Use of Computer Mediated Technology (CMT)* in GEF Programs

Use of Computer Mediated Technology (CMT)* in GEF Programs

Background andRationale for Action

1. The Global Environment Facility was established in 1991, funded at over one billion US dollars to focus on major global environment issues, initially i dentified as the protection of biodiversity, the reduction of global warming, the protection of international waters, and the reduction of the depletion of the ozone layer. It was to run for three years as a pilot initiative ending in 1994 and an evalu ation of its activities during this period has been conducted in 1993. An operational strategy is now being developed for presentation at the GEF Council in July 1995 and it will serve as a policy framework for GEF future operations.

2. The necessity to manage wisely the environment in order to survive, making the best use of scarce natural resources, has been recognized as a universal concern in which all countries, institutions and individuals must share responsibility and act accordingly. GEF w as established in response to it and in the expectation that it could "help protect the environment through collaborative international efforts", as noted in the Independent Evaluation of the GEF Pilot Phase.

3. Cooperation and joint action have howeve r been difficult to achieve and there is a need for increased cooperation and partnership at all levels. Among areas for reform highlighted by the above- mentioned report, feature prominently the clarification of GEF mission and the development of progra m objectives and strategies, management and organizational relationships, the engagement of country and community-level participation and the involvement of NGOs, all issues which necessitate special efforts to build information systems at global leve l, thus providing a basis for action to each party concerned. Discussing the first, the evaluators noted in particular, as part of the possible mission of GEF, "building national and regional institutional and professional capacities, and developing ap proaches to facilitate local participation in activities of global environment concerns". 4. To act together, communications, information dissemination, knowledge sharing are essential tools. Global environmental issues are, by definition, complex and involve different scientific areas in which worldwide data must be collected following harmonized procedures. It then must be analyzed and interpreted by experts scattered around the world and decisions will have to be made by a multiplicity of actors e qually dispersed.

5. While such worldwide action programs would have had very limited chances of effectiveness in a world where communications are not widely available, the advent of computer mediated technology (CMT) has changed the scene. CMT, which is mostly referring here to electronic communications, including e-mail, mailing lists and on-line conferences, search and query of information sources, is basically a tool. It gives programs a possibility to be dynamically assessed, planned, implement ed, with results fed back into new evolutive action within short delays, thereby giving them a chance to achieve their objectives. CMT also makes it possible for all actors to access required existing information and knowledge wherever it can be found, to collect and process data in useful time, to discuss results obtained without to have to call for meetings, to take stock and redirect action. We can now realistically think of attacking global environmental problems with some chance of making an i mpact.

6. CMT usefulness and efficiency varies with program activities, becoming indispensable whenever information, knowledge sharing and communications over wide areas and across borders are basic to achieving program objectives. Also, in spite of fa st progress, it is not yet available everywhere nor is it without flaws. Recent growth of CMT has been extraordinary. It certainly can be expected that it will be continuing on that trend, becoming increasingly efficient and constantly adapting to user needs. Yet, it must be recognized that there exist wide gaps in coverage, Africa lagging significantly behind. It is the responsibility of CMT current and potential users who recognize the value of this technology to ensure that they cooperate with ot hers in making the service more available to those who need it, thus making it increasingly useful and efficient.

7. GEF can increase the efficiency of its global action programs by a systematic use of CMT to support operational activities and expand their impact. This can be sought through better sharing of information between those involved and through building up their capacity to operate at a higher level of understanding. As an active user of a still imperfectly distributed service, which will be increasingly needed in the implementation of future global programs, GEF can also ensure that its active participation in using CMT will help building up a strong communications service.

8. The GEF Secretariat wishes to explore further how CMT can be an effective instrument for building up in Africa a capacity to deal with global environment problems jointly with the rest of the world. It proposes to organize consultations on the subject with a number of experienced CMT users and providers in the r egion who can pinpoint options offered to GEF program management. In the course of these consultations, it will in particular, invite a limited group to participate in a workshop tentatively scheduled to take place in Nairobi on the 1st and 2nd of Jun e 1995, with the specific objective of reviewing options and making recommendations for a more systematic use of CMT in support of GEF programs during the next two years.

