ECW Eastern Africa, Nairobi, 25 - 27 October 2011
Prepared by Geerish Bucktowonsing. RFP (East Africa GEF-NGO Nework) and Paul Nnyiti, Wildlife Conservation of Tanzania.
The meeting organized by the GEF Secretariat brought together representatives from the 13 members of the Eastern Africa GEF Constituency (one of the biggest among the Constituencies within the Africa region). The participants in this workshop comprised mainly the GEF Country Focal points or their representatives,Ministry of Environment Representatives,Conventional Focal Points,Agencies partnerng with GEF,Civil Society Organisations among members of GEF-NGO Network.It was an excellent opportunity to be updated and familiarise with GEF procedures as a financial mechanism.The country driven approach of GEF has been fully discussed.GEF5 Star allocation,its new allocation areas and comparison with GEF4RAF has been of much interests for CSOs. The present CSOs were from Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda,Tanzania, Uganda and Eritea. The CSOs, led by the GEF NGO network, has been very active in the Q&A despite they were all seated in separate desks named as per their respective countries.
The Constituency workshop was officially opened by the GEF Focal Point from Kenya Mr. Ayub Macharia in the absence of the Permanent Secretary from the Ministry who was unfortunately outside the country for other official work.
After some introductory remarks from the GEF Secretariat; the workshop proceeded with presentation of papers.There were some 10 sessions orgaanised over the 3 days. Among the papers presented were those giving the history of the GEF and how GEF operates as a FUNDING MECHANISM for the conservation of the PLANET.The GEF Organizational structure and institutional framework were presented.Mention was made about participation of CSOs at policy and project level. Request was made to mention role of GEF-NGO Network as partner & voice of civil society at the Council.
Other papers elaborated on the objective of the workshop and the new system (STAR) for the allocation of funds in the GEF 5 which is slightly different from that of GEF 4. GEF5 focal areas comprise also of Land Degradation other than Biodiversity and climate change and all countries have now individual allocations. In the new rules, the Caps are 10% for Biodiversity, 10% for land Development and 11% for climate change. Projects will be approved on a first come first served basis.
The participants were also given elaborations on the Conventions & Technology transfer. GEF is facilitating technology transfer. It is the largest public sector financing mechanism for technology tranfer and is the only multilateral institution that has financed technology transfer under COP guidance.
There were also presentatiosn on Adaptation Funds; GEF focal areas; Project cycle; M & E; the PIF process; GEF Agencies; Country support programmes; GEF Small Grants Programme (particularly of interest as a major branch of GEF funding where CSOs play a key role) and finally but not least there was a paper on the GEF”s partnership with the Civil Society Organizations and how these two work together for the common goal to contribute to save Mother Earth.
The Monitoring & Evaluation in the GEF was probably the best presentation made by Mrs. B.Wadhwa of the GEF Secretariat.The objectives were to promote accountability & sharing of knowledge. Request was made for possibility of sharing of informations about most performing projects in focal areas to CSOs in order to make the comunication of this study more effective & reachable to CSOs. The presention also made mention of completed projects in East Africa. There are to date 117 projects completed among the 204 active projects.
Request was also made to engage further CSOs in the development of PIF during the presentation of PMIS Project Cycle.The steps that make the project cycle was elaborated.
At the level of CSOs, there was consutation to update and explained further CSOs present during each break. After the last session, together with Paul Nnyti of Wild life Conservation Society of Tanzania, we met all CSOs & explained further and to promote the role of GEF-NGO Network.
After presentations and general discussion; it was a session for questions and answers.
There were several questions asked by the participants basing on the presentations; among which included:-
1. How could Africa/developing countries could get more funds in the allocation to fight the problem of “land degradation” which is affecting productivity. The response to this was that the allocation of funds to different countries under this problem depended on three indicators-land area affected, vulnerability of rural population and total dryland area in a given country.
2. How does STAP operate/function? Informed that STAP reports to the GEF Council and advices on the policy to ensure result based management in projects and helps in targeted research. It also provides GEF focal area strategies, collaborates with Conventions.
