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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - 3a-gef Grndwtr & Drght Mgmt Tal (fy05)

1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
Project Name:
3a-gef Grndwtr & Drght Mgmt Tal (fy05)
Project Costs(US $M)
 7.38  7.38
L/C Number:
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 0.00  0.00
Sector Board:
Cofinancing (US $M)
 2.80  2.80
Board Approval Date
Closing Date
06/30/2009 10/31/2011
Central government administration (100%)
Water resource management (67% - P) Environmental policies and institutions (33% - S)
Prepared by: Reviewed by: ICR Review Coordinator: Group:
M. Gary Costello
Kristin Hallberg Christopher David Nelson IEGPS1

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives:
According to the Project Appraisal Document (PAD, p.6) the PDO was " The development of consensus on a Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional strategic approach to support and enhance the capacity of its member States in the definition of drought management policies, specifically in relation to the role, availability (magnitude and recharge) and supply potential of groundwater resources."

According to the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund Grant Agreement (GEFTFGA, p.15) stated "the objective of the Project is to assist the Recipient develop consensus among its Member States for regional strategic approach to support and enhance their capacity's in defining drought management policies, specifically in relation to the role, availability, recharge and supply potential for ground water resources."

The Global Development Objective (PAD, Technical Annex 3) was to better understand and protect groundwater dependent ecosystems in drought prone areas of SADC.

For the purposes of this review, the objectives detailed in the GEFTFGA will be used..Both the PDO and the GDO will be assessed.

b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?

c. Components:
The PAD (p.7) identifies four project components.

Component 1: Development, testing and demonstration of a groundwater drought management plan for the Limpopo river basin pilot areas (appraisal US$1.74 million; actual US$1.35 million)

  • The outputs of this component will be improved ability of stakeholders in the pilot areas to manage groundwater and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDEs), the small infrastructure assets constructed in the pilot areas to reduce the shocks of groundwater droughts and the ‘learnings’ derived from the pilot process which will be the input to Component 2 of the project - the development of regional groundwater drought management support. (PAD, p.7)

Component 2: Regional groundwater drought management support (appraisal US$2.03 million; actual US$1.93 million)
  • Improved knowledge of groundwater-dependent ecosystems, economic valuation of groundwater; maps of groundwater vulnerability and water scarcity; greater awareness amongst decision-makers of groundwater role; guidelines on better management of groundwater-dependent ecosystems throughout region.
  • The translation of information gained through the pilot programs, regional data and information, and the GDE research into practical management tools and guidelines will make the output of the project both accessible and useful at regional and national levels. (PAD, p. 8)

Component 3: Establishment of the Groundwater Management Institute of Southern
Africa (GMISA) (appraisal US$0.58 million; actual US$0.43 million) and the Groundwater Monitoring Fund (appraisal US$0.50 million; actual US$0.50 million)
  • Establishment of the GMISA as a regional institution capable of taking lead role in regional groundwater drought management(PAD, p.9)
  • Creation of the Groundwater Drought Monitoring Fund (GDMF). The Fund will enable continuity of the project research program (included in Component 2) and assist the Institute to establish itself, to continue monitoring the pilot areas and set up an initial research program. The GDMF will be administered and guided by the GMISA will be a key element in the management and protection of shared international aquifers in the SADC region and their dependent ecosystems.(PAD, p.9)

Component 4: Project Management and Administration (appraisal US$2.15 million; actual US$2.75 million)
  • Establishment of a Project Steering Committee, a Project Services Agency and a Project Management Unit designed to provide maximum external support to SADC Water Division (SADC-WD) through in response to lessons from earlier projects. (PAD, p.10)

There was no formal revision of the approved project components.

d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
The grant was approved on 06/14/2005 with effectiveness on 03/15/2006 and project closing 06/30/2009. The grant was extended twice by a total of 28 months from 06/30/2009 to 10/31/2011. (ICR p,. 8). The project was restructured twice. However, there was no increase in the total Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant amount.