9. The present note attempts to present some issues for debate. It is a draft to be commented upon by the GEF Secretariat as well as by individual users and CMT providers willing to participate in the exercise, either by making contributions to the discussion on-line or by participating in a proposed workshop. Discussion at the wor kshop should identify issues which require to be further clarified and options for action. The note is to serve as a background document and will be finalized after the workshop, incorporating options retained for further action.

10. After looking at th e relevance of CMT to GEF programs, the first part of the note discusses problems encountered in the development and implementation of GEF programs, especially in Africa, and reviews how a more systematic use of CMT could bring improvements. Recognizin g that CMT is however not yet fully developed in the region, it then goes on looking at deficiencies and how to palliate them in order to use CMT more systematically in the course of strengthening African participation in global environmental action.

11. In the second part of the note, a general framework for action is suggested, to which individual modules could be attached in order to address either gaps in GEF program implementation or in CMT availability in the region. Such options would be conso lidated as a result of discussions at the workshop.

12. Finally, resulting short term proposals are related to a longer term planning schedule.

1. CMT and GEF - a special and necessary relationship

13. CMT relevance to GEF programs is generally a greed. The programs are global in nature, requiring consensus-based global action and strategy. There is a need for concerted (often synchronized) action for participants to make any significant impact upon problems affecting large areas.

14. This can however be said of most programs of global significance. Specific remarks apply in the case of GEF programs, such as

- urgency of action required, especially that touching upon irreversible processes;

- necessity to reach wide consensus for most action which has to be undertaken at global level,

- necessity to build up an essential capacity to take corrective action collectively when faced with critical situations, reaching out to large support and participation, at Government as well as community level. - necessity to show results to s ustain the drive for action, including resources mobilization at an unprecedented scale. 15. Empowering those who can take action requires that they can access relevant information. When dealing with global matters, access to relevant information may become unrealistic unless that information has been structured and located appropriately. Relevant and timely information resources have to be brought to play in GEF programs and, while CMT will not necessarily be sufficient to achieve this, they certainly will be indispensable to support action.

16. CMT is a powerful tool to enhance the impact of GEF programs. In giving access, from an individual computer, to remote sources of information, CMT has powerful capabilities which distinguish it from usual communications tools.

17. The isolation in which many professionals find themselves in developing countries, far from information resources and from contacts with others, can be considerably alleviated by the use of CMT. Prompt responses to professional queries as well as on-l ine searches become possible. Participation in global action is no longer unrealistic.

18. CMT permit exchanges and group discussions on-line, can limit needs for physical meetings, otherwise necessarily few and far apart, and maintain links in-between. (BUT there are difficulties with working over language zones in Africa)

19. Areas covered by GEF programs are often very wide and CMT is indispensable to collect data covering large areas in useful time. Similarly, it permits wider dissemination of information to those involved (public information campaigns, wide access to f ile requests, prompt large scale reporting).

20. Education of decision-makers and of the public at large is particularly important to the success of GEF programs which are not sufficiently understood at present to trigger adhesion and support at national level.

a) GEF program areas, their problems with specific African examples, and possible role of CMT in alleviating them

21. Increasing systematic use of CMT in GEF programs in Africa will be made easier if it can be shown that CMT can address some of the more important deficiencies in implementation.

22. Administrative and public informa tion aspects of GEF activities being reviewed by a task force, discussion here is limited to operations in GEF program areas. Similarly, an information strategy is being developed to meet GEF's own operational communications needs and use of CMT for inf ormation campaigns is not reviewed.

23. During the first experimental phase, GEF has set out to impact four specific environmental areas of global concern, which have been given variable weight in the different tranches: - biodiversity, - clim ate change, - international waters, - ozone depletion.

The fourth one being handled by the Ozone Secretariat is not discussed here although similar comments would apply.

24. It has been particularly difficult to implement GEF programs in Africa since they require active involvement of all partners and since facilities to achieve this, including CMT, are not abundant.

25. Criteria have been developed for selection of program activities, generally and individually in each area but recent review s indicate that they are still applied with insufficient consistency and that strategies are still being developed. The relevance of some activities to each area has been questioned by the review teams, which was to be expected given the nature of the s ituations to be approached and the lack of quantitative and qualitative information concerning them.