3. Rwanda,Mauritius,Madagascar, Tanzania asked of what support is given by STAP to countries and how does it work? Ans. Staff advice is given to all members in different ways including via website for questions sent, there is a possibility of staff exchange if a country requires a specific expertise and there is a collaboration with other scientific panels for Conventions.
4. Ethiopia proposed that projects should be given technical advice early enough to lead to proper use of funds. Resp. All projects do receive reviews to help efficiency.
5. How does a country access the bonus funds? Ans. The funds are available but only to projects that are regional and global nature and not for national priorities
6. Rwanda: How do you allocate funds to help the LCDs and Small islands which are vulnerable and affected by Climate change?- Ans. In STAR (GEF 5) countries know what is allocated and no competing as opposed to GEF 4
7. Ethiopia/What is the rationale for allocating funds as some areas are excluded?-Ans. STAP is working in all focal areas and those missing will be considered in GEF 6
8. Uganda-Clarification on endorsement of projects-Ans. Endorsement starts at the level of PIF and the Agencies. If a country needs more than 5% endorsement is necessary.
9. Mauritius-What is the allocation for the problem of Mercury? Ans. This is like any other projects.
10. Uganda-What is the project process time? Ans. Usually for normal projects is 12 months and for Full size project it is 18 months
11. What is the allocation framework Rule? Up to 7% can be used for transferring funds from one area to another but the country must inform the GEF. If more tha 11% it is not allowed t transfer between areas/projects
12. What is the role of Implementing Agencies? Ans. It is to discuss and endorse priority projects
13. Kenya-What are the criteria used to set allocations? Ans. One aspect is the growth og GDP in a country, also the nature of project if it will contribute to global environmental benefit. The previous performance is also important.
14. What about the implementation of projects which will not bring effect unless implemented by the regional collaboration instead of one country? Ans. Here GEF gives matching funds at a ratio of $. 1:3 but also UNEP helps to fund such projects.
15. For the GEF Conventions projects without country support letters will not be considered
16. Uganda-What is the time frame for accessing POP funds? Ans. There are different ways which include- direct access which is longest, then there is :umbrella projects and regular procedure.
17. Accreditation? This is open as long as the applicant meets the criteria for participation in the stipulated Conventions.
18. Adaptation Funds? Adaptation Funds are not administered by GEF. The Fund has its own different Board.
19. The implementation of projects under the Adaptation Funds is open to CSOs also. You need to see the criteria for participation in this at their Website.
20. Questions on the Evaluation Office:- Madagascar-What criteria are important for sustainability? Ans. Evaluation office looks at the drivers which will ensure sustainability even after the project has phased out
21. Somalia. What evaluation is carried out? Ans. After a report is received, also at the end of project. The Agencies are also involved in the mid-term reviews.
22. Somalia.What is strategy for GEF to allocate funds? The Council recommends depending on previous amounts gives to countries. Also depends on who is implementing a project. GEF is not implementing projects as there are 10 implementing Agencies
23. Somalia.If NGO is implementing a project how is it evaluated? In some aspects, t is the country which has to decide who implements a project but the evaluation is the same for all.
24. Mauritius: Knowledge sharing and the way forward:- Establish a website which will show all the evaluated projects and ask the the evaluators to up-load the information.
25. Rwanda: What opportunities exist for Co-funding with AfDB? Ans. If there is a government project the bank can co-fund with the GEF.
26. Madagascar: Does AfDB support capital investment of gives grants? Ans. The Bank supports infrastructure but also gives Loans to Governments and can give Grants to private sector.
27. How does UNDP implement projects? Normally UNDP implements projects via other Agencies and NGOs.
28. Mauritius asking “Under Country Support programme-Explained that the GEF Secretariat gives US $ 9,000 to all Country Focal Points to call yearly meetings involving also CSOs to talk on project priorities and ask for the participation of all stakeholders. Also one meeting with CSOs was expected to be held in each country and submit a report to that effect. It was emphasized that countries that had not submitted requests or sent reports should do so as soon as possible.
Suggestion has been made to give the GEF-NGO network the floor for a presentation at the next workshop.We would also be pleased to contribute in finalising the agenda with GEF,should GEF be organising such session on a yearly basis. Do note that selection sof CSOs to participate at this workshop has been made by GEF Secretariat only.