Regional report
Report of the third Regional Advisory Committee

19 November 2003

par Web Team

Introduction and address

The Director General of the APAL, Mr. Abdelmalek Assouna, welcomed the participants and invited the representatives of the international organizations to make an official address.

Mr. Ariel Français, the UNDP Resident Representative, thanked the host for the opportunity to address the meeting. He presented the project in the context of the necessity to focus on the management of natural resources in the region and recalled that UNDP supports these efforts. He underlined the objectives of the Tunisian project and reminded that the protection of ecosystems is one of the priority axes of the UNDP programme of assistance to the country. UNDP is also involved in a number of other relevant projects which he invited to consider for linkages. In particular, he cited that a convention has been concluded with WWF to promote rational use of natural resources and that work is being pursued towards the implementation of agenda 21 initiatives. These various activities attest of the importance that UNDP gives to the protection of natural resources. He wished all success to the meeting.

Mr. Hani Daraghma, representative of UNDP GEF, offered his compliments to the distinguished authorities and thanked the RCU and the host country for the work in preparing and organizing the meeting. He emphasized the uniqueness of the project and its importance. He recalled the process of designing and preparing for the project and the objectives of the project. Aware of the achievements to date, he reminded of the challenges lying ahead. He expressed appreciation that the regional team is now fully re-mobilized and that the Mid Term Review (MTR) was successfully undertaken. He pointed out that the project funds would cease next year or shortly thereafter but the results should not stop there. The efforts should remain until the goals are fully achieved, in particular through partnerships. He also underscored that this should be realized with full commitment from the national parties, and through the creation of institutional and legislative arrangements and policy making.

Ms. Sylvie Goyet, MedWetCoast Regional Coordinator, thanked the host for making arrangements for the meeting. She reminded of the nature and modalities of the RAC as a regional mechanism to capitalize on the experience of each of the participating members as well as maintain and guide a common regional vision. She also highlighted the importance of this particular meeting: the national and regional projects are one year away from completion (set for August or September 2004 with the exception of Lebanon which is due to complete in 2005) and important decisions must be taken now in order to prepare for sustainability of the actions and functions; the RCU is newly re-mobilized and fully operational for support to the project; and a Mid Term Review has been conducted presenting findings and recommendations that need to be considered in the next phase of implementation. She invited the participants to take the discussions seriously and fully contribute to the sharing of experience and the consolidation of a common strategy.

Mr. Nadhir Hamada, Secretary of State in charge of the Environment of Tunisia, then officially opened the meeting. A copy of his address is included in Annex1

Approval of the Agenda. Appointment of Meeting Reporter and Chairperson.

The agenda was approved. Note should be taken of the comment of Dr. Fouda calling for more time for discussion and inviting for a transparent exchange with regards to the overall strategy of the project. The final version of the agenda is attached as Annex 2

On the suggestion of the Regional Coordinator, Mr. Abdelmalek was approved as chairperson for the meeting, the Regional Coordinator acting as the moderator. The RCU will assume the function of rapporteur and prepare the meeting report.

The final list of participants is attached as Annex 3. Ms. Goyet presented the excuse of the delegation from the Palestine Authority. She explained that, though the project there has completed, the previous RAC had confirmed that every effort should be deployed to ensure their participation in the regional activities. However, last minute changes from the Palestine side and difficulties in terms of logistics, authorization and visa had made it impossible to confirm their participation for this meeting. §§

Session I: progress in implementation of the project

The chairperson introduced the subject and invited the representatives in alphabetical order to make a presentation.

-  Albania

Ms. Violeta Zuna, project manager, spelled out the process that had been undertaken in the Narta Lagoon project site to assess the impacts of the proposed oil exploration project and thereafter rehabilitate the site. She also pointed out to other activities and concrete actions carried out over the past few months, in particular in the area of public awareness. The process of preparation of the management plans has started, with identification of national experts and initial consultation. She informed that assistance from TdV to accompany the process is currently being formalized. She continued with a recapitulation of training activities and capacity building efforts underway and concluded by highlighting lessons learned through the project:
-  importance of local steering committee as important tool for intersectoral consultation and for involvement of all actors
-  the project has been able to address potential threats to the sites
-  the project can mobilize the local population She confirmed that the targets of the Albania project for 2004 relate to: national wetland strategy and approval of the law on biodiversity, management planning process well underway by end of the year, and increased public participation. Her presentation is attached as Annex 4

Mr. Trumbic underscored the importance of making links and integrating the effort with the overall planning of the government and enquired whether links have been made with, e.g., the Ministry of Planning. It was responded that, through their involvement in the Steering Committee, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Planning are cooperating with the project.

Mr. Trumbic also enquired about the participation of the private sector, e.g. tourism. Mr. Daraghma further highlighted that this point was spelled out in the MTR report and that increased attention should be given to this item in the future.

