Midterm Evaluation “Enhancing Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resource Management in the White Drin and the Extended Drin Basin” Project

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Kosovo
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
11/2019
Completion Date:
12/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
3,000

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Title Midterm Evaluation “Enhancing Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resource Management in the White Drin and the Extended Drin Basin” Project
Atlas Project Number: 00086486
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Kosovo
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2019
Planned End Date: 11/2019
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Sustainable
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
SDG Goal
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
SDG Target
  • 15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
  • 6.5 By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
  • 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities
Evaluation Budget(US $): 3,000
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 2,982
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Glen Hearns
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: “Enhancing Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resource Management in the White Drin and the Extended Drin Basin”
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: International Waters
Project Type: MSP
GEF Phase: GEF-6
GEF Project ID: 9121
PIMS Number: 5510
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, Municipality of Rahovec/Orahovac, Global Water Partnerships
Countries: KOSOVO
Lessons
Findings
1.

4.1Timing and project duration

The GEF Drin Project officially started on 06 August 2015. The Inception Meeting of the Drin Project took place in Tirana, on 16 December 2015, activities with the 1st Steering Committee taking place the following day. The project start date of activities is considered to be 12 November, 2015 with the signing of the PAC between UNDP-Kosovo and GWP-Med. The time between the signature date and start of activities was used for project start up and developing working agreements between UNDP country offices (implementing agencies) and GWP-Med (executing agency).

Unfortunately, although the hiring process for GWP country staff began in January 2016, it did not end until July 2016. Despite an open system of choosing GWP National Coordinators(See Management Implementation) there were long delays in receiving a “no objection” from the Albanian government for the selected National Coordinator. Consequently, on-the-ground/operational activities did not really commence until all country officers were in place to proceed to ensure activities were carried out in parallel in all riparians, responding in a balanced manner to political and operational needs. Outputs are therefore being assessed as having started in July 2016 up to year reporting December 2018. This is a period of 30 months duration


Tag: Challenges Oversight Programme/Project Design

2.

4.2 Implementation Arrangements

The projects are implemented by the UNDP-Albania and UNDP-Kosovo and executed by the GWP through GWP-Med. The Project Coordination Unit consists of a Project Coordinator, Communications Officer, and Financial Officer in GWP-Med headquarters in Athens, Greeceand a Project Manager (in Tirana). There are four GWP-National Coordinatorsin Tirana, Albania; Pristina, Kosovo; Ohrid, North Macedonia; and Podgorica, Montenegro.

There is close cooperation with UNECE, which along with the UNDP and GWP-Med, shortlisted candidates and proposed GWP Country Officers for “no-objections” to the countries. This process for choosing candidates was advanced from lessons learned from previous GEF projects in the region.

The PCU reports to the Steering Committee (SC)twice per year. SC reports are prepared by the PCU and approved by the SC.


Tag: Transborder Oversight Partnership Coordination

3.

4.2.1Main Stakeholders

The main stakeholders of the project(s) are identified in various documents, including the Stakeholder Analysis and Mapping Document.42Annex Lhas a list of stakeholders summarized from the analysis. The representative stakeholders include:

National level

National level Local Level NGO/Academia
Albania: Agency of Water Resources Management; Ministry of EnvironmentInstitute of Geosciences, Water and Environment;National Environmental Agency; Municipality of Shkodra  
Kosovo: River Basin Authority, MESP;Hydro-meteorological Institute, Environmental Protection Agency (KEPA) Municipality of Rahovec University of PristinaNGO Finch
North Macedonia: Ministry of Environment;Hydromet Institute Municipality of Ohrid,ELEM –Black Drin Division,Hydrobiological Institute-Ohrid NGO-Ecological Movement
Montenegro: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development;Ministry of Sustainable Development & Tourism;National parks of Montenegro    

 


Tag: Transborder Local Governance Partnership Civil Societies and NGOs National Institutions Regional Institutions

4.

