National Institutional Building Project (NIBP) Final Evaluation

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Evaluation Plan:
2010-2014, Afghanistan
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
04/2014
Completion Date:
02/2014
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
45,000

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Title National Institutional Building Project (NIBP) Final Evaluation
Atlas Project Number: 00058898
Evaluation Plan: 2010-2014, Afghanistan
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 02/2014
Planned End Date: 04/2014
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 3.3. National institutions, systems, laws and policies strengthened for equitable, accountable and effective delivery of HIV and related services
Evaluation Budget(US $): 45,000
Source of Funding: Project's own funding
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: Yes
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
P. MADHAVA RAO Evaluation Team Leader INDIA
Tauba Alam Evaluation Team Member
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: MoT, MoE, MoHE, MoM, MoIC, MoICT
Countries: AFGHANISTAN
Comments: NIBP works with difference ministries, government of Afghanistan.
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 Recommendation 1: Demand Driven Project Formulation: The first recommendation is that the project should be demand driven. Every line ministry should be approached before a project document is written. If feasible, a diagnostic study engaging the line ministries should be conducted, needs to be identified and project document drafted. While doing so, instead of working on government wide institutional reforms, UNDP should focus on a few ministries. For example, ten important or ignored/less important/low profile line ministries should be identified and supported for deeper and effective institutional development. While surveying the demand, the diagnostic study should consider institutional strengthening in the overall PAR agenda in line with the National Priority Programme 3 (NPP3) with specific focus on strengthening Civil Service Training Institutes, Budgeting, Financial Management, Financial Reporting, Oversight and Accountability, Project Formulation and Management, Work Process Simplification, Service Delivery Improvement, and Public Grievances Handling. Gender & Disability mainstreaming should be a crosscutting issue in these areas.
2 Recommendation 2: Alignment with NPP 3: There is an opportunity for UNDP to align the next phase of the project with National Priority Programme 3 (NPP3). NPP3 clearly articulates the areas of capacity strengthening and the results framework is well structured and focused. Component 2 foresees to Increase Civil Service and Public Administration operational efficiency and effectiveness at the central, ministry and sub national levels. Under this, the outputs, activities, and actors are clearly identified. Phase II of NIBP can adopt NPP3 deliverables, discuss with selected line ministries, recruit required expertise, and start implementing the project under a national project manager's leadership. This will be in many ways acceptable for GIRoA as there was clarity in deliverables, and priorities have been discussed. This will also avoid multiplicity and duplicity of activities. Time consumption on project formulation can be reduced.
3 Recommendation 3: Stronger Alignment with IARCSC Reform Initiatives: UNDP should think of working closely with IARCSC to ensure development of a well thought out and realistic project document with dynamic outputs. It must be closely aligned with reforms and capacity development initiatives of the Capacity Building for Results (CBR) project and the Next Generation of Public Administration Reform Strategy (NGPAR). IARCSC will be the nodal agency for implementation of NGPAR as per NPP3. Ministry of Finance will also play a key role. UNDP can discuss the implementation modalities with these two prominent agencies and formulate an implementation plan for the next phase of NIBP with a new name. This time around, the coordination and monitoring mechanism have to be established very strongly so that all the agencies engaged in the reform should not feel that they are being ignored. It is important to have a common agenda for reforms with divided and dedicated results. A joint board for strong management, supervision, monitoring, and evaluation is recommended. Nevertheless, the requirement to establish a direct alignment with IARCSC's next generation public administration reforms need not to be overemphasized. IARCSC is the mandated statutory body to lead and oversee public administration reforms in the country. Any international support for public administration capacity development should be in line with this mandate, priority, and agenda of IARCSC. The next phase of NIBP should therefore work as an extended arm of IARCSC with presence in select line ministries as may be needed. The next phase of the project may be called: Support for Afghanistan Public Administration Reforms (SAPAR).
4 Recommendation 4: Management by National Officers: As much as possible, UNDP should highly consider of running the project with national staff. This may include appointment of a national project manager, national operations manager, national monitoring and evaluation specialist and national senior management team. An international senior technical expert on public administration reforms may be appointed to advice the project manager. There needs to be a minimum number of international technical experts when needed for specific deliverables in cases where national talents are not available. If required, the national project team may be sent for project management, financial management, team management training to UNDP regional or national headquarters. IARCSC, MoF, and MoEc can formulate a tripartite body to implement the project with strong monitoring and evaluation systems. GDPDM can take lead in all the project activities including assessment of the needs of the line ministries.
5 Recommendation 5: Selection of Specific Line Ministries for Deeper Involvement: Unlike NIBP, which was implemented without any clear selection of target agencies for implementation, the next phase should focus on selecting specific ministries, ideally less than 10 ministries for deeper and effective implementation reforms. For example, if Ministry of Communication & Information Technology is taken up for reforms, its central office, provincial directorate, and district level offices should be taken up for reforms and reform implementation. Policy and legal framework for service delivery, service delivery tools, work processes, guidelines, public interaction systems, reporting lines, budget making, budget reporting, resource planning, human resource management, audit, accountability, conduct, discipline and other areas should be take up strengthening. Selective intensive institutionalisation would be the key element in the next phase instead of government wide extensive reform.