Mr. Amaoun asked about the scope of participation at the local level of NGOs and communities and Ms. Zuna highlighted that there is a need to enhance the capacity of these actors in order to enable them to fully participate in the project.

Dr. Fouda reminded that the objective of the RAC is "to help" and invited her to spell out clearly in what ways the RAC could help more.

Ms. Al Khatib suggested that the Albanian project could enter into partnership with other MWC national projects and cited that, in Lebanon, there has been good experience with this process of engaging the private sector and she pointed out that there could be opportunities to link with the Lebanon project in that regards.

-  Egypt

Dr. El Badry highlighted that, upon review of project activities, his presentation will chiefly focus on challenges, past and future. He explained that Egypt is now in the first phase of implementation of the management plan, also pointing out that preparation is well underway to prepare and organize a round table meeting of donors in order to solicit funding for some of the management plan projects. He also pointed to the ongoing work on socio-economics. He welcomed and called for constructive criticisms on the plans developed and highlighted that these need to be revised and strengthened on the basis of informed expert advice. He highlighted the achievements and impacts and particularly described the institutional structures that are being prepared to ensure the sustainability of the project.

He pursued by highlighting the challenges faced over the past year and then further described the main challenges ahead in terms of:
-  securing funding for the implementation of projects,
-  developing the skills of second line staff at the site level, and
-  developing policies for effective management of wetlands and coastal resources. His presentation is attached as Annex 5

Ms. Al Khatib enquired about the commitment of the Egyptian Government to sustaining the local management committees and their actions. Dr. El Badry replied that a good number of operational actions are clearly under the responsibility of individual members of the committee through their respective institutions.

Cautioning that the question is geared towards all of the project components, Mr. Daraghma asked how much of the biodiversity has been protected and what impacts have been achieved, and whether and what type of regular monitoring mechanisms are now in place to monitor the threats, the integrity of the system, and other bio-physical elements. Dr. El Badry spelled out that this work is mostly considered within the framework of the implementation of the management plans. As such, some initial action to that effect has been carried out but more will be done in the near future.

-  Lebanon

Mr. Charbel Rizk presented the status of activities and achievements, particularly highlighting the monitoring efforts and giving concrete measure of some of the indicators (turtle nesting, breeding of birds, etc.). For 2003, particular effort is being scheduled on the aspects of biophysical monitoring. He continued by spelling out the progress that is underway for site diagnosis and site management plans, both undertaken conjunctly and through partnerships with other ongoing UNDP/Ministry of Environment projects. He particularly explained the functioning of the GAC (Government Appointment Committee set up for each of the protected areas in Lebanon), highlighting that the meetings increased from 1 to 3 times a month at the site of Tyre, an indicator of interest and achievements. Particularly welcomed, the presentation focused on indicators of impacts and achievements. Special highlight was put on actions undertaken by the project to raise social and livelihood opportunities at sites. His presentation is attached as Annex 6

Upon query from Ms. Nadia Bahraini, Mr. Rizk highlighted that a lot of preparatory work had already been undertaken under the GEF PA project but that, in addition, much effort is and has been carried out under the initiative of the MWC Lebanon project and in partnership with other actors.

He further explained that the scheduling of the site diagnosis and management plan are concurrent but done in an adaptive and iterative way, both efforts feeding into each other.

Responding to the question from Mr. Jean Jalbert, he explained that the reducing of threats, e.g. grazing, had been achieved chiefly through consultation and mediation, also building on opportunities, and incentives have been only in terms of talks and encouragement.

-  Morocco

Mr. Youssef Slaoui presented the achievements and activities of the project and spelled out efforts already initiated or planned over the coming months/year. His presentation is attached as Annex 7

Mr. Jean Jalbert asked whether the project has the means to respond and address the threat inherent to the large tourism development being planned next to the Moulouya site. Mr. Slaoui responded that there is already a law requiring EIA, though no secondary law has yet been passed, which should require that all environmental considerations have been taken into account. In addition, he underscored that the project is trying to enter into negotiations with the development firm.

-  Tunisia

Mr. Habib Ben Moussa presented the activities and achievements of the project in Tunisia, particularly highlighting the work undertaken on the Management Plans and the effort to increase public awareness and sensitization. His presentation is attached as Annex 8

Dr Fouda reminded the meeting of the essential query that one has to make, namely whether the project is collectively and effectively making a difference in terms of conserving some key species and habitats. He commended the presentation from Lebanon which made good insights into this area. And he underscored that this is what the GEF will want to see and hear. He also enquired whether the project is able to achieve the social and economic goals for the general public, highlighting issues such as poverty alleviation, water conservation, water quality, and equity in benefit sharing. Synergies between different environmental and development initiatives should be pursued.

