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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Environmental Resources Management Project

1. Project Data:   
Project ID:
Project Name:
Environmental Resources Management Project
Environmental Institutions, Environment
L/C Number:
Partners Involved:
Prepared By:
Andres Liebenthal, OEDST
Reviewed By:
Ridley Nelson
Group Manager:
Gregory K. Ingram
Date Posted:

2. Project Objectives, Financing, Costs, and Components:

The primary objective of the project was to strengthen the capacity of the Government and the people to manage environmental resources through:

(i) improving resource management and monitoring capability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
(ii) developing an environmental information system; and
(iii) assisting environmental resource users to implement improved natural resource management and use practices.
The project included the following components:
(a) development of national environmental management and environmental information systems;

(b) a pilot project to introduce better land management practices to reduce land degradation; and
(c) providing demarcation and management for five coastal wetland (Ramsar) sites which are important for migratory waterfowl.
Total project costs of $31.4 million were financed by an IDA credit of $17.9 million (approved October 1992 and closed December, 1998, one year later than planned), a GEF grant of $7.2 million, a DFID (UK) grant of $7.2 million, and DANIDA grant of $4.1 million, and counterpart funds of $0.9 million.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The main objective of the project was substantially achieved:
(i) the resource management and monitoring capability of the EPA has been improved;
(ii) an effective environmental information system has been developed;
(iii) the objective of introducing better land management practices was partially achieved, with the creation of a Land and Water Management Unit (LWMU) in the Ministry of Agriculture, and the implementation of pilot programs in 42 of the 68 communities planned at appraisal.
(iv) the coastal wetlands demarcation and management component, which was financed unter a GEF grant, has been extended by one more year to December, 1999, and will be evaluated in a separate ICR.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

The project contributed to the establishment and strengthening of the EPA, and the strengthening of other institutions, forming a strong network for environmental management at the national level. Valuable information on most environmental problems has been generated and disseminated widely. EPA is now able to develop policies and programs, monitor environmental problems and provide advice to government at the national and local levels. A participatory approach for improved land management was successfully implemented in 42 communities.

5. Significant Shortcomings (include non-compliance with safeguard features):

Detailed regulations on environmental impact assessments are still awaiting approval by Parliament. Environmental monitoring and enforcement remain a challenge to be met. The effective use of environmental data being generated remains to be seen. The results of the pilot program for improved land management remain to be seen. The highly unsatisfactory level of counterpart funding (of under 20% of the level projected at appraisal, declining to zero in the final year) was a major cause of delays in implementation, and threatens the sustainability of activities and capacities built up under the project. Only four of fifteen planned studies were carried out. The monitoring provisions for the project were limited to outputs, rather than outcomes and impacts, which are of particular interest for an environmental project.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Institutional Dev.:
    In spite of a high degree of ownership and commitment, the Government's declining (from a low base) ability to provide counterpart funds for the project augurs poorly for the sustainability of many of the achievements of the project.
Bank Performance:
Borrower Perf.:
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

Establishing the capacity to manage and implement an environmentally sustainable development strategy is a long term goal which requires effective and coordinated policies, institutions and regulatory frameworks within key sectors. These goals were difficult to achieve within the time frame of the project. A more flexible and longer term approach, such as an Adaptable Program Loan, would have offered a more appropriate instrument for pursuing such a goal.
Even though the Government's commitment to the project was strong, its capacity to allocate counterpart funds for the project, and continue budgetary support for the activities initiated under the project, was overestimated. In hindsight, more attention should have been devoted at the project preparation and appraisal stages to the design and introduction of alternative resource mobilization measures that could have filled the gap in funding and enhanced the sustainability of operations. Greater Bank proactivity during implementation might also have helped.

8. Audit Recommended?  No

          Why?  To verify the sustainability of project activities and evaluate the experience gained with the pilot program for improved land management.

9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR provides an interesting and candid synthesis of the implementation experience of the project, with excellent documentation and identification of lessons learned. The balance of the coverage could have been improved by devoting more attention to the participatory experience and results with the implementation of improved land management and use practices, since this was a pilot program. It is not clear why the ICR deems the funding covenant as "partially complied" when total counterpart funding averaged less than 20% of the committed amount, declining to zero in the last year of the project. Also, given that a comprehensive environmental information system has been established, it would have been useful for the ICR to indicate some the key findings regarding issues, such as land degradation, water resource management, industrial and mining pollution, that had been identified as key issues deserving of highest policy level attention. In the discussion of future operations, it would have been important for the ICR to have identified key performance monitoring indicators for the future (operational) phase of the project, and laid the groundwork for monitoring and evaluation of the project's future operation by the Borrower.

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