6 Recommendation 6: Strong Sub-National Presence: IARCSC has strategic plans developed for all 34 provinces of Afghanistan. Sub-national governance policy of IDLG advocates for stronger sub-national entities. It is only possible through capacity development of sub-national governments as planned by IARCSC. The next phase of the project should work on developing sub-national governance institutions. If required, the project should establish two management teams. One team for central PAR and another team for sub-national PAR both under the overall leadership of a project manager.
7 Recommendation 7: Replacement of CDAs with Short-Term Technical Experts: Long term CDAs should be replaced with short term technical advisors who can be procured for specific deliverables, on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a short term technical consultant is procured for simplification of procedures for welfare payments for the persons with disabled, s/he studies current payment systems, develops simplified tools for welfare payment, trains the staff in the use of these tools, ensures taking proper approvals from the government agencies, test runs the tools for payment by engaging national officers and then leaves the country. Such systems are more acceptable to GIRoA as opposed to long-term advisors.
8 Recommendation 8: Development of Institutional Development Experts Roster: UNDP and/or IARCSC should develop a pool or roster of institutional development technical experts on the lines of BCPR roster of experts for rapid deployment. The probable areas of technical experts could be in the areas of: budget experts, account experts, financial management experts, audit experts, human resources experts, training and development experts, programme cycle management experts, IT solution experts, business process re-engineering experts, and a range of other areas as may be needed for institutional strengthening. The rosters should not be generic PAR, capacity development, or institutional development experts.
9 Recommendation 9: Resource Mobilisation Strategy: There should be a clear resource mobilisation strategy with donors. Donor relations should be maintained, and report on progress should be discussed with donors quarterly, at the least. The donor relation portfolio should be managed by UNDP country office for uniformity and effective communications between the donors and UNDP. Resources should be clearly worked out based on the possibilities of deliverables, unlike NIBP where it has made extremely ambitious projections to post about 493 technical and advisory experts (23,667 person months of expert deployment over a period of 48 months, i.e. about 493 persons per month). NPP3 can be a tool to assess required resources and it can be a strong base to approach donors.
10 Recommendation 10: Strong Management Systems and Procedures: A strong management team with adequate authority for procurement and financial management is highly recommended. As suggested, a tripartite management with strong monitoring and coordination mechanisms is recommended. At the sub-national level, the systems should be established with proper delegation of authority and province/activity specific budgets. Operational aspects of provinces, their recruitment systems, and capacity development of NCDAs should be rationalised. It is very important to select sufficiently senior and experienced national capacity development expertise, trained, and deployed at provincial levels. A transparent procurement system will avoid the blame of recruiting people based on nepotism, and from one regional or tribal orientation.
11 Recommendation 11: Sustainability: Sustainability should not be confused with the sustainability of the project, but sustainability in terms of changes the project has brought in. More importantly, sustainability of institutions the project has built in the line ministries. Sustainability depends on drafting a clear exit strategy and national ownership from the beginning of the project document formulation. The project should start with full contingent of staff from the beginning and should go on reducing the staff strength as the project progresses, based on the achievement of deliverables. The outputs to be described in the project document should be dynamic because in the countries like Afghanistan where there is a multiplicity of international experts and agencies working in reforms, the outputs described today may be redundant tomorrow. Therefore, the project should have annual outputs with clear deliverables. As the project enters into the proceeding years of its implementation, increased national ownership of processes should be encouraged ensuring gradual withdrawal of technical experts, national or international as the case may be. The gradual exit strategy transfers the responsibilities to the CDAs working in the line ministries whose capacities are simultaneously developed during the project cycle for increased sustainability. From the last quarter of the third year onwards, the line ministries should gradually take up the lead to close the project on schedule. Budget estimates should also have reducing levels as the project progresses.
1. Recommendation: Recommendation 1: Demand Driven Project Formulation: The first recommendation is that the project should be demand driven. Every line ministry should be approached before a project document is written. If feasible, a diagnostic study engaging the line ministries should be conducted, needs to be identified and project document drafted. While doing so, instead of working on government wide institutional reforms, UNDP should focus on a few ministries. For example, ten important or ignored/less important/low profile line ministries should be identified and supported for deeper and effective institutional development. While surveying the demand, the diagnostic study should consider institutional strengthening in the overall PAR agenda in line with the National Priority Programme 3 (NPP3) with specific focus on strengthening Civil Service Training Institutes, Budgeting, Financial Management, Financial Reporting, Oversight and Accountability, Project Formulation and Management, Work Process Simplification, Service Delivery Improvement, and Public Grievances Handling. Gender & Disability mainstreaming should be a crosscutting issue in these areas.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/05/24] [Last Updated: 2014/05/27]

