Mainstreaming GE Aspects in the Planning and Monitoring processes of the NHDI in Morocco

Introduction

This issue of direct and indirect poverty and environment nexus has been recognized by the government in the context of currently launched National Human Development Initiative that aims at addressing poverty issues by introducing effective decentralized system of governance and natural resource management. This process has been informed by NCSA that highlighted importance of capacity development for achievement of mutually reinforcing goals of NHDI and global environmental objectives as stemmed from the “Rio Conventions”.

The cross-cutting capacity building project is designed in closed partnership with NHDI process and will reinforce its effectiveness by a full-fledge global environmental mainstreaming into the process of local development. Benefits of global environmental management through improved land and water management, reversing habitat loss, climate risk management and low carbon development trajectories will be brought into the local development agenda. Local development, supported by the flagship NHDI process, is inherently a cross-sectorial process, whereby all sectoral objectives are brought together in the context of territorial planning and socio-economic development at sub-national level. Therefore, integrating global environmental management targets synergistically into the context of local development offers the way of effective and efficient implementation of Morocco’s obligations to the Rio Conventions.

Project Details

Project Summary

During the last 30 years, Morocco has embarked on a gradual, but solid program of human development and political liberalization. Since the 1970s, gross national income per person has more than tripled from $550 to $1750. The average life expectancy has increased from 55 in 1970 to 71 in 2005. One of the key development challenges is Morocco’s high incidence of poverty. Although poverty has declined from 19 to an estimated 15 percent over the period from 1999 to 2004, this rate remains high. Poverty continues to be typically a rural phenomenon, with more than 25 percent of the rural population living below the poverty line, compared to just 12 percent of the urban population. The depth and severity of poverty is also much higher in rural areas, and has increased significantly since 1991. Apart from macro economic, governance and rule of law and socio-economic causes high incidents of poverty largely relate to agriculture and food production systems, chronic water scarcity that in prolonged drought situations often aggravate shortages. Clearly poverty is subject to deterioration in the event of repeated drought and the ensuing low growth rates.

This issue of direct and indirect poverty and environment nexus has been recognized by the government in the context of currently launched National Human Development Initiative that aims at addressing poverty issues by introducing effective decentralized system of governance and natural resource management. This process has been informed by NCSA that highlighted importance of capacity development for achievement of mutually reinforcing goals of NHDI and global environmental objectives as stemmed from the “Rio Conventions”.

The cross-cutting capacity building project is designed in closed partnership with NHDI process and will reinforce its effectiveness by a full-fledge global environmental mainstreaming into the process of local development. Benefits of global environmental management through improved land and water management, reversing habitat loss, climate risk management and low carbon development trajectories will be brought into the local development agenda. Local development, supported by the flagship NHDI process, is inherently a cross-sectorial process, whereby all sectoral objectives are brought together in the context of territorial planning and socio-economic development at sub-national level. Therefore, integrating global environmental management targets synergistically into the context of local development offers the way of effective and efficient implementation of Morocco’s obligations to “Rio Conventions”.

The Commitment of Morocco to the Rio Conventions

Morocco has ratified the Rio Conventions in order to subscribe to the international framework of global environmental management and has, likewise, met its commitments through the adoption of strategies and reports to the conventions.

The National Capacity Self-Assessment (NCSA) as the basis of the Project

The NCSA Project, which was launched in 2004 and operationally completed in 2006, sought to identify national priorities and requirements in terms of capacity enhancement in the area of global environmental management, notably in what concerns Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Desertification. The aim was to catalyze sustained actions both at the national and local levels. The NCSA undertook eight consultations which fall within its agenda, notably in what concerns the inventory of Conventions: identification of capacities which warrant enhancement; and developing capacity-building strategy.

Among the essential priorities identified and recommended by the NCSA, enhancement of capacities of local actors (communities and authorities) so that they may better translate national commitments to the three conventions into concrete local actions is among the top priorities. Current process of decentralisation dictates a greater emphasis on local capacities to enable more effective local decision-making and action. This has been identified as strong recommendation of NCSA in Morocco which constitutes the basis of the present project.

