A major change in the TA to increase in the TA amount by $ 5.5 million equivalent comprising $5.0 million equivalent from the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and $0.5 million from ADB Technical Assistance Special Fund was approved by ADB Board of Directors in October 2013).
The overall progress of planned activities against the Annual Work Plan 2014 targets is generally satisfactory. Inception workshops were held in all six GMS countries. These workshops equipped officials of concerned government agencies with knowledge and expertise needed to effectively implement CASP 2 activities. For additional capacity-building and awareness on climate-friendly agriculture of government officials, support to attend various trainings and meetings was provided.
Several programs and activities were carried out to strengthen regional cooperation among GMS countries. Several key initiatives were carried out in 2014, including design, development, and implementation plan for the following activities: (i) Training of Master Trainers and Farmer Leaders Program; (ii) formulation of strategies, criteria, and guidelines for the establishment and management of 21 demonstration farms; and (iii) finalization of the Letter of Agreement (LOA) format and proposals from all six GMS countries.
In December 2014, the first LOA was signed with Cambodia, followed by LOA Training for officials of government agencies that will implement activities funded under the LOA arrangement. The adoption of the LOA will greatly enhance country ownership of TA activities and expedite operations.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was initiated to provide a platform for CASP 2 to work with private companies and NGOs. The MOU is intended to help farmers acquire knowledge, technologies, and experiences on climate-friendly agriculture (CFA) and to access markets for their CFA products. The first MOU was signed with a firm in Thailand last September 2014.
The regional WGA Secretariat was established in ADB Resident Mission in Bangkok, Thailand. Recruitment of NSSU staff was completed in 2014 for all six GMS countries. From 2014 to 2015, four consulting firms and a number of individual consultants were engaged to provide technical and administrative support to the TA.
For knowledge product and development, a regional study on food safety was fully achieved. Several videos and knowledge materials were produced and published on the newly established WGA website, Facebook and Youtube channel.
The key achievements for the 2015 are as follows: (i) 12th Annual Meeting of the WGA was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 25-26 June 2015; (ii) five LOAs (Thailand, Laos, China, Viet Nam, Myanmar) were signed and being implemented; (iii) training on LOAs were conducted; (iv) national workshop on participatory guarantee system was launched and completed; (v) key contract packages were procured; (vi) biochar mapping is being implemented; (vii) nitrogen cycle assessment is ongoing; (viii) six MOUs signed; (ix) training of master trainers and farmer leaders program ongoing; and (x) collaboration with other sectors such as the joint knowledge event with the Core Environment Program in June 2015, FAO for the energy sector, human resource sector on climate friendly agriculture; (xi) national workshop on training of inspector in 4 GMS countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Viet Nam); and (xii) midterm review mission was mobilized in December.