The first restructuring was completed on December 04, 2008. The closing date was extended to December 31, 2010 to accommodate the six month delay in effectiveness and a delay in implementing project activities. Additionally, there was a reallocation of funds to adjust for cost escalations, cost savings in the ‘Goods’ and ‘Training and Workshop’ categories, and a disbursement categorizing error in the Grant Agreement. The Project Services Agency expenditures had originally been allocated to the ‘Operating Costs’ category and were moved to the ‘Consultancy Services and Audits’ category (ICR, p 4 ).

The second restructuring was completed on December 30, 2010. The final closing date was extended to October 31, 2011 to facilitate the completion of all project activities and to ensure that the Decision Support Guidelines under Component 3 were endorsed by the SADC WRTC at their annual meeting. Additionally, there was a reallocation to accommodate an increase in costs for consultancy services and to allocate the previously unallocated US$500,000 grant intended for the operationalization of GMISA. At the time of the restructuring, the mechanism for disbursement of this grant had still not been agreed and defined. In its absence, the reallocation was made to the Consultants Services and Audits’ category (ICR, p.4).

Cofinancing at appraisal estimates of $2.80 million were adhered to and the actual total estimate was $2.80 million.

3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

a. Relevance of Objectives:

Overall, The PDO and GEO remained highly relevant and consistent with (i) the priorities of the SADC
Regional Strategic Action Plan; (ii) the World Bank Regional Integration Strategy and country strategies for water resources management, and (iii) the GEF International Waters Strategy.

The project objectives were consistent with SADC’s priorities of promoting the sustainable development, extraction and protection of groundwater. The project implemented one priority project outlined in the SADC Regional Strategic Action Plan for Integrated Water. The Bank’s 2008 Regional Integration Strategy for Africa provided a framework for regional integration and programs for management of regional public goods. The strategy acknowledges that regional approaches to the management of shared waters can provide improved water security and enhanced sustainability. This was fully consistent with the GEF strategic priority for International Waters: to expand global coverage of foundational capacity building, addressing the two key program gaps in particular that of water scarcity and competing water use and support for targeted learning. (ICR, p.13)

b. Relevance of Design:

The four project components were relevant to the project's objectives.

The project built upon the momentum of the Revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses and its scope of work was informed by the Groundwater Management Program in the SADC Regional Strategic Action Plan. The proposed project activities went through a series of consultations with stakeholders at regional, river basin and local levels.

There were shortcomings in how the project's design contributed to achievement of the overall objective. These shortcomings included: complex and lengthy procedures to undertake logistics and procurement; the challenge of allocating and disbursing the grant intended for the operationalization of the GMISA and the complexities of working at different levels: local, river basin and regional. The management services agreement for UNOPS did neither include the management of the unallocated fund as it was outside their area of responsibility (ICR, p.8)

Pilot sites were selected in remote rural areas in 3 countries which created challenges for logistics, consistency and adaptability of physical and social interventions as well as procurement processes (ICR, p. 8). Over the life of the project, this shortcoming in design was mitigated through the commitment of the PMU to resolve procurement and logistics challenges, together with improved fiduciary support from the Bank team over the time of the project; as well as the progress made in establishing the GMISA..

The ICR also noted that the key institution, SADC, did not have sufficient capacity to implement the project which led to the selection of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). A Management Services Agreement was agreed to. Nevertheless, there were ongoing day-to-day management challenges in determining whose procedures to follow (World Bank or UN).

Both the first and second restructuring reflected to some extent the weaknesses in the project's original design. The team tried to address the issue of allocating and disbursing the grant for the operation of GMISA through a request for reallocation of the the funds into a new disbursement (‘grant’) category during the December 2010 restructuring. In hindsight, having this discrepancy solved before implementation could have avoided the later problem of transferring the funds to operationalise GMISA.

4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

The objective of the Project was to: "(i) assist the Recipient develop consensus among its Member States for regional strategic approach to support and enhance their capacity's in defining drought management policies, specifically in relation to the role, availability, recharge and supply potential for ground water resources." The Global Development Objective was to better understand and protect groundwater dependent ecosystems in drought prone areas of SADC.

Certain indicators used unit values where no clear methodology or baseline had been specified (for example ‘100% adoption’ by stakeholders for PDO-level indicator 1). Therefore, it was not possible to measure progress using the same unit as stated in the Results Framework. The results were presented in a descriptive manner instead. (ICR, p vi. footnote 1). The ICR evaluated a total of 16 indicators. Two indicators were assessed against the PDO and GEO objectives. The remaining were Intermediate Outcome Indicators.

