Development of Inter-communal partnerships for peace building and reconciliation

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2008-2012, Cyprus
Evaluation Type:
Outcome
Planned End Date:
05/2010
Completion Date:
07/2010
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
20,000

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Title Development of Inter-communal partnerships for peace building and reconciliation
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2008-2012, Cyprus
Evaluation Type: Outcome
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 07/2010
Planned End Date: 05/2010
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Crisis Prevention & Recovery
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. National and local institutions have the capacity to deliver improved justice and security, including safeguarding citizen security, in conflict-affected settings
  • 2. Peacebuilding and reconciliation
Evaluation Budget(US $): 20,000
Source of Funding:
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Ciprus Vesna Team Leader
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: CYPRUS
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 i. Update Communications and reach out to partners to deepen their understanding of the ACT II logic of intervention; ii. Establish an informal advisory group and gather CSO partners for regular consultations; iii. Establish a civil society agenda for reconciliation and establish closer links with civil society actors outside ACT II; iv. Reach across the aisle to include actors that are not so open for peacebuilding initiatives and the idea of joint future for the two communities in Cyprus; v. Support ACT team and recognise the stress arising from operational, social and political pressures, especially for local staff.
2 Not applicable.
3 Engage - grants: It would be necessary to re-think the concept of networking and to acknowledge the difficulties that the Project is facing in locating the CSOs that would engage in networking under the Project umbrella. In addition to the support for networking, ad hoc coalitions should be supported, focusing on specific issues that are pertinent to the peace negotiations and peace building process. - Engage / CIVICUS: Ensure that information on follow up of the first Civicus research is captured and shared. Use lessons learnt to improve development of an Action Plan based on the research and monitor its implementation. Organise a workshop to review the current Action Plan from the 1st Civicus research. Identify outstanding issues and ensure that the Action Plan, which is the integral part of the methodology, is developed with the full awareness that it needs to be implemented and monitored. Print a brief version of the Second Civicus research findings with a clear and doable Action Plan. Establish M/ E framework from the outset and allocate the appropriate funding for monitoring and the implementation of the activities. - Implementing partners in Engage (NGO Support Centre and Management Centre): Support their capacity building and diversifying donor base in order to strengthen their capacity to support other CSOs in both communities. Distribute information on donors and actively engage in advocacy to support civil society in both communities and their constructive involvement in the peace process and peace building / reconciliation in multiple scenarios / outcomes of the peace process.
4 Cyprus Community Media Centre / CCMC - Support CCMC staff in conveying the message to other Project partners what kind of services can be expected from CCMC. Relieve pressure on staff to provide on demand advice on a short notice to CSOs participating in ACT II and provide communications related services. The idea is that CCMC should build the capacity of other CSOs to develop their communication strategies, rather than acting as their service for work with the media. - Ensure that the ?growing pains? of this young Project are well managed and that the knowledge related to this growth is captured, as it may be relevant for the similar projects aiming to support the establishment of the community media in CEE and the CIS.
5 Interdependence for Sustainable Development - Recognise that the Chambers of Commerce are CSOs , but of a different nature compared to other CSOs involved in the ACT II programme. Acknowledge their internal procedures and take these procedures into account when planning for the activities. - Insist on quality control, however discuss and reach an agreement on how some procedures can become quicker (for example drafting and publication of press releases) without jeopardising the quality and UNDP ACT II reputation. - Capitalise on the Project focus which has a distinctive feature as it is oriented towards the economic issues. This Project is an ideal window of opportunity to reach broader range of groups and people that are not ?the usual suspects?. - Recognise the specific value of the Project since Chambers of commerce exist for many years and they are constituency based, serving primarily the interest of their members and not donors (while many CSOs are pushed to comply with donors? agendas and sometimes put this first and the needs of their constituencies come second.) In words of one interviewee ?We are the big window for even bigger segments of the society? ... ?We have 3,000 members and they constitute 80% of tax payers in TCC. It may be difficult for us to make a move, but once we do ? the impact is very significant.? - The potential impact of this project should be recognised as very significant. It is including a variety of people that can be sensitised to peaceful solution for Cyprus and motivated by trade and the potential economic gains. However, there is another side of the coin that needs to be recognised, as there will be both losers and winners in the growing trade (or any other scenario, such as embargo, reduced trade etc.). Research is needed to identify potential losers and mitigate the negative impact as it could exacerbate poverty and negatively influence peace process. - Advocating for Green Line trade is not risk-free. In case of conflicts related to trade, a mediation mechanism should be in place. This is being taken care of already by the Chambers, with support from EDGE, though the creation of the arbitration centre. - The film which is based on a futuristic scenario ? how Cyprus will hypothetically be changed by trade and how it will look like in 2030 ? should be considered as a good example how highlighting the positive aspects of trade through the film can be used in similar contexts. Explore potential for creating a knowledge product, by capturing the details of creating a movie and its impact. - Strongly support greater cooperation with other Projects within ACT II and beyond, since at the moment the awareness of synergies seems weak. Consider the opportunity to introduce a hybrid model such as social entrepreneurship that brings closer together CSOs and business actors.
