The FFPA provides that IPA III beneficiary shall appoint a National IPA Co-ordinator (NIPAC) who shall be the main counterpart of the Commission for the overall process of coordination of programming, monitoring of implementation, evaluation and reporting of IPA III assistance. Provisions governing the general role of NIPAC are situated in Section I: “General Provisions” of the FFPA. This is consistent with the fact that both the Implementing Regulation and the FFPA envisage NIPAC as the main counterpart of the Commission with respect to IPA III utilisation regardless of the method of its implementation (direct, indirect or shared management), pursuant to the principle of local ownership underpinning IPA III. Towards that end, the NIPAC shall have the following general functions and responsibilities:
- ensureclose link between the use of IPA assistance and the general accession process.
- ensure the overall coordination of programming in line with the objectives and thematic priorities of the IPA III programmingframework,monitoring of implementation, evaluation of activities and reporting of IPA assistance, including the coordination within the IPA III beneficiary's administration and with other donors (see below);
- co-ordinate the participation of IPA III beneficiaries in the relevant territorial and cross-border cooperation programmes and where appropriate transnational and interregional cooperation programmes. NIPAC may delegate this coordination task to a territorial cooperation co-ordinator or a structure established for the management of cross-border cooperation, as appropriate;
- endeavour that the IPA III beneficiary’s administration takes allnecessary steps to facilitate the implementation of the related programmes;
In addition to the foregoing general responsibilities, NIPAC also has specific responsibilities related to the programming and reporting.
Functions and responsibilities of NIPAC related to programming and reporting of IPA III
(a) co-ordinate preparation and submit to the Commission a Strategic Responses;
(b) co-ordinate preparation of the action documents;
(c) co-ordinate preparation of programming documents of multi-annual programmes and cross-border cooperation programmes;
(d) co-ordinate preparation of programme amendments;
(e) submit major projects to the Commission for assessment;
(f) ensure that the relevant public authorities and stakeholders such as economic, social and environmental partners, civil society organisations and local authorities are duly consulted and have timely access to the relevant information related to IPA III assistance.
(g) prepare annual report on implementation of financial assistance in the previous financial year;
(h) prepare additionalreports if so provided in the sectoral or financing agreements.
(g) submits to the Commission a final report on implementation of that programme covering the whole implementation period, at the latest sixteen months after the end of implementation of each programme;
(h) submits the annual and final implementation report of each cross-border programme to the Commission and other participating IPA III beneficiaries ( obligation of the NIPAC of the lead IPA III beneficiary );
When the Commission undertakes evaluations of IPA III assistance, NIPAC shall facilitate the access to data and all relevant information necessary to carry out the evaluations, including facilitating interviews with relevant stakeholders.
The NIPAC shall be a high-ranking representative of the government or the central administration of the IPA III beneficiary with the appropriate authority . In addition, if the EU has opened accession negotiations with the IPA III beneficiary, the NIPAC shall be appointed to a senior position in the national structures for co-ordination of accession negotiations. This obligation, which was not specifically envisaged in the IPA II Framework Agreement, is reflective of a more strategic approach embraced by IPA III Regulation, which seeks to ensure a close link between IPA and the overall progress made in the accession negotiations and the corresponding general responsibility of NIPAC in this respect.