LOCAL AUTHORITIES PARTNERSHIP IN THEMEDITERANNEAN PROGRAMME (MED-PACT)LESSONS LEARNED AND RECOMMENDATIONSNOVEMBER 2010 ZIAD MOUSSA Team Leader Technical Assistance to the Beneficiaries of MED-PACT
FRAMEWORK CONTRACTEUROPEAID/119860/C/SV/multi Lot 7SPECIFIC CONTRACTN° 2008/171844 WITHTRANSTECDisclaimer“This Report was prepared with thefinancial assistance of the EuropeanCommission. The views expressedin this report are those of theconsultants and do not necessarilyreflect those of the EuropeanCommission.”
MED-PACT AT A GLANCEAPUDUI Accompagnement méthodologique à la définition de Politiques d’Urbanisme et de Développement Urbain Intégrées, et à la construction d’outils à Annaba, Algérie et à Bizerte, Tunisie Leader: Urban Community of Dunkerque, France Partners: Agence de Développement et d’Urbanisme de la Région Flandre-Dunkerque (France), Assemblée Populaire Communale d’Annaba (Algéria), Municipalité de Bizerte (Tunisia)ARCHIMEDES Actions to Regenerate Cities and Help Innovative Mediterranean Economic Development Enhancing Sustainability Leader: Municipality of Venice, Italy Partners: Istanbul Metropolitan City (Turkey), Beirut (Lebanon), Genova (Italy), El Mina (Lebanon), Bordeaux (France), Oran (Algeria)G.E.M.M. Governance Empowerment Mediterranean Model Leader: Municipality of Sassuolo, Italy Partners: Municipality of Salè (Morocco), Municipality of New Al-Hashimieh (Jordan), Municipality of Ortakent Yashi (Turkey) Associates: Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation - Local Development Department (Jordan), Municipality of Majdel Anjar (Lebanon), Municipality of Turunc (Turkey), Municipal Council Members Cultural and Social Association BEMED (Turkey), The Provinces of Cagliari and Syracuse (Italy)GUIFORMED GUIdelines for the FORmation of managers and operators of MEDiterranean coastal wastewater treatment systems Leader: Municipalities of South Antalya (GATAB), Turkey Partners: Union of Municipalities in Manavgat (MATAB), Antalya (Turkey), El-Baddawi (Lebanon), Hammam-Sousse (Tunisia), the Tunisian National Sanitation Utility (ONAS) Associates: Melissia (Greece), “Stadt Nortorf” Association (Germany)
MEDACCESS Support to Disadvantaged Peoples and Minorities through Municipal Social and Economic Integration Leader: Municipality of Komotini, Greece Partners: Yalova Municipality (Turkey), Kardjali Municipality (Bulgaria), Usti-Lad-Nabem Municipality (Czech Republic) Associates: Beyoglu Municipality (Turkey), ADPE - Association Pour Le Developpment et La Promotion De L’ Enterprise (Algerian NGO), Association of non-profit organizations of Usti region, Czech Republic, Rodopi Development S.A., GreecePAMLED Building effective Partnerships among European and Mediterranean Municipalities for Local Economic Development Leader: Municipality of Prato, Italy Partners : Marrakech (Morocco), Sin El Fil (Lebanon), Bodrum (Turkey), Brtonigla (Croatia), Skopje (Macedonia), Lucca and Rio Marina (Italy)PACEM Projet d’Aménagements Côtiers Euro-Méditerranéens Leader: City of Marseille, France Partners: Rabat (Morocco), Alexandria (Egypt), Communauté Urbaine de Tripoli Al-Fayhaa (Lebanon), Aqaba (Jordan) Associates : Gdansk (Poland)SHAMS Sustainable Human Activities in Mediterranean Urban Systems Leader: Bruxelles Capitale, Belgium Partners: Mahdia (Tunisia) (co-leader), Bosra (Syria), Sousse (Tunisia), Lille Métropole Communauté Urbaine (France), Rome (Italy) Associates: Wilaya d’ Alger (Algeria), Malaga (Spain) Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer Region (Morocco), Bkassine Municipality (Lebanon), Fédération des Municipalités du Chouf Es Souayjani - FMCES (Lebanon), Sfax Municipality (Tunisia), ICCROM et FEDECULTURE (Italy), MEDCITIESSTREAM CITIES Strategic European and Mediterranean Cities Leader: Municipality of Catania, Italy Partners: Bethlehem (West Bank – Co-leader), Reggio Emilia (Italy), Valencia (Spain), El Mina (Lebanon), El Bardo (Tunisia), Network ReCS (Italy), Fez (Morocco), ANCI IDEALI Association (Italy)
TABLE OF CONTENTS1. Introduction 72. MED-PACT: A Brief History 83. A Brief Overview of the Technical Assistance to the Beneficiaries of MED-PACT 114. Overview of the Monitoring System Followed in MED-PACT 125. Lessons Learned from the MED-PACT Experience 15 5.1 Understanding the Socio-political Context 15 5.2 Carefully Preparing the Partnership 17 5.3 Decentralized Cooperation with Centralized systems 18 5.4 Planning vs. Concrete Achievements: two sides of the same coin 20 5.5 Big, Medium or Small Cities 22 5.6 A Retrospective Look on North-South and South-South partnerships 24 5.7 Is There a Money Transfer Silver Bullet 26 5.8 City Ownership: A Cornerstone in Decentralized Cooperation 29 5.9 Evaluation of the co-leader experience 31 5.10 Language Skills 32 5.11 Insights from MED-PACT experience with Results Oriented Monitoring (ROM) 33 5.12 The Importance of Timely Execution and Reporting 34 5.13 Internal Governance of the Projects 36 5.14 Communication and Visibility 38 5.15 What Was the Added Value from having a Technical Assistance for MED-PACT? 396. Closing Remarks 40Annex 41TablesTable 1: General Outlook of MED-PACT projects 9Table 2: Evolution of the MED-PACT projects Jan 2007 – Oct 2010 13
1. INTRODUCTIONThis report summarizes the key outcomes and lessons learned from the two Technical Assistance missions to theBeneficiaries of the MED-PACT Programme between February 2007 and September 2010.Upon the consent of the MED-PACT Project Manager, this report was drafted in a way that captures the macro-elementsand key learning insights from the entire execution period. Detailed assessments of the progress and performance ofthe various projects can be found in the 6 reports covering the entire execution period and submitted to the ContractingAuthority in June 2007, March 2008, December 2008, March 2009, September 2009 and October 2010 respectively.Additional information and insights can also be found on the MED-PACT website www.med-pact.eu. 7
2. MED-PACT: A BRIEF HISTORYMED-PACT (“Local Authorities Partnership Programme in the Mediterranean”) is an intercity regional co-operation programmewhich was decided by the European Commission (EC) in 2005 in the framework of the MEDA programme. It relates to the thirdstrand of the Barcelona Process, which is aimed at encouraging dialogue and co-operation between civil societies from both sidesof the Mediterranean, with a view to improving mutual understanding and promoting cultural and social rapprochement.The general objectives of MED-PACT were as follows: • To establish lasting partnerships between EU and Mediterranean cities and their civil societies, or reinforce and deepen the existing ones, with an increased focus on long term aspects and paramount priorities; • To contribute towards promoting more balanced and more sustainable local development patterns in the Mediterranean region, including through active efforts to (i) involve citizens in planning and implementation processes and (ii) share knowledge and disseminate experiences, particularly between the Mediterranean Partners themselves.The specific objectives of MED-PACT were: • To strengthen and widen municipalities’ networks in the region concerned, and further develop their access to adequate technical and methodological information and tools (including from outside the EU-Mediterranean area, should the occasion arise); • To improve planning and management capacities within municipalities; • To encourage EU cities to put emphasis, in their co-operation activities, on fields in which they have gained specific expertise and can bring in added-value.Nine projects were selected following a competitive call for proposals for a total amount of EU co-financing of 4.8 million Euros.The projects are presented in the table below:
Table 1: Summary table of MED-PACT projectsProject APUDUI ARCHIMEDES GEMM GUI- MEDACCESS PAMLED PACEM SHAMS STREAM FORMED CITIESLogoLeader of Dunkerque Venice Sassuolo GA | AB - Komolini Pralo Marseille Brussels CalaniaPartner- France Italy Italy Turkey Greece Italy France Belgium ItalyshipEU CO- 300,000 580,000 650,000 550,000 500,000 450,000 620,000 600,000 550,000financingRespon- Algeria Tunisia Morocco Tunisia Algeria Morocco Morocco Tunisia EU TAOsible JerusalemEUDelega-tionInitial Dec 2009 Dec 2008 July 2009 Dec 2009 / Dec 2008 Nov 2009 Dec 2009 Dec 2009 Feb 2009Closing TerminatedDate Feb 2009Extended Apr 2011 n/a June 2010 n/a Terminated June 2010 Dec 2010 June 2010 Aug 2010Closing Dec 2008Date 9
The projects signed their contracts with DG EuropeAid by December 2006 and started implementing their activities startingJanuary 2007. The kick-off meeting for MED-PACT took place in Brussels on March 12-13 2007.Two general meetings for all MED-PACT projects were then held in Brussels mid-way through the life of the projects on May 22-23 2009 and upon the completion of most of them on June 21-22 2010. The closing meeting was held in parallel to the kick-offmeeting of CIUDAD (Cooperation in Urban Development and Dialogue) which is the third regional project financed by the EU andtargeting Local Authorities after MED’ACT and MED-PACT, however extending also to the Eastern Neighbourhood (ENPI East)region.