6 Youth Activism - Recognise peculiar situation that the youth are educated in two different systems and there is an enormous generation gap in understanding the past conflict in Cyprus and the deep wounds it left in both communities. Emphasise the importance of work with youth and mainstream youth issues in all other projects (it can be done in a similar / same way as gender mainstreaming). - In the same vein, bring this project closer together with the other projects. It is also important to coordinate closely with other youth focused projects, especially with those funded by the EU. - Facilitate exchange of experience in the region ? there is a lot in common with other frozen conflicts in the region (e.g. Serbian and Albanian youth). - Scenario planning is of utmost importance for this Project as some of the participants highlighted that, in the case of creation of two states on the territory of the island, their peace-building work would be over. - Most youth organisations exist for a long time and are based on volunteer work. Therefore the issue of sustainability may not be a burning one, however these organisations need support with diversifying their donor base and also support for stronger networking with their European peers.
7 Multiperspectivity and Intercultural Dialogue in Education / MIDE - Provide the temporary hands-on support to the Project due to staff turnover and the weak capacity of the Board to provide strategic support and steer Project?s activities. - Hire external management consultant to work with the Board and the Project team in order to determine clear delineation between strategic / steering and day-to-day management function. - This Project needs extra support for capacity building (consider support by Engage) given the significant project funded by other donors that is in pipe-line. - There is a lot of scope for learning from similar experience in the region related to history teaching ? it is recommended to facilitate contact and exchange of experience with similar organisations in the Western Balkans (former Yugoslav Republics).
8 Cyprus 2015 - This Project needs support to develop to the next level and become a think-tank. Facilitation of contacts with similar organisations in the region is recommended. - Diversifying donor base is of utmost importance, given high dependence of this Project on Interpeace, which is about to discontinue their activities due to the lack of donor funding. - Members of the Project should be supported to promote their research results. However the understanding is needed that the impact of some activities may come sometime down the line. In words of one focus participant who quoted Butros Gali ?It is important to give time the time.? - As with other Projects, support is needed to see the space for greater cooperation within ACT II and beyond. Participatory research conducted by Cyprus 2020 can be used to contribute to other Projects, and ideas for participatory research should come from the practitioners working in other projects (for example research on brain drain, or research on both positive and negative impact of Green line trade on certain groups of women and men in both communities etc.).
9 Cultural Heritage Preservation Circle - This Project has significant potential for gathering relevant knowledge that can be used in Cyprus and elsewhere (see under 3.2.2. for more detailed recommendations on knowledge sharing). - It is of extreme importance to support the scenario planning in this Project, especially with the view of the recent election results in TCC. - In areas where Project activities can expand / continue, it is important to include in-kind contribution of communities. - Timely explanation of Project activities and inclusion of quick wins is of extreme importance of the acceptance of communities and project success. - Stronger links with cultural heritage agenda promoted by UNESCO should be supported, as well as diversification of donor base for the Project.
10 Recommendations related to knowledge management  There is a scope to further improve knowledge harvesting practices, from the modified RRFs to ad hoc knowledge capturing activities and innovative actions. Identifying opportunities for learning should take into consideration that learning takes place in the situations when people attempt to transfer their knowledge ? in order to be able transfer their experience they need to systematize it first.  Knowledge sharing among Projects should be facilitated through half-day workshops on a quarterly basis. Alternatively, local consultants (external to projects) should be hired to facilitate focus groups and support reflecting on lessons learnt. This activity can provide further opportunity for inter-communal cooperation as facilitators can come for the ?opposite? community.  The development of How-to Guides and other selected knowledge products (for example on lessons learned through the Cultural Heritage Project or the experience related to supporting the community media in its early phases) should be discussed with the BRC Capacity Building Practice and their support used to develop the products.  USAID remains to be the main partner and donor for the programme. Learning from ACT II is relevant not only for ACT II team and partners, but might be very relevant both for UNDP and USAID regionally and globally. Thus, producing a number of case studies tailored to the needs of UNDP corporate learning practices should be considered.
11 General recommendations: - There is a wealth of experience generated through small grants programme within ACT Phase One. Partners implementing the small grants programme should benefit from that experience, rather than learning from scratch. This is especially important given the labour intensive nature of the small grants programme, which could affect negatively the capacity of the partner organisations (too much staff time taken by grants programme). ACT II staff should ?hand-over? their experience in administering small grants to their partners in Engage Project and Interdependence. - While it is important to be aware of sensitivities and carefully assess the risks in engaging in ?hot topics? such as property related issues, UNDP ACT II should jointly with partners take a calculated risk and identify at least one more issue (in addition to the discussion on federalism) that is highly relevant to the peace process. The issue of property should not be excluded, since it brings high risk, but also high impact and visibility. Some new issues, such as, for example, brain drain and its impact on reconciliation, or