Evaluation of UNDP-ACT's (Action for Cooperation and Trust) work between 2005-2012

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Evaluation Plan:
2008-2012, Cyprus
Evaluation Type:
Outcome
Planned End Date:
02/2013
Completion Date:
03/2013
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
20,000

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Title Evaluation of UNDP-ACT's (Action for Cooperation and Trust) work between 2005-2012
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2008-2012, Cyprus
Evaluation Type: Outcome
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 03/2013
Planned End Date: 02/2013
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 capacities to prevent, reduce and mitigate the impact of conflict
Evaluation Budget(US $): 20,000
Source of Funding: UNDP-ACT
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Meg Kinghorn Team Leader
Sean McGearty, Team Member
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: CYPRUS
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 1) Hold a Success/lessons learned retreat to capture results and lessons; 2) UNDP to develop a framework in collaboration with the UN, focusing strateigc support to UN intervention overall in two areas: support to the Technical Committees and to the political process through track two interventions. 3) To initiate a process to develop a new reconciliation agenda for Cyprus; 4) Development of a Regional Learning Hub contributing to Peace and Development; 5) Need to expand constituencies for reconciliation strategy. 6) Strengthening Civil Society Organizations;
2 1. Plan for Strong UNDP ACT Closure a) Review outputs and time frames to consider a short no-cost extension The 2012 annual review revealed that partners are challenged in meeting project obligations for activities and budget expenditures. Most partners face substantial project delivery pressures at a time when they need to focus on their own sustainability. In addition, the post-election period offers an important opportunity to influence the content and process of possible peace negotiations. It would be non-productive for the leading civil society organisations to write reports at the expense of engaging with the process. A four- to six-month extension would permit partners to complete their projects and remain active in the post-election phase, creating a capstone of achievement for long-term investment.
3 b) Hold a success/lessons learned retreat to capture results and lessons A great deal of work has been accomplished during this pioneer project, implemented in uncertain and changing circumstances. It will be a contribution to both the partners and the peace and development community to capture and document successes and lessons learned. Reflecting on the progress achieved by the project will also build the confidence of partners to move forward independently.
4 c) Plan a final celebration event Host an event in the buffer zone to celebrate the dedication and success of the UNDP ACT project. Involve all partners and stakeholders from the three phases to acknowledge their part in the project?s success and to connect them to one another. Invite the media to secure public recognition of the contribution of the project and its partners to changes that have taken place in the last seven years.
5 a) Continuing support to work of UN In order to sustain the good work undertaken by UNDP ACT over the last decade and to support the work of the UN during as possible post settlement scenario it is recommended that UNDP should develop a framework in collaboration with the UN, focusing strategic support to UN intervention overall in two areas 1) support to the technical committees and 2) support to the political process through track two interventions.
6 b) Protection of UNDP-ACT ?Umbrella? UNDP ACT has provided credibility and legitimacy to civil society to undertake bi-communal work and the ?protection of the UNDP ACT umbrella? and should develop a strategy to ensure on-going ?protection? for the work particularly in cultural heritage where there has been significant investment in restoration projects. It is recommended that UNDP ACT should investigate options to retain this mandate or to transfer it to the European Commission (EC) supported project Partnership for the Future (PFF), also implemented by UNDP.
7 Sustaining the reconciliation agenda Civil society needs to develop new strategies and approaches and position itself to sustain the work carried out over the course of the UNDP ACT programme and to continue to develop a climate of reconciliation. It is recommended that PiT initiate a process to develop a new reconciliation agenda for Cyprus and should work with UNDP over the remainder of 2013 to identify possible new funding sources for this work. PiT, with the support of UNDP, should engage with the EU to explore how EU support could be provided for a more comprehensive all-island programme for peace and reconciliation.
8 The new strategy should put increased emphasis on the following themes: 1. Transitional justice and particularly informal process which deal with the past Work with displaced people to encourage and facilitate both communities to take on key Transitional justice issues and develop more open dialogue on contentious issues. 2. Track two process and dialogue processes which link track two and track three Widen the political dialogue beyond the negotiators. In addition, create processes whereby track two and three can engage in dialogue, particularly in the post-election opportunities for reopening negotiations on a political settlement. 3. Women in peacebuilding Engage women to better understand how they will benefit from a settlement and what would motivate them to become supporters of a climate of reconciliation. 4. ?Single identity? work in both communities Facilitate mono-communal work on core issues, potentially engaging a wider audience unable/unwilling to participate in bi-communal activities. 5. Rural outreach Offer non-formal/community based education platforms to engage people outside of Nicosia in reconciliation. 6. Local authorities Engage with municipalities and local government authorities in both the GCC and TCC to strengthening relationships between civil society and develop the skills of each to engage one another through advocacy. 7. Engaging key people Continue engagement of key people in the two communities with increased emphasis on socio-political change.
1. Recommendation: 1) Hold a Success/lessons learned retreat to capture results and lessons; 2) UNDP to develop a framework in collaboration with the UN, focusing strateigc support to UN intervention overall in two areas: support to the Technical Committees and to the political process through track two interventions. 3) To initiate a process to develop a new reconciliation agenda for Cyprus; 4) Development of a Regional Learning Hub contributing to Peace and Development; 5) Need to expand constituencies for reconciliation strategy. 6) Strengthening Civil Society Organizations;
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/15] [Last Updated: 2014/01/15]

