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26th March 2007

Home   >   Projects   >   Testimonials   >   We are managing the Complexity

"We are managing the Complexity"

The EUMEDIS MDP Team was called together for the first time on August 2003 under the leadership of Francesco Badioli - EUMEDIS MDP Team Leader. Since then a lot of activities have been launched. The MDP Team consists out of a complimentary experts bundling their efforts and knowledge in various domains in order to achieve maximum effectiveness towards the EUMEDIS Pilot Project Partners.

In an interview with Francesco Badioli - EUMEDIS MDP Team Leader - we get an inside view on the MDP activities:

How do you see your role in the implementation of EUMEDIS Programme?

The MDP Team is aware that its primary role is to be the interface between the different actors, I mean the Pilot Projects and their partners on one side and the Commission and its offices on the other side. We see our role as Manager of the Complexity to increase the networking capacity of all involved stakeholders. In effect the complexity and magnitude of the Programme (5 sectors, 21 projects, around 400 partners, almost 1400 deliverables) and the need for adequate monitoring and support require both sound project management and smooth and pro-active project implementation. To achieve this, the MDP Team will work closely with the beneficiaries - the Pilot Projects? Coordinators, the Focal Points? Managers and EC officials to ensure effective delivery. We see our role as the supplier of technical assistance to the partners in their management issues as well as a technical tool for the Commission offices.

What does Monitoring and Dissemination mean in a Programme like EUMEDIS?

The EUMEDIS MDP aims to support the Pilot Projects? management acting as an interface between their implementing Consortia and the EC Services. EUMEDIS MDP established and is now implementing a mechanism for the permanent follow-up of the Programme?s projects focused on an internal monitoring process, in line with the EC?s Project Cycle Management / Logical Framework Method. This mechanism is aimed to provide a permanent support together with continuous assessment of each Pilot Project?s progress and results, proposing, if so required, alternative approaches and/or innovative actions. The overall objective of MDP coincides with the EUMEDIS Programme specific objective, that is ?To contribute to the expansion and qualitative improvement of the Euro-Mediterranean Information Society in the pursuit of the overall economic, quality of life and mutual comprehension and understanding objectives of the overall Euro-Mediterranean co-operation?. The specific objective is then: ?To support the European Commission?s services in the implementation of the EUMEDIS initiative, ensuring the effective, complete and impartial monitoring of the projects funded and the dissemination of the results amongst the MEDA partners, stakeholders and general public?. We consider that the direct beneficiaries as the Implementing Consortia & their partners; the EC EuropeAid Directorate B (at the level of Operations Managers). However the Indirect Beneficiaries are: National institutions responsible for the Programme?s target sector(s); training institutions; public/private research centers; NGOs; Regional bodies with competence in the Programme?s target sector(s); Wide public in Europe and MED. The expected results are: Enhancement of follow-up mechanisms related to overall programme management and administration, implementation and targeted support to the programme partners, Facilitation of Networking among the various stakeholders, Promotion of effective mechanisms for information dissemination and visibility and of programme sustainability and impact.

Which are your basic approach and methodology?

To pursue the project purpose, we defined three main strategic components complementary and mutually reinforcing, can be defined:

  1. The TA/monitoring and assessment of the EUMEDIS Pilot Projects? progress and results;
  2. The strengthening of the EUMEDIS stakeholders networking capacity;
  3. The dissemination of EUMEDIS results to the stakeholders and the general public.

The basic methodology is summarized in: The Technical Assistance/monitoring will be developed along two basic courses of actions: as ?permanent? TA/monitoring and as ?field? TA/monitoring. The permanent TA/monitoring will be based on the desk monitoring of EUMEDIS Pilot Projects? submitted / due deliverables. This will be the first main pillar of the EUMEDIS Performance Monitoring System (EPMS). It covers both timely submission and quality assessment of due contractual deliverables : this activity is performed by the EUMEDIS MDP Core Team. The second main pillar concerns the monitoring and review missions on site. These include the annual monitoring missions to the Pilot Projects, with in addition mid-term and final reviews. In the course of the project?s implementation three assessment / monitoring cycles are foreseen, each one composed by a mission to each Pilot Project and a mission to each MEDA Country. The monitoring and review missions to the Pilot Projects will be performed by sectorial experts, while the missions to MEDA Countries by the Core Team Experts.

Which is the strategy for dissemination and communication?

