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APFNet Manual for Project Identification, Implementation and Management (PIIM)

July , 2013

Table of contents

I Introduction

1.1 APFNet project categories

1.2 Project duration and grants

1.3 Eligibility of project application

1.4 Source of project grants

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I Introduction

1.1 APFNet project categories

APFNet supports projects to pilot and demonstrate SFM practices, to support forest policy development and improvement, and to build capacity for from forest officials to on-the -ground practitioners. Please refer to pdfAPFNet Strategic Plan 2011-20152.25 MB for details.

1.2 Project duration and grants

a. Small projects are applied for and identified through direct approval by Executive Director of APFNet, and NOT reviewed by PAP. Implementation duration is normally up to two years with APFNet grant below USD100, 000. These projects would account for less than 10 % of all the APFNet funded projects.

b. Regular projects are identified through APFNet PAP technical review and ranking and final approval of APFNet Executive Director. Normally the projects requesting APFNet grant above USD 100,000 fall in this category. The maximum grant for a two-year project is USD 500,000, and USD1, 500,000 for a five-year project.

APFNet PIIM 01

1.3 Eligibility of project application

Government agencies, international organizations, NGOs, academic institutes and social groups committed to sustainable forest management in the Asia-Pacific region are welcome to apply for APFNet project grants, while APFNet member economies and organizations are prioritized in project identification and grant guarantee.

Proposed projects should be closely relevant to 4 thematic areas identified in ApdfPFNet Strategic Plan 2011-20152.25 MB, i.e.

a. Promoting forest rehabilitation to meet multi-functional objectives;  
b. Improving forest management to reduce forest loss and degradation;
c. Enhancing the socio-economic benefits of forests; and
d. Monitoring progress towards the APEC 2020 forest cover objective.

Consistent with APFNet’s objectives, mission and vision, the proposed projects at the mean time aim to be in line with the priorities at central level and the actual needs of the project target areas in terms of forest conservation and management, and contributing to the social-economic development of local areas.

1.4 Source of project grants

The main source of funding to support APFNet projects come from voluntary contributions from the economies, international organizations, enterprises and social groups.

To ensure the active engagement in project identification, development and implementation, counterpart contribution (either in cash or in-kind support, or both), which shall count for at least 20% of the total project expenses, is required.

II Project Identification

2.1 Formulation, submission and appraisal of Project Concept Notes

2.2 Formulation, submission and appraisal of Project Proposals

2.3 Project funding approval

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II Project Identification

2.1 Formulation, submission and appraisal of Project Concept Notes

APFNet’s Call for Projects is open once annually (February-April), to invite CN submission. The announcement is posted on APFNet website at www.apfnet.cn.

  • Formulation and submission of concept notes

A CN intends to grasp key points of a project at conceptual level, thus not much detailed information is required at this phase. Generally, a CN needs to present a CONCISE analysis and description of the context (conditions, problems) and relevance of the project in support of forestry development in the target area and APFNet priorities. The objectives of the project need to be concrete, measurable and achievable in proposed project timeframe, with logical work plan and reasonable budget estimation in general.

Supporting materials are requested as attachment, such as feasibility reports, if related research or work has been done on the topic(s).To prove the relevance of the project to forestry development priorities in the target area(s), documents such as domestic/local forest laws and regulations, strategies and plans, and so forth are encouraged.

Formulation should follow APFNet CN template, using proper English, and to be submitted by deadline (each 30 April) through appropriate channels. For the economies and organizations where APFNet focal points have been designated, CNs should be signed by both project proponent and APFNet focal point. In other cases, CN submission is directly to APFNet secretariat. Especially, when regional/international organization applies for project implementation in a specific economy or some economies, advance communication with local forest authority is strongly suggested.

Late submission may be considered in next Call for Projects in the following year.

docxTemplate: project concept note1.13 MB

  • Appraisal and result notification

CNs for regular project application will be reviewed and ranked by the APFNet PAP, which is composed of independent experts and consultants experienced in both forest resource management and project development and implementation.

Highly recommended CNs and the ones recommended for improvement for subsequent PP appraisal will be invited for further development into project proposals in full text. The appraisal results will be notified shortly by APFNet Secretariat with PAP opinions and suggestions.

