Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Iraq

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Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
ICPE/ADR
Planned End Date:
12/2019
Completion Date:
10/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
142,000

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Download document ICPE Iraq .pdf report English 2866.60 KB Posted 202
Download document ICPE Iraq Brief.pdf related-document English 130.87 KB Posted 116
Title Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Iraq
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 10/2019
Planned End Date: 12/2019
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Governance
  • 3. Resilience
  • 4. Not Applicable
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.2.1 Capacities at national and sub-national levels strengthened to promote inclusive local economic development and deliver basic services including HIV and related services
  • 2. Output 1.2.3 Institutions and systems enabled to address awareness, prevention and enforcement of anti-corruption measures to maximize availability of resources for poverty eradication
  • 3. Output 2.2.2 Constitution-making, electoral and parliamentary processes and institutions strengthened to promote inclusion, transparency and accountability
  • 4. Output 2.2.3 Capacities, functions and financing of rule of law and national human rights institutions and systems strengthened to expand access to justice and combat discrimination, with a focus on women and other marginalised groups
  • 5. Output 2.3.1 Data and risk-informed development policies, plans, systems and financing incorporate integrated and gender-responsive solutions to reduce disaster risks, enable climate change adaptation and mitigation, and prevent risk of conflict
  • 6. 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
  • 7. Output 3.2.1 National capacities strengthened for reintegration, reconciliation, peaceful management of conflict and prevention of violent extremism in response to national policies and priorities
  • 8. Output 3.3.2 Gender-responsive and risk-informed mechanisms supported to build consensus, improve social dialogue and promote peaceful, just and inclusive societies
Evaluation Budget(US $): 142,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 141,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
James Freedman Consultant
Hisham Khogali Consultant
Rajeev Pillay Consultant
Abbas Balesem Consultant
Hawar Ameen Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: IRAQ
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

In developing the new country programme, the country office should take care to: (1) align the contributions of UNDP to the changing priorities in the country, driven by the shift to a more stable environment; (2) identify both the comparative strengths of UNDP and key areas where it is able to deliver effectively; (3) develop clear and supporting theories of change for the work of UNDP which identify synergies and leverage available skills and expertise; and (4) support the strategic approach with a strong resource mobilization effort, which builds on the high level of trust by donors and institutional counterparts established through the stabilization programme, and aims to expand presence and expertise based on emerging needs. The country programme development process should ultimately strengthen the strategic focus of the programme, develop synergies across pillars and ensure sustainability.

2

The UNDP Iraq country office must now emphasize preventing conflict resulting from the lack of reliable access to services on a sustained basis and on preventing secondary migration. UNDP senior management, with support from donors and the Special Representative for Iraq of the Secretary-General and Head of UNAMI and the Deputy Special Representative, should advocate strongly at the level of the Council of Ministers and the Minister of Finance for reliable allocations from the national budget for recurrent and operational costs associated with services and infrastructure rehabilitated by UNDP. This should be combined with a programme to support social cohesion at local level, in support of and in coordination with UNAMI, which is mandated to support cohesion at national level.

3

The UNDP Iraq country office should carefully monitor the efficiency gains of delivering all development projects through the Service Centre and ensure that adequate measures are in place to maintain the current level of transparency and efficiency. The Service Centre may experience a significant increase in workload if, as expected, areas of work outside stabilization grow significantly, while the stabilization component, and the FFS in particular, remains active. The efficiency of the Service Centre is explained in finding 6 and Annex 8. If an increase in workload is compounded by a change in processes due to a return to a “business as usual” scenario, efficiency may be at risk, with implications for the fast delivery of all programmes and the stabilization component specifically, which has made speed one its key features to ensure successful delivery.

4

The office should strengthen its results-based systems and practices. These efforts should be driven by the need to establish clarity and a sense of priority over what UNDP is seeking to achieve in Iraq.

5

If UNDP engagement continues in a leading role, country office senior management should ensure that the Emergency Livelihoods Cluster is resourced with adequate human resources, specifically a national cluster coordinator and an information management officer who are independent of UNDP programming and are dedicated to cluster work.

6

To UNDP Senior Management / UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (Development Impact Group)/ Crisis Bureau. Building on the revision of the UNDP Programme and Project Management Manual of 2018 which introduced the possibility of developing a “bridging programme,”132 UNDP should consider developing an instrument for post-conflict stabilization in lieu of a country programme for countries in the midst of conflict where flexibility and political objectives become the priority.

