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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Reversing Land And Water Degradation Trends In The Niger River Basin


  
1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
04/22/2013   
Country:
Africa
PROJ ID:
P070256
Appraisal
Actual
Project Name:
Reversing Land And Water Degradation Trends In The Niger River Basin
Project Costs(US $M)
 42.64  74.79
L/C Number:
Loan/Credit (US $M)
   
Sector Board:
Water
Cofinancing (US $M)
 6.00  5.75
Cofinanciers:
GEF, Bank Netherlands Water Partnership Program, NORAD through the Africa Water Resources Management Initiative Trust Fund
Board Approval Date
  05/20/2004
 
 
Closing Date
08/21/2009 02/28/2011
Sector(s):
Central government administration (100%)
Theme(s):
Water resource management (25% - P) Land administration and management (25% - P) Regional integration (24% - P) Environmental policies and institutions (13% - S) Biodiversity (13% - S)
         
Prepared by: Reviewed by: ICR Review Coordinator: Group:
George T. K. Pitman
Soniya Carvalho Soniya Carvalho IEGPS1

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives:
The recipient of the Global Environmental Facility's (GEF) Grant was the multi-national Niger River Basin Authority. The Niger Basin Authority (NBA) was established more than forty years ago by the nine riparian countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria). It has an institutional mandate to manage the Niger River resources in a joint and cooperative manner. The NBA promotes cooperation between the member countries in developing the Basin’s natural resources and harmonizing national development policies.

The project development objectives described in the Global Environmental Facility's Trust Fund Grant Agreement between the Bank and the NBA (page 13) were to:


    "(a) to strengthen the capacity of the Recipient to promote and improve coordinated and sustainable land and water management in the Basin; (b) to strengthen institutional mechanisms in Member Countries for management of transboundary land and water issues; (c) to develop a Strategic Action Program to improve the conservation and management of land and water resources in the Basin; and (d) to assist the Recipient in coordinating donor support for implementation of the Strategic Action Program and effective transboundary management."

The project development objectives described in the Project Appraisal Document (page 5) were:

    "to provide the nine riparians an opportunity to define a transboundary framework for the sustainable development of the Niger River Basin, through strengthened capacity and better understanding of the Basin’s land and water resources."

The Global Environmental Objectives (PAD page 4) were:

    "to reduce and prevent transboundary water-related environmental degradation; prevent land degradation; and protect globally significant biodiversity through sustainable, informed, and cooperative integrated management of the Basin, while ensuring greater public involvement in the Basin’s decision-making process."

This Review uses the Trust Fund Grant Agreement's statement of objectives (marked in italics) as it is more monitorable.

b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?
No

c. Components:
While total costs and Bank-executed GEF grant costs at appraisal are known, only the actual costs of the Bank-executed GEF Grant and the parallel UNDP-executed GEF grant are presented in the ICR as indicated below.

1: Institution Building
(Total cost at appraisal was US$8.32 million of which the Bank-executed GEF amount was US$3.52 million. Actual total cost is not known; the Bank-executed GEF grant financed US$ 4.29 million; other financiers' contributions are unknown).

    The component was to support activities that would augment and strengthen the regional and national institutional capacities of the NBA and affect the broader inter-ministerial network engaged in the decision-making process to enable sustainable management and development of the Basin:
      1. The project management and Coordination Unit (PMCU) was to be established within the NBA to strengthen the NBA’s Project management capacity. Subsequently, the PMCU was to hire a select staff with key environmental and water resource management, financial management and procurement skills, with specific inputs from specialists as needed. At the national level, the GEF project was to support the National Project Teams, strengthening the national level capacity, and facilitate National-level meetings in all nine countries to approve work plans.
      2. Specific to the GEF Project, with support from the AfDB, the NBA's core personnel and personnel from existing institutions at the regional and national levels were to receive training on project management, including but not limited to procurement, disbursement, project cycles, implementation and decision-making processes, and monitoring and evaluation. A core group of specialists was to be built within regional and national institutions that already have some experience in managing regional environmental projects. This level of effort was expected not only strengthen the NBA's capacity to function as regional river basin organization, but also to provide opportunities for inter-ministerial collaboration and cooperation on transboundary issues.
2: Capacity Building and Public Awareness
(Total cost at appraisal was US$3.43 million of which the UNDP-executed GEF grant amount was US$1.62 million. Actual total cost is not known; the UNDP-executed GEF grant financed US$ 2.14 million; other financiers' contributions are unknown).
    Activities were designed to raise environmental awareness in target communities, facilitate consultations, and build capacity on issues relating to environmental management at the local, national and regional levels. The capacity building activities were aimed to synergize parallel AfDB national- and local-level program activities and the national and local capacity-building efforts of Component 5. The GEF Project was to augment current capacity building in two ways: a) by focusing primarily on the environmental aspects of Basin management; and b) by including local organizations in the capacity-building program. It was anticipated that these local organizations would also be involved in the process of developing the Trans-Boundary Diagnostic Analysis and the Strategic Action Program. The public education and awareness campaign was to focus on the need for shared natural resource management and was to be delivered in target communities eligible for the Microgrant Program through appropriate local-level channels of communication that was to include: messages and information on integrated Basin water and land management principles, policy and governance; assessment of ongoing natural resources management activities; dialogue-building among the different actors through platforms and local networks; and the conditions of access to, and opportunities offered by, the Microgrant Program for community development. Youth, who comprise over 40% of the Basin’s inhabitants, were to be specifically targeted by this component.

