing agency, international organizations, universities, research centres and six countries through their national institutions: Argentina, China, Cuba, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. The project has a total budget of US$ 16.58M that is financed by a GEF contribution of US$ 7.725M and by co -financing commitments of US$ 7.98M. The project was approved by GEF on December 29, 2005, started on May 1, 2006 and the expected completion date is May 2010. The project strategy is to help to overcome current policy and institutional barriers to sustainable land use in dryland zones that are occasioned by the lack of quality information on the extent and severity of dryland degradation. The project has two principal objectives: (i) develop and implement strategies, methods and tools to ass ess, quantify and analyse the nature, extent, severity and impacts of land degradation on ecosystems, watersheds and river basins, and carbon storage in drylands at a range of spatial and temporal scales; and (ii) build national, regional and global assessment capacities to enable the design, planning and implementation of interventions to mitigate land degradation and establish sustainable land use and management practices. These two objectives will be realized through the following four expect ed outcomes: (1) an improved needs-based and process-driven approach to drylands degradation assessment tested and disseminated; (2) a map with information retrieved from the global/regional land degradation assessment in drylands, which will constitute a baseline of the status of land degradation in drylands, with a special emphasis on areas at greatest risk; (3) detailed local assessments and analysis of land degradation and its impact in the pilot countries; and (4) A proposed global action p lan, incorporating main findings from the project, conclusions and recommendations for further action. This Mid-Term Evaluation (MTE) has been initiated by UNEP Evaluation and Oversight Unit (EOU) in cooperation with the Evaluation Service of FAO (PBEE). The objective of the evaluation was to assess operational aspects, such as project management and implementation of activities and also the level of progress towards the achievement of objectives. It provides an in-depth reflection of project progress, priority actions for the last phase of the project and recommendations for the remaining period of the project and other future similar initiatives. This MTE is based on a desk review of project documents and on interviews with key project informants and project staffs including a one-week mission to Mendoza, Argentina to participate in a LADA training workshop and one-week in Rome, Italy and Tunis, Tunisia. The methodology included the development of an evaluation matrix to guide the entire data gathering and analysis process. The findings were triangulated with the use of multiple sources of information when possible. The evaluation report is structured around the GEF five evaluation criteria: Relevance, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Results/Impacts and Sustainability.
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    Book (series)
    Evaluation of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics (GSARS)
    Main report
    2019
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    Global Strategy is the largest-ever effort to improve agricultural and rural statistics in developing countries. The programme built the capacity of agricultural and rural statistics in Africa and Asia-Pacific through research, training and technical assistance. It exceeded the intended outputs of its research component; the training component benefitted many training participants from various countries. Strategic Plan for Agricultural and Rural Statistics (SPARS) document built the capacity of the governments to design the policy framework to produce and use quality statistics. The involvement of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific brought about various benefits such as enhancing the linkages between the programme activities and FAO normative work, and tailoring the global knowledge in the local context. For the second phase, the evaluation recommended a strategic shift from data generation to data use, especially by policymakers; and from narrowly-defined agriculture to the nexus between agriculture and rural development. The recommendations included strengthening advocacy and simplifying the governance structure.

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