sustainable development issues pertinent for Cyprus could be tackled. The list of high impact and medium to low risk potential topics should be identified and at least one high impact / high visibility topic included in the programme (Engage seems to be the best Project to take the calculated risk and tackle some of the hot topics, but ideally the majority or all projects should be included). Other examples include two topics that the project 2015 is focusing on ? Sustainable development and Daily life. - Given the possibility that the USAID funding may discontinue after 2011, scenario planning needs to take place, building on the process that has already started. A wide range of scenarios (including the most unlikely ones such as renewed hostilities or creation of the two independent states) should be taken into account. Although some possibilities for the continuation of the programme may exist, there is no funding secured beyond 2011. Planning for the exit strategy needs to start immediately and a comprehensive document / strategy should be developed till the end of 2010 the latest. - While the focus should be on sustainability of the action beyond 2011 and the improved capturing of knowledge generated through programme action, there are other important issues to be taken into account ? which are internal to UNDP ACT. In planning the exit strategy, all key aspects should be taken into account ? donors and partners have key importance, but also internal staff arrangements and operational issues. - Continuation of engagement with the US Government and the USAID is highly recommended, given a longstanding relationship and USAID support for peacebuilding efforts in Cyprus. It is important to lobby USAID to continue funding for peacebuilding activities as the need for civil society engagement is likely to increase as the peacebuilding negotiations progress towards possible settlement. - Even in the ideal (unlikely) scenario that the peace settlement is negotiated in short / medium term, there are many concerns related to sustainability of the CSO partners and their action. Ideally, UNDP ACT II should continue (in some transformed form and based on the learning that is taking place through the current programme implementation). However, if this is not possible, UNDP ACT should take an active role in advocacy for funding of bi-communal peace building initiatives after the programme closure. Key partners to engage with are internal to UNDP (BRC, BCPR) and external ? the EU being the most important one. It is important to engage with the EU at the Brussels level to contribute to the EU planning processes related to the support for the civil society in Cyprus. Engage with the EU at the Brussels level in close coordination with BRC. - In discussing the best options for the exit strategy or the continuation of the programme, use the opportunity to consult with the UN high officials who have the institutional memory of peacebuilding processes in the past. It may be a good idea to organise a conference where all the experienced people with the institutional memory could help to capture important learning that happened in peacebuilding efforts in Cyprus over the years. - While some projects require hands-on support (and it is also defined by the implementation modality ? DEX) it is important to gradually build partners? capacity for greater / full independence. Therefore highly participatory decision making is recommended, as well as a prompt establishment of the Civil Society Advisory Committee (CSAC). Difficulties with the functioning of CSACs in general should not represent a barrier to this action. To start with, the informal meetings (such as working breakfasts) can be organised on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis. Develop the TOR for the CSAC using the simplest criterion for CSAC membership - the participation in implementing ACT II. Organise meetings on a regular basis, with a very clear agenda and use CSAC as a vehicle for consultation and fostering greater independence of partners in decision making. - Given that the peacebuilding work through and with CSOs represents a trade-mark of ACT II Programme, the emphasis on bi-communal work should remain. However, the work should go beyond the ?usual suspects? and engage with groups that are not ?converted?. Take into consideration partners? message that some key issues related to the peace process can be mono-communal, or should start as mono-communal and then develop to bi-communal activities. Negotiate with the donor the possibility to allocate up to 20% of the total amount for grants that are given through the Engage and Interdependence projects for innovative projects. Allow for highly rated mono-communal projects to be considered for funding. Earmark the portion of funds for the innovative small projects and develop a clear set of criteria for grant allocation, favouring bi-communal activities but allowing funding for mono-communal activities if they have a high potential for impact on peace building. For example, focus on multiculturalism would help to shift from the bi-polar picture of the conflict to the issues of multiculturalism that are ?simmering? below the surface and that may also have a high conflict potential once the ?main? conflict is resolved (for example the issue of migrant workers in both communities, rights of LGBT population etc.) - Most of the projects need time to demonstrate results. Therefore it is important to include some ?quick wins? to show some results early in the implementation process. Capture ?small tips? that can sometimes have ?make or break? significance for the projects. Guided focus group discussions are the best tool to capture this kind of knowledge. The format for Action Reflection Note can be used to write down the lessons and circulate them as appropriate. - The design of ACT II is sophisticated and all projects have significant potential to achieve multiplier effect through greater collaboration. This process needs to be kick-started by UNDP ACT staff. Use the opportunity at the earliest convenience (eg. the upcoming retreat) to organise presentations of all projects and urge partners to think about cooperation and synergies with all other projects that are included in ACT II. Invite partners to the retreat and provide them with a template for presentations to ensure that synergies among projects are recognised and an action plan for greater cooperation developed after the retreat. Use simple visual tools and link Projects to the areas covered by the ACT II Programme. - Modify reporting formats (RRFs) to include more qualitative information and ensure that all reports are available to all project partners . - While it is important to stick to the contractual obligations and produce results within the envisaged