Sharing project management experiences among international organizations

Workshop participants share their experiences in environmental work during an icebreaker in the forest
(Photo: Zhang Shiyi/APFNet)

Like many other environmental organizations in the Asia-Pacific region, APFNet is working hard to improve forests and livelihoods. A key approach is the implementation of demonstration projects, which comprise one of the organization’s four pillars of work. Since 2010, APFNet has funded 48 projects in the priority areas of forest rehabilitation, sustainable forest management, community forestry and capacity development.
The tools and methods deployed to ensure project success need to be well-considered and used with maximum efficiency. Many organizations in the region are implementing demonstration projects, and there is much to be learned from each other. Therefore, in a novel initiative, APFNet’s Project Management Division held a workshop earlier this month designed to share experiences in project management.
The Workshop on Sharing Project Management Experiences Amongst Regional and International Organizations Working in Asia-Pacific was held on 10–12 August 2020 at the APFNet Forest Experience Base in Wangyedian, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. It brought together representatives of the China offices of the following international organizations working in forestry, the environment and sustainable development: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; the Global Environment Facility; Global Environmental Institute; GIZ; the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan; the International Union for Conservation of Nature; The Nature Conservancy; the United Nations Development Programme; and the World Wide Fund for Nature. Representatives of the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the Forestry and Grassland Administration of Chifeng, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, also attended the workshop.


Workshop participants formed discussion groups to address various aspects of project management
(Photo: Zhang Shiyi/APFNet)

Workshop participants shared the experiences of their organizations in forest-related projects and initiatives and their approaches to the management of project scope, finance, risk, communication, change and stakeholder collaboration.
Participants also engaged in group discussions focusing on project preparation, organizational structure and project changes, project management, finance, external monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and project communication. Dialogues on these topics enabled participants to understand each other’s project life cycles, standards for qualifying proposals and concept notes, reporting requirements and frequency (either for implementing agencies or their own reporting requirements, for example to donors), and rules on financial reporting and auditing. APFNet staff from the Planning and Evaluation Division spoke on topics such as M&E structure, types and methods, and criteria for consultant selection and performance evaluation.
Discussions addressed the channels used to disseminate project outputs and the kinds of materials that are most effective for informing the various stakeholder groups about projects affecting them. Workshop participants canvassed the roles of partners and stakeholders in project communication, and ways in which international organizations working on similar topics might create joint communication products such as publications and infographics.
The workshop concluded with a walk along the 2.2 km Forest Experience Trail at the Forest Experience Base, which was constructed under an APFNet project in 2015.


Workshop participants were introduced to various sustainable forest management and forest restoration approaches used
in APFNet projects on the Forest Experience Trail at the Forest Experience Base, Wangyedian, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China.
(Photo: Zhang Shiyi/APFNet)