Q&A: GEF Results Framework and IW Indicators

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edit  ·  Q&A CompilationInternational Waters Management (Q&A)
The Q&A's (questions and answers) in this compilation are originally inspired by a set of priority topics from a needs survey and subsequent "clinics" discussions by participants of the 4th Biennial GEF International Waters Conference - Cape Town 2007. This constitutes an innovative attempt to developing a broadly shared, joint knowledge base on pertinent issues in "International Waters Management", using the advantages of a Wiki to promote a user-driven collaborative approach. The intent is to let this knowledge base grow, in a participant-driven matter. Contributers are very welcome. Please register with the WaterWiki Administrator to get editing rights.

The aim of this FAQ is to answer your questions on measuring results and impact within GEF projects and programs. Experts will guide and/or advise you on the basics of setting up a results or logical framework that forms the basis of defining indicators, and how best to deal with the lack of base-line data.


What are GEF policies and procedures?

The following is excerpted from the The GEF Monitoring and Evaluation Policy  Gef mande policies 2006.pdf

  • GEF project objectives and intended results should be specific and measurable, so as to make it possible to monitor and evaluate the project effectively. The baseline data would be developed for the key results indicators. In rare cases, further development of the M&E design, especially related to baseline data, may be required between work program entry and CEO approval or during the first year of implementation. The presence of the M&E plan and baseline would be considered as a performance measure of satisfactory M&E in the first Project Implementation Report. Where available, agencies may encourage attention at the project development facility stage to ensure timely M&E planning.
  • GEF project monitoring provides agency management with a basis for decisionmaking on progress and the GEF with information on results. In order to be used for conclusions and decisions, monitoring would use both qualitative and quanti-tative data to report accurately on the production of outputs and progress toward outcomes, identify key implementation issues, and propose actions to solve these. Periodic reports should be based on a principle of continuity to allow for tracking of results and progress. To be valid, monitoring should be based on periodic observation visits, capture the views of stakeholders, and explain any methodological limitations of its use of surces and data. M&E plans are dynamic tools and should be revised if the project scope changes significantly.
  • Project evaluations should serve to provide lessons learned and recommendation for future projects, policies, or portfolios. Agencies will apply their internal arrangements for the conduct of evaluations and their cost to ensure that evaluation reports of GEF projects are credible, unbiased, consistent, and well documented in line with the requirements above. Each evaluation will assess results (namely outputs, outcomes, and impact) according to the criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency (or cost effectiveness), and sustainability, as applicable. Future GEF Council decisions on the concept of cost effectiveness may lead to minimum requirements for GEF projects to be incorporated into the M&E policy. The GEF medium-sized projects are more limited in duration and budget, and therefore merit consideration for tailored minimum evaluation requirements. The Joint Evaluation of the GEF Activity Cycle and Modalities will address the experience with medium-sized projects and provide recommendations in this regard.

What is the difference between GEF terminology and that of others?

  •  ?
  • The GEF Evaluation Office has commissioned a study on the framework/indicators terminology across all implementing and executing agencies. An initial recommendation of the study is the adoption of OECD terminology as a common framework.

What is the role of GEF Focal Points?

How can project leaders to influence high-level government officials?

The TDA/SAP phase 1 projects often include Parliament approval of the TDA as a key indicator for moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2 (SAP implementation). However, in design phase, this indicator is often underspecified in terms of the amount of time and financing it takes.

One piece of advice is to bring in the GEF focal point to help deliver on this. Another is to convince ministerial parties and governments that this is their outcome to deliver and not the PMU’s. (Peer-to-peer assist aided by Dnipro Basin)

What happens when you have contradictory data?

If 'basin-level' baseline data contradicts 'national-level', this may appear to be an indicators issue, but it is also trust-building exercise waiting to happen. The first step is to start with a consultation mechanism for data standardization for technical staff across the relevant national ministries. Then each country has to provide a means for input into a regional-level mechanism. The basin level institution builds a basin-level model with basin-level data that provides some independent means of data verification. Once this basin level model is developed in parallel with the basin-level trust-building exercises, both capacities are transferred up to decision-makers. (Peer-to-peer assist aided by Nubian and Iuellmeden Aquifers)

How do you set indicators in the absence of data?

  • If no baseline exists, the objective could be to establish a baseline, and the indicator could be “baseline established” (a process indicator).
  • Lack of data should not stop you from doing a project.

How do you translate program-level indicators to the project level?

  • Only choose the subset of them that apply to your project
  • Tailor them as specifically as possible to your ecosystem
  • Supplement them with additional indicators outside the GEF IW framework if suitable.

How do you translate specific project indicators into generic Strategic Priority indicators so that GEF can “roll them up”?

  • It is useful to make a “shadow” table to include as an Annex in your GEF documentation which maps the project logframe to the GEF OP/SP generic indicators requested to report on, so as to give GEF an explicit road map to use to should those involving in logframe design leave the project.
  • Project-level indicators should contribute to program-level or regional-level indicators.

How can different countries have access to basin-level indicators and data, as well as each other’s data?

  • A joint (ecosystem-based) authority can build a mechanism that allows access to be able to share data. This can be through a monitoring network or databank that is either a pre-existing or new mechanism. Often GEF projects add new layers (socio-economic and environmental impacts) to an existing regional hydrological database and increase regional willingness to share such data. (Peer-to-peer assist aided by Nubian Aquifer)

How can national and regional levels intersect in developing indicators for a project?

  • An ecosystem institution can employ national-level staff whose responsibilities include, in part, to serve as links for M&E cooperation from the focal Ministry from their respective countries.
  • In the case of the Niger River Basin, the Executive Secretariat hosts a GEF Focal Point from each of nine countries, who represents the Ministry of Environment from each country, and can link back into the MoE M&E system in that country in term of fostering M&E cooperation in the development of long-term indicators for the basin. (Peer-to-peer assist aided by Niger River Basin)

Further Readings

  • “Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators for GEF International Waters Projects”, Monitoring and Evaluation Working Paper number 10, November 2002  GEF IW MNE Indicators.pdf
  • Focal Area Strategy for GEF International Waters (draft 8), June 2007
  • GEF Evaluation Office paper on harmonization of indicator terminology across GEF implementing and executing agencies, Aaron Zazueta as reference

Links to Organizations and Other Resources

GEF Office of Evaluation

GEF IW:LEARN Monitoring and Evaluation Page


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