time-frame, it is also important to be flexible. Partners should be supported to provide timely and clear justification for any deviations related to the original plan. Flexibility is of extreme importance for highly sensitive programmes such as ACT II. - At this stage in the ACT II programme cycle, it is vital to focus attention on the sustainability and business plans / scenario planning for all projects. - It is important that all projects are mainstreamed for gender. Distribute Dr Neu?s report to all partners and provide on demand advice on gender mainstreaming through GFP and in consultation with Gender Practice in BRC. - This Programme review did not take into considerations the views of stakeholders external to UNDP ACT II. The next Programme review or evaluation should take into consideration views of key stakeholders including big CSOs and CSO networks, representatives of authorities and donors (in addition to USAID) in order to have the full picture and inform the scenario planning and the exit strategy for the programme. - As emphasised already, disregarding on how smooth and successful the peace negotiation process shall be, the type of activities performed by UNDP ACT II shall be needed not only during the process of peace negotiations, but ? even more importantly ? after the settlement takes place. Given the quality of the programme and its specific niche in donors? support for peacebuilding in Cyprus it is highly recommended to consider the continuation of the programme beyond 2011.
12 The Untapped Potential of UNDP ACT II The earlier Programme evaluations as well as this Programme Review, pointed out to the wealth of knowledge gathered through the long presence in Cyprus and work with civil society actors on promoting civil society peacebuilding agenda. In divided communities, civil societies are as divided as the other parts of the society. Therefore the role of donors and non-partisan international organisations such as UNDP remains pivotal in supporting social actors who work in favour of peace and reconciliation. Peacebuilding is not a linear process and there are no blueprints for successful action of civil society in support of peace. While each situation is specific, there are many commonalities and valuable knowledge that can be transferred. ?Dos? and ?donts? of civil society peacebuilding engagement represent knowledge that should not evaporate. The knowledge of ACT II staff and partners is extremely relevant for the South-Eastern Europe context where the situation of frozen conflict persists in Kosovo(*as per UN Security Council Resolution 1244), Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and, to some extent, in FYROM. Supporting civil society peacebuilding work in divided communities is extremely relevant for the entire CEE and the CIS region and the UNDP ACT experience can be useful for the countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Out of 24 countries covered by UNDP BRC, over 50% belong to fragile states in the various phases of conflict continuum. Given the proximity of Middle East, fruitful cooperation and the exchange of experience related to support for CSOs in peacebuilding activities could also be established. In case of the available funding for the continuation of the UNDP ACT programme in Cyprus, the idea of knowledge hub focusing on civil society peacebuilding work, to be situated in Cyprus, should be explored with the BRC. Possible cost-sharing agreements with BRC could be discussed in case of flexible funding obtained from donors or funding from BCPR. There is a precedent of project offices remaining open (for example in Poland) for the purpose of piloting innovative programmes and scaling up these programmes in the region. Cyprus ACT programme can offer a mixture of knowledge and skills that can be relevant to BRC, other offices in the region and beyond. It is related both to the substantive knowledge focusing on work with civil society and supporting civil society engagement. It is also related to the operational aspects ? for example working through DEX and NGO execution modality. This type of knowledge is often required from colleagues in the region. UNDP offices that operate in post-conflict environments need this kind of expertise as the projects they implement use DEX modality or NGO execution (for example Kosovo*). The concept of regional knowledge hub is not new and many organizations use such a flexible, decentralized concept to ensure high quality and cost-effective support to their programmes. In addition to regular programme activities in Cyprus, the purpose of establishing such a knowledge hub could be to develop the expertise among UNDP practitioners in CEE and the CIS region on supporting civil society in peace building and conflict prevention, as well as general capacity building of CSOs through training opportunities; provide on demand direct technical assistance; link people and departments involved in the support for CSO engagement, capacity building and civil society mapping; adapting, developing, and disseminating the latest evidence-based guidance for practitioners based on cutting edge international research and standards focusing on, but not limited to CSO work in conflict affected areas. The specific position of Cyprus and its proximity to Middle East could create the additional opportunities to tap into the Cyprus ACT knowledge and potentials. Regional support could take flexible and less demanding forms of support such as staff swaps, on line cooperation (which can include on-line forum, distance learning courses which could be developed with UN Staff College etc.) and advisory support, study visits to Cyprus and organizing conferences and roundtables focusing on the issues of civil society within the framework of peacebuilding and conflict prevention, but also within the framework of the Accra Agenda for Action and the need to create an enabling environment for civil society action. Close coordination and joint planning efforts should take place to avoid overlapping with the activities of BRC, BCPR and the Oslo Governance Centre.
1. Recommendation: i. Update Communications and reach out to partners to deepen their understanding of the ACT II logic of intervention; ii. Establish an informal advisory group and gather CSO partners for regular consultations; iii. Establish a civil society agenda for reconciliation and establish closer links with civil society actors outside ACT II; iv. Reach across the aisle to include actors that are not so open for peacebuilding initiatives and the idea of joint future for the two communities in Cyprus; v. Support ACT team and recognise the stress arising from operational, social and political pressures, especially for local staff.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2011/10/31]