Agreed. The NIBP successor will focus on strengthening accountability and transparency, budget execution, and planning to support civil service reform as priority area defined within the National Priority Programme 3 (NPP3). The focus of the new project gives more attention to institutions demand as well as capacity gaps identified within NPP3 that will bring more focus and set the framework of the institution to be supported. Additionally, the new project formulation process will be consultative involving all the targeted line ministries as well as the IARCSC (Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission). The consultation process will also involve donors to identify potential areas of interest for donors to secure funding of the interventions reflected and presented in the new project document.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
New project formulation strategy finalized.
[Added: 2014/05/27] [Last Updated: 2014/11/18]
CPU 2014/06 Completed
New ProDoc finalized
[Added: 2014/05/27] [Last Updated: 2015/04/15]
CPU 2015/04 Completed The Project document is developed. However, it was delayed to be approved due to alignment workshop. The management will make a decision in few days based on the outcome of this workshop and it is assumed that this project may start in the last quarter of 2015.
2. Recommendation: Recommendation 2: Alignment with NPP 3: There is an opportunity for UNDP to align the next phase of the project with National Priority Programme 3 (NPP3). NPP3 clearly articulates the areas of capacity strengthening and the results framework is well structured and focused. Component 2 foresees to Increase Civil Service and Public Administration operational efficiency and effectiveness at the central, ministry and sub national levels. Under this, the outputs, activities, and actors are clearly identified. Phase II of NIBP can adopt NPP3 deliverables, discuss with selected line ministries, recruit required expertise, and start implementing the project under a national project manager's leadership. This will be in many ways acceptable for GIRoA as there was clarity in deliverables, and priorities have been discussed. This will also avoid multiplicity and duplicity of activities. Time consumption on project formulation can be reduced.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/05/24] [Last Updated: 2014/05/27]

Agreed. The new project document will be based on NPP3 but also other important initiatives such as NGPAR (Next Generation of Public Administration Reform) and will be closely coordinated with other existing programs such as CBR-F (Capacity Building for Results-Fund)to avoid duplication of interventions and efforts. The deliverables of NPP3 will be given due consideration.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
New ProDoc development will be consulted with IARCSC
[Added: 2014/05/27] [Last Updated: 2015/04/15]
CPU 2015/04 Completed
3. Recommendation: Recommendation 3: Stronger Alignment with IARCSC Reform Initiatives: UNDP should think of working closely with IARCSC to ensure development of a well thought out and realistic project document with dynamic outputs. It must be closely aligned with reforms and capacity development initiatives of the Capacity Building for Results (CBR) project and the Next Generation of Public Administration Reform Strategy (NGPAR). IARCSC will be the nodal agency for implementation of NGPAR as per NPP3. Ministry of Finance will also play a key role. UNDP can discuss the implementation modalities with these two prominent agencies and formulate an implementation plan for the next phase of NIBP with a new name. This time around, the coordination and monitoring mechanism have to be established very strongly so that all the agencies engaged in the reform should not feel that they are being ignored. It is important to have a common agenda for reforms with divided and dedicated results. A joint board for strong management, supervision, monitoring, and evaluation is recommended. Nevertheless, the requirement to establish a direct alignment with IARCSC's next generation public administration reforms need not to be overemphasized. IARCSC is the mandated statutory body to lead and oversee public administration reforms in the country. Any international support for public administration capacity development should be in line with this mandate, priority, and agenda of IARCSC. The next phase of NIBP should therefore work as an extended arm of IARCSC with presence in select line ministries as may be needed. The next phase of the project may be called: Support for Afghanistan Public Administration Reforms (SAPAR).
Management Response: [Added: 2014/05/24] [Last Updated: 2014/05/27]

