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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Tn-Natural Resource Mgmt

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Tn-Natural Resource Mgmt
Project Costs(US $M)
 51.3  35.4
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 26.5  20.9
Sector, Major Sect.:
Crops, Irrigation & drainage, Central government administration, Sub-national government administration, Other social services,
Agriculture fishing and forestry; Agriculture fishing and forestry; Law and justice and public administration; Law and justice and public administration; Health and other social services
Cofinancing (US $M)
 1.7  0.2
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
European Union 
Closing Date
06/30/2003 06/30/2004
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
John R. Heath
Roy Gilbert Alain A. Barbu OEDSG

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives

In three major agro-climatic zones of Tunisia (corresponding to the governorates of Jendouba, Kasserine and Medenine), the project sought to:
(i) Improve natural resources management, preserving resources and, where feasible, helping to reverse degradation, by developing integrated land management practices, controlling land erosion and introducing new technologies to increase on-farm income;
(ii) Improve rural communities' standard of living and promote better targeted and more durable investments by implementing Participatory Development Plans that strengthen partnership between the administration and local communities and increase ownership and responsibility on the part of beneficiaries; and
(iii) Support decentralization of the Ministry of Agriculture by introducing the participatory approach at the level of Regional Agricultural Development Offices (CRDAs), and provide tools to enhance policy analysis and improve project planning and implementation for sustainable natural resources use.

b. Components

(i) Participatory Development Plans (Estimated cost, US$38.0 million; Actual cost, US$29.4 million). Includes soil and water conservation works, agricultural and pastoral development, rehabilitation of small-scale irrigation, rural roads, potable water, and women's support activities;
(ii) Water Works (Estimated cost, US$8.4 million; Actual cost, US$3.4 million). Comprises hill ponds, water recharge works, and spate irrigation works; and
(iii) Institutional Strengthening (Estimated, US$4.9 million; Actual, US$2.6 million). Comprises measures to strengthen the CRDAs and funding of the project implementation unit.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates

Closing was delayed by one year mainly owing to a lag in implementation of the EU-financed component for staff training. Project costs were almost one-third less than expected, primarily because, in US dollar terms, the Tunisian Dinar depreciated by 27 percent during implementation. Beneficiaries contributed slightly more than planned (14 percent of total project cost compared to the 13 percent forecast at appraisal).

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

(i) Improve Natural Resources Management (Achieved). Installation of spate irrigation and water recharge works generally exceeded appraisal expectations (in two of the three project governorates, the works installed exceeded by more than 200 percent the baseline position). Measures to improve resource management and productivity in soil and water conservation areas boosted indicator values by 22-52 percent compared to eroded areas.
(ii) Improve Rural Communities' Standard of Living (Partially Achieved). The percentage of households that by project end had access to rural roads and potable water fell short of appraisal estimates (in each case, about two-thirds had access by project end whereas at appraisal it was anticipated that 90-100 percent would be served). The growth of wheat and olive yields also lagged, mainly because of drought. Non-farm business activities are still incipient (with financial benefits not well monitored).
(iii) Support Decentralization (Achieved). The number of community contracts per year that were completed exceeded expectations: averaging 117 per year across the three governorates compared to an appraisal forecast that averaged 78 per year. The beneficiary share of the cost of soil and water conservation was (except in Jendouba) in line with what had been forecast. The share of works carried out by small contractors was less than expected (20 percent, not 30 percent plus) but still significant.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

  • This was a valid attempt at scaling-up. Natural resource management activities piloted in the North-West Development Agency (ODESYPANO) were replicated in three other regional centers (CRDAs) which initially had less capacity and were less adapted to the participatory approach.
  • The project successfully demonstrated that Ministry of Agriculture staff in the CRDAs have the potential to promote participatory development planning at the local level.
  • The number of households served by the project (12,800) greatly exceeded appraisal estimates (7,000).
  • The beneficiary survey and stakeholder workshops revealed substantial ownership of the participatory approach championed by the project, and the government is committed to consolidating the results achieved, having provided the necessary bridging finance.
  • The economic rate of return was re-estimated at 18 percent, compared to the 14 percent projected at appraisal.

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

  • Consolidation of the project's achievements is hampered by the absence of rural finance institutions adapted to smallholder needs.
  • The community-level Development Committees are project-driven entities and it is not yet clear if they will be able to mobilize funds and remain active without project support.
  • Community-level measures to conserve natural resources are not adequately complemented by measures (e.g. marketing, input procurement) bearing more directly on income generation.
  • A long period of drought (1998-2002) reduced productivity gains during project implementation.
  • 6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
    Institutional Dev.:
    Bank Performance:
    Borrower Perf.:
    Quality of ICR:

    7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

    • Project management is facilitated when there are detailed, well-quantified indicators of project outputs and outcomes.
    • Winning the support of the rural population for natural resource conservation takes substantial time, requires intensive training and will only succeed if conservation measures are complemented by other initiatives that will raise incomes in the short-term.
    • If gains from the participatory planning approach are to be continued it is wise to plan in advance for a follow-on project.
    • It may be counter-productive to rely on co-financiers for funding token portions of the overall cost; in this case, EU delays in funding the training component resulted in major implementation delays even though they accounted for only 3 percent of total project cost.
    • Ultimately, for community-driven development to succeed, a dialogue must be opened up between the community and local government.

    8. Audit Recommended?  No


    9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

    This Intensive Learning ICR, which included a beneficiary survey and stakeholder workshop, is of high quality. The survey and workshop findings are very rich and clearly presented (Annexes 8 and 9) and it is based on this initiative and the quality of the reporting that the ICR is rated exemplary. Annex 1 (Key Performance Indicators) contains a compact set of outcome indicators, allowing the reader to quickly capture the project's strengths and limitations and the amount of variation between the three participating regions; it would have been even stronger if baseline values had been included. The economic analysis (Annex 3) is very thorough.

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