UNDP acknowledges the short timeframe between evaluations, and agrees that it is important that the ACT programme speeds up the implementation of the various agreed recommendations from the previous evaluation.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation: Not applicable.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/10/31] [Last Updated: 2014/02/28]

Not applicable.

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation: Engage - grants: It would be necessary to re-think the concept of networking and to acknowledge the difficulties that the Project is facing in locating the CSOs that would engage in networking under the Project umbrella. In addition to the support for networking, ad hoc coalitions should be supported, focusing on specific issues that are pertinent to the peace negotiations and peace building process. - Engage / CIVICUS: Ensure that information on follow up of the first Civicus research is captured and shared. Use lessons learnt to improve development of an Action Plan based on the research and monitor its implementation. Organise a workshop to review the current Action Plan from the 1st Civicus research. Identify outstanding issues and ensure that the Action Plan, which is the integral part of the methodology, is developed with the full awareness that it needs to be implemented and monitored. Print a brief version of the Second Civicus research findings with a clear and doable Action Plan. Establish M/ E framework from the outset and allocate the appropriate funding for monitoring and the implementation of the activities. - Implementing partners in Engage (NGO Support Centre and Management Centre): Support their capacity building and diversifying donor base in order to strengthen their capacity to support other CSOs in both communities. Distribute information on donors and actively engage in advocacy to support civil society in both communities and their constructive involvement in the peace process and peace building / reconciliation in multiple scenarios / outcomes of the peace process.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/10/31] [Last Updated: 2011/10/31]

UNDP accepts the recommendation and encourages that NGO partners, in consultation with ACT rethink the networking and Civicus elements of the project and prepare a revised workplan ASAP given the limited timeframe available for the project?s implementation.

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation: Cyprus Community Media Centre / CCMC - Support CCMC staff in conveying the message to other Project partners what kind of services can be expected from CCMC. Relieve pressure on staff to provide on demand advice on a short notice to CSOs participating in ACT II and provide communications related services. The idea is that CCMC should build the capacity of other CSOs to develop their communication strategies, rather than acting as their service for work with the media. - Ensure that the ?growing pains? of this young Project are well managed and that the knowledge related to this growth is captured, as it may be relevant for the similar projects aiming to support the establishment of the community media in CEE and the CIS.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/10/31]

UNDP accepts the recommendation and agrees that ACT must work closely with the staff and management committee of the project to develop an urgent action plan for the transition of the project from DEX to NGO execution.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation: Interdependence for Sustainable Development - Recognise that the Chambers of Commerce are CSOs , but of a different nature compared to other CSOs involved in the ACT II programme. Acknowledge their internal procedures and take these procedures into account when planning for the activities. - Insist on quality control, however discuss and reach an agreement on how some procedures can become quicker (for example drafting and publication of press releases) without jeopardising the quality and UNDP ACT II reputation. - Capitalise on the Project focus which has a distinctive feature as it is oriented towards the economic issues. This Project is an ideal window of opportunity to reach broader range of groups and people that are not ?the usual suspects?. - Recognise the specific value of the Project since Chambers of commerce exist for many years and they are constituency based, serving primarily the interest of their members and not donors (while many CSOs are pushed to comply with donors? agendas and sometimes put this first and the needs of their constituencies come second.) In words of one interviewee ?We are the big window for even bigger segments of the society? ... ?We have 3,000 members and they constitute 80% of tax payers in TCC. It may be difficult for us to make a move, but once we do ? the impact is very significant.? - The potential impact of this project should be recognised as very significant. It is including a variety of people that can be sensitised to peaceful solution for Cyprus and motivated by trade and the potential economic gains. However, there is another side of the coin that needs to be recognised, as there will be both losers and winners in the growing trade (or any other scenario, such as embargo, reduced trade etc.). Research is needed to identify potential losers and mitigate the negative impact as it could exacerbate poverty and negatively influence peace process. - Advocating for Green Line trade is not risk-free. In case of conflicts related to trade, a mediation mechanism should be in place. This is being taken care of already by the Chambers, with support from EDGE, though the creation of the arbitration centre. - The film which is based on a futuristic scenario ? how Cyprus will hypothetically be changed by trade and how it will look like in 2030 ? should be considered as a good example how highlighting the positive aspects of trade through the film can be used in similar contexts. Explore potential for creating a knowledge product, by capturing the details of creating a movie and its impact. - Strongly support greater cooperation with other Projects within ACT II and beyond, since at the moment the awareness of synergies seems weak. Consider the opportunity to introduce a hybrid model such as social entrepreneurship that brings closer together CSOs and business actors.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/10/31]

UNDP agrees with the recommendation and acknowledges that as a new partner to ACT?s programming, the chambers are a crucial partner in reaching a more diverse group of people. Steps will be taken to support the project in effectively communicating the economic benefits of reconciliation.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation: Youth Activism - Recognise peculiar situation that the youth are educated in two different systems and there is an enormous generation gap in understanding the past conflict in Cyprus and the deep wounds it left in both communities. Emphasise the importance of work with youth and mainstream youth issues in all other projects (it can be done in a similar / same way as gender mainstreaming). - In the same vein, bring this project closer together with the other projects. It is also important to coordinate closely with other youth focused projects, especially with those funded by the EU. - Facilitate exchange of experience in the region ? there is a lot in common with other frozen conflicts in the region (e.g. Serbian and Albanian youth). - Scenario planning is of utmost importance for this Project as some of the participants highlighted that, in the case of creation of two states on the territory of the island, their peace-building work would be over. - Most youth organisations exist for a long time and are based on volunteer work. Therefore the issue of sustainability may not be a burning one, however these organisations need support with diversifying their donor base and also support for stronger networking with their European peers.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/10/31]

UNDP accepts the recommendation. The ACT team is committed to look into opportunities to link the project to wider youth networks and support the partners in wider (regional and international) networking and exchange opportunities. It will capitalise on the efforts of the project, not just by linking with other projects but looking at ways to provide more of a voice for young people. It will use the various research invested in Cypriot youth, including the HDR and link this with possible youth related advocacy messages.