PDO: assist the Recipient develop consensus among its Member States for regional strategic approach to support and enhance their capacity's in defining drought management policies, specifically in relation to the role, availability, recharge and supply potential for ground water resources.

Efficacy is rated substantial.

The project improved the technical capacity of SADC, River Basin Organisations and Member States to mitigate against groundwater drought by adopting management guidelines and tools. It also produced greater awareness of and scientific knowledge about groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDE). The ICR (p.14 ) reports that the project achieved consensus among the SADC Member States for the adoption of a regional strategic approach to defining drought management policies, specifically in relation to the role, availability, recharge and supply potential for groundwater resources. Additionally, enhancing capacity in the definition of drought management policies, has been pivotal in influencing Member States to make informed decisions on management of groundwater resources. The efficiency of the low-technology infrastructures (such as the sand dams and wind-driven distribution of water to nearby use on communal farm land, construction and protection of shallow wells, and improved equipment and routines for monitoring groundwater levels) prolong the period of underground water storage and its overall capacity for the communities (ICR p. 12). Overall, the project has been catalytic in enhancing awareness and bridging the capacity gaps on groundwater management at regional, national and local levels.

Outputs (from ICR p. v and vi Results Framework Analysis)

  • Overall, 2,940 key technical officials and policy makers were reached through 29 conferences, meetings and workshops and through 9 Project Steering Committee meetings with adjoined technical workshops.
  • Specifically, the SADC Water Resources Technical Committee (SADC WRTC), who report to the Council of Water Ministers, adopted guidelines and tools which strengthens the institutional capacity for implementation (in line with the SADC Regional Groundwater Management Program) and is recorded in minutes of WRTC meetings.
  • Target number of GDE referred was achieved through the mapping and identifying of vulnerable GDE activity.
  • GDE activities went beyond the target, in turn prolonging sustainability of impact.
  • Activity reached out to SADC policy makers, groundwater and catchment managers who thereby gained scientific knowledge on the occurrence and value of GDE.
  • Physical and social interventions were developed and tested (7 pilot areas within the Limpopo River basin in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe) to reduce community and GDE vulnerability to drought.
  • Guidelines, tools and methodologies were produced included:
     Inventory of Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems;
     Methodologies for establishing economic value of groundwater;
     Decision Support Guidelines (DSG) for policy makers required to make ground water related
    decisions adopted by the SADC WRTC in May 2011; and
     Management plans for physical and social pilot interventions testing groundwater and drought management solutions with seven communities in the Limpopo River basin across Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Outcomes (from ICR p. v. and vi. Results Framework Analysis and the ICR p. 12)

The following are reported at the outcome level.
  • SADC, River Basin Organisations and Member States are better able to mitigate against groundwater drought by adopting management guidelines and tools. Management tools and guidelines were produced, disseminated and adopted for
policy makers and other groundwater stakeholders.
  • Greater awareness of, and scientific knowledge about, groundwater dependent ecosystems [GDE] measured by referred reports on dependence in at least three representative ecosystems.
  • The sustainability of development impact is strong as the project is part of the SADC Regional Strategic Action Plan (RSAP). The RSAP is overseen by the sub-committee of the SADC WRTC.
  • At a pilot site in Sagole in South Africa, a V-notch system was constructed at the natural communal spring in the village. Community members can now monitor groundwater levels and report to necessary authorities if flows are very low due to over-abstraction in nearby unregulated wells (ICR p.15).
  • Project interventions have reduced the vulnerability of communities and GDE through:
    small scale infrastructures such as monitoring boreholes, sand dams, windmill driven pumps, reservoirs, and farmland plots were constructed.
    establishing and training groundwater user groups/water committees, promoting monitoring procedures and raising community awareness of the benefits from long-term protection of groundwater and GDE.
    establishing 7 water committees which have both capacity and willingness to operate the infrastructures to make better use of groundwater resources (in turn increasing resilience in food security and access to water).
Outcomes (not achieved)
  • While the project achieved broad consensus among the SADC Member States in support of the GMISA through demonstrating a shared, joint strategic approach towards groundwater management, the project failed to disburse the grant funds needed to operationalize GMISA. This issue is a priority for the next operation currently being appraised.