-  Case study

Taking advantage of the scheduling of the meeting in Tunisia, the meeting welcomed the opportunity to hear in more details of the process that was undertaken to prepare management plans for the Tunisian MWC sites. Mr Sami Ben Hadj, from the consultancy company GEOIDD that had been contracted to do the job for 2 of the MWC sites, presented the process, steps and achievements. His presentation is attached as Annex 9 §§

Status report of the regional MedWetCoast project

The Regional Coordinator presented an overview of the status of the regional component.

a) Institutional arrangements

The regional coordinator displayed a graph of the institutional arrangements for the implementation of the project. It is attached as Annex 10. She highlighted:
-  the role of the RAC as a regional mechanism to exchange ideas and experience across the project components and guide the regional vision;
-  the proposed establishment of a regional steering committee for the regional component;
-  the desire to increased and fuel more horizontal networking across the projects;
-  the modality of NEX execution for the national components;
-  the proposed structuring of technical assistance from the regional partners (including TdV, CdL, ATEN and other relevant experts or institutions), i.e. through service contracts with the regional unit for implementation of RCU-led activities or directly with the national projects when responding to country-specific needs.

b) Financial overview

She presented an overview of the financial status of the project, highlighting that 1) the rate of disbursement varies but is much lower in the national components, the regional components having a 75% rate of delivery at the end of 2003, 2) the amount roughly available to the RCU for programming of activities (and/or extension) from now onward is about $260,000. Details of her presentation are found in Annex 11.

c) Upon invitation from the Regional Coordinator, representatives of the TdV, CdL and ATEN made a short presentation highlighting the support and inputs that had provided by the Regional Facilitation Unit since RAC2, through them. Mr. Jalbert presentation is attached as Annex 12. §§

Session II: Mid Term Review recommendations

Mr. Alain Lafontaine, team leader of the Baastel-led Mid Term Review, presented an overview of the findings of the mission and summarized the recommendations 1) at the regional level and 2) at the national level. These are spelled out in his presentation in Annex 13.

Mr. Bayoumi commended the team for the work done, in particular in terms of highlighting the responsibilities and roles of the project as a whole and those of the regional unit. He regretted though that the recommendations were not consolidated for the national components. He remarked that he was also expecting that the review would go into an evaluation of the quality of the products, e.g. the quality of the management plans, and was disappointed not to find that type of review.

Mr. Hentati Adel, ANPE, noted that the review confirm that practical actions have been taken but asked whether the practical achievements to date could be identified, in particular in terms of results. He further enquired about the difficulties met with regards to regional training initiatives. Finally he asked for the reasons why the national training plans have not been implemented to date.

Dr. Fouda thanked the evaluator for the work done and reminded of the comments already made and further iterated the need to spell out clearly whether the main goal is now half achieved.

The meeting also urged the RCU to help with the translation into French of the executive summary and recommendations of the report in order to ensure full distribution of the document in the French-speaking countries.

Mr. Ben Moussa referred to the document presented at RAC2 concerning the sustainability of the project and pointed out that, in his view, one of the key elements of sustainability is the implementation of the management plans.

Mr. Kouvelis thanked Alain for the work done and confirmed that this report had been a very useful document, noting that it was not very common to find a report of that quality. He cautioned not to put all efforts over the next year towards the implementation of the management plans. He reminded that the focus should be on ensuring that institutional and policy level mechanisms are in place after the project completes and called for carefully considering the options to that end. He also recalled that there is a finite quantity of time and money available. In terms of ’closing of the Mediterranean circle’, he pointed out that, even with the best organisation to lead that process, what is needed is the ’glue’ to share and guide and he invited the participants to reflect and explore options in that sense. He further reminded that the ’closing’ refers to 25 countries and not only 6. In that context, he proposed that regional functions be anchored into existing regional initiatives and suggested to identify those institutions which have a capacity to support policy and institutional aspects in the future.

For ’closing of the circle’, Ms. Al Khatib suggested to look at the commonalities across the countries, possibly in the form of a publication (in terms of policies, approaches, threats, etc). She also suggested to give due consideration to the scheduling of a regional seminar on socio-economic aspects.

Mr. Alain Lafontaine took the floor, offering to respond as best and appropriate to the comments and questions. He reminded that what was expected from the review is one report, one document and pointed out that, for GEF, this is indeed one project. In terms of what has been achieved, he confirmed that key achievements include the preparation of site diagnosis for all countries or most, and the preparation of management plans for some of these. He underscored though that, at the policy level, the challenge remains quite extensive, in terms of ensuring that the relevant wetlands and management policy are in place with their corresponding institutional arrangements. In terms of closing the circle, he granted that there had been ad hoc and some initiatives but least effort on the part of the national projects.