3: Data and Knowledge Management
(Total cost at appraisal was US$6.18 million of which the Bank-executed GEF grant was to finance US$1.13 million. Actual total cost is not known; the Bank-executed GEF grant financed US$0.77 million; other financiers' contributions are unknown).
    This component was to support riparians to build a robust partnership to manage land and water data at the Basin level. It was expected, drawing on the work being done by the GEF Project in the Senegal Basin, to establish an information system framework for improved data collection, exchange, and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in all nine countries. It was expected also, given the complexity of the task involved, that the riparian countries would collect and process the data within their national jurisdiction and that the NBA would provide the basin-wide analysis and aggregation.The NBA was to work together with the riparian countries to promote a mutual understanding between the riparian countries, and among decision-makers, on the importance of data-sharing mechanisms. This was to include defining and establishing procedures and protocols to ensure data compatibility, processing, and dissemination. In addition, training and workshops were to be conducted to strengthen existing communication between the technical and political communities at the national and regional levels. An important cross-cutting activity was to supplement the Basin-Wide Economic Model with an Environmental Dimension through defining the appropriate parameters to integrate an environmental dimension, hiring and training staff to program the environmental dimension and integrate these data within the economic model to optimize benefits for basin-level planning and better informed decision-making.
4: Regional Forum
(Total cost at appraisal was US$0.38 million of which the UNDP-executed GEF grant was US$0.38 million. Actual total cost was US$0.59 million of which the UNDP-executed GEF grant financed US$0.59 million).
    This was to facilitate the exchange of lessons and good practices from other regional projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, expanding International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network, and strengthening the relationship with existing Pan-African and international networks of Basin organizations, such as the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Southern African Development Community Water Sector Coordination Unit, etc. With guidance from the two implementing agencies and support from the Program Management and Coordination Unit, the NBA was expected to organize a forum to promote and strengthen these network relationships.The Regional Forum was to be entirely supported by the GEF.

5: Demonstration Pilots and Microgrant Program
(Total cost at appraisal was US$22.70 million of which the UNDP-executed GEF grant was US$5.00 million. Actual total cost is not known; the UNDP-executed GEF grant financed US$ 4.27 million; other financier's contributions are unknown).
    This component aimed to support two parallel efforts in all nine Basin countries. The first was to assist communities in tackling environmental problems through the implementation of nine priority demonstration pilots that would demonstrate good practices in managing land and water resources. In parallel to the demonstration pilots, a series of community-based, microgrant-supported interventions were to be supported building on lessons emerging from the pilots’ demonstration activities. This component was to be managed by national project teams with relevant support and supervision provided by local organizations based in the field and who were experienced in resource management activities.

6: Trans-Boundary Diagnostic Analysis and Preparation of the Strategic Action Plan
(Total cost at appraisal was US$1.93 million of which the Bank-executed GEF grant amount was US$1.35 million. Actual total cost is not known; the Bank-executed GEF grant financed US$0.94 million; other financier's contributions are unknown).
    Activities were to finalize the preliminary Trans-Boundary Diagnostic Analysis conducted during project preparation in the countries (Benin, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria) on the main stem of the river by extending the analysis to the remaining four riparian countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad and Cote d’Ivoire). Using this extended analysis it was expected that countries, coordinated by the NBA, would prepare a Strategic Action Plan that focusses on land and water issues. The final SAP was to be the strategic document for decision-makers for future actions and sustainable development and investments in the Basin. Local and national counterparts preparing the SAP were to be required to identify, for the proposed priority activities, the possible environmental and social impacts, and any future investments and actions that may be required to comply with the riparian’s environmental policies and any future regional policies established in the Basin. The SAP was to have full support and endorsement from the interministerial review and regional review.The SAP was expected to complement the NBA's Shared Vision’s multi-sectoral Sustainable Development Action Program.

d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
Project Cost:

  • The total project cost estimated at appraisal was US$42.64 million including preparatory studies. Total actual cost at completion according to the ICR was US$74.02 million. While the PAD gives a full account of the distribution of total costs among components, the ICR only provides the overall total cost and each development partner's contribution. It does not state actual total costs by component. Although the ICR indicates that project funds were reallocated in November 2010 (to provide additional funds for operational costs, consultancy costs for the independent mid-term review and an independent final evaluation), it only provides actual component financing by the GEF executing agencies (the Bank and UNDP). Financing:
    • Financing arrangements were very complex. The Bank executed a GEF Grant of US$6.00 million, and UNDP independently executed a GEF Grant of US$7.00 million. US$5.75 million of the Bank/GEF Grant was disbursed and US$0.25 million was cancelled at closing. The UNDP/GEF grant was fully disbursed. There were two cofinanciers: the Bank executed US$0.160 million from Norway, as planned, through the Africa Water Resources Management Initiative Trust Fund, and the Dutch contributed US$0.57 million of the US$0.59 million planned through the Bank-Netherlands Water Partnership Program.
    • There was parallel financing amounting to a total of US$60.88 million. The French government contributed, as planned, a grant of US$4.78 million towards financing component 1 (US$0.25 million), component 3 (US$4.42 million) and component 6 (US$0.12 million). The AfDB provided, as planned, US$21.97 million to support component 1 (US$4.17 million) and component 5 (US$17.70 million). While not foreseen at appraisal, Canadian CIDA contributed US$7.2 million and Germany contributed US$11.32 million through GTZ; the ICR does not indicate which components this financing supported. In addition, the UNDP Transboundary River Basin Initiative provided US$0.17 million for component 6.
    Borrower:
    • At appraisal, it was expected that a total of US$2.07 million would be provided. The NBA was to contribute in-kind US$0.38 million for component 1, and the riparian countries were to contribute US$1.62 million in-kind. The ICR (page 24) does not indicate how much was actually contributed.
    Dates:
    • The closing date was first extended by one year to August 31, 2010 because project effectiveness took 11 months to secure. A second extension was granted until February 28, 2011, to allow the final Strategic Action Plan document to be endorsed by the 29th Council of Ministers meeting in November 2010. The UNDP also extended its closing date to December 2011 to provide sufficient time to organize the June 2011 regional forum, completing the integration of the the Strategic Action Plan into the Sustainable Development Action Program, and funding some key activities leading to the next phase.


  • 3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

    a. Relevance of Objectives:
    High:

  • Project objectives to increase conservation, and improve coordination and management of land and trans-boundary water resources were and remain highly relevant. The Niger River Basin is characterized by the advanced degradation of the environment caused by human pressure on natural resources and climatic changes. Water withdrawal is mainly allocated to agriculture that represents a large part of the Niger River Basin's Gross Domestic Product: crop production (25% to 35% of GDP), livestock (10% to 15% of GDP) and fishery (1% to 4% of GDP). About three-quarters of the basin's population is rural and more than 70% of the people in the riparian countries were below the poverty line (less than US$2 per day) in 2004. Thus sustainable management of scarce water resources are central to each country’s policies on economic growth, poverty alleviation, and sustainable livelihoods. Objectives are consistent with the general sector goals of relevant Bank Country Assistance Strategies and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. All acknowledged the link between environmental degradation, inadequate water supply and poverty, the importance of the environment for economic development, and the need to strengthen institutional capacity.
  • Objectives are relevant to the long-term goal of the NBA which is to “promote cooperation among the member countries and to ensure integrated development in all fields through development of its resources, notably in the fields of energy, water resources, agriculture, forestry, transport and communication and industry." Objectives are also relevant to two of the five pillars of New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) that promotes food security and coping with climate change and natural resources management, and its Short‐Term Action Plan for Trans-boundary Water Resources, 2005. The project's water-related and institutional objectives remain relevant to the strategic objectives of African Union/NEPAD African Action Plan 2010-2015.
  • Objectives are relevant to the Bank strategies for the water sector and the Region. The current Water Resource Management Strategy: Strategic Directions for World Bank Engagement (2003) promotes among its four key actions support for countries' collaborative management of water resources in key river basins. The Africa Action Plan (2005) emphasizes the importance of increasing agricultural productivity and water as two of several means to facilitate closer regional integration. The overarching goals of the Bank's 2008 Regional Integration Assistance Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa include strengthening collaboration across borders, promoting cooperation, and coordinating investments to support shared water resources.
  • Finally, the GEF aim to generate global benefits through sustainable transboundary water resources management and comprehensive participation of stakeholders in land and water management is fully aligned with GEF’s Operational Program 9 “Integrated Land and Water Multiple Focal Area”. Program 9 aims to “achieve multiple global environmental benefits through implementation of International Waters projects which utilize integrated land and water management strategies that help achieve changes in sectoral policies and activities while promoting sustainable development.”