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation: Multiperspectivity and Intercultural Dialogue in Education / MIDE - Provide the temporary hands-on support to the Project due to staff turnover and the weak capacity of the Board to provide strategic support and steer Project?s activities. - Hire external management consultant to work with the Board and the Project team in order to determine clear delineation between strategic / steering and day-to-day management function. - This Project needs extra support for capacity building (consider support by Engage) given the significant project funded by other donors that is in pipe-line. - There is a lot of scope for learning from similar experience in the region related to history teaching ? it is recommended to facilitate contact and exchange of experience with similar organisations in the Western Balkans (former Yugoslav Republics).
Management Response: [Added: 2011/10/31]

UNDP accepts the recommendation and ACT will support an effective project management framework for this project given the limited timeframe for implementation.

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation: Cyprus 2015 - This Project needs support to develop to the next level and become a think-tank. Facilitation of contacts with similar organisations in the region is recommended. - Diversifying donor base is of utmost importance, given high dependence of this Project on Interpeace, which is about to discontinue their activities due to the lack of donor funding. - Members of the Project should be supported to promote their research results. However the understanding is needed that the impact of some activities may come sometime down the line. In words of one focus participant who quoted Butros Gali ?It is important to give time the time.? - As with other Projects, support is needed to see the space for greater cooperation within ACT II and beyond. Participatory research conducted by Cyprus 2020 can be used to contribute to other Projects, and ideas for participatory research should come from the practitioners working in other projects (for example research on brain drain, or research on both positive and negative impact of Green line trade on certain groups of women and men in both communities etc.).
Management Response: [Added: 2011/10/31]

UNDP accepts the recommendation and agrees that it is important that the focus of the research does not take up the majority of the timeframe for this initiative. ACT must support the partners in extracting messages and ensuring that the research is used effectively to raise awareness in the wider community on pertinent issues.

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation: Cultural Heritage Preservation Circle - This Project has significant potential for gathering relevant knowledge that can be used in Cyprus and elsewhere (see under 3.2.2. for more detailed recommendations on knowledge sharing). - It is of extreme importance to support the scenario planning in this Project, especially with the view of the recent election results in TCC. - In areas where Project activities can expand / continue, it is important to include in-kind contribution of communities. - Timely explanation of Project activities and inclusion of quick wins is of extreme importance of the acceptance of communities and project success. - Stronger links with cultural heritage agenda promoted by UNESCO should be supported, as well as diversification of donor base for the Project.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/10/31]

UNDP accepts the recommendation and in addition ACT is committed to capture and promote the way cultural heritage can be utilised as a tool for community building, sharing of public spaces/monuments, and reconciliation.

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation: Recommendations related to knowledge management  There is a scope to further improve knowledge harvesting practices, from the modified RRFs to ad hoc knowledge capturing activities and innovative actions. Identifying opportunities for learning should take into consideration that learning takes place in the situations when people attempt to transfer their knowledge ? in order to be able transfer their experience they need to systematize it first.  Knowledge sharing among Projects should be facilitated through half-day workshops on a quarterly basis. Alternatively, local consultants (external to projects) should be hired to facilitate focus groups and support reflecting on lessons learnt. This activity can provide further opportunity for inter-communal cooperation as facilitators can come for the ?opposite? community.  The development of How-to Guides and other selected knowledge products (for example on lessons learned through the Cultural Heritage Project or the experience related to supporting the community media in its early phases) should be discussed with the BRC Capacity Building Practice and their support used to develop the products.  USAID remains to be the main partner and donor for the programme. Learning from ACT II is relevant not only for ACT II team and partners, but might be very relevant both for UNDP and USAID regionally and globally. Thus, producing a number of case studies tailored to the needs of UNDP corporate learning practices should be considered.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/10/31]

UNDP accepts the recommendation. ACT will request the support of RBEC (BRC and HQ) to begin a process for extracting best practice and codifying knowledge products in the area of peacebuilding.

Key Actions:

11. Recommendation: General recommendations: - There is a wealth of experience generated through small grants programme within ACT Phase One. Partners implementing the small grants programme should benefit from that experience, rather than learning from scratch. This is especially important given the labour intensive nature of the small grants programme, which could affect negatively the capacity of the partner organisations (too much staff time taken by grants programme). ACT II staff should ?hand-over? their experience in administering small grants to their partners in Engage Project and Interdependence. - While it is important to be aware of sensitivities and carefully assess the risks in engaging in ?hot topics? such as property related issues, UNDP ACT II should jointly with partners take a calculated risk and identify at least one more issue (in addition to the discussion on federalism) that is highly relevant to the peace process. The issue of property should not be excluded, since it brings high risk, but also high impact and visibility. Some new issues, such as, for example, brain drain and its impact on reconciliation, or sustainable development issues pertinent for Cyprus could be tackled. The list of high impact and medium to low risk potential topics should be identified and at least one high impact / high visibility topic included in the programme (Engage seems to be the best Project to take the calculated risk and tackle some of the hot topics, but ideally the majority or all projects should be included). Other examples include two topics that the project 2015 is focusing on ? Sustainable development and Daily life. - Given the possibility that the USAID funding may discontinue after 2011, scenario planning needs to take place, building on the process that has already started. A wide range of scenarios (including the most unlikely ones such as renewed hostilities or creation of the two independent states) should be taken into account. Although some possibilities for the continuation of the programme may exist, there is no funding secured beyond 2011. Planning for the exit strategy needs to start immediately and a comprehensive document / strategy should be developed till the end of 2010 the latest. - While the focus should be on sustainability of the action beyond 2011 and the improved capturing of knowledge generated through programme action, there are other important issues to be taken into account ? which are internal to UNDP ACT. In planning the exit strategy, all key aspects should be taken into account ? donors and partners have key importance, but also internal staff arrangements and operational issues. - Continuation of engagement with the US Government and the USAID is highly recommended, given a longstanding relationship and USAID support for peacebuilding efforts in Cyprus. It is important to lobby USAID to continue funding for peacebuilding activities as the need for civil society engagement is likely to increase as the peacebuilding negotiations progress towards possible settlement. - Even in the ideal (unlikely) scenario that the peace settlement is negotiated in short / medium term, there are many concerns related to sustainability of the CSO partners and their action. Ideally, UNDP ACT II should continue (in some transformed form and based on the learning that is taking place through the current programme implementation). However, if this is not possible, UNDP ACT should take an active role in advocacy for funding of bi-communal peace building initiatives after the programme closure. Key partners to engage with are internal to UNDP (BRC, BCPR) and external ? the EU being the most important one. It is important to engage with the EU at the Brussels level to contribute to the EU planning processes related to the support for the civil society in Cyprus. Engage with the EU at the Brussels level in close coordination with BRC. - In discussing the best options for the exit strategy or the continuation of the programme, use the opportunity to consult with the UN high officials who have the institutional memory of peacebuilding processes in the past. It may be a good idea to organise a conference where all the experienced people with the institutional memory could help to capture important learning that happened in peacebuilding efforts in Cyprus over the years. - While some projects require hands-on support (and it is also defined by the implementation modality ? DEX) it is important to gradually build partners? capacity for greater / full independence. Therefore highly participatory decision making is recommended, as well as a prompt establishment of the Civil Society Advisory Committee (CSAC). Difficulties with the functioning of CSACs in general should not represent a barrier to this action. To start with, the informal meetings (such as working breakfasts) can be organised on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis. Develop the TOR for the CSAC using the simplest criterion for CSAC membership - the participation in implementing ACT II. Organise meetings on a regular basis, with a very clear agenda and use CSAC as a vehicle for consultation and fostering greater independence of partners in decision making. - Given that the peacebuilding work through and with CSOs represents a trade-mark of ACT II Programme, the emphasis on bi-communal work should remain. However, the work should go beyond the ?usual suspects? and engage with groups that are not ?converted?. Take into consideration partners? message that some key issues related to the peace process can be mono-communal, or should start as mono-communal and then develop to bi-communal activities. Negotiate with the donor the possibility to allocate up to 20% of the total amount for grants that are given through the Engage and Interdependence projects for innovative projects. Allow for highly rated mono-communal projects to be considered for funding. Earmark the portion of funds for the innovative small projects and develop a clear set of criteria for grant allocation, favouring bi-communal activities but allowing funding for mono-communal activities if they have a high potential for impact on peace building. For example, focus on multiculturalism would help to shift from the bi-polar picture of the conflict to the issues of multiculturalism that are ?simmering? below the surface and that may also have a high conflict potential once the ?main? conflict is resolved (for example the issue of migrant workers in both communities, rights of LGBT population etc.) - Most of the projects need time to demonstrate results. Therefore it is important to include some ?quick wins? to show some results early in the implementation process. Capture ?small tips? that can sometimes have ?make or break? significance for the projects. Guided focus group discussions are the best tool to capture this kind of knowledge. The format for Action Reflection Note can be used to write down the lessons and circulate them as appropriate. - The design of ACT II is sophisticated and all projects have significant potential to achieve multiplier effect through greater collaboration. This process needs to be kick-started by UNDP ACT staff. Use the opportunity at the earliest convenience (eg. the upcoming retreat) to organise presentations of all projects and urge partners to think about cooperation and synergies with all other projects that are included in ACT II. Invite partners to the retreat and provide them with a template for presentations to ensure that synergies among projects are recognised and an action plan for greater cooperation developed after the retreat. Use simple visual tools and link Projects to the areas covered by the ACT II Programme. - Modify reporting formats (RRFs) to include more qualitative information and ensure that all reports are available to all project partners . - While it is important to stick to the contractual obligations and produce results within the envisaged time-frame, it is also important to be flexible. Partners should be supported to provide timely and clear justification for any deviations related to the original plan. Flexibility is of extreme importance for highly sensitive programmes such as ACT II. - At this stage in the ACT II programme cycle, it is vital to focus attention on the sustainability and business plans / scenario planning for all projects. - It is important that all projects are mainstreamed for gender. Distribute Dr Neu?s report to all partners and provide on demand advice on gender mainstreaming through GFP and in consultation with Gender Practice in BRC. - This Programme review did not take into considerations the views of stakeholders external to UNDP ACT II. The next Programme review or evaluation should take into consideration views of key stakeholders including big CSOs and CSO networks, representatives of authorities and donors (in addition to USAID) in order to have the full picture and inform the scenario planning and the exit strategy for the programme. - As emphasised already, disregarding on how smooth and successful the peace negotiation process shall be, the type of activities performed by UNDP ACT II shall be needed not only during the process of peace negotiations, but ? even more importantly ? after the settlement takes place. Given the quality of the programme and its specific niche in donors? support for peacebuilding in Cyprus it is highly recommended to consider the continuation of the programme beyond 2011.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/10/31] [Last Updated: 2011/10/31]

