International Consultant to conduct midterm evaluation for Drin Project

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

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This is the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the UNDP-GEF Midterm Review (MTR) which is to be undertaken in 2018 for the full sized project titled Enabling transboundary cooperation and integrated water resources management in the extended Drin River Basin” (PIMS 4482) and the associated medium-sized project “Enabling transboundary cooperation and integrated water resources management in the White Drin and the extended Drin Basin” (PIMS 5510)  executed by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) Organization. The project started as per the signed Project Cooperation Agreement with GWP in follow up to the signature of the Project Document signature. This ToR sets out the expectations for this MTR.  The MTR process must follow the guidance outlined in the document Guidance For Conducting Midterm Reviews of UNDP-Supported, GEF-Financed Projects (


The “extended” Drin Basin is located in the southeastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It comprises the transboundary sub–basins of the Drin and Buna/Bojana Rivers and of the Prespa, Ohrid and Skadar/Shkoder Lakes. The Drin River is the “connecting body” of the “extended” Drin Basin, linking the lakes, wetlands, rivers and other aquatic habitats into a single, yet complex, ecosystem of major importance. The water bodies and their watersheds are spread in a geographical area that includes Albania, Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo[1].

The complex nature of the Drin Basin -where lakes, rivers and underground flows interact in ways hard to unravel compounded by the many and often conflicting uses of water resources and by the transboundary conditions that prevail throughout the basin- determines the high fragility of the basin ecosystems and poses serious challenges to the overall sustainability of the water resources of the basin. 

The main management challenges in the Drin Basin include:

  • Unsustainable use of water and other natural resources
  • Hydromorphologic interventions altering the nature of the hydrological system and the supported ecosystems, as well as exacerbating flood incidents
  • Untreated or poorly treated wastewater and unsustainable agricultural practices
  • Unsustainable solid waste management
  • Unsustainable forestry management and deforestation, as well as fishing practices and hunting
  • Unsustainable tourism
  • Non-integrated policies, management schemes and cooperation efforts at national and transboundary level

Action towards integrated basin management is ongoing by all Riparians sharing the Basin, but there is still a long way to go, as the Riparians are at different stages of transposition and implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive.

In terms of cooperation at the sub-basin levels, there are international agreements among the Riparians forming the basis for water resources and ecosystem management-related cooperation in each of the Basin’s three lakes. However, so far there has been mostly a unilateral perspective in the management of the shared water resources. There is space for improvement in cooperation when it comes to the preparation of River Basin Management Plans.

Overall, there is an absence of an overarching basin-wide policy formulation and decision-making framework grounded on scientific data and knowledge. This has hindered the design of coherent strategies, legislation and regulations, and has prevented the identification of investments which are aligned with the sustainable utilization of the Basin’s water resources and their integrated management.

The project goal is to promote joint management of the shared water resources of the transboundary Drin River Basin, including coordination mechanisms among the various sub-basin joint commissions and committees. Albania, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro are the Project beneficiaries.

The same goal is fostered by the GEF supported Medium Size Project “Enabling transboundary cooperation and integrated water resources management in the White Drin and the extended Drin Basin”. Kosovo[2] is the beneficiary of that Project.

The duration of the two Projects is four years.

Each of the Projects is articulated into five -identical in content- components; they are designed to achieve the goal mentioned above, through: (i) building consensus among countries on key transboundary concerns and drivers of change, including climate variability and change, reached through joint fact finding; (ii) facilitating the agreement on a shared vision and on a program of priority actions deemed necessary to achieve the vision; (iii) strengthening technical and institutional capacities.

The Projects are aligned in content, aims and objectives with the Drin Coordinated Action and the respective Drin Action Plan (2012).

The Drin Coordinated Action is the framework set by the Drin riparian countries for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Management of the Extended Transboundary Drin Basin (Drin MoU; signed by the Ministers responsible for the management of water resources and/or environment, and high level representatives of the Riparians[3], in Tirana, on 25 November 2011).

The Projects will assist in the operationalization of the institutional structure of the Drin Coordinated Action established through the Drin MoU, rendering it capable of undertaking its coordinative and executive role.

This includes:

  • The Meeting of the Parties
  • The Drin Core Group (DCG). This body is given the mandate to coordinate actions for the implementation of the MoU. There are two ordinary DCG meetings per year. The DCG Secretariat provides technical and administrative support to the DCG.
  • Three Expert Working Groups (EWG): (i) Water Framework Directive implementation EWG (ii) Monitoring and Information exchange EWG (iii) Biodiversity and Ecosystem EWG.

The DCG has undertaken the role of the Steering Committee of the Project.

The Projects are executed by GWP-Med with the involvement of UNECE. The Project Coordination Unit (PCU) staff are based in Tirana, Podgorica, Ohrid, Pristina, and Athens. The budget is $4,5 for the full-size project and $1 M for the medium-sized project.

[1] All references to Kosovo on this website are made in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)

[2] All references to Kosovo on this website are made in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)

[3] Albania, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo and Montenegro.