  • b. Relevance of Design:
    Modest

  • While the results framework in which the project operated was clear, project inputs were broadly scattered activities in nine countries at multiple institutional levels (ICR page 22), and it is difficult to see how they would work synergistically with the myriad activities financed by others outside the project. The many donor agencies supporting technical assistance each brought their own requirements and procedures and the disparities in staff incentive packages made it difficult to recruit and retain technical staff. According to the ICR (page 21), a multi-donor trust fund might have simplified some aspects of implementation.


  • 4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

    The project development objectives described in the Global Environmental Facility's Trust Fund Grant Agreement between the Bank and the Niger Basin Authority (page 13) were:
    "(a) to strengthen the capacity of the Recipient to promote and improve coordinated and sustainable land and water management in the Basin; (b) to strengthen institutional mechanisms in Member Countries for management of transboundary land and water issues; (c) to develop a Strategic Action Program to improve the conservation and management of land and water resources in the Basin; and (d) to assist the Recipient in coordinating donor support for implementation of the Strategic Action Program and effective transboundary management."

    There was a multiplicity of donors working in parallel to the project and a number of bilateral technical assistance projects operated independently within the basin on water-related projects and institutional support. Thus attribution is difficult. In consequence, the exact degree to which the Bank-executed GEF funding contributed to the outcomes cannot be fully determined.

    (a) To strengthen the capacity of the Recipient to promote and improve coordinated and sustainable land and water management in the Basin: Substantial
    Outputs:
    • A national level framework for land and water data and a set of environmental and socio-economic indicators at basin level was developed and completed in 2009 (target 2006). Both studies and a meta-database on biophysical and socio-economic indicators are available on-line. Access to this website, however, is hampered by erratic local electricity and server maintenance problems. The Niger Basin Observatory, established in 2006, monitors hydrological status and is expected to monitor the remaining 28 indicators that were identified at the Basin level under the project. Given the importance of environmental monitoring of the Niger Basin, development partners especially the French Development Agency, CIDA, EU, and GTZ, are continuing to support the strengthening of the Niger Basin Observatory.
    • A conceptual manual on standardized and harmonized hydrological data procedures was prepared and shared through 8 national workshops. A regional workshop was conducted in February 2011. For hydrology data, the information and data sharing network is fully operational, and the information exchange protocol between NBA and countries was fully achieved.
    • It was intended also to define a framework and the details for a regional and basinwide environmental and socio-economic information system to facilitate coordinated basin-wide decision-making. The framework was to specify protocols and standards for data collection, processing and dissemination using local, national, and regional specialists. However, these components were dropped from the project and funded by the French Development Agency.
    • Study tours were conducted to the Senegal River Basin Organization and to the Danube River Basin. Staff from the Nile Basin Initiative came to the NBA and exchanged experiences. NBA staff participated in the technical meetings on the Lake Chad Strategic Action Plan. A Regional Forum to develop links with other Pan-African networks dealing with integrated water management held in Mali in June 2011 (target 2007).
    Outcomes:
    • In May 2005 (a month after project effectiveness), the extraordinary session of the NBA Commission held in Abuja adopted the statement of the Shared Vision as follows: ‘‘The River Niger Basin, a common space of sustainable development through an integrated management of water resources and related eco-systems, for the enhancement of the living conditions and prosperity of the population by 2025”. With regard to the Shared Vision Process, it was agreed that the process will be based on the following three items: (i) strategic assessment of the basin development opportunities and constraints, (ii) development and adoption of the Sustainable Development Action Program , and (iii) approval of a 20-year Investment Program.
    • The NBA sensitized riparian countries on the Water Charter, which was approved in April 2008. By December 2009, all the nine countries had signed the Water Charter and by June 2010, seven countries out of nine had ratified the Water Charter. The Executive Secretary of the NBA (with a delegation of technical experts) visited the nine countries, met with Ministers of Water, and in some countries with the President or prime ministers (when there was delay in signing or issues to discuss at a higher political level).
    • Improved knowledge and data sharing supported development decisions at the Basin level. In the context of the Program, hydrological and economic models of the Niger Basin for key development scenarios and key sectors (irrigation, energy, livestock, etc) were developed - how far this was assisted by the project is unclear. The results of the models allowed the Council of Ministers meeting in Niger to chose a specific development scenario. Subsequently, in April 2008, the Heads of State Summit approved a US$1.4 billion Investment Program related to this specific development scenario.
    • A Strategic Action Plan facilitated by the project was discussed at a regional workshop in August 2010 and was endorsed by the 29th Council of Ministers of the NBA in November 2010, three years later than planned (2007) although the report was finalized in July 2007. The Plan is the first phase of a two-phase longer-term strategic planning process.

