Angel's Herald: NEDA: Projects Not Decided Unilaterally

NEDA: Projects Not Decided Unilaterally

NEDA responded on an August 9-article of Business Mirror (see my previous posts).

Changes in UNDP-funded projects
not decided unilaterally, says Neda

Business Mirror, August 17 2007.

By Cai U. Ordinario

THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said the decision to implement changes in the 2007 Annual Work Plans (AWPS) for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-funded projects were not made unilaterally.

This is in response to the negative reactions from several implementing partners for UNDP-funded projects who experienced changes in their assignments or even their removal from the projects.

In a memorandum signed by United Nations resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative Nileema Noble, UNDP deputy resident representative Kyo Naka, Neda deputy director general Rolando Tungpalan, and Neda-Public Investment Staff director Jonathan Uy, the Neda and UNDP informed all Country Program Action Plan (CPAP) partners of the changes in the projects.

“[The changes] were agreed [to] as bases for a more focused and leveraged approach of UNDP programs to be implemented in 2007 through the AWPS for achieving the [Millennium Development Goals] and reducing human poverty, fostering democratic governance, energy and environment for sustainable development and peace and development,” the memorandum said.

Sources at the Neda said implementing partners (IPs) need not be informed of the decision regarding changes in the projects since an executive committee that monitors the projects is the one deciding on such matters.

The sources added that the statement by some UNDP staff members alleging that the Neda was “bribed” with “a few cars and travels abroad” was inappropriate. All cars and travels approved by the UNDP for Neda were all connected to the UNDP-funded projects the Neda and IPs oversee.

Apart from this, Tungpalan told BusinessMirror that the efforts of the UNDP to reform and streamline its projects and rationalize the functions of project monitoring offices (PMOs) is consistent with the directive of the Department of Budget and Management to implement a unified PMO in all government agencies.

Under this scheme, only one PMO will be allowed per agency. The PMO for an agency will now handle projects funded by several multilateral agencies, such as the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, and other similar agencies, including the UN and its agencies.

The memo also highlighted the importance of complying with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The Paris declaration stresses the need for the implementation of a rationalization process among donors in managing aid-financed projects and programs.

The Paris declaration was signed by all donor countries and multilateral agencies and has now set the global standard for aid-financed projects and programs.

“Donors commit to avoid the maximum extent possible creating dedicated structures for day-to-day management and implementation of aid-financed projects and programmes,” the Paris declaration stipulated.

In his letter to United Nations Development Group chairman and UNDP administrator Kemal Dervis on August 1, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri said the Philippines has embarked on the implementation of appropriate measures to make the partnership between the government and UNDP responsive to the needs of the country.

“The planning and coordination of the implementation of said measures are being carried out in close coordination with our CPAP partners and UNDP colleagues, with Neda at the helm of the change management process,” Neri stated in the letter.

These changes included the removal of the University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) as the IP for the Fostering Democratic Governance Programme. The UP-NCPAG was replaced with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

“The shift would require a change in the present implementing arrangements. The CHR is the most appropriate IP given its mandate,” the memorandum said.

Earlier, seven staffers of the UNDP filed a formal complaint at the Department of Foreign Affairs against Mrs. Noble.

The complaint, filed by UNDP assistant representatives Amelia Supetran and Emmanuel Buendia; programme managers Clarissa Arida and Imee Manal; and programme associates Jennifer Navarro, Morito Francisco, and Mary Gemme Montebon, may render Mrs. Noble a persona non-grata in the Philippines.

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