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Interviews with FPA practitioners from Azerbaijan
Eco-tourism workshop

The Transboundary Joint Secretariat (TJS) project held two workshops with stakeholders from its main intervention areas in the South Caucasus. From 29th of November until 1st of December 33 FPA practitioners assembled for sharing experiences, concluding on lessons learned and to bring forward best practices and illustrating case studies from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia that illustrate the use of FPA tools and that will be used to develop an FPA source book. On 4th of December staff from selected Protected Areas, protected area administrations, tourism organisations and tour operators from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia discussed in a one-day workshop the different nature experience products in Protected Areas in South Caucasus, and how these can be included in transboundary travel products. The purpose is to foster cooperation between the Protected Areas and the tourism sector, and to integrate Protected Area visits into South Caucasus travel products.

Restart of the consolidation process of the Forum Sbikha-Nebhana in Sbhikha on 25th of October 2017

In October 2017 AHT GROUP AG began implementing the GIZ-financed project "Support to stakeholder communication processes for Integrated Water Resources Management in Kairouan and Sidi Bou Zid, Tunisia". The project is integrated in the five fields of activity of the ongoing GIZ programme: "Support for Integrated Water Resources Management – AGIRE II" and aims to facilitate the establishment of water fora promoting dialogue between public, private and civil society water users based on mutual trust and a common vision of sustainable water management. AHT’s intervention aims at strengthening the capacity of users to organise themselves to find agreed solutions, and thus improve trust, transparency and regular communication between the actors.

AHT GROUP AG with its multi-disciplinary team of 9 experts, will be supporting the GIZ programme with the Consolidation of the Forum Sbikha-Nebhana and the Establishment of a Forum in Sidi Bou Zid as well as the capacity development of the key actors and the communication between them until December 2018.

(Claudia Veh, November 2017)

Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Amman, Jordan

On 16 October 2017, the GIZ has contracted AHT to “Foster the Institutionalisation of WEAP for the Water Sector in Jordan” as part of its “Management for Water Resources project.”

AHT’s support for the project will extend until 31 December 2018, and is aimed at supporting the implementation of the Jordan Water Strategy for 2016-2025 and its policies using the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model. The outputs of the WEAP model will also serve in updating the National Water Master Plan (NWMP) for 2004-2020, and aligning it with the updated Water Strategy and policies.

AHT’s role entails the institutionalisation of WEAP within the MWI as a central tool for water sector planning as well as water budgeting and forecasting. To achieve this, the overall project activities include: (1) updating and enhancement of the WEAP models, (2) providing capacity building and the development of technical competencies, and (3) developing tools for decision makers’ participation and dissemination of information.

(Rania Taha – October, 2017)

AHT staff with the management committee with the Karia Irrigation Cooperative in August 2017. Construction of the Karia scheme was finalised in 2015 during SIPMK III. Thanks to its newly constructed irrigation scheme, the cooperative recently signed its first contract to supply high quality French beans to a Kenyan vegetable wholesaler.

In August 2017, AHT GROUP AG in association with Bhundia Associates from Nairobi, launched Phase IV of the Smallholder Irrigation Program Mount Kenya (SIPMK) Region on behalf of the Kenyan Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI). With its volcanic soils, lush vegetation, and relatively humid and cool climate, the Mount Kenya Region is one of the most fertile areas of the country. However, this high agricultural potential is not fully tapped. The KfW-funded SIPMK aims to increase agricultural productivity by providing farmer cooperatives with credit facilities to develop, operate and maintain their own irrigation schemes. The target area of the project comprises the counties of Kirinyaga, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, and Meru.

AHT implemented the SIPMK Phases I to III between 2005 and 2015. During this period, 19 schemes irrigating more than 2,000 ha were handed over to the farmer cooperatives. The additional irrigation capacities are benefitting more than 6,000 smallholder households. In its fourth phase, SIPMK will continue its successful approach and empower farmers to increase their production, to ensure food security, and raise household incomes. (Dirk Rolker, October 2017)

Automated Weather Station Khunjerab is currently the highest Weather Monitoring Station in Pakistan. (4635 metres above mean sea level)

In August 2017, AHT staff travelled to Pakistan in order to launch a KfW-financed project entitled "Implementation Consultant for Glacier Monitoring Network for Energy and Water Safety". The consortium implementing the project is made up of three members, namely, AHT GROUP AG, the local Lahore-based partner, NESPAK (Pvt.), and the Vancouver-based Hatfield Consultants. Its role is to support the national Glacier Monitoring & Research Center (GMRC) - headquartered in Lahore -, with expanding its network by up to 30 automated weather and 13 river gauging stations in the Pakistani parts of the Himalayas, Karakoram and the Hindu Kush as well as upgrading the GRMC master station in Lahore. Phase I of the assignment includes the initial verification of the proposed monitoring sites and the detailed description of the monitoring and communication equipment to be procured. Following international tendering and procurement for equipment and contractors, the monitoring stations and the GRMC master control station in Lahore will be mounted and handed over for operation in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

