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Outcome VI

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OUTCOME VI: Project Management, monitoring and evaluation implemented
Output 4.1.- Project management and indicators including annual targets

The Implementing Partner of the project will be the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs/ Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency following the UNDP national execution modality. In executing the project, the NCS will have the responsibility to ensure the liaison and coordination with other ministries and the agencies and authorities under them, who have a stake in the project.

The project will establish a Project Management Unit (PMU) located in Cairo to manage the project and provide coordination among stakeholder organizations at the central level during the project period, and a Project Board to steer the activities of the PMU. The PMU will be instrumental in conveying the messages/ outcomes of actual site work to relevant central bodies and making use of them in developing new policies.

The UNDP country office in Cairo will be responsible for monitoring and ensuring proper use of UNDP-GEF funds to assigned activities, timely reporting of implementation progress, and undertake mandatory and non-mandatory evaluations. In this context, UNDP will provide necessary support and backstopping to ensure proper implementation progress, convene weekly meetings with project management, provide feedback and revision to products and documents, and where necessary, filter project results to be in line with overall objectives as well as GEF-UNDP requirements.

Project Management Unit (PMU): Day-to-day implementation and management of the project will be undertaken by the Project Management Unit, under the overall guidance of a Project Board, which will be responsible for steering the activities of the PMU. Heading the project board will be the CEO of EEAA and members will include the director of the NCS, director of the EPF, a representative from UNDP, selected PA Managers, and the PMU. If deemed necessary a higher level Steering Committee might be established to include the Ministry of Petroleum, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Economic Development, a representative from the GEF National Steering Committee, a UNDP/GEF representative, representatives from the private sector and selected nature conservation experts (including representatives from civil society organizations and NGOs, where appropriate). Additional members will be decided during the project inception phase. For the PMU, a full time project manager, project coordinator, and technical, administrative and financial staff, will be selected jointly by the Implementing Partner and UNDP, in consultation with the UNDP/GEF Regional Co-ordination Unit. The role of the PMU will be to: (a) ensure overall day-to-day project management and monitoring according to UNDP rules on managing UNDP/GEF projects; (b) facilitate communication and networking among key stakeholders in Cairo; (c) organize meetings of the PSC, and (d) support Local Committees.

Output 4.2 - Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

Project monitoring and evaluation will be conducted in accordance with established UNDP and GEF procedures and will be provided by the project team and the UNDP Country Office (UNDP-CO) with support from the UNDP/GEF Regional Coordination Unit for Arab States. The Logical Framework Matrix provides performance and impact indicators for project implementation along with their corresponding means of verification. The METT tool, Financial Scorecard and Capacity Assessment Scorecard will all be used as instruments to monitor progress in PA management effectiveness. The M&E plan for progress, process and implementation includes: inception report, project implementation reviews, quarterly and annual review reports, a mid-term and final evaluation. Ecological, technical and impact evaluations are included as part of the project and reflected in the logistics framework matrix. The project's Monitoring and Evaluation Plan will be presented and finalized in the Project's Inception Report following a collective fine-tuning of indicators, means of verification, and the full definition of project staff M&E responsibilities.

Monitoring and reporting Project Inception Phase

A Project Inception Workshop will be conducted with the full project team, relevant government counterparts, co-financing partners, the UNDP-CO and representation from the UNDP-GEF Regional Coordinating Unit, as well as UNDP-GEF (HQs) as appropriate. A fundamental objective of this Inception Workshop will be to assist the project team to understand and take ownership of the project’s goals and objectives, as well as finalize preparation of the project's first annual work plan on the basis of the logistics framework matrix. This will include reviewing the logistics framework (indicators, means of verification, assumptions), imparting additional details as needed, and on the basis of this exercise, finalizing the Annual Work Plan (AWP) with precise and measurable performance indicators, and in a manner consistent with the expected outcomes for the project. Additionally, the purpose and objective of the Inception Workshop (IW) will be to:

  • (i) introduce project staff to the UNDP-GEF team which will support the project during its implementation, namely the CO and responsible Regional Coordinating Unit staff;
  • (ii) detail the roles, support services and complementary responsibilities of UNDP-CO and RCU staff vis à vis the project team;
  • (iii) provide a detailed overview of UNDP-GEF reporting and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) requirements with particular emphasis on the Annual Project Implementation Reviews (PIRs) and related documentation, the Annual Review Report (ARR), as well as mid-term and final evaluations.