He further remarked that the report has also attempted to analyse the status of achievement in each of the country as best as possible considering the time and resource constraints of the mission and he invited the participants to refer to it. He agreed that there is but few lines on the quality of some of the outputs, e.g. the quality of the diagnosis, the quality of the management plans, but reminded that, in line with UNDP and GEF policies and guidelines, the TORs of the review primarily look at such issues as: relevance, efficiency, progress towards results and impacts, and sustainability. He pointed out that there is a limit as to how far the reviewers could go into analysing the quality of the results. He also pointed out that the problem stems from the fact that the project had not been designed along a result-based approach. In that context, he advised the national projects to revise the LFA, along result-based objectives and identifying measurable results and clear indicators of impacts.

In terms of capacity building, Mr. Lafontaine pointed out that, in all likelihood, the capacity of the national teams to carry out the activities was overestimated at first, e.g. the capacity to carry out site diagnosis. In terms of implementation of the national plans, he listed a few reasons that explain the ineffective implementation of the training plans, including: the skills and capacity of the training Focal Points, the time and resources available to them (i.e. these people cumulate various functions), and possibly the limited national ownership in the development of the training plans.

He further underscored that management plans are tools not end products in themselves. The end result should be, through site demonstration effort, to infuse changes at the policy level. That means that capacity needs to be build in the country to undertake this work and links across the region established or solidified so that new management plans can be prepared, so that policy changes can be effected and so that experiences can be shared.

Ms. Goyet reminded that there is a need to revisit each of the recommendations of the MTR, identifying the nature, scope and modalities to translate these into practical strategic changes and actions at the national level as well as at the regional level.

Mr. Hani Daraghma requested that the MTR recommendations be taken seriously into account. He pointed out that the procedure for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is becoming stricter and more rigorous for GEF-funded projects, as the GEF is being questioned on the nature and measure of the impacts that the projects are generating. He conveyed his appreciation of the recommendation to engage more in SxS cooperation and remarked that, so far, he has not seen much partnership develop across the countries, but rather more NxS exchange. He also underscored that his institution would like to see more of this networking through electronic tools and exchange programs, between the countries themselves. The bilateral cooperation should be a vital one. He also invited the countries to take a serious look at the sustainability issue, as this is a crucial question for the GEF. Sustainability principles must be part of the national agendas and of the regional agenda. He also suggested that this project could evolve into a program that would be an integral part of an existing regional agenda and network. The question is : how can we make this happen? How to see such a programme evolve and develop across the region. Finally, with regards to indicators and M&E, he asked to what extent the indicators that were developed are used and are useful to measure achievements. He suggested to also consider more effort into developing monitoring systems. In that context, he expressed his appreciation with the database suggestion, mentioning that a standardized and harmonized database that would be shared across the countries has not yet been seen.

The participants broke out in 4 working sessions and reported thereafter. The outline of the presentations are included in Annex 14 and summarized below.

a) Working group on "documenting and reporting"

The recommendations of the group include:
-  at the regional level, a concise reporting format be developed by the RCU which would be more impacts and results oriented and a reporting on a 6-month basis.
-  in terms of national monitoring and documenting, further capacity building to develop the tools. Egypt offered to take the lead and organize a one-day workshop. Mr. Lafontaine suggested to use a result-based approach, underscoring that the task is not one to be under estimated.
-  for site monitoring, the development of a practical guidebook that would tailor to all countries’ use. The group recommended that TdV be entrusted with the development of the guidebook.

b) Working group on "closing the circle"

The group rapporteur pointed out that there exists a number of partners and networks in the region. Over the past, links with these partners have not always been effective and it is suggested to work towards including the MWC objectives in the agenda of these various institutions. Propositions translate into actions at various levels:
-  before completion of the regional component, priority must be put on developing these linkages (MAP, and its RACs, MedWet, IUCN, WWF, etc.,), the regional steering committee must be put in place - the group recommended that the committee includes MAP as one key partner and institution. This committee must be playing a key role over the next year to foster greater cooperation and integration.
-  after completion of the regional component, one must not create another program or another structure but ensure that sustainability of these functions be assumed by existing institutions. The question is who must take the lead in the coordination and this must be addressed over the next year.
-  at the level of the countries, a more pro-active role must be taken by the national projects to look out and take actions. It was reminded that the national units have a responsibility not only towards implementation of their respective national projects but also towards looking out to these other programmes and networks and taking initiatives to anchor the activities in a regional context, i.e. ’closing the circle’.

c) Working group on "capacity building"

The group worked on how to translate some of the recommendations into a workplan in terms of enhancing the impacts of the project, also taking account of the efforts of other Mediterranean networks. Recommendations of the group include:
-  further define the role of the training Focal Points and enhance the profile of the function and the responsibility of the Focal Points.
-  RCU to propose a framework for analysis to revise and update the training plans in order to ensure greater ownership of the plans. It should also propose TOR and a work plan for the training Focal Points, together with assistance to update the national training needs, with the objective of ensuring a greater ownership of the training plans.
-  consolidate at the regional level the national needs and priorities of the national components. The role of the RCU should then essentially be in terms of enabling linkages with partners such as IUCN, MAP, etc. The RCU would intervene as facilitator of the network and tools may include such things as an Intranet forum on the site.
-  The RCU would be financing incremental costs for certain regional training (e.g. translation costs).
-  Finally the group recommended that the RCU provide support to the projects to design local strategies for communication.

