Programme Implementation Process
Since 2007, cross-border cooperation among the candidate and potential candidate countries of the Western Balkans is taking place for the first time, in the framework of the new EC financial instrument, IPA.
Eight cross-border programmes for the WB internal borders were drafted and submitted to EC for approval in May 2007 and approved in December that year. The preparation process was supported by the CBIB team.
After the approval of the cross-border programmes by the European Commission, the Financial Agreements between EC and the respective countries were signed in 2008.
In parallel, the process of establishment of Joint Mangement Structures was intiated. These structures are necessary for efficient programme management, implementation and monitoring.
From 2007 the CBC programmes and projects are implemented under the IPA CBC funding and according to the IPA Implementing Regulation.
Programming documents – a framework for the project pipeline
The cross-border programme is a multi-annual (2007-2013) basic document that governs the implementation of cross-border programmes under IPA. Each cross-border programme has it own Strategic Framework with relevant documents (European partnership, Multi-annual Indicative Financial Framework (MIFF), Multi-annual Indicative Planning Document (MIPD) and other relevant national and regional strategic documents), analyses to be conducted and stakeholders to be consulted in the process on different levels.
Annual Reports on Implementation are prepared for each programme and submitted to EC every year. Also, a mid-term revision of 8 cross-border programmes is underway in 2009.
Once the Financing Agreements have been signed and the Joint Management Structures established, all pre-conditions for entering into the preparation, launching and implementation of the Calls for Proposals have been created. Calls for Proposals are open and public invitations by the Contracting Authorities for the submission of project proposals in the context of a specific programme – IPA CBC programmes among WB countries in this case – and under selected priorities and measures of such a programme.
Launching of the first CfP under 8 IPA CBC programmes among Western Balkan countries took place in the summer of 2009. The CfP are published in the national newspapers, on the programme website (if there is one) or the websites of Operating Structures of the two countries participating in a programme as well as on the Europe Aid website. The whole application package and the Guidelines for Applicants – the basic document governng a specific CfP – are published on these websites as well.
Once the CfP have been launched, an information campaign, consisting of a series of information sessions in the programming areas of participating countries, took place throughout the Region. In the wake of the 1st CfP, 51 information event took place covering approximately 3000 Potential Applicants in the Western Balkans.
Information seminars are the opportunity for the Potential Applicants to obtain essential information about the contents of the CfP, the Guidelines for Applicants and to ask questions. The Joint Technical Secretariats and their Antennae are responsible for organizing the information campaign and answering the questions of potential applicants. Answers to the questions raised are then officially checked and approved by the Contracting Authorities and subsequently published by the JTS within the given deadline.
Q&As should be available on both the Programme and ECDs websites. You can also check the FAQ section on our website.
The Project Cycle Management (PCM) principles and the Logical Framework Approach (LFA) are required for the successful project preparation. It is a methodology for planning, managing and evaluating programmes and operations, involving stakeholder analysis, problem analysis, analysis of objectives, analysis of strategies, preparation of the logframe matrix and activity and resources schedules.
Evaluation of the projects
After the CfP are closed and applications submitted to the JTS, a joint Steering Committee, designated by the JMC, will evaluate projects against the criteria set in the Application Package and will establish a ranking list according to PRAG. On the basis of this, the Joint Monitoring Committee will then take the final decision on the projects to be recommended for financing to the Contracting Authorities (EC Delegations).
After the signing of grant contracts (between EC Delegation and beneficiary) the implementation of the selected operations will start.
Implementation and Monitoring of projects
Lead Beneficiaries send narrative and financial Interim and Final Reports to their respective Contracting Authorities according to the standard terms of their grant contracts.
In addition, the Functional Lead Partner of the project submits Project Progress Reports to the JTS, giving an overview of the project activities and achievements on both sides of the border and their coordination according to the indicators defined in the joint project proposal.
Evaluation and Monitoring of the cross-border programme
Based on the project progress reports collected, the JTS drafts the Joint Implementation Report and submits it for the examination of the JMC.
The Operating Structures of the beneficiary countries shall send the Commission and the respective national IPA Coordinators an annual report and a final report on the implementation of the cross-border programme after examination by the JMC.
The annual report shall be submitted by 30 June each year and for the first time in the second year following the adoption of the cross-border programme.
The final report shall be submitted at the latest 6 months after the closure of the cross-border programme.
The evaluation shall aim to improve the quality, effectiveness and consistency of the assistance from the Community funds and the strategy and implementation of cross-border programmes while taking account the objective of sustainable development and the relevant Community legislation concerning environmental impact.
Evaluations shall be carried out by experts or bodies, internal or external. The results shall be published according to the applicable rules on access to documents. Evaluation shall be financed from the technical assistance budget of the programme.
The monitoring of the achieved results is crucial for the programme implementation process.