4.2.2 Country ownership

In the “Ministerial Declaration on the management of the extended Drin Basin”, the Ministers expressed a strong political will to collaborate for the joint management of the Drin Basin. The 2011 MoU illustrates support at the senior level for transboundary cooperation and coordination in the Basin. The MoU was developed following a multi-stakeholder process, the so-called Drin Dialogue, organized in the period 2009-2011. The Drin MoU identified the “main concerns” agreed among stakeholders (through the Drin Dialogue) and the Ministries, through the Drin MoU and Environmental Quality Objectives. The GEF Drin Project has used the 2011 MoU as a foundation for its engagement and activities. For example, at the time of preparing the PIF,the institutional structure only partly existed for the implementation of the MoU. The Meeting of the Parties and the DCG existed; however, there was insufficient funds for the envisioned working groups to be established. The GEF Drin project has undertaken their establishment as part of the project outcomes, amongst others.


Tag: Donor relations Ownership Bilateral partners International Financial Institutions

5.

4.2.3 Relation and interaction with other donors (Synergistic and catalytic activities)

The project has made use of previous and existing projects to enhance the achievement of project outcomes and sustainability. For example, the bulk of co-financing for the projects come from donors (see co-finance section). The project coordinated well with other initiatives and organizations including:


Tag: Programme Synergy Sustainability Donor

6.

4.2.4 Gender and Equity

Gender mainstreaming was addressed in the project design under component. A Gender Mainstreaming Strategy was developed and implemented. In the development of the project, consultation meetings were held in each of the countries and at the basin level. Of the 370 people participating in the consultation meetings, 138 were women.

The project undertook to conduct gender mainstreaming during project execution, by working to

i)ensure a balanced participation of men and women; women represent 30% of the members of the DCG and approximately 60% of the members of the EWGs; and,

ii)integrate gender perspectives into water policy, through identifying gaps in development policies, inclusion of women and women’s groups in focus groups and SAP development, and ensuring women were key targets of public awareness.


Tag: Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment

7.

4.3 Project Strategy

4.3.1Project Design

The primary concerns addressed by the Project Document remain salient. The countries of the basin continue to face problems associated with water pollution from waste waters, sedimentation, flooding, nitrification, amongst others as outlined in the 2011 MoU. The project directly addresses these major areas of concern through a multi-pronged approach in terms of support and facilitation of the implementation of the 2011 MoU including dialogue; developing capacity of the national governments, NGOs, local communities, and private sector; and supporting on the ground projects that illustrate cooperation. The GEF Drin Project is structured around five components:

1.Consolidating a common knowledge base (Outcome 1); 2.Building the foundation for multi-party cooperation (Outcome 2 & 3);3.Institutional strengthening for IRBM (Outcome 4);4.Demonstration of technologies and practices (Outcome 5); and,5.Stakeholder involvement and gender mainstreaming (Outcome 6 & 7)


Tag: River basin management Transborder Programme/Project Design Institutional Strengthening

8.

Another area where GEF Drin has focused activities has been the inclusion of the power companies-ELEM, in North Macedonia, and KESH in Albania. While not identified in the initial part of the project,their inclusion has become important through the recognition that the facilities that regulate the water flow on the Drin system need to be incorporated in the discussions at an early stage. There are clear benefits to having their inclusion. From the stand point of the companies, there are possible power generation benefits, sedimentation benefits and issues associated with solid waste. In terms of the Drin TWRM, engagement and cooperation of the companies will mean involving the most important facilities that regulate flow. A meeting was held in Tirana on 29 March 2017with both KESH and ELEM to discuss possibilities of their engagement in the project.61The DCG mandated the project to prepare an MoU for cooperation between the the two companies with the DCG having a facilitating role. Subsequently, KESH showed little interest in pursuing this; however,a call between the new Director of KESH and the Project took place on 20 February 2019 to update on the project and its activities, and there is an intention to have another face to face meeting in the future.63Promoting cooperation between the power producers may be opportune as indicated by interests for greater economic integration between Albania and North Macedoniaat the highest level.64


Tag: River basin management Waste management Transborder Partnership Programme/Project Design Private Sector

9.