    (b) to strengthen institutional mechanisms in Member Countries for management of transboundary land and water issues: Modest
    • 33 Local Coordination and Monitoring Committees were established and partially supported by the project. These committees proved to be only modestly effective because some of the national agencies executing project pilot activities had inadequate operational, technical and fiduciary capacity. According to the ICR the Teams were not provided with adequate financial resources for their proper functioning. In addition, their ability to implement the project was severely delayed in 2005 – 2006 by several staff resignations and difficulties in recruiting replacements. The Region subsequently informed IEG that these initial problems were surmounted.
    • National Project Teams consisted of a National Coordinator and a specialist in micro-grant supported interventions. Micro-grant activities were implemented through NGOs and these helped to raise local awareness of the importance of sound water and land management.
    • Riparian institutions became informed about the need for, and their role in, better management of transboundary land and water issues through public awareness programs. A film documentary and brochures on NBA and the status of the Basin’s land and water resources were produced. Consultation meetings, workshops on conflict prevention and resolution of IWRM related issues, as well as public debates and radio talks, were conducted.

    (c) to develop a Strategic Action Program to improve the conservation and management of land and water resources in the Basin: Substantial

    Outputs:
    • Notwithstanding the difficulties of implementing the pilot projects, a national Transboundary Diagnosis Analyses (TDA) and a Strategic Action Program were completed following a participatory process that included multidisciplinary teams at the national and regional level. The TDA analysis conducted during the project preparation in the countries bordering the main Niger river was completed in 2009 and is reported to be validated through a participatory process. It presented the transboundary problems prioritized by the basin stakeholders as follows: (i) degradation of vegetation cover and soil erosion, (ii) reduced water availability and quality, and (iii) loss of terrestrial biological diversity.
    • The results of the TDAs fed the development of the 9 national action plans and these were completed in 2010. Subsequently the basin-wide Strategic Action Plan for the period 2013-2027 was completed. This Plan ranked trans-boundary environmental problems, provided information on specific sites in the basin that have a rich biodiversity, identified political, legal and institutional reforms, and integrated aspects related to climate change/variability and socio-economic impacts. The Plan also provided a first estimate of the cost of addressing transboundary environmental impacts at US$1.5 billion.
    • The ICR (page 8 and 30) notes that while Local Coordination and Monitoring Committees were established to design the pilots, 7 of the 9 pilots were implemented and monitoring was not comprehensive. As a consequence, there were limited learning outcomes from the pilot activities during the project and UNDP extended its closing date to allow time to complete the pilots. Instead, the lessons for the Strategic Action Plan were derived from the micro-grant activities.
    • A total of one hundred and eight (108) micro-grants were implemented in the nine countries by community-based organizations and NGOs. The ICR (page 42) states that "the component was the only one to provide concrete work on the ground for communities and it was important to show how communities can benefit in concrete terms from regional cooperation." It is claimed that the pilot and micro-grant programs increased the visibility of the NBA across all the countries of the basin and that participation of local beneficiaries in resource management has developed an environmental awareness that could benefit long-term integrated basin resources management. Although the ICR provides no details of what the micro-grants financed, where they are located, what the intended outcomes were and what the actual achievements were, this was partially filled in by the Regional comments. Yet there is inadequate information on outcomes and lessons learned.
    • Workshops to assess lessons learned from micro-grant supported interventions were held in at least 6 countries. The comparative analysis of good basin management practices and strategies, and the compilation of knowledge and experience on basin management acquired from other river basins was carried out in Mali in February 2011.

    Outcomes:
    • A Strategic Action Plan facilitated by the project was discussed at a regional workshop in August 2010 and was endorsed by the 29th Council of Ministers of the NBA in November 2010, albeit three years later than planned (2007). The Plan is the first phase of a two-phase longer-term strategic planning process. The first (completed) phase identified the main issues and conclusion for each one of the development challenges (food security; access to drinking water and sanitation; access to healthcare, education and decent housing; improving employment opportunities and consolidating income; access to sustainable energy sources; access to transport and communications; and conservation of natural heritage). Key development opportunities were reviewed basin-wide and the role of water resources in catalyzing development identified. The second-phase is to focus on feasible water development projects and, via multi-criteria analysis, shortlist priority projects and programs.
    • The Council of Ministers approved a resolution that the Strategic Action Plan should be mainstreamed in the Program, thereby enhancing the future management of land and water resources in the Basin.
    • There was limited learning from the pilot studies and the reliance put on micro-grants to generate lessons raises some question about the reality and quality of higher level planning involving the TDA and the Strategic Action Plan that relied on these inputs.
    • Some national projects are proceeding towards financing and construction. The project team informed IEG that these projects had their feasibility studies conducted a decade or more ago and fully took into account conservation and land management issues prevalent then. The NBA provided a conducive environment to resurrect these proposals and update the analyses to fully reflect the requirements of the NBA's integrated river basin criteria for approving projects.
    • Citing the ICR (page 15), the team's comments point out "The total contribution funding of partners in the shared Vision was US$75 million, and the round table that the NBA conducted at the end of the shared Vision resulted in a pledge of US $1,400 million."