Reference: APFNet project appraisal criteria and indicators

2.2 Formulation, submission and appraisal of Project Proposals

  • Pre-project feasibility study

Feasibility study is required especially for field projects, in order to ensure formulation of a realistic project proposal that suits local conditions and demands of proposed project areas. Firsthand information collection, thorough feasibility analysis and recommendation for technical design for the project need to be done and summarized in a project feasibility report, as reference to formulating a PP in full text.

APFNet can provide guidance to and technical support for PP formulation, when requested by the project proponent(s) and considered necessary. APFNet may send consultants for feasibility study and PP development.

  • Formulation and submission of project proposals

PPs must be officially submitted to APFNet Secretariat, and signature of the Focal Point on the proposal or a cover letter of forest authority from the project target economy shall be presented.

Concise, clearly-written responses to the core criteria as follows in a PP must be observed:

a. The project has synthesized and applied best and suitable practices on forest management or governance, restoration, community development in the project implementation economy;

b. The project logical framework must present a definite structure for project design. The project objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based) to support achieving project goal(s) in the long run.

c. The project activities should be properly broken into work package level, with definite responsible parties, key activities timeframe and reasonable cost estimate.

d. The project budget must ensure the rational estimate of project cost and an effective use of project financial resources for project deliverables. APFNet’s grant is prioritized on the field activities and core researches, while the counterpart contribution is suggested to cover such items as staff costs, rental of office premise, equipment, and expenses on project administration, internal monitoring and evaluation as well as financial audits.

e. The overall capacity of the proposed executing agency in implementing, coordinating and managing the project at various levels, especially in obtaining policy and administrative support from the forestry authorities, relevant government agencies and in disseminating and promoting project deliverables, shall be carefully considered and comprehensively proved.

f. The project organizational structure must ensure the concerted efforts of stakeholders towards achieving the agreed objectives and outputs through identifying responsibilities, communication, coordination and reporting mechanisms amongst them, and effectively pulling resources together for project implementation.

g. Sound monitoring and evaluation as well as auditing should be considered in work plan and presented in budget; and

h. The project's outputs and outcomes shall be duplicable and extended to adjacent regions or similar projects, and are otherwise sustainable.

Late submission may be considered in next year’s proposal appraisal.

docTemplate: project proposal531.5 KB

  • Appraisal and result notification of project proposals

APFNet PAP appraises PPs. If considered technically feasible and reasonable in budget estimation, the PP will be included in a recommendation list for donor consideration. The appraisal result will be notified shortly by APFNet Secretariat with PAP opinions and suggestions.

Proposals recommended for funding consideration should be revised to incorporate PAP suggestions and submitted to APFNet secretariat by required timeline. Late submission may be considered for funding in next year appraisal.

2.3 Project funding approval

PPs favorably considered by donors will be approved by Executive Director of APFNet for implementation with funding confirmation through an official letter of project approval, to remind EA of necessary preparation before PA signing.

While those technically good but lack of funding security may be prioritized for next year funding consideration.

III Project initiation preparation and agreement signing

3.1 Project Organizational Structure build-up and key personnel identification

3.2 Project financial preparation and other arrangements

3.3 Project agreement and project document

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III Project initiation preparation and agreement signing

Once a proposed project is officially approved, joint efforts will be made in preparation of agreement signing before the concrete project implementation starts. Project bodies and key personnel should be considered.

3.1 Project Organizational Structure build-up and key personnel identification

In consideration of stakeholders involved, grant amount and project category, a clear organizational structure should be identified to guarantee effective supervision, coordination, implementation and management of a project, with proper policy and rules identified. Normally, a PSC as the decision-making and supervisory body is suggested, while for the implementation and day-to-day management level, a Project Team (PT) needs to be built up under the direction of a project director or manager.

PSC is normally necessary for a pilot /demonstration site project or a project that gets multi-stakeholders involved, but it is optional for research projects or small projects.

3.1.1 Project Steering Committee (PSC)

PSC includes representatives from key stakeholders who directly benefit from the project (project target beneficiaries) and are closely relevant to project in terms of implementation and management as the PSC members. Representative of APFNet may join PSC as observer.

