Terminal Evaluation of the GEF/UNDP Project Protection and Sustainable Use of the Dinaric Karst Aquifer System (DIKTAS) PIMS No. 4056

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Evaluation Plan:
2014-2017, RBEC
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
03/2016
Completion Date:
01/2016
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
15,000

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Title Terminal Evaluation of the GEF/UNDP Project Protection and Sustainable Use of the Dinaric Karst Aquifer System (DIKTAS) PIMS No. 4056
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2014-2017, RBEC
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 01/2016
Planned End Date: 03/2016
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.3. Solutions developed at national and sub-national levels for sustainable management of natural resources, ecosystem services, chemicals and waste
Evaluation Budget(US $): 15,000
Source of Funding:
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Dejan Komatina Dr
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title:
Evaluation Type: Terminal Evaluation
Focal Area: International Waters
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-4
GEF Project ID: 3690
PIMS Number: 4056
Key Stakeholders: Governments of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania, UNESCO-IHP
Countries: ALBANIABOSNIA AND HERCEGOVINACROATIAMONTENEGRO
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

Establish a mechanism (CIE) that will ensure continuation of the transboundary cooperation and facilitate further activities related to the adoption and implementation of SAP.

2

Orient next steps toward concrete activities (primarily, establishment of a basis for a joint monitoring programme and implementation of local scale activities), and define objectives as concrete and realistic as possible.

3

Plan the activities so as to ensure that the outputs are based, not only on the existing data, but also on the data to be obtained through new investigations.

4

Consider the possibility of extending the project region to other countries sharing the Dinaric Karst Aquifer System, such as Serbia and FYR of Macedonia.

5

Make efforts to further strengthen science-policy interactions in each project country and ensure that the capacity of national institutions is used to the maximum extent.

6

Make efforts to further improve awareness raising and capacity building and consider strengthening of the project team by involving water management experts.

7

Plan the follow-up in a more conservative way in terms of assumptions and risks (e.g. allocate more time for time-consuming activities, such as harmonization and adoption processes, or for translation of documents into local languages, especially given a limited flexibility of the UN procurement rules; allocate some time to accommodate changes in the project team, both governmental representatives and experts).

8

Preserve NICs (even if the SAP will not be implemented in future) as a basis for inter-sectoral communication and coordination within countries.

9

Consider possibilities (and sustainability) of holding the PSC meetings more frequently and thus further strengthen the project management.  

10

Plan a stronger Project Coordination Unit in the region that would, in addition to the Project Coordinator, include an information officer and an administrative officer (and preferably a GIS/database specialist).

11

Further strengthen the Project Team by ensuring a closer and permanent cooperation among NFPs of project countries.

12

Ensure a better quality check of outputs and performance of experts, inter alia, by linking a contract renewal closely to performance in a previous contract period.

13

Consider appropriateness of decentralizing the Project budget on a yearly basis and possibilities to minimize administrative obstacles.

14

When planning the awareness raising and capacity building activities, try to ensure that the responsible organization is, either located in the region or includes a person with an ability to speak languages of the project region.

Management Response Documents
1. Recommendation:

Establish a mechanism (CIE) that will ensure continuation of the transboundary cooperation and facilitate further activities related to the adoption and implementation of SAP.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/13] [Last Updated: 2016/04/13]

CIE (Regional Coordination and Information Exchange mechanism) is very relevant for the transboundary water cooperation in the region. Its establishment was already planned in the first project phase but not carried out because a) the project Steering Committee basically fulfilled the role of CIE during the project execution; b) some national organisations, members of NICs were hesitant to support the CIE establishment prior the financing, staffing, location and similar has not been agreed on a national and the regional level.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
CIE Establishment is included as a major activity in the SAP
[Added: 2016/04/13] [Last Updated: 2019/10/02]
PMU of the SAP project / UNDP IW RTA 2020/09 Initiated Update Sept 2019: Project to be launched in the 4th Q2019 (LPAC scheduled for October 2019). Support with establishing CIE is included in the project workplan. History
2. Recommendation:

Orient next steps toward concrete activities (primarily, establishment of a basis for a joint monitoring programme and implementation of local scale activities), and define objectives as concrete and realistic as possible.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/13]

Completely followed in the SAP preparation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
SAP is suggesting/containing very concrete activities, monitoring being one of two main activities. The SAP is composed of case-studies hence concrete implementation at the transboundary aquifer level.
[Added: 2016/04/13] [Last Updated: 2019/10/02]
PMU of the SAP project / UNDP IW RTA 2019/09 Completed Update Sept 2019: Project to be launched in the 4th Q2019 (LPAC scheduled for October 2019). The SAP has been prepared with the concrete action to be implemented during the project. History
3. Recommendation:

Plan the activities so as to ensure that the outputs are based, not only on the existing data, but also on the data to be obtained through new investigations.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/13]

