General Overview of NCSA Key
Findings in Other Regions
UNDP-GEF National Capacity Self-Assessment (NCSA)
17-19 June, 2005, Tunis, Tunisia
UNDP-GEF, New York
Structure of Presentation
• Countries covered and methodology
• Compliance with key NCSA principles
• Key capacity constraints
• Systemic issues
• Action Plans
• Lessons learned
• Recommendations for follow-up projects
• UNDP-GEF recently conducted a global evaluation of NCSAs in 11
countries: Namibia, Seychelles, Ghana, Philippines, Armenia,
Bulgaria, Latvia, Tajikistan, Uruguay, Ecuador and Jamaica.
• Four countries (ARM, BUL, URU and NAM) have completed their
NCSA activities, four countries (PHI, LAT, TAJ and SEY) are currently
finalizing them and finally three countries (GHA, ECU and JAM) will
finish in the near future.
• The evaluation used a two-pronged approach:
– Analysis of questionnaires sent to the countries asking questions
regarding the processes, outputs and outcomes of the NCSA
– An in-depth analysis of the NCSA reports from target countries.
Compliance with NCSA Principles
• The evaluation concluded that overall the 11 assessments complied well with
the 7 key NCSA principles:
1. All assessments are owned by the relevant government organisations
and mostly endorsed by the NGO communities.
2. To a lesser degree the assessments used the existing structures and
3. All 11 assessments integrated well the provisions and decisions of the 3
4. All countries used a multi-stakeholder participation approach with the
strong involvement of the NFPs, the NGO community and to some extent
the private sector.
5. The process also covered most of the relevant past and on-going
6. The approach used in all countries was holistic and covered the
assessment of capacity constraints at the individual, institutional and
7. Finally, the NCSA process was seen as a useful step in assessing
capacities within the broader context of sustainable development.
Key Capacity Constraints
• Most of the countries have key capacity constraints in the groups proposed
in the UNDP’s Capacity Development Indicators framework.
1. Nine countries have inadequate policy and legislation frameworks to
respond to the Rio Convention obligations and a weak capacity to
enforce the legislation and regulations currently in place.
2. The capacity to engage and build consensus among stakeholders was a
constraint; eight countries were found to have a constraint in this area.
3. The capacity to mobilize information and knowledge is a constraint for 10
countries. The constraint is two-fold: a weak public awareness of the
Conventions and their implementations, and the difficulty to access and
share information and knowledge.
4. The capacity to monitor, evaluate, report and learn is a constraint for
eight countries. In most cases the monitoring systems in place are
inadequate and cannot respond to the reporting obligations under the
5. Finally, the respondents identified several other constraints such as
governance, individual capacity/retain qualified human resources,
financial resources, and R&D
• All 11 assessments look into systemic issues focusing on the policy,
legislation and regulations frameworks.
• Respondents stated that the NCSA helped to establish a culture of
self-evaluation and problem-solving in each country; but due to the
limitation in time and resources, sustainability of that newly developed
culture remains a challenge.
• Moreover, only a few countries emphasised the assessment of their
overall national environmental management frameworks, their
accountability frameworks, their economic frameworks and their
system level resources.
• The implementation of the NCSA created synergies between the 3 Rio
• All countries used a multi-stakeholder approach which resulted in
better coordination among NFPs, better inter-ministerial coordination,
more exchange of information, facilitated the process to identify
cross-cutting issues among the 3 Rio Conventions and developed a
better consensus on the way forward among stakeholders.
• The analysis of the NCSA Action Plans indicates that these plans are
promoting synergies between the 3 Rio Conventions.
• In the case of Armenia, the actions included in their action plan were
selected and prioritized according to their cross-cutting reach.
• In Uruguay, activities in their action plan support the integration of
environmental aspects in national policies, plans and projects and
apply a spatial approach where the 3 Rio Conventions are applicable.
• Other activities promote inter-institutional coordination, emphasizing
an integrated approach to environmental issues.
• The evaluation also found that the NCSA process and its
related global environmental issues are being mainstreamed
within the national development priorities. All finalised action
plans (8) include actions to mainstream environmental issues
into national development priorities.
• In Ecuador, the NCSA process was conducted in close
collaboration with the PRSP process.
• In Tajikistan, the NCSA outputs are being integrated within the
national PRSP and the NCSA project helped the creation of the
Council on Environmental Conventions.
• The review of the Action Plans indicates that most of them include
some measures to ensure compliance with the key NCSA principles
envisaged in the NCSA Operational Guidelines.
• Most action plans (8) have a responsible person/office listed. However
only 4 action plans include a timetable for actions and only 5 action
plans include a monitoring and evaluation plan.
• 8 countries received technical support from a regional organisation.
Namibia received sensitive and targeted inputs when needed
• In the Philippines, some of the materials initially were not user-friendly
but the UNDP/GEF regional office responded to the needs of the
country and reviewed the NCSA Manual to make it more
• In Armenia, the backstopping of the project by UNDP was very useful
for the project team to build on outside experience and lessons
learned from other countries.
• Lessons were learned from each country experience and grouped
into 5 main categories:
1. The importance of mainstreaming the NCSA results into the
broader national sustainable development context as well as
PRSP, MDG, Agenda 21, etc.;
2. Wide and active stakeholder participation is key for producing
high quality Action Plans;
3. The need to tailor the NCSA approach to local realities and
expand the methodology;
4. Confirmation of the importance of utilizing existing structures
and coordinating mechanisms, and develop national ownership;
5. The need for a high level support and a strong involvement of the
Project Steering Committees.
Recommendations for Follow-up
• Based on the analysis of the questionnaires and the 11 NCSA
Reports/Action Plans, recommendations emerged for future capacity
building activities post NCSAs.
– Financing Instruments / Environmental Fiscal Reform / Economic
– Educational / Informational Instruments and Environmental
– Monitoring, Evaluating, Reporting, and Learning;
– Institutional Set up/Structure(s) to address Cross Cutting Issues /
Synergies and Common Requirements Under the Conventions;
– Development of Capacity Building Initiatives for Individuals, and;
– Improvement in Policy, Legislative and Regulatory Frameworks
and their Enforcement/Mainstreaming of global environment
management into national development plans and programs.