3. A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO THE BENEFICIARIES OF MED-PACTAlthough the contracts of MED-PACT were signed with DG EuropeAid in Brussels, the overall management andsupervision of the projects was devolved to EU Delegations in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia as well as the EU TechnicalAssistance Office in Jerusalem.A Technical Assistance to the Beneficiaries of MED-PACT was also recruited through two successive frameworkcontracts in order to provide constant support to the MED-PACT beneficiaries and partners and to ensure continuousmonitoring of their activities. The Technical Assistance reported to DG EuropeAid while coordinating closely with the EUDelegation in charge of the projects. Aspects of the work of the Technical Assistance included: • Support/advice, in order to improve programme/project performance and impact, particularly as regards to planning, management, technical aspects of project implementation, reporting, communication and dissemination of information; • Coordination, to encourage contacts and exchanges between project beneficiaries, harmonize management systems, thereby facilitating comparisons and evaluations, and avoiding duplication of efforts; • Monitoring and reporting, to help anticipate problems, avoid mistakes, prevent inadequate or insufficient reporting, speed up implementation, facilitate contract adjustments where necessary, and prepare the ground for external evaluations. • Dissemination and visibility in order to ensure that the results of projects funded through MED-PACT are disseminated as widely as possible and especially where it can be relevant to other stakeholders.To that purpose the Technical Assistance liaised closely with all projects, keeping constant contact through phone,Skype and e-mail and visiting every project at least twice a year (a minimum of one yearly visit to the Lead Partner aswell as the participation in the trans-national meetings organized by projects). Details of the ongoing monitoring overthe past 40 months can be found in the progress reports submitted by the Technical Assistance to DG EuropeAid as wellas their annexes. 11
4. AN OVERVIEW OF THE MONITORING SYSTEM FOLLOWED IN MED-PACTThe Technical Assistance followed a simple monitoring system which dictated the magnitude and intensity of the support providedto the projects in the lights of its ongoing backstopping and support to these projects. This system is based on giving to eachproject over a certain monitoring period a color code which corresponds to its level of advancement and achievement. • The GREEN color implies that the project – in the opinion of the Technical Assistance - has managed to reach its full implementation speed and is not facing significant process problems with respect to its activities and its proposed partnerships. • The ORANGE color reflects the fact that the projects in question are facing some implementation difficulties and/or problems with their proposed partners, yet the Technical Assistance believes that these problems are handled in a timely manner and could be resolved within a reasonable timeframe. • The RED color implies that the projects in question did not manage yet to overcome some process difficulties that are hindering a timely achievement of the planned activities and are being hence monitored extremely closely by the Technical Assistance.This classification was not static and evolved from one monitoring period to another. It also helped in keeping partners motivatedand alert to their present level of advancement. Table two below provides a synthetic overview of the classification of MED-PACTprojects over the past 40 months
Table 2: Evolution of the MED-PACT projects January 2007 - October 2010Project APUDUI ARCHIMEDES GEMM GUIFORMED MEDACCESS PAMLED PACEM SHAMS STREAM CITIESLogoLeader of Dunkerque Venice Sassuolo GA | AB - Komolini Pralo Marseille Brussels CalaniaPartnership France Italy Italy Turkey Greece Italy France Belgium ItalyStatus of implementation throughout MED-PACT lifeJune 2007March 2008December2008February2009August 2009June 2010October 2010 13
Table 2 also shows that not all projects ended at the same time, nor that they all ended on a strictly positive note. Generallyspeaking, the projects can be divided into three broad categories: • Projects which navigated mostly in the green, and which are referred to in this report as the “best performing” projects. These include ARCHIMEDES (ended in December 2008), PAMLED and SHAMS (both ended in June 2010) and PACEM (ending in December 2010). All four projects managed to reach most of their anticipated outcomes and were granted A’s (very satisfactory) and B’s (satisfactory) by the external monitoring missions commissioned by the EC. • Projects which managed to achieve an acceptable momentum and an acceptable level of achievement. These include GEMM (ended in June 2010) and APUDUI (will be the last MED-PACT project to end around March or April 2011). GEMM, and despite a very smooth unfolding during its first two years faced several administrative and technical problems over the past monitoring period and ended its activities with very mitigated outcomes. APUDUI faces a strange situation, where its activities with Annaba (Algeria) are taking place at a very satisfactory pace while its second partner Bizerte (Tunisia) is not cooperating in an adequate manner. • Projects which performed below expectation and are referred to as “worst performing” projects. These include MEDACCESS (terminated in December 2008), GUIFORMED (terminated in February 2009) and STREAM CITIES (ended in August 2010). All three projects did not manage to convince about their technical and administrative capacity to execute their planned MED- PACT proposals, and are under audit procedures which were launched by their managing EU Delegations. STREAM CITIES in particular was given more than 3 chances, each associated with a rescue plan which would have enabled the project to move forward in the right direction. Unfortunately, each one of these chances was wasted due to several inter-related factors which we will be discussed in subsequent sections of this report.
5. LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE MED-PACT EXPERIENCEUnlike the previous six reports submitted by the Technical Assistance over the past 40 months and which contain an in-depth analysis about the progress achieved at the level of every project and at the level of MED-PACT as a programme,this report tries to capture the institutional culture and the institutional learning derived from the MED-PACTexperience, in order to put them at the service of decision makers at DG EUROPEAID and elsewhere when planningfuture decentralized cooperation projects. They are divided into 15 sub-sections, with three “lessons learned” at theend of every sub-section.5.1 UNDERSTANDING THE SOCIO-POLITICAL CONTEXTAlthough MED-PACT and other decentralized cooperation projects are mainly of a technical nature, the socio-politicalcontext plays a very important role in shaping the way the project will be unfolding.Three major examples of the importance of the socio-political context can be recalled: • GUIFORMED proposed two sites for collection of data on wastewater as part of its comparative analysis and benchmarking study on wastewater treatment standards in the Mediterranean. One of the proposed sites in the town of Beddawi in Lebanon barely had primary treatment of wastewater and could not be compared to the other proposed sites. Furthermore the functioning of the site was seriously impaired by the fierce battles that took place in its immediate vicinity in summer 20071. The second site was in Tunisia and it turned out that Tunisian authorities were not particularly keen on disclosing wastewater-treatment data which could potentially affect tourism inflows to the country, especially that the country’s development strategy depends heavily on tourism. The project went idle and had to ultimately be discontinued because it failed to anticipate or indeed resolve such types of constraints • STREAM CITIES organized its kick-off meeting in the spring of 2007 in Bethlehem and 7 out of the 9 partners and associates did not attend the meeting. This led to a complete loss of momentum that affected the project throughout the rest of its life. The absence of the partners was mainly due to the fact that neither Lebanese,1 The El Barid war which took place between the Lebanese Army and Fath Al Islam terrorist group in El Barid Palestinian Camp in the immediate vicinity of Beddawi 15
Moroccan nor Tunisian nationals (all of which were partners in the project) can travel to Israel, which is responsible administratively for Bethlehem. Furthermore, the hostilities due to the second Intifada led to a travel warning for European nationals to Bethlehem and other territories administered by the Palestinian Authority. This could have been avoided easily by shifting the meeting to a more politically neutral place and would have facilitated a much smoother unfolding of STREAM CITIES. • MEDACCESS wanted to work – among others – on the access to rights of the Roma population in a small village in the Czech Republic and on women’s empowerment in another small village in Algeria. While both issues could potentially be valid entry points, the approach of the project from a “disadvantaged group” perspective led to a fierce opposition from the Algerian partner (which in fact ceased almost immediately to collaborate with the project) since women are by no means considered as a “disadvantaged group” in the Algerian society, and the Roma representatives in the Czech village objected strongly to this categorization claiming that they enjoyed full citizenship rights. The project struggled to define alternative entry points and ultimately had to be discontinued.Lessons learned: Socio-Political Context • It is very important to carefully study not only the technical aspects but also the socio-political aspects of any proposed intervention. Consulting local partners is crucial in that regard • Avoiding “quick-fixes” and learning about every aspect of partnership in further depth at the project planning stage improves the chances of success of a partnership in the implementation phase • To avoid assuming that what worked well in Europe would ultimately work well also in a MEDA, ENPI or any other context
5.2 CAREFULLY PREPARING THE PARTNERSHIPOne of the main causes behind the poor performance of some projects of MED-PACT was the hasty preparation prior tosubmitting the proposals to DG EUROPEAID. A good consultant can always draft a winning proposal, but the winningproposal alone can never lead to a successful project. In fact, the three projects that demonstrated the poorestperformance during the life of MED-PACT, although brilliantly written, negotiated their partnerships in a hurry withindividuals (most often not the proper Local Authorities representatives) assuming that these individuals will securethe buy-in of their respective cities when the project starts which – unfortunately but expectedly – did not happen mostof the times.A good illustration of this abnormality is the case of MEDACCESS which negotiated a partnership in Algeria with thePresident of an NGO working in the city of Souarekh (also known as Oum Theboul) and who signed the initial partnershipstatement on behalf of the Popular Communal Assembly (APC which is the technical name of municipalities in Algeria).Upon the start of the project, it turned out that no one from the local authorities of Souarekh was informed aboutnor willing to take part in the project and all planned activities were never able to take place. This led to a seriousblockage of the project, an unsatisfactory external evaluation by the EU (ROM) and subsequently the early terminationof MEDACCESS without being able to achieve any of its planned objectives.This does not mean, however, that carefully negotiated partnerships could not end unexpectedly as well. PACEM forexample had the city of Alexandria in Egypt as partner, and Marseille and Alexandria are linked by a twining processthat dates back to the 1980s with various cultural, social and economic events taking place between the two cities ona yearly basis. Still, and as soon as PACEM started, the concerned services within the Alexandria Municipality ignoredcompletely all the requests from the PACEM management and after a year PACEM had to look for another MEDApartner in order to complete the project. 17
Lessons learned: Preparation of the Partnership • A careful preparation of the partnership is instrumental for the success of any planned project. Negotiations and consensus building should take place directly with the Local Authorities involved and not through intermediaries. • Rather than signing a simple partnership statement prior to the start of the action, it advisable that the statement also includes a section for certifying that the partner reads and approves the technical proposal and another section that the budget is read and approved as well. • Sharing, discussing and improving the proposal prior to submitting it (when answering a call for proposals) leads to a quicker and more efficient start of activities. Holding a preparation meeting (virtual or face-to-face) involving all partners is a best-case scenario and increases ownership and chances of success.
5.3 DECENTRALIZED COOPERATION WITH CENTRALIZED SYSTEMS?One of the pitfalls of planning decentralized cooperation in the ENPI South (former MEDA) region is the oversimplificationin wanting to apply European models of decentralization in what can still be considered as relatively heavy centralizedsates. While it is true that most if not all ENPI South countries are slowly engaging in decentralization reforms, theenabling environment is still far from being conducive.In Algeria, we learned through ARCHIMEDES and APUDUI that the Wilaya (Governorate) level cannot be short-circuitedand that working with Popular Communal Assemblies (APC – the equivalent of the Municipality) requires closecoordination and even a “green light” from the Wilaya level. The same applies to Syria where the Mohafaza (Region) is akey player which should be kept in the loop before getting to the level of the Municipality as per the SHAMS experience.In Tunisia, the Directorate for Central Cooperation and International Affairs of the Ministry of Interior and LocalDevelopment must be consulted and must give a favorable opinion before venturing into a city-to-city partnership asit was demonstrated though the experiences of STREAM CITIES, GUIFORMED, SHAMS and APUDUI. All projects withthe exception of SHAMS experienced various degrees of blockages with their Tunisian partners, which could have beenavoided if these projects (but also their local partners) had managed to follow the right institutional track. SHAMS onthe other hand had more success in that regard due to the previous experience of Brussels Region in Tunisia throughMED’ACT.In Lebanon, and despite the relative freedom given to Municipalities and Regions in initiating cooperation projects,the formalization of any agreement needs a complex set of approvals that goes as high as the Council of Ministers.The same applies to Syria since both countries are still organized administratively along an inherited administrativemodel that dates back to the French mandate. In Lebanon for example, and out of the 5 MED-PACT projects thathad Lebanese partners, not a single MED-PACT administrative arrangement was similar to the other, even when twocities were partners in the same project. For example, El Mina enacted its collaboration with ARCHIMEDES through a 19
decision by the Council of Ministers (despite the fact that the Council of Ministers itself was functioning at a reduced rhythm atthat time!) while Beirut, who is also a partner in ARCHIMEDES had to choose a university center at ALBA University to serve as atechnical interlocutor to the project. The Union of Municipalities of Al Fayha collaborated with PACEM based on its prerogativesas a Municipal Union which are slightly more flexible than those of a municipality, yet the major contractual decisions had to bemade through Marseille while local costs were paid in advance by the Union and reimbursed later by Marseille. The Municipalityof Sin El Fil had a functioning Local Development Office which acted as the main interlocutor of PAMLED, simplifying hence theadministrative procedures required from the Municipality and speeding up implementation. These arrangements were dictated bythe necessity to advance in the collaboration, rather than by the willingness of Local Authorities to short-circuit the administrativetracks.In Morocco, the omnipresence of cities and regions in cooperation projects has induced an evident “cooperation culture”, yet it isstill very difficult to transfer and disburse funds locally without bumping into the complexity of the administrative system.In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the weakness of the central state has empowered de facto local authorities and judgingby the STREAM CITIES experience, one can say that the collaboration of Bethlehem with Catania was the closest to what iscommonly agreed as a decentralized cooperation project. Unfortunately the internal problems of STREAM CITIES did not allow thiscooperation to go as far and as deep as it was planned to be.Last but not least, in Egypt where municipal authorities are still appointed by the government, cooperation is possible but cannotbe labeled as “decentralized”. Lessons learned: Decentralization vs. Centralization • Carefully enquire about the local system and the local administrative requirements prior to conceiving the project. Simple administrative glitches can sometimes delay an entire project and even stop it at times. • Decentralized Cooperation in the South of the Mediterranean is not as “mature” as it is in the North and this should be taken into consideration as well. • The intermediate level between the city level and the national level still plays a very important role in most ENPI South countries and should always be kept in the loop.
