Background - In 1997 UNEP-MAP with the financial support of GEF, initiated a comprehensive regional effort aimed at identifying and accelerating the key reforms and investments necessary to reverse negative trends threatening the Mediterranean Sea Ecosystem, and move towards sustainability. In little over 6 years, a full Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis for the Mediterranean Sea (TDA-MED) was prepared and agreed upon by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, followed by the adoption of two Strategic Action Programs (SAPs) to address main transboundary concerns: land based pollution (SAP MED), and loss of biodiversity (SAP BIO). As a consequence, the Mediterranean countries (Trieste, Oct. 2004) agreed on a collective effort for the protection of the environmental resources of the Mediterranean, the Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem, led by UNEP and the World Bank, co-funded by the GEF and involving other relevant agencies, IFIs and bilateral and multilateral donors.
The Partnership will serve as a catalyst in leveraging policy/legal/institutional reforms as well as additional investments for reversing degradation of the Mediterranean Sea Basin, with its coastal habitats and marine living resources. The Strategic Partnership, following the model of the GEF Black Sea Basin Strategic Partnership for Nutrient Reduction, consists of two complementary components:
- -a Regional Component: “Implementation of agreed actions for the protection of the environmental resources of the Mediterranean Sea and its coastal areas” led by UNEP, and the object of the present proposal, and
- -a “Partnership Investment Fund for the Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem” led by the World Bank and already approved by the GEF Council in August 2006.
The Partnership will stimulate and further enhance the implementation at the Mediterranean level of Global Conventions and initiatives such as the CBD, the Stockholm Convention, and GPA, Regional Conventions and instruments such as the Barcelona Convention and the Mediterranean Action Plan as well as the SAPs, NAPs, and POPs NIPs in individual countries.
The main objectives of the proposed project (Regional Component) are
- (i) to ensure, in concert with the World Bank, the overall coordination of the Strategic Partnership;
- (ii) to facilitate harmonized policy, legal and institutional reforms aimed at reversing degradation trends with focus on land based pollution - particularly nutrients and PCBs, fisheries and coastal habitats, in accordance with priorities agreed by the countries in the SAP MED and SAP BIO and to prepare the ground for the future implementation of the ICZM Protocol;
- (iii) to promote the regional dissemination and replication of new approaches including those implemented/demonstrated under the Partnership Investment Fund Component (World Bank);
- (iv) to monitor the progress of the Strategic Partnership as a whole, the effectiveness of the stress reduction measures being promoted, and to establish the harmonized monitoring of the "environmental status" of the Mediterranean Sea; and
- (v) to contribute to the implementation of the Stockholm NIPs through a harmonised approach to managing PCBs in five of the participating countries that meets the requirements of the Stockholm, Barcelona, and Basel conventions.
Summary Recommendation - The IW program manager, having reviewed the documentation provided, including the numerous relevant annexes, observes the following:
- (i) The proposal adequately addresses all recommendations and comments made in previous reviews.
- (ii) The proposed project fits GEF4 IW Strategic Objective 1, and IW GEF4 Strategic Program 2 (nutrients), with elements relating to 1 (fisheries), and 3 (water use conflicts). The project also fits POPs Strategic Program 1 (Capacity building for NIP implementation) and POPs Strategic Program 2 (Investments for NIP implementation).
- (iii) The proposed project shows several strong points that are worth mentioning:
- •Co-financing, which approaches a 1:2.5 ratio, most of it secured, including $14m in cash;
- •the full participation of northern littoral countries (Spain, France, Italy) to project activities, and funding;
- •the well defined set of results indicators (Process and Stress Reduction - Annex E);
- •the innovative and comprehensive Replication Strategy, linked with strong Communication and Coordination components (Annex F);
- •the integrated nature of the proposed approach (interlinked basin, coastal, and marine ecosystem management and interventions) and the joining of forces of focal areas (IW and POPs) around common priorities.
- (iv) The budget reflects recent GEFSEC guidance on management costs, travels and other items. Based on the above, the program manager would recommend CEO approval of Work Program Entry, following submission and review of a revised document responding to the recommendations listed below:
- Exec. Summary Point 4.1: include Spain among donors and members of the Steering Committee;
- - Include under the responsibility of the PMU the following activity: to identify a set of environmental status indicators reflecting SAP targets and agreements, and to promote in the countries, with the support of MAP, the harmonized monitoring of these indicators well beyond the project's life.
- The proposed set of indicators and monitoring procedures will be presented to the Steering Committee during the Inception Meeting.
- - Check the total figure for co-financing (which should be $23,723,200).
- - Ensure that project will have a website according to IW LEARN criteria, and that it will participate to IW LEARN initiatives, including biannual conferences.
- - Adequately respond to all issues on the POPs part of the project raised under the General Comments section.