PSC directs and supervises the project through approving project work plans, annual progress reports, final reporting documents and key deliverables, revision of project scope (objectives and outputs) and major project changes, and coordinating at policy level to resolve issues and make decisions. PSC can also fill other key roles as defined by the project.

Rules of procedure, including meeting frequency, means of communication and chair selection, will be determined and amended by PSC in consultation with APFNet. Any decision on key issues is made and enters into force upon the presence of signatures of PSC Chair and APFNet. PSC meeting minutes and decisions made should be shared among project stakeholders in a timely manner.

3.1.2 Project Director (PD) and Project Team (PT)

A Project Director (PD) (or manager) should be identified in consultation with APFNet to manage project resources and coordinate the PT to implement the project plans for delivering the expected outputs.

The main responsibilities of PD include:

a. Identifying the necessary personnel, with approval of PSC, to establish a PT, and managing and assessing team work and performance.

b. Developing work plans, preparing project progress reports, and leading completion of other project related documents required by the project and APFNet.

c. Coordinating the project activities at various levels to ensure the project implementation in budget, on schedule, and within scope.

d. Subcontracting services in consultation with PT.

e. Monitoring the project progress from financial and technical aspects, organizing the internal monitoring, and keeping PSC and APFNet updated with the project progress.

f. Securing acceptance and approval of deliverables from PSC and APFNet through efficient communication.

PT is composed of regular project staff, including financial and administrative staff, and responsible for participating in the routine management, executing tasks, and producing deliverables as outlined in the work plans. The posts in PT should be kept at a slim and effective level.

3.2 Project financial preparation and other arrangements

Preparation needs to be made in terms of financial arrangement before PA is signed:

a. Specifying a bank account (either a new one or an existing one) for project funding, independent in accounting and management. No private account is allowed as the project bank account;

b. Consulting APFNet to figure out appropriate grant disbursement frequency and reimbursement mechanism, account recording, asset management and maintenance and auditing; and

c. Identifying mechanisms of subtracting, procurement and consultant employment to guarantee proper and transparent use of project fund.

3.3 Project agreement and project document

3.3.1Project Agreement (PA)

PA stipulates the rights and responsibilities of agreement parties to ensure achievement of project objectives. PA contains articles that define the project implementation in principle, including financing and management of grants, and monitoring, evaluation and reporting requirements. It also stipulates modalities regarding the revisions, extensions, suspension and termination of the project, and settlement of conflicts that may occur on some circumstances.

A PA shall be negotiated based on the APFNet template, and signed within 3 months since the Official Letter of Project Approval is issued by Executive Director of APFNet Secretariat.

Given that longer time may be taken for internal approval procedures for a number of regional economies for PA signing, early preparation and negotiation on the PA is strongly encouraged. Otherwise, APFNet should be informed of estimated time for the process in advance.

docTemplate: project agreement156 KB

3.3.2 Project document(PD)

PD regarded as an indispensable part of PA is further developed from the finalized project proposal to govern the scope of a project, with what resources and how the project will be implemented and managed. Items at proposal level need to be further identified to control the project.

docTemplate: project document517 KB

3.3.3 PA Signatories

a. Executing Agency

EA is responsible for implementing, or coordinating the implementing partners to achieve project objectives.

b. Supervisory Agency

When EA is affiliated to higher forestry authority of the project target economy, and/or to implement/coordinate the project under this forestry authority’s approval and/or guidance, the higher forestry authority is suggested serve as SA and sign a tripartite-agreement with APFNet and EA, and takes the responsible of providing policy and necessary administrative support for project implementation and dissemination.

IV Project inception and implementation

4.1 Project Inception

4.2 Approval of first annual work plan for grant disbursement

4.3 Consultants recruitment and staff employment

4.4 Procurement and management of goods and services

4.5 Grant disbursement, use and management

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IV Project inception and implementation

After PA is signed and enters into effect, project supervisory body and project team should be formally set up, and meetings as inception workshop and PSC meeting should convened soon to set the stage. During implementation period, activities should be undertaken in accordance with PA, PD, as well as approved annual work plan(s) that break down project objectives into key activities with measurable indicators on a yearly basis.