If additional data/info were not expected to be obtained no relevant outputs could be expected either. However, quantity and quality and the actual values (karst) of new data can only be roughly approximated.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Input of new data/info as a result of new investigations are anticipated as much as possible in SAP. For instance, it is anticipated that development and testing of monitoring trans-boundary aquifer CIMI/Cijevna will provide sufficient info for suggesting a unique methodology to groundwater quality monitoring in the entire Dinaric karst region.
[Added: 2016/04/13] [Last Updated: 2019/10/02]
PMU of the SAP project / UNDP IW RTA 2020/09 Initiated Update Sept 2019: Project to be launched in the 4th Q2019 (LPAC scheduled for October 2019). New data will be collected as needed. History
4. Recommendation:

Consider the possibility of extending the project region to other countries sharing the Dinaric Karst Aquifer System, such as Serbia and FYR of Macedonia.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/13]

It has been discussed during the SC and NICs meetings and gained support from involved countries. The suggested priority actions in SAP would certainly be appealing to other countries with karst groundwater resources.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To negotiate with other countries and GEF sec.
[Added: 2016/04/13] [Last Updated: 2017/02/19]
UNDP-GEF Project development team / UNDP RTA (Vladimir Mamaev) 2017/01 Completed SAP Project preparation PPG phase Jan 2017-Jan 2018, tentative time frame. Updated on the completion of the action in February 2017: New project proposal will be submitted to GEF for approval in 2017. History
5. Recommendation:

Make efforts to further strengthen science-policy interactions in each project country and ensure that the capacity of national institutions is used to the maximum extent.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/13]

These efforts were already made in the DIKTAS project execution and will be continued in the SAP implementation phase. Depends very much of general state of science-policy interactions in the countries. The project team contained policy specialists and scientists. Policy was also represented through NICs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Specifics of interaction between science and policy will be taken as a distinct criterion while composing the project team in order to have fair representation. This will also be taken in consideration in the proposed SAP Priority Action -Application and promotion of joint principles of sustainable management of transboundary Dinaric karst aquifers by targeting specific groups / stakeholders and through related publications, reflecting the policy-science interaction.
[Added: 2016/04/13] [Last Updated: 2019/10/02]
PMU of the SAP project / UNDP IW RTA 2019/09 Completed Update Sept 2019: Project to be launched in the 4th Q2019 (LPAC scheduled for October 2019). The recommendations is taken into account within the Priority Action included in the SAP, to be implemented during the project. History
6. Recommendation:

Make efforts to further improve awareness raising and capacity building and consider strengthening of the project team by involving water management experts.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/13]

Awareness raising and capacity building activities will certainly be considered during the preparation of the project (see also the key actions below). The “water management expert” term is a very broad term; various specialists are/will be involved according to subjects/issues of proposed priority actions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Raising public awareness about the importance of karst water and their dependent ecosystems by promoting the importance of karst systems, the need for their protection, as well as project results and public presentations and discussions, and tailor-made educational programs for schools; - Raising the awareness of the local population and increasing their responsibility for sustainable management and protection of water resources; - Improving specific knowledge among students and exchange of new information among scientists.
[Added: 2016/04/13] [Last Updated: 2019/10/02]
National focal points in each of the countries 2023/10 Initiated Update Sept 2019: Project to be launched in the 4th Q2019 (LPAC scheduled for October 2019). During the entire project implementation, the attention will be paid to the awareness raising and visibility. The project team will include a Communication Expert and will cooperate with relevant experts History
7. Recommendation:

Plan the follow-up in a more conservative way in terms of assumptions and risks (e.g. allocate more time for time-consuming activities, such as harmonization and adoption processes, or for translation of documents into local languages, especially given a limited flexibility of the UN procurement rules; allocate some time to accommodate changes in the project team, both governmental representatives and experts).

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/18]

Very good recommendation to be adressed;

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The new project development team takes into consideration the results and recommendations from the current DIKTAS project evaluation, in terms of more conservative approach in the project design.
[Added: 2016/04/18] [Last Updated: 2018/02/26]
UNDP-GEF Project development team / UNDP RTA (Vladimir Mamaev) 2018/01 Completed SAP Project preparation PPG phase from Jan 2017 to Jan 2018, tentative timeframe. Status update in Feb 2018 as completed: The new phase of DIKTAS project is in effect as of 19 February 2018 reflecting recommendations of the evaluation. History
8. Recommendation:

Preserve NICs (even if the SAP will not be implemented in future) as a basis for inter-sectoral communication and coordination within countries.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/18]

It was a conclusion of the last Steering Committee meeting that the NICs should be preserved

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
If the project is continued, the NICs will remain one of the basic collaboration mechanisms in the project. If not, only the countries (responsible ministries for water) can ensure preservation of NICs.
[Added: 2016/04/18] [Last Updated: 2019/10/02]
PMU of the SAP project / UNDP IW RTA Countries governments 2020/09 Initiated Update Sept 2019: Project to be launched in the 4th Q2019 (LPAC scheduled for October 2019). According to the ProDoc, the National Interministerial Committees will be re-established in countries with the participation of high-ranking members across the ministries (agriculture, mining, energy, finance, planning and water, but also other ministries as relevant and if they have a mandate within wastewater/solid waste pollution issues), and together with the Joint Thematic Expert Groups will participate to the establishment of the CIE and its Secretariat, and to the definition of their tasks and regulations. History
9. Recommendation:

Consider possibilities (and sustainability) of holding the PSC meetings more frequently and thus further strengthen the project management.  