26. Review teams have concurred on the necessity to better know situations on which to act, problems to solve and corresponding research. Conclusions of the evaluation carried out in 1994 also point out to the difficulty encountered in getting national support for environmental action at global level in the absence of strong national environmental planning and to the necessity to ensure that those resp onsible for planning at national level are aware of how global environmental problems affect national development and of the action necessary on their part to join in alleviating them. 27. A general target would therefore be assessment and monitoring an d increased national awareness.

i. capacity for assessment and monitoring

28. All four areas necessitate efforts at worldwide assessment, monitoring, analysis and processing of large quantities of data, at obtaining a consensus among all organizations and countries concerned on conclusions to be drawn and on design of subsequ ent action, identifying areas requiring further research. Only by using CMT for orchestrated systematic and often simultaneous data collection can an adequate coverage be obtain ed and a feedback given to managers within useful time limits. It is clear however that, only if countries or bodies concerned have a fairly homogeneous capacity to collect, store retrieve, process and evaluate data, will the overall data collection exe rcise have a useful meaning.

29. A number of organizations are already involved in such systematic collection and processing of data for assessment and monitoring global environment problems. For instance, UNEP has reviewed its Environment Assessment Pr ogram in 1994, and this has resulted in new activities making more use of CMT. Regional action is being launched, in particular in Africa, which should result in regional reporting frameworks and networks for assessment and reporting. It should develop r egion-specific assessment and reporting methodologies and software tools. A distribution of responsibilities as well as a plan for further action have been decided in some areas and, in at least one case, that of the GHG assessment, GEF intervention ha s been instrumental in obtaining a beginning of participation from a number of African countries. This program, in the area of Climate Change, could be an example of what can be achieved, by a systematic use of CMT to empower all countries to participa te into global assessment and monitoring.

30. | Possible program option to be discussed: | Review of CMT use in current global and regional monitoring | projects, in cooperation with UNEP, with a view to increase | African countries capacity to participate more effectively.

31. | Similar action can be reviewed for specific projects such as | UNDP - Global Monitoring of Ozone and GHG | START - Climate Change Conventional Capacity Building Initiative | UNDP - Development of Least Cost Approaches and Programs in | Global Warning Mitigation in SubSaharan Africa | In each case, current and potential participating institutions | would be systematically put on-line, with 'key' participants | being followed up.

32. | Future option: | With a view to develo p strategies further, consult with STAP members | and implementing agencies on main areas requiring further research | before action can be contemplated. In such cases relevant data should | be identified by agencies most concerned and a plan for collectio n | of such data agreed upon in an appropriate forum, for implementation | through specific GEF programs.

ii. Area: Global Warming

33. STAP reviewed this portfolio of projects in 1992. Several projects were approved in line with the Framework Conventi on on Climate Change and some would necessitate high use of CMT, for instance the UNDP executed Global Information and Training Program to Promote the Implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The recent Conference of Parties (Ma rch 1995) was to provide guidance on project selection criteria, priorities and policy-related issues. GEF had been asked to concentrate initially on activities that will enable developing countries of the Convention to move forward to full implementat ion, e.g. studies, inventories, training, institutional strengthening, research...

34. STAP noted that there are 'significant scientific uncertainties in global warming' and that this should require cooperation between countries to assess at least a few issues.

The operational strategy should provide for more specific priorities.

35. | An option could be to review decisions of the COP as to assessment | and monitoring or targeted research is concerned, with a view to | determine whether CMT could be used for collecting and processing | data necessary to action as decided.

36. This area provides particularly important examples of assessment and monitoring. An example of what CMT can do to enhance the program is provided by the use of electronic messaging in the preparation of the African country surveys required by the UNEP implemented GEF assessment (see above).

37. One of the projects, "Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training" (START) of IGBP/ICSU, described by the review as a 'g lobal system of regional networks dedicated to analysis, research and training' should be of special interest in terms of use of CMT in GEF.

38. | A special review and discussion of this project in terms of use | of CMT could be carried out.

