UNDP-GEF International Waters Performance Report 2007 - 2008/Monitoring Progress

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Progress Towards Objectives and Progress in Implementation

Progress towards development objective and implementation progress, projects were distributed as follows:

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Analysis of projects that were highly satisfactory in terms of implementation progress and progress towards achieving objectives

  • BCLME credited its very strong performance and highly satisfactory ratings to several key factors, including:
  1. Highly effective stakeholder participation at the community level in the coastal regions which increased steadily by the implementation of DLIST activities (separately funded by GEF but closely collaborated with the BCLME Programme).
  2. The realization of significant financial commitment made by the countries (USD 50mil) to the work of the BCC and counterpart management activities and the countries’ efforts in securing financial contribution from Norway and Iceland to support the BCC’s Science Plan and Capacity Development Plan, respectively.
  3. Effective collaboration with a marine science programme (BENEFIT) which ran parallel and closed in 2007. BCLME and BENEFIT was successfully merged through the creation of BCC and an agreement made at the fist Ministerial Conference that the activities of BENEFIT are to be continued as the scientific and technical arm of the institution.
  4. Strong country commitment, dedicated and focused project team members, effective and timely executing support provided by UNOPS and leadership and technical support from UNDP (from all offices involved) have all contributed to having brought this project to the successful completion.


  • D-LIST’s highly statisfactory rating reflects the quality of implementation support rendered by IKM as the implementing body, characterized as strong commitment, professionalism, and adaptive management. Most of the project outcomes and outputs were delivered already by June 2008, and the all the activities are expected to complete by October 2008, according to the project workplan. Through its adaptive management, the project successfully dealt with several constraints externally imposed on the project.


  • YSLME credited its Highly satisfactory rating with a number of factors. Since the implementation of the project, many of the expected outputs have been altered to read more easily, make more sense, and have more relevance to regional needs. Implementation of project activities has involved wide participation, from parliamentary members to youth group. The SAP applies an innovative conceptual framework adopted from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment for the identification of priority actions that will preserve and maintain ecosystem services important for the YSLME and its coastal inhabitants. The National SAPs are also following this approach, and will also apply ecosystem-based management actions for national actions. Lastly, the flexibility and willingness to compromise and cooperate shown by the countries was vital the successful completion of the highly successful joint YSLME cruises.


  • PEMSEA received a highly satisfactory (DO/IP) rating reflecting the fact that several of its key outputs went well beyond the requirements of the Project Document, in particular including development of 19 ICM parallel sites vs. prodoc target of 9, and delivery of 79 specialized trainings vs. prodoc target of 16. PEMSEA noted a wide range of strategies, tools and approaches that contributed to its overall high level of success, including:
  1. PEMSEA involved all concerned agencies in the formulation of action plans in order to address multiple use conflicts and transboundary issues in an integrated and holistic approach;
  2. ICM frameworks are continously developed by combining ICM with new environmental management tools such as IEIA, NRDA, etc. to address diverse concerns in the project sites;
  3. PEMSEA has developed a capacity building program that addresses not only the technical limitations of ICM practitioners but also serves to develop their managerial capacity in terms of planning, implementing and programming ICM at the local, national and sub-regional levels. PEMSEA’s hands-on approach to capacity building adheres to the belief that people can learn more effectively through actual experiences supplemented by coherent management frameworks, scientific tools and innovative methodologies that are being continously developed and redesigned to remain relevant to the needs of communities, governments and the private sector;
  4. Promotion of ICM as a management framework is undertaken on a systematic and methodical manner to build capacity at the local levels and encourage ICM replication;
  5. PEMSEA's training programs are designed to ensure that trainers have effectively learned the skills of training other people by conducting workshops that enhance teaching skills among the participants of the train-the-trainer programs.
  6. PEMSEA deliberately promoted horizontal and vertical partnerships in order to tap the various strengths of each partner and allow them to benefit from the synergies to be derived from shared knowledge and resources.


  1. Continued strong and effective inter - donor dialogue and coordination;
  2. Continuing and consolidating the participation of major private sector stakeholders in the CEP process;
  3. Continuing and consolidating the systematic, transparent approach to regional environmental problem solving in the Caspian Sea, characterized by the TDA, the SAP and the many high quality planning documents that fed into these.

Projects rated unsatisfactory and highly unsatisfactory (DO/IP)

  • The Havana Bay restoration project received "moderately unsatisfactory" for progress towards objectives and "unsatisfactory" for progress towards implementation ratings in 2007-2008. The project reported continued significant implementation delays to lack of availability of construction materials (cement, steel, fuel, etc.). In February 2008, the Ministry of Construction (MICONS) approved the WTP construction as a “priority activity” within its 2008 work plan. This condition indicates that a stable supply of materials to the civil work could be guaranteed during the year. In addition, an additional 2.9 km. of collector system was built during the reporting period. A new specialized building company Blas Roca was assigned in April 2008 by the MICONS to the construction of the WWTP and the technical preparation has been started. At the end of June 2008, the new company Blas Roca was present at the WTP site and the construction started again. A consultancy (externally funded by UNDP) has been deployed in Dec 2008 to assist the Cuban government in optimizing use of limited remaining project resources towards achieving most if not all of the original objectives and outcomes. Under the revised project plan, target would be to complete the WWTP by 2010.