GEO: better understand and protect groundwater dependent ecosystems in drought prone areas of SADC.

Efficacy is rated modest.

The ICR (p.14) reports that the project did achieve the GEO as substantial scientific knowledge of GDE was generated across the region (e.g., vulnerability maps), along with the dissemination of this knowledge to technical staff and decision makers in the region. A number of small scale pilot interventions in rural drought prone areas were initiated. While these efforts " could" lead to the eventual protection of GDE, it is probably too soon to fully assess that outcome.

5. Efficiency:

There were no formal measures of efficiency. No financial, economic analysis or cost effectiveness analysis of the project was carried out. The project was a GEF stand-alone project which included parallel/co-financing from SIDA, Government of France, Government of Germany and the EU in the amount of US$2.8 million .As is required for GEF projects, an Incremental Cost Analysis (ICA) was prepared..

At Appraisal, the ICA was prepared which included both a Baseline Scenario and GEF Alternative. A summary is described below.
Baseline Scenario (PAD p. 66)
Costs: Under the project, it is expected that the governments of the SADC region and interested donors will invest approximately US$ 22.0 million in projects related to water and groundwater resource management in the project area over the project period.
Benefits: The baseline scenario would produce mostly local and national benefits as the majority of expenditures are targeting poverty reduction in poor communities. The baseline scenario will result in very few global environmental benefits, as the participating governments are seeking to cooperate under the SADC water unit, and so some basic collaboration in the Limpopo Basin and SADC region as a whole will begin to occur.

GEF Alternative (PAD p. 67)
The GEF Alternative will provide a clear incremental enhancement of existing initiatives in the SADC Region. This will be demonstrated by the manner in which the components ‘complement/supplement’ existing initiatives, thereby contributing global environmental benefits. Research and support to decision makers in policy formulation should assist in the development and implementation of long-term strategies for global environmentally friendly resource management plans at the regional level. The incremental costs required to achieve all outputs of the Project amount to US$12,399,840, of which US$ 7, 000 000 was provided by the GEF.

The ICR did not provide an update to the ICA through an attempt to replicate, ex-post, the incremental cost analysis in the PAD. The ICR did specify project results and benefits but they were not quantified. No attempt was made to detail unit costs.

In terms of timeliness, the project's effectiveness was delayed, there were delays during implementation due to procurement and coordination issues. Another efficiency issue was the PMU's decision to develop parallel M&E framework. The project did stay within the original budget.

Efficiency is assessed as 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
ICR estimate:

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

6. Outcome:

The relevance of objectives was high while the relevance of design was modest considering the aforementioned design flaws. The achievement of the PDO was substantial but the achievement of the GEO was modest due to weak evidence. Efficiency is rated modest due to implementation delays and the creation of a parallel M&E system. Giving greater weight to the achievement of the PDO than the GEO, Outcome is rated moderately satisfactory.

a. Outcome Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

7. Rationale for Risk to Development Outcome Rating:

Assessment of the risks to development outcome yields a mixture of moderate and high risks. The high likelihood that GEF will support a follow-on investment which includes mechanisms for disbursing the grant to GMISA will substantially reduce the medium-term risk to development outcome.

Moderate risks are:
  • The sustainability pilot interventions depends on the ongoing management by communities during forthcoming years. Infrastructure requires ongoing operation and maintenance. The communities (through their water committees) have received training on monitoring of groundwater, O&M and management procedures through their respective management plans.
  • The sustainability of knowledge products and decision making tools continuing to enhance the capacity of key personnel within the SADC region is moderate. Certain products, such as the Decision Support Guidelines were designed so that they can continue to be applicable in the long-run and for various stakeholder groups. Such products have the possibility of being integrated into more cohesive, comprehensive SADC communication toolkit. The fact that the Communications Specialist from the PMU is now working as the same within the SADC Water Division provides further support to the longevity of impact from the project.

