Q&A: Project Management and Coordination

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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.

This FAQ aims to address challenges in project management and coordination, in particular when dealing in a multi-country setting facing different working and organizational culture, legal and communication obstacles and lack of resources and knowledge on the nature of IW projects.


How can you reconcile high administration demand while keeping management costs low?

  • Example: A coastal tourism project between Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Seychelles, Madagascar and France implemented by the World Bank where the solution was to appoint one country (Kenya) to supervise the regional management unit, thereby reducing management costs.

In this case, national components are managed by government servants. The project estimates only 10% management costs. The Regional Management Unit disburses to National Management Units (the NMU is accountable to the Donor through a project agreement).

On the technical side, each country leads a thematic (tech) area and coordinates that tech area.

How do you get all the partners interested and motivated to work together?

They have to be convinced. At the regional level you need to appeal to the priorities of the state. Within the national level you have to appeal to the stakeholder. You need to indicate the relevance if the sector is not considered to be relevant then may be an issue in securing buy-in. There should be no arm-twisting.

How do you maintain high levels of commitment and motivation?

What do you do when some countries are not pulling their weight?

  • Example from the East African coastal tourism project: create a mechanism where the money is in one central location and disbursed on an activity and performance basis.

How do you properly design a project?

  • Hire a consultant who is imminently familiar with the UNDP GEF process.
  • When deciding on implementing agencies you have to look at the requirements of the project and choose accordingly.

What do you do when in lack of a project manager to manage funds, and in lack of funds to hire a project manager?

How do you ensure timely delivery of products?

  • If you have a project directly executed by the country then you might experience higher delays. The executing agency can act as a barrier on conflicts between nations. i.e. the executing agency can refer to internal legislation.
  • You have to consider the reasons for the delay. Could be personal or could be capacity. Then you need to address the problem, change personnel or develop capacity. Peer pressure works, if the problem is highlighted in a regional setting then the issue may be resolved.
  • Need to brief and inform ministers.

How do you get co-finance, and how do you account for it?

  • It is usually in-kind. GEF disburses 100%.
  • Need a model on co-financing reporting.
  • The instructions and requirements on reporting to GEF sometimes conflict with the requirements of other partners including the implementing organizations.

Further Readings

Links to Other Organizations and Other Resources

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