39. CMT could also be used to expand on the potential impact of projects in this area which address alternative technologies. For instance, a project such as the Zimbabwean project for PV for Household and Community Use could a priori benefit from systema tic use of CMT for gathering relevant information, extend its role beyond the country covered and serve as a basis for a network of information exchange on the use of PV in the region.

40. | Setting up an on-line group discussion or a network around the | subject might enhance potential impact.

iii. International Waters

41. The need for a clear strategy is particularly high in this area where definition of what constitute international waters in GEF program are still going on.

42. A review of this portfolio was carried out in April 1994. Many critical points noted in this program area are not directly susceptible of improvement through systematic use of CMT. The introduction in June 1994 of targeted research 'to enhance scientific capacity and generate sci ence information lacking in many developing countries' would however necessitate, like in the other program areas, intensive use of CMT to accelerate developments. It is also noted that 'water institutions require concerted efforts to enhance their capa bilities to undertake complex new responsibilities' and that cooperation between states sharing water resources as well as emergency preparedness, all areas requiring systematic use of CMT have been singled out for special efforts.

43. | Specific targets could be projects covering shared water | ecosystems. Projects dealing with pollution control of | large marine ecosystems or with coastal zone management | should benefit from systematic use of CMT if not already | applied. A revie w of programs undertaken in this respect | would provide a prompt answer.

44. | A strengthening of hydrological services to permit sufficient | assessment and monitoring of watershed has often been cited | as a necessary condition to all activities in this area.

iv. Area: Biological Diversity

45. STAP review of this area has pointed out to serious conceptual issues, including interaction of scientific and technical knowledge with social sciences, evolution of biological reserves, necessary involvement of population, etc. It is also noted that methodology for estimating the magnitude of global benefits of proposed and agreed action is not sufficiently developed. Most of these points cannot be resolved if data is not available, if it is not disseminated among scientists on one hand and the several groups of population concerned on the other. It has been recommended in particular that a global electronic data base covering on-going development projects connected with biodiversity should be developed urgently.

46. | How to do it involving existing efforts and activities of | other organizations should provide useful guidelines for | future cooperation in this area. Cooperation with the | WCMT/IUCN/UNEP Global Biodiversity Information Network | is mentioned in the review an d requires further study.

47. Lessons learned should be disseminated, building research capacity is a must and monitoring and evaluation are of special importance. Insufficient attention was given, in the reviewers' opinion, to information between countr ies. All these issues require a rapid building up of information and information exchange networks that only CMT can provide. From a supporting role, CMT might require the central scene in most activities. Specific networks devoted to information on a part icular species would complement capacity building at country level so that a common approach can be built up with the full participation of all countries concerned. At country level, special programs using CMT will need to be developed to make affected co mmunity participation effective and increase general public awareness and support.

48. | Projects already approved in the African region could be | scrutinized with a view to obtain maximum impact from use | of CMT. A review of the UNEP executed project for | Biodiversity Data Management Capacitation in developing | countries and Net working biodiversity information might | give useful indications as to priorities for action where | increased CMT would have an impact.

49. | So could other projects such as the UNDP executed project | for institutional support to protect Eastern Africa | Biodiversity, the WB executed National Parks Rehabilitation | and Community based Environmental Management in Zimbabwe | and others.

50. Action more directly linked to the implementation of the Biodiversity Convention, and, in particular, dissemination of information on the Convention, could be assisted by CMT.

51. The above discussion of conclusions from recent reviews of program areas is necessarily sketchy in th e absence of detailed project descriptions and reports. An issue to discuss is precisely whether a better methodology would be to select specific projects for more detailed review of their activities vis-a-vis CMT potential, leading to the adjunction of additional CMT elements into project design or to increased focus on new activities to be launched, centered around CMT, in order to give a better chance of global impact to future programs.

52. It should also be noted that, when addressing global e nvironmental problems, it is no longer a question of scientific research per se but of immediate feedback to those who are in a position to take action. This means in turn an improved process to reach consensus on what has to be done immediately in many different situations by a vast number of different actors scattered around the globe. In most cases, CMT will be the only chance of achieving such an ambitious objective.

53. | Using CMT in handling feedback of project results can be an | important feature to review systematically and to strengthen.

