Strengthening Decentralized Governance in Kiribati (Kiribati)

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2008-2012, Fiji
Evaluation Type:
Project
Planned End Date:
04/2008
Completion Date:
07/2008
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
020

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Title Strengthening Decentralized Governance in Kiribati (Kiribati)
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2008-2012, Fiji
Evaluation Type: Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 07/2008
Planned End Date: 04/2008
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Democratic Governance
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
Evaluation Budget(US $): 020
Source of Funding:
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Ma. Antonina B. Ortega Team Leader
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: FIJI
Comments: Multi-Country project evaluation done in Tuvalu and Kiribati
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 The project intervention continues to be highly relevant and, within the limitations of available resources, UNDP should continue its assistance in support of local governance.
2 Given the importance of island profiles in developing the proposed outer island strategic development plans, it is recommended that the completion of the 22 island profiles be given priority until the project ends in June 2008. Closer coordination and sharing of task with the RPD is imperative to ensure completion of the 22 island profiles. Once the island profiles are completed, maintenance and regular updating of said profiles should be undertaken by RPD, in coordination with the Statistics Office and respective Island Councils.
3 With reference to Phase 2, it is worth considering how the island profiles can be linked to the development of a 5-year MDG-based strategic development plan for each of the outer islands, in line with Kiribati?s planning-budgeting cycle. Careful study should be conducted on how the proposed 5-year Strategic Plan can be linked to Kiribati?s NDS to ensure that the priorities identified in the OI is considered in the respective sectoral plans, and in the overall national plan. Moreover, the proposed 5-year Strategic Plan should be linked to the ICOP, which can be the basis for the Island Council?s annual budgetary allocations.
4 Despite the weaknesses, the revised LGA should be seen as an opportunity to implement changes and improve governance in the outer islands. One of the key changes in the Act includes the forthcoming island-based elections for Councilors which is scheduled in August 2008. It is therefore important for UNDP to seize this development opportunity and invest in civic education and awareness building campaigns as a means of empowering civil society to vote for the right leaders. This will also be an opportunity to encourage women to participate in the elections.
5 Continued advocacy for strengthening the LGA should be sustained through pilot interventions in selected outer islands, research and documentation and continuous dialogue between local and central government to address the earlier identified issues. The project should also establish closer linkage with NZAid?s Sustainable Town?s Program as it will also look into developing appropriate policy and legal frameworks in support of local development, albeit urban.
6 With reference to the Small Grants Scheme, further study and consultation with relevant government agencies and donors need to be undertaken to ensure funding commitment should Government decide to pursue this initiative. UNDP should sustain the initiatives undertaken by the Project Manual Review Taskforce in further strengthening the study on project planning procedures and systems. This is highly relevant to UNDP?s support to the GoK?s Aid Management Strategy.
7 Still with reference to the SGS, review the experience of UNDP (including UNCDF) with the provision of seed grants in local governance projects and consider the merits of a seed grant component for pilot island councils. Such a component could provide an entry point for development of the capacity to deliver devolved services (i.e. health and education) and to test the potential for fiscal decentralization.
8 For long term United Nations Volunteers (UNVs), the project should provide for at least one month intensive language and culture introductory course prior to commencement of their job. A feedback mechanism to monitor UNV?s performance should be operationalized.
9 Review and expand composition of the Island Development Committee (IDC) to include representatives from various sectors on the island. Alternatively, it would be worth considering expanding the IC membership to include representatives from other sectors of the community and use it as a mechanism for development planning.
10 Review existing organizational structure of MISA and Island Councils to make it more responsive to Outer Island needs. This should also be linked to NZAid?s Sustainable Towns Program.
11 The project should supplement the ToT approach with frequent monitoring visits, mentoring, coaching and hands-on training to ensure that the knowledge and skills are transferred and applied.