Dr. Fouda pointed out that training is a very expensive undertaking and reminded that the project should look into various options such as partnerships with existing training programmes or distance learning initiatives, quoting the example of the IUCN effort for this second option. Further, he suggested that the project pay more attention to monitoring the effectiveness of the training effort, i.e. what happens to those people who have undergone training and how they use the skills acquired.

d) Working group on "sustainability"

-  Overall the presenter confirmed that they are in agreement with the Baastel recommendations and strongly recommends integration of the project in the respective national planning and programming.
-  The group further recommended that assurances be given by the Government that there is a budget line in the public accounts to ensure protection and management of the MWC Sites after completion of the project.
-  With regards to implementation of the management plans, the group is of the opinion that doing a good work on the management plan will push the Government to take up its responsibility. The example of the particular park where the meeting is held was given as example: the rehabilitation work for the park was first undertaken thanks to external funding, thereafter it is the Government that assumed the tasks of maintaining it.
-  At the regional level, the group recommended to collectively identify mechanisms of transfer of the regional functions. One of the proposals is to have a representation per country on a rotating basis to maintain the regional networking function. On the other hand, the group suggested that, collectively, a plan of transfer of the regional functions be prepared within the next 3 months.
-  The group also suggested to associate the project with the approach of the PAP/RAC in terms of ICZM.
-  At the regional level, the group asked whether one would consider having the countries represented in the steering committee of the regional component. One further suggestion in that regard is to use the website as a forum for voicing countries’ inputs into the work of the Steering Committee of the regional component. Another idea would be that the national projects designate collectively a representative of the countries at the local level to sit in the steering committee of the regional component. §§

Session VI: Enhancing Sustainability

Pursuing the recommendations of the Mid Term Review and furthering the discussion that was held in the MTR session, the meeting discussed issues related to sustainability as these translate into aspects of: integrated institutional mechanisms at the site level, integrated institutional mechanisms at the national level, financial arrangements, and public involvement as a guarantee of ownership and sustainability.

a) Institutional arrangements at the site level for an integrated approach: presentation of country experience and discussion

Ms. Zuna presented the excuses of Dr. Zamir, project director, who regrettably could not be present at the meeting but had prepared the presentation for this session. She highlighted the composition, role and support of the Local Steering Committee meeting. Her presentation is attached as Annex 15

Ms. Goyet proposed to reflect on the steps that are being taken or should be taken at the site level to build the capacity of the focal institution(s) that will be entrusted with the responsibility of the implementation of the management plans.

Dr. Fouda pointed out that the establishment of a local steering committee can not alone ensure the sustainability of the management of the site. He reminded that someone needs to be responsible, that structures need to be in place and a vision shared.

Mr. Daraghma suggested that ’champions’ need to be identified at the local level and induced, with incentives, to take a lead in buying the objectives of the project and buying the vision for local ownership. The ’champions’ could indeed be individuals, associations, institutions, etc.

Mr. Hentathi Adel, ANPE, asked for clarification from the presenter as to who is paying for the work of the local steering committee. Ms. Zuna responded that

Mr. Rizk pointed out that, in the case of Lebanon, work is undertaken to ensure the sustainability of the GAC, through capacity building and partnership.

b) Institutional arrangements at the national level for an integrated approach: presentation of country experience and discussion

Mr. Slaoui introduced the subject and highlighted the example of Morocco and the difficulties in ensuring the involvement of the various national institutions in the implementation of the project. He particularly highlighted the need for the national coordination unit to be endowed with sufficient decision making power to engage the various national institutions and suggested that, for such projects, best would be either attachment of the national project unit to the highest level of government (prime minister’s office) or devolving much of the operational work to local actors. His presentation is attached as Annex 16.

A number of participants emphasized the constraints and difficulties in the undertaking but reminded that the multisectorial integration must be the overriding principle of the national work.

c) Financial arrangements (economic instruments, government commitments, etc): presentation of country experience and discussion

Mr. Rizk presented, in the case of Lebanon, the various possibilities that have been used to mobilize funds and contributions whether cash or in-kind at the site or project level. He cited examples of income generation schemes for small public awareness initiatives as well as the team’s effort to develop full fledged proposals. His presentation is attached as Annex 17.

Dr. Trumbic cautioned that all wetlands can not be fully self-funded, lest it leads to the wrong use of wetlands. The Government clearly has a chief role and responsibility in this area. In terms of ecotourism, he also warned that the ecotourism market is only a very small portion of the overall tourism market and that one should not expect too much from this source of revenue alone.