The Project is in line with GEF objectives: its specific objectives fall under Objective 3 of the IW Focal Area: “Support foundational capacity building ... for ecosystem-based, joint management of transboundary water systems”, which includes dialogue, capacity building for legal reforms, and potential agreement for improved legal and governance matters at multiple levels from the transboundary to sub-basin, national, and local.65


Tag: Ecosystem services Environment Policy Programme/Project Design Theory of Change Capacity Building

10.

Overall, the project design was well developed though overly ambitious in certain areas including:

  • The concept proposed for the Information Management System with automated uploading and downloading of information was perhaps aspirational rather than practical given the countries capacities and the timeframe. It would be more appropriate to have it associated with a future SAP implementation. That said,one of the goals of the IMS was to build trust through data exchange, which the project is achieving through its advanced GIS portal.
  • The concept of updating the 2011 MOU and developing more detail through environmental objectives was also ambitious considering the time taken to develop international legislation andthat elections were planned in several countries during the four years of the project.
  • The development of the SAP was anticipated to take 8 months (Y2Q4 to Y4Q2).68As the SAP involves actions and priority investments it necessarily involves political interests and can take longer to negotiate. It will likely take more than two DCG meetings to be approved.

Tag: Programme/Project Design Technology Data and Statistics

11.

4.3.2 Results Framework

The Strategic Results Framework for the GEF-Drin project is well-conceived, separating out the key components, with their respective outcomes and outputs, each with relevant indicators and targets (Annex I). The indicators, for the most part, follow the application of SMART principles. There are several points to reconsider:

A)Under Outcome 2, Indicator 1 reads “The Shared Vision contained in the Drin MoU -updated in consistency with the findings of the TDA, and containing indication of environmental quality objectives (horizon 20 years), relevant indicators, and strategic development lines and priorities -is agreed upon by the countries.”

The first concern lies in the issues of “updating” the Shared Vision. As the MoU forms part of international law, it is recommended not to open up any “revisionor updating”, but rather “confirming” that the TDA findings supports the overall Shared Vision.

The second concern, relates to the inclusion of environmental indicators and targets etc. These should be included in an agreed SAP (indicator #2), not a Shared Vision. A revised text should be:

“The Shared Vision contained in the 2011 Drin MoU is confirmed to be consistent with the findings of the TDA

This then becomes a task associated with verifying the continued relevance of the 2011 MoU –and therefore avoids an “update”, although with an SAP there could be discussions related to a more formalized treaty. This; however,is not advised as a “measurement” indicator as it could easily extend the SAP process to makeit more political. See Section on Challenges.

The current target “Agreement on updated Shared Vision formalized by countries”, should be changed to “DCG confirms thatThe Shared Vision contained in the 2011 Drin MoU is consistent with the findings of the TDA”


Tag: Results-Based Management

12.

The Strategic Results Framework for the GEF-Drin project is well-conceived, separating out the key components, with their respective outcomes and outputs, each with relevant indicators and targets (Annex I). The indicators, for the most part, follow the application of SMART principles. There are several points to reconsider:

B)Under Outcome 2, Indicator 2 reads “A Strategic Action Program (SAP with horizon 5 years) consistent with the updated Shared Vision and the Drin MoU, addressing main issues of transboundary concern and containing concrete actions at the national and regional levels, is formulated”. It is the SAP that should include the environmental objectives and targets. Consequently, a revised text should read:

“A Strategic Action Programme (SAP with a 5 year time horizon) consistent with the 2011 Drin Shared Vision MoU and based on TDA findings, is approved by the DCG. It should address the main issues of transboundary concern and contain concrete actions at the national and regional levels, as well as environmental quality objectives (horizon of 20 years), relevant indicators, and strategic development lines and priorities.”


Tag: National Regional Transborder Results-Based Management

13.

The Strategic Results Framework for the GEF-Drin project is well-conceived, separating out the key components, with their respective outcomes and outputs, each with relevant indicators and targets (Annex I). The indicators, for the most part, follow the application of SMART principles. There are several points to reconsider:

C) Under Outcome 4, Indicator 1, verification reads: “Work Plans for each EWG are prepared and approved by DCG; Meetings of the EWGs and related reports regarding the implementation of the Work Plans; decisions of the DCG endorsing the outputs of the EWGs and decisions by the Meeting of the Parties adopting the outputs.

