Project Description Summary
  1. Project components
  2. Key policy and institutional reforms supported by the project
  3. Benefits and target population
  4. Institutional and implementation arrangements
  1. Project components (see Annex 2 for a detailed description and Annex 3 for a detailed cost breakdown):
    Component Category Cost Incl.
    Contingencies
    (US$m)
    % of
    Total
    GEF
    financing
    (US$m)
    % of GEF
    financing
    1. Strengthen the National Framework for Biodiversity Conservation
      • Strengthen DNBC
      • Legal Framework
      • PA Replication
    Policy, Institution Building, Training 1.10


    (0.86)
    (0.06)
    (0.18)
    12.5%


    9.8%
    0.7%
    2.0%
    0.86


    (0.70)
    (0.05)
    (0.11)
    15.6%


    12.7%
    0.9%
    2.0%
    2. Develop Models for Protected Area and Forest Park Management
    • Planning and management systems
    • Sustainable Resource Management
    • Eco-tourism strategy
    • Bison reintroduce
    • Sustainable forest management
    Institution Building, Physical, Financial Mechanism, Learning and Adaptation 6.21


    (4.30)

    (0.68)

    (0.25)
    (0.84)
    (0.14)
    70.6%


    48.9%

    7.7%

    2.8%
    9.5%
    1.6%
    3.70


    (2.20)

    (0.65)

    (0.19)
    (0.54)
    (0.12)
    67.3%


    40.0%

    11.8%

    3.5%
    9.8%
    2.2%
    3. Build Public Support for Biodiversity Conservation Learning and Adaptation 0.72 8.2% 0.54 9.8%
    4. Project Management and Monitoring Project Management 0.76 8.6% 0.40 7.3%
    Total 8.80 100% 5.50 100%

    The project will establish effective participatory systems for sustainable conservation at three demonstration sites in the Romanian Carpathian range, and will build national capacity and public support for replicating this best practice to develop an integrated nationwide system of protected areas and conservation management. It will also explore and develop opportunities for mainstreaming biodiversity conservation in forest planning and management throughout the Carpathian chain.

    Different conservation strategies will be tested at each of the three project sites. These include national park, natural park (protected landscape), and biodiversity-friendly sustainable forest management (forest park). These models will address priority conservation planning and management problems common to many threatened biodiversity sites throughout Romania, and will provide practical experience to support implementation of the national biodiversity conservation strategy. The project includes the following four components:


  2. Key policy and institutional reforms supported by the project:
    In view of the current lack of clear responsibility for preparation and field implementation of management plans for biodiversity conservation, there is an urgent need to develop a unified and structured approach to the acquisition and management of protected areas, to identify lead responsibility for their management, and to further develop the field capacity to address the rapidly increasing and changing needs for protected area management and biodiversity conservation. The proposed project would address these needs, with emphasis on demonstrating best practice in decentralized land-use planning and field implementation. While functioning protected area management systems have not yet been established, existing legal provisions provide a framework within which the project can be implemented. These include Law 26/1996 (Forest Code), which allows the NFA to manage national parks in forest lands, and the MWFEP order no 7/1990, which designates NFA to manage the declared national parks at Retezat, Bucegi and Piatra Craiului. The project will review current and proposed protected area legislation and develop specific regulations for the protected area sites.

  3. Benefits and target population:
    Global and regional benefits: The project will result in global benefits by contributing to sustainable conservation management of some of the last remaining areas of pristine and relatively undisturbed natural mixed forests in Europe. Since approximately sixty percent of the Carpathian mountains are in Romania, the project will make a significant contribution to other regional initiatives to conserve the biodiversity of the Carpathian chain, whose contiguous forests are the focus of international conservation initiatives in all other Carpathian countries. The project will develop and help implement a strategy for the maintenance of ecological corridors throughout the Romanian Carpathians and will establish trans-border linkages and collaboration to support and benefit from conservation initiatives in adjacent Carpathian countries.
    National benefits: Investments, training and decentralized institutional arrangements would address priority conservation planning and management problems common to many important and threatened biodiversity sites throughout Romania and elsewhere in Eastern Europe and would, therefore, provide models for replication in priority conservation sites in other parts of the country and region. National level beneficiaries include Government (MWFEP and NFA) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) whose institutional capacity will be strengthened to address new national needs, and the public at large whose awareness and appreciation of Romania's natural assets will be increased. The project will improve Romania's institutional arrangements and strengthen its capacity for biodiversity conservation, while raising public awareness and providing improved opportunities for environmental and conservation education.
    At the local level, the project would build mechanisms and capacity to assist local stakeholders, specifically including NFA local communities, local Government, and NGOs, to participate in preparation and implementation of conservation management and development plans. Sustainable management of the project sites will benefit poor rural communities and local economies adjacent to the sites through simulation of economic development, including tourism, which is based on the sustainable management of protected areas and natural resources.

  4. Institutional and implementation arrangements:
    Implementation period: 5 years.

Accounting, financial reporting and auditing arrangements
Accounting: Romania has launched a major reform of the country's accounting and auditing systems. A concerted effort is currently underway to upgrade the quality of accounting and audit profession. A Law on Accounting (No. 82/1991), which came into force in January 1992, provides for a statutory system of recording economic entities' financial position and financial results, substantially reducing the gap between the traditional Romanian Accounting Standards (RAS) and International Accounting Standards (IAS).
In 1994, Romania implemented a new of system of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), more closely based on the French system of GAAP. However, there still remain major differences between RAS and the western and/or international accounting systems. Disclosure standards under RAS are substantially lower. There is no provision for inflation accounting and revaluation of assets (except to the extent allowed by government regulations). RAS, as it stands today, are used by economic entities primarily for purposes of tax liability assessment by the MoF and for statistical record, rather than to assess and present a true and fair statement of financial condition and performance.
The accounting for this project would be maintained in accordance with International Accounting Standards.

Audit Arrangements: Steps would be taken to select auditors for the Project by effectiveness. This would include

An auditor acceptable to the Bank would be appointed within the first four months of effectiveness of the project. The audit of the project would be undertaken in accordance with International Auditing Standards. Audited financial statements for the project would be sent to the Bank within six months after the end of every fiscal year.

Financial Reporting Arrangements: In addition to submission of annual audited financial statements, unaudited financial statements would be submitted to the Bank within three months after the end of every fiscal year. The MWFEP would also be required to submit to the Bank quarterly project management reports per guidelines issued by the Bank under (OP/BP 10.02).

Financial Management: A Financial Management Assessment has been undertaken as part of project preparation (see Annex 12). All necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the project complies with the relevant Bank policies (OP/BP 10.02) and that a financial management system is established by effectiveness. Disbursements under the project will be based on traditional disbursement procedures and will be converted to disbursements under the LACI framework based on quarterly project management reports (PMRs) at a later stage of the project if the project management reporting is successfully implemented. A project financial management system, conforming to the LACI guidelines, will be completed during the first year of implementation. The financial management reports will be generated from the financial management system.

Monitoring and evaluation arrangements:
Monitoring and evaluation of project activities will be undertaken by the PCT, and will be subject to periodic review by the Bank. The PCT will establish project monitoring and evaluation procedures acceptable to the Bank, and will furnish the Bank with biannual project progress reports, together with work programs inclusive of detailed monitoring indicators for the following six month period. Key performance indicators proposed for monitoring are in Annex 1. Arrangement for monitoring will be detailed and agreed upon during appraisal and recorded in the minutes of negotiation. In addition, a mid term evaluation would be prepared during the third year of the project. Lessons learned from implementation of project activities will be recorded in a report prepared by the borrower with the assistance of the PCT.