54. The above suggestions for increased use of CMT in GEF program in Africa will not however be possible to implement everywhere on the continent. It must be recognized that CMT are not universally available or affordable in Africa.

b) Situation of CMT in Africa today

55. The situation of CMT in Africa today is preoccupying and it was recently discussed at a symposium organized by ECA, UNESCO, ITU and IDRC in Addis Ababa, "Telematics in Africa", 2-8 April 1995. A discussion paper prepared on this occasion by Mr. M. Jensen, independent consultant who has assisted very significantly in the development of CMT in Africa, describes it very aptly. This document will be distributed to those participat ing in the present review.

56. (The following section, describing main problems of connectivity of Africa, is taken from a different document discussing next possible steps to strengthen that connectivity).

57. At different levels, African countries South of Sahara, find serious obstacles to gaining access to communications networks and to information resources.

58. Basic problems can be summarized as follows:

i. physical infrastructure . poor telecommunications infrastructure, badly maintained and being only very slowly upgraded, resulting in difficult access to telephone services, . low teledensity and concentration in urban areas, . high tariffs, with telephone often charged at or in excess of $5 per minute, . underutilization and overpricing of data lines, . limited capacity for increasing the number of - expensive - leased lines, . low quality of electrical power coupled with low level of protection of sensitive equipment, . i nadaptability of equipment developed for different environments.

ii. connectivity . few nodes established, mostly serving the academic or NGO communities; they often operate in an uncertain regulatory environment, more tolerat ed than supported, . uneven but generally inadequate reliability of service, . necessity to forever learn and adapt new software, especially when 'upgrading' to Internet, . predominance of technology-oriented management in the nodes, not always considering service to users as a first priority, . traffic directed mostly North/South, accessing distant service providers, . lack of coordination of the existing network systems, . increasing costs of external Internet service providers, now mostly commercial enterprises, . limited user community, with high proportion of NGO and aid donors, . limited - or nil - computer literacy in potential users, and few possibilities to rapi dly increase use of computers (high cost and excessive duties, fragility to the environment, excessive diversity of equipment) . limited user exposure to electronic communications and little understanding of their potential contr ibution to their own activities, . general inadaptation of much of the information provided on the networks, more generally geared to developed world perceptions and seldom addressing third world main concerns, . limited i nterest from users in accessing information sources to support their own activities and reluctance to participate in information and other exchanges on-line.

iii. Government policy and practice . Although Telecoms Africa '94 had b een a unanimous chorus in favor of deregulation, little progress is shown. In fact, many PTTs have a restrictive policy on value-added services. They furthermore do not have specific regulations on e-mail service provision and third-party traffic. This, coupled with lack of a clear stand on information policy and often hostile relations with the written press or with private broadcasting initiatives, does not create a favorable environment f or new channels of information.

. Difficulties of PTTs to deal with new technologies. As and when new services are offered, PTTs have to decide on how to handle them which can create significant delays or plain barriers to the introduction of more a ffordable technologies (see, for instance, the current example of VSAT technology).

iv. cooperation and support

. lack of active interest from subregional groupings, with the possible excep tion of SADC, little priority given to connectivity, . sporadic and limited support to development of connectivity coming from bilateral and multilateral donors, with competitive programs using the same user base with differen t technologies and objectives, the only common denominator being the trickle of support as compared to needs, . lack of continental strategy by major ESAs in this area, . more generally declining interest and resources to develop the telecommunications sector and absence of operational programs of magnitude, including at the subregional and regional level.

v. human resources

. lack of trained personnel in managing CMT which affects the deployment and delivery of this technology, . lack of UNIX knowledge and experience in most of the region, linked to . weakness of the University computer centres, a nd dearth of computer training beyond elementary applications, . lack o f computer literacy and interest in many user groups, . difficulties of training highly qualified personnel such as system operators while career prospects are not yet there. 59. Development of connectivity is generally slow and the re are few signs that this should change significantly and rapidly in the face of such overwhelming obstacles unless problems are recognized and a will to solve them translates into early action. Fortunately, recent developments seem to indicate that t he problem is now apprehended and that at least some of the Governments and of the ESAs supporting them are willing to correct the situation.

c) Necessity to join forces in increasing CMT capacity in Africa ------------------------------ ------------------------------- 60. General support to the development and extension of CMT in Africa is the responsibility of a number of other institutions than GEF but all programs using fledgling CMT have a responsibility to assist in developing it. In the case of G EF, the strikingly low level of participation in GEF activities in Africa is very directly linked to insufficient availability of CMT and to a weak capability in its use. If GEF wants to see a better implementation of its own programs, it will have advan tage in joining forces with other ESAs in building up CMT capacity in Africa whenever feasible.

