Improving Capacity towards Conventions Implementation through Institutional Strengthening & Development in Uzbekistan
The project aims at assisting Uzbekistan to improve its national environment governance system, by creating adequate national capacity to accommodate global environmental concerns into the national development and environmental management plans. The project’s goal is to effectively mainstream global environmental priorities into national development planning and management processes of Uzbekistan. The overall objective of the project is to build national capacity for more effective environmental management in Uzbekistan, by improved national environmental policy planning and financing.
The project plans to attain its objective through the accomplishment of two major activities. These are: (i) Improvement of environmental planning and management to accommodate global environmental objectives; (ii) Improvement of financial management capacity of the National Environmental Fund for increased global environmental financing.
Based on the results of the National Capacity Self-Assessment (NCSA) process and subsequent analysis of the existing opportunities during the preparatory process (PDF-A), it became evident that the national system of environmental management should be further improved for better accommodation of global environmental priorities. The environmental concerns in Uzbekistan can only be addressed when all involved stakeholders at the national level have a common strategic vision on outstanding environmental issues and attempt to solve the problems jointly, and in a cost- effective way.
This can be done through a number of instruments that will strengthen coordination and cooperation efforts of the stakeholders. At present, governmental agencies that are involved in the process of natural resources and environment management do not have a joint mechanism that enables them to coordinate activities for more effective implementation of sound environmental practices. This leads to a situation when not only every sector of the national economy, but also institutions directly engaged in environment management, develop their own departmental action plans, which do not take any account of plans from other sectors, and thus do not bring any additional value to activities. In these conditions, improvement of coordination and cooperation mechanisms becomes vital.
This dissociation is further exacerbated by low levels of understanding among personnel of involved sectoral and environmental ministries regarding real values of environmental products and services, and their significance for sustainable development of the country.
The NCSA and the preparatory analysis have demonstrated that deficiencies in environmental management planning and management processes as well as in environmental professional education, indeed exist and should be regarded as priorities for Uzbekistan. These deficiencies cause constant omission of environmental concerns, while composing national development plans, and must thus be addressed immediately.
The analysis undertaken during the NCSA process identified key weaknesses in national environmental management capacities that seriously impede more synergistic and cost-effective implementation of the global convention requirements. The PDF-A confirmed the recommendations of the NCSA and determined that such key barriers as ineffective financial management capacities, weak coordination of efforts between focal environmental areas’ responsible entities, low level of environmental understanding among decision makers seriously affect implementation of global and national environmental agenda, and addressing of the most outstanding environmental priorities.
The proposed project will build upon the findings of the NCSA process, and use the momentum available after NCSA completion. The following features favors implementation of the current project at this point in time:
- This is a good timing for follow-up interventions, as the NCSA process has initiated and kept alive a profound discussion of the capacity needs in the area of environmental management, major stakeholders involved in the process of NCSA assessment have fresh memories of discussions and are eager to continue the process as the findings of the NCSA were the result of their direct contribution
- The government understand the need to improve its environmental management capacities and open to modernization of environmental management processes
- The Government has taken up the recommendations of the NCSA, by including its capacity development Strategy and Action Plan in the State Programme for Environment Protection 2006-2010, thus putting capacity development needs among the Government’s priorities in environmental management
The GEF project will take this process further, by assisting the government in improving planning and implementation mechanisms for the five year State Programme for Environmental Protection, introducing the participatory planning model with a detailed set of procedures, timelines and accountability system for monitoring and evaluation. The project will coherently link the SPEP planning process and with other planning exercises under the global conventions and various related sectors; it will also more rigorously tie the SPEP with the funding framework set by the Environmental Fund.
The project will increase effectiveness of EF operations in support to global environmental objectives, by introducing the appropriate eligibility criteria, as well as quality management system to the Fund’s operations. In so doing, the project will look into the good practices and lessons learned from the other countries of Eastern and Central Europe and CIS. Environmental fund management practices from Bulgaria’s National Trust Ecofund, the Czech State Environmental Fund and others will be reviewed and lessons learned considered, based on existing analysis and performance reviews.
Particular focus will be placed on the following key elements of EF management and operations: (i) roles and objectives of funds; (ii) legal foundations and institutional structures; (iii) revenues; (iv) spending strategies and expenditures; (v) project appraisal and selection (“project cycle management”); (vi) monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
The proposed project aims at assisting Uzbekistan’s administrative and environment governance system to enhance effectiveness of environmental management, by creating adequate capacities of involved stakeholders in financial management of the environmental expenditures, strengthening professional capacities of the environmental institutions’ personnel and developing suitable level of environmental education among sectoral decision makers for more effective planning and implementation of the environmental programme.
