Final Evaluation: “Support to Strengthen capacities to undertake reforms to advance peacebuilding and transitional justice processes in Sri Lanka” Project.

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Evaluation Plan:
2018-2022, Sri Lanka
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
12/2021
Completion Date:
12/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
35,000

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Title Final Evaluation: “Support to Strengthen capacities to undertake reforms to advance peacebuilding and transitional justice processes in Sri Lanka” Project.
Atlas Project Number: 93879,103135
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2022, Sri Lanka
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2021
Planned End Date: 12/2021
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.2.2 Constitution-making, electoral and parliamentary processes and institutions strengthened to promote inclusion, transparency and accountability
  • 2. 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
Evaluation Budget(US $): 35,000
Source of Funding: Peace Building Fund
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Shashik Dhanushka National Consultant
Patrick Burgess Lead Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Office of Missing Persons, Office of Reparations, CSOs implementation partners, RCO, IOM, OHCHR .
Countries: SRI LANKA
Comments:

The final Evaluation for the Transitional Justice is combined for both projects 00093879 and 00103135.

Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

Maintain the focus on TJ in the face of political change and opposition to accountability: Many development initiatives that are supported by donors are dependent on the priorities of government and will shift appropriately when those priorities change according to the democratic base in the country. The end of the Program should not indicate an end of intensive work and investment in TJ in Sri Lanka, but rather the beginning. TJ goals often require a time frame of decades to achieve concrete results. Truth, accountability, and victims’ rights are key elements of Sri Lanka’s future. The gains of the Program, its achievements, and the tools produced should not be lost but built on by continued intensive TJ engagement. The manner and form of this engagement should be carefully planned in order to ensure a maximum impact in the current changed political context, but these challenges should not be used as an excuse to reduce the TJ engagement. It is more critical than ever. Building the knowledge base, commitment and capacity are key elements of the future work and the momentum on those fronts should not be lost. 

2

A holistic approach and sequencing of TJ approaches should inform future programming: TJ mechanisms cannot be successfully implemented in a ‘top-down’ approach. There must be a sufficient understanding of TJ and demand for truth, accountability, and justice for victims or the work on developing mechanisms such as a judicial mechanism will be wasted. The progress made on specific TJ mechanisms in Sri Lanka, such as the completion of draft laws for the establishment of a TRC and court and establishment of the OMP and OR now face challenges relating to continued support. A contributing factor is an insufficient understanding and support for the TJ goals across society and particularly in the government. All elements of the TJ framework are equally important and without understanding this and developing the other elements of truth, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence criminal accountability is unlikely to be achieved. A successful judicial process for mass crimes cannot be conducted in a domestic setting without first building substantial public demand for that process.  The understanding of the meaning of TJ, a holistic approach, and the need for careful sequencing of initiatives should be included as essential elements of ongoing, long-term support programs and strategies. This should be reflected in donor-funded programs supporting the government, security forces, civil society, and academic institutions.

3

Inclusion of transitional justice in programs supporting SDG’s, rule of law, human rights and justice: Transitional Justice (TJ) is a highly relevant component of a range of SDG’s, most particularly SDG 16 and this should be recognized in future program design and development. Inclusion of TJ-related initiatives in SDG frameworks can serve to retain some focus on TJ imperatives even in circumstances of declining political will and active opposition to specialized TJ mechanisms. This can also help to make some of the resources available for implementation of the 2030 agenda available to support the next steps of transitional justice-related strengthening of institutions such as the Office Reparation, Office of Missing Person, Right to Information Commission, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, and National Police Commission. 

4

Support to civil society: Strong, well-funded programs focused on building capacity and institutional strength and linkages for civil society organizations working on TJ-related work is crucially important for Sri Lanka’s future. The support to civil society should be significant, multi-year, and accepted to be an essential element of long-term strategies linked to SDG 16.  It is a relatively high-value/low-cost undertaking as the support programs take advantage of existing and ongoing commitment that is often life-long, particularly in the case of victims and human rights defenders. An investment in their capacity is in many cases likely to produce a high level of impact through more effective advocacy for TJ-related goals that will continue for decades. 