4.1 Project Inception

An inception workshop is suggested to serve as first PSC meeting or project team meeting in order to build a common understanding amongst project supervisory body, implementation team and other key project stakeholders concerning project managerial and financial arrangement, reporting, and monitoring & evaluation, and to fine-tune the approved work plan.

4.2 Approval of first annual work plan for grant disbursement

When PA is signed, AWP1 should be prepared as essential implementation document, presenting target for the first project year and specific implementation plan with budget, and submitted to APFNet within 1 month for first grant disbursement from APFNet, which indicates substantial start of project implementation. In this regard, early preparation and submission of AWP1 is strongly encouraged.

Subsequent AWPs shall be submitted and approved before the intervention of a new project year.

docxTemplate: Annual work plan1.15 MB

docxProject grant request form1.14 MB

4.3 Consultants recruitment and staff employment

Upon consulting APFNet Secretariat, Project Director is entitled to contract local consultants and designate project staff based on qualification-cost selection approach. To guarantee efficient use of project fund, the number of the local consultants and project staff should be kept at a slim manner.

APFNet Secretariat will lead selection and recruitment of international consultants, while EA’s recommendation of qualified candidates will be considered.

Reference: APFNet Rules and Procedures for Project Consultant Selection and Recruitment

4.4 Procurement and management of goods and services

Procurement with APFNet grants should comply with the local laws and regulations as well as APFNet principles of efficiency, effectiveness, openness and maximum competition, transparency, non-discrimination, and accountability. APFNet-financed project fix assets (equipment, devices, vehicles, etc.) become the property of APFNet, except in cases where the ownership has been granted to a particular entity by APFNet.

Procured goods should be strictly used for purposes of the project, as agreed by the APFNet. Use, management, maintenance and inventory of goods, especially fixed assets should be recorded properly and reported to APFNet.

4.5 Grant disbursement, use and management

4.5.1 Mechanism for grant disbursement

Generally, three means are adopted for grant disbursement.

a. Direct grant transfer

APFNet will disburse project grants directly through bank transfer against the approval of documents submitted to prove project progress on schedule, and project grant request form signed by Project Director. APFNet project officers may make changes to the amounts requested. Next disbursement can only be requested when expenditure from the preceding grant has already reached 80%.

b. Reimbursement

Project implementation may be pre-financed with other financial resources before APFNet grant is in place. In this case, documentation of expenditure, such as contracts, procurement receipts and payrolls, is required to support request for grant reimbursement.

c. Direct payment to third party

APFNet grant, though approved for particular project use, may be detained and directly paid by APFNet to such third party as auditing company and international consultants for project planning, implementation and external evaluation.

4.5.2 Grant use and management

Any bank interest and exchange rate gain can only be used for project activities, and should be recorded as a credit to the project. Disbursed but unused grant at end of project implementation will be returned to APFNet, or to be used upon APFNet approval of additional plan with budget.

4.5.3 Ineligible project expenditures

Expenditures which CANNOT be financed by APFNet project grants include but are not limited to:

a. Expenses not related to the activities agreed in the Project Agreement, and approved Work Plans and budgets;

b. Debts, interest owed, currency exchange losses, taxes (including VAT), provident fund, credit to third parties, penalties, deductions and mortgages;

c. Purchase, construction or rental of land or buildings;

d. Honorarium or salary for the government staff who supervise or manage and implement the project activities financed by APFNet.

Any ineligible expenditure will be repaid by EA or deducted from next project grant disbursement.

V Project Change: revision, extension, suspension and termination

5.1 Project revision

5.2 Project extension

5.3 Project suspension and termination

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V Project Change: revision, extension, suspension and termination

5.1 Project revision

Planning for and implementation of a project may need to be revised because of the need to consider changing contexts and current situations, which may be related to:

a. Changes in policy, whether local authorities’ or APFNet’s;

b. Changes in social conditions around the project location;

c. The occurrence of natural and social disasters;

d. Economic upheavals resulting in a change to project cost/ budget; and

e. Other unforeseen incidents.