12 Strive to address the gaps presented as part of the findings, including: a.Poor information management and communication system at both local and central level; b.Limited access to accurate and reliable information; c.Weak monitoring, including financial monitoring, of outer island plans, budget and projects.
13 Develop clear Terms of Reference, policies and administrative guidelines for the different actors involved in the project in order to define each individual?s roles and responsibilities and avoid conflicts between and among them.
14 To improve coordination and support to the project, it is proposed that a management committee within MISA be established to oversee implementation of the remaining project activities. This shall be headed by the Permanent Secretary and be comprised of heads from the LGD, RPD, SWD and SDGIK.
15 One pressing issue to be addressed is the promotion of the previous Project Manager as Deputy Secretary of MISA. Technically, there is no PM for the project at present. Given the need to complete activities and achieve project objectives by June 2008, MISA needs to address this issue immediately.
16 Define and implement a strategy for participation of key stakeholders including local governments and CSO representatives in the formulation of the Phase 2 project (e.g. stakeholder workshops to elaborate on the proposal, consultations, etc.) to promote stronger project ownership and commitment among stakeholders.
17 Ensure consistency in the design in terms of strategies being operationalized with the outcomes and outputs in the project?s results framework, and clear linkages between outputs and outcome(s) being identified. Further develop SMART indicators at output and outcome levels which will enable monitoring of progress.
18 Support central capacity to develop macro policies and strategic interventions for promotion of decentralization primarily based on field-level experiences. This would translate to development of operational policies supporting decentralized governance (e.g. rules and regulations, guidelines, systems and procedures) through a process of piloting interventions, generating lessons learned, supporting the process of incorporating the lessons learned, and finally replication and expansion
19 Define and implement a strategy for strengthening demand for good governance. Future interventions should focus on building organizational capacities of civil society, particularly the youth and women groups in the outer islands, equipping them with leadership and advocacy skills so they may be empowered to demand for their rights from their local governments. This will enable them to participate meaningfully in the overall island governance. Culture and tradition should be carefully considered in designing the strategy.
20 Design the new project with a strategy for capacity development going beyond the individual level to focus also on institutional/organizational level. It should have both a supply-driven component providing a package of capacity building interventions and a demand driven component that would enable the local governments to obtain support reflecting their specific needs. The basic package may include but not limited to building capacities in planning-budgeting, particularly in developing a 5-year strategic island development plans that are linked to national plans and strategies; strengthening information management, financial management and monitoring capacities.
21 For Phase 2, it would be important to explore during the design stage how to strengthen the coordination of the next UNDP supported project and the NZAID project given that the proposed project interventions especially those that aim to strengthen the capacity of MISA and introduce changes in the planning and budgeting system of island councils are linked to the broader decentralization process and to the reforms on urban councils that NZAID aims to support.
22 In terms of management structure, one option that UNDP may consider is the attachment of technical advisers to respective divisions instead of establishing a separate project management unit. This would foster better coordination among divisions and facilitate skills transfer in a more sustainable manner. A Project Management Committee within MISA headed by the Permanent Secretary and composed of the different division heads, representatives from the local government and CSOs should be established to oversee the implementation of the project. The OIPCC or DCC can be the mechanism for coordinating interagency initiatives for the outer islands.
23 In order to develop greater synergy and greater impact it is also suggested that envisaged support to traditional authorities and CSOs under the 2nd phase project be coordinated with the UNDP Pacific Centre which similarly is in the process of supporting initiatives along this line.
1. Recommendation: The project intervention continues to be highly relevant and, within the limitations of available resources, UNDP should continue its assistance in support of local governance.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree. UNDP accepts this recommendation; however future interventions will depend on the availability of cost-sharing commitment from Government and other development partners