Moderate/High risks are:
  • The long-term sustainability of the project outcome would be strengthened if the GMISA is operationalised. While an agreement was reached on the establishment of the institute, the process took longer time than anticipated and the grant could not be transferred. There were legal obstacles forestalling the actual transfer of the grant thereby impacting the institute's operations. Future support would sustain progress made and ensure the GMISA is fully functional. However, any follow-on project would have to consider the possibility that some steps would have to be repeated (e.g., recruitment of staff).

    a. Risk to Development Outcome Rating: Moderate

8. Assessment of Bank Performance:

a. Quality at entry:
Attention to alternatives, safeguards, and lessons learned from previous operations in the Africa region, SADC and GEF operations shaped project design. The ICR (p.22) reported the following shortcomings that affected the QER:

  • project preparation did not identify a mechanism for the management of the unallocated funds in the Grant Agreement intended for the GMISA. An acceptable legal arrangement between the Bank, UNOPS and GMISA was not developed to insure that these funds were disbursed. The direct use of these funds by GIMSA was detailed in the PAD.
  • the Bank underestimated the complexity of the project from the institutional perspective (putting a management system in place that addressed the implementation challenges of working with the three large institutions (the World Bank, UNOPS and SADC),
  • project activities at different levels of intervention (i.e., from setting up an institution to developing high-level decision making tools and constructing small scale groundwater interventions for remote rural communities) initially presented implementation challenges.
  • The Project Implementation Manual (PIM) did not adequately detailed procedures, roles and responsibilities.

  • Quality-at-Entry Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

    b. Quality of supervision:
    The ICR (p. 22) made the following assessment of Bank Supervision.

    • The Bank responded to implementation issues and provided the necessary support to the PMU. There were a minimum of two supervision missions annually. Aide Memoires and implementation status reports (ISR) were prepared as required. These reports identified problems and risks to development outcomes. Issues were addressed and a record of actions were documented.
    • The Bank's office in South Africa played an important role during supervision. The Bank team provided high-level technical assistance through the Bank’s Groundwater Management Advisory Team (GW-MATE).
    • Challenges were encountered in securing sufficient and consistent expertise in fiduciary management during supervision missions. This latter problem improved over time.
    • Financial Management and Progress Reports were submitted, post procurements assessments were conducted every year and in all, provided a more aligned support to the SADC WD on groundwater issues as the project progressed.
    • A review of the ISRs shows some inconsistency with the reporting of indicators against the results indicators identified in the PAD.
    • The Bank was unsuccessful in resolving the legal/procurement issues surrounding the disbursement of the Groundwater Drought Monitoring Fund and funds were never disbursed.

    Quality of Supervision Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

    Overall Bank Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

    9. Assessment of Borrower Performance:

    a. Government Performance:

    The ICR (p.22) reported the following on institutional performance.

    Regional Agency Performance

    • The SADC Member States demonstrated a high level of commitment to the project and to the achievement of the PDO and GEO. Project ownership was evident from a high level of participation in the Project Steering Committee (PSC) meetings.The SADC Secretariat provided an effective mechanism for reinforcing the implementation of the project and facilitated dialogue among the SADC Member States.
    • The PSC was particularly successful in providing a strong and cohesive framework for guiding implementation. They also constituted as a hydrogeological sub-committee under the SADC WRTC, so as to enhance the project’s impact beyond its immediate reach and over time.
    • SADC was instrumental in coordination of the work of the PMU it created awareness (especially among parliamentarians), facilitated work at the pilot level, and took full ownership of the project. (ICR, p.23 )

    Government Performance Rating: Satisfactory

    b. Implementing Agency Performance:

    The ICR (p.22) reported the following on institutional performance.

    Executing Agency and PMU/PSA Performance:

    • The SADC Water Division, as executing agency, was cooperative and facilitated the flow of information from SADC to the key personnel involved in groundwater issues at the national level. The agency also showed strong commitment to the project, played a lead role in the PSC meetings
    • In spite of some of the challenges encountered, including its limited staff resources, the PMU showed strong commitment to the project.
    • UNOPS provided administrative and financial management support during project implementation. In the early yesrs of implementation delays were encountered in hiring, procurement and report submission.
    • Conforming UNOPS procurement and financial management procedures to the World Bank’s guidelines under the Grant Agreement caused delays. For example, the UNOPS’s system of advance payments to the PMU was not consistent with World Bank‘s disbursement procedures which relied upon the approval of financial reports; causing delays in disbursements. (ICR, p. 9)
    • While UNOPS was obligated to provide support to the PMU, they did not facilitate the necessary collaboration and procurement support. There was also limited participation by UNOPS in the field or supervision missions (ICR, p 23 )

