Final Project Evaluation of UNDP RBAS Regional Project on Anti-Corruption and Integrity in the Arab Countries

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Evaluation Plan:
2014-2017, RBAS
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
12/2015
Completion Date:
09/2015
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
60,000

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Title Final Project Evaluation of UNDP RBAS Regional Project on Anti-Corruption and Integrity in the Arab Countries
Atlas Project Number: 00079157
Evaluation Plan: 2014-2017, RBAS
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 09/2015
Planned End Date: 12/2015
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 2.2. Institutions and systems enabled to address awareness, prevention and enforcement of anti-corruption measures across sectors and stakeholders
SDG Goal
  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
SDG Target
  • 16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements
  • 16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms
  • 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
Evaluation Budget(US $): 60,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 10,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Islam Yusufi Founder of Analytica Think Tank islam.yusufi@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Lessons
Findings
1.

ACIAC was designed in such a way to use regional frameworks as a means to inform and monitor national policies. The political climate in the Arab region has proven to become an important risk factor in the implementation of the UNCAC, and by implication, also standing as a risk factor for the work plans of ACIAC. In response, ACIAC focused on specific priorities that would add value to the efforts of national stakeholders in the Arab countries to improve democratic governance through the work on promoting integrity and fighting corruption.

ACIAC delivered on its objectives as planned and thus enabled actors to gain new skills and knowledge. As noted by interviewed stakeholders, the trainings and policy dialogue activities of the project were the most effective interventions, noting that these activities have had more sustainable results than other activities of the project. The ACIAC team has employed robust processes in monitoring the progress of project activities, but more time could have been devoted to risk identification, monitoring and mitigation. ACIAC has been able to deliver its outputs in a cost-efficient and cost-effective manner. Efficiency challenges have occurred concerning time delays in some of the project activities, namely the preparation of the training materials and the position papers.

ACIAC improved the capacity of individuals, including CSO activists, judges, policy-makers, and businesspersons. This has resulted in an increased number of stakeholders effectively applying knowledge and actively engaging in related activities. The project succeeded in raising stakeholder awareness of the importance of corruption as a political and policy issue and not just a technocratic reform. In that sense, ACIAC seems to have contributed to the reduction of corruption perception in the Arab region according to the Corruption Perception Index in 2014 compared to 2010, as demonstrated later in this report. It is also believed that the project together with other initiatives present in the region has indirectly helped to elevate corruption to the rank of public concern. The project also improved the compliance of Arab governments with the UNCAC’s provisions by assisting the beneficiary governments in honouring their commitments under UNCAC’s review mechanism and helping them to introduce specific reform proposals in that regard. The project, however, had limited ability to inspire universal and wider political and public appeal to the anti-corruption and integrity agenda in the Arab countries. It also had limited success in energizing high-level political debates on related reform, limiting itself to specific legal reforms and targeted collective action initiatives. In parallel, it demonstrated a lack of focus on cross-cutting issues, such as addressing important social economic issues, including promoting gender equality and effective youth engagement. These factors are noted to be contributing factors for improving governance change. Youth and women play critical roles but are so far generally sidelined in related formal processes, thus requiring closer attention.

Some of the benefits brought about by ACIAC are likely to be sustained, especially where ACIAC has instilled knowledge, skills and capacity in institutions and individuals, namely knowledge gained by the judges on the specificities of anti-corruption and integrity issues; skills gained by non-governmental stakeholders on how to actively engage in related activities; and the platforms established for related reforms under ACINET. There are, however, concerns about the sustainability of some of the project results in terms of the policy reforms achieved, due to continuous political turmoil in the Arab region, and the trust gap that continues to exist between government institutions and the business community in particular.


Recommendations
1

Sustain and deepen the regional approach, while bringing more focus to engage the national political leaderships in the ACIAC activities; establish a development partners’ platform to continue dialogue on corruption-related issues; strengthen systematic coordination among project activities and other related activities held in Arab countries.

2

More emphasis should be put on trainings and policy dialogue activities given their apparent positive contribution to local capacities; continuous, comprehensive and systematic approach for monitoring risks should be employed to ensure timely implementation of activities.

3

Maintain the multi-year programming approach of ACIAC; add separate activities that would specifically aim to integrate gender and youth aspects into project activities; build the capacity of the media on anti-corruption and integrity issues; conduct practical and on the ground projects that touch specific sectors and engage regular citizens; and have more specialized trainings that would target new beneficiary groups.

4

Work with political leaderships in facilitating communication and dialogue on anti-corruption and the integrity reform agenda.

1. Recommendation:

Sustain and deepen the regional approach, while bringing more focus to engage the national political leaderships in the ACIAC activities; establish a development partners’ platform to continue dialogue on corruption-related issues; strengthen systematic coordination among project activities and other related activities held in Arab countries.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2016/11/15]

The project is extended to a second phase with a reviewed approach to deepen partners' engagement and coordination