5.4 PLANNING VS. CONCRETE ACHIEVEMENTS: TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN?One of the most important dilemmas in MED-PACT was the ability of the different projects to achieve the optimalbalance between the preparation of plans and studies and the achievement of concrete realizations and outputs onthe ground.The Technical Assistance was able to sense a silent frustration of Southern partners vis à vis this approach, as theywould have preferred to balance studies and concrete realizations rather than spending all available resources onthe studies alone.We can provide a long list of pilot projects that were identified at various levels of depths and details throughout the lifeof MED-PACT: the rehabilitation of the Kasbah of Agadir and the environmental management plan of New Al Hashimiyah(GEMM), the promotion of a cultural circuit between Fez, Bethlehem and El Mina (STREAM CITIES), the revitalizationof the old city center of Oran (ARCHIMEDES) and the list goes on. However – and in all objectivity – these pilot projectshave little chances for being applied, either because the studies lacked the appropriate depth and detail, or becausethey were not adopted by the local population to which they were originally intended.A salient recommendation for future calls for proposals similar to MED-PACT would be to ensure that proposedprojects provide a minimum guarantee on how they intend to fund (or seek funding for) the studies they are proposingto develop.Three success stories achieved through MED-PACT can give more insights in this direction: i) PAMLED is one successful example on how planning can be coupled with concrete results. Despite the fact that the PAMLED proposal did not commit explicitly to seek funding for the identified pilot projects, the project managed to have 3 pilot projects executed, two in Bodrum (Turkey) and one in Sin El Fil (Lebanon). The main ingredients of success in the PAMLED case are: 21
• Taking enough time to identify the pilot projects through participatory introspection and consensus building, then taking enough time to develop these pilot projects while involving the broadest range possible of stakeholders to increase ownership. As such, the PAMLED project manager spent no less than a full month in every partner city working on the various stages of development of the pilot projects, as opposed to the “quick and dirty” model where European experts visit the project site once or twice, then come up with a pilot project proposal. • Also to mention that while most MED-PACT projects had already identified broadly the themes and entry points for the pilot projects prior to the start of the activities, PAMLED took the challenge of conducting a fully participatory exercise which ultimately paid in the end. • Keeping an eye on the possible synergies and available resources (both external and in-house) while drafting the pilot projects. As such one pilot project in Bodrum on recycling and solid waste management could be funded through the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) while the project on the promotion of archaeological and cultural tourism also in Bodrum was approved for funding from the core funds of the municipality. In Sin El Fil, a comprehensive GIS-based socioeconomic mapping was completed departing from a sample of 3,000 households and culminated in the “Youth in Business” competition as part of the efforts of the Municipality to improve its youth employment policies. The pilot project benefited also from complementary funding from the Italian Cooperation in Lebanon (identified through the networks of PAMLED) as well as from public-private partnerships which made possible a significant up-scaling of the project outcomes.ii) SHAMS offers also a good example on how it is possible to achieve a convincing balance between studies and concrete projects. In its partnership with Bosra (Syria) the project helped in the rehabilitation of an old traditional house in the archaeological sector of Bosra to be used as a Bed and Breakfast and whose revenues will support the Local Development Office which was established under the project. At the same time, and with the support of the city of Rome, SHAMS assisted Bosra in producing a local development plan to be used as a basis in the future urban development of the city.iii) APUDUI chose a “third way” which consisted in assisting the city of Annaba (Algeria) to establish an Urban Planning and Development Agency (AUDICA) and used the MED-PACT funds as well as matching funds from the French Development Agency (AFD) as well as significant contributions by the city of Dunkerque to operationalize this agency and to build the
capacities of its staff. The capacity building process was very hands-on with technicians from Dunkerque staying for sustained periods in Annaba to transfer specific skills and competencies to selected staff of AUDICA, and most AUDICA staff benefited from training activities in Dunkerque. The collaboration initiated between Dunkerque and Annaba under MED-PACT convinced AFD to provide additional support (500,000 Euros for 2011-2012) to continue the capacity building of AUDICA but also to extend the collaboration to the cultural and academic fields.Lessons learned: Planning vs. Concrete Projects • While there is no “silver bullet” on how a decentralized cooperation project should be conceived, a fair balance between studies and concrete realizations is always desirable. • In case the project plans to stop at the pilot projects identification stage, it is only fair (to the Southern partners in particular) that the project design foresees some mechanisms on how these pilot projects will be funded and implemented. • Local ownership of the pilot projects should also be at the core of the project design, otherwise the effort invested in the elaboration of these pilot projects will be lost and the proposals archived and forgotten. 23
5.5 BIG, MEDIUM OR SMALL CITIES?MED-PACT had a mix of very big cities participating in the various projects (Beirut, Istanbul, Oran, Rabat, etc…), medium ones(Aqaba, Agadir, Bethlehem, Mahdia, etc..) but also small towns that can only be located on detailed maps (New Al Hashimiya,Souarekh, Sin El Fil, Ortakent Yashi, etc…). An ongoing dilemma is whether decentralized cooperation should lend itself primarilyto the “usual suspects” (big cities with higher visibility and enough local resources which could be committed to the project), orwhether cooperation projects should help medium and smaller size cities in acquiring the needed capacities, experience andmomentum.The MED-PACT results are quite conclusive in that regard especially at the leaders of partnership level where the size of the cityand its experience in decentralized cooperation plays a determining role in the success of the project. As such, the projects ledby the four smallest cities in MED-PACT (Komotini for MEDACCESS, Antalya for GUIFORMED, Sassuolo for GEMM and Catania forSTREAM CITIES) faced significant problems that led to the premature closing for MEDACCESS and GUIFORMED and a very lamefinish for GEMM and STREAM CITIES.On the other hand, projects led by the 3 biggest cities (Venice for ARCHIMEDES, Marseille for PACEM, Brussels for SHAMS)witnessed a very smooth unfolding. APUDUI and PAMLED demonstrated on the other hand that a medium size city can achieveremarkable results if it manages to build adequate institutional ownership and to mobilize adequate expertise to bring decentralizedcooperation projects to safe shores. This is particularly true of Prato (PAMLED) but also Dunkerque (APUDUI) who managed toachieve satisfactory results despite being of a size comparable to Catania or Sassuolo for example.Our recommendation in this regard is to entrust the leadership of the partnership to cities that can mobilize adequate in-houseresources and which do not rely solely on the European Union funds to bring the project to safe shores (PACEM for example hada total budget of 1.42 million Euros with a MED-PACT contribution of 620,000 Euros, SHAMS a total budget 914,000 Euros with aMED-PACT contribution of 600,000, etc..)