 

(Klaus Jacobi: August 2017)

For over 55 years, AHT GROUP AG has achieved high customer satisfaction, which has allowed it to earn the reputation of a reliable partner in the field of international cooperation. We have now set ourselves the objective of further building on this legacy and providing our partners with a greater breadth of services.

To ensure the healthy, long-term and sustainable development of the company, the owning van Wissen family (Deutsche Projekt Union GmbH, DPU) has taken the decision to welcome a strong, strategic partner on board. This partner is the Essen-based RAG-Stiftung Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH (in short RSBG), which is the investment company of the RAG-Stiftung. It invests in medium-sized enterprises, characterised by their technological excellence and financial sustainability.

Thanks to its firms, RSBG has access to profound know how in the field of international project management and liaises with a large range of actors, consequently allowing AHT GROUP AG to sustainably grow in its key areas of business while equally opening doors to new markets and new project areas.

On 06.07.2017, RSBG acquired the majority of the shares of AHT GROUP AG from DPU.  The remaining shares continue to pertain to the van Wissen family (DPU) as well as to AHT GROUP AG’s members of staff.

Mr Gerardus van Wissen will keep his role as the chairman of the board of directors of AHT GROUP AG: The existing company structure and its respective decision-making levels - currently employed for the day-to-day operational daily business of the company - will remain unchanged. AHT GROUP AG will continue to function as an independent company.

Dr. Hubertus Schneider
Managing Director

Study Tour group from Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan in the Bohinj Visitor Centre, Triglav NP (Slovenia)

The Transboundary Joint Secretariat (TJS) Project for the Southern Caucasus organised a study tour on ecotourism from 19th to 28th of April 2017 to learn about the EUROPARC Charter for sustainable tourism in Protected Areas. Twenty-two participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia participated in the study tour and visited Müritz National Park in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, Triglav National Park in west Slovenia and Parco Naturale Prealpi Giulie in Italy. All three parks have adopted the EUROPARC Charter. Participants learnt about the excellent cooperation between the Protected Areas and stakeholders such as local administrations, restaurants, guides, museums, hotels and the tourism sector. They appreciated the attractive products such as the interactive visitor centres, well maintained hiking trails, viewpoints, good signage and the links between nature, cultural heritage and regional products. Participants gained new inspiration for tourism development and visitor management in the protected areas of the South Caucasus. TJS will build on this experience through the preparation of tourism plans for protected areas, the development of transboundary tourism products and the promotion of protected areas as tourism destinations both nationally and internationally.

(Servi Nabuurs, April 2017)

Maruf Khakimov (GIZ), Prof. Dörte Ziegler (AHT IWRM Expert), Prof. Wolfgang Bogacki (AHT IWRM Expert), Timur Abdullaev (APA employee) in front of the Academy for Public Administration under the President of Uzbekistan (APA), May 2017.

In March 2017 AHT GROUP AG signed a contract with GIZ for the development of an IWRM Curriculum for the Public Administration Academy (APA) under the President of Uzbekistan. These services will be provided by two international experts within Component 1: "National policy framework for water governance and integrated water resources management and supply", implemented by GIZ within the EU funded program "Sustainable management of water resources in rural areas in Uzbekistan". The objective of the consulting services is to develop capacities on sustainable water resources management of future water policy makers on national, regional and executive level. To achieve this, the developed IWRM training modules will become an integral component within the Public Administration Master Programme of the APA. The services provided by AHT also include the preparation of material for a training-of-trainers course enabling Academy staff to undertake the IWRM training. The services are scheduled between March and September 2017.