Mr. Kouvelis emphasized that, in their experience, donors are willing to invest in the conservation if they see that it turns into a success story and if one can demonstrate that the local support and ownership are there. To some extent, a protected area can be self-financed. One should also assist towards meeting local development needs, an action which, in turns, generally then incite the government to extend further support. He also suggested that, besides looking at additional resources for protected areas, work should be done to reduce the operational costs of the management of the site.

Responding to Mr. Lafontaine’s question, Mr. Rizk confirmed that the GAC structure is indeed enshrined in the legislation so is the financing for the GAC. He also confirmed that, thanks to IUCN funding, they are starting the preparation of a business plan for the two sites.

Ms. Al Khatib pointed out that approaching the private sector involves a long and persistent process of nurturing and that each approach should be tailored to the specific private sector operator. One must indeed build on the concern of the private sector to ’green’ their activities.

Mr. Daraghma reminded and invited all participants to focus on the goal of ’integration’, one that must be an overriding principle.

d) Public Involvement - community development, alternative resource use options, public participation in planning and decision making, awareness raising: presentation and discussion

Mr. Daraghma introduced the subject, highlighting that public involvement includes public sensitization and information but also fuller participation of the communities with activities that address the socio and economic needs of the people.

Mr. Mahmoud Chihaoui presented the work undertaken in Tunisia. His presentation is attached as Annex 18.

Ms. Zuna presented a case study of the work undertaken in Albania. The video "Narta and Us" was shown to the participants and copies of the CD-Rom distributed. It describes well the process of public involvement and influence in stopping the drilling operation and encouraging a national policy debate on that matter. Her presentation is attached as Annex19.

Ms. Ghonem presented the work undertaken in Egypt highlighting the efforts to enhance community development on the sites. She presented the approach followed, one that progressively identifies the common area where the objectives of environmental protection of the site and those of development of the people meet. She presented case studies of activities carried out then as a result. Details of her presentation are found in Annex 20.§§

Session VII: Priorities for the regional component for 2003/2004

The Regional Coordinator presented an outline of the proposed strategy that the RCU could be following over the next 12/18 months and continued with a proposed draft work plan of activities. Her full presentation is attached in Annex 21(en français).

The strategy would involve a focus on:

-  Community development, incl. livelihood alternatives
-  National strategy and policy making : working towards ’integration’
-  Working towards implementation of the management plans: support to identification of arrangements to put in place (institutional arrangements, financial sustainability, capacity building of local authorities, investments, etc.)
-  integrated ecosystem approach to the management of the sites: looking beyond the fences!
-  Support to enhancing sustainability aspects of the project (at site, national and regional level)
-  Increased regional networking and information sharing, with a special emphasis on use of the website, as a tool
-  ... and preparation for a) anchoring the project in the national and regional policy efforts and b) ensuring continuation of some of the functions of the regional component, including transfer of functions, as appropriate.

The proposed activities are:

Output 1.2 - Provide technical support on wetland and coastal components to the national projects

Act. 1.2.6: assist national project team in planning and implementing the innovative aspects of the project concerning institutional change

With emphasis on community development and socio-economic needs:
-  Focused Short term technical assistance showing examples
-  Encourage the set up of a network of national/Med experts
-  Building on national efforts, consolidate a common approach and, collectively, consider ways to secure additional support (incl. possible development of a regional proposal that would associate training of stakeholders, identification of options and opportunities, small grants, and micro-credit schemes)
-  Publication (guidelines)?

With emphasis on implementation of the tools developed / sustainability:
-  Technical support to the countries for a) result-based approach, b) identification of implementation mechanisms and b) development of recommendations into concrete proposals

Output 2.1: Organise exchange of technical knowledge and information on regional experience

Site/local level:
-  Regional seminar/training for site managers (focus: best practice in PA Management). Potential partners: IUCN, MedWet (also crossed with Act. 2.3.2)
-  country-located seminar of local authorities with emphasis on economic value of the sites. Potential partners: MWC countries, CdL, TdV, MedWet, IUCN (also crossed with Act 2.3.2)

National level:
-  Regional seminar on National Wetlands strategy/policy (tent. January 2004)
-  Regional seminar on best practices in ICZM. Potential partners: MAP-PAP/RAC and CdL (CdL also underscoring the land tenure issues)
-  (training on bio-physical monitoring: collaboration with TAIB for further participation of MWC experts to the training)
-  Regional seminar on best practice and sharing of experience in fostering community development and integrating socio-economic needs of the local actors. Partner: WWF?