Project Conformity with GEF Guidelines

The proposed project addresses the objectives of the three GEF focal areas (biodiversity, climate change, and sustainable land management), and specifically fits under the strategic priority related to Cross-cutting Capacity-Building (CB-2). The project is also fully in line with the Interim Guidelines for Cross-cutting Capacity Building Projects. The project is specifically in line with the CB-2 programming framework related to: “Mainstreaming Global Environmental Priorities into National Policies and Programs,” whereby the CB-2 projects would focus on developing capacities for countries to improve their ability to meet their obligations under the three Rio Conventions by integrating global environmental priorities into national policies, plans and programs, particularly macro-economic and poverty-reduction programs/strategies.

The Context of Sustainable Development

Morocco has developed a whole set of plans, strategies, and programs covering land-use planning, rural development, natural resources management, and, more recently, human development. Some of these plans, strategies, and programs are manifestly sector-based in scope. Others are cross-cutting in their scope and aim at shoring up sustainable development by addressing poverty-reduction and environmental degradation. Below are some of the strategies and programs which are directly linked with the present project:

  • The National Strategy for the Protection of the Environment and Sustainable Development, and its National Action Plan;
  • Agricultural and Rural Development Strategies;
  • The National Tourism Strategy;
  • The National Energy Strategy;
  • Hydraulic Resources Management Strategies.

Morocco has also developed significant legal mechanisms relating to sustainable development and environmental management. Nevertheless, the updating of the legal framework now proves to be necessary and urgent. The current framework needs to be supported by robust environmental data and strategic directions to address the various threats country’s natural resources. Improvement of legal framework and a decision-making set up are necessary for the implementation of the Rio Conventions. This will also contribute to the consolidation of the rule of law and will foster progress and sustainable human development.

At the local level, the main tool of local planning is the Plan for Economic and Social Development (PESD), which is established annually by the Communal Council and transmitted to the Provincial entities for budgetary allocation. The development process of the PESD doesn't integrate such mechanisms as consultations with local communities, nor does it make use of any clear and transparent method for determining and organizing local needs. The basis of this project is to contribute to the consolidation of this PESD development process and integrating the global environmental objectives in this process.

The institutional Context relating to the Global Environment

Several public and non-public institutions in Morocco are closely involved in the implementation of policies and programs pertaining sustainable development and the global environmental management. The key governmental institutions will be directly engaged into this project. The project is based on partnership with local authorities at the communal, provincial, and regional levels. The partnership will materialise through a set-up of consultation mechanisms between various elected councils (regional, provincial, and communal) and their chairpersons and the representatives of local authorities –namely the Wali (of the region); the Governor (of the province), and the Caid (of the community). The project will also ensure the involvement of local and national NGOs, as well as local and village organizations and associations (Cooperatives, Women’s Associations, Village Associations).

The NHDI and its linkages with the GE issues

It is essentially this inadequacy in the development of the PESD which the NHDI attempts to address at the level of 403 rural communes and 250 urban communes which have been declared as being priority areas for intervention. The NHDI has opted for a participatory and consultation-based process for the devising of a local development plan which will be developed by 2010 and culminate in the drawing up of PESDs for all the country’s communes. Contributing to this process. The integration of the environmental component constitutes the basis of the present project.

All three conventions recognise the linkages between the global environmental management issues and efforts for poverty reduction. The NHDI process drives the poverty reduction agenda in Morocco, whereby global environmental management issues, such as desertification and drought, biodiversity loss and climate change will be brought into the mainstay of this local development process. The OECD guidelines about the integration of Rio conventions into the development underline importance of global environment mainstreaming into the poverty reduction strategies and other national or local planning processes.

The proposed project will follow the key principles and recommendations outlined into the OECD/DAC guidelines and in so doing, avoid creating specific capacities tailored to1 the demands of the Conventions, but isolated from the national policy and planning process . The project will also apply OECD’s good practice guidance on environmental mainstreaming by applying Strategic Environmental Assessment methodology2. The project is already conceived in a way that allows SEA tools and methods to be employed. By targeting a nation-wide, local development planning process (NHDI) the integration of global environmental issues will take place in a comprehensive way, encompassing priority setting, budgeting as well as indicator framework for monitoring and evaluation, constituting the entire cycle. This methodology will help ensure a full-fledge integration.

