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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Norway
26 April 2004

Press release
No.: 41/04
Date: 26.04.2004

Evaluation of the support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norad to CESAR's activities in the water sector in the Middle East

The Nordic Consulting Group has been commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct an independent evaluation of the Foreign Ministry’s and Norad’s (the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation) support to CESAR’s activities in the water sector in the Middle East. The report covers the period from CESAR’s establishment in 1995 up to 2002. The total support during this period amounted to NOK 75.4 million from the Ministry and NOK 3.7 million from Norad. This support constituted the major part of CESAR’s funding during the period. The report is published as part of the Ministry’s series of evaluation reports.

The purpose of the evaluation was to examine the relevance of Norway’s allocations to CESAR in the context of the country’s support for the peace efforts in the Middle East. The evaluation also assessed the results of CESAR’s projects and made recommendations on Norway’s future engagement in the water sector in the region and on CESAR’s role in these efforts. The report evaluates the relevance and effectiveness of CESAR’s projects and is thus not an evaluation of Norway’s support for the peace efforts.

Almost three-quarters of the funds were allocated to three projects: "Waternet/Regional Waternet and Research Centre", "Early Warning System (Jordan)" and "Water Resources Management in the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers (Atlas II)", of which the first two are large projects that are still going on. The funds have largely been allocated to financing technical advice from CESAR and its sub-contractors.

The main objective of Norwegian assistance in the Middle East has been to support the peace efforts. The chronic water shortage is a key problem that affects a number of countries around the Jordan basin. Control by countries over their own water sources, equitable distribution, water security and joint management are all considered to be essential to a peaceful solution that will be lasting and sustainable.

The report concludes that the projects serve the objective of encouraging regional co-operation and stability. It points out that CESAR has facilitated a number of projects that have promoted regional co-operation between Israel, the Palestinian Area and Jordan. The projects have supplemented support from other donors within the framework of the Multilateral Working Group on Water Resources.

The report points to weaknesses in the Ministry’s and CESAR’s management of the project portfolio. The different roles played by CESAR and the lack of a clear division of responsibility have been a problem, and so has poor sustainability. Some of the projects were considered to have high costs in relation to the results.

The report confirms that there is a considerable risk attached to supporting projects that are linked with regional reconciliation processes. It is therefore important to take sufficient account of the risk aspect throughout the process.

One of the aims of the Ministry’s evaluations is to assure quality and improve effectiveness. The report provides useful suggestions for improving the management and implementation of projects undertaken with the aim of supporting regional reconciliation efforts.

The Ministry is following up the report’s recommendations. Audits of two specific projects will be initiated in line with the report recommendations and an external audit of CESAR’s accounts will be commissioned.

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