Agreed, as stated in the management response for recommendation two the formulation of new project will be consulted and finalized closely with IARCSC (Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission). Both CBR and NGPAR will be the guiding documents to be considered while formulating a new project with clear deliverables and outputs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Consultation with IARCSC and World Bank on the formulation of new Prodoc.
[Added: 2014/05/27] [Last Updated: 2015/04/15]
CPU 2015/04 Completed
Final ProDoc presented to donors and IARCSC.
[Added: 2014/05/27] [Last Updated: 2015/04/15]
CPU 2015/04 Completed
4. Recommendation: Recommendation 4: Management by National Officers: As much as possible, UNDP should highly consider of running the project with national staff. This may include appointment of a national project manager, national operations manager, national monitoring and evaluation specialist and national senior management team. An international senior technical expert on public administration reforms may be appointed to advice the project manager. There needs to be a minimum number of international technical experts when needed for specific deliverables in cases where national talents are not available. If required, the national project team may be sent for project management, financial management, team management training to UNDP regional or national headquarters. IARCSC, MoF, and MoEc can formulate a tripartite body to implement the project with strong monitoring and evaluation systems. GDPDM can take lead in all the project activities including assessment of the needs of the line ministries.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/05/24] [Last Updated: 2014/05/27]

Partially Agreed. UNDP will be formulating a project with the most optimal and cost effective staffing structure. This will be discussed jointly with the government counterparts and will get response of each stakeholder (government & donors) to ensure that feasible staffing structure (involving technical and managerial roles) that is able to implement the project, deliver the project outputs and to respond to the needs as defined in the project document . The project design will ensure proper monitoring systems including results framework, tools and responsible institutions to facilitate monitoring and evaluation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a comprehensive M&E system for the project(including tools and responsibilities)
[Added: 2014/05/27] [Last Updated: 2015/04/15]
CPU 2015/04 Completed A comprehensive M&E system is developed as part of the ProDoc.
5. Recommendation: Recommendation 5: Selection of Specific Line Ministries for Deeper Involvement: Unlike NIBP, which was implemented without any clear selection of target agencies for implementation, the next phase should focus on selecting specific ministries, ideally less than 10 ministries for deeper and effective implementation reforms. For example, if Ministry of Communication & Information Technology is taken up for reforms, its central office, provincial directorate, and district level offices should be taken up for reforms and reform implementation. Policy and legal framework for service delivery, service delivery tools, work processes, guidelines, public interaction systems, reporting lines, budget making, budget reporting, resource planning, human resource management, audit, accountability, conduct, discipline and other areas should be take up strengthening. Selective intensive institutionalisation would be the key element in the next phase instead of government wide extensive reform.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/05/24] [Last Updated: 2014/05/27]

Agreed- The new project will be focusing on few numbers of ministries with more focus on sub-national level to deepen the capacity development and reform processes needed in the areas that are defined by the project scope and NPP3 priorities. Therefore the new project focus area will be sub-national level to provide support to IARCSC in achieving the results at Sub-national level.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation: Recommendation 6: Strong Sub-National Presence: IARCSC has strategic plans developed for all 34 provinces of Afghanistan. Sub-national governance policy of IDLG advocates for stronger sub-national entities. It is only possible through capacity development of sub-national governments as planned by IARCSC. The next phase of the project should work on developing sub-national governance institutions. If required, the project should establish two management teams. One team for central PAR and another team for sub-national PAR both under the overall leadership of a project manager.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/05/24] [Last Updated: 2014/05/27]

Partially agreed. This will be looked upon the needs and requirements of staffing needed to deliver the new project. Further, under the new project we will develop a roster of subject matter experts to be utilized including UNDP internal rosters.

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation: Recommendation 7: Replacement of CDAs with Short-Term Technical Experts: Long term CDAs should be replaced with short term technical advisors who can be procured for specific deliverables, on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a short term technical consultant is procured for simplification of procedures for welfare payments for the persons with disabled, s/he studies current payment systems, develops simplified tools for welfare payment, trains the staff in the use of these tools, ensures taking proper approvals from the government agencies, test runs the tools for payment by engaging national officers and then leaves the country. Such systems are more acceptable to GIRoA as opposed to long-term advisors.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/05/24] [Last Updated: 2014/05/27]

Partially agreed: But this will be looked upon the needs of the outputs of the new project based on that it will be dealt with. The new project design will ensure that the project technical support and technical advisors are used efficiently to deliver the project outputs and to support the specific capacity gaps of the targeted institutions. We do have existing UNDP rosters and that will be also utilized.