61. It is therefore necessary to monitor closely programs which can bridge such a gap. Currently, very little is being done, with few of the committed bodies in ESAs having sufficient resources to take significant action and with the problem being only recently recognized in major ESAs.

62. Up to now, limited resources have been provided by the IDRC, mostly to strengthen capacity by offering training and to provide some hardware in the most dire situations. Major institutions such as the World Bank are still at program preparation sta ge, having only recently sized up the considerable obstacles to development produced by lack of CMT. UNDP is still to co nsider CMT as a major target for their activities in spite of an early start with the Sustainable Development Network (SDN), which should have made a difference had it not been plagued by conceptual problems and by a general lack of resources. It is ho ped that, spearheaded by the World Bank and US.AID, a major effort can now take place to build capacity in CMT in Africa but this may take some time and may not cover all aspects needed by the GEF.

63. Close coordination will need to be achieved but, for instance, GEF will have to assess in what measure these programs and proposals fill present gaps identified as major obstacles to the implementation of GEF programs. The globality of GEF programs requires that participation be distributed over many African institutions and people in many countries. GEF key targets may turn out to be different from those to be supported by other ESAs, including participating agencies. GEF must therefore ensure that key targets for its own programs will be adequatel y supported and will indeed benefit from better availability and affordability of CMT. This is indispensable to increase GEF program efficiency, and specific intervention either at country level or at information resource level may become appropriate.

64. GEF participating organizations may have to join forces in strengthening basic elements of CMT in African countries including through participating in the strengthening of existing electronic communication services so that they are in a position to p r ovide GEF programs with necessary connectivity. Equally important will be support to developing materials and disseminating them, for instance through on-line conferences. New technologies may offer further opportunities for global dissemination of info r- mation of direct interest to the implementation of GEF programs. For instance, GEF could follow and support developments at present underway to pool costs of making widely available information resources through broadband transmissions (e.g. satellite TV and VSAT). It may also participate in the necessary hardware/software upgrading of node facilities at a time when Internet links become available. It may share in the development of better training resources and in the maintenance of logistical servic e centers for systems operators.

65. Such activities need not be discrete operations. A training institution will be strengthened by a commitment to send them students regularly. They have to be very closely coordinated with lead ESAs in this sector.

66. Having established the need for CMT in GEF program areas and the necessity to use every opportunity to make this key technology more available in Africa, it is now necessary to make plans for action. A possible framework program and related modules can be conceptualized, with advice on specific directions to be taken by workshop participants who are to propose, review and recommend program options advisable at this stage.

2. A possible framework for action ------------------------------- 67. At pre sent, GEF program has developed with no particular attention being paid to the use of CMT. CMT has indeed been used but it was more as a result of individual experience and choice among GEF many managers and decision makers than as a policy. A first st ep is therefore for all GEF decision makers to be aware of options offered by CMT to improve their programs, to reach a consensus on the value of increased use of CMT in GEF and to commit themselves to its systematic use as well as to supporting CMT g rowth and efficiency. A starting point would be task managers' ability to use CMT: it should be assessed and strengthened wherever possible.

68. A useful exercise will be for the workshop to review GEF programs to identify key actors, countries, institutions and professional societies which would need better use of CMT in order to upgrade the quality of their participation in GEF programs.

69. Starting from current program areas and recognized gaps in action and requirements, it is possible to identif y targets for each country and subregion of Africa. A general framework for action will serve to build up capacity in specific GEF programs as well as across the board. Once adopted, modules concerning specific GEF program areas can be included as appro priate, as resources become identified within specific areas.

