RBA Regional Programme Midterm Review/Evaluation

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Evaluation Plan:
2014-2017, RBA
Evaluation Type:
Others
Planned End Date:
03/2016
Completion Date:
01/2016
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
150,000

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Title RBA Regional Programme Midterm Review/Evaluation
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2014-2017, RBA
Evaluation Type: Others
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 01/2016
Planned End Date: 03/2016
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.1. National and sub-national systems and institutions enabled to achieve structural transformation of productive capacities that are sustainable and employment - and livelihoods- intensive
  • 2. Output 2.1. Parliaments, constitution making bodies and electoral institutions enabled to perform core functions for improved accountability, participation and representation, including for peaceful transitions
  • 3. Output 2.2. Institutions and systems enabled to address awareness, prevention and enforcement of anti-corruption measures across sectors and stakeholders
  • 4. Output 4.1. Country led measures accelerated to advance women's economic empowerment
  • 5. Output 4.3. Evidence-informed national strategies and partnerships to advance gender equality and women's empowerment
  • 6. Output 4.4. Measures in place to increase women's participation in decision-making
  • 7. Output 5.2. Effective institutional, legislative and policy frameworks in place to enhance the implementation of disaster and climate risk management measures at national and sub-national levels
  • 8. Output 5.3. Gender responsive disaster and climate risk management is integrated in the development planning and budgetary frameworks of key sectors (e.g. water, agriculture, health and education)
  • 9. Output 5.5. Policy frameworks and institutional mechanisms enabled at the national and sub-national levels for the peaceful management of emerging and recurring conflicts and tensions
  • 10. Output 7.1. Global consensus on completion of MDGs and the post 2015 agenda informed by contributions from UNDP
  • 11. Output 7.3. National development plans to address poverty and inequality are sustainable and risk resilient
  • 12. Output 7.4. Countries enabled to gain equitable access to, and manage, ODA and other sources of global development financing
  • 13. Output 7.5 South-South and Triangular cooperation partnerships established and/or strengthened for development solutions
  • 14. Output 7.7 Mechanisms in place to generate and share knowledge about development solutions
Evaluation Budget(US $): 150,000
Source of Funding: Regional Programme
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 30,000
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Check Faye International Consultant Cheikh FAYE <chfaye@orange.sn> SENEGAL
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Comments: This is a formative evaluation of the entire Regional Programme.
Lessons
1.

The Regional Programme has very high relevance in an African context where regional bodies in need of support are operating.

Africa is fortunate to have a major continental organization, which can furthermore be supported by sub-regional entities. These bodies are in charge of managing issues of common interest for their member states. To be efficiently handled, many matters, such as peace and security and other critical development issues, have to be considered regionally. In addition, this valuable institutional ground across the continent has very weak means and shows low capacity level. The Regional Programme has therefore a major niche to insert in, providing highly needed support to regional institutions to deal with issues prevailing at regional level.


2.

The programme is also, for UNDP, a great opportunity to position or reinforce its visibility on emerging and other key issues in the continent.

The work done on social protection resulted into a decision issued by the African Union Executive Board committed to giving the issue due position in the African development priorities. By doing so, AU recognizes also UNDP as a key regional actor on social protection policies. The same is happening about the key issue of extremism and radicalization, emerging priorities on which UNDP can build know-how and reputation. Through the programme, UNDP has also managed to consolidate its positioning on more classic area such as gender. With the UN Women and UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) being part of the context, it was difficult for UNDP’s voice to be well heard on gender issue. The AUC gender-based project, and its high level anchoring to the Cabinet of the AUC President, helped a lot in this regard.


3.

But the sudden lack of resources, without any institutional communication on such unexpected constraints, tends to weaken UNDP image in the continent.

The programme managed to build strong and valuable relationships between UNDP and the continent at regional and sub-regional level, based on the awareness that there are critical issues that are best tackled at those levels. But the internal context of UNDP, at corporate level, could impair these advantages. UNDP restructuring impacted on the programme cuts in budget and staff, which resulted into putting on hold or slowing down some outputs African partners were expecting. The problem is not so much about UNDP internal context, but the absence of proactive communication towards the recipients. The programme should benefit from providing feedback to African partners on any adjustments or constraints experienced in the programme, to prevent speculations and frustrations.


