Mid Term Country Programme Document Evaluation

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Evaluation Plan:
2019-2022, South Sudan
Evaluation Type:
Country Programme Evaluation
Planned End Date:
03/2021
Completion Date:
08/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
76,000

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Title Mid Term Country Programme Document Evaluation
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2019-2022, South Sudan
Evaluation Type: Country Programme Evaluation
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2021
Planned End Date: 03/2021
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Governance
  • 3. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.1 Capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other international agreements in development plans and budgets, and to analyse progress towards the SDGs, using innovative and data-driven solutions
  • 2. Output 1.1.2 Marginalised groups, particularly the poor, women, people with disabilities and displaced are empowered to gain universal access to basic services and financial and non-financial assets to build productive capacities and benefit from sustainable livelihoods and jobs
  • 3. 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
  • 4. 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
  • 5. 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
Evaluation Budget(US $): 76,000
Source of Funding: Country office and IEO
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 51,865
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Dr. Craig Naumann Lead Consultant ccnaumann@yahoo.com
Batali Geoffrey National Consultant bataligk@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Government counterparts, development partners, CSOs, think tanks and beneficiary communities
Countries: SOUTH SUDAN
Lessons
1.
  1. Lesson Learned in terms of the CPD's Relevance 

The extent to which the CPD’s intended output and outcomes are consistent with national and local policies and priorities and the needs of targeted beneficiaries.

Best practices:

  • The CPD is well aligned with South Sudan’s NDS structure and related governmental policy and planning frameworks
  • The CPD’s pillar design articulates a solid and robust model of a nexus-inspired mix of strategic interventions
  • The project initiation plan (PIP) modality is a promising avenue for the South Sudanese context and could be scaled up to blossom into full-fledged programmes if the ideas prove successful.
  • UNDP’s Recovery and Resilience Programme proved highly useful in providing affirmative action specifically to vulnerable women and youth by providing specialized skills development training focusing on the development of agricultural value chains and entrepreneurship (about 69% of 4,581 youth whose skills sets were developed in 22 trades were women). This programme could be scaled up to address the lack of skills of women and raise the profile and engagement of women in decision-making processes
  • The successful GEWE partnership of UNDP with the University of Juba could be scaled up and possibly extended beyond the “Women’s transformational leadership programme“ and the ”ICT project to support young women and girls in programming and IT skills“
  • The peanut butter-making agricultural value chain project in Aweil (Lake Region) was designed to boost grassroots-level economic cohesion. As a best practice it could serve as a model for similar projects in other communities.
  • The policy discussion held by UNDP in 2020 on the global human development report discussing the applicability of the global theme on how disasters impact inequality sparked interest among members of the Economic cluster on the importance of considering the significance of the environment for economic development. This kind of event could be repeated and expanded with related follow-up meetings to inform on practical implications for stakeholders including the private sector

       2. Lesson Learned CPD Coherance 

The compatibility of the CPD with other interventions in South Sudan to understand whether they support or undermine the programme, and vice versa; incl. internal coherence and external coherence.

Best practices:

  • The CPD echoes the HDP nexus approach and presents an integrated ensemble of programmatic outputs that are coherently interlinked with relevant strategic frameworks including the NDS, UNCF, HRP.
  • UNDP’s activities under CPD Outcome 1 are well articulated with UNMISS’ substantive thematic remit and the working relationship with the Mission is well developed.
  • The revitalization of UNDP’s environmental portfolio filled a previously existing gap.
  • In terms of UNDP’s engagement in addressing the triple nexus with partners other than UNEP, the practice of community level peace agreements between migrant and sedentary communities marks an innovative practice of managing conflict dynamics between cattle herders and peasants. These agreements spare countless lives, given that increasingly cattle herders, vigilante groups and youth militias are carrying arms. This is an area to be considered for continued investment and upscaling.

 

3. Lesson Learned in terms of CPD Effectivness 

Effectiveness: Progress against planned results at output and outcome level.

Best practices:

  • UNDP’s approach to fulfilling is role as chief (co-)convenor/coordinator of crucial processes such as the peace process, constitutional process, NDS planning/design process, humanitarian funding mechanism etc. garnered high marks among respective stakeholders.
  • UNDP is suited as convenor to help UNMISS mobilize a vast array of stakeholders to participate in peacebuilding negotiation track processes.
  • UNDP set up productive partnerships - across both CPD Outcomes and related CPD pillars - with several other UNCT entities including UN Women, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNMISS.  
  • Inter-agency partnerships made possible collaborative efforts to ensure PBF re-eligibility.
  • The CPD is effective in reaching or surpassing Gender-specific sub-targets.