At the level of participating cities, results are more mitigated and depend primarily on the interest, willingnessand capacity of these cities in making the best out of their participation in the MED-PACT and other decentralizedcooperation projects, but also on the attention and support given by the leader of the partnership to the partnercities. In a small size city such as Sin El Fil for example, MED-PACT managed to launch a full scale urban regenerationprogram through the support of GEMM, while a big size city such as Rabat missed a similar opportunity within the sameproject despite being significantly more resourceful than Sin El Fil. This could be due to the level of enthusiasm andcooperation but also the ability to learn and improve of the staff of the partner cities. It could be also due to the fact thatthree elected council members of Sin El Fil were acting as interlocutors to GEMM, while in Rabat it was municipal staffthat are normally overwhelmed by their daily routine.On the other hand, a small-size city such as New El Hashimiyah was left with a poorly drafted pilot-project proposalthat can never be implemented realistically, as the city council members were totally new to the concept of territorialplanning and could not connect with the external experts sent by GEMM due to cultural and language barriers. Similarly,the experts mobilized by GEMM could not grasp the social, cultural and political context of New Al Hashimiya and theirinput barely scratched the surface in the territorial analysis they did. Lessons learned: City Size • Leaders of partnership should be resourceful and experienced enough to bring the project to safe shores. This can be checked through their track record but also through the additional resources they propose to bring to the partnership. • It is important to go beyond the closed circle of big cities which have the highest level of visibility and adequate local resources to commit, however it is important to engage in a process of capacity building with the staff of medium and small size cities prior to executing the projects as it is unfair to assume that they have the required capacity. • In the longer term, outcomes and impacts achieved with medium-size cities are likely to be more visible and better sustained than with large-scale cities. 25
5.6 A RETROSPECTIVE LOOK ON NORTH-SOUTH AND SOUTH-SOUTH PARTNERSHIPSOne of the key objectives of MED-PACT was to contribute to the promotion of more balanced and more sustainable local developmentpatterns in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, including – among others – the involvement of citizens in planning andimplementation processes and sharing knowledge and disseminating experiences, particularly between the MediterraneanPartners themselves.As such, all MED-PACT projects included a North-South or a South-South partnership component. Generally speaking, and whileNorth-South exchanges took place in a fairly satisfactory manner, not much has been achieved on the South-South exchangefront, despite some interesting pilot initiatives.APUDUI provides a good example for a successful North-South exchange. The city of Dunkerque (France) worked together withthe Popular Communal Assembly of Annaba (Algeria) on establishing an Urban Planning and Development Agency for Annaba(AUDICA) and assisted Annaba from the moment AUDICA was conceptualized to the moment it became operational. Techniciansfrom Annaba and Dunkerque worked collaboratively at the various stages of the project which included: • Needs identification and possible synergies with existing agencies/projects/services which could benefit the project (including a series of joint diagnostic meetings and stakeholder mapping, and identification of suitable premises to host AUDICA) • Drafting the AUDICA bylaws and charter (including Algerian legal expertise) • Informing the citizens of Annaba and the policy makers about the importance and benefits of an Urban Planning and Development Agency (including two public debates and a poster exhibition on the Dunkerque experience) • Developing an action plan for AUDICA for the short, medium and long-term • Purchasing the equipment and software (GIS and others) needed for a proper functioning of the Agency (Dunkerque purchased and installed the software, Annaba purchased and installed the hardware)
• Training, Capacity Development and constant backstopping of AUDICA staff on-site in Annaba and in Dunkerque for 12 Algerian civil servants that were detached to the Agency.This close collaboration led to AUDICA being established and operational towards the end of the project, and openeddoors for a new collaboration agreement between Annaba and Dunkerque for 2011-2012. Most importantly, it did notlimit itself to capacity development or training on GIS alone, but catered to all possible aspects that would give theinitiative optimal chances for success.Another successful model could be observed in SHAMS where Brussels transmitted its know-how in solid wastemanagement to local authorities in Mahdia and Sousse in Tunisia and generated at the same time a small-businessmodel which was adopted by young entrepreneurs in both cities who started their own SME in parallel to the project.SHAMS also tried to develop a South-South exchange component, by inviting cities from Southern countries (Bkassinefrom Lebanon, Sfax from Tunisia, Rabat from Morocco) as presenters and resource persons during the capacitybuilding seminars that took place during the workshop, but this could not be developed into a full-fledged city-to-citycollaboration.Generally speaking, Southern-based partners prefer to team up with more resourceful and experienced Northernpartners (which are also perceived as more “prestigious”), although South-South partnerships constitute a naturaloutcome and a continuation of the efforts started by North-South ones.Maybe the most striking MED-PACT achievement in fostering South-South partnerships is the launch of a Networkof Medium and Small Mediterranean Cities by GEMM in June 2010 with 20+ cities from the South participating in thelaunching event and signing the charter of the network. We hope, however, that this network will develop swiftly anagenda for action and become a key player in South-South partnerships. 27
Lessons learned : Partnerships• Whether we are talking about North-South or South-South partnerships, we need to make sure that the collaboration is built around shared objectives and includes a comprehensive set of activities and not a one-time-shot activity that is often labeled as “partnership”.• South-South partnerships are still not as strong and as well defined as North-South ones, although a significant pool of experiences and knowledge has been built in the South through more than two decades of decentralized cooperation with the North.• Networking can be a very useful tool for mainstreaming both North-South and South-South partnerships, but networks need to be built around a shared vision and a well-established agenda for action to be successful and sustained
5.7 IS THERE A MONEY TRANSFER SILVER BULLET?One of the biggest challenges faced by MED-PACT was to decide on a timely and adequate mechanism for transferringfunds to partners based in the South. Three models were mainly applied: 1. The advance payment model, which is the most logical model and the one that is mostly in line with the spirit of decentralized cooperation. Based on the contract signed at the beginning of the project, yearly transfers are made to the partners in order to finance studies, travel and local activities of the project. Partners should then provide the Leader of the Partnership with the corresponding invoices, time sheets and other justification elements. This model, however, faced three major bottle-necks: • The difficulty of transferring money to municipalities and local authorities, as any “foreign” aid received by municipalities is often under close scrutiny by the central government and in many cases requires a complex administrative set-up and a special account often placed in the central bank of the country. • The difficulty in disbursing the money which turned out to be as complicated as receiving it and required an equally intricate web of signatures, referrals and approvals. • The relatively low capacity of the local partners to provide the justification elements for the expenses in a timely manner and according to the format required by the EU. • This model was applied fully by PACEM and partly by SHAMS and PAMLED. 2. The centralized management model, where the Leader of the Partnership sub-contracted directly the studies, bought airplane tickets, booked hotels, paid transportation and meals, etc… Alternatively, partners were asked to make advance payments from their own funds (for municipalities) or their personal accounts (for individuals) and be reimbursed later upon the presentation of invoices and receipts. All Italian-led projects applied this model fully (ARCHIMEDES, GEMM and STREAM CITIES) or partially (PAMLED) as well as MEDACCESS and 29