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to continue consultations with Government to identify scope and design of phase 2.
[Added: 2010/01/27]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/10 Completed
2. Recommendation: Given the importance of island profiles in developing the proposed outer island strategic development plans, it is recommended that the completion of the 22 island profiles be given priority until the project ends in June 2008. Closer coordination and sharing of task with the RPD is imperative to ensure completion of the 22 island profiles. Once the island profiles are completed, maintenance and regular updating of said profiles should be undertaken by RPD, in coordination with the Statistics Office and respective Island Councils.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree: Production of island profiles has already been given priority in the final months of the project, with 8 island profiles completed in draft form by June 2008. The Ministry of Internal and Social Affairs (MISA) has undertaken to complete production of the highest priority island profiles using its own resources.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to support MISA to develop plan to complete high priority profiles within its own resources. UNDP to discuss with MISA the process for maintenance and updating of island profiles and to discuss with the Ministry of National Planning and other development partners (SPC) the integration of information gathered through the Island Profiling in the development of national plans.
[Added: 2010/01/27]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/09 Completed
3. Recommendation: With reference to Phase 2, it is worth considering how the island profiles can be linked to the development of a 5-year MDG-based strategic development plan for each of the outer islands, in line with Kiribati?s planning-budgeting cycle. Careful study should be conducted on how the proposed 5-year Strategic Plan can be linked to Kiribati?s NDS to ensure that the priorities identified in the OI is considered in the respective sectoral plans, and in the overall national plan. Moreover, the proposed 5-year Strategic Plan should be linked to the ICOP, which can be the basis for the Island Council?s annual budgetary allocations.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree in principle. Island Counsellors now have 4 year terms, which has the potential to encourage better medium-term planning. Phase 2 could build capacity of Island Councils to develop their own strategic plans that align with the Ministry Operational Plan (MOP) and the Kiribati Development Plan (KDP).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to incorporate strategic plan development into the design of phase 2.
[Added: 2010/01/27]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/10 Completed
4. Recommendation: Despite the weaknesses, the revised LGA should be seen as an opportunity to implement changes and improve governance in the outer islands. One of the key changes in the Act includes the forthcoming island-based elections for Councilors which is scheduled in August 2008. It is therefore important for UNDP to seize this development opportunity and invest in civic education and awareness building campaigns as a means of empowering civil society to vote for the right leaders. This will also be an opportunity to encourage women to participate in the elections.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Disagree. While it is recognised that civic education is a critical component of strengthening local governance it is the role of the Government to identify this as a priority and lead the process with support from UNDP, rather than a donor-driven process. This point was made in initial feedback to the evaluator. Further, the IC elections fall after the closure of phase 1 so there is no clear mechanism for UNDP support in this area.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation: Continued advocacy for strengthening the LGA should be sustained through pilot interventions in selected outer islands, research and documentation and continuous dialogue between local and central government to address the earlier identified issues. The project should also establish closer linkage with NZAid?s Sustainable Town?s Program as it will also look into developing appropriate policy and legal frameworks in support of local development, albeit urban.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Disagree. The concept of pilot interventions on particular islands has merit but given that the project is entering the second phase it is unlikely that pilot projects can be completed and replicated within 3 years. The NZAid and UNDP projects are complementary but have different focuses and therefore linkages are not envisaged, other than to ensure there is no duplication.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation: With reference to the Small Grants Scheme, further study and consultation with relevant government agencies and donors need to be undertaken to ensure funding commitment should Government decide to pursue this initiative. UNDP should sustain the initiatives undertaken by the Project Manual Review Taskforce in further strengthening the study on project planning procedures and systems. This is highly relevant to UNDP?s support to the GoK?s Aid Management Strategy.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Disagree. UNDP has reservations about the sustainability of the Small Grants Scheme and as an alternative is prepared to assist Government to re-examine the concept of a Trust Fund which would provide an ongoing source of funds for the Island Councils. MISA has undertaken to complete the Project Manual using its own resources after the closure of the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to explore the possibility of including research on a Trust Fund concept as part of phase 2.
[Added: 2010/01/27]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/10 Completed
7. Recommendation: Still with reference to the SGS, review the experience of UNDP (including UNCDF) with the provision of seed grants in local governance projects and consider the merits of a seed grant component for pilot island councils. Such a component could provide an entry point for development of the capacity to deliver devolved services (i.e. health and education) and to test the potential for fiscal decentralization.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Disagree. Devolution of major services such as health and education is not necessarily the desired outcome of strengthening local governance in Kiribati, given capacity issues and diseconomies of scale faced by Island Councils. Rather, the aim is to equip Island Councils to identify, plan and deliver projects and services in areas where an island-level approach is beneficial