5

Focus on linkages and networks: Progress on TJ goals require support and collaboration from a range of institutions and organizations and future programs should include an element that helps to maintain, strengthen and develop linkages.  The model of support for government, independent commissions and civil society in the current Program was logical and relatively successful as a failure to progress in any of those areas will likely ‘pull back’ the progress in a general sense. The current retreat on TJ goals, for example, owes much to a lack of sufficient support within government, whilst the commissions and civil society are more consistently supportive.  In Sri Lanka most CSOs are made up of staff and supporters of particular ethno-religious backgrounds. As a major root cause of the mass violations is a lack of tolerance and understanding between communities a focus on building networks that include a range of backgrounds is important. 

1. Recommendation:

Maintain the focus on TJ in the face of political change and opposition to accountability: Many development initiatives that are supported by donors are dependent on the priorities of government and will shift appropriately when those priorities change according to the democratic base in the country. The end of the Program should not indicate an end of intensive work and investment in TJ in Sri Lanka, but rather the beginning. TJ goals often require a time frame of decades to achieve concrete results. Truth, accountability, and victims’ rights are key elements of Sri Lanka’s future. The gains of the Program, its achievements, and the tools produced should not be lost but built on by continued intensive TJ engagement. The manner and form of this engagement should be carefully planned in order to ensure a maximum impact in the current changed political context, but these challenges should not be used as an excuse to reduce the TJ engagement. It is more critical than ever. Building the knowledge base, commitment and capacity are key elements of the future work and the momentum on those fronts should not be lost. 

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/17]

Fully accepted - UNDP Sri Lanka continues to work on issues related to/linked to transitional justice through its governance programming particularly within the Rights and Justice pillar, in response to and in line with government priorities. In this regard, UNDP will particularly work on strengthening the national and local capacities of community-based organizations, government authorities, and other partners (such as civil society organizations, media etc.) in response to preventing violent extremism, and countering hate speech to build resilient communities. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Continue assimilating the TJ elements such as victims’ rights, resettlement, and accountability into the next CPD programming options of Governance Unit.
[Added: 2022/06/17]
Inclusive Governance Team Technical Specialist 2022/12 Initiated
2. Recommendation:

A holistic approach and sequencing of TJ approaches should inform future programming: TJ mechanisms cannot be successfully implemented in a ‘top-down’ approach. There must be a sufficient understanding of TJ and demand for truth, accountability, and justice for victims or the work on developing mechanisms such as a judicial mechanism will be wasted. The progress made on specific TJ mechanisms in Sri Lanka, such as the completion of draft laws for the establishment of a TRC and court and establishment of the OMP and OR now face challenges relating to continued support. A contributing factor is an insufficient understanding and support for the TJ goals across society and particularly in the government. All elements of the TJ framework are equally important and without understanding this and developing the other elements of truth, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence criminal accountability is unlikely to be achieved. A successful judicial process for mass crimes cannot be conducted in a domestic setting without first building substantial public demand for that process.  The understanding of the meaning of TJ, a holistic approach, and the need for careful sequencing of initiatives should be included as essential elements of ongoing, long-term support programs and strategies. This should be reflected in donor-funded programs supporting the government, security forces, civil society, and academic institutions.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/17]

The SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions recalibrated portfolio at UNDP currently engages in interventions linked to the non-recurrence pillar of transitional justice such as institutional reforms, countering hate speech, gender justice, combating terrorism, prevention of violent extremism, building resilient communities, and awareness creation. Current interventions are rolled out through PVE EU (Preventing Violent Extremism), SDR, JPP (Joint Programme for Peace) and PBF (Peace Building Fund) supported initiatives. These are interlinked across to social cohesion, peace, prosperity, and human rights.   

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Continue assimilating the TJ elements such as victims’ rights, resettlement, and accountability into the next CPD programming options of Governance Unit.
[Added: 2022/06/17] [Last Updated: 2022/06/21]
Inclusive Governance Team, Technical Specialist 2022/10 Initiated History
Engage CSO partners to strengthen their capacities for stronger bottom up engagement to address the drivers of conflict and issues of social cohesion including hate speech.
[Added: 2022/06/21]
Technical Specialist 2022/10 Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Inclusion of transitional justice in programs supporting SDG’s, rule of law, human rights and justice: Transitional Justice (TJ) is a highly relevant component of a range of SDG’s, most particularly SDG 16 and this should be recognized in future program design and development. Inclusion of TJ-related initiatives in SDG frameworks can serve to retain some focus on TJ imperatives even in circumstances of declining political will and active opposition to specialized TJ mechanisms. This can also help to make some of the resources available for implementation of the 2030 agenda available to support the next steps of transitional justice-related strengthening of institutions such as the Office Reparation, Office of Missing Person, Right to Information Commission, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, and National Police Commission. 