UNDP-ACT management accepts most of the recommendations and considers that in the main they support the overall direction which the ACT programme has been designed. Although Management accepts the recommendations, it does feel that some of them could have been more forward looking and focused on ways for UNDP-ACT?s partners to continue or strengthen their work in the absence of UNDP-ACT. These types of recommendations would have been important for our partners in this current transition stage from ACT to the next incarnation of the USAID funded UNDP work in Cyprus.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation: 1. Plan for Strong UNDP ACT Closure a) Review outputs and time frames to consider a short no-cost extension The 2012 annual review revealed that partners are challenged in meeting project obligations for activities and budget expenditures. Most partners face substantial project delivery pressures at a time when they need to focus on their own sustainability. In addition, the post-election period offers an important opportunity to influence the content and process of possible peace negotiations. It would be non-productive for the leading civil society organisations to write reports at the expense of engaging with the process. A four- to six-month extension would permit partners to complete their projects and remain active in the post-election phase, creating a capstone of achievement for long-term investment.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/15]

Due to donor constraints an extension of the current agreements with the partners would not be feasible. As the overall programme will close on September 30, 2013, it would be impossible to extend the agreements with the partners beyond this point.

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation: b) Hold a success/lessons learned retreat to capture results and lessons A great deal of work has been accomplished during this pioneer project, implemented in uncertain and changing circumstances. It will be a contribution to both the partners and the peace and development community to capture and document successes and lessons learned. Reflecting on the progress achieved by the project will also build the confidence of partners to move forward independently.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/15]

A one-day partner retreat is scheduled for June 2013. It is also planned that the Mahallae digital platform, currently under development, will serve as a repository for much of the crucial knowledge that has been generated under UNDP-ACT and its predecessor programmes. Partners have played a key role in the development of this platform. A publication is also being developed that will capture some of the strategic level lessons learned/best practices and results from the work of UNDP-ACT.