The third main component of MDP will address dissemination and communication issues as basic instrument to build the visibility and impact of the EUMEDIS Initiative. We set the following Key Objectives:

  1. Increase general visibility of the EUMEDIS Programme,
  2. Foster better exploitation of Pilot Projects? results,
  3. Stimulate an active involvement of the Programme Partners. The prime Communication Targets are the EUMEDIS Programme Community; the EC Institutions; the EUMEDIS Pilot Projects? Partners who require a communication platform to disseminate project successes and lessons learnt. Other Communication Targets will be the Grand Public within Europe, the MEDA Countries? actors operating in the IS context, the MEDA Country Government Administrations, the Professional Organisations interested in the activities of any of the five sectors, the Private Companies and Other Interested Parties (R&D Centres, etc.). The Expected Results of the Communication and Dissemination Strategy are:
  4. An increased general visibility of the EUMEDIS Programme (which should provide information about the EUMEDIS Programme background; enhance the visibility of the actors (LP & FP) and Projects in the field; explain clearly the benefits of IS in the MEDA region; position the EUMEDCONNECT Project as basic pillar of the MEDA IS.
  5. Better exploitation of Pilot Projects? results in order to reach the creation of Project Spin off activities; put tangible Project Results at use to the Sector Actor; allow benchmarking of measurable Project Results against the initial Programme objectives; build support for an extension of the EUMEDIS Programme.
  6. An active involvement of the Programme Stakeholders in order to provide better exchange of the Pilot Projects? Results; to identify the key persons involved in all the Pilot Projects; to allow the Partners to play an active role in the communication; to lead to the foundation of a Partner Community and the active contribution from Partners during public events.

Which are the basic tools for communication?

The Communication & Dissemination Strategy is based upon the Development and Operations of three Communication Tools:

  1. EUMEDIS Quarterly Newsletter;
  2. EUMEDIS Website;
  3. EUMEDIS Conference Events.

The Content of these Communication Tools will be customised in relation with the target audiences addressed and updated on sufficiently regular intervals to stimulate recurring communication interactions. The selected Communication Tools also intend to reinforce the image of the EUMEDIS Programme by embracing the Information Society technological capabilities, so as ?to practice what we preach?. Therefore the EUMEDIS Website will contain advanced communication technology like: Interactive Chat Rooms, Content Management System, Multimedia Content, etc. At the same time the use of Information Society technology will provide heightened communication impact to a wide spectrum target audience. The visibility of the EUMEDIS Programme will be reinforced via the use of advanced communication tools and the creation of a distinctive EUMEDIS brand image that can be identified based on a distinctive EUMEDIS logo and graphical charter.

Which are your opinions on Programme implementation after the first months?

After the first months two basic ideas have emerged: one with reference to the structure of the pilot projects, the other to their capacity to comply with the contracts. Although we can convene that the Programme is well established in its main structures and that the development of actions is substantially well managed, we think that the stakeholders should be aware of certain risks and constraints. The first refers to Technology. In the time elapsed since EUMEDIS launch, technology progressed quickly. It can happen that technological solutions present in proposals are not efficient anymore. Projects management should then show flexibility and capacity to adapt to improve effectiveness and impact through updated technologies.

The second refers to Participation. Active participation of all concerned stakeholders is the key instrument to ensure the effective transfer of know how. This is more true when we think that the local partners in LF Logic should be considered ?the beneficiaries? and so should be able to profit from the services offered. So the Services should be effective meaningful and advantageous Very close related to this issue is the Clustering Promotion. Networking should be encouraged not only within the partners of the same projects, but mainly within the sectors and across sectors. This will be one of the major challenges for our MDP actions.

The third one refers to Sustainability. Whilst EUMEDIS is seen as setting sustainable electronic platforms of cooperation, the need for sustainability after the completion of the pilot phase is not often adequately considered. The consequences can be quite disruptive and can jeopardize the efforts so widely developed. This issue should receive more significant attention: info management on one side and communication/dissemination on the other should address the topic. Institutional Sustainability should receive specific support in terms of Policy Advise while financial sustainability can be built offering conditions/access to promote/generate public or commercial spin off opportunities as consequences of the Pilot Projects? activities. All in all we expect to combine flexibility with efficiency in our support. The second idea concerns the management. The implementation of the Pilot Projects is organised in work packages which define activities and milestones to be achieved. In the same time definite sets of deliverables related to each work package have to be produced and submitted to the EC. The preliminary review conducted on the available documentation revealed that the total figure of the deliverables is very substantive (about 1.400). Moreover the analysis of the deliverables received to date has revealed that a substantial share of the due deliverables have not been submitted. It was also noted that in most cases the delay of submission of deliverables mainly concerns the technical ones although a number of cases related to the basic contractual deliverables can be listed. The reasons for the delay in submission of technical deliverables vary from project to project. Some amongst others, are: (i) the later than envisaged start of project implementation, (ii) the change in deliverables quantity and/or contents (some have been replaced by other activities, typical in the case of tenders) especially when the process has been slow, making them obsolete, and (iii) unforeseen bottlenecks that have arisen during project implementation. It will be the main duty of ?permanent? monitoring to check the actual situation and promote the full awareness of Pilot Project Leaders on the obligations to be fulfilled. It is one of our main objectives to improve the average compliance of the Pilot Projects with respect to the contracts.

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