    (d) to assist the Recipient in coordinating donor support for implementation of the Strategic Action Program and effective transboundary management: Substantial
    • There was clearly concerted and coordinated action by the donors supporting the NBA, judging from the achievements noted under other objectives above, particularly the outcomes under the first objective. The Plan, four-years behind schedule, was approved one month before the project closed and it is not yet part of the multi-sector Sustainable Development Action Program for the Basin.
    • Even so, the NBA has become effective at coordinating transboundary water development in the Basin as the following examples indicate:
          Scaling-down Projects: in 2011 the NBA was informed by Mali of a project to be funded by the AfDB and the IFC. Initially the project was to develop about 14,000 hectares of sugar cane. Based on the Water Charter, Mali notified the NBA on its wish to pursue project development. After conducting due-diligence water resources modeling, the NBA informed Mali that until the Fomi dam (in Guinea) is built only 8,000 ha sugar can be developed. The project was subsequently redesigned on that basis.

          Scaling-up Projects: During the extraordinary Council of Ministers (September 2010) meeting, Burkina Faso mentioned that they had appreciated the support of the NBA in dealing with dams that needed to be larger than initial design. This change in design resulted in a potential transboundary effect in Mali. Burkina Faso initiated bilateral discussions with Mali and both countries agreed to have the independent technical review by the NBA as a neutral third party. The project team said this was a good example of how the NBA supported the dialogue and is considered a trusted party by riparians.

          The NBA is taking leadership in ensuring better understanding and facilitating the preparation of basin investment projects with riparian consensus and to ensure smooth implementation. For example, the NBA, at the request of Niger, conducted the technical analysis on the downstream effects of Kandadji dam in Niger on two downstream dams in Nigeria (Kainji and Jebba). They also developed many scenarios of the dam (e.g. without irrigation, 30 000 ha irrigation, and 45 000 ha irrigation). The analysis also juxtaposed the effect of the dam and irrigation with the hydrology variability in the last 30 years showing that the effect of full development of the Kandadji project (i.e., 45,000 ha) is less than 5% (in the flow in Kainji) compared to the historical variability of 30%. Beyond the technical aspects, as Nigeria had not been responding to the riparian notification, the NBA Executive Secretary met with the Nigerian Minister of Water to personally ensure that Nigeria was fully aware of the downstream implications of the Kandadji dam. In a follow-up, in April 2012, the NBA organized a workshop to initiate the preparation of the APL 2B with the nine countries. This is proactive as the APL 2B Board date is the end of calendar year 2014 and they agreed with the countries on 9 selection criteria for activities on APL 2B, based on the SDAP/IP, priority at national level, and economic analysis. NBA initiated this preparation to ensure that when the Project goes to the Board, activities will be advanced in their preparation and we don't again experience delays in the disbursement. As a result of these coordinated activities, the Kanadji Project is being presented for financing to the Board of the World Bank in the fall of 2012.

    There has been some progress towards achievement of the Global Environmental Objectives ("to reduce and prevent transboundary water-related environmental degradation; prevent land degradation; and protect globally significant biodiversity through sustainable, informed, and cooperative integrated management of the Basin, while ensuring greater public involvement in the Basin’s decision-making process"). Transboundary issues are now being analyzed and addressed by the NBA. However, while some institutional mechanisms have been put in place, there is little evidence of public involvement in the decision-making processes affecting the Basin's development.


    5. Efficiency:

    The PAD did not report an economic analysis at appraisal. Instead it noted (page 9): "It is within the objective of the Project design to invest in the Basin’s regional and national institutions and local stakeholders in order to strengthen their capacity for cooperative and sound decision-making. The value of such an investment can only be determined at Project completion with successful achievement of the outcome indicators. Regional and national contributions to sustained dialogue, communications, and decision-making constitute the long-term costs and benefits for sustainable investments in the Basin." There were no outcome indicators and the ICR did not undertake any economic or cost-effectiveness analysis.

    The cost-effectiveness of project management was poor and not all project activities were completed as planned. Overall, project activities were delayed by poor planning, and financial management and procurement problems that were exacerbated by initial high turnover of key staff (2005-2006) and problems with the timely recruitment of a procurement specialist. This resulted in inadequate budgeting and procurement plans for the first two years of the project, all of which affected the initial project implementation and delayed disbursements. Consequently, the project took two to three years from the start to achieve some momentum. Some activities did not deliver results, others were dropped. These problems were compounded also by the two different donor procurement systems (the Bank and UNOPS) that caused long delays in the mobilization of funds and project activities, and the differing terms for project support staff depending on which donor contributed to their support. Thus, at least initially, staff were difficult to recruit and keep. While many managerial and administrative inefficiencies were addressed by the second half of the project, most key outputs were delivered several years behind schedule.