GUIFORMED prior to their termination. This approach led to minimal accountability and reporting problems but did not build the capacities of any of the partners in the management of funds. Many partners also complained about the delay that the reimbursement process took and which strained their personal or municipal budgets.Another major bottleneck of this approach was that medium and small size cities from the South did not always have a disposablebudget to advance costs of large events such as public meetings and/or international project meetings, and the TechnicalAssistance had to deal with these bottlenecks on a case by case basis. 3. The payment-on-activity model, where small advance payments are made to the partner and subsequent transfers take place upon presenting the corresponding invoices of the previous transfer.This method is time consuming but limits the risks of the advanced payment model, while building – although only partially –the capacities of the Southern partners. This model was applied successfully by APUDUI and SHAMS.Another fundamental issue when discussing payment is whether it is ethically and administratively right to impose on thepartners to advance the cost of their participation in EU funded projects, while the EU had already advanced 80% of the firsttranche of payment to the lead partner and based on budget forecasts that already include the expenses which are expected to beincurred by the local partners. One of our key recommendations would be hence to make it explicit in the contractual agreementsthat Lead Partners are bound to advance to project partners the same proportion of the money advance they received from theEU (80% of the expenses to be incurred over the first period) based on a negotiated and duly signed financial agreement betweenthe Lead Partner and the project partners. This will definitely lead to additional administrative headache, but would be essentialto build ownership, accountability and experience with EU funding by Southern partners, as it is unacceptable that a Moroccancity that has been involved in decentralized cooperation projects for 7 years still leans on Italian, Spanish or French Lead partnerswhen it comes to finances.One last example before closing this section on finances is to illustrate the difficulties faced by individuals when asked to advancethe funds required for their participation in project activities from their personal accounts and which ultimately undermines theireffective collaboration in the project. A Municipal Counselor from Majdel Anjar (a small Lebanese village on the Syrian border) who
works as a teacher in a public school with an average monthly salary of 600 Euros was requested by GEMM to advancethe cost of his travel to Italy (one full month of salary) as well as transportation and incidental costs (a taxi from MajdelAnjar to the Beirut airport costs 50 Euros and there is no decent public transport available). When he claimed theamount upon his return, he was instructed to send back his original boarding pass by express mail. Then he had towait for almost 4 months to have his payment processed. By the time the payment was ready, the GEMM managementinsisted to transfer the reimbursement to the account of the Municipality of Majdel Anjar, which is forbidden by theLebanese Laws unless a financing agreement is approved by the Council of Ministers and which justifies the transfer.It took all-in-all 14 months and several interventions/negotiations by the Technical Assistance to finally transfer themoney not to the account of the counselor but to the personal account of the Head of the Municipal Council of MajdelAnjar. If we combine the costs of recommended mail, international telephone calls and the depreciation of the Euro by15% against the US Dollar which took place in the meantime (payments in Lebanon are made in USD), the counselorlost no less that 20% of the amount he advanced and – more importantly – retained a bitter experience from hisparticipation. This compelled GEMM for subsequent events to send pre-paid airplane tickets which minimized thisproblem. Lessons learned: Finances • Transfer of EU funds to partners from the South is not always easy and requires complicated administrative procedures, but without properly addressing these difficulties decentralized cooperation will still be missing an essential element. • It is unfair to ask partners and individuals to advance costs and then wait for several months to get reimbursed. Either the Lead Partner should advance the money needed to properly execute the activities or it should pre-pay them. • Several money transfer methods were experimented in MED-PACT, but we should retain the models which achieved optimal accountability while building the capacities of the partners in the South at the same time (i.e. the advance payment or the payment-on-activity model). 31
5.8 CITY OWNERSHIP: A CORNERSTONE IN DECENTRALIZED COOPERATIONSince Local Authorities are the primary beneficiaries of MED-PACT, it may be useful to take a retrospective look at the cityownership of the various projects. The first striking finding is that the 5 most successful projects benefited from a strongerownership at the level of the city leading the partnership than in the 4 less successful ones.The “French model” definitely stands out as a best practice in that regard with PACEM and APUDUI being able to mobilize a largespectrum of technical, administrative but also financial support from various services and agencies linked to the cities of Marseilleand Dunkerque respectively. This support even had a bottom-up effect to the national level with the reception of complementaryfinancing of APUDUI from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the French embassies in Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon andTunisia offering in-country support and backstopping when needed.SHAMS was also able to tap on a wide range of technical support from the Brussels Region in Belgium, especially that theBrussels Region was the only Local Authority which succeeded in presenting winning proposals to MED’ACT, MED-PACT and mostrecently CIUDAD by building on a well established network of Southern partners, as well as a successful track record in buildingownership and addressing real-felt needs of its partners.Out of the four Italian-led projects, ARCHIMEDES was the most well rooted (and subsequently most successful) project, followedclosely by PAMLED although the success of PAMLED can be more directly linked to the skillful management of the project teamrather than to the city ownership alone.In the case of GEMM the city of Sassuolo acted more like an administrative umbrella rather than a full-fledged leader, with alltechnical inputs being either sub-contracted by the Municipality to external consultants or done by TECLA Association in itscapacity of Technical Assistant to GEMM.
The inability of STREAM CITIES to achieve its planned objectives can also be linked to the difficulty of the city of Cataniato provide clear intellectual guidance to the project in addition to the numerous administrative problems that the projectfaced which are organically linked to problems that the Municipality of Catania itself faced (such as going bankruptin the summer of 2008, which resulted in an emergency bailout by the Italian government and the organization ofanticipated municipal elections)The failure of MEDACCESS can be also linked to the poor ownership at the city level and the reliance on consultantsrather than on municipal core staff in handling the administrative and technical bottlenecks. In the case of GUIFORMED,the Technical Assistance was not able to meet one single official from the Union of Municipalities of South Antalya in 5backstopping visits to the project in 2007 and 2008 despite numerous requests in that regard, and the project ended inbeing a one-man-show by the project manager which constitutes a clear predicament to failure. Lessons learned: City Ownership • Projects have more chances to succeed when there is a clear ownership at the city level of these projects. • The evaluation of proposals should clearly take into consideration the demonstrated capacity of the applicant to mobilize core services from within the applying municipality/region (such as clearly designating the agencies and services which will be involved in the project) and avoid proposals that plan to contract the management of the project to an external technical assistance. 33
5.9 EVALUATION OF THE CO-LEADER EXPERIENCEOne of the innovations in the MED-PACT call for proposals was the idea of co-leader, where a MEDA city would act as a co-leaderof the project together with the proposing city from Northern Europe. The presence of a co-leader from MEDA would hencemake the partnership more balanced and give more voice to the partners from the South in the management of the project. Asan acknowledgement of the importance of their role, Co-Leaders were invited to the kick-off meeting of MED-PACT which tookplace in Brussels in March 2007. Unfortunately, the co-leader experience turned out to be not as conclusive as planned in manyprojects, except maybe for SHAMS. In our opinion, this is mainly due to three main factors: • The call for proposals but also the proposals themselves were not really clear about the role of co-leaders. More clarity in that perspective would have potentially reinforced the role of co-leaders. • The dynamics in many projects were centered around the leader of the partnership, especially in terms of coordination with the associates and partners from Europe, as well as the financial and administrative coordination of the projects, which did not leave much room to co-leaders. • Devolving to co-leaders either the technical or the financial management of the projects would have helped in strengthening their capacities and in consolidating their role.