”It is not efficient to have workplans developed by a DCG that meets twice a year. The DCG should develop TORs for the EWGs, which include the development of their own workplans.

It is not efficient to have the Meeting of the Parties adopting the outputs of the EWGs. This is the role of the DCG. The verification should reflect that the EWGs are providing recommendations for the DCG to consider.

The verification should be revised as “TORs are developed for EWGs, meetings of the EWGs are held, and related reports include recommendations for the DCG to implement the project and the Drin MoU”


Tag: Results-Based Management

14.

The Strategic Results Framework for the GEF-Drin project is well-conceived, separating out the key components, with their respective outcomes and outputs, each with relevant indicators and targets (Annex I). The indicators, for the most part, follow the application of SMART principles. There are several points to reconsider:

D)The current Outcome 4 indicator 2 is “Inter-ministerial Committees (or equivalent bodies) are established in each project country tasked with the coordination of country response to guidance of the DCG.” The underlying interest is input of views on water management planning from an inter-sectoral approach. While the IMC reflects acommitment at an institutional level,it is difficult for the project to control as it requires a degree of policy change. It is recommended that consideration be given to changing the indicator to “There is multi-sectoral input and discussions at the national level with regard to SAP development and responding to guidance from the DCG”. Output 8 should be expanded to “The Inter-Ministerial Committees are established and/or functional inter-sectoral dialogue is conducted.”


Tag: Water resources Oversight Results-Based Management

15.

4.4 Progress Towards Result

4.4.1Progress towards outcomes analysis

In assessing the results to date,this report assumes an operational start date estimated to be June/July 2016, or 30 months of project activities. Annex Jdetails the progress towards the results based on the outputs, as per the strategic Results Framework, and the reader is referred to that for support of this section. Overall,there has been a significant level of achievement, particularly when considering the political framework of the region and the election of new governments in both Albania and North Macedonia(See Section on Challenges).


Tag: Results-Based Management Capacity Building Institutional Strengthening

16.

The DCG is still growing into the role of a High Level Joint Commission, as envisioned by the Project Document. The SAP development will demand even greater integration and functionality from both the EWGs as technical bodies developing recommendations, as well as the DCG as a decision-making body with direct access at the political level.

Other key achievements are:

  • The first joint monitoring/training took place in the 2016 and 2017 field seasons;
  • New marine monitoring stations for LBSMP were established in Albania and Montenegro;
  • Theinitiation of the process for there-establishment of the Lake Ohrid Committee;
  • The inclusion of power producers ELEM and KESH in meetings;
  • The establishment of Drin Day Celebrations;
  • 5 of 6 demonstration pilot projects are underway, with one constructed wetlands already completed in Rahovec, Kosovo;
  • Highly engaged and informed stakeholders with good public awareness activities and stakeholder conferences;
  • Good level of women participating at the stakeholder level in public awareness conferences, focus groups, and at the institutional level in the DCG and EWGs;
  • Very detailed thematic reports with new information that not only will support SAP development, but is being used to advance basin management plans at the national level;•A water budget at the basin level;
  • First formulation and proposed water bodies as per EU WFD;
  • First time inclusion of hydro-power producers in discussions on basin level water planning.

Tag: Oversight Technical Support

17.

Overall the project objectives and outcomes are practical and feasible within the time frame of 48 months. However, what was not considered during the project development stage was a sufficient time for operationalizing the project activities and securing all project staff. While this should usually take approximately3 months, in the case of the GEF –Drin Project, this unfortunately took approximately 9 months. Notwithstanding the accomplishments, there are several areas that require additional focus, despite an assumed operational start date of July 2016. These include:


Tag: Operational Efficiency Policies & Procedures Challenges

18.

