OVERVIEW OF THE INTERNATIONAL POPs ELIMINATION PROJECT

I. Introduction

In June 2003, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) approved a project proposal that IPEN Steering Committee members had been working on for more than a year. The full and official name of this Project is: “Fostering Active and Effective Civil Society Participation in Preparations for Implementation of the Stockholm Convention.” IPEN Steering Committee members have called it: “IPEP,” the International POPs Elimination Project. The GEF-approved Project Brief is on the GEF web site at:
http://gefweb.org/Documents/Medium-Sized_Project_Proposals/MSP_Proposals/Global_-_NGO-POPs_Elimination_Project.pdf

The Project is budgeted at $2 million USD for two years of activities, and the GEF has approved a $1 million USD grant for this work. An additional $1 million USD in co-finance must come from other sources. We have identified $350,000 in what is called “in-kind co-finance.” This is money already contained in the IPEN budget and budgets of some IPEN POs allocated for work over the Project’s two-year life that will contribute to Project success. For the remaining $650,000, EHF and some other IPEN SC members are actively fundraising, have made headway, and we are optimistic the full amount will be raised.

II. Background

IPEN’s decision to develop and prepare IPEP followed from decisions that were taken at the IPEN General Assembly (GA) held in Stockholm, May 2001. At the GA, IPEN adopted its Stockholm Declaration, in which we affirmed an IPEN mission to “facilitate effective involvement by its Participating Organizations in local, national and international activities to promote the elimination of POPs and other persistent toxic substances.”

We recognized that in order for IPEN to substantially contribute to local and national NGO work, IPEN would need to expand its capacity and resource base beyond what we have been raising from our traditional donors. The decision to prepare the IPEP proposal was taken to help enable IPEN to carry out this change.

Our proposal was persuasive to the GEF because it was already widely recognized - by GEF staff and by others - that IPEN and its Participating Organizations contributed in very important ways to the successful negotiation of a strong and effective Stockholm Convention. It was further recognized that in many countries, IPEN Participating Organizations and allied groups could play an important role in building national support for the Stockholm Convention and its effective national implementation. In our presentation to the GEF, we argued that GEF had an interest in helping to empower those NGOs who were already working on POPs before the Stockholm Convention was adopted and before GEF money started to become available.

III. Project Activities

IPEP is a very ambitious effort. The intent is to support hundreds of NGO Project Activities, in approximately 40 developing countries and countries in transition, all aimed at contributing to country preparations for Stockholm Convention implementation. IPEP will support the preparation of various types of documents and other activities.

The types of document preparations that can be supported with Project funds are: POPs Country Situation Reports, POPs Policy Briefs, POPs Hotspot Reports, and POPs Regional Reports. These will be written in the national (possibly local) language, and in most cases they will also be translated into English.

Project funds will also be provided to NGOs for other kinds of country or local level activities such as: NGO participation and/or inputs to the development of National Implementation Plans (NIPs); POPs training and awareness-raising workshops; and other POPs-related informational, public awareness and/or campaigning activities.

In some cases these Project Activities will be of national scope, and in others they may be more localized.

IV. Global Expert Teams

IPEP recognizes that NGOs who work on IPEP activities may need help and assistance. Normally, this kind of help is generally provided by other NGOs in our networks. However, given the volume of effort we expect under IPEP, these normal approaches will likely not be sufficient. Therefore, IPEP will provide modest funding to support the operation of what we are calling “IPEN Global POPs Expert Teams.”

These Expert Teams will cover the following five issue areas:

POPs pesticides and alternatives;
DDT and malaria;
Dioxin inventories and promotion of alternatives;
POPs stockpiles and contaminated sites; and
POPs monitoring and body burdens.

These will be email-based expert teams, and can be considered extensions of IPEN’s present three Working Groups: 1) pesticides; 2) dioxins, PCBs and wastes; and 3) community monitoring.

The mission of the Expert Teams will be to exchange information and to provide support to NGOs in various countries in preparing their own POPs Policy Briefs, Hotspot Reports, NIP interventions and other activities for which it would be helpful to share expertise on these topics.

When an NGO agrees to prepare a report under IPEP or to carry out some other issue-specific intervention, we will encourage the NGO to focus attention on one or more of the issue areas covered by the five Expert Teams, and to subscribe to one or more of the Expert Team List serves.

Even though each report and document prepared by an NGO under IPEP will focus on country-specific information, there should still be considerable overlap in these from country to country and even from region to region. The Expert Teams will be used as a vehicle for NGOs to pool information and ideas, and to ask advice and questions. Some modest budget may also be available to secure more technical expertise based on interest and need.

V. Project Regional Hubs
A critically important element of IPEP is that Project coordination and management will include major regional components. IPEP regional coordination will take place in eight Regional Hubs working in five of the six UN languages. The regions where they will be located, loosely defined, will be as follows:

Latin America (working in Spanish);
Francophone Africa (working in French);
Anglophone Africa (working in English);
Middle East (working in Arabic);
Central Europe (working in English);
Eastern Europe and NIS countries (working in Russian);
South Asia (working in English); and
Southeast & East Asia and the Pacific (working in English).