Besides the considerable funds (10 billion Dirhams to be invested between 2006 and 2010) that have been earmarked for its programs, the magnitude of NHDI may also be appreciated by way of its overall approach, which takes into account decentralization and increasing de- centralization of State structures. The NHDI thus provides an important basis for conception and implementation of the project.

Other Key Initiatives relating to the Project:

  • The National Master plan for Land-Use Planning (NMLUP) and the Regional Master plan for Land Use Planning (RMLUP);
  • The Master-plan for Training of Local Authorities
  • Project's strategy in the Integration of GE in the Planning and Monitoring Processes of the NHDI and local strategic planning

All the actors operating in the area of development have agreed that the inadequate capacities of local actors constitute a major obstacle to any successful establishment of a perennial dynamics of local development. The same observation has been made by the NCSA: these insufficiencies thwart the creation of synergies conducive to the implementation of the three Conventions and their effective incorporation into the reality of local communities.

The project has identified a strong demand for the integration of GE aspects in the existing consultation and planning tools. There is not a real need for re-inventing new tools, for many programs, notably the NHDI and the current local strategic planning process, have efficient tools. The problem has to do with the fact that the environmental aspect is not sufficiently addressed, especially country’s global environmental objectives as per conventions’ requirements. Notwithstanding the multiplicity of planning tools, the NHDI and the local strategic planning process, stand out as being the most complete and is thus poised to be extended to all the country’s communes. For the time being, the NHDI covers 403 rural communes and 250 urban communes and the local strategic development Plan covers remaining rural communes. But the process will steadily be adopted by the other communes.

Moreover, besides the considerable funds that they allocate to a whole range of projects on the basis of a participatory approach, the NHDI and the local strategic planning process are to be appreciated for the overall approach which takes into account the de-centralization of State structures. For all these reasons, and thanks to a close partnership with the key champions of the process, the 2 initiatives have been selected as a powerful vector for this project. NCSA has likewise identified the main constraints at the systemic, institutional, and individual levels that will be addressed by the project

The project has thus been elaborated taking into account the above stakes and the long-term goal of fulfilling country commitments to the global environmental management in the context of fiscal and governance decentralization process currently underway. The project specific objective is to integrate global environmental objectives of Morocco into the NHDI and local strategic development planning, budgeting and monitoring processes. 

Source: Morocco's Request for Funding Under the GEF Trust Fund (April, 2009)

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Through improved identification of national circumstances, government agencies and other actors will increase their abilities to insulate at risk urban and rural populations from the adverse effects of climate change.
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Government of Morocco
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Location: 
Urban
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
460,000
Co-Financing Total: 
100,000

Key Results and Outputs

  • Outcome 1: The institutional framework for the integration of GE management in the NHDI and local strategic development planning and monitoring is developed.
    • Output 1.1: Methodological approaches and tools for integrating global environmental commitments into the development planning at local level are consolidated and introduced.
    • Output 1.2: The institutional mandates and procedures for environmental mainstreaming at the provincial, regional and national levels are clarified.
    • Output 1.3: A set of global environmental indicators to be part of the monitoring system of the NHDI and strategic local plans is introduced.
  • Outcome 2: The capacities for systematic mainstreaming of the global environmental targets into the local planning are developed
    • Output 2.1: Priority global environmental targets to be addressed by the project are identified and agreed upon by all project partners as part of the NHDI and strategic local planning activities.
    • Output 2.2: The capacities of concerned stakeholders to integrate priority GE issues into local development planning are strengthened by targeted training, procedural and institutional arrangements.
    • Output 2.3: Testing a new planning approach with global environmental targets and indicators at local and regional level in the framework of NHDI and strategic local planning process for methodological validation and procedural approval.
  • Outcome 3: A system of project’s adaptive management and lessons learned established
    • Output 3.1: Project management infrastructure in place.
    • Output 3.2: Communication and knowledge management mechanisms established and operational to identify lessons and good practices for global environmental mainstreaming into the development planning.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Project Start:

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. 

Daily:

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.

Quarterly:

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.

Annually:

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. 

Contacts

UNDP
Tom Twining-Ward
Regional Technical Advisor
UNDP
El Kebir Mdarhri Alaoui
Country Officer