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation: For long term United Nations Volunteers (UNVs), the project should provide for at least one month intensive language and culture introductory course prior to commencement of their job. A feedback mechanism to monitor UNV?s performance should be operationalized.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Disagree. UNVs are hired primarily to encourage volunteerism and promote skills transfer. However, based on the experience of this project, the recruitment of national staff for project roles should be attempted wherever possible. The need for international expertise may be fulfilled by short-term contractors at strategic junctures of the project, rather than International UNVs.

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation: Review and expand composition of the Island Development Committee (IDC) to include representatives from various sectors on the island. Alternatively, it would be worth considering expanding the IC membership to include representatives from other sectors of the community and use it as a mechanism for development planning.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree in principle. However, it is the Governments prerogative to review/expand the composition ? not UNDP as a development partner.

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation: Review existing organizational structure of MISA and Island Councils to make it more responsive to Outer Island needs. This should also be linked to NZAid?s Sustainable Towns Program.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree in part. UNDP agrees in principle to the organisational review should this be identified as a need by Government. A more coherent and integrated approach to capacity development for the ICs is well-recognised need, and a review of organisational structures would assist in this process. However, UNDP disagrees that close linkages with the NZAid project are necessary or desirable.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Review of organisational structure to be scoped as part of phase 2 design.
[Added: 2010/01/27]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/10 Completed
11. Recommendation: The project should supplement the ToT approach with frequent monitoring visits, mentoring, coaching and hands-on training to ensure that the knowledge and skills are transferred and applied.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree. The need for additional funding for this purpose has been expressed by MISA. However, the aim of this intensified capacity development should be to create long-term sustainability, rather than continuing to rely on MISA visits.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
More frequent island visits to be proposed as part of phase 2.
[Added: 2010/01/27]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/09 Completed
12. Recommendation: Strive to address the gaps presented as part of the findings, including: a.Poor information management and communication system at both local and central level; b.Limited access to accurate and reliable information; c.Weak monitoring, including financial monitoring, of outer island plans, budget and projects.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree in part. The need is noted by UNDP, however ITC capacity or communications issues should be part of Government?s priority infrastructure development which can be facilitated through other donors. UNDP?s interventions focus more on policy and capacity development. Financial monitoring could be addressed as part of phase 2 if this is identified as a priority by Government.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP to explore addressing financial monitoring in phase 2
[Added: 2010/01/27]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/10 Completed
13. Recommendation: Develop clear Terms of Reference, policies and administrative guidelines for the different actors involved in the project in order to define each individual?s roles and responsibilities and avoid conflicts between and among them.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree. Terms of Reference will be developed for project staff in accordance with UNDP requirements.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
In phase 2, Terms of Reference to be developed for project staff
[Added: 2010/01/27]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/10 Completed
14. Recommendation: To improve coordination and support to the project, it is proposed that a management committee within MISA be established to oversee implementation of the remaining project activities. This shall be headed by the Permanent Secretary and be comprised of heads from the LGD, RPD, SWD and SDGIK.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Disagree. With the project closing in June, there is not sufficient time to implement a new project management structure. However, this can be considered for the next phase, as per recommendation 22.

Key Actions:

15. Recommendation: One pressing issue to be addressed is the promotion of the previous Project Manager as Deputy Secretary of MISA. Technically, there is no PM for the project at present. Given the need to complete activities and achieve project objectives by June 2008, MISA needs to address this issue immediately.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Disagree. With the project closing in June, the Deputy Secretary of MISA (former Project Manager) is overseeing the implementation of the remaining outputs

Key Actions:

16. Recommendation: Define and implement a strategy for participation of key stakeholders including local governments and CSO representatives in the formulation of the Phase 2 project (e.g. stakeholder workshops to elaborate on the proposal, consultations, etc.) to promote stronger project ownership and commitment among stakeholders.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree. It will be critical to consult widely in the design process for the phase 2 project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Consultation strategy for phase 2 design to be developed
[Added: 2010/01/27]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/07 Completed
17. Recommendation: Ensure consistency in the design in terms of strategies being operationalized with the outcomes and outputs in the project?s results framework, and clear linkages between outputs and outcome(s) being identified. Further develop SMART indicators at output and outcome levels which will enable monitoring of progress.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree. UNDPs project design has evolved and project designs comply with UNDP?s Results Based Management (RBM) and Prince 2 guidelines. Phase 2 project design will include SMART indicators. Substantive changes to the project outputs will only occur with formal agreement by the Project Board, and will be reflected in an amended project document.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP corporate requirements to be applied in design and implementation of phase
[Added: 2010/01/27]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/10 Completed
18. Recommendation: Support central capacity to develop macro policies and strategic interventions for promotion of decentralization primarily based on field-level experiences. This would translate to development of operational policies supporting decentralized governance (e.g. rules and regulations, guidelines, systems and procedures) through a process of piloting interventions, generating lessons learned, supporting the process of incorporating the lessons learned, and finally replication and expansion
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree in principle. This recommendation is general in scope and is captured within other recommendations.

Key Actions:

19. Recommendation: Define and implement a strategy for strengthening demand for good governance. Future interventions should focus on building organizational capacities of civil society, particularly the youth and women groups in the outer islands, equipping them with leadership and advocacy skills so they may be empowered to demand for their rights from their local governments. This will enable them to participate meaningfully in the overall island governance. Culture and tradition should be carefully considered in designing the strategy.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree in principle. The need for broader participation in Island governance is recognised by UNDP. However, it is envisaged that as in the past, other development partners will taken the lead in providing these services. Building demand needs to be done sensitively in the light of island councils?s limited capacity to deliver.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strategy for supporting strengthening demand for better governance to be included in phase 2 design process
[Added: 2010/01/27]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/10 Completed
20. Recommendation: Design the new project with a strategy for capacity development going beyond the individual level to focus also on institutional/organizational level. It should have both a supply-driven component providing a package of capacity building interventions and a demand driven component that would enable the local governments to obtain support reflecting their specific needs. The basic package may include but not limited to building capacities in planning-budgeting, particularly in developing a 5-year strategic island development plans that are linked to national plans and strategies; strengthening information management, financial management and monitoring capacities.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Noted. Each of the components of this recommendation is captured in other recommendations.

Key Actions:

21. Recommendation: For Phase 2, it would be important to explore during the design stage how to strengthen the coordination of the next UNDP supported project and the NZAID project given that the proposed project interventions especially those that aim to strengthen the capacity of MISA and introduce changes in the planning and budgeting system of island councils are linked to the broader decentralization process and to the reforms on urban councils that NZAID aims to support.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Disagree. As per recommendations 5 and 10.

Key Actions:

22. Recommendation: In terms of management structure, one option that UNDP may consider is the attachment of technical advisers to respective divisions instead of establishing a separate project management unit. This would foster better coordination among divisions and facilitate skills transfer in a more sustainable manner. A Project Management Committee within MISA headed by the Permanent Secretary and composed of the different division heads, representatives from the local government and CSOs should be established to oversee the implementation of the project. The OIPCC or DCC can be the mechanism for coordinating interagency initiatives for the outer islands.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Disagree. This suggested modality cannot be agreed to before more detailed scoping of phase 2 is completed. It would be beyond the capacity of this project to hire Technical Advisors in Ministries as well as provide policy advice to the local governments. The composition of the Project Board will comply with UNDPs corporate requirements.

Key Actions:

23. Recommendation: In order to develop greater synergy and greater impact it is also suggested that envisaged support to traditional authorities and CSOs under the 2nd phase project be coordinated with the UNDP Pacific Centre which similarly is in the process of supporting initiatives along this line.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/12/17]

Agree in Principle. This recommendation cannot be agreed to until the proposed Pacific Centre project is designed.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Further consultation to be undertaken with the Pacific Centre.
[Added: 2010/01/28]
UNDP Governance Team 2008/10 Completed

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