Enabling transboundary cooperation and integrated water resources management in the extended Drin River Basin (PIMS 4482)

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Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Albania
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
09/2021
Completion Date:
12/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
23,007

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Title Enabling transboundary cooperation and integrated water resources management in the extended Drin River Basin (PIMS 4482)
Atlas Project Number: 00082116
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Albania
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2021
Planned End Date: 09/2021
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Resilience
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.3.1 Data and risk-informed development policies, plans, systems and financing incorporate integrated and gender-responsive solutions to reduce disaster risks, enable climate change adaptation and mitigation, and prevent risk of conflict
SDG Goal
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
SDG Target
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
Evaluation Budget(US $): 23,007
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 23,007
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Ivica Trumbic International Consultant
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Enhancing Transboundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resource Management in the White Drin and the Extended Drin Basin” Project
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: EA
GEF Phase: GEF-5
GEF Project ID: 4483
PIMS Number: 4482
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Municipality of Shkodra
Countries: ALBANIA
Lessons
1.

Project has clear and achievable objectives followed by a rational design of project’s components, outcomes and outputs. The design simplicity is an essential prerequisite for a successful implementation of the project.


2.

All project stakeholders have to be actively involved in the implementation of the project. Well-developed stakeholder engagement and integration mechanisms significantly contribute to better countries’ buy-in of the project and its overall success.


3.

Successful communication and information strategy and a well-developed management information system make the project’s implementation transparent, increase trust in project actors and contribute to countries’ support to the project and implementation of its results increasing, thus, its sustainability level.


4.

Gender strategies are effective if they are developed in early stages of the project in order to guide gender mainstreaming throughout the implementation process.


5.

Efforts to deliver more results than initially envisaged improves the project’s catalytic/replication effect. Catalytic effect of the project is enhanced by examples presented through demonstration projects.


6.

The committed project implementation team is key ingredient of the project’s success. This project has shown that the team has spared no time to engage in frequent and fruitful consultation with a variety of project partners. Its long-standing experience in dealing with stakeholders’ participation and gender mainstreaming made this aspect the backbone of the project contributing thus to its overall success.


7.

Capable project implementation team is essential element to successfully confront unexpected changes in the project’s environment, such as political events, economic crises, pandemics etc. This also contributes to the increased project’s effectiveness and efficiency.


8.

Capacity building (individual as well as institutional) at national and transboundary levels are key factors for sustaining results.


Findings
1.

The Drin Project has fully met its objective to promote and improve joint management of the shared water resources of the extended transboundary Drin River Basin. In doing so, the project has achieved all expected results. The project implementing agency and the project implementation team have managed to actively engage wide array of government, CSO and local stakeholder administrative departments, organisations and individuals


2.

Several factors contributed to the successful completion of the project. The ProDoc has clearly stated objectives followed by a rational design of project’s components, outcomes and outputs. The SRF was clear and indicators were SMART, which allowed easy monitoring and reporting on the project’s results. The design simplicity was the main reason why the MTR only marginally changed outcomes’ indicators, which has made the project’s structure even more streamlined. Furthermore, the project implementation team was very committed and spared no time to engage in frequent and fruitful consultation with a variety of project partners. The GWP Med’s long-standing experience in dealing with stakeholders’ participation and gender mainstreaming made this aspect the backbone of the project contributing thus to its overall success.


3.

Another important achievement factor was the high relevance of the subject of integrated river basin management for the Drin River Basin countries, not only regarding their national priorities but also their aspirations to join EU in the future which referred to the EU WFD as one of the pivotal components of the project. It also enhanced countries’ ownership of the project. These are the basic ingredients for the long-term sustainability of the project’s outcomes, including the implementation of SAP, which was unequivocally endorsed by all the countries. An explicit exit strategy of the project, whose aim would be to show how the long-term sustainability of the project results will be secured, was not developed. However, the sustainability of the project results has been secured by a number of outputs, envisaged by the ProDoc or produced in addition to it, which have particularly enhanced the catalytic/replication impact of the project. Above all, it is the existence of a strongly endorsed SAP which is the guarantee that the Drin River Basin will be better managed in the future. Finally, the support for the continuation of the activities initiated by the project was expressed by the high-level representatives from the riparian countries at the 8th Drin Stakeholders Conference held on July 9th 2021. 


4.

The project has excelled in adaptive management, monitoring and reporting of progress. This is due to the quality and commitment of the project implementation team, in particular after the COVID-19 crisis started to affect the project’s activities. The team has quickly reassembled and continued with the online meetings and consultation at the pace that existed before the crisis.


Recommendations
1

Efforts should be continued to establish, wherever possible, the Inter-Ministerial Committees (IMC). This should include a proper mandate, composition and legal background. This will increase their decision-making power and contribute to better transboundary management from the national perspective. The project should assist in establishment of the IMCs.

2

Design of future regional projects should better analyse the situation in countries to identify risks and eventual obstacles to transboundary management process at a regional scale. This should be more realistically reflected in the project documents.

3

Project implementation team should follow-up with the partners to determine an accurate level of co-financing committed to the project. GEF should consider a standardised approach to calculating co-financing to ensure that partners are calculating their commitments on the same basis.

4

Projects’ design should have clearly elaborated the exit strategy. Many transboundary management processes are dependent on the project financing before they become fully endorsed by the countries, and no project continuity may negatively affect the process.

5

The future regional project designs should continue allocating resources for the implementation of pilot or demonstration projects. Such projects may prove helpful to incorporate emerging and/or innovative issues and/or solutions as well as national priorities for the transboundary river basin. These projects should be planned in order to maintain the equal participation of all countries.