The IW will provide an opportunity to inform the project team on UNDP project related budgetary planning, budget reviews, and mandatory budget rephrasing. The IW will also provide an opportunity for all parties to understand their roles, functions, and responsibilities within the project's decision-making structures, including reporting and communication lines, and conflict resolution mechanisms.The Terms of Reference for project staff and decision-making structures will be discussed again, as needed, in order to clarify for all, each party’s responsibilities during the project's implementation phase.

Monitoring responsibilities and events

A detailed schedule of project review meetings will be developed by the project management, in consultation with project implementation partners and stakeholder representatives, and be incorporated in the Project Inception Report. The schedule will include:

  • (i) tentative time frames for Project Board Meetings, and
  • (ii) project related Monitoring and Evaluation activities. Day-to-day monitoring of implementation progress will be the responsibility of the Project Manager based on the project's Annual Work Plan and its indicators.

The Project Manager will inform the UNDP-CO of any delays or difficulties faced during implementation so that the appropriate support or corrective measures can be adopted in a timely and remedial fashion. The Project Manager will fine-tune the progress and performance/impact indicators of the project in consultation with the full project team at the Inception Workshop with support from UNDP-CO and assisted by the UNDP-GEF Regional Coordinating Unit. Specific targets for the first year implementation progress indicators together with their means of verification will be developed at this Workshop. These will be used to assess whether implementation is proceeding at the intended pace and in the right direction and will form part of the Annual Work Plan. Targets and indicators for subsequent years will be defined annually as part of the internal evaluation and planning processes undertaken by the project team.

Measurement of impact indicators related to global biodiversity benefits will be made according to the schedules defined in the Inception Workshop, using METT scores. The measurement of these will be undertaken in-house through NCS’s scientific and technical team, supplemented as necessary by subcontracts or retainers with relevant institutions. Periodic monitoring of implementation progress will be undertaken by the UNDP-CO through quarterly meetings with the Implementing Partner, or more frequently as deemed necessary. This will allow parties to take stock and to troubleshoot any problems pertaining to the project in a timely fashion to ensure smooth implementation of project activities.

Annual Monitoring will occur through the Project Board Meetings (PBM). This is the highest policy-level meeting of parties directly involved in the implementation of the project. The project will be subject to PBMs two times a year. The first such meeting will be held within the first six months of the start of full implementation. At least one PBM will be scheduled to coincide with PIR/ARRs; the other will be held as necessary and deemed relevant by the board members and/or the project team.

The Project Manager in consultations with UNDP-CO and UNDP-GEF RCU will prepare a UNDP/GEF PIR/ARR and submit it to PBM members at least two weeks prior to the PBM for review and comments. The PIR/ARR will be used as one of the basic documents for discussions in the PB meeting. The Project Manager will present the PIR/ARR to the Project Board, highlighting policy issues and recommendations for the decision of the PBM participants. The Project Manager also informs the participants of any agreement reached by stakeholders during the PIR/ARR preparation on how to resolve operational issues. Separate reviews of each project component may also be conducted if necessary. The Project Board has the authority to suspend disbursement if project performance benchmarks are not met. Benchmarks will be developed at the Inception Workshop, based on delivery rates, and qualitative assessments of achievements of outputs; such benchmarks will cover both GEF and co-financed results as well as identified triggers referred to in Appendix 2 of the project document.

The terminal PBM is held in the last month of project operations. The Project Manager is responsible for preparing the Terminal Report and submitting it to UNDP-CO and UNDP-GEF RCU. It shall be prepared in draft at least two months in advance of the terminal PBM in order to allow review, and will serve as the basis for discussions in the PBM. The terminal meeting considers the implementation of the project as a whole, paying particular attention to whether the project has achieved its stated objectives and contributed to the broader environmental objective. It decides whether any actions are still necessary, particularly in relation to sustainability of project results, and acts as a vehicle through which lessons learnt can be captured to feed into other projects under implementation of formulation.