5.10 LANGUAGE SKILLSSpeaking a “common language” becomes more than a grammatical metaphor when it comes to decentralizedcooperation. Many MED-PACT projects would have witnessed a smoother unfolding if more attention was given tothe language issue.Language is important in the internal communication and exchange processes within the project (a project managerthat is unable to speak Arabic or French is unlikely to be able to communicate successfully with partners from Maghrebcountries, while a manager that can only speak Italian or French is unlikely to be able to communicate with partnersfrom Egypt, Jordan, Palestine or Turkey, etc…)Language is also particularly important when conducting public meetings and participatory planning studies but alsofor disseminating the findings of these studies. Language-specificity was often not respected in all projects as all projectoutputs were produced in English or French (and sometimes Italian), although translating them to at least anotherlocal language (Arabic or Turkish for example) would have helped in broadening their outreach and their ownership.All proposals which promised multi-lingual websites ended up producing these websites in only one language (oftenEnglish).Another important aspect is the organization of training sessions which respect language specificity. A “translated”training often loses 20-50% of its impact when translated, because translators are not subject matter specialists andtend to overlook key technical insights during simultaneous translation if they cannot find the corresponding vocabulary.Simultaneous translation is also very costly and not always available when projects are operating on limited budgets.Throughout MED-PACT, the Technical Assistance worked closely with the partners on identifying – to the greatest extentpossible – local or regional expertise which could deliver training in local languages, especially that the mobilization ofexpertise from the South is another aspect of North-South cooperation. 35
Lessons Learned: Language Skills • Respecting language specificity is often regarded as a sign of respect and acknowledgement of the diversity within the partnership. It is important hence to set an adequate budget aside for translation and to take the time (and the trouble) to translate the outputs of the projects to local languages. • The presence of at least one team member in the management of the project who is able to speak the local language of the partner is a serious asset, especially when field work is involved and needs close interaction/ communication with the local population. • When possible, the provision of training in local languages is by far more efficient than undergoing several layers of translation and is a good indicator for the achievement of North-South partnerships.
5.11 INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF MED-PACT WITH RESULT ORIENTED MONITORING (ROM)MED-PACT underwent two rounds of external monitoring in the summer of 2008 and the spring of 2010. In summer 2008seven MED-PACT projects were selected for Result Oriented Monitoring (ROM) (ARCHIMEDES, APUDUI, GUIFORMED,MEDACCESS, PAMLED, PACEM and SHAMS), while in the spring of 2010 APUDUI, SHAMS and PACEM went through thesame exercise. Interestingly, neither STREAM CITIES nor GEMM which were both facing implementation problemswere selected for ROM although they could have benefited significantly from the process and although they wouldhave been recommended for ROM if the Technical Assistance had been consulted about the selection.Besides being the only means of an official “appraisal” of the project indirectly from the EC side, ROM is particularlyuseful because it allows having an objective external assessment of the progress achieved by every project and becauseit is seen as an accountability requirement by the partners who tend to give it their best shot. Generally speaking, theresults of ROM came in line with the results of the monitoring done by the Technical Assistance on a regular basis,except for the monitoring of APUDUI in 2010 and to which the Technical Assistance objected strongly.The utility of ROM however depends on the personality of the external assessors and her/his willingness to help theproject. We can mention here two extreme cases: • The ROM expert who evaluated MEDACCES in the summer of 2008 did all what she could (and even more) to solve the bottlenecks faced by the project and avoid its premature close. She visited all partners, commented on all documents and gave constructive findings despite the low score achieved by the project • On the other hand, the ROM expert who evaluated APUDUI in the spring of 2010 gave 5 straight Cs to the project despite the considerable level of achievement attained by APUDUI with Annaba and on the sole basis that the project did not secure the participation of Bizerte/Tunisia as stated in its action plan, which led to a feeling of injustice and frustration from these results amongst the project team. 37
5.12 THE IMPORTANCE OF TIMELY EXECUTION AND REPORTINGIf we look at the calendar of execution of the MED-PACT projects, only ARCHIMEDES managed to successfully finish its activitiesaccording to its initial timeline of execution, while all other projects requested extensions in order to complete their plannedactivities. Several learning insights can be derived from this fact: • Often projects assume that the work will start immediately and tend to overlook the fact that the inception work takes a lot of time (signature of partnership agreements, transfer of funds, identifying corresponding staff, recruitment of additional expertise and consultants, securing the necessary permissions to operate in a country, etc…) which could take anywhere between 3-6 months. • The work momentum when dealing with Local Authorities is different from that of civil societies and NGOs as more layers of permissions and approvals are needed in order to proceed with activities. • Sometimes a bottleneck faced by one of the partners (such as upcoming municipal elections, change in designated responsible, etc…) slows down the entire partnership and project. • The planning itself can be at times over-ambitious or too tight, which makes it difficult to complete the planned activities within the designated timeframe. Most of the projects are written with a potential extension in mind, while a more realistic action plan would have been more appropriate. • Most importantly, participatory planning processes take more time in the field than they do on paper since many stakeholders are involved and many iterative rounds of feedback are needed in order to build optimal ownership around a project. • It is unrealistic to assume that the projects are operating over 12 workable months. The MED-PACT experience shows that the months of July, August and December witnessed low activity levels, as well as the period coinciding with the month of RamadanAnother issue is the presence of a designated project manager which follows on the day-to-day activities of the project and catersto the technical and administrative requirements of the project. Despite being a relatively small city, Prato was able to conduct
PAMLED in a successful and timely manner thanks to the presence of a specially appointed (skilled and experienced)project manager who was contracted by the Municipality for the duration of the project. ARCHIMEDES had at times twodedicated staff persons working almost full-time on it which made it possible to complete activities on time and with aremarkable track-record of achievement. SHAMS had an interesting governance model, where a project manager fromthe staff of the Brussels Region was helped by an assistant project manager (externally recruited) who dealt with theday-to-day activities, troubleshooting with partners and reporting.On the less bright side, MEDACCESS for example had 5 junior consultants acting interchangeably as interlocutors withthe Technical Assistance of MED-PACT, while the designated project manager never wrote, called or even responded toe-mails and requests. It is only natural under these conditions to have the project failing at some pointTimely reporting to the EU has also a positive correlation with the success of the project. The three worst performingprojects (MEDACCESS, GUIFORMED and STREAM CITIES) ended their activities without being able to produce a singlefinancial or technical report on time, which tells a lot about the institutional capacity of their respective cities in leadingdecentralized cooperation projects. On the other hand, the four best-performing projects (ARCHIMEDES, PACEM,PAMLED and SHAMS) were always punctual in submitting their reports. Lessons Learned: Management & Reporting • It is more advisable to produce a realistic activity plan than an idealistic one that will require one or two rounds of extension (i.e. if the call for proposals foresees 36 or 48 months, why should the proposed projects take place over 24 months only?). • The respect of the financial and administrative milestones set by the EU is a positive sign for the chances of success of a project. • It is advisable to include a “Phase Zero” to cater for the start-up requirements of a project which normally ends around the kick-off workshop of the project, which gives better chances for the decisions taken during the kick-off workshop to get implemented. 39
5.13 INTERNAL GOVERNANCE OF THE PROJECTSLooking at successful and less successful projects of MED-PACT, one can find that projects which had planned for a SteeringCommittee and a Scientific Committee had more momentum and achievements on the ground than those which did not. This isparticularly true for ARCHIMEDES, SHAMS and GEMM who had both Committees (SHAMS added a Steering Committee upon thesuggestion of the Technical Assistance which reflected into an improved project performance). French-led projects (APUDUI andPACEM) also had political and technical Steering Committees (Comité de Pilotage) with the political steering committee involvinghigh-level elected representatives from Dunkerque and Marseille which helped in increasing the visibility and ownership of theprojects. The Steering Committee in particular allows having a minimum power balance between the cities that come togetherunder the same partnership, and provides a platform where all decisions related to the project are discussed and validated.From a technical standpoint, it would have been ideal if the discussions of these Committees were more organically linkedto the Logical Frameworks and the indicators of achievement which were defined in these Logical Frameworks, which wasunfortunately not the case, as discussions were more centered around the timetable of activities without necessarily linkingthem to well defined indicators, and Logframe centered discussions often took place directly with the Technical Assistance.Local Authorities in our opinion still have a lot to learn with regards to applying proper Project Cycle Management (PCM)to their decentralized cooperation projects, and to look at the Logical Framework and other PCM tools as means to improveperformance rather than an administrative burdenSHAMS stands out as a best practice in that regard as it implemented an external evaluation process mid-way in the life of theproject and which continued until the closing seminar. This process led to a wealth of institutional and organizational learning andincreased the ownership of the various entities involved in SHAMS.