Each Hub will be based in an NGO with a history of active involvement in IPEN; one that is respected and trusted by other IPEN-participating NGOs in their regions (and by other NGOs working on related issues and/or participating in sister networks such as PAN, GAIA, HCWH, etc.) Hub NGOs will assign or hire staff to perform hub functions, and the hub NGO will be compensated for this with Project funds.

On average, every Hub will work with NGOs in approximately five countries in its region, including other NGOs in its own county. Regional Hubs will have the primary responsibility in identifying and helping NGOs in its region to undertake various Project Activities.

VI. How The Regional Hubs Work
The work of the Regional Hub will begin with an overview of the kinds of IPEP Project Activities that might be usefully carried out by NGOs in its region, and also with an overview of NGOs in the countries of its region that have a history of working with networks such as IPEN, PAN, GAIA, HCWH, etc. and/or that carry out similar kinds of work. Based on these overviews, the hub will match NGOs in the region to possible IPEP activities, and will then work with identified NGOs to prepare what we will call a Project Activity Memorandum or “PAM.” The PAM describes an IPEP Activity that the NGO has an interest in working on, including well-identified outputs, indicators, deadlines, and a payment schedule.

Once an NGO and the hub agree on the terms of a Project Activity Memorandum, it is forwarded to Global Project Management for rapid review. The purpose of the review is to verify that the elements of the proposal are appropriate, well defined, and in aggregate consistent with Project guidelines. If a Project Activity Memorandum does not pass review, reasons will be given and an opportunity provided to revise and resubmit it. Following successful review, Global Project Management will assure rapid payment to the NGO. In most cases, the payment will be in the national currency and will be delivered thought the country UNDP office.

VII. Regional Hubs and Consultation
The Regional Hub should use informal or formal methods of consultation with NGOs in their region in order to assure that IPEN POs and NGOs associated with related networks (PAN, GAIA, HCWH, etc.) are broadly comfortable with their work and with the choices they make. Global Project management can and will assist with this, as needed and as requested.

The mechanisms used for regional NGO input and consultation will not be defined in advance and will likely vary from region to region. In many cases, these will build upon informal collaborative relationships that already exist. Possible arrangements might include informal or a formal regional NGO advisory groups or other consultative mechanisms. The goal is to assure a fair balance of IPEP-supported activities in each region across a spectrum of NGO interests, capabilities and/or styles of work that reflects the range of interests and styles among IPEN POs and related NGOs currently active in the region. In making this happen, burdensome structures and time-consuming processes should be avoided.

In the end, the best measure of IPEP success will be that, at the completion of the two-year Project cycle, NGOs in each region will want to maintain, continue and build upon regional working relationships built-up or solidified in the course of IPEP.

VIII. Project Management and Structure

There are three levels of project management; UN agencies, Global Project Management, and Regional Hubs.

The UN agencies include UNEP and UNIDO. UNEP (in Nairobi) is the Project Implementing Agency with final responsibility for Project oversight, monitoring, and evaluation. UNIDO (in Vienna) has a closer management relationship to the Project. UNIDO will hold IPEP GEF funds, and will disburse money to various NGOs around the world who have agreed to perform Project Activities. In most cases, these disbursals will be made through the UN system and will come to the NGO in its own national currency from its country UNDP office.

The Environmental Health Fund (EHF) will have lead responsibility for global aspects of Project management. This is reflected in the GEF proposal, where EHF is named as the Project Executing Agency on behalf of IPEN. As Executing Agency, EHF is legally responsible to UNEP and UNIDO for successful Project execution in conformity with the terms of the approved Project Brief. At the same time, EHF remains politically responsible to the IPEN Steering Committee in its execution of IPEP global management functions. This legal/political division of responsibility was worked out and agreed at the IPEN SC Project planning subcommittee meeting, held in Vienna, June 2002.
NGOs performing Project Activities using the GEF-provided funds will, in legal terms, be subcontractors to EHF, in its role as Project Executing Agency. However, the main roles of EHF in Global Project management are: to coordinate the work of the Regional Hubs; to assure the Hubs, the Expert Teams, the Project Web Site and other elements of IPEP are functioning and performing properly; to coordinate with other NGOs who have been funded to provide IPEP co-financed Project services or support; to assure IPEN Steering Committee oversight and involvement in the Project; and to manage Project interface with UNIDO and UNEP.

A description of Regional Hub responsibilities is contained in more detail in Annex 2: “Terms of Reference for NGOs acting as Hubs for the International POPs Elimination Project (IPEP).”

IX. Project Web Site
IPEP will establish a global website to present the results of the Project Activities. The site will contain Country Situation Reports, Policy Briefs, Hotspot Reports, and Regional Reports as well as summaries of NIP activities and other project activities and campaigns. In addition, the site could contain links to POPs-related information and other resources. The information will be multi-lingual and regularly updated. The website will connect the simultaneous activities in 40 countries and provide valuable NGO-generated information for global use.

Annex 1 | Annex 2

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