UNDP Country Offices and UNDP-GEF RCU as appropriate will conduct yearly visits to project sites based on an agreed upon schedule to be detailed in the project's Inception Report/Annual Work Plan, to assess first hand the project’s progress. Any other member of the Project Board may join such visits. A Field Visit Report/BTOR will be prepared by the CO and UNDP-GEF RCU and circulated no less than one month after the visit to the project team, all Project Board members, and UNDP-GEF.

Project Reporting

The Project Manager in conjunction with the UNDP-GEF extended team will be responsible for the preparation and submission of the following reports that form part of the monitoring process. The first six reports are mandatory and strictly related to monitoring, while the last two have a broader function. Their frequency and nature is project specific, as defined and redefined throughout the implementation period.

A Project Inception Report will be prepared immediately following the Inception Workshop. It will include a detailed First Year/ Annual Work Plan divided in quarterly time-frames detailing the activities and progress indicators that will guide implementation during the first year of the project. This Work Plan will include the dates of specific field visits, support missions from the UNDP-CO or the Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) or consultants, as well as time-frames for meetings of the project's decision making structures. The Report will also include the detailed project budget for the first full year of implementation, prepared on the basis of the Annual Work Plan, and including any monitoring and evaluation requirements, to effectively measure project performance during the targeted 12 months time-frame. The Inception Report will include a more detailed narrative on the institutional roles, responsibilities, coordinating actions and feedback mechanisms of project related partners. In addition, a section will be included on progress to date on project establishment and start-up activities and an update of any changed external conditions that may effect project implementation. When finalized, the report will be circulated to project counterparts who will be given a period of one calendar month in which to respond with comments or queries. Prior to this circulation of the IR, the UNDP Country Office and UNDP-GEF’s Regional Coordinating Unit will review the document.

An Annual Review Report shall be prepared by the Project Manager and shared with the Project Board. As a self-assessment by project management, this does not require a cumbersome preparatory process. As a minimum requirement, the Annual Review Report shall consist of the Atlas standard format for the Project Progress Report (PPR) covering the whole year, with updated information for each element of the PPR, as well as a summary of results achieved against pre-defined annual targets at the project level. As such, it can be readily used to spur dialogue with the Project Board and partners. An ARR will be prepared on an annual basis prior to the Project Board meeting to reflect progress achieved in meeting the project's Annual Work Plan and assess performance of the project in contributing to intended outcomes through outputs and partnership work. The ARR should consist of the following sections: (i) project risks and issues; (ii) project progress against pre-defined indicators and targets, and (iii) outcome performance.

The Project Implementation Review (PIR) is an annual monitoring process mandated by the GEF. It has become an essential management and monitoring tool for project managers and offers the main vehicle for extracting lessons from ongoing projects. Once the project has been under implementation for a year, a Project Implementation Report must be completed by the CO together with the project team. The PIR should be jointly prepared in July and discussed with the CO and the UNDP/GEF Regional Coordination Unit during August with final submission to UNDP/GEF Headquarters in the first week of September.

Quarterly progress reports: Short reports outlining main updates in project progress will be provided quarterly to the local UNDP Country Office and the UNDP-GEF RCU by the project team.

UNDP ATLAS Monitoring Reports: A Combined Delivery Report (CDR) summarizing all project expenditures, is mandatory and should be issued quarterly. The Project Manager should send it to the Project Board for review and the Implementing Partner should certify it. The following logs should be prepared: (i) The Issues Log is used to capture and track the status of all project issues throughout the implementation of the project. It will be the responsibility of the Project Manager to track, capture and assign issues, and to ensure that all project issues are appropriately addressed. (ii) The Risk Log is maintained throughout the project to capture potential risks to the project and associated measures to manage risks. It will be the responsibility of the Project Manager to maintain and update the Risk Log, using Atlas. (iii) The Lessons Learned Log is maintained throughout the project to capture insights and lessons based on good and bad experiences and behaviours. It is the responsibility of the Project Manager to maintain and update the Lessons Learned Log.

