4th Ordinary Meeting of PRESIBALT Steering Committee

Tuesday, 2019, December 17

Fourth Ordinary Meeting of PRESIBALT Steering Committee

As part of the evaluation of the activities implemented through the Programme for the Rehabilitation and Strengthening of the Resilience of Socio-ecologic Systems of the Lake Chad Basin (PRESIBALT), the fourth meeting of the Steering Committee of the Programme was held in Yaounde from 13 to 14 December 2019. Supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and implemented by the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), this five-year programme - which officially started its activities in January 2016 - aims at improving the resilience of vulnerable populations in Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, CAR and Chad. The populations depend on the natural resources of the Lake Basin and the safety of the means of their subsistence, in particular through the strengthening of the resilience of the socio-ecological systems, the popularisation of the main productions in a context of adaptation to climate change and the strengthening of social peace through good governance of shared resources.

The meeting brought together statutory members of the Regional Steering Committee or their representatives, officials and senior officials of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT) of Cameroon, observers, including officials and senior officials of LCBC, national coordinators, regional experts of PRESIBALT, to discuss the progress made since the mid-term review of the programme, held in February 2019, and identify the obstacles to be overcome to complete the programme.  In addition to the review and adoption of the 2019 activity report and the presentation of the 2020 Annual Work Plan and Budget (AWPB), participants discussed, among others, the issue of the extension of the programme and the signing of new agreements between member states and AfDB for the funding of the Support Programme for the Socio-Economic Reintegration of Vulnerable Groups in the Lake Chad Basin.   

As a decision-making body, whose meetings enable LCBC, donors and other members to provide clear guidance to the programme and the Executive Secretariat of LCBC, ensure that schedules are respected, better disseminate the results of funded activities - and make the necessary recommendations for their proper implementation - this fourth meeting of PRESIBALT Steering Committee was no exception to the rule.  It was convened to review and discuss the implementation status of the project four years after its launch, but also to discuss the new roadmap for this first year of extension.

The meeting was chaired by Mr Oum Eloma Janvier, Director General of Planning and Regional Development, representing the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT) of Cameroon, First Commissioner of Cameroon to LCBC and Chairman of the Regional Steering Committee, in the presence of the Executive Secretary of LCBC and all other statutory members.

Opening the proceedings, Mr Oum Eloma Janvier first of all extended a warm welcome to all the members of PRESIBALT RSC and the Executive Secretariat of LCBC choosing Cameroon to host the meeting. He expressed his thanks to participants for their availability and their commitment to monitor the implementation of the programme and welcomed the cruising speed reached in 2019, particularly with regard to the achievements of the Programme in this initial extension phase.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of LCBC, Head of Mission Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), Ambassador Mamman Nuhu, thanked the Cameroonian authorities for their constant support and commitment to LCBC.  He recalled the merits of this programme to improve the resilience of the vulnerable strata of the Lake Chad Basin, before dwelling on the achievements of the latter, for the year which just ended, in terms of infrastructure, equipment and services.  He concluded by presenting to participants, the physical and financial achievement rates of the programme, which, as of 31 October 2019, increased from 12.06% to 33.68%. 

The Acting Coordinator of PRESIBALT, Mr Na-Andi Mamane, gave an overview of the progress made, challenges and next steps for this programme. Other presentations by PRESIBALT experts followed. Some focused on the results achieved by the project; others on the actions planned to strengthen the adaptation capacities of the beneficiary countries of the programme, etc.

This fourth meeting of the Steering Committee also provided an opportunity for the representatives of regional and local authorities to give their views on the management of this flagship programme of LCBC and clarify their needs. 

At the end of two intense days of productive work, participants adopted the PRESIBALT 2020 Annual Work Plan and Budget. To this end, on the basis of the lessons drawn, concerns and prospects arising from discussions, and in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the programme’s activities with the various stakeholders, recommendations and strategic lines of action were drawn up, namely:

Member States:
1. Continue mobilising counterpart funds for National Coordinations to support the implementation of activities   
2. Support LCBC in the sustainability of the programme’s activities. 

LCBC 
1. Make necessary arrangements for the second extension of PRESIBALT until September 2021. 
2. Finalise the signature of Global Environment Facility (GEF) Fund grant agreements.

PRESIBALT Regional Coordination
1. Support LCBC on the release of funding from GEF;
2. Reduce the processing time of Tender Files and Request for Proposals at the Regional Coordination in order to boost the disbursement rate of countries;
3. Pay particular attention to the validation of the statements submitted by the service providers;
4. Strengthen the monitoring of achievements in the field with the sectors of different countries;
5. Accelerate the validation and operationalisation of administrative and financial procedures manual of PRESIBALT by integrating GEF and PARSEBALT into it;
6. Sign contracts finalised at the end of January 2020 in order to launch them latest by March 2020. 

National Coordinations
7. Strengthen the verification of payments at the country level by National Coordination bodies and consulting firms (Verification Payment Sheet) in order to reduce the high rate of rejection of Payment Requests in 2019;
8. Ensure the strengthening of women’s organisations with the support of the Ministries involved in the implementation of the activities;
9. Reduce the processing time of Tender Files at the National Coordination in order to boost the disbursement rate of the countries;
10. Accelerate the launching of call for tender for remaining Tender Files and complete the process before the 1st quarter of 2020; 
11. Ensure that the deadlines for the transmission of working capital documents from the National Coordinations to the regional coordination are respected; 
UNESCO
1. Draw a roadmap for the follow-up of BIOPALT-CN/PRESIBALT collaboration in order to systematically involve the various National Coordination bodies in monthly BIOPALT meetings;
2. Procure additional rolling stock for CAR and Chad in the Budget of the convention signed between UNESCO and LCBC; 
AfDB 
1. Accelerate the processing the files submitted to AfDB in order to give the earliest possible notice to enable LCBC to meet the deadlines set for the procurement of the remaining infrastructure, goods and services;
2. Accelerate the processing Tender Files submitted to AfDB in order to accelerate the disbursement rate of the programme.

The Executive Secretary of LCBC delivered the closing remarks thanking participants for their active participation. He underlined the importance of the contribution of PRESIBALT to the positive agenda of the Commission and the value of the bottom-up approach to the challenges of project implementation.

The meeting ended with a question and answer session during which all participants agreed on the importance of extending this programme until September 2021, particularly in view of its relevance and contribution to solving the ills besetting the Lake Chad Basin.