(Kristin Seeber, April 2017)

7th March 2017, Kick-of meeting FP III, Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

On Tuesday, 7th March 2017, a kick-of meeting for Forest Programme III (FP III) took place in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The Programme is planned for a duration of seven years (2017-2023). FP III is co-financed with a EUR 13.5 Mio grant by the German Government (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of (BMZ) through KfW Development Bank as well as a contribution form the Indonesian Government of approximately 10% of the grant volume. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) in Indonesia and its Directorate for the Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecology is the Executing Agency of FP III (KSDAE/PIKA). Project Implementation Units are the Lore Lindu National Park Management Board (BBTNLL), the Palu / Poso Watershed Management Board (BPDASHL) and the Board for Social Forestry and Environmental Partnerships (BPSKL) in Bili-Bili. The implementation is accompanied by a consultancy consortium of AHT GROUP AG (lead), PT Hatfield Indonesia and Swisscontact. In the opening speech, his excellency the Governor of Central-Sulawesi emphasised his gratitude to the German Government and highlighted the intention of the provincial government of Central Sulawesi to support FP III. He highlighted that conservation activities should combine the protection of natural resources with socio-economic development. Hence, he appreciated the integrative, participatory and sustainable approach of FP-III. More than 120 participants of various governmental agencies, NGOs, universities, representatives of local communities, media and other stakeholders attended the meeting.

(Daniel Waible, March 2017)

On 1st February 2017, AHT GROUP AG and its Ivorian partner, the Swiss Center for Scientific Research (CSRS), will start the project "Conservation of biodiversity in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo complex in Liberia and Ivory Coast". The project, funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through KfW Development Bank, aims to protect and conserve the last contiguous areas of the Guinean rainforests whilst considering the economic needs and opportunities of the populations living in and around the targeted areas. This project also raises the challenge of cross-border cooperation between Liberia and Ivory Coast, two very different countries in regard to laws, regulations, language, traditions and culture.
The project consists of two modules with two distinct objectives, depending on the country: In Liberia, the aim is to improve the framework conditions for the conservation of Liberian protected areas in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo complex and for the protection of biodiversity. In Ivory Coast, the objective is to improve opportunities for biodiversity exchange between the Taï National Park and neighboring forests in Liberia, in close cooperation with the local population. To achieve these objectives, two teams will be mobilized and will support, on the Liberian side, the Forest Development Authority (FDA) and on the Ivorian side, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MINEDD).

(Blandine Schaffner, January 2017)

Delivery of the State of Basin Report to the LCBC, N'Djamena, Chad.

In December 2016, the State of the Lake Chad Basin Ecosystem Report, developed by the Lake Chad Basin Commission, was published. The report has been developed by the Lake Chad Basin Observatory, with the support of academics from the region, working through two subsidiary committees of the LCBC, the Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC) and the Environmental, Science and Planning Committee (ESPC), supported by the German technical cooperation GIZ and AHT GROUP AG, as mandated by GIZ. The State of the Lake Chad Basin Ecosystem Report is to be the first in a series of biannual reports. For this first report, given its importance and its baseline setting character, the LCBC considered it necessary to present the state of the ecosystem over the time period, from the early 1950s (where data permitted) to 2012. The State of the Lake Chad Basin Ecosystem Report is based on data and information provided by the LCBC member states. It provides information which should facilitate decision-making, through the presentation of facts and expert analysis. It informs, educates and empowers stakeholders facilitating an improved management of water and other natural resources in the basin.

(Blandine Schaffner, January 2017)

From left to right: Nouhoum LAH, Head of ULG PRESA-DCI Molodo; Mahamane TOURE, President Director General BETICO; Dr. Hubertus SCHNEIDER, Director General AHT GROUP AG; Seydou Bassié TOURE, National Coordinator PRESA-DCI/ PRESAN-KL; Mourlaye SANGARE, Responsible for Procurement National Coordination Unit; Korotoumou KONE, Administrative Assistant National Coordination Unit.

On 18.10.2016 AHT GROUP AG together with its long term partner in Mali, BETICO, negotiated the contract at the Office du Niger for the project “Control and Supervision of Works for the Rehabilitation of the Molodo Irrigation Scheme (3,426 ha) and the Main Drain Kali Inférieur West (KIO) and Bounou Bouo (54.6 km) – Office du Niger / Mali". The Project is part of the Programme "Strengthening Food Security by the Development of Irrigated Agriculture (PRESA-DCI)". It is financed by African Development Fund (FAD) and is the first implemented project at the Office du Niger that is financed by the African Development Bank.

(Dr. Hubertus Schneider, November 2016)

Since February 2016 AHT has been supporting the implementation of the GIZ Water and Sanitation Programme (PEA) in Burkina Faso. The programme adopts a multi-level approach and aims at strengthening the capacities of communal authorities and national and local service providers in the water and sanitation sector in urban communes in three of the country's 13 regions: the Boucle du Mouhoun, Hauts-Bassins and Sud-Ouest. The programme intervenes in the general national context of decentralization through four main fields of activity:

  1. Supporting sector governance;
  2. Supporting the management of drinking water supply services in urban and peri-urban areas;
  3. Supporting sanitation services in urban and peri-urban areas;
  4. Strengthening communes in lead role for project implementation.