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/17] [Last Updated: 2022/06/21]

The CO accepted the recommendation partially because IOM and OCHR are handling activities of the Office of reparation, and Office of missing person. From UNDP’s current programming for the next Country Programme cycle (2023 – 2027) has considered the rest of the elements of TJ such as Social Cohesion. The overall SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions recalibrated portfolio implemented by the UNDP integrated governance team advances interventions on a non-recurrence pillar of transitional justice, such as institutional reforms, countering hate speech, gender justice, combat terrorism, preventing violent extremism, building resilient community and awareness creation. Institutional reforms undertaken through the portfolio will confront violence across spheres, address drivers of hate speech, and enable social cohesion and development opportunities. Also, these reforms will apply to the initiatives at the grass-root level that mitigates gender, ethnic, religious, racial, and other social cleavages. 
 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure the next UNDP country programme includes the elements of TJ, particularly institutional reforms, countering hate speech, and gender justice to address issues of governance affecting Social Cohesion and Stability.
[Added: 2022/06/17] [Last Updated: 2022/06/21]
Inclusive Governance Team Programme Analyst/Technical Specialist. 2022/12 Initiated History
4. Recommendation:

Support to civil society: Strong, well-funded programs focused on building capacity and institutional strength and linkages for civil society organizations working on TJ-related work is crucially important for Sri Lanka’s future. The support to civil society should be significant, multi-year, and accepted to be an essential element of long-term strategies linked to SDG 16.  It is a relatively high-value/low-cost undertaking as the support programs take advantage of existing and ongoing commitment that is often life-long, particularly in the case of victims and human rights defenders. An investment in their capacity is in many cases likely to produce a high level of impact through more effective advocacy for TJ-related goals that will continue for decades. 

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/17]

Fully Accepted - UNDP and its recalibrated portfolio on SDG 16 – Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions have developed a civil society engagement strategy that will help to enhance civil society participation in all aspects of peace, justice, and strong institutions. The UNDP country office interventions under SDG 16 portfolio build multi-stakeholder (media, individual, local government, vulnerable communities, private sector, government entities, parliamentarian platforms) and civil society capacities which include understanding of the transitional justice principles and procedures. In addition, outreach project activities of these programs target individuals and communities in remote areas to foster inclusivity and more effective participation.
 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Continue the engagement with CSOs based on the CSOs engagement strategy in delivering collectively by conducting training/Capacity building for identified CSOs who engage with Social Cohesion efforts.
[Added: 2022/06/17] [Last Updated: 2022/06/21]
Inclusive Governance Team Technical Specialist 2022/07 Initiated History
Strengthen and facilitate CSO towards the community of practice initiatives.
[Added: 2022/06/21]
Technical Specialist 2022/08 Initiated
Facilitate towards social dialogues and strengthen participation of CSOs to engage with TJ elements.
[Added: 2022/06/21]
Technical Specilaist 2022/08 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Focus on linkages and networks: Progress on TJ goals require support and collaboration from a range of institutions and organizations and future programs should include an element that helps to maintain, strengthen and develop linkages.  The model of support for government, independent commissions and civil society in the current Program was logical and relatively successful as a failure to progress in any of those areas will likely ‘pull back’ the progress in a general sense. The current retreat on TJ goals, for example, owes much to a lack of sufficient support within government, whilst the commissions and civil society are more consistently supportive.  In Sri Lanka most CSOs are made up of staff and supporters of particular ethno-religious backgrounds. As a major root cause of the mass violations is a lack of tolerance and understanding between communities a focus on building networks that include a range of backgrounds is important. 

Management Response: [Added: 2022/06/17]

Fully Accepted - UNDP’s Prevention of Violent extremism project under the recalibrated SDG 16 portfolio has already formed a civil society working group for preventing violent extremism. This group serves as a group that shares experiences, knowledge and lessons learned through interventions to enhance impact. These include components of dealing with past and countering hate speech and victims’ support. In addition, the Support to Durable Resettlement component of the portfolio is directly working with victims of the civil war in Sri Lanka who are refugees and resettled communities in the North and East. This SDR component is also working with different stakeholders such as Government, CSOs and CBOs, and other citizens’ networks.   
 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Commit continuously to establishing linkages and networks in dealing with past and victims’ support.
[Added: 2022/06/17]
Inclusive Governance Team, Technical Specialist 2023/01 Initiated

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