1. Recommendation:

In developing the new country programme, the country office should take care to: (1) align the contributions of UNDP to the changing priorities in the country, driven by the shift to a more stable environment; (2) identify both the comparative strengths of UNDP and key areas where it is able to deliver effectively; (3) develop clear and supporting theories of change for the work of UNDP which identify synergies and leverage available skills and expertise; and (4) support the strategic approach with a strong resource mobilization effort, which builds on the high level of trust by donors and institutional counterparts established through the stabilization programme, and aims to expand presence and expertise based on emerging needs. The country programme development process should ultimately strengthen the strategic focus of the programme, develop synergies across pillars and ensure sustainability.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/10/31] [Last Updated: 2019/11/05]

UNDP’s 2016-2020 Country Programme cycle will come to a close on 31 December 2019. The new Country Programme which will be aligned with the changed country context, the Government of Iraq’s new development priorities as defined in the Iraq Vision 2030 and National Development Plan 2018-2022, and the 2020-2024 UNDAF is under finalization to be submitted to the January 2020 EB session for approval.

 

UNDP has initiated the process for developing the new Country Programme Document (CPD) for 2020-2024. The key points noted in this recommendation have been factored into this process.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Establish a Core Advisory Group to guide the development of the Country Programme Document (2020-2024), including in relation to: - Priorities for Iraq’s development trajectory - Assessing UNDP’s comparative advantage vis-à-vis other development partners; - Main pillars of UNDP’s future support, Theories of Change, key programming outputs for UNDP and synergies across thematic areas of focus; - Capacity gaps and gender inequalities; - Partnership strategies; - Coordination Mechanisms; - Assessing risks.
[Added: 2019/12/15]
Senior Management Programme Management Support Unit (PMSU) 2019/06 Completed
1.2 Undertake stakeholder consultations to validate UNDP’s Theory of Change and programming priorities for 2020-2024.
[Added: 2019/12/15]
Senior Management Programme Manaement Support Unit Programme Pillars 2019/07 Completed
1.3 Finalize the new Country Programme Document for the period 2020-2024, containing a robust Results Framework.
[Added: 2019/12/15]
Senior Management Programme Management Support Unit Programme Pillars 2019/12 Completed
1.4 Develop a Resource Mobilization plan to support the 2020-2024 Country Programme.
[Added: 2019/12/15]
Senior Management Programme Management Support Unit 2019/12 Completed
2. Recommendation:

The UNDP Iraq country office must now emphasize preventing conflict resulting from the lack of reliable access to services on a sustained basis and on preventing secondary migration. UNDP senior management, with support from donors and the Special Representative for Iraq of the Secretary-General and Head of UNAMI and the Deputy Special Representative, should advocate strongly at the level of the Council of Ministers and the Minister of Finance for reliable allocations from the national budget for recurrent and operational costs associated with services and infrastructure rehabilitated by UNDP. This should be combined with a programme to support social cohesion at local level, in support of and in coordination with UNAMI, which is mandated to support cohesion at national level.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/10/31] [Last Updated: 2019/11/05]

UNDP’s stabilization support through the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) is informed by services and projects the Government of Iraq prioritizes from the on-set. Furthermore, the project selection process also takes into consideration actual returnee numbers and trends. Overall UNDP observes that the majority of infrastructure handed-over to the Government of Iraq has been operationalized. UNDP does acknowledge however that there are instances in which operationalization may have been limited or slow due to a number of local capacity and planning challenges, including the lack of allocation of funding from the national budget for operations and maintenance. Advocacy with the Government of Iraq, to address this concern has consistently been a core part of the management of FFS, including through the Steering Committee, which is Co-Chaired by the Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers and the DSRSG/UNRC/HC and the UNDP Resident Representative. UNDP will scale up its advocacy efforts going forward, including with the support of the SRSG, DSRSG/UNRC/HC and the development partners.

 

Supporting social cohesion programming is a key priority under the current Country Programme, and accordingly UNDP has supported a combination of down-stream and up-stream initiatives since 2016. However, UNDP recognizes the opportunity at hand to galvanize the social cohesion support that has been provided to-date by aligning under a common strategy and Results Framework on social cohesion. The new Country Programme development process provides the needed opportunity to strengthen this alignment, including by integrating strategies across all Programme Pillars. UNDP will also work in coordination and consultation with UNAMI in defining its programming priorities, in keeping with its comparative advantages and building on the entry points created through the current Country