4.5 Remaining Challenges to achieving the project results

4.5.1Development of functional IMS

The establishment and operation of the IMS is linked with investment, maintenance and running costs,and the capacity of the countries to engage with the system. Currently, there is a lack of operational and institutional maturity to proceed with development and implementation of the IMS, which envisions pollution monitoring, real-time Hydromet monitoring, and national IMSs in place and fully operational. Following presentation of the updated version of the “Implementation plan for the development of the IMS” and the draft IMS ToR at the 6thmeeting of EWG MIE,and discussions in the DCG, it was decided to upgrade the GIS Portal system to serve project needs.77While the overall software architecture was approved, two key issues were i) the large costs associated with the proposed system and ii) the capacity of the countries to utilize the system to its full extent. The upgraded GIS portal serves the function of trust building associated with data exchange, as well as development of the SAP.


Tag: Challenges Operational Efficiency Technology

19.

4.5.2 SAP development and implementation

The developing consensus for the SAPas a political process was identified as a “risk” in the project document. However, it has been, hopefully, addressed though the engagement process associated with this project and the collaborative development of a detailed and thorough TDA. The initial discussion for the SAP among the stakeholders are being undertaken in March 2019. A technical-level meeting in December 2018 engaged the vast majority of experts that participated in the development of the TDA Thematic Reports,and produced a “zero” draft which was ready in February 2019. The SAP process can take time to develop as there are often political interests incorporated into its creation. One of the benefits of this SAP is that the development of environmental objectives and targets is a high priority for the countries in terms of EU WFD requirements. It is clearly possible to develop an agreed SAP;however, the timeline is tight and does not leave much room to develop a SAP implementation project during the lifetime of the current project to ensure a smooth transition to the implementation phase. As the project intends to apply for funding from GEF 7 to assist with SAP implementation,it will need to have an approved SAP as soon as possible to advise GEF. Possibly by June/July 2020,leaving only 17 months for SAP development and approval


Tag: Challenges

20.

4.5.3 Challenge of working in the region

Working with 4 governments, there are always changes to personnel and re-establishing connections can be time consuming. This is perhaps particularly true in the case of the Drin, where recent histories still shadow relations at the political level.

Following the establishment of new Government in North Macedonia in 2018, the PCU had tore-established communication with the new political leadership as well as with institutions responsible for waters and basin management. This included meetings with the new Deputy Minister of Environment and Physical Planning of North Macedonia, Mr. Jani Makraduli, on 12 January 2018.


Tag: Challenges Policies & Procedures

21.

4.5 Remaining Challenges to achieving the project results

4.5.4Establishing inter-ministerial committees

The establishment and convening of IMCs in Albania and North Macedonia may prove to be a challenge during the remainder of the project. Indeed, they are the two countries which have undergone political change during the first half of the project. The PCU of the GEF Drin Project will need to continue to encourage their development; however, it is ultimately up to the two countries themselves to do this. The role of the IMCs isto ensure a more integrated approach to water management planning is developed at the country level. If this integrated planning is being conducted, for example within the context of World Bank’s Albania Water Resource Management and Irrigation project, and that there is a mechanism for input into the SAP, then one could conclude that the functions of the IMCs are being fulfilled, albeit not by an established group. It is recommended that consideration be given to alter Output #8 and its associated indicator to reflect this (see Results Framework Analysis).


Tag: Water resources Challenges Oversight

22.

4.5.5 Funding for Kosovo to be able to be more parallel to its neighbours.

Kosovo is not able to receive vertical funding, thus may not be eligible to benefit from possible funding from the Adaptation Fund. Nevertheless, it supplies a significant portion of the water, and is particular importance in times of precipitation,it would be a key player in addressing flood control and sedimentation issues, as well water quality.

At a minimum,should additional funding that does not include Kosovo be obtained, then their participation in meetings and maintaining the DCG can be achieved through “informal participation of experts”.


Tag: Challenges Adaptation Fund Vertical Trust Funds

23.