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation: c) Plan a final celebration event Host an event in the buffer zone to celebrate the dedication and success of the UNDP ACT project. Involve all partners and stakeholders from the three phases to acknowledge their part in the project?s success and to connect them to one another. Invite the media to secure public recognition of the contribution of the project and its partners to changes that have taken place in the last seven years.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/15]

There is a final celebration event scheduled for September 20, 2013.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation: a) Continuing support to work of UN In order to sustain the good work undertaken by UNDP ACT over the last decade and to support the work of the UN during as possible post settlement scenario it is recommended that UNDP should develop a framework in collaboration with the UN, focusing strategic support to UN intervention overall in two areas 1) support to the technical committees and 2) support to the political process through track two interventions.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/15]

UNDP-ACT has held discussions with the Office of the Special Advisor for the Secretary General in Cyprus (OSASG) on support to the technical committees post-ACT. A proposal has been developed to highlight how UNDP could continue to support the technical committees. This proposal would need to be approved by the OSASG and the two sides before UNDP could move forward on it. UNDP-ACT has built the capacity of some of its partners (ENGAGE, Interdependence, SEED) to input and influence the peace process on behalf of civil society. It is hoped that they will continue to use this expertise following UNDP-ACT?s closure in September.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation: b) Protection of UNDP-ACT ?Umbrella? UNDP ACT has provided credibility and legitimacy to civil society to undertake bi-communal work and the ?protection of the UNDP ACT umbrella? and should develop a strategy to ensure on-going ?protection? for the work particularly in cultural heritage where there has been significant investment in restoration projects. It is recommended that UNDP ACT should investigate options to retain this mandate or to transfer it to the European Commission (EC) supported project Partnership for the Future (PFF), also implemented by UNDP.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/15]

UNDP-ACT worked with its partners to develop the Peace It Together network to provide a platform for CSO collective action and to act as an ?umbrella? that would provide some of the protection that UNDP-ACT previously provided. Unfortunately, given the limited scope of the new programme UNDP would not be able to maintain this function as it has done under UNDP-ACT. The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage could provide this ?umbrella protection?. Some projects have already applied and been extended an invitation to be listed under the list of projects supported by the technical committee. This committee receives financial support from the EC and technical support from UNDP-PFF.

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation: Sustaining the reconciliation agenda Civil society needs to develop new strategies and approaches and position itself to sustain the work carried out over the course of the UNDP ACT programme and to continue to develop a climate of reconciliation. It is recommended that PiT initiate a process to develop a new reconciliation agenda for Cyprus and should work with UNDP over the remainder of 2013 to identify possible new funding sources for this work. PiT, with the support of UNDP, should engage with the EU to explore how EU support could be provided for a more comprehensive all-island programme for peace and reconciliation.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/15]

The Peace It Together network, through the Strategic Advisory Board (SAB), stated, in June 2012, that it did not wish to engage in any additional advocacy activities under the Peace It Together umbrella?including the development of a reconciliation agenda for Cyprus. They felt that the name Peace It Together was too closely associated with UNDP and USAID and limited the scope of their potential advocacy efforts. They further stated that they would take the advocacy efforts forward through other means. UNDP-ACT staff assured them that they stood ready to provide any support they could to civil society?s efforts to develop a reconciliation agenda for Cyprus. To date this coordinated civil society-wide advocacy approach has not materialized.

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation: The new strategy should put increased emphasis on the following themes: 1. Transitional justice and particularly informal process which deal with the past Work with displaced people to encourage and facilitate both communities to take on key Transitional justice issues and develop more open dialogue on contentious issues. 2. Track two process and dialogue processes which link track two and track three Widen the political dialogue beyond the negotiators. In addition, create processes whereby track two and three can engage in dialogue, particularly in the post-election opportunities for reopening negotiations on a political settlement. 3. Women in peacebuilding Engage women to better understand how they will benefit from a settlement and what would motivate them to become supporters of a climate of reconciliation. 4. ?Single identity? work in both communities Facilitate mono-communal work on core issues, potentially engaging a wider audience unable/unwilling to participate in bi-communal activities. 5. Rural outreach Offer non-formal/community based education platforms to engage people outside of Nicosia in reconciliation. 6. Local authorities Engage with municipalities and local government authorities in both the GCC and TCC to strengthening relationships between civil society and develop the skills of each to engage one another through advocacy. 7. Engaging key people Continue engagement of key people in the two communities with increased emphasis on socio-political change.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/01/15]