4. Lesson Learned in terms of the CPD's Efficiency 

Efficiency: The degree to which resources (funds, expertise, equipment, time, etc.) provided as inputs were economically used and converted into results.

Best practices:

  • Resource mobilization capacity is strong.
  • Time-bound targets are quite often met early and performance levels not seldom exceed set (final) targets.
  • Gross and net budget absorption capacity reach more than satisfactory rates pretty much across the board.

5. Lesson Learned in terms of the CPD's Sustainability 

Sustainability: The likelihood of successful continuation of programme/project implementation after external development assistance has come to an end.

Best practices:

  • The underlying logic of the capacity building approach used for the GEMS (cascade approach rather than “mirroring”/one-on-one tutoring) appears promising
  • The PIP approach qualifies as best practice that could be replicated on a larger scale to test out innovative solutions
  • Overall, the strategic choice of linking a strong anti-poverty and skills building approach under Outcome 2 with the peacebuilding focus (social cohesion, conflict mitigation and resolution, reconciliation, A2J) of Outcome 1 constitute a sustainable recovery package.

6. Lesson Learned in terms of the CPD's Impact 

Impact: Transformative, structural change at the level of knowledge, attitude, behaviours and practices going deeper than, and beyond, mere surface-level adjustments.

Best practices:

  • Support to the National Dialogue as successful first-ever grass roots consultative process in South Sudan.
  • Support to strengthening the peace infrastructure including the establishment of a ground-breaking conflict early warning and response system.
  • Support to the NDS design leading to the desired result.
  • Improvement of public financial management landscape.
  • UNDP successfully filled its role as convenor of the SSHF.
  • The Aweil Safety Net is a promising example of an HDNP project model and a key candidate for upscaling.. 
  • Initiation of important gender equality and women’s empowerment advancements.
  • UNDP is instrumental in orchestrating the integrated response to the COVID-19 pandemic through coordinating the design and implementation of the SERP.

Findings
1.

Key Findings and Conclusions
A. Key achievements and best practices under the evaluation criterion of CPD relevance included:

  • The CPD is well aligned with South Sudan’s NDS structure and intent;
  • The CPD’s pillar design articulates a solid and robust model of a nexus-inspired mix of strategic interventions;
  • Using the project initiation plan (PIP) modality seems a promising avenue for the South Sudanese context to test out ideas that could be scaled up and blossom into full-fledged programmes if they prove successful.

Related key challenges to be mentioned include: 

  • Conditions are still such that a potential switch from a DIM to NIM modality cannot be considered anytime soon and requires massive investments (way beyond the GEMS initiative designed to support the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) during the transitional period mandated;
  • The difficult terrain and recurrent insecurity are clear operational limitations in terms of geographical/territorial reach among NGOs, CSOs and Government services;
  • The limited geographical area(s) of coverage in terms of rule-of-law, security, justice and corrections, as well as basic social services’ delivery and presence of the Government Authorities is, at the same time, a cause and an effect of the absence of the rule-of-law resulting in lawlessness and protracted armed violence.

B. Coherence-related key achievements and best practices were: 

  • The CPD echoes the HDP nexus approach and presents an integrated ensemble of programmatic outputs that are coherently interlinked with relevant strategic frameworks including the NDS, UNCF, HRP;
  • UNDP’s activities under CPD Outcome 1 are well articulated with UNMISS’ substantive thematic remit and the working relationship with the Mission is well developed;
  • The revitalization of UNDP’s environmental portfolio filled a previously existing gap.

In terms of key challenges, the following was noted:

  • Internal programmatic coherence and related work processes (within UNDP, across internal work units) are not optimal throughout and there seems to be some potential for streamlining programmatic design, in-house communication and the coordination of work flows.
  • While progress in this regard has been registered in the recent past, UNDP still has a tendency to work in internal silos, even within the same project.
  • UNDP is still in the process of rebuilding its former strategic position and reputation as key player in the area of environmental/climate change/renewable energies; and the UN and the country as a whole lost valuable time due to the UNDP CO management’s decision in 2014, to close down its related portfolio and leave the entire responsibility to UNEP.
  • While UNDP has positioned its CPD to build resilience both systemically and socio- economically, structurally the “aid machinery” and related pattern or even culture of funding has been biased in favour of humanitarian activities which limited the relative availability of financial resources for investments into sustainable development.