GEMM also sub-contracted an external evaluator who attended most public meetings of the project, but the reportsof this evaluator did not bring any significant added value or institutional learning because they were not sharedand disseminated with the project participants and because the evaluator did not suggest at any point in his reportscorrective actions or under-performance areas which needed to be improved. Lessons Learned: Internal Governance • Having both Steering Committees and Scientific Committees helps in improving the project performance. • The performance of the project should be regularly assessed and benchmarked in the light of the Logical Framework of the project. • An external evaluation mechanism (which also collects and studies monitoring data) has the potential of improving project performance, provided that the results of the evaluation are disseminated and shared among the constituency of the project. 41
5.14 COMMUNICATION AND VISIBILITYDG EUROPEAID gives a high importance to communication and visibility and the requirements are clearly stated in the contractsbetween DG EUROPEAID and the benefiting entity. All projects without exception hence displayed the EU and EUROMED logos onall their publications, banners, signs, etc…Successful communication however goes well beyond banners and signs. If we look at the websites of the various projects, we findthat seven out of the nine MED-PACT projects developed their own websites but the content of these websites does not give justiceto the achievements of the projects as it needs frequent updating, less pictures of people in meeting rooms and more in-depthinformation about the technical achievements of the projects. Many MED-PACT projects also promised to deliver multi-lingualwebsites, however most websites ended up being produced only in either English or French.The Technical Assistance had a global website for the MED-PACT programme (www.med-pact.eu) which will keep running untilDecember 2012 at least and which receives an average of 22.6 daily hits since it was launched in October 2007, which demonstratesa significant general interest in what is done in the projects.Internal communication is also essential and plays an instrumental role in the success of the projects. Part of the success ofARCHIMEDES can be linked to its successful internal communication strategy, with 5 high quality newsletters being producedthroughout the life of the project and highlighting the progress of its various components with substantial technical data beingincluded in each of these newsletters.
Lessons Learned: Communication • Communication and visibility does not only mean displaying the EU and EUROMED logos on publications and printed material. It means embracing a spirit of sharing and documenting experiences and practices as well as involving stakeholders as projects unfold. • Websites of projects are essential tools in the communication strategy of the project and must be given dedicated resources to keep them updated and to enable them to reflect the true achievements of the projects, while being attentive to language specificities of the target groups. • Internal Communication (newsletters, policy briefs, info-points, sharing progress, etc…) play an instrumental role in the success of a project. 43
5.15 WHAT WAS THE ADDED VALUE FROM HAVING A TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR MED-PACT?Perhaps the most important added value of the Technical Assistance was the ability to keep a general holistic view of the nineprojects under the MED-PACT programme at all times and to do meta-analysis and comparisons like the one provided in thisreport and the ones published regularly on the MED-PACT website.Another important added value came from nurturing a team spirit and synergetic collaboration among the projects. MED-PACTbecame like a big family especially in its last two years of operations, with GEMM inviting various partners to take part in itsnetwork of medium and small-size cities, SHAMS and APUDUI holding a joint seminar on “Local Authorities in Euro-Mediterraneanrapprochement”, PAMLED and PACEM inviting local MED-PACT partners to their public seminars and events in Lebanon, etc…The Technical Assistance also intervened in solving some of the sensitive socio-political divergences which normally appear in thistype of collaboration. Two examples can be evoked in that sense: • GEMM wanted to invite during one of its twinning meetings a municipality of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) which is only recognized by Turkey (and not by the European Union among others). The Technical Assistance coordinated an appropriate response to the Turkish partner indicating that TNRC municipalities can take part in the meeting only if they agree to represent Cyprus and not TNRC. The partner in question ended up rejecting the invitation. • Another recurrent problem was the representation of the Western Sahara on the maps and printed material related to MED- PACT, as Moroccan partners insist on having the Western Sahara as part of the Moroccan Territories. In order to avoid further disputes around the issue, it was agreed that all MED-PACT printed material would show only the participating cities rather than the physical boundaries of participating countries, which was accepted and enforced by project partners.The Technical Assistance also played a mediation role between partners when things were not taking place as planned, listeningto the opinions of both parties of a potential misunderstanding or conflict and trying to negotiate win-win solutions that make bothparties comfortable in their partnership.
6. CLOSING REMARKSAs MED-PACT enters its final months of existence, the Technical Assistance wishes to thank all project partners fortheir collaboration and friendship over the past 40 months spent together in the MED-PACT adventure, DG EUROPEAIDfor its progressive and pro-active management throughout the MED-PACT life and the Programme Officers at the EUDelegations in Algeria, Morocco, the occupied Palestinian Territory and Tunisia for their constant support.We hope that the learning and lessons distilled in this report will shed some light on the difficulty but also the relevanceof decentralized cooperation as a tool for establishing lasting partnerships between EU and Mediterranean cities andtheir civil societies and as a contribution towards promoting more balanced and more sustainable local developmentpatterns in the Mediterranean region. 45
USEFUL LINKSEUROPAID http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/MED-PACT http://www.med-pact.eu/CIUDAD (Cooperation in Urban Development and Dialogue) http://www.ciudad-programme.eu/APUDUI http://www.med-pact.eu/Subpage.aspx?pageid=295&PID=279&FPID=154ARCHIMEDES http://www.comune.venezia.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/IT/IDPagina/7588GEMM http://www.gemmproject.net/GUIFORMED http://www.gatab.gov.tr/guiformed/MEDACCESS http://www.med-access.eu/PAMLED http://www.pamled.org/PACEM http://www.pacem-medpact.eu/SHAMS http://www.medpact-shams.net/STREAM CITIES http://www.streamcities.eu/ 47