4.

The programme demonstrates that creativity can overcome tough constraints, namely budget-related constraints.


The programme really tries to overcome its financial constraints. A resource mobilization strategy is available and being implemented. It is informed by a mapping of donors and types of resources potentially available to Africa. Five round tables have been performed with donors, and followed up as well. The marketing of the programme is being renewed. The programme content is being translated into specific thematic project documents. Donors are approached with those much focused on investment frameworks, taking into account what they are interested in as thematic resources providers. Such approach begins to generate quite good results, in terms of donors funding the programme or expressing interest to do so: private sector is already funded while extremism and radicalization, migration, social protection, are on the verge.


Findings
1.

Relevance: The programme is overall relevant. It is well aligned on both the AU 2063 agenda and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) priorities. It is also consistent with the UNDP Strategic Plan. The programme has also strong institutional relevance. The specific support it provides is perceived by recipients as fairly suitable to their needs. Only the logical framework is subject to relevance questioning. The way the outcomes are formulated, except outcome 4, is inadequate compared to what one single programme can achieve. Considering the first outcome, for instance, it is obvious that the regional programme cannot alone be held accountable for making “African growth inclusive and sustainable.” Rather than being textually copied from the UND/SP, the outcomes of the programme should have been reformulated to fit in with the expectations of a single programme working at institutional level.


2.

Effectiveness: The programme managed to deliver key outputs, despite the lack of time and resources. The resources are less than what was planned in the Prodoc. From an initial budget of 106 million USD, only less than 20 million USD were available. Time was not enough either. As 2014 was a restructuration period, most of the projects effectively started in 2015. Taking into consideration this specific context, what was delivered stands as follow: Institutional bodies or mechanisms have been set up or enhanced: APRM’s leadership was renewed; A Country Human Right commission was anchored to the African Human Right commission for better coordination both at regional and national levels; Member states of regional economic communities – Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) are reinforced and supported in the ownership of their regional fiscal and budgetary provisions.
Policies documents and frameworks have been produced in critical development areas: Private sector development strategy; Social protection policy papers; Peace-security strategy for the Great Lakes region; African negotiators to the Conference of Parties (COP21) supported in elaborating a participative paper; regional climate change and resilience strategies built at sub-regional level; regional policy document on extractives resources produced; sustainable energy policy or mechanism finalized. Key development issues have been investigated through studies, workshops and research networking: SDG, social protection, extremism and radicalization, sustainable energy, private sector, innovative funding, gender mainstreaming, etc.


3.

Efficiency/value for money: The programme has experienced significant cuts in its operating costs, that is the overall resources consumed in delivering outputs. Except the coordinator, there is no staff specifically and exclusively dedicated to the programme. Moreover, the clusters responsible for implementing the programme activities have seen their staff significantly reduced by UNDP restructuration. Thus, the RP could have enhanced its efficiency in terms of cost-benefit analysis. But this important budget adjustment has also hampered its ability to deliver outputs: planned outputs have not been delivered, while others are delivered without being completed. Nevetheless, the programme is still being creative enough to mitigate the side effects of this budgetary context: it manages to articulate some of its thematic issues to specific marketable projects. Donors start showing interest in supporting these projects: private sector, extremism and radicalization, migration, domestication, social protection, etc. This trend, which is evidence of programme’s flexibility and creativity, could help to reduce its budgetary constraints.


4.

Sustainability: As the programme is under direct implementation, all conditions are secured for strong deliveries, which is a key prerequisite to any sustainability. Stakeholders met at the review of the African Union Commission reported that what their organization and sub-regional bodies were getting from UNDP, while insufficient in quantity, was of high quality. This opinion is corroborated by the fact that the programme’s outputs are regularly endorsed by the beneficiaries who take action on this basis. However, even if the institutional gains from the programme are rooted on valuable outputs, maintaining them in the very long term requires good ownership as well. This issue of partnership is still questionable, due to evident lack of capacities on the African organizations’ side.


Recommendations
1

 Maintain the Regional Programme as it addresses the needs for intervention beyond the country level

The relevance of the programme in the African context is unquestionable. There is a well-furnished landscape of regional entities that are politically strong and willing to rely on their member states