The approach of developing capacities within both environment and non-environment Ministries to promote global environmental issues, is seen as an essential complement to other GEF supported interventions in Uzbekistan, inasmuch as it will provide a conducive environment for these interventions, as they seek a dialogue with national and regional environmental planning authorities in the context of realizing their site-specific, or focal area specific objectives. These cross-cutting capacities are of critical importance for realizing the objectives of multiple GEF focal areas.
To implement the project strategy, it will be essential to involve and build ownership of the project among other key stakeholder groups as well – regional and local authorities, environmental institutions, academia, local NGOs and makhallyas (lowest level municipalities), and private enterprises/companies. All these groups are essential to influencing and changing the current practice in terms of how national, regional and local planning documents and environmental expenditures plans are formulated and implemented.
The main imperative should lie in stressing the importance of joint measures that will improve efficiency of the national activities to fulfill the general commitments related to the Rio Conventions and increase coordination of the inter-sectoral activities and interaction among all involved participants at all levels.
The overall objective of the project is to build national capacity for more effective environmental management in Uzbekistan, by improved national environmental policy planning and implementation.
Key Results and Outputs
- Outcome 1: Improvement of environmental planning and management to accommodate global environmental objectives
- Output 1.1: Introduction of a new mechanism for coordinated environmental planning and management for SPEP and programming from environmental funds
- Output 1.2: Improvement of professional capacity of the environmental institutions to develop, formulate and evaluate effectiveness of the environmental programmes and environmental plans
- Outcome 2: Improvement of financial management capacity of the National Environmental Fund for increase
- Output 2.1: Introduction of fund management tools for improved operations of the EFs
- Output 2.2: Improvement of skills and knowledge of the EF personnel to effectively manage EF
Reports and Publications
Monitoring and Evaluation
Project Inception Workshop: will be held within the first 2 months of project start with those with assigned roles in the project organization structure, UNDP country office and where appropriate/feasible regional technical policy and programme advisors as well as other stakeholders. The Inception Workshop is crucial to building ownership for the project results and to plan the first year annual work plan.
Day to day monitoring of implementation progress: will be the responsibility of the Project Manager, based on the project's Annual Work Plan and its indicators, with overall guidance from the Project Director. The Project Team will inform the UNDP-CO of any delays or difficulties faced during implementation so that the appropriate support or corrective measures can be adopted in a timely and remedial fashion.
Project Progress Reports (PPR): quarterly reports will be assembled based on the information recorded and monitored in the UNDP Enhanced Results Based Management Platform. Risk analysis will be logged and regularly updated in ATLAS.
Annual Project Review/Project Implementation Reports (APR/PIR): This key report is prepared to monitor progress made since project start and in particular for the previous reporting period (30 June to 1 July). The APR/PIR combines both UNDP and GEF reporting requirements.
Periodic Monitoring through Site Visits:
UNDP CO and the UNDP RCU will conduct visits to project sites based on the agreed schedule in the project's Inception Report/Annual Work Plan to assess first hand project progress. Other members of the Project Board may also join these visits. A Field Visit Report/BTOR will be prepared by the CO and UNDP RCU and will be circulated no less than one month after the visit to the project team and Project Board members.
Mid-Term of Project Cycle:
Mid-Term Evaluation: will determine progress being made toward the achievement of outcomes and will identify course correction if needed. It will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of project implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and will present initial lessons learned about project design, implementation and management. Findings of this review will be incorporated as recommendations for enhanced implementation during the final half of the project’s term.
End of Project:
Final Evaluation: will take place three months prior to the final Project Board meeting and will be undertaken in accordance with UNDP and GEF guidance. The final evaluation will focus on the delivery of the project’s results as initially planned (and as corrected after the mid-term evaluation, if any such correction took place). The final evaluation will look at impact and sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development and the achievement of global environmental benefits/goals. The Terminal Evaluation should also provide recommendations for follow-up activities.
Project Terminal Report: This comprehensive report will summarize the results achieved (objectives, outcomes, outputs), lessons learned, problems met and areas where results may not have been achieved. It will also lie out recommendations for any further steps that may need to be taken to ensure sustainability and replicability of the project’s results.
Learning and Knowledge Sharing:
Results from the project will be disseminated within and beyond the project intervention zone through existing information sharing networks and forums.
The project will identify and participate, as relevant and appropriate, in scientific, policy-based and/or any other networks, which may be of benefit to project implementation though lessons learned. The project will identify, analyze, and share lessons learned that might be beneficial in the design and implementation of similar future projects.
Finally, there will be a two-way flow of information between this project and other projects of a similar focus.