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The Poland Environment Management Project, supported by Loan 3190-POL for US$18 million equivalent, was approved in FY90. The loan was closed in FY97, two years after the original closing date, following two extensions. It was fully disbursed. The Implementation Completion Report (ICR) was prepared by the Europe and Central Asia Region. The borrower’s report and comments on the ICR are included as annexes.

This was the Bank’s first environmental technical assistance project in Poland and the first loan of its kind in the Europe and Central Asia Region. The objectives of the project were to demonstrate a decentralized approach to environmental management, and to provide a framework for analyzing and responding to several high priority environmental concerns. The Project addressed key issues involved in operations in three officially designated ecological disaster areas—Katowice, Krakow and Legnica.

The Project had four major components: first, assistance to the Ministry of Environment in the development of new management systems and preparation of model studies. This included a review of the structure and functions of the Ministry (research institutes; incentive, regulatory and enforcement programs; and technology requirements), and advisory support for management in critical areas. Second, the Project supported the introduction of environmental audits in Poland and provided related technical training nationally and abroad. Third, a modern system of air quality monitoring, linked to environmental management programs, was established in the Katowice and Krakow regions. Fourth, a demonstration project in water resource management for the Upper Vistula River Basin was implemented, and the Regional Water Management Boards in Katowice and Krakow were established. Additionally, Geographic Information System (GIS) facilities were developed.

The project was successful in strengthening environmental institutions and raising professional skill levels. The new approaches to environmental management practiced under the project are likely to be permanently adopted in Poland and, at a minimum, carefully studied by neighboring countries. Implementation strengthened critically-needed environmental institutions, and provided state-of-the-art equipment for use in the field. From identification to Board approval only eight months elapsed—the Project demonstrated that it is possible to compress the cycle for the development of technical assistance projects if strong government commitment exists, and Bank and Borrower involve highly qualified personnel. The closing date for the Project was extended primarily to allow for implementation of an enhanced program of activities funded with savings realized through competitive procurement and supplementary grant resources from European Union and bilateral donors. The Project stayed within the planned cost limits.

OED rates the project outcome as highly satisfactory, its sustainability as likely, its institutional development as high, and Bank performance as highly satisfactory. These ratings are equivalent to those in the ICR.

The ICR is of satisfactory quality. It provides performance indicators for future operations, identifies needed Government actions, and draws a number of key lessons. The field and technical review processes used during project preparation allowed involved Bank staff to come into contact with a large number of environmental institutions and to clearly identify counterparts’ institutional and professional priorities. The manner in which the Project involved a large number of representatives of environmental institutions in the preparation process is a model that merits broader application in the Bank: Project success was largely due to shared vision, achieved through broad participation.

An audit is planned.

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