UNDP-ACT does continue to support the individual advocacy efforts of its partners in their particular areas of expertise. These individual efforts continue to feed into the development of a climate for reconciliation. UNDP-ACT management recently spoke with the new project officer for the EEA grants on the issue of their continued support to civil society in Cyprus. One of the items raised was the need to further support the capacity building of civil society to develop and implement advocacy efforts. The themes suggested by the evaluators for future engagement have already been incorporated into UNDP-ACT efforts. UNDP-ACT and its partners have already engaged on the themes outlined by the evaluators in the following ways: 1. AHDR, together with the Committee on Missing Persons and the Elders, has developed educational materials that deal with the issue of missing persons. This material was released and is already being used by teachers in both communities. 2. UNDP-ACT is currently implementing the Participatory Peacemaking initiative The project will create opportunities for senior political and civic leaders of the two communities in Cyprus to come together to discuss their role in the peace negotiations. 3. UNDP-ACT has supported the mainstreaming of gender into the official peace process and wider reconciliation efforts in a number of ways. UNDP supported the formation of a Gender Advisory Team (GAT). The GAT was formed by local women activists who came together to address the lack of inclusion of gender issues in the peace process and wider peacebuilding efforts. The GAT was able to engage with the UN and the two sides on integrating gender into the peace process, and even developed a series of recommendations on incorporating gender concerns into the governance chapter. In December 2012, the GAT, together with The Peace Institute of Oslo (PRIO), and with the support of UNDP-ACT, hosted a conference entitled ?Women?s Peace: Applying the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 to Cyprus and the Region?. The conference brought together Cypriot women and men, international experts, and activists from the Middle East and southern Europe to share insights and international best practices on UNSCR 1325 and raise awareness on the need for the further inclusion of gender issues into the peace process in Cyprus. UNDP-ACT also supported another partner, Cyprus 2015, in the development of a policy brief called ?Gender participation in the Peace talks?. Cyprus 2015 advocated that UNSCR 1325 must be incorporated into the formal negotiation framework of Cyprus and recommended the formal adoption and implementation of a National Action Plan (NAP) within the framework of the negotiations. These recommendations were shared with the leadership and covered in some key news outlets in both communities. Finally, UNDP-ACT, as part of the UN family, has supported the development and implementation of ?Open Day? events in support of UNSCR 1325 in Cyprus. These events were opportunities for civil society representatives to interact directly with senior UN leadership on the island. In Cyprus, the three United Nations entities worked in coordination to organize the events. In the development of the Open Day for 2012, UNFICYP, OSASG and UNDP-ACT engaged with several women?s groups, including the GAT and the other UNDP-ACT civil society partners. The participants involved in the event formulated recommendations on better including key aspects of 1325 into the Cyprus peace process as well as the role the UN could play in moving these recommendations forward. These recommendations were then presented to the SASG and SRSG during a panel discussion for their further action. 4. Monocommunal events have figured prominently in UNDP-ACT III partner activities. For example, the Engage project has had a number of monocommunal events around both their Active Dialogue Networks and their Engage On the Move activities. CCMC has had a number of monocommunal training events aimed at the community level, and Youth Power has organized local community events in both the GCC and the TCC. 5. UNDP-ACT partners have made a strong effort, under ACT phase III, to reach out to rural areas. The three examples mentioned above were monocommunal as well as aimed at rural areas. AHDR, under the MIDE project, continue to work with teachers from all over Cyprus, including in the rural areas. 6. UNDP-ACT partners, under ACT phase III (Engage, CCMC, Youth Power, MIDE, Future Together) have engaged with local authorities. 7. Engaging with key people was the second output under UNDP-ACT phase III. Partners, like AHDR for example, continue to engage with key people in their field of expertise to seek social-political change. AHDR has worked closely with the GC Ministry of Education as well as teacher unions to urge the integration of their landmark educational materials into the current curriculum.

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