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation: Recommendation 8: Development of Institutional Development Experts Roster: UNDP and/or IARCSC should develop a pool or roster of institutional development technical experts on the lines of BCPR roster of experts for rapid deployment. The probable areas of technical experts could be in the areas of: budget experts, account experts, financial management experts, audit experts, human resources experts, training and development experts, programme cycle management experts, IT solution experts, business process re-engineering experts, and a range of other areas as may be needed for institutional strengthening. The rosters should not be generic PAR, capacity development, or institutional development experts.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/05/24] [Last Updated: 2014/05/27]

Partially agreed. UNDP have existing roster of key functions at Country office level, which consists both national and international expertise and also regional and global rosters. These rosters will be utilized for fulfilling the vacancies for the project. If needed for some specific functions that could not be available in the rosters will be hired through open vacancy.

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation: Recommendation 9: Resource Mobilisation Strategy: There should be a clear resource mobilisation strategy with donors. Donor relations should be maintained, and report on progress should be discussed with donors quarterly, at the least. The donor relation portfolio should be managed by UNDP country office for uniformity and effective communications between the donors and UNDP. Resources should be clearly worked out based on the possibilities of deliverables, unlike NIBP where it has made extremely ambitious projections to post about 493 technical and advisory experts (23,667 person months of expert deployment over a period of 48 months, i.e. about 493 persons per month). NPP3 can be a tool to assess required resources and it can be a strong base to approach donors.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/05/24] [Last Updated: 2014/05/27]

Agreed. The new project document will be having clear resource mobilization strategy which will be an integral part of the new project formulation. The CO acknowledges that resource mobilization is a long-term cycle begins during the project design through engaging with funding sources and donor audiences in the initial consultations and throughout the project life-cycle.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Identifying potential donors and partners and consult with them during the initial design stage of the project.
[Added: 2014/05/27] [Last Updated: 2015/04/15]
CPU/Project Developer 2015/04 Completed
Resource mobilization strategy.
[Added: 2014/05/27] [Last Updated: 2015/04/15]
CPU 2015/04 Completed
10. Recommendation: Recommendation 10: Strong Management Systems and Procedures: A strong management team with adequate authority for procurement and financial management is highly recommended. As suggested, a tripartite management with strong monitoring and coordination mechanisms is recommended. At the sub-national level, the systems should be established with proper delegation of authority and province/activity specific budgets. Operational aspects of provinces, their recruitment systems, and capacity development of NCDAs should be rationalised. It is very important to select sufficiently senior and experienced national capacity development expertise, trained, and deployed at provincial levels. A transparent procurement system will avoid the blame of recruiting people based on nepotism, and from one regional or tribal orientation.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/05/24] [Last Updated: 2014/05/27]

Agreed, This will be clearly defined under the implementation arrangements defined, agreed upon with the stakeholders to be reflected in the signed project documents. UNDP and project management will adhere to the appropriate rules and procedures.

Key Actions:

11. Recommendation: Recommendation 11: Sustainability: Sustainability should not be confused with the sustainability of the project, but sustainability in terms of changes the project has brought in. More importantly, sustainability of institutions the project has built in the line ministries. Sustainability depends on drafting a clear exit strategy and national ownership from the beginning of the project document formulation. The project should start with full contingent of staff from the beginning and should go on reducing the staff strength as the project progresses, based on the achievement of deliverables. The outputs to be described in the project document should be dynamic because in the countries like Afghanistan where there is a multiplicity of international experts and agencies working in reforms, the outputs described today may be redundant tomorrow. Therefore, the project should have annual outputs with clear deliverables. As the project enters into the proceeding years of its implementation, increased national ownership of processes should be encouraged ensuring gradual withdrawal of technical experts, national or international as the case may be. The gradual exit strategy transfers the responsibilities to the CDAs working in the line ministries whose capacities are simultaneously developed during the project cycle for increased sustainability. From the last quarter of the third year onwards, the line ministries should gradually take up the lead to close the project on schedule. Budget estimates should also have reducing levels as the project progresses.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/05/24] [Last Updated: 2014/05/27]

Partially agreed, the new project will be developed jointly with the government counterpart, there will be a clear exit strategy and the project outputs design will enable the supported institutions to acquire and sustain the capacity after the project. The modality of the project from NIM (National Implementation Modality) to DIM (Direct Implementation Modality) will be defined based on the capacity assessment of the government counterpart to ensure that capacity is built and exists so that smooth transfer can happen on time. In terms of output design and time framework, while we acknowledge the dynamicity of the Afghanistan context, UNDP development support is aligned to the development needs which are long/ mid-term in nature. However, the project design will include annual milestones and deliverables that support monitoring progress towards the project overall targets. Additionally, the project design will ensure that the projects M&E system will facilitate integration of lessons? learned and the continuous assessment of the situation to enable project take account of new developments and adjust accordingly if needed.

Key Actions:

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