4.5.6 Involving energy and power producers in the Drin process

There are five hydro-production dam structures, and one regulating structure in Ohrid Lake. ELEM energy producers in North Macedonia control the outlet of Ohrid Lake and Spilje Dam (69 MW), and KESHin Albania controls the 500MW dam at Fierzë, near Kukes. Understanding and discussing operations are going to be key to addressing issues of biodiversity, ecosystems, and flooding as well as power generation. Currently, there is little to no cooperation between the energy agency in Albania (Kesh) and its Macedonian counterpart (ELEM). ELEM for their part appear interested, at least at the level of the Black Drin, as they see benefits in discussing issues such as debris and pollution, which can be harmful to turbines; sedimentation concerns, and flooding. There are opportunities to explore various areas of interest for the power producers including:


Tag: Energy Natural Resouce management

24.

4.6 Project Implementation and Adaptive Management

Overall the Project Management and adaptive Management was found to be “Satisfactory”

4.6.1Management Arrangements:

See section on implementation arrangements for details.

The working relationship between the country offices of the UNDP implementing agencies (UNDP-Albania and UNDP-Kosovo) and the executing agency (GWP-Med) are highly functional with regular communication. The Country officers of GWP-Med are familiar and well respected within the implementing agencies, as well as within the beneficiaries in their respective countries, as evident from the field mission.


Tag: Operational Efficiency Project and Programme management Coordination

25.

4.6.2 Work Planning: Annual work plans are developed using an excel based spreadsheet and approved of by the SC and amended as needed.The semi-annual meetings of the Steering Committee provide for ample opportunity to reassess direction and maintain momentum from the beneficiary agencies. As such, there is a high level of adaptive management which is undertaken in the project; as illustrated by choosing training schedules, altering demonstration projects as opportunities arise,84developing timelines for EWG meetings and products.

Discussions with several SC members indicated good support from the PCU, including preparatory documents being sent out, review of previous work plans and SC reports, clear meeting goals with identified decision items on agendas, and follow up work.For more details see the section on progress towards outcomes at it relates to institutional strengthening of the DCG.

The project utilizes technology effectively to assist with planning including: Microsoft Planner and SharePoint for monitoring of work plan implementation. This was illustrated by one of the GWP Country Officers during the field visit.


Tag: Operational Efficiency Oversight

26.

4.6.3 Finance and co-finance:

Project Financing

No financial audit was conducted as part of this evaluation. A full audit was conducted by KPMG in March 2018. In this review, the Financial summaries (all quarterly reports and annual reports from Q3 2015 to Q4 2018) reviewed were supplied by GWP-Med and met UNDP and GEF reporting requirements.There are quarterly budgets prepared; management is on cash basis; 80% of the budgeted amount each quarter needs to be spent to trigger the funds for the next branch to be released from UNDP to GWP-Med.


Tag: Efficiency Human and Financial resources

27.

4.6.3 Finance and co-finance:

Co-financing

There is significant co-financing in GEF Drin Basin Project as outlined in Table 4.With the total amount being a committed of USD 281.5 million as compared to a total GEF grant of USD 5.5 million. The vast amount of co-financing is primarily associated with infrastructure projects for sewage treatment (including an extension of Shkodar wastewater treatment plan to deal with phosphorous for USD 91,000,000); sewage network upgrades in Pogorica, Prizren, Shkodra, Dobraci and Shiroke; water supply in Lezha and Shkodra; and irrigation rehabilitation; amongst others.


Tag: Global Climate Fund Human and Financial resources Country Government Donor

28.

4.6.4 Project-level Monitoring and Evaluation Systems:

Project level reporting has been well designed and well executed. All background materials for SC meetings are available and clearly organized. SC meeting reports, annual reports, financial reports, and workplans are all available as per the Project Document.

The mid-term review was undertaken somewhat late in the project cycle, at month 30 as opposed to 24; however still within the 3rd year. The review was undertaken during the 6thSC meeting with the request to have a no cost extension.

The GEF Drin Project has sufficient budget in place to conduct the envisioned monitoring (reporting, PIR etc.) and evaluations (Mid-term and Terminal). The FSP has indicated an M&E budget of US$103,000 withUS$40,000 for both mid-term and terminal evaluations.


Tag: Global Climate Fund Monitoring and Evaluation

29.