AHT is providing targeted support to the first two fields with particular regard to improving the monitoring and evaluation of the sector, increasing access to services for those living in peri-urban areas and informal settlements, and improving the transfer of resources to communal authorities for water supply and sanitation. In addition to these services, the AHT team has also provided the programme with a new home page (www.pea-bf.org), providing open access to vital information on water supply and sanitation in the programme's three target regions. It also features a GIS Module and offers readers an online library of essential sector related documents.

(Jürgen Tümmler, September 2016)

On 29th August 2016 the kick-off meeting of the "Agricultural and Rural Development Around Hill-lakes Project (DARAL)" for the Component "Accompanying Measures" was held at the General Direction for the Management and Conservation of Agricultural Land (DGACTA), Tunis. A representative of the KfW, the General Director of DGACTA and the implementing consortium, AHT GROUP AG (the lead partner) and SCET Tunisie attended the formal launch of the project, which takes place within the Integrated Water Resource Management Program of the Tunisian-German cooperation for the development of rural regions. The project aims to sustainably improve the living conditions of the population around hill lakes and in their catchment areas focusing on disadvantaged and less developed areas of Central Tunisia (Kairouan, Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid). The project consists of two distinct components (Engineering and Accompanying measures), and will be carried out on six pilot sites. It has three main objectives: (i) an improved governance of local natural resources, (ii) the development of the local economy, (iii) opening up isolated areas and improving basic infrastructure. The client is the General Direction for the Management and Conservation of Agricultural Land (DGACTA) in collaboration with the three Regional Offices for Agricultural Development (CRDA) of Kairouan, Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid. The overall project value of 17 million Euro is funded by the German Financial Cooperation through KfW Development Bank.

(Dr. Hubertus Schneider, September 2016)

In the context of the Programme Mali-North / Small-scale Irrigation in the Inner Delta Project (IPRO-DI), 48 motor pumps have been handed over to local farmers in July 2016, expected to benefit 8,000 people. The ceremony took place along the banks of the Niger in Mopti in the presence of a delegation of the Ministry of Agriculture and its related services. The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Kassoum Denon, had invited the deputies of the regions of Tombouctou and Mopti, administrative authorities and notables to join the ceremony. The 48 pumps, financed by the German and Canadian cooperation, have been handed over to farmers' organisations to support the regional rice production which is dependent on irrigation. With these motor pumps, 2,000 hectares of land will be irrigated, an area equalling 2,857 football fields. Today, the project makes up for almost 10 per cent of the total Malian rice production and covers around 22,000 hectares of irrigated land plus 45,000 hectares of land made cultivable through ponds. In total, approximately 80,000 farmers have benefitted from the support provided under the project, both in the form of irrigated village perimeters and ponds. The objective of the project is to increase production from small-scale irrigated agriculture and to ensure a better access to markets in order to contribute to food security and the creation of employment in Mali. Since its establishment in the 1990s, the Programme Mali-North has played an important role in the political stabilisation and peace-keeping process in the area. The project is implemented by a consortium led by AHT GROUP AG with CES Consulting Engineers Salzgitter GmbH as partners since 2010.

(Anne Willenberg, July 2016)

The signatory of the agreement for the construction of the Mother & Child Unit of the Liaqat Memorial Hospital in Kohat, KP province by Mr. Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR Country Representative, Pakistan and Mr. Imranzeb, Chief Commissioner, Commissionerate of Afghan Refugees.
The agreement was signed in the presence of UNHCR High Commissioner, Mr. Fillipo Grandi and the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Mr. Pervaiz Khattak.

July 2016 marks the start of AHT GROUP AG's assignment in association with NESPAK Consultants of Pakistan for its client UNHCR Peshawar. The consortium will provide technical assistance with the help of a long-term consultant and a pool of short-term experts.
Since the outset of the 3rd phase which began in 2009, the RAHA programme has supported rural infrastructure and livelihood measures in rural communities in selected districts of KP province where Afghan refugee have been residing for extended periods under precarious conditions. The respective investments and related services are financed by KfW. The Consultant's support to the UNHCR team is scheduled for 22 months and shall include the selection of project measures, the checking of designs and tender documents, monitoring of works implementation, training of project partners and beneficiaries inter alia.