For substantive revisions of a project, such as project scope (objectives and outputs), and/or any component that may impact or change the project scope, an official request, reviewed and endorsed by PSC, should be submitted to APFNet. In the event that the proposed revision is agreed upon, APFNet will send a no objection letter to proceed. The logical framework of the Project, work plans and budget items need to be updated in accordance.

Other changes to project activities, staff, budget adjustment, which don’t entail the corresponding revision to the overall grant amount and project scope, can be decided by Project Director and elaborated in the progress reports and work plans for APFNet’s information.

5.2 Project extension

Project extension may be needed due to unexpected delays in implementation. Such extensions do not entail change in APFNet grants and project scope. Normally the extension duration would be from several months to up to 12 months depending on the project implementation status.

Project Director shall submit a request to APFNet, supported with an updated progress report with expenditure status, and an extension work plan, which should be consulted with project stakeholders and endorsed by PSC. Such request must be at least 2 months ahead of originally planned end date of project implementation.

Extension reporting varies pending on extension duration.

5.3 Project suspension and termination

APFNet reserves the right to temporarily or definitively (prior to project implementation expiry) withhold grants for a project, i.e. project suspension and project termination.

5.3.1 APFNet policies

a. Action of project suspension or termination will be taken by APFNet after EA has been informed by APFNet of any material deficiency on project implementation or financial management, and given an opportunity to correct it;

b. APFNet may immediately suspend or terminate grants without notice when it believes such action is reasonable to protect the interests of APFNet or any of its members/partners;

c. Circumstances may arise in which either APFNet or EA wishes to terminate the project, and project grants may be terminated by mutual agreement.

5.3.2 Procedures

  • Project suspension or termination by APFNet

a. When it is proved EA has materially failed to comply with PA, PD or other approved key project documents, APFNet will normally advise EA in writing of the nature of the problem. The EA will be requested to respond in writing within 30 days, describing the action taken or the plan designed to correct the deficiency. Failure to correct the deficiency may result in suspension of project grants.

b. If a satisfactory response is not received within the above period, APFNet may issue a notice immediately to suspend further grants. During the suspension period, EA shall not incur any further expenditure on activities, goods or services and keep all project assets in safe custody, and shall give notice immediately to any sub-contractor to suspend its activities.

c. Normally, the suspension will remain in effect for a maximum of 60 days to allow EA to take corrective action. In the event that deficiency is not corrected to the satisfaction of APFNet, APFNet will enter into termination procedures.

d. APFNet may issue a notice of termination, setting forth the reasons for the action and its effective date. No costs incurred after the effective date of a termination will be allowable.

e. Within 30 days of the termination date, EA is required to submit a summary of progress under the financial support and an itemized accounting of costs incurred prior to the termination date. Final allowable costs under a termination settlement shall be determined with due consideration to the progress under the financial support, and not exceeding the agreed total grant amount.

  • Termination by mutual agreement

a. If EA wishes to terminate the project, it should propose a request, reviewed and endorsed by PSC, to APFNet in writing, with a summary of progress under the financial support, an itemized accounting of costs incurred prior to the termination date, and justification for the termination.

b. If the APFNet wishes to terminate the project, it will advise EA in writing and send copies to PSC.

c. Within 30 days after receipt of request from either party for termination, the other party will provide an appropriate written response. In the event of disagreement between the parties, the APFNet will make a final decision.

Following termination, financial support closeout procedures will be initiated.

docxTemplate: project change request form393.14 KB

VI Documentation, monitoring and evaluation and reporting

6.1 Monitoring and evaluation

6.2 Reporting

6.3 Auditing

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VI Documentation, monitoring and evaluation and reporting

Regardless of the grant amount and duration of a project, EA shall properly record and archive project activities both in hard copies and electronic version, especially progress of milestones and key activities, important deliverables and transactions to ensure M&E, reporting and auditing over project implementation and dissemination, which must be available for review by PSC, APFNet and other related parties.

6.1 Monitoring and evaluation

6.1.1 Internal monitoring and evaluation

Internal M&E on a periodical basis should be undertaken by project team to check project progress and project team performance and to ensure that project implementation is directed towards achieving intended objectives.

Plan for internal M&E should be formulated for each project year with responsible persons, baseline and indicators clearly identified. M&E results should be shared and among relevant parties in timely manner.

6.1.2 External monitoring and evaluation

APFNet or hired third party may undertake external M&Es to assess the status of project implementation against the approved work plans and budget, to identify actual or potential problems in order to facilitate timely adjustments in project implementation. Tools include but are not limited to field visits, review of project documentation and meeting with project stakeholders. EA will assist in local arrangement to facilitate M&E missions, which results will be shared among project partners as reference to adjust/improve the project performance.

6.2 Reporting

Periodical progress reports will be needed in the middle of a project year(Mid-year report, MYR) to present progress, achievements, problems and costs as a regular reporting tool. At the end of each project year, an annual progress report (APR) needs to be submitted and attached by financial documents, publications, and products from key deliverables. When a project implementation is closed, a completion report with supporting documents is required.

Normally, MYR will be submitted within 20 calendar days of end of each reporting period, annual progress report to be submitted within 30 calendar days of end of project year, while project completion report to be finalized and submitted within 45 calendar days of end of project implementation.

Should the APFNet Secretariat require additional information and materials such as project site and activity photos, audio and video clips and project case studies and feature stories on good practices and experience, EA shall make the provision in a timely manner.

All the materials submitted to APFNet need to be in neat English, and within timeline required, while early submission is strongly encouraged.

docxTemplate: Project progress report, completion report 425.27 KB

6.3 Auditing

Audit is an integral part of project management. Regular internal auditing mechanism shall be established for the use of project funds. An independent auditing company needs to be authorized, in consultation with APFNet, to conduct financial audit during (on a yearly basis)/upon the project implementation where financial management issues (such as fraud and irregularities) are detected, or after the completion of the project.

VII Project Completion and Closure

7.1 Project completion

7.2 Project financial and administrative closure

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VII Project Completion and Closure

7.1 Project completion

APFNet will remind EA of making necessary preparation for project completion 1 month prior to project implementation expiry. A project is regarded “completed” when it is validated to deliver its scheduled outputs and meet the project’s objectives by means of final reporting and independent terminal evaluation. APFNet will issue an official approval letter on the completion of the project within 3 months of project implementation expiry, which symbolizes the project will enter into the administrative and financial closeout phase.

  • Finalization of documentation and reporting

EA shall complete all activities in scheduled timeframe and submit a finalized project completion report with supportive documents planned in the log frame and work plans within 45 days of project implementation expiry, as well as financial report and audit report. However, submission of the completion report as soon as possible is strongly encouraged.

Any other documentation, records and information materials shall be submitted to APFNet.

  • Terminal evaluation

Third party will be invited by APFNet to conduct TE within 1 month of submission of final reporting materials, to verify the achievements and results of the project.

  • Dissemination

If not done during project implementation period, EA should make use of available resources to disseminate project achievements, including best practices, lessons learned, and knowledge products at various levels. Additionally, EA is encouraged to organize outreach events or participate in APFNet activities to promote project deliverables.

7.2 Project financial and administrative closure

A project must be financially closed as soon as possible, and no later than 4 months after it is operationally closed, or within one month of project completion.

Last project grant (balance) should be requested upon APFNet’s recognition of project completion. The assets procured with APFNet grants will be disposed. Project PSC and PT may be dismissed.

Once the project is officially closed, a letter will be sent to EA, informing of the official closure of the project. This letter normally ends the official correspondence between a project and related bodies.

Attachment:

pdfAPFNet Manual for Project Identification,Implementation and Management (PIIM)590.9 KB25/12/2013, 13:06

docxGuidelines for APFNet project monitoring and evaluation final59.12 KB

docxAPFNet procedures for project consultant Selection and recruitment_final40.43 KB

docx1. APFNet-Project Concept Note[PCN]1.13 MB

doc2. APFNet-Project Proposal[PP]531.5 KB

docx3. Project Completion Report[CR]_final428.7 KB

doc4. APFNet-Project Document[PD]517 KB

docx5. APFNet-Annual Work Plan[AWP]1.15 MB

docx6. APFNet-Project Grant Request[PGR]1.14 MB

docx7. APFNet-Project Change Request Form[PCR].docx393.14 KB

docx8. APFNet-Project Progress Report[PPR]425.27 KB