Final Evaluation of the United Nations Cooperation Framework

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Evaluation Plan:
2019-2022, South Sudan
Evaluation Type:
UNDAF
Planned End Date:
03/2022
Completion Date:
04/2022
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
No
Evaluation Budget(US $):
50,000

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Title Final Evaluation of the United Nations Cooperation Framework
Atlas Project Number: 102663,86376,77970,64390,72642,64379,97459,64257,72625,64179,75366,61385
Evaluation Plan: 2019-2022, South Sudan
Evaluation Type: UNDAF
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2022
Planned End Date: 03/2022
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 3.1.1 Core government functions and inclusive basic services4 restored post-crisis for stabilisation, durable solutions to displacement and return to sustainable development pathways within the framework of national policies and priorities
Evaluation Budget(US $): 50,000
Source of Funding: RCO M&E Budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 118,400
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Serge Eric Yakeu Djiam Evaluation consultants- Team Leader
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: UNCT/ all government Ministries
Countries: SOUTH SUDAN
Lessons
1.
  1. Promotion of peace and local economies requires joint efforts from humanitarian and development actors when working in a fragile country context like South Sudan. The instrumental role played by UNCT in collaboration with HCT as well as partners and government entities were essential to leverage humanitarian and development results in recovery, resilience, and peacebuilding while providing life-saving support to the most vulnerable groups through a coordinated effort around the HDP Nexus.
  2. Having a consortium of UN agencies on board can help to achieve more results with limited resources and on limited timeline. The implementation of the UNCF is an example of joint efforts towards the achievement of ambitious outputs and outcomes. The overall UNCF results are attributed to the UNCT and HCT and might be not possible to achieve individually.
  3. Substantive change in attitude and moral thinking in peace, social cohesion, GBV can be made possible by empowering the entire community, including women, men, and youth as well as community leaders in a common space. The adoption of flagship initiatives which targets men, women, and youth, and community leaders allows an enabling environment for people to learn collectively from their common interests and needs, working together for example by sharing responsibilities on how to handle existing challenges.
  4. Community engagement and participation strongly rely on targeting the key agents for change. UNCF made it possible by giving more spaces to women and youths which create positive outcomes at the community and household levels.
  5. Working in a challenging environment like South Sudan requires a lot of patience and flexibility: Adaptive management and coordination mechanisms adopted by the UNCT were key determinants to the achieved results (outputs and outcomes), given the number of working challenges such as ongoing insecurity and COVID-19 which restricted movement and delays in service delivery to beneficiaries.

Findings
1.

The evaluation team found that the UNCF with a focus on resilience building, strengthening governance and institutions/capacities for service delivery is more relevant given the changing nature of conflict with the rise of non-state actors explicitly at the community level. The UNCF is aligned to the National Development strategy (NDS) and selected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Its core contributions are aligned to the 2018-2021 R-ARCSS. The UNCF priority areas remain relevant to the needs of most vulnerable groups such as women and youth which are determined through a pre-situational and conflict analysis to improve the programming and better address vulnerability and conflict sensitivity during UNCF implementation. Although a strong and functional relationship was built by agencies with relevant line ministries, there is no clear mechanism of coordination between the UNCT and government, and there is no functional joint steering committee between the UNCT and the government to provide direction and oversight on the UNCF. The UNCT develops annual joint work plans for accountability and reporting on the UNCF implementation. The coordination and connectedness of actions on the UNCF is weak at the field offices. The UNCT has agreed on some common services in the Business Operations Strategy (BOS) to improve efficiency and quality in programme delivery. There is still strong focus on humanitarian delivery reflective of the huge and increasing humanitarian needs in the country. However, the UNCT and HCT have adopted two collective outcomes on GBV and food security to push the nexus approach as a New Way of Working (NWOW)

The UNCT was effective in addressing its objectives with significant progress toward the achievement of its outputs (98%) and outcomes (89%). Various factors have positively contributed to this performance such as: i) the cantonment of the forces, the establishment of mechanism for conflict management, community security and social cohesion particularly the state and county levels; ii) the alignment of the design of UNCF to the NDS which eased the planning and programmatic process of activities; iii) the good buying-in from line ministries; iv) the coherence and connectedness of flagships to the agency specific country strategies. However, lack of a transitional security arrangements, and redeployment of a unified force, non-reconstitution of the transitional legislature, absence of a joint steering committee, COVID-19pandemic, prevalence of insecurity and climate change issues, have hindered the implementation and impact/results of the UNCF. Also, the reporting process was impacted by data unreliability and absence of an interactive M&E system for monitoring and reporting on UNCF performance. Synergies and flexibility among agencies were useful in promoting national execution of programmes and use of national expertise and actors, and to cover key principles on “Leave no one behind”, human Rights, gender equality, environmental sustainability, and resilience; and accountability. UNCF effectively strengthened national capacities for resilience and recovery and in building partnership around the implementation of the four priority areas. It was instrumental in mobilising resources and increasing partnerships. Both international and national NGOs and CSOs were mobilised for frontline support. In the partnership areas, the UNCF naturally bridged with the Partnership for Resilience and Recovery (PfRR) to deliver on the resilience building efforts.

The UNCT was efficient in reducing transaction costs through joint programmes, multi-stakeholder partnerships and advocacy, collaboration among agencies, context specific interventions, adoption of common services through the BOS. The UNCT through UNCF also contributed to cost reduction and cost avoidance in their operations by collaborating working as ONE UN through common services, joint planning, programming and delivery. However, no reliable data was available to establish the extent of cost reduction and avoidance as a result of the adoption of the common services; nevertheless, the BOS provides a realistic platform to reduce transaction costs. A joint resources mobilisation strategy could also further enhance reduction in operational transaction costs especially in the field locations. The code of cooperation agreed by the Heads of Agencies in 2020 could enhance the efforts towards the harmonization of procedures and processes as the roll out of the NWOW and common services is not yet fully completed.

The ownership of the UNCF work by the government is limited. Significant facilities were constructed without institutional anchoring to the government system at the national and state level to ensure sustainability. The lack of a formal coordination structures with government coupled with limited absorptive capacity might affect the sustainability of achieved results.  However, it is expected that the legal and policy frameworks developed will remain in on a long run to facilitate an accountable governance, if not compromised by lack of political will from government


Recommendations
1

Ensure  continued alignment of the Cooperation framework to national planning frameworks and strategies and pay special attention to emerging issues related to climate change, environment, gender, youth, and private sector

2

Integrate the Nexus Approach in programming and optimize the collective contribution to results by the UN system including getting technical support from regional bodies and Non-Resident Agencies based on their mandates and expertise

3

Deepen the New Way of Working and strengthen coherence between UNCF and other key frameworks like PfRR, HRP, Mission Strategic vision, while extending collaboration to new donors on recovery and resilience building

4

Strengthen and improve the M&E system including supporting the development of a national framework for monitoring and reporting on SDGs

5

Strengthen the alignment and coordination of the UNCF Results Groups, Sector Working Groups, humanitarian clusters to avoid duplication and ensure effective utilization of resources

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