(Thomas Wiegand, July 2016)

Middle: Ostap Semerek (MENR Minister), left: Zihni Erençin (Principal Backstopper, AHT), right: Dr. Bohdan Prots (Conservation Officer, WWF-DCP)

The project kick-off of the KfW-funded project "Support to Nature Protected Areas in Ukraine" took place on 17 May 2016 on the premises of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (MENR). The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has earmarked grant funds of up to 14 Million Euros for the implementation of this project. The project will be delivered in the framework of the German Financial Cooperation (FC) and is being financed by the KfW Development Bank. The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (MENR) of Ukraine is responsible for the implementation and operation of the project.
In his opening speech, the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, Mr. Ostap Semerek, emphasised that this project has been by far the largest international donor-funded venture on Nature Protection and Conservation since the independence of the Ukraine. The project is being implemented by an international consortium composed of AHT GROUP AG (lead), WWF Danube-Carpathian Program, Frankfurter Zoological Society and the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds (USPB). The delegation representing the consultant at the kick-off meeting was led by AHT's principal backstopper Mr. Zihni Erençin, who presented the main elements of the project concept.The project contributes to the conservation of biodiversity in Ukraine. It aims at improving the management and effectiveness of selected protected areas in the country while simultaneously increasing the level of acceptance for protected areas in local communities around the areas in question. The project will apply a phasing approach. This means that it will initially focus on two protected areas in the Carpathians before progressively extending project activities to additional areas over the project lifetime of 6 years.

(Zihni Erençin, May 2016)

A start-workshop was held in Jambi City in April 2016 to launch the new Biodiversity Conservation and Integrated Watershed Management Programme of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment (MoEF), with co-financing from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KfW Development Bank. Forest Programme II (FP II) aims at improved nature conservation in and around the Kerinci Seblat National Park and supports the sustainable development of the Merangin-Tembesi catchment area inside the Batanghari watershed in Jambi province.
The meeting was chaired by the Directorate of Soil and Water Conservation (KTA) of MoEF. Discussions were held with stakeholders from Government institutions and local NGOs to share information on the main activities of the FP II and to include views of participants into the implementation concepts. The workshop was organized by the consortium of AHT GROUP AG, ECO Consulting Group, and PT Hatfield Indonesia, who are the implementation consultants of Forest Programme II. 

(Jörg Lieberei, May 2016)

AHT GROUP AG started an assignment with the Jordan Valley Authority (JVA) in April 2016 for the implementation of four projects addressing Climate Change (CC) impacts that have affected the irrigated agriculture in the Jordan Valley (JV) for the past 25 years. In this context, it has worked in close cooperation with Dorsch International Consultants (Germany), Mostaqbal Engineering and Environmental Consultants (Jordan). Water availability in the Jordan River basin has decreased due to lower rainfall and population growth, thus challenging farmers to adapt crop production to the effects of CC. The reuse of treated wastewater is advocated in the northern areas of the JV following positive experience with reclaimed water in irrigation in the southern areas of the JV during the past three decades.
The assignment is composed of four projects. AHT is involved in three and in charge of  two projects, namely: (ii) Analysis of potential entities taking over O&M of the redesigned irrigation infrastructure (KfW-administrated grant from the German Government), and (iii) Assisting the JVA to foster farmers’ acceptance of reclaimed water use in northern JV (KfW-administrated grant from the German Government).

(Dr. Jürgen Rambow, May 2016)

Atlas page showing the water balance of the Haouz-Mejjate basin

In May, 2016, AHT with its consortium partner RESING, completed the diagnostic phase in the development of a convention for IWRM in the Haouz-Mejjate basin in Morocco, within the GIZ AGIRE programme.
As part of this diagnostic, a 120 page atlas has been developed, vividly illustrating themes relevant to water resources management, to support discussions and decision making among key stakeholders in the sector.

(Christian Jung, May 2016)

 

 

On 22nd Mai 2016, a photo exhibition was organized within the framework of the GIZ-programme "Adaptation to Climate Change in the Lake Chad Basin" at the headquarters of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) in N'Djamena.
Within this project, AHT is supporting farming households in different production systems, such as rainfed farming, flood recession farming and livestock breeding, to identify, improve upon and adopt adaptation strategies to help them meet the challenges of climate change and ultimately to disseminate these best practices throughout the LCBC member states.
The photos exhibited document the first successes of the implemented pilot measures, including increased and more reliable harvests, income generation and greater household food security through crop diversification and an improved resilience in farming households to the effects of climate change.
More than 40 public representatives from LCBC member states and the African Union attended the event. It provided a great opportunity to learn from good adaptation practices and to inform and sensitize the participants on climate change and agricultural adaptation. From June onwards, the exhibition will be hosted in GIZ offices in Bonn, Eschborn and Berlin.

(Charlotte Kahre, May 2016)

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