6

The project should in its design phase elaborate more extensively on the development of institutional solutions for transboundary water management that might include, for example, establishment of river commissions coupled with the necessary legal provisions if the initial analysis shows that such longer-term solution might be feasible. Since such decision is in the hands of the political authorities of the countries concerned, the project should support the establishment of such a solution, if it will be taken.

7

The execution arrangement of the regional projects should continue using decentralised project management, such as Officers on the field in addition to the central implementation unit.

8

During the implementation of the project, every effort should be made to maintain the institutional continuity and to avoid frequent changes in participation at country level, as the opposite can significantly reduce the pace of the project implementation.

9

More efforts should be made to secure steady and, if possible, in cash financial provision by the participating countries, in particular for the implementation of SAP proposals

1. Recommendation:

Efforts should be continued to establish, wherever possible, the Inter-Ministerial Committees (IMC). This should include a proper mandate, composition and legal background. This will increase their decision-making power and contribute to better transboundary management from the national perspective. The project should assist in establishment of the IMCs.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/08]

Partially Accept. There are IMCs in all Project beneficiaries, making use of already existing inter-ministerial bodies. The Drin Riparians should continue using these to coordinate at Riparian level the implementation of the regionally agreed actions/actions at the basin level.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 The Drin Core Group (that served as the steering committee of the project)
[Added: 2021/12/08]
Drin Core Group 2027/12 Initiated During the Drini Strategic Action Plan (SAP) implementation (01.08.2021-31.12.2027) History
2. Recommendation:

Design of future regional projects should better analyse the situation in countries to identify risks and eventual obstacles to transboundary management process at a regional scale. This should be more realistically reflected in the project documents.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/08]

Fully Accept. The design of the project had analysed efficiently the situation in the Drin Riparians to identify risks and eventual obstacles to transboundary management process at a regional scale. This analysis led during the project implementation, in the Drin Riparians taking concrete steps for an institutional and legal arrangement to upscale cooperation for the management of the Drin Basin. This successful experience indicates that such analysis should continue being done in the framework of future regional projects and the results being reflected in their design.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Use the lessons learned, in the design of future regional projects to reflect the results of an analysis of the situation in the Drin Riparians to identify risks and eventual obstacles to transboundary management process at a regional scale.
[Added: 2021/12/08]
UNDP and implementing partners 2022/12 Not Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Project implementation team should follow-up with the partners to determine an accurate level of co-financing committed to the project. GEF should consider a standardised approach to calculating co-financing to ensure that partners are calculating their commitments on the same basis.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/08]

 Fully Accept

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Project implementation team follows-up with the partners to determine an accurate level of co-financing committed to the project.
[Added: 2021/12/08]
UNDP and implementing partners 2027/12 Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Projects’ design should have clearly elaborated the exit strategy. Many transboundary management processes are dependent on the project financing before they become fully endorsed by the countries, and no project continuity may negatively affect the process.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/08]

Fully Accept

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Include an clearly elaborated exit strategy in future Projects’ design.
[Added: 2021/12/08]
UNDP and implementing partners 2022/12 Not Initiated
5. Recommendation:

The future regional project designs should continue allocating resources for the implementation of pilot or demonstration projects. Such projects may prove helpful to incorporate emerging and/or innovative issues and/or solutions as well as national priorities for the transboundary river basin. These projects should be planned in order to maintain the equal participation of all countries.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/08]

Fully Accept

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Allocate resources in future Projects’ designs also in line with vertical funds requirements for the implementation of pilot or demonstration projects. These activities should be planned in a way maintain the equal participation of all countries.
[Added: 2021/12/08]
UNDP and implementing partners 2022/12 Not Initiated
6. Recommendation:

The project should in its design phase elaborate more extensively on the development of institutional solutions for transboundary water management that might include, for example, establishment of river commissions coupled with the necessary legal provisions if the initial analysis shows that such longer-term solution might be feasible. Since such decision is in the hands of the political authorities of the countries concerned, the project should support the establishment of such a solution, if it will be taken.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/08] [Last Updated: 2021/12/08]

Fully Accept

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Include provisions in the future Projects’ design for support of the development of institutional solutions for transboundary water management that might include, for example, establishment of river commissions coupled with the necessary legal provisions, should there are positive related political decisions from the side of the Riparians.
[Added: 2021/12/08]
UNDP and implementing partners 2022/12 Not Initiated
7. Recommendation:

The execution arrangement of the regional projects should continue using decentralised project management, such as Officers on the field in addition to the central implementation unit.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/08]

Partially Accept

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Consider provisions in the future Projects’ design for the execution arrangements to include project Officers stationed in the Project Beneficiaries with the aim to coordinate Riparian level activities.
[Added: 2021/12/08]
UNDP and implementing partners 2022/12 Not Initiated
8. Recommendation:

During the implementation of the project, every effort should be made to maintain the institutional continuity and to avoid frequent changes in participation at country level, as the opposite can significantly reduce the pace of the project implementation.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/08]

Fully Accept

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1 Countries continue having as appointed members in the Drin Core Group representatives of institutions described in the Drin MoU
[Added: 2021/12/08]
Drin Riparians 2027/12 Initiated During the SAP implementation (December 2027)
9. Recommendation:

More efforts should be made to secure steady and, if possible, in cash financial provision by the participating countries, in particular for the implementation of SAP proposals

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/08]

Fully Accept

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
9.1 The Drin Core Group discuss options for the steady and, if possible, in cash financial provision of the Drin Riparians, in particular for the implementation of SAP proposals.
[Added: 2021/12/08]
Drin Riparians 2027/12 Not Initiated During the SAP implementation (December 2027)

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