|The Courier N° 185 - March - April 2001 - Dossier: Cinema - Country Reports: Angola (EC Courier, 2001, 76 p.)|
The scourge of AIDS is now affecting every continent and it continues to spread. 5.6 million new cases were recorded in 2000. The European Commission provides financial assistance for the battle against this pandemic, and has now drawn up a practical guide for managing HIV/AIDS and population projects to combat the disease more effectively.
An information system to facilitate the management of HIV/AIDS and population projects has been launched.
In October 2000 the Common Service for External Relations (SCR), which on 1 January 2001 became the EuropeAid Cooperation Office, drew up a practical guide for managing HIV/AIDS and population projects (budget lines) for developing countries, with a view to harmonising such projects and making their implementation more efficient. This guide has been distributed to all Delegations.
The guide, which is user-friendly and novel in design, is an information system supplied on an interactive CD-ROM. For the General Directorates concerned with external relations, it is a shared reference source to ensure that these projects are financed and executed in accordance with defined standards. It will provide considerable savings of time, energy and funds and will ensure that application is more in line with operating procedures.
The guide has been produced to comply with Commission policy which is to create a successful, modern and efficient organisation using the latest information technology to optimise human resources and improve the quality of the work.
Why this guide?
The guide was developed to improve the monitoring and assessment of HIV/AIDS and population projects, based on proper and rigorous application of the various project cycle phases; simplification and harmonisation of the procedures in project instruction, implementation and assessment, and improved communication for the benefit of external partners.
Based on permanent dialogue between the different services of EuropeAid and DG Relex, the practical project guide was produced, with the help of International Health Support - Technical Assistance Network (IHS - TAN) in the framework of its contract.
The guide is a collection of rules (legal bases), standard documents, templates, scorecards, utilities, and simultaneously integrates the official harmonisation work already carried out by the other EuropeAid services and DG Development. It is a kind of comprehensive toolbox which greatly simplifies project work.
The guide provides standard templates for contracts - for subsidies, budgets, terms of reference, action plans, schedules, etc. - and these can be completed in Word and Excel which are also integrated in the guide. Users can create a text or table to suit their requirements or connect to the EuropeAid Tenders and contract Internet site with a simple click of the mouse. A bilingual English/French version of the guide is currently available on interactive CD-ROM, as are English or French paper versions.
Target audience: external partners, consultants and community services
In this age of globalisation, it is important that projects are an integral part of a set of standard interventions where various tools and players work in synergy. This tool has been designed for all beneficiaries or operational players involved in implementing community cooperation in the areas of HIV/AIDS and population.
By providing adequate and efficient information, the community external aid services, national and regional administrations and the local powers in partner countries, civil society players (NGOs, professional organisations, the private sector, research institutes, etc.) and consultants will from now on be able to follow the same standard pattern in proposing, implementing and assessing HIV/AIDS and population programmes and projects.
Advantages: speed, efficiency and increased management conformity
With increasingly limited human and financial resources, use of this powerful technological tool will bring many advantages in terms of improving work quality.
· quick and comprehensive information for all parties involved, particularly external partners;
· use of a single standard approach;
· consistent mobilisation of credits and faster budget execution;
· guaranteed compliance with legal bases,
· conformity of operating procedures and budgets granted;
· far greater legibility and understanding of technical and financial execution reports, the standardised format of which has been in use since 01/01/2001;
· considerable reduction in payment times for operations;
· matching expenditure to the finance plan.
The standard presentation of execution reports will ease the analysis and comparison of technical, social and financial data, allowing:
· anticipated and achieved objectives, results and monitoring indicators;
· theoretical and actual planning for operational programming;
· timescales for submission of important documents.
Comparative analyses between geographical zones and/or financial instruments will be easier to conduct.
These are important criteria for facilitating both the interventions of contracting parties and the decisions of EuropeAid.
Positive impact and possible development
From November 2000, a web page for the guide will be available on the Commissions Intranet. The EuropeAid home-page can be accessed via Internet Explorer at http://184.108.40.206/Guide_new/aids/Guide.htm. Then click on Practical guide for managing HIV/AIDS and population projects. In the near future it will be possible to access the guide on the Commissions Internet site.
This guide contributes substantive elements to the administrative and legal harmonisation work carried out to date, in terms of approach: the six phases in the operational and technical cycle: objectively verifiable indicators (OVI) necessary to further reinforce the new EuropeAid modes of operation.
The fact that this guide has been designed to evolve over time means that constructive criticism from Delegations and contracting parties will help to bring it more in line with the new organisation of DG Relex and make it more comprehensive.
While the guide is specifically relevant to HIV/AIDS and population projects, with appropriate adaptation (legal bases, monitoring indicators, etc), it could also be valuable in training, management and assessment of other budget lines, or even applied to the European Development Fund (EDF).
The CD-ROM can be supplemented over time and made more comprehensive by adding further information and/or applications relating to all sectoral policies. Only 8% of the maximum 650 MB storage capacity of the CD-ROM is currently taken up.
The process of deconcentration/decentralisation of the management of external aid is certain to be made easier by increasing the capacities of the Delegations, and by the increased mobilisation of external partners (appropriation of objectives), which will be made possible by use of this tool. This is sure to result in increased effectiveness and durability of cooperation.
For any information and/or requests regarding this tool please e-mail pasquale.Raimondo@cec.eu.int
MOROCCO: The Delegation has received one copy of the guide. Given that this document will prove extremely useful to us in our briefings to project staff on how they present their requests, monitor their projects and submit their reports, would it be possible to send us a few more copies? We find this document very clearly presented and believe that the CD-ROM will prove extremely valuable to representatives in Morocco.
FER-MACEDONIA: It seems to be really interesting and could correspond to our needs, if it is generic enough. As Programme Officer at the EC Delegation in Skopje, I would be extremely interested in receiving a copy of this tool, especially because project cycle management is an everyday issue for all of us.
GUATEMALA; We can only encourage you to continue to carry on with this compilation and guide, which is extremely useful for these of us in the field.
SOUTH AFRICA. Durban Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division University of Natal: Thank you so much for the CD-ROM with the manual/toolkit. May I congratulate you on the content, presentation and ease with which it can be used. It is very innovative and useful - I wish we had had it years ago, as it would have made many of our activities easier. May I have an additional 5 copies when it is one general release. I doubt it will make the top ten but for those of us working in the field it will be invaluable. Alan Whiteside, Director