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/18]

Steering Committee meetings was held once per year, each year in the other project country. The organization of meeting asks for considerable preparations and the SC members (senior officials) are not easily available.  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
It will be suggested to the Steering Committee to meet twice per year. Depends also of available budget and the project dynamics. An option could be to have telecons between regular yearly meetings.
[Added: 2016/04/18] [Last Updated: 2019/10/02]
PMU of the SAP project and Steering Committee / UNDP IW RTA 2019/09 Completed Update Sept 2019: Project to be launched in the 4th Q2019 (LPAC scheduled for October 2019). According to the ProDoc the Project’s Board will meet at least once each year and according to necessity, i.e. it will be the Project Board decision to have additional meeting during the year. History
10. Recommendation:

Plan a stronger Project Coordination Unit in the region that would, in addition to the Project Coordinator, include an information officer and an administrative officer (and preferably a GIS/database specialist).

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/18]

Excellent recommendation is well received to be adressed by the key action

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To be clearly embedded in the project document, composition of the team and the project budget.
[Added: 2016/04/18] [Last Updated: 2019/10/02]
UNDP-GEF Project development team / UNDP RTA (Vladimir Mamaev) 2019/09 Completed Update Sept 2019: Project to be launched in the 4th Q2019 (LPAC scheduled for October 2019). According to the ProDoc the project has allocations for experts working on project activities and PCU staff working on technical and management activities – indicative PCU staff: Project Manager, M&E officer, Communications Officer, Gender Officer, Accountant, etc. as needed History
11. Recommendation:

Further strengthen the Project Team by ensuring a closer and permanent cooperation among NFPs of project countries.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/18]

This depends very much of National Focal Points, their continuation in this role (often personal changes at ministries) and personal motivation (they are not financially compensated by the project like the Project Team specialists are).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Already in the project preparation phase visit the responsible ministries in the countries and discuss possibilities to ensure increased involvement of NFPs in the project.
[Added: 2016/04/18] [Last Updated: 2018/02/26]
UNDP-GEF Project development team / UNDP RTA (Vladimir Mamaev) 2018/01 Completed SAP Project preparation PPG phase Jan 2017 to Jan 2018, tentative timeframe Status update in Feb 2018 as completed: The new phase of DIKTAS project is in effect as of 19 February 2018 reflecting recommendations of the evaluation. History
12. Recommendation:

Ensure a better quality check of outputs and performance of experts, inter alia, by linking a contract renewal closely to performance in a previous contract period.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/18]

Excellent recommendation to be adressed by the key action

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
This asks for closer involvement of the Project Manager in contracting procedure. The position of the Project Manager should be clearly defined in the project document.
[Added: 2016/04/18] [Last Updated: 2018/02/26]
UNDP-GEF Project development team / UNDP RTA (Vladimir Mamaev) 2018/01 Completed SAP Project preparation PPG phase Jan 2017 to Jan 2018, tentative timeframe. Status update in Feb 2018 as completed: The new phase of DIKTAS project is in effect as of 19 February 2018 reflecting recommendations of the evaluation. History
13. Recommendation:

Consider appropriateness of decentralizing the Project budget on a yearly basis and possibilities to minimize administrative obstacles.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/18]

The budget handling was a huge administrative obstacle in the first phase of the project. This was one of the reasons for delays in the project execution.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The budget needs to be decentralized for a longer periods (a year) and/or large working packages and not to go through a complex procedure for each minor budget item.
[Added: 2016/04/18] [Last Updated: 2018/02/26]
UNDP-GEF Project development team / UNDP RTA (Vladimir Mamaev) 2018/01 Completed SAP Project preparation PPG phase from Jan 2017 to Jan 2018, tentative timeframe. Status update in Feb 2018 as completed: The new phase of DIKTAS project is in effect as of 19 February 2018 reflecting recommendations of the evaluation. History
14. Recommendation:

When planning the awareness raising and capacity building activities, try to ensure that the responsible organization is, either located in the region or includes a person with an ability to speak languages of the project region.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/18]

Recommendation is accepted to be adressed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
As specified above in the recommendation: try to ensure that the responsible organization is, either located in the region or includes a person with an ability to speak languages of the project region. Hence to be included in ToR and to actively search for possible candidates.
[Added: 2016/04/18] [Last Updated: 2018/02/26]
UNDP-GEF Project development team / UNDP RTA (Vladimir Mamaev) 2018/01 Completed SAP Project preparation PPG phase from Jan 2017 to Jan 2018, tentative timeframe Status update in Feb 2018 as completed: The new phase of DIKTAS project is in effect as of 19 February 2018 reflecting recommendations of the evaluation. History

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