70. The agenda and time table for the workshop reflect the line suggested to develop such a framework for action:

- after reviewing gaps identified otherwise, which are to be addressed in G EF program areas, specifically where they concern African countries participation, the workshop can look at the situation of CMT in countries most concerned and attempt to draw a list of priorities for action, matching one with the other;

- an identification of general issues to be solved for a a better use of CMT in Africa should show which are of particular importance to the implementation of global environmental programs;

- next step would be to identify which, among action recomme nded, will be tackled by other ESAs and others (including business initiatives), with a view to assess whether this will meet its requirements or whether there is ground to join forces with some ESAs in areas of special significance to GEF;

- priority areas for GEF action should be expected to result from the above. They will have to be organized within a framework for action, responsibilities for each can be proposed and a short term plan should result, taking into account resources availability; modules could be similar to the proposal at present before GEF which aims at building national capacities for integration of climate considerations into development plans;

- action agreed upon should then be set within overall objectives in relation to long term support to the use of CMT for the implementation of GEF programs in Africa.

** Note: ** This is only one of the possible ways to build up a program ** in this area. Reviewers should particularly address this ** theme so that their views can be taken into account when ** drawing up the workshop final agenda.

71. Although requirements would not be very high, resources would have to be included into administrative and program budgets as determined in the above mentioned reviews. Specific financing will also be required for core central tasks, at least until CMT has become an integral part of operations.

72. General guidelines applicable to the use of CMT at various stages of project preparation, development, implemen tation, reporting and evaluation, should be followed in all areas of intervention and by all implementing agencies. They may be developed further but a comment on samples provided in Annex VI would be particularly useful. This can be done on-line, befor e the workshop and should only be brought up for discussion in case major points of disagreement develop.


73. CMT offers possibilities to enhance results of GEF programs as being implemented and to increase the impact of future action . Each goal can be addressed differently when it comes to use of CMT to make these programs effective in Africa but one standard requirement should be to introduce some CMT as part of every GEF work program in the region.

74. A number of measures can be envisaged across the board such as access to electronic messaging for task managers in charge of projects and for key participants: organizations, Governments, NGOs and individuals as may be the case according to the proje ct. In order for this to be effective, special attention and effort can be devoted to facilitating node operations in countries where no service provider operates at present (in cooperation with other current and potential users).

75. Other CMT project elements can be decided upon because of relevance to project objectives and some may even become main project substantive activities (e.g. data availability in the case of global/regional assessment and monitoring, discussion grou ps on-line when facing difficult scientific or technical issues, etc...).

76. CMT could also focus on giving support in Africa to targeted research as recommended by task forces having recently reviewed GEF operational activities.

77. Project elements could be approved as substantive modules of a common umbrella project aiming at introducing CMT into GEF program. Action covering general needs would be handled within this framework, as well as monitoring and evaluation of other el ements operationally integrated in their own project framework. A detai led evaluation of the umbrella project, in line with current procedures would serve to demonstrate its impact on program results and will favorably dispose GEF decision-makers towards extending CMT in programs (special attention should be paid to building relevant indicators into operations).

78. An essential ingredient of success will be an institutional commitment to use this technology in the most consistent and efficient manner. This means in particular that Task Managers would have to apply it sy stematically in the implementation of their work program. In many cases, they would have to animate group discussions on-line and ensure that substantive program resources are made available as required.

79. To be as effective as possible, such a directive should be accompanied by a participatory decision process. Given the novel aspect of CMT and a rather uneven level of experience among those concerned, options must be identified and discussed so that the process can be fully effective. Statutory bodies meetings as well as of other GEF convened meetings can be used to explain the proposed action, secure commitment as necessary and mobilize support.

80. While the three GEF partners would be expected to follow a similar strategy, it would be left to existing program decision makers to decide on which activities should be mandatory for all and which can be adapted to their own operational procedures .

81. Systematic use of CMT has the potential to significantly enhance the capacity of developing countries, especially in Africa, to fully participate in GEF global programs and to increase their skills in the management of global resources. The proposed program activities will serve to demonstrate how this can be done./.

* Footnote - CMT is used throughout this note, which however often focuses on Computer Mediated Communications (CMT)

009, 95/05/07

Editor:Ali Dinar,