    Implementing Agency Performance Rating: Moderately Unsatisfactory

    Overall Borrower Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

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

    a. M&E Design:
    While the project’s results framework in the PAD was endorsed to measure project performance, the implementing agency chose to use a broader scope of M&E indicators to track the impact of the project activities. The Bank’s M&E specialist was consulted in the design of a broader M&E framework that would allow the PMU to effectively measure project impact. The new, broader and more detailed M&E framework included performance indicators built on those defined in the PAD and GA, as well as GEF process indicators (ICR, p. 9). However, the the ICR did not detail the new "broader scope" indictors.

    Both the PDO and Intermediate Results Indicators were appropriate for measuring project performance. Targets were realistic especially for community and institutional knowledge and awareness. M&E design also included the typical Bank reporting requirements. However, the project did not specify indicators to measure the actual protection of groundwater dependent ecosystems in areas where the pilot projects were initiated.

    b. M&E Implementation:
    The PMU undertook monitoring and evaluation, and ensured annual M&E reporting outlining progress achieved. These were submitted to the Bank and the team discussed, when applicable, slippages with the PMU. Progress was reported in the Bank’s implementation status reports and Aide Memoires which in turn informed progress ratings. The project’s results framework as reflected in the PAD, was not changed during restructuring.

    An important element of M&E utilization during the project was the fact that the PMU internalized and refined the larger set of indicators described above for its own purposes, improving the monitoring of the PDO through more measurable indicators which provided the PMU with a roadmap to better understand the key performance indicators in terms of definitions, data acquisition techniques, units of measurement and critical assumptions. The Bank’s project team followed up during supervision on M&E utilization.

    a. M&E Utilization:
    The ICR reports (p.11) that at project closing the GEF-supported project has created new knowledge and raised awareness about groundwater management in the SADC region. The momentum generated by this, along with strengthened capacity at both regional and national level is setting the foundation for future work that can further develop additional knowledge, broaden awareness of groundwater and increase the ability of decision makers to manage groundwater sustainably in the region.

    M&E Quality Rating: Modest

    11. Other Issues:

    a. Safeguards:
    At appraisal, the project was categorized as environmental category Safeguard Screening Category S3 and Environmental Screening Category C. The project triggered one safeguard operational policy, namely OP 7.50 Projects on International Waterways. This was with respect to the interventions planned for the pilot communities across the Limpopo River basin. The four riparian countries (Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe) were represented in the Project Preparation Steering Committee, the body responsible for overseeing the preparation of the project and approving the selection of the pilot areas.( ICR, p. 10)

    During implementation, the environmental category was reviewed and confirmed as a Category C. However, the infrastructure interventions in the pilot areas did follow Category B requirements on screenings for any environmental or social impacts. Concerns were raised about the impact of the physical civil works - including construction of sand dams, wells, and fences. Screening procedures were thereafter fully integrated into the construction activities with consultants overseeing the impacts at each site. Environmental Management Plans were prepared for the pilot areas. These were subject to review and approval from respective environmental authorities. Based on field visits and discussions with consultants, an environmental specialist from the Bank undertook an environmental review during the August 2009 supervision mission; concluding that project activities would not result in any appreciable negative environmental or social impacts. (ICR, p.10) The project activities did not require any resettlement.

    b. Fiduciary Compliance:
    The project’s financial management was delegated to UNOPS on behalf of the SADC WD. An Administrative and Accounting Assistant was recruited and based in the PMU office in Gaborone, Botswana. The Assistant processed
    minor local currency transactions and submitted the information to UNOPS headquarters located in Denmark for consolidation into the main accounts and reports. The UNOPS’s information system, ATLAS, was used for accounting and reporting. These financial arrangements, while satisfactory, had some initial impacts on implementation efficiency due to delays in processing purchase orders and payments by the local UNDP office. Untimely submission of audit reports; problems related to time-consuming bureaucracy and delays resulted in downgrading of ratings to moderately unsatisfactory in 2008. This delay also impacted processing of the reallocation and extension, and impacted overall implementation performance towards the end of the project.