Management Response ? UNDP accepts the recommendation. The Civil Society Advisory Committee (CSAC) will be established ASAP since this was also recommended in the previous evaluation. ACT will also adopt the use of Action Reflection Notes to begin capturing the quick wins and communicating them more effectively with all stakeholders.

Key Actions:

12. Recommendation: The Untapped Potential of UNDP ACT II The earlier Programme evaluations as well as this Programme Review, pointed out to the wealth of knowledge gathered through the long presence in Cyprus and work with civil society actors on promoting civil society peacebuilding agenda. In divided communities, civil societies are as divided as the other parts of the society. Therefore the role of donors and non-partisan international organisations such as UNDP remains pivotal in supporting social actors who work in favour of peace and reconciliation. Peacebuilding is not a linear process and there are no blueprints for successful action of civil society in support of peace. While each situation is specific, there are many commonalities and valuable knowledge that can be transferred. ?Dos? and ?donts? of civil society peacebuilding engagement represent knowledge that should not evaporate. The knowledge of ACT II staff and partners is extremely relevant for the South-Eastern Europe context where the situation of frozen conflict persists in Kosovo(*as per UN Security Council Resolution 1244), Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and, to some extent, in FYROM. Supporting civil society peacebuilding work in divided communities is extremely relevant for the entire CEE and the CIS region and the UNDP ACT experience can be useful for the countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Out of 24 countries covered by UNDP BRC, over 50% belong to fragile states in the various phases of conflict continuum. Given the proximity of Middle East, fruitful cooperation and the exchange of experience related to support for CSOs in peacebuilding activities could also be established. In case of the available funding for the continuation of the UNDP ACT programme in Cyprus, the idea of knowledge hub focusing on civil society peacebuilding work, to be situated in Cyprus, should be explored with the BRC. Possible cost-sharing agreements with BRC could be discussed in case of flexible funding obtained from donors or funding from BCPR. There is a precedent of project offices remaining open (for example in Poland) for the purpose of piloting innovative programmes and scaling up these programmes in the region. Cyprus ACT programme can offer a mixture of knowledge and skills that can be relevant to BRC, other offices in the region and beyond. It is related both to the substantive knowledge focusing on work with civil society and supporting civil society engagement. It is also related to the operational aspects ? for example working through DEX and NGO execution modality. This type of knowledge is often required from colleagues in the region. UNDP offices that operate in post-conflict environments need this kind of expertise as the projects they implement use DEX modality or NGO execution (for example Kosovo*). The concept of regional knowledge hub is not new and many organizations use such a flexible, decentralized concept to ensure high quality and cost-effective support to their programmes. In addition to regular programme activities in Cyprus, the purpose of establishing such a knowledge hub could be to develop the expertise among UNDP practitioners in CEE and the CIS region on supporting civil society in peace building and conflict prevention, as well as general capacity building of CSOs through training opportunities; provide on demand direct technical assistance; link people and departments involved in the support for CSO engagement, capacity building and civil society mapping; adapting, developing, and disseminating the latest evidence-based guidance for practitioners based on cutting edge international research and standards focusing on, but not limited to CSO work in conflict affected areas. The specific position of Cyprus and its proximity to Middle East could create the additional opportunities to tap into the Cyprus ACT knowledge and potentials. Regional support could take flexible and less demanding forms of support such as staff swaps, on line cooperation (which can include on-line forum, distance learning courses which could be developed with UN Staff College etc.) and advisory support, study visits to Cyprus and organizing conferences and roundtables focusing on the issues of civil society within the framework of peacebuilding and conflict prevention, but also within the framework of the Accra Agenda for Action and the need to create an enabling environment for civil society action. Close coordination and joint planning efforts should take place to avoid overlapping with the activities of BRC, BCPR and the Oslo Governance Centre.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/10/31] [Last Updated: 2011/10/31]

UNDP accepts the recommendation. ACT will consider the idea of establishing a regional Knowledge Centre for best practice in peacebuilding and reconciliation given its expertise and capacity in this area. This should be in the context of forward planning and as part of ACT?s exit strategy within the context of the current programming.

Key Actions:

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