C. With regard to CPD effectiveness, key achievements and best practices comprised:

  • Overall, the CPD registered above-average progress in implementing activities and achieving set targets at more than satisfactory levels, on average;
  • UNDP’s convenor role was borne out in its ability to help UNMISS mobilize a vast array of stakeholders to participate in peacebuilding negotiation track processes;
  • Across both CPD Outcomes and related CPD pillars, UNDP entered into productive partnerships with a number of other UNCT entities including UN Women, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNMISS;
  • PBF re-eligibility was recently ensured thanks to collaborative efforts made possible through inter-agency partnerships; v. Gender-specific sub-targets were mostly reached if not surpassed.

Effectiveness-related key challenges included:

  • Implementation progress of interventions under CPD Outcome 1 (“Strengthened peace infrastructure and accountable governance at the national, state and local levels”) were significantly hampered by contextual delays to the constitutional and peacebuilding processes beyond the direct influence of the UN, such as the fact that a Government of national Unity could only be formed after lengthy delays, in early 2020, while intercommunal tensions would regularly flare up over recent years and levels of violence were on the rise across the country, in 2020.9
  • The Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the implementation of activities across the board and required adaptive partial retooling of interventions and repurposing of resources, specifically affecting Outputs 1.3. (“Key governance institutions are enabled to perform core functions in line with the New Deal and the outcome of the peace process”) and 1.4.(“Capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Climate Agreement and other international agreements, and to analyse progress towards the Goals, using innovative and data-driven solutions”), in a negative way.
  • The remoteness and lacking infrastructure in the countryside make it difficult for UNDP to ensure an equal reach of its interventions in the geographical sense, and results in a bias towards urban centres and their vicinities. Transport by road or air is difficult and costly due to the poor road network, underdeveloped and expensive air travel, heavy rains causing floods etc. All these factors combined make some of the geographical locations inaccessible, especially. during the rainy season. Furthermore, these factors negatively affect the ability of the UN as a whole to provide services to remote locations which is hence a general challenge in the South Sudanese context.

D. Key achievements and best practices under the evaluation criterion of efficiency include the following observations: 

  • Resource mobilization capacity proved to be strong;
  • Time-bound targets were quite often met early and performance levels often met or in some cases even exceeded set targets;
  • Gross and net budget absorption capacity reached more than satisfactory rates pretty much across the board.

Key Challenges include: 

  • Overall, longer-term development work is still in direct competition with short-term humanitarian support, and there is need for a deeper articulation of HRP design and implementation processes as well as funding flows, vis-à-vis a more sustainable HDPN approach.
  • The South Sudanese operational context is characterized by high costs of doing business due to the compounded effects of high levels of insecurity, the pronounced need to import goods and services including human capacity, the remoteness of many targeted locations compounded by inaccessibility during the rainy season, etc.
  • There are some (relatively minor) concerns regarding the SMARTness of CPD indicator statements and the horizontal coherence between indicator formulations, baseline data and targets.

E. Under the evaluation criterion of sustainability, key achievements and best practices included:

  • The underlying logic of the capacity building approach used for the GEMS (cascade approach rather than “mirroring”/one-on-one tutoring) appears promising;
  • The Project Initiation Plan (PIP) project design modality qualifies as best practice that should be replicated on a larger scale to test out innovative solutions;
  • Overall, the strategic choice of linking a strong anti-poverty and skills building approach under Outcome 2 with the peacebuilding focus (social cohesion, conflict mitigation and resolution, reconciliation, A2J) of Outcome 1 constitute a sustainable recovery package.

Related key challenges were:

  • In the recent past, there was an unfortunate pattern of complete overhaul of civil service staff following changes in political leadership, which negatively affected institutional memory and capacity.
  • The actual level of capacities is sometimes lower than originally assessed, by UNDP, which results in too high a threshold of training interventions that exceeds basic demand and thus created a gap between the bulk of capacity training needs and expectations and the higher-level management training on offer.
  • Limited understanding of programme/project design processes results in limited actual involvement of Government institutions during the design phase, resulting in false expectations and subsequent frustrations among GoSS staff and entities about construed “unmet promises” (examples: GEMS and trade projects). This lowers levels of buy-in and appropriation of GoSS stakeholders and represents a missed opportunity in terms of capacity building. In addition, this creates unnecessary, actually unfounded and thus avoidable friction and frustration between GoSS and UNDP staff.

