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Greening Sochi Olympic Games:A Strategy and Action Plan for the Greening Legacy
Commissioning Unit: Russian Federation
Evaluation Plan: 2011-2017
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 06/2014
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Russian Federation
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation: Work right up to the end of the project with the MNRE and the Government to understand that without approval of additional carbon offset programme (3.2 mil t CO2) Sochi Olympic Games cannot claim to be truly carbon neutral according to the best international standards.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/08/01]

The key incremental value of this project is that it has brought high level international expertise on carbon management, reporting and offsetting, in support to respective national efforts. In doing so, the project indeed was working a lot to build understanding of these issued among the key governmental stakeholders. The mere fact that the carbon offset programme (5.1 mln t CO2) prepared according to the best international standards was accepted by the national counterparts - the MNRE and the Sochi 2014 organizing committee, should be regarded as an achievement of this project. Going beyond that and speeding up the decree of the Russian Government is clearly outside of the project scope and potential influence. The project provided all possible support and advocacy for the governmental decisions, but it is the Russian Government which is to secure delivery of Russia?s commitments on carbon-neutrality.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation: Integrate proper project timing evaluation into the project development and approval system at both the UNDP and GEF, including effective independent evaluation of project idea at the very early stage of project identification. The project approval system should not focus on content of the project and its objective only, but it should integrate proper timing as well. Proper timing is a critical factor for all development projects.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/08/01]

See comments under evaluation recommendation 3

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation: Strengthen independent internal UNDP evaluation of project proposals (including proper project timing, appropriateness for the country development stage etc.) at the very early phase of their development/identification ? before development (or contracting for development) of project document.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/08/01]

The comment is generally appreciated; however, we would like to clarify the following. The problem is that the project cycle in UNDP/GEF doesn?t allow for much flexibility in terms of project strategy (i.e. project objective and outcomes) once the project idea is approved. Even though theoretically the project development cycle for MSPs allows skipping the PPG stage, for this particular project, with the level of detail and calculations expected from the project proposal the latter could not possibly have materialized earlier and get approval; nor it would have allowed for changing the project objective and outcomes in the course of MSP preparation, for the reason stated above. Thus, two years have passed from the project idea formulation till the project became operational, and in this case this time was crucial: what was relevant at the project idea formulation stage, became outdated by the time of project implementation start. Theoretically, UNDP could have applied to the GEF seeking for alteration of project objective and outcomes in the early stage of MSP implementation, however, that would have meant resubmission and reconsideration of the project, and the associated delays (6 months or more) no doubt would have been fatal for the project.

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation: Eliminate project implementation periods without appointed project manager. Initiate Project Manager hiring process already before the actual start of project implementation period.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/08/01]

The observation is noted, however, the feasibility of its practical implementation is questionable. Certain consultations prior to the selection process can take place (and it is a usual practice), however, selection process itself cannot be initiated before the project is operational, as UNDP or the national implementing partner cannot take any commitments before the contract with the selected candidate can technically be secured.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation: UNDP/GEF projects should hire as a standard full-time project managers for project implementation (in case of hiring individuals/physical persons). In most cases effective project implementation requires full availability of project manager.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/08/01]

The recommendation is appreciated. Indeed, there is a general practice that the successful projects run by UNDP typically have dedicated full-time project managers. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. For instance, the 1685 Altay Sayan Biodiversity Conservation project was run by the manager shared between the two key environmental donors in the region ? UNDP and WWF. The project has got HS rating for project management, was praised for being able to effectively built partnerships between complementary projects, achieve synergies between UNDP and WWF interventions, and leverage co-financing in the most effective manner. In case of the Sochi project, the peculiar institutional environment predetermined the project management pattern at the early stages of project implementation. Rigid attitude of the MNRE and the selected Responsible party made it impossible for UNDP to follow the standard practice of having the project manager under the UNDP-based contract; another NIM model was used when the project manager was employed by the Responsible party and did not agree to quit this position to become a full-time PM. The National Implementing Partner made it clear that such an arrangement is a key step towards the increased national ownership to the project activities: the selected Responsible party was believed to be the key player supporting decisions of the MNRE and the Sochi 2014 organizing committee, and its Director/UNDP Project Manager was considered far more capable than any project manager ?from the outside?. With this complex environment, it was extremely difficult for UNDP to pursue the adaptive management solutions and take actions in order to make up for the weaknesses of the established project management mode. It took time to come to mutual understanding with the National Implementing Partner on the issue, and take remedy actions. The bottomline is that generally the recommendation is relevant, however, every case is unique, and adaptive management and oversight modes should be applied.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation: Arrange for the project web site and published documents to be uploaded as soon as possible after the start of the project and to remain online even after project termination, arrange for visibility and possibility for downloading key project results ? Carbon Handbook and Climate Box, etc. Ensure that such key outputs are also available on UNDP Corporate website.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/08/01]

The project website was designed and activated soon after new management of the project was introduced; the space for project website was allocated by the Implementing partner at their hosting server: http://greening-sochi2014.isedc-u.com/en/ There is also a link to the project website from the MNRE official website. The Implementing partner agreed to keep the project website after the project closure. The project team will make sure that the key project products are available at the mentioned webspace and the UNDP Corporate website.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To get clearance on the project key final products from UNDP PSO and UNDP Regional Center; make sure those are available at the project website and the arrangements made to provide the respective links from the UNDP corporate website
[Added: 2014/08/01] [Last Updated: 2018/11/05]
Project Manager 2014/10 Completed History

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