Ecosystem focus:
-  Regional seminar on management and monitoring of laguna ecosystems Potential partner: TdV Laguna programme

Output 2.2 Preparation of documentation
-  Publications on ICZM (CdL) and Integrated Management of Wetlands (TdV): both in progress (Act. 2.2.2 and 2.2.3)
-  Documentation and report of seminars and training activities, guidelines capitalizing on regional training and seminars
-  Sharing of reference and best practice documents (also Act. 1.1.2)

Output 2.3 Exchange experience on the management of sites

Act. 2.3.1/2.3.2/2.3.3: Technical assistance to distil and summarise the lessons learned in management of pilot sites and prepare, publish and disseminate results and achievements.

-  Technical and professional external peer review of the management plans to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses & lessons learned, and highlight similarities and common concerns, also identifying possible areas of future collaboration

Act. 2.3.4 : updating of website

Output 3.1 Reinforce the capacity of each country/Authority to implement training courses.

-  Support the networking of trainers and training opportunities across the projects, including support to updating of the training plans, monitoring of reports, exchange of best practices and training reports and fostering more ’horizontal’ and bilateral exchanges. Potential partner: ATEN
-  With national project funding, facilitate the scheduling of in-country ’training of trainers’ workshop for preparation of Management Plans (on the model of the Amman workshop)

The presentation was supplemented by inputs from Mr. Bouameur Mahi on the communication side. He emphasized the degree of use and visits to the web site and the new tools that are being developed and included in the site for enhancing greater sharing across the network. His presentation is attached as Annex 22. It was further detailed by Mr. Jean Jalbert highlighting the proposed support from TdV towards implementation of a number of proposed activities of the regional component. His presentation is attached as Annex 23.

Mr. Bougeant further highlighted the proposed collaboration and support that CdL could extend, including:
-  collaboration on enabling capacity building and sensitizing of local authorities
-  publication: working on a practical guide book on CZM
-  support to associating the MWC project to the efforts of PAP-RAC in furthering regional policy and legislative cooperation in the Mediterranean. He further reiterated that the CdL is available and interested to extend specific assistance to the respective countries as per their priority needs and concerns.

Mr. Thevenin offered a presentation on ways for ATEN to support activities of the regional component. Assistance would center around the facilitation of the network of training Focal Points. His presentation is attached as Annex 24.

Mr. Du Castel highlighted a number of priority elements:
1) In terms of urgency, one would need to identify who would be able to assume some of the regional coordinating/networking functions. A number of options have been voiced: e.g. transfer to existing regional networks, ownership by the countries of some of the functions.
2) The implementation of recommendations identified in the Management Plans.

Ms. Al Khatib suggested that, as a contribution to the communication effort, an electronic forum of ’community of practice’ be set up that would include the 25 countries and invited to further reviewed this with the UNDP Lebanon and UNDP SURF offices. She also suggested to explore the possibility of ’virtual’ seminars. Finally, with regards to Lebanon, she requested that due consideration be given to ensure that Lebanon be technically backstopped upon the completion of the regional project and that this function should be taken into account. Finally, she questioned whether the donors would be willing to consider a second tranche of financing.

Mr. Daraghma suggested that efforts be made to maximize synergies with other regional partners. He further invited the meeting to help by guiding the prioritization of the interventions of the regional component. He presented his hopes that, by the end of 2004, all of the objectives would have been reached. He also supported the emphasis on sustainable livelihood. In the context of budget allocation, he invited the national components to consider allocating sufficient resources to community development. He underscored the positive experience that has been demonstrated in the case studies presented and encouraged, on that basis, further efforts in this area, also linking with private sector, micro enterprises and NGOs.

Mr. Slaoui referred back to the presentation of the regional component. He confirmed that all of the items presented are all important and must be prioritized. He asked that time be given to reflect on the proposals and convey feedback in a short time, i.e. 10 days. Referring to the earlier recommendation that increased focus be given onto community development issues, he confirmed to the meeting that, in the case of Morocco, the project is in the process of being revisited to take account of these new priorities. He also agreed that reflecting on the transfer of the RCU activities and functions must be considered right away.§§

Session VII: Regional partner networks

The regional partners present at the meeting (MedWet, UNEP MAP PAP-RAC, WWF) voiced their suggestions, in particular with regards to the suitability and means to ’anchor’ the MedWetCoast project into the regional networks.

Mr. Kouvelis, MedWet regional coordinator, reminded first that the work of a committee like this is to set a clear vision but that the realization is up to the ’doers’. He cited a number of local partners that actually carry out the work: site managers, NGOs, the regional networks. He identified a number of regional institutions that could be in a position to collaborate with the project and support regional functions. With regards to MedWet, he underscored that this is one forum where political decisions can be taken and pursued. He also presented the structure of the MedWet team: the centers + coordination unit + observers. The team can assist in many ways: technical backstopping, communication support, support for mobilizing funds and resources - in that context, he cited the new Life 3rd country project for Alg/Tun/Mar. He further highlighted a number of other networks in existence that could be used for support: MedWet region, MedWet NGOs that will be launched in the near future with WWF taking the lead. Completing the picture, he explained that MedWet would be able, if requested, to make available the MedWet network as an outlet to ensure continuity of the MWC networking and that, if necessary, MetWet will be happy to consider and explore options to continue and maintain certain regional functions of MWC.