    c. Unintended Impacts (positive or negative):
    The PSC representatives from Malawi successfully advocated for the inclusion of resources for groundwater monitoring in the national budget;
    Enhanced knowledge on groundwater and interest created by stakeholders outside the immediate reach of the project (governments, community members, donors, schools, and academic institutions); and
    With GW-MATE, the PMU facilitated training on the importance of groundwater in policies and decision making targeting key policy makers from the water line ministries. As a result, GW-MATE worked in Mozambique with the PSC members to develop a SADC Strategic Groundwater Management Framework.
    GW-MATE also got commitment from four member states to use the process to develop Groundwater Management in respective countries (Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa).

    d. Other:

    12. Ratings:

    IEG Review
    Reason for Disagreement/Comments
    Moderately Satisfactory
    Moderately Satisfactory
    Risk to Development Outcome:
    Bank Performance:
    Moderately Satisfactory
    Moderately Satisfactory
    Borrower Performance:
    Moderately Satisfactory
    Moderately Satisfactory
    Quality of ICR:
    - 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 lessons learned discussed in the ICR pertained to both the specifics of the project as well as general lessons drawn from the project's experience. The lessons learned text was too long and contained far too many details. A Summary of the most important Lessons Learned is detailed below.

    (1) Key governing documents must be consistent and comprehensible – i.e. the Grant
    Agreement, PAD and Project Implementation Manual. The challenges faced in operationalizing Component 3 with the Groundwater Management Institute for Southern Africa (GMISA) were due to an oversight in the Grant Agreement when the funds were categorized as unallocated. Resolving the problem so as to allocate these funds through a new disbursement category could not be resolved due to legal issues.

    (2) Lack of alignment in procedures between large organisations have costly repercussions
    during implementation. The implementation of a GEF grant by the Bank in collaboration with an equally large international organisation (UNOPS as the PSA of the SADC WD) demonstrated cumbersome operational challenges. These became apparent when financial management and procurement processes conflicted or were ambiguous; or when staff or operational procedures within the different agencies changed.

    (3) Piloting groundwater management interventions at transboundary level and in remote
    rural settings requires tailored implementation and procurement. One of the core lessons
    learned is recognizing the unique complexity of rural pilot projects. This includes the extended time required to closely work with communities and meet their specific needs. Undertaking the complex logistics and procurement of small goods with high unit costs when working in remote and often very poor contexts requires additional resources.

    (4) Communication and awareness raising secures desired development outcomes when
    effectively designed and delivered. The development of a broad and consistent communication strategy through innovative methods of communicating, gave visibility to the project. It also improved the understanding of groundwater management amongst key stakeholders.

    (5) The use of GEF funds were critical in enabling SADC in delivering a priority project for
    the improvement of groundwater management across the region. The GEF support was important to give focus to an otherwise overlooked water issue, along with leveraging support from cooperating partners and gaining the endorsement of member states.

    14. Assessment Recommended?


    15. Comments on Quality of ICR:

    The ICR is well-written and comprehensive. It covered with adequate detail all sections of the template. The quality of the evidence was good as was the analysis. The overall document is a little long and could have been tightened up. It would have benefited from additional editing.

    The ICR adequately analyzed the weaknesses and shortcomings in both design and implementation of the project. It provided details on a range of implementation challenges including working with UNOPS, gaining consensus and the requisite approvals to allocate and disburse the grant to GMISA and the reasons for the two project restructurings.

    The ICR also covered the M&E design and implementation and noted that the implementation agency chose to use a broader scope which included those indicators specified in the PAD and Grant Agreement as well as commonly used GEF indictors for this type project. The ICR authors believe that in light of the use of broader scope indicators, the PDO and GEO should have been revised when the project was restructured.

    The ICR could have attempted to undertake an ex-post Incremental Cost Analysis (ICA) which potentially could have provided additional information on the incrementality of the use of GEF resources. No attempt was made to detail unit costs.

    As mentioned in the previous section, the Lessons Learned was long and contained far too many details.

    a. Quality of ICR Rating: Satisfactory

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