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Explore engaging political stakeholders in ACIAC’s activities: (a) Dedicate more resources to develop the capacities of parliamentarians so that they are better prepared to engage in related dialogues. (b) Invest resources to explore engaging political parties. (c) Coordinate with RC/RR to communicate ACIAC to senior political leadership in respective countries. (d) Hold meetings to engage with senior political leadership in Arab countries.
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2018/01/05]
Regional Programme 2017/12 Completed This action was complete on schedule. ACIAC contributed to the development and deployment of knowledge products dedicated to parliamentarians. It explored engaging with political parties and shall be piloting such engagement in 2018 in Lebanon and Tunisia. ACIAC also coordinated with RC/RR to communicate with senior political leadership in Iraq, Lebanon and Tunisia, and has held related high-level meetings in this regard. History
1.2 Strengthen the engagement of development partners in the regional platform (a) Plan more regional activities that regularly bring national stakeholders together with concerned development partners in the context of ACIAC’s work on sectors (b) Seek to expand the membership of the Arab Anti-Corruption and Integrity Network (ACINET), focusing on engaging new partner countries (c) Formalize ongoing collaborative with the World Health Organization, the World Customs Organization and other development partners in due course
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2018/01/05]
Regional Programme 2016/12 Completed This action was complete on schedule. ACIAC implemented seven regional activities in 2016 that brought national stakeholders together with concerned development partners, and planned to hold another seven activities of this sort in 2017 and 2018. ACIAC also successfully supported the expansion of the membership of the Arab Anti-Corruption and Integrity Network (ACINET), while also finalizing the preparations for the formalization of ongoing collaboration with the World Health Organization and the World Customs Organization. History
1.3 Recruit research and coordination staff to have more dedicated internal capacity to strengthen systematic coordination between project activities and related activities in Arab countries.
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2018/01/05]
Regional Programme 2016/12 Completed A new member was recruited to join the ACIAC team for this purpose in February 2017. History
2. Recommendation:

More emphasis should be put on trainings and policy dialogue activities given their apparent positive contribution to local capacities; continuous, comprehensive and systematic approach for monitoring risks should be employed to ensure timely implementation of activities.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2016/11/15]

The project, in its second phase reviewed approach, will put more emphasis on policy dialogue and local capacity development.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Integrate tools that help to scale up trainings and policy dialogues while maintaining their effectiveness and efficiency (a) Develop materials that facilitate the replication of such activities in more countries, drawing on the training of trainers’ approach (b) Disseminate related materials to UNDP Country Offices, and when possible conduct related trainings to country project teams (c) Increase the use of pre-event and post-event evaluation questionnaires
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2018/10/02]
Regional Programme 2018/12 Completed ACIAC developed materials that facilitate the replication of the trainings and policy dialogues that it is supporting on corruption prevention in health, customs and justice sectors, and, on collective action for integrity. ACIAC disseminated related materials to UNDP Country Offices in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Thailand. ACIAC increased the use of pre-event and post-event evaluation questionnaires in 2018 to document related training outcomes. History
2.2 Reintegrate risk monitoring in the quarterly progress reports and ensure a more proactive approach to updating the project’s risk log.
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2017/03/15]
Regional Programme 2015/12 Completed Completed in 2016. History
3. Recommendation:

Maintain the multi-year programming approach of ACIAC; add separate activities that would specifically aim to integrate gender and youth aspects into project activities; build the capacity of the media on anti-corruption and integrity issues; conduct practical and on the ground projects that touch specific sectors and engage regular citizens; and have more specialized trainings that would target new beneficiary groups.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2016/11/15]

The second phase of the project aims to increase inclusion of youth and women in the project's activities and design specilaized trainings that target media and business community

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Integrate youth and gender aspects in project activities (a) Increase the inclusion of youth and women in programmed activities (b) Design proposals to secure funding for the inclusion of related research and capacity development activities
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2018/01/05]
Regional Programme 2016/12 Completed This action was completed on schedule. ACIAC increased the inclusion of youth and women in programmed activities in 2016 and plans to sustain and scale up this effort in 2017 and 2018. ACIAC also designed proposals to secure funding for the inclusion of related research and capacity development activities. History
3.2 Design proposals to secure funding for activities that touch the health, customs, justice and construction sectors
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2018/01/05]
Regional Programme 2016/10 Completed This action was completed on schedule. ACIAC secured funding for activities that touch the health, customs, justice and construction sectors. History
3.3 Design proposals to secure funding for specialized trainings that would target the business community.
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2018/01/05]
Regional Programme 2016/10 Completed This action was completed on schedule. ACIAC secured funding for specialized trainings that would target the business community. History
3.4 Design proposals to secure funding for activities that build the capacity of the media on anti-corruption and integrity issues.
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2019/07/01]
Regional Programme 2019/12 Initiated History
3.5 Design proposals to secure funding for specialized trainings that would target local governance officials.
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2019/07/01]
Regional Programme 2019/12 Initiated History
4. Recommendation:

Work with political leaderships in facilitating communication and dialogue on anti-corruption and the integrity reform agenda.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2016/11/15]

The project will carry out regular engagement with UNCTs to promote communiction and dialogue on anti-corruption & integrity agenda, including their relevance to the SDGs. The project will establish contact and regional engagement of political leaders in the project's activities and results being achieved

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Raise the awareness of the UN Country Team about anti-corruption and integrity and their relevance to the 2030 Development Agenda (a) Share strategic quarterly updates with UN Country Team leadership (b) Offer awareness-raising activities to UN Country Teams  (c) Support UN Country Teams to integrate anti-corruption and integrity in country development cooperation frameworks
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2018/01/05]
Regional Programme 2017/12 Completed ACIAC shared strategic quarterly updates with UN Country Team leadership in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Tunisia and conducted various awareness-raising meetings with representatives thereof. It also supported the integration of anti-corruption and integrity in country development cooperation frameworks in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. History
4.2 Establish contacts at the political level within the Governments in the region to ensure continuous exchanges on sustainability issues.
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2018/01/05]
Regional Programme 2017/12 Completed ACIAC established contacts at the political level within the Governments of Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia to ensure continuous exchanges on sustainability issues. History
4.3 Document and disseminate at the political level information on results achieved, using media channels as well.
[Added: 2016/11/15] [Last Updated: 2019/07/01]
Regional Programme 2019/12 Initiated History

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