Mr. Trumbic, PAP-RAC director, reminded that PAP-RAC is a newcomer to MWC, although contacts had been established in the past but with no concrete results. In his views, there is a great potential for linking the activities of MWC and those of the MAP:
-  there is a process in the region leading towards sustainable development, i.e. through the Committee on Sustainable Development created in 1996. This has to be considered as a potential link and reference point for attachment.
-  PAP and SPA are the two centers most closely associated with the MWC objectives.
-  Among its areas of work, PAP deploys efforts towards 1) ’post project phase’, 2) information and awareness raising, e.g. the clearing house mechanism - he offered to collaborate on this issue and 3) legal arrangements. In that context, he explained that the center is embarking on an important initiative, i.e. to prepare and adopt a regional protocol on coastal management. He mentioned that the EU has only adopted a recommendation for CZM but he believes it feasible for the Mediterranean region to adopt a protocol in that area in 2 to 3 years. Also he suggested that since MWC is directly linked to the coastal areas, there is indeed a clear and direct link to the work of PAP-RAC.

Further, he suggested lines of collaboration: 1) There could be benefit of integrating the MWC project into the network of MAP and 2) there could be direct support in terms of joint actions in relation to ICZM together with the colleagues from CdL.

Mr. Raffaele Mancini, WWF, explained the nature and functioning of the forthcoming MedWet NGO network.

Mr. Ben Moussa presented the excuses of the RAC-SPA for not being able to be here at that meeting and conveyed the offer of help and assistance from the RAC-SPA director with regards to implementation of the regional activities of the MWC project.§§

Recommendations

(en français)

Based upon the discussions of the previous two days, the Regional Coordinator presented draft recommendations to the meeting for its consideration. These were reviewed and discussed.

As final recommendations, the meeting :

For follow up to the Mid Term Review:
-  1. Acknowledges the Mid Term Review report.
-  2. Invites the RCU to arrange for a translation of the executive summary and recommendations into French.
-  3. Recommends that the countries develop a practical country plan within the coming month to translate the recommendations of the MTR into the national workplan - RCU to circulate a reporting format for feedback for December 03.
-  4. Recommends to pursue the recommendations of the MTR in terms of sustainability of the national results and endorse the recommendations of the MTR in that regard.
-  5. Recommends to pursue the recommendations of the MTR in terms of sustainability of the regional functions through a) preparation of a draft exit strategy (first draft prepared by the RCU by end of January 2004) and b) consultation with national and regional partners to ’validate and operationalize’ it.
-  6. Recommends that the Government, as appropriate, prepares strong justification to request time extension to the GEF and FFEM for the respective national components, with the understanding that the request will have to be substantiated with accounts of the delivery and valid reasons for extension.
-  7. Recommends that, within the coming month, the national projects, as appropriate, revisit their LFA and budget to focus efforts and allocate resources that will correspond with agreed objectives and means (including towards community development work) and along a result-based approach.
-  8. Calls on national and regional components to put particular emphasis over the coming year on: community development, monitoring (of impacts), documenting experience, planning for sustainability, engaging in partnerships, enhancing multi-sectoral, multistakeholder and ecosystem integration, and resource mobilization.

For the structure and workplan of the RCU

-  9. Supports the new institutional arrangements of the RCU.
-  10. Takes note of the workplan as proposed by the RCU and as backed by the regional partners.
-  11. Agrees that countries would send feedback to the RCU within the next 10 days on the proposed regional intervention, also a) prioritizing the proposed regional activities with reference to their country needs and b) highlighting areas where the national component could collaborate with and/or contribute to.
-  12. Invites the RCU to engage into practical consultation with the regional partners in order to a) explore arrangements for collaboration on the implementation of specific agreed activities and b) identify opportunities for anchoring the project into the work and mandate of the regional programmes and institutions.
-  13. Endorses the recommendations of the MTR for the creation of the Steering Committee to the regional component with the addition of the UNEP MAP and encourages the Steering Committee to meet immediately after the RAC.

In addition, the meeting:

-  14. Welcomes the positive interventions and support from the regional partners, TdV, CdL, ATEN, MedWet, MAP and the RACs, and WWF (IUCN in absentia ...).
-  15. Makes a strong note that the funding partners are concerned with the low rate of delivery and disbursements of the components.
-  16. Encourages the countries to take an active lead in fostering horizontal networking and sharing.
-  17. Recommends that attention be given to developing the use of virtual network, whether for thematic issues or for regional coordination functions.

Web Team