Core Environment Program and Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Initiative in the Greater Mekong Subregion
This real-time evaluation assessed the performance of the technical assistance (TA) support provided by the Asian Development Bank to the Core Environment Program and Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Initiative in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). The evaluation focused on the first two phases (Phase 1 completed in 2012, and Phase 2 in 2018) of the program and includes the six countries of the GMS: Cambodia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, and parts of the People's Republic of China.
The evaluation found that the program was ambitious in scope. It addressed strategic environmental assessments, environmental performance assessments, biodiversity conservation, climate change, and capacity building of government agencies. The program design generally proved suitable for facilitating a multi-country decision-making process while supporting institutional capacity development in six participating countries. The program would have benefitted from a more robust results chain and more realistic indicators with clear baseline data. Nevertheless, the program generated transformative effects by engaging different sectors and developing regional collaborative mechanisms to prioritize environmental concerns. Because of the program, improving the capacity of environmental managers has emerged as a stronger priority in the GMS.
However, the goal of mainstreaming the environment in the GMS did not take place to the extent desired. While the program made strides toward enhancing multisector engagement across the subregion, work needs to be done to involve country development agencies and sectoral ministries in working together to mainstream the environment. The evaluation is of the view that the program has attempted, but not yet fully achieved the creation of an environmentally friendly and climate-resilient GMS Economic Cooperation Program.