Project Terminal Report: During the last three months of the project the project team will prepare the Project Terminal Report. This comprehensive report will summarize all activities, achievements and outputs of the Project, lessons learnt, objectives met, or not achieved, structures and systems implemented, etc., and will be the definitive statement of the Project’s activities during its lifetime. It will also lay out recommendations for any further steps that may need to be taken to ensure sustainability and replicability of the Project’s activities.

Periodic Thematic Reports: As and when called for by UNDP, UNDP-GEF or the Implementing Partner, the project team will prepare Specific Thematic Reports, focusing on specific issues or areas of activity. The request for a Thematic Report will be provided to the project team in written form by UNDP and will clearly state the issue or activities that need to be reported upon. These reports can be used as a form of lessons learnt exercise, provide specific oversight in key areas, or act as troubleshooting exercises to evaluate and overcome obstacles and difficulties encountered. UNDP is requested to minimize its requests for Thematic Reports, and when they are necessary, will allow reasonable time frames for their preparation by the project team.

Technical Reports are detailed documents covering specific areas of analysis or scientific specializations within the overall project. As part of the Inception Report, the project team will prepare a draft Reports List, detailing the technical reports that are expected to be prepared on key areas of activity during the course of the Project, with tentative due dates. Where necessary, this Reports List will be revised and updated, and included in subsequent ARRs. Technical Reports may also be prepared by external consultants and should be comprehensive, specialized analyses of clearly defined areas of research within the framework of the project and its sites. These technical reports will represent, as appropriate, the project's substantive contribution to specific areas, and will be used in efforts to disseminate relevant information and best practices at local, national and international levels.

Project Publications will form a key method of crystallizing and disseminating the results and achievements of the Project. These publications may be scientific or informational texts on the activities and achievements of the Project, in the form of journal articles, multimedia publications, etc. These publications can be based on Technical Reports, depending upon the relevance, scientific worth, etc. of these Reports, or may be summaries or compilations of a series of Technical Reports and other research. The project team will determine if any of the Technical Reports merit formal publication, and will also (in consultation with UNDP, the government and other relevant stakeholder groups) plan and produce these Publications in a consistent and recognizable format and they will be edited for language excellence and clarity (in English or in Arabic) externally. Project resources need to be defined and allocated for these activities as appropriate and in a manner commensurate with the project's budget.

Independent evaluations

The project will be subjected to at least two independent external evaluations as follows: An independent Mid-Term Evaluation will be undertaken at exactly the mid-point of the project lifetime. The Mid-Term Evaluation will determine progress being made towards the achievement of outcomes and will identify course correction if needed. It will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of project implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and will present initial lessons learned about project design, implementation and management. Findings of this review will be incorporated as recommendations for enhanced implementation during the final half of the project’s term. The organization, terms of reference and timing of the mid-term evaluation will be decided after consultation between the parties to the project document. The Terms of Reference for this Mid-term evaluation will be prepared by the UNDP CO based on guidance from the UNDP-GEF Regional Coordinating Unit.

An independent Final Evaluation will take place three months prior to the terminal Project Board meeting, and will focus on the same issues as the mid-term evaluation. The final evaluation will also look at impact and sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development and the achievement of global environmental goals. The Final Evaluation should also provide recommendations for follow-up activities. The Terms of Reference for this evaluation will be prepared by the UNDP CO based on guidance from the UNDP-GEF Regional Coordinating Unit.

Learning and knowledge sharing

Results from the project will be disseminated within and beyond the project intervention zone through a number of existing information sharing networks and forums. In addition, the project will participate, as relevant and appropriate, in UNDP/GEF sponsored networks organized for Senior Personnel working on projects that share common characteristics. The UNDP/GEF Regional Unit has established an electronic platform for sharing lessons between project coordinators. The project will identify and participate, as relevant and appropriate, in scientific, policy-based and/or any other networks, which may be of benefit to project implementation though lessons learned. The project will identify, analyze, and share lessons learned that might be beneficial in the design and implementation of similar future projects. Identifying and analyzing lessons learned is an on-going process, and the need to communicate such lessons as one of the project's central contributions is a requirement to be delivered not less frequently than once every 12 months. UNDP/GEF shall provide a format and assist the project team in categorizing, documenting and reporting on lessons learned.