4.6.5 Stakeholder Engagement:

Stakeholder engagement has been exceptionally well executed. Stakeholders have been well identified, characterised and substantively engaged in the project. The initial “Stakeholder Mapping” report identified all the potential interested agencies and organisations in the Extended and White Drin River Basin including those in Kosovo. This was followed up with a full “stakeholder engagement report” detailing activities and methodologies, such as social media campaigns, interviews and collaborating with NGOs, amongst others.


Tag: Operational Efficiency Coordination Civil Societies and NGOs National Institutions

30.

4.6.6 Reporting:

The reporting for the project is “Satisfactory” The reporting for the project has been followed as laid out in the both the Monitoring and Evaluations plans in theProject Documents. Discussions with implementing agency offices and the GEF indicate there is no concern regarding reporting from the Project, other than with respect to co-financing as previously discussed.

The Progress Tracker, Annual reports, PSC reports (detailing actions and decisions) are all being completed at the appropriate stages. Any changes to the workplan, hiring of staff, alterations to the budget, etc.are easily identified through SC reporting and communications between the GWP-Med and respective UNDP offices.

See Annex Gfor the list of documents reviewed.


Tag: Monitoring and Evaluation

31.

4.6.7 Communications:

Based on discussions with various stakeholders,the level of communication between the local municipalities, NGOs, and national level institutions with the PCU was well carried out. Most stakeholders had very positive comments regarding information flow, access to materials, preparation for meetings, reviewing products, and conducting contracts.Only in one case was there some confusion regarding the contracting of monitoring of Lake Ohrid. It was anticipated that the Hydrobiological Institute-Ohid would conduct monitoring, yetit did not bid on the contract as expected. In discussions with the Institute,this appeared to be more an internal issue than with communication from the PCU. Subsequent discussions ensured that the Institute staff would participate in the collection of samples and receive up-dated training in biological monitoring techniques from the University of Athens,which was awarded the contract.

Communication between the executing agency, GWP-Med and the UNDP were found to be effective. Those interviewed indicated that there are frequent calls and emails between the UNDP and GWP-Med regarding financial and execution activities, and issues are addressed rapidly and professionaly.

Communication with the wider public and stakeholders is addressed under “Stakeholder Engagement4.6.5”.


Tag: Communication Civil Societies and NGOs National Institutions Regional Institutions

32.

4.7 Sustainability

The overall rating on sustainability is assessed as “Likely”. Sustaining the GEF Drin Project outcomes is “likely” considering there is substantial political support for implementing the 2011 MOU,as well as complying with EU WDF standards under Chapter 27.

4.7.1Financial risks to sustainability: The project is encouraging financial sustainability by having countries pay for participation in the Drin Core Group,and it will move towards self-funding of the EWGs during the implementation phase of the SAP. However, the countries will need to experience significant benefits from the process before they are able to assume the entire role of funding a Drin Commission (Drin Core Group) with a dedicated secretariat, and conduct national monitoring at the level envisioned under the EU WFD. This will clearly take a number of years to achieve, and some countries, such as Montenegro which participates in the Sava River Commission, are ahead of others. In terms of infrastructure investments, such as dams, flood protection, sewage upgrades, the countries are likely going to rely of donor involvement for the foreseeable future.


Tag: Sustainability Infrastructure

33.

4.7.2 Socio-economic risks to sustainability:

The entire project is based on developing a more integrated approach to managing the Drin River Basin that includes improvements to the environment, but also addressing economic development through flood mitigation and improved water quality for municipal supply and fisheries. The project is a regional approach to addressing issues that will form the basis of economic drivers such fisheries management, clean and pristine areas for tourism, pilots for using bio-fuels, and water quality for agriculture. Moreover, the project is forging into areas not originally perceived regarding discussions on hydro-power production and shared benefits of information exchange and coordinated operations. This could have significant ramifications regarding both power production and flood control. As the process assists to bringingthe countries in line with EU WFD this will enhance possibilities of greater proximity to the EU and its associated socio-economic benefits.


Tag: Agriculture Fishery Environment Policy River basin management

34.

