AFoCO has implemented seven multi-country projects since 2013 under the ASEAN-Republic of Korea (ROK) Forest Cooperation (AFoCo). Valuable learnings and experiences from these projects were uncovered from the evaluation and analysis of AFoCO project impacts and best practices conducted by consultants from Bern University of Applied Sciences. Through its member-driven approaches, the projects evaluated in this report symbolize AFoCO’s efforts to promote and sustain cooperation to achieve key global goals such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Global Forest Goals (GFGs). The lessons learned identified through this project evaluation will serve as a stepping stone and guidance towards improving project development and management for future and ongoing AFoCO projects. The AFoCO Impacts and Best Practices reports are published in the form of a Summary Report and a Full Report containing details of the evaluation. 

Access the Summary Report and Full Report in our publications section  HERE.

AFoCO Program Evaluation

The main objective of the program review and evaluation is to provide an overview of the suite of projects together as a program that contributes to the agenda and overall vision of AFoCO and to assess the projects with a view towards possible improvements of project delivery for future programs and projects on forest management in Asia. The lessons learned and best practices which are identified in the evaluation report will not only provide guidance and tips for future projects and programs, but contribute to the dissemination of the impacts of projects in AFoCO, thereby raising awareness of forest management for a greener Asia with resilient forests, landscapes, and communities together with Member Parties. 

The methodology utilized in the evaluation of projects/programs in AFoCO includes AFoCO’s internal Guidelines for Project Monitoring and Evaluation, which follows the common methods used by most donors and project implementation agencies, and OECD Guidelines on Social Impact Assessment

MAIN LESSONS LEARNED
  1. Projects should have a main focus, and provide a logical framework with a series of quantifiable targets for each activity. 
  2. Communication among AFoCO, the regional manager, and the national managers needs to be frequent and regular. 
  3. Sustainable forest management projects must ensure that the three legs of SFM – environment, social, and economic are equally considered. 
  4. Communities need to be pre-consulted prior to project implementation. 
  5. Training for local people, considering local needs, is a key element of success. 
  6. On-site decisions should be a collective decision among project stakeholders. 
  7. Alternative livelihood projects require local consultation, feasibility studies, and market assurance. 
  8. Due diligence and research for tree species selection is required to limit losses from wildlife damage and poor ecological understanding. 
  9. Continuous monitoring procedures should be built into projects. 
  10. A pre-defined exit strategy is needed for each project, and AFoCO should consider a strategy for long-term monitoring of success of projects, especially livelihood projects, to help ensure their sustainability.
SUMMARY OF BEST PRACTICES
  1. Proposals have a main focus, with a logical framework that provides a clear set of quantifiable targets for each activity. 
  2. AFoCO, the regional project manager, and the national managers establish a regular schedule for communication. 
  3. Sustainable forest management projects ensure that the three legs of SFM – environment, social, and economic are considered equally. 
  4. Communities are pre-consulted during the project development phase, to support trust-building and leading to better ownership by the communities. 
  5. At the proposal stage, alternative livelihood projects have consulted affected local communities and conducted both feasibility studies and market assessments for possible investments. Training on alternative livelihoods is based on these studies and carried out in a second phase. This improves the adoption rate and long-term social impacts. 
  6. A schedule for regular monitoring, with procedures is built into projects.
  7. Project proposals include an exit strategy . 
  8. A manual of operations is used to systematize actions at project sites. 
  9. Forest restoration projects take into consideration species selection that is appropriate to the sites involved, take measures to increase seedling survivorship, and ensure that sufficient monitoring occurs to determine long-term success. 
  10. Alternative livelihood projects include a component that describes how they will be sustainable. 
  11. On-site decisions are a bottom-up collective decision among the main project stakeholders.

Individual Project Impacts

Each assessed project was evaluated based on five different criteria; (1) policy; (2) forest management; (3) biodiversity and environment; (4) social inclusion (5) possible financial return. The results show that while all the projects had considerable impact on almost all five aspects, some of the projects had a more focused impact while others touched upon all five aspects evenly.

How scoring was done

  • Policy: 0-3 = little or no impact; 4-5 = limited impact; 6-7 = aligned with current policies; 8-9 = may result in policy change; 10 = new policy or law as a result. 
  • Forest management and biodiversity impact = 0-3 little to no impact; 4-5 short-term impact only; 6-7 = impact if expanded; 8-9 = immediate long-term impact on large area, or as national demonstration; 10 = very high immediate and large area impact
  • Social impact: 0-3 = little to no impact; 4-5 = impact during project only; 6-7 short-term impact only; 8-9 = impact if carried on post-project; 10 = high immediate and sustained impact
  • Possible financial return: 0-3 = no return likely; 4-5 = return only during project; 6-7 = future impact but will require funding; 8- 9 = highly likely long-term impact; 10 = immediate and sustainable impact.

Projects Assessed

As of October 2021, 6 completed projects and 1 ongoing project have been evaluated.

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