Portfolio Development and Project Implementation Progress

Analysis of the 2007-2008 IW PIR cohort (Figs 4-3, 4-4) shows significant positive trends in reducing two key stages in the project cycle: pipeline entry to WP entry (Council approval) and WP entry to project start-up (signature of prodoc). By 2000, all projects were moving from pipeline entry to WP entry in less than 25 months and since 2002 all projects achieved this milestone in 14 months or less. Similarly, since 2001 all projects moved from WP entry to prodoc signature in less than 26 months with the large majority of projects since 2004 achieving this in 12 months or less, closely aligned with deadlines under the new project cycle even before it came into effect. This can be attributed to a number of factors, including improved capacity of UNDP-GEF IW Regional Technical Advisors in managing project cycle processes, streamlining and harmonization of GEF and UNDP project formats, and improved UNDP data management system.


While none of the projects in this year’s PIR are GEF-4 projects and therefore don’t reflect the impact of the new GEF-4 project cycle, clearly the changes to the project cycle, including the 22 month cap on WP entry to CEO endorsement, will serve to maintain the trend towards moving IW projects much more quickly through the project cycle.


Adaptive management: Examples of where project design has been adapted to changing circumstances on the ground

The construction of the Havana Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant (WTP) was largely paralyzed from October 2007 until April 2008. The main problems have been the availability of basic construction materials as well as the lack of human and technical resources of the ECONS.

In order to resolve these problems, in February 2008, the Ministry of Construction (MICONS) approved the WTP construction as a “priority activity” within its 2008 work plan. This condition indicates that a stable supply of materials to the civil work could be guaranteed during the year. A new specialized building company Blas Roca was assigned in April 2008 by the MICONS to the construction of the WTP and the technical preparation has been started. At the end of June, the new company Blas Roca was present at the WTP site and the construction started again. In order to accelerate the construction of the plant, additional technical and operational measures were under analysis by the Cuban Government through the MICONS.

In February 2008, the UNOPS, UNDP-GEF and UNDP-CO mission recommended to adopt a four-month work plan with a limited budget dedicated strictly to the main construction targets of the WTP. In parallel a detailed Operational Work Plan for the duration of the project would be formulated. A monthly reporting system was also agreed upon based on which the financial deliveries would be authorized. Until June 2008, no payments were made. From July 2008, based on the measurable progresses observed, small financial amounts are being authorized.


  • In the Pacific Oceanic Fisheries Management Project, original plans by IUCN to deliver on activities in relation to the role of benthic communities on seamounts involving a research cruise had not eventuated and all attempts to secure the vessel with which to conduct the research were finally abandoned at the end of 2007. A final decision not to pursue the research cruise permitted the commencements of discussions to design and instigate replacement land based research activities to meet the projects objectives. These were successfully concluded with UNDP & other executing agencies involved, resulting in an immediate start of this sub component.


  • Adaptive management was an important aspect of project implementation for the (completed) Lake Manzala Engineered Wetlands project, as circumstances changed teams had to react and adapt. In the case of the LMEWP, the team had to handle land use and squatter issues, site construction difficulties, a shifting currency exchange rate, and the withdrawal of TVA, its key external consultant. The project also made a significant change in expected outcomes with the decision to build a fish farm. Each of these constraints was handled, but with varying methods and degrees of success.


  • The Okavango River basin project successfully applied an adaptive management approach to overcome difficulties (partly due to the existing capacity constraints in the basin) to prevent further delay in implementation for the TDA development component, and it has managed to make progress in the implementation of other activities through flexible and better coordination among activities and managed to minimize negative impacts of the delays experienced in one component on overall project implementation.


  • Coordination among the three projects of the ASCLME Programme as described in the Project Document to realize planned, specific collaboration has been made more difficult by delays in planned implementation of the ASCLME (UNDP/GEF) and SWIOFP (World Bank/GEF) projects, and advanced implementation status of the WIO-LaB (UNEP/GEF) project. This is especially pertinent to TDA and SAP development. Intensified efforts are being made to maximize collaboration and cooperation between the ASCLME and SWIOFP projects. Discussions are ongoing with the WIO-LaB project to realize maximum efficiency and quality of product in TDA and SAP formulation and the timing of SAP implementation. The ASCLMEs PCU has made extra efforts to coordinate cruise schedules with Nansen in order to avoid potential extra expenses resulting from a highly likely price increase anticipated in 2009. This required significant coordination effort since some cruises scheduled in 2009 had to be shifted to 2008 and all other associated activities must be shifted accordingly. This is a good example for a flexible and adaptive management applied by the Project Coordinator.


  • The Global Mercury project observed that technology transfer activities of the project had became stagnant during 2004 and 2005 because of difficulties in the equipment purchasing and manufacturing process. This was a problem because communities were awaiting GMP support. The new PCU and CTA started with a new approach to use local equipment and personnel in order to speed up the implementation process and guarantee sustainability. Training of Trainers then began in each country, which resulted in strong local participation with available technologies.


  • The BCLME project – both PCU and PSC – successfully applied an adaptive management approach throughout implementation, especially after the MTE was finalized with a number of recommendations to be implemented during the remaining project lifetime. Despite a number of adjustments made in particular the last few years of the project implementation (described in the last year’s PIR), the PCU managed to complete its activities within the time and funding allocated to the project successful under the guidance of the PSC.

Risks

The table below summarizes overall project risk ratings based on guidance provided by UNDP M&E linking PIR DO/IP Ratings and the number of identified ‘critical risks’ entered in ATLAS. It is not clear that the guidance parameterization is a very accurate metric for estimating overall risk to project success as only one or at most two of the projects rated as ‘high risk’ using the algorithm (Havana Bay, Nubian) would likely be characterized as such by the task managers or project managers based on an overall informed qualitative assessment. This difference may also be related to wide variance among users in the identification and inclusion of ‘critical risks’ in the ‘Risks’ section of the PIR, combined with a somewhat vague definition of ‘critical risks’, so it should be understood that the risk rating system remains a work in progress that is still being refined.

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