Recommendations
1

Spell out a coherent architecture of interrelated narrative Theories of Change at the level of CPD Outcomes, Outputs and projects and Fix technical issues with RF indicators (horizontal coherence between statement, baseline, target formulation, metadata etc

2

Capacity development of government, CSO, Juba university and community 

3

Intensify support to the national peacebuilding, reconciliation and constitutional processes in close coordination with UNMISS and deepen existing synergies between programme/project components and interventions in the areas of RoL, DDR, SSR, TJ, Community Security and Arms Control, to support RTGoNU in designing and setting policies, plans, programs, and activities to provide safety, security, and justice to its civilian population

4

Advocate for, and sensitize stakeholders in favour of embracing, a strategic shift to development financing of triple HDN nexus interventions designed to strengthen resilience

5

Strengthen the application of the human rights-based approach (HRBA) as one of the five UN programming principles. Improving the quality of this process would allow UNDP to more clearly demonstrate how it is contributing to the realisation of human rights through its different units, portfolios and projects

1. Recommendation:

Spell out a coherent architecture of interrelated narrative Theories of Change at the level of CPD Outcomes, Outputs and projects and Fix technical issues with RF indicators (horizontal coherence between statement, baseline, target formulation, metadata etc

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/14]

UNDP appreciates the recommendation and will make sure the next CPD phase incorporate the feedback  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Design coherent architecture of interrelated narrative Theories of Change at the level of CPD Outcomes, Outputs and projects during the new CPD design (2023-2025)
[Added: 2021/12/14]
DRRP 2024/05 Not Initiated
Design the IRRF of the new CPD in a coherent manner from baseline to target.
[Added: 2021/12/14]
PMSU Team Leader 2024/05 Not Initiated
2. Recommendation:

Capacity development of government, CSO, Juba university and community 

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/14]

UNDP notes the recommendation and will intensify its capacity building support at different levels  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Scale up on-going investment into strengthening the technical, financial and RBM/M&E capacity of partner CSOs
[Added: 2021/12/14]
DRRP/PMs 2025/12 Not Initiated
Ensure participation of Government institutions in program/project implementation esp. at the initial design of needs assessments, design stage, costing etc.) to ensure buy-in and build related technical capacities
[Added: 2021/12/14]
DRRP/PMs 2024/12 Not Initiated
Expand and deepen the relative scope and weight of the University of Juba (School of Public Service, Institute of Peace and Security Studies, NTLI etc.) in policy research and capacity building of public sector institutions, including Ministries and Parliament, beyond currently existing levels
[Added: 2021/12/14]
DRRP/PMs 2025/12 Not Initiated
Introduce access to start-up capital through micro-credit scheme for training course graduates
[Added: 2021/12/14]
DRRP/PMs 2025/12 Not Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Intensify support to the national peacebuilding, reconciliation and constitutional processes in close coordination with UNMISS and deepen existing synergies between programme/project components and interventions in the areas of RoL, DDR, SSR, TJ, Community Security and Arms Control, to support RTGoNU in designing and setting policies, plans, programs, and activities to provide safety, security, and justice to its civilian population

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/14]

UNDP has taken note of this recommendation and will work to increase collaboration and continue providing policy support for key RoL and Peacebuilding Insinuations   

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strengthen strategic collaboration with UNMISS and support the national and state infrastructure for peace
[Added: 2021/12/14]
DRRP/ PaCC PM 2025/12 Not Initiated
Support the constitutional making process
[Added: 2021/12/14]
DRRP/A2J PM/ GEMS PM 2025/12 Not Initiated
Increase collaboration between RoL and Peace building institutions and support the design and setting policies, plans, programs, and activities to provide safety, security, and justice to its civilian population
[Added: 2021/12/14]
DRRP/ PaCC PM/ A2J PM 2025/12 Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Advocate for, and sensitize stakeholders in favour of embracing, a strategic shift to development financing of triple HDN nexus interventions designed to strengthen resilience

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/14]

UNDP appreciates the recommendation and will work to include HDPN in programming and advocate to influence   UNCT on same

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Actively participate in UNCT and working groups and advocate for HDPN
[Added: 2021/12/14]
RR/DRRP 2025/12 Not Initiated
Incorporate HDPN approach in livelihood and recovery interventions
[Added: 2021/12/14]
PMs 2025/12 Not Initiated
Provide policy and technical support for UNCT on HDPN
[Added: 2021/12/14]
RR/DRRP/Economic Advisor 2025/12 Not Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Strengthen the application of the human rights-based approach (HRBA) as one of the five UN programming principles. Improving the quality of this process would allow UNDP to more clearly demonstrate how it is contributing to the realisation of human rights through its different units, portfolios and projects

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/14]

UNDP appreciates the recommendation and will boost the human right approach in program design and implementation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Use HRBA in the design and implementation of the next CPD and all projects of the CO
[Added: 2021/12/14]
RR/DRRP/ PMs 2025/12 Not Initiated

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