FED > Wasteland

Enhancement of sustainability of EU funded projects_Chad [2013-2014]


project details

Date: 2013-2014
Location: Various locations_Chad
Description: Consultancy aimed at including environmental and quality clauses within the tender procedures for constructions and infrastructures financed by the European Commission in Chad
Client: Cellule ACTION/European Delegation in Chad
Final User: Cellule ACTION/European Delegation in Chad
Type of Engagement: Expression of Interest
Role: Consultant
Services: Research
Status: [04/2014]: Completed

FAREstudio has been hired by the Ministère du Plan, de l’Economie et de la CoopérationInternationale du Tchad, in conjunction with the ‘Ordonnateur National du FED’ and the ‘Cellule ACTION-FED’, the entities in charge of the coordination between EU and the institutions of the beneficiary country.

FED is the acronym for ‘Fonds Européen de Développement’, EDF in English, the main instrument for European Union [EU] aid for development cooperation in Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific [ACP Group] countries and the Overseas Countries and Territories [OCT].
Funding is provided by voluntary donations by EU member states.
The scope of work was to enhance the sustainability of projects realized in Chad under European Development Fund, EDF, FED in French [literally: L’intégration des clauses environnementales dans les dossiers de construction des bâtiments au Tchad sous financement FED et lignes budgétaires].

Departing from such an apparently technical aim, nearly ‘neutral’ and unquestionable, the study inevitably encompasses issues that are related to the identity and significance of cooperation itself.
Where the original scope of work would have implied above all the provision of recommendations/prescriptions to be incorporated in the tender package for the general contractor, the discourse has been enlarged to include suggestions for the selection of the architect, for the content and nature of his/her service [the project], for his/her early involvement in the process, and for the continuity of such involvement through the whole realization, from work supervision to final reception.

As part of the assignment, about thirty buildings have been visited all around Chad.

Scope of work

To enhance the sustainability of projects realized in Chad under European Development Fund [literally: L’intégration des clauses environnementalesdans les dossiers de construction des bâtiments au Tchadsousfinancement FED et lignesbudgétaires]

1.   Sustainability and [architectural] quality: a matter of measures

Sustainability and [architectural] quality are not synonyms. They share large areas of ‘incidence’, and definitely might not conflict, but they are everything but coincident.
We have been required to increase [inject?] sustainability, not architectural quality.

  • too large the scale and variety of circumstances to be taken into account in a short time
  • too distant our set of values from the reality we jumped in

FAREstudio has therefore been forced to adopt a subjective point of view, filtering data through the lenses of its own identity: in practical terms, this has implied to stress the most striking absurdities, and to suggest first-aid, common sense actions.

2.   Addressing who?

The work was intended by those who commissioned it as eminently [and ambiguously] practical.
The procurement system as a whole cannot be described as based on a proper technical background.
This applies to international component [donors, promoters, managers, implementing partners] and to local counterparts.
As a consequence, guidelines and other tools are addressed, first of all, to the subjects that manage the process mainly because the institutions involved are not technically qualified and/or equipped to assess what they pretend to manage.
This approach has dramatically inspired our work. Whereas the expected contribution to enhance sustainability was a list of prescriptions to be incorporated within the system, we decided to go for a different strategy.

3.   Defining the procurement process

It has been crucial to outline the procurement process as a whole. The representation of the process is relevant for two main reasons:

  • to define where strategic action can take place
  • in case, and if possible, to suggest alterations of the scheme itself

The problem being the overall structure of the process, we have suggested to provide a set of criteria to be recognized within the process but also to modify the process itself. To do it in the most realistic way, redefining some passages that are crucial for the identity of the outcome: to invest, literally, in the relevance of those who can make a difference, architects and engineers.
The principle is very simple: the most immediate and effective action to be taken is to involve at the right time [ = as soon as possible] competent professionals.

4.   Data collection

A mission on site has been developed to collect information if not knowledge of the situation of FED funded projects in Chad with reference to local productive cultural context. The account of the mission includes visits to buildings and construction sites, analysis of available documents, interviews.

5.   Diagnosis

The medical metaphor is significant. It recalls the evidence of symptoms that must be interpreted, a pathology to be recognized, a therapy to be outlined.
The situation can be summed up in a few points:

  • the production line is quite obscure as far as programs’ objectives definition: what to do, where, under which circumstances is something that clearly depends from political issues but it is supported [should be] by ‘technical’ considerations
  • those in charge of ‘buying’ professional services have not the competence to do it
  • the same applies for the validation of what produced:
  • as a consequence projects and buildings are of poor quality

Basically, the quality of projects and buildings is very low, well beyond inadequate attention to sustainability.

6.   Therapy

The recommendations are therefore summarized in four concept:

  • to involve technical knowledge as soon as possible, at the time of identification of projects
  • to regard sanitation, energy and water management, use of appropriate technologies as inescapable priorities of the project
  • to adopt bioclimatic considerations and eco-compatibility approach as established design strategy
  • to properly select architects and engineers so that their professional contribution might be regarded as an investment rather than a cost




The mechanics of international cooperation is undoubtedly complex; nevertheless the real effects of the system are so distant from being satisfactory that a critical approach to its rules and practices is nowadays mandatory.