4.7.3 Institutional Framework and Governance risks to sustainability:

The Institutional mechanisms supported and developed during the GEF Drin Project are completely compatible with the structure identified with the 2011 MOU and “Shared Vision”. In this regard, there are virtually no risks to sustaining the mechanism other than financial as previously discussed.


Tag: Sustainability National Institutions

35.

4.7.4 Environmental risks to sustainability:

The entire project is based on developing a more integrated and holistic approach to managing the Drin River Basin that includes pollution control, biodiversity preservation and flood mitigation. The support for this activity stems from the local level through to the national level as it addresses national priorities. See section on Country Ownership(4.2.2). The impacts of climate change were identified as a risk, particularly with effects on the hydraulic systems resulting in intensified flooding.This however, raises the importance of developing a functional and effective DCG, building consensus aroundan SAP,and working to implement it.


Tag: Biodiversity Environment Policy River basin management Site Conservation / Preservation Sustainability

Recommendations
1

Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 6: It is important that Kosovo move alongside its neighbours in addressing Drin Basin challenges. It is not eligible for vertical funding and efforts by GWP-Med, and both UNDP IRH and Kosovo, should be exercised to leverage bi-lateral funding for inclusion of Kosovo. At the very minimum continuation for Kosovo participation in DCG and SAP implementation should be ensured through their participation as “experts in their respective fields”

2

Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 9: In preparing to undertake the focal groups associated with the development of the SAP, care should be taken to not create over-expectations of what can be delivered within the scope of the current project. It should contain a mix of on-the ground measures that can be easily be decided on (such as diversion of the Sateska river from Lake Ohrid), but also for additional planning and data gatherings and analysis. A target should be to have an agreed SAP by June 30, 2020 for submission to GEF as a precursor for applying for GEF 7 funding for SAP implementation.

1. Recommendation:

Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 6: It is important that Kosovo move alongside its neighbours in addressing Drin Basin challenges. It is not eligible for vertical funding and efforts by GWP-Med, and both UNDP IRH and Kosovo, should be exercised to leverage bi-lateral funding for inclusion of Kosovo. At the very minimum continuation for Kosovo participation in DCG and SAP implementation should be ensured through their participation as “experts in their respective fields”

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/08] [Last Updated: 2021/01/26]

Appropriate action for the implementation of the recommendation will be undertaken

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
c. Identification of bilateral donors and negotiation for the financing of the priority action; activities and subsequent requested financing for the participation of Kosovo in the DCG will be proposed.
[Added: 2019/11/08] [Last Updated: 2022/07/11]
PCU 2022/12 Initiated History
a. After SAP is finalized each of the Riparians (including Kosovo) identifies a priority action
[Added: 2019/11/08] [Last Updated: 2020/07/23]
PCU 2020/04 Completed The signing of the SAP by high officials of the riparian countries was completed on 24, April.2020. History
b. A project fiche for each of the identified priority action is prepared
[Added: 2019/11/08] [Last Updated: 2021/09/16]
PCU 2021/07 Completed The programme team has leveraged and undertaken initiatives to diversify and engage other donors and partners in the area. There are good indicators that the project will be funded by the same donor for the second phase History
2. Recommendation:

Evaluation Recommendation or Issue 9: In preparing to undertake the focal groups associated with the development of the SAP, care should be taken to not create over-expectations of what can be delivered within the scope of the current project. It should contain a mix of on-the ground measures that can be easily be decided on (such as diversion of the Sateska river from Lake Ohrid), but also for additional planning and data gatherings and analysis. A target should be to have an agreed SAP by June 30, 2020 for submission to GEF as a precursor for applying for GEF 7 funding for SAP implementation.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/08] [Last Updated: 2021/01/26]

Recommendation implemented

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
a. Focal stakeholders meetings are organized in line with the recommendation
[Added: 2019/11/08]
PCU 2019/03 Completed
b. Experts meetings are organized in line with the recommendation
[Added: 2019/11/08]
PCU 2019/04 Completed
c. EWG and DCG (SC) meetings are organized in line with the recommendation
[Added: 2019/11/08]
PCU 2019/05 Completed

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