    Efficiency is rated Modest.

    a. If available, enter the Economic Rate of Return (ERR)/Financial Rate of Return at appraisal and the re-estimated value at evaluation:


    Rate Available?
    Point Value
    Coverage/Scope*
    Appraisal:
    No
    %
    %
    ICR estimate:
    No
    %
    %

    * Refers to percent of total project cost for which ERR/FRR was calculated

    6. Outcome:

    Three of the four objectives were substantially achieved and the objectives were highly relevant. However, relevance of design and efficiency were modest, and one objective was modestly achieved. These are moderate shortcomings, commensurate with a moderately satisfactory outcome rating.

    a. Outcome Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

    7. Rationale for Risk to Development Outcome Rating:

    • The NBA’s riparians have cleared their past arrears in annual contributions and can now cover the NBA's core operational costs.
    • There is large-scale and coordinated development partners’ support for the NBA to implement the Strategic Development Action Program.
    • The NBA’s Technical Department and Observatory are understaffed and this decreases their effectiveness. However, the member countries issued a resolution in 2011 to increase the technical staffing of the NBA, and development partners have committed to provide bridging support for two years.
    • Some of the micro-grant supported interventions may be unsustainable due to the non-availability of funding for future maintenance.

      a. Risk to Development Outcome Rating: Moderate

    8. Assessment of Bank Performance:

    a. Quality at entry:
    Project preparation and background analysis were thorough but were ambitious in terms of expecting too much in a short time from weak river basin and national institutions with a poor knowledge and skills base. The dual top-down, bottom-up approach effectively financed separately through the Bank and UNDP split the project in two with very little to link them until national committees were established. These difficulties were exacerbated by the huge area covered by the nine countries in the project. A more focused approach may have been more manageable given the modest resources available. While partnership with other donors worked well in terms of potentially better coordination, not enough attention was paid to the practical implications of differing donor procurement modalities and rules for technical assistance and budget support for project activities. As a result, the project suffered initially from extensive delays and difficulties with procurement and staffing. Project design included a very detailed results framework that was very process-oriented. Indicators did not have good baseline estimates and end-of-project targets for environmental outcomes were not defined.

    Quality-at-Entry Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

    b. Quality of supervision:
    The Bank team had three Task Team Leaders and supervision was inadequate between 2005 and 2007. As a result, the focus on ensuring attention to achieving development outcomes in the first three years of the project were not given adequate attention. Annual supervision budgets were generally not commensurate with the project's geographic scope of nine countries in a complex region. Changes in regional coordination left the project without a coordinator for about eight months. Subsequently, supervision increased and improved for the last five years of the project. The Mid-Term Review in 2009 was conducted in a series of missions that cover all the member countries (except Guinea due to civil unrest) and revealed a number of problems that were corrected. The Bank and UNDP worked closely together in the project steering committees and were proactive in providing strategic guidance to the annual work plans and budget.

    Quality of Supervision Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

    Overall Bank Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

    9. Assessment of Borrower Performance:

    a. Government Performance:
    Country participation in regional and national planning for the project was strong. Annual work plans were approved each year at the National and Regional Steering Committees for adoption at the subsequent NBA Council of Ministers' meetings. However, high level political support was not matched by adequate budget support for the NBA and locally. And as a result of weak national institutions and insufficient funding, project achievements were delayed and below their potential.The NBA was moderately effective at coordination with major stakeholders and development partners and managing Steering Committees at various levels, albeit with delays.

    Government Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

    b. Implementing Agency Performance:
    The project management and coordination unit located within the NBA got off to a poor start due to high turnover of key staff (2005-2006) and problems with the timely recruitment of a procurement specialist. This resulted in inadequate budgeting and procurement plans for the first two years of the Project, all of which affected the initial project implementation and delayed disbursements. Financial management was of variable quality and steadily declined to moderately unsatisfactory until 2009 after which time it improved. Budgeting and progress reporting was tardy and annual work plans were thin and lacked the benefit of lessons learned from good monitoring and evaluation - the failure of the pilot studies to deliver results is a good example of this. There was adequate expertise although the planned expert in integrated water resources management was never recruited. The unit also shared three experts with the AfDB-funded project on Siltation Control, but this was not as successful as expected due to work overload, priority conflicts, and differences of views and delays in project implementation. An independent final review states that the shared regional specialist recruited for M&E reportedly did not make any supervision mission to the countries for the project. According to the ICR unequal arrangements for salaries and benefits for the Bank and UNDP-supported components caused demotivation and negativity.

    Implementing Agency Performance Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

    Overall Borrower Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

    10. M&E Design, Implementation, & Utilization:

    a. M&E Design:
    The PAD paid particular attention to the results framework (Annex 3) not only in general terms by linking expected outcome to objectives and components, but also indicating what outcomes were expected during each year of the five-year implementation period. However, most indicators were to monitor process and outputs rather than the quality of the expected outcomes.

    b. M&E Implementation:
    Generally implementation was uneven after a very delayed start. The independent final review states that the shared regional specialist recruited for M&E reportedly did not make any supervision mission to the countries for the project (ICR page 20). While some data were collected it was neither systematic nor well-organized.

    a. M&E Utilization:
    According to the ICR there is no evidence that M&E contributed significantly to informed decision-making, or to project planning and management.

    M&E Quality Rating: Negligible

    11. Other Issues:

    a. Safeguards:
    The project was classified as environmental category "B" (partial assessment) under OP4.01 Environmental Assessment. It was expected that there would be only minor short-term environmental impacts associated with the pilot projects and micro-grant supported interventions. In addition, the safeguard policy OP7.5 International Waterways applied but was not invoked. During project preparation, the NBA developed an Environmental and Social Management Framework for the pilot projects and micro-grant activities. A Micro-grant Operational Manual provided environmental selection and screening criteria, notification and procedural rules for implementation, and institutional responsibilities for the micro-grants program. Selection criteria included the requirement that interventions with negative environmental or socio-economic impacts would not be approved. The ICR states that environmental and social safeguards were in compliance with Bank policies.

    b. Fiduciary Compliance:
    Financial management: Supervision ratings for Financial Management declined from an initial satisfactory to moderately unsatisfactory by March 2009, but improved to the satisfactory range after the MTR. The MTR noted delays in disbursements due to initial weaknesses in planning and lack of pro-activity in budgeting, much of which was the result a lack of clear guidance for some activities, and problems of recruiting and retaining qualified accounting staff. The ICR reports that neither Bank supervision or audits nor the final mission revealed any critical issues - and by the end of the project the rating of financial management was upgraded to moderately satisfactory.

    Procurement: Initially procurement experienced significant delays until 2007 due to the lack of experience. A post-procurement review was carried out on the project management unit and on the national project teams during the period March-June 2009. The review concluded that: (i) contracts were awarded in line with the approved procurement plans, and (ii) procurements (standard bidding documents, evaluation and contract awards) were generally carried out according to Bank procedures. The ICR (page 10) states that procurement and contract document archiving improved significantly in the latter part of the project.

    c. Unintended Impacts (positive or negative):
    None known.

    d. Other:



    12. Ratings:

    ICR
    IEG Review
    Reason for Disagreement/Comments
    Outcome:
    Satisfactory
    Moderately Satisfactory
    Three of the four objectives were substantially achieved and the objectives were highly relevant. However, relevance of design and efficiency were modest, and one objective was modestly achieved. These are moderate shortcomings, commensurate with a moderately satisfactory outcome. 
    Risk to Development Outcome:
    Moderate
    Moderate
     
    Bank Performance:
    Moderately Satisfactory
    Moderately Satisfactory
     
    Borrower Performance:
    Moderately Satisfactory
    Moderately Satisfactory
     
    Quality of ICR:
     
    Unsatisfactory
     
    NOTES:
    - When insufficient information is provided by the Bank for IEG to arrive at a clear rating, IEG will downgrade the relevant ratings as warranted beginning July 1, 2006.
    - The "Reason for Disagreement/Comments" column could cross-reference other sections of the ICR Review, as appropriate.

    13. Lessons:
    The ICR offers several observations. Two lessons, modified by IEG, standout:

    Design and supervision of regional projects must be based in institutional realities. There is a need for realism in operations that have multiple players with highly variable institutional capacity at the regional, national and local levels. The project implemented many broadly scattered activities in nine countries at multiple institutional levels through strongly centralized and cumbersome disbursement processes for grass-root level activities. This not only put unrealistic demands on the project management unit but it also proved to be difficult and expensive to supervise.

    Working with a consortia of donors on a common problem needs careful design - in this case developing NBA's capacity for regional planning. Many development partners funded the Shared Vision Process but each partner came with their own requirements and procedures. This put a considerable strain on the NBA's administrative capacity and created inefficiencies. A more harmonized approach using pooled donor funding and commonly agreed financing, procurement and disbursement procedures have proved successful for other multi-donor partnerships, for example addressing HIV/AIDs.

    In addition, IEG offers the following lesson:

    Confining M&E to process issues during implementation runs the risk of making the quality of the required outcomes a secondary consideration.

    14. Assessment Recommended?

    Yes
    Why?
    To verify the ratings and document lessons learned.

    15. Comments on Quality of ICR:

    The ICR is inconsistent and contains considerable repetition and duplication. It is output-oriented and even then there is no systematic accounting for expected outputs against the inputs planned at appraisal. Several of the achievements described either pre-date the project or can be attributed to others' efforts. There is almost no attention to the quality of deliverables and many of the conclusions drawn on outcomes are not evidence-based. The ICR could have made a greater effort to plug the gaps in the project's outcome evidence.

    a. Quality of ICR Rating: Unsatisfactory

    (ICRR-Rev6INV-Jun-2011)
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