Programme. The new Country Programme will also reiterate the need for flexibility to continue with immediate stabilization work while transitioning and expanding its portfolio to achieve longer-term development objectives, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Continue advocacy efforts with the Government of Iraq, including through the Steering Committee for the Funding Facility for Stabilization for consistent allocation of financial resources through the national budget, for operations and maintenance of UNDP supported infrastructure for providing basic services.
[Added: 2019/12/15]
Senior Management Stabilization Pillar Governance and Reconciliation Pillar 2020/12 Initiated
2.2. Aligned with the new Country Programme, develop a Strategy on social cohesion for the office and Project level Results Framework to guide strategic programming interventions to strengthen social cohesion in Iraq.
[Added: 2019/12/15] [Last Updated: 2020/02/19]
Governance and Reconciliation Pillar Programme Support Unit 2020/01 Completed The design of new Iraq Social Cohesion programme has been initiated and finalized. History
2.3 Recruit CTA for Social Cohesion Pillar in the Country Office to manage all related initiatives and provide support for mainstreaming conflict sensitive programming and social cohesion in all interventions.
[Added: 2019/12/15]
Senior Management 2019/09 Completed
3. Recommendation:

The UNDP Iraq country office should carefully monitor the efficiency gains of delivering all development projects through the Service Centre and ensure that adequate measures are in place to maintain the current level of transparency and efficiency. The Service Centre may experience a significant increase in workload if, as expected, areas of work outside stabilization grow significantly, while the stabilization component, and the FFS in particular, remains active. The efficiency of the Service Centre is explained in finding 6 and Annex 8. If an increase in workload is compounded by a change in processes due to a return to a “business as usual” scenario, efficiency may be at risk, with implications for the fast delivery of all programmes and the stabilization component specifically, which has made speed one its key features to ensure successful delivery.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/10/31] [Last Updated: 2019/11/05]

UNDP recognizes the key role played by the Service Center in enabling the delivery of its strategic stabilization and recovery support to the Government and people of Iraq, and the factors that contributed to the success of this role. Therefore, this recommendation is well received, as stretching the Service Center thinly can have a negative implication upon the pace and quality of UNDP’s operations support and the reputation it has built for tightly risk managed, fast pace delivery.

The process of formulating the Country Programme for 2020-2024 is also being capitalized as an opportunity to further review and streamline the Country Office structure and systems for operations support, with a view to maintain its operational effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. All operations units will be mainstreamed for better efficiency and service delivery.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Based on the programming priorities and projected delivery, develop an operational plan for streamlining UNDP Iraq’s operations support, including the role of the Service Center for the following periods: a) June 2019- December 2019 b) January 2020-December 2024 This would include developing multiple scenarios for staffing to respond to changes in programming and funding priorities, over the 2020-2024 Programme Cycle.
[Added: 2019/12/23]
Senior Management Operations Team 2019/06 Completed
4. Recommendation:

The office should strengthen its results-based systems and practices. These efforts should be driven by the need to establish clarity and a sense of priority over what UNDP is seeking to achieve in Iraq.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/10/31] [Last Updated: 2019/11/05]

The period of programming covered by this evaluation, saw Iraq in a constant state of flux due to the on-going conflict, volatile security situation, economic and political crisis. UNDP was positioned to as the lead development partner to support the Government of Iraq to respond to the crisis at hand, and therefore UNDP made considerable efforts to maintain a strong result focus in its Project management which made it possible for the Country Office to deliver on its largest portfolio – Stabilization.

There is however always room for continuous improvement based on lessons learned- particularly in keeping the overall Country Programme responsive to the changes in the country context. Therefore, as part of an on-going process, the Country Office will undertake several strategic actions, in the short and medium term to strengthen results-based management systems, including through its programme quality assurance.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Complete Project evaluations for the largest Projects in the current Country Programme. For example; a) Iraq’s Public Sector Modrenization (IPSM) b) Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme (ICRRP) c) Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS)
[Added: 2019/12/23] [Last Updated: 2020/02/19]
Programme Support Unit Programme Pillars 2020/11 Initiated History
4.2 Operationalize the Programme Support Unit with sufficient resources, to support the process of strengthening the programme quality assurance systems in the Country Office.
[Added: 2019/12/23]
Senior management 2019/08 Completed
4.3 To strengthen the quality assurance systems within the Country Office; a) Review and revise the Terms of Reference and composition of the Programme Quality Assurance committees (i.e. Local Project Appraisal Committee, Small Grant Review Committee) b) Orientation for the respective Committees on the UNDP Policies and QA tools
[Added: 2019/12/23] [Last Updated: 2020/02/19]
Senior Management Programme Support Unit 2020/10 Initiated History
4.4 Develop a Monitoring and Evaluation framework and plan for monitoring progress towards achieving of the 2020-2024 Country Programme’s Outcomes and Outputs
[Added: 2019/12/23] [Last Updated: 2020/02/19]
Programme Support Unit Programme Pillars 2020/03 Overdue-Initiated History
4.5 Conduct mid-year reviews of achievement of Results against the 2020-2024 Country Programme
[Added: 2019/12/23] [Last Updated: 2020/02/19]
Senior Management Programme Support Unit Programme Pillars Operations Team 2020/08 Initiated History
4.6 As part of the Country Office Learning Plan roll out regular training programmes, combined with on the job training on results-based management for each Pillar/Project.
[Added: 2019/12/23] [Last Updated: 2020/02/19]
Programme Support Unit Learning Committee 2020/12 Initiated History
5. Recommendation:

If UNDP engagement continues in a leading role, country office senior management should ensure that the Emergency Livelihoods Cluster is resourced with adequate human resources, specifically a national cluster coordinator and an information management officer who are independent of UNDP programming and are dedicated to cluster work.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/10/31] [Last Updated: 2019/11/05]

During the period of Evaluation, amidst multiple changes in UNDP Iraq Senior Management, and a situation of crisis in Iraq, with the available resources UNDP maintained its support (focusing on coordination, technical and resource mobilization) to the Emergency Livelihoods Cluster, albeit not structured in the standard UNDP approach in many other Country Offices.

UNDP does however recognize there is always room for improvement in the way it works. Therefore, a three-pronged approach will be adopted;

  1. Until 31 December 2019 UNDP will continue its current level of support to the Emergency Livelihoods Cluster – focusing primarily on coordination and information management.
  2. UNDP will elaborate a livelihoods framework for its programming in 2020
  3. Simultaneously the UN Coordination mechanism that aligns with the new UNDAF in Iraq (2020-2024) will be designed with the UN Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator and the UNCT. Based on the new proposed mechanism, and UNDP’s comparative advantage, UNDP will reposition its support, including as required through strengthening the required human resources for technical advisory support, coordination and information management. UNDP’s support to the future UN Cluster/UN Coordination systems will be clarified in the Country Programme Document for 2020-2024.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Continue to support coordination and information management capacities of the Emergency Livelihoods Cluster
[Added: 2019/12/23] [Last Updated: 2020/02/19]
Senior Management Inclusive Growth and Economic Diversification Pillar Stabilization Pillar 2019/12 Completed UNDP continues to provide coordination and information management capacities for the Emergency Livelihood Cluster. History
5.2 Elaborate a comprehensive livelihoods framework for UNDP and partners
[Added: 2019/12/23]
Senior Management Inclusive Growth and Economic Diversification Pillar Stabilization Pillar 2019/11 Completed
5.3 Review the cluster/coordination arrangements proposed to be in place from 2020, aligned with the new UNDAF (2020-2024) and confirm UNDP’s support, based on its comparative advantage.
[Added: 2019/12/23] [Last Updated: 2020/02/19]
Senior Management Inclusive Growth and Economic Diversification Pillar Stabilization Pillar 2020/06 Initiated History
6. Recommendation:

To UNDP Senior Management / UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (Development Impact Group)/ Crisis Bureau. Building on the revision of the UNDP Programme and Project Management Manual of 2018 which introduced the possibility of developing a “bridging programme,”132 UNDP should consider developing an instrument for post-conflict stabilization in lieu of a country programme for countries in the midst of conflict where flexibility and political objectives become the priority.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/10/31] [Last Updated: 2019/11/05]

The independent stock-taking study on stabilization commissioned by the Crisis Bureau in 2017 includes Iraq, and outlined a  number of substantive and operational lessons learned for future Stabilization efforts as part of UNDP’s wider post conflict menu of options  and strategies to promote peace and development.

The current provisions of the PPM on the use of a “Bridging Program’ in conflict contexts directly address the recommendation in terms of  wider UNDP efforts in promoting peace in fragile and or conflict/post conflict environments, and have been successfully used in the case of UNDP activities in Yemen. In addition, stabilisation programming being localised nature, and aiming at delivering tangible results within a limited time frame, it should be implemented through existing country level programmatic instruments (such as Country Programme Documents, or Bridging programmes, if applicable)

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1. Review of stabilization experiences in various country contexts
[Added: 2019/12/23]
CB 2019/12 Completed
6.2 Embed stabilization programming within existing country level programming instruments such as CPDs, or Bridging Frameworks (when applicable).
[Added: 2019/12/23]
CB, BMS, RB 2019/12 Completed

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