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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Pilot Forestry and Watershed Management Project

1. Project Data:   
Project ID:
Project Name:
Pilot Forestry and Watershed Management Project
Forestry, Agriculture
L/C Number:
Partners Involved:
Prepared By:
Ridley Nelson, OEDST
Reviewed By:
Patrick Grasso
Group Manager:
Gregory Ingram
Date Posted:

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

Total Project Costs at Appraisal: US $37.4 m; Total Project Costs Actual: US $20.4 m; IBRD Financing at Appraisal: US $25.0 m; IBRD Financing Actual: US $11.3 m.

The main objective of the pilot project was to develop a long-term action program to better protect and manage Algeria's natural resources, specifically its forests, watersheds, and nature conservation areas. The intention was to strengthen the institutions working in these areas and, through appropriate testing, to develop the policy and technical basis for replication more widely.

The project included three main components: (a) development of a strategy for the forestry and watershed sectors, including a study of the forestry sector and preparation of management plans for major watersheds; (b) pilot forestry development, including nursery development, pilot reforestation, pilot exploitation, applied research, institutional strengthening, training, and technical assistance; (c) pilot watershed management, including pilot operations for protection and production. The project was restructured in 1996

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

Overall, the project did not achieve its key development objective, nor did it achieve a large part of its project-specific objectives. While achievement of objectives would have been possible, they were optimistic given the limited institutional, financial and technical capacity. The deteriorated security situation made overall implementation more difficult and implementation must be judged in that light. In particular, Technical Assistance could not continue due to the security conditions. At completion a marginal ERR of 10 percent was estimated.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

There was some achievement in the strengthening of departments (DGF). A forest fire protection program was quite successful; this component was included at the time of restructuring. The training objectives were surpassed. Some progress was achieved with the upgrading of the Guerbes nursery, although this took much longer than planned, and some equipment has still to be installed.

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

The three studies for the development of the strategy were not realized, mainly due to the security situation. Of the 4,300 hectares of plantations which were planned at appraisal, only 307 hectares were planted by the end of the project. The pilot logging operation was not implemented due to the security situation. Very limited progress was made in the adaptive research program due to the security situation, the loan portion financing watershed management was canceled in 1996. Time-consuming government procurement procedures slowed implementation. The failure by the General Directorate of Forestry to recruit an economist principal as head of the project management team hampered implementation. M&E was critical for a pilot project. However the lack of consultants and, again, the security situation made M&E very difficult. For a long period, Bank supervision missions were carried out from outside the country.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Institutional Dev.:
Bank Performance:
    On balance, we give the benefit of the doubt and rate satisfactory overall, albeit marginally. We agree with the ICR unsatisfactory rating on supervision, and in a pilot project under normal circumstances would be inclined to give that the greatest weight, however we make allowance for the security situation, although the response to that was insufficiently pro-active.
Borrower Perf.:
    Satisfactory performance of borrower and Bank alongside unsatisfactory outcome would usually be questionable but is justified in this case because of the security impact.
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

1. In situations where there is a security problem during implementation, proactive and creative response on supervision arrangements is very important. 2. In a situation with weak capacity and problems with recruitment of international assistance to strengthen that capacity, project design and scope needs to be adjusted accordingly, either at appraisal, or, if necessary, later during implementation. 3. Early training in the procurement of goods and services is important in keeping tight implementation schedules on track. 4. The incentives for attracting private sector participation in forest operations need careful review. 5. As has been found with the Algeria Rural Employment Project, strong project implementation calls for sustained consultations between the project management unit, the Bank, the private sector, and beneficiary populations.

8. Audit Recommended?  No


9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

Satisfactory. However the ICR gives somewhat confusing arguments about the rating of supervision. For example, its main statement seems unreasonable: "The Bank's performance in supervision is rated unsatisfactory, mainly because the security situation did not allow Bank supervision missions to support the implementing unit adequately." It is unreasonable to rate supervision performance on something over which it had no control, but it is reasonable to rate on how supervision responded to that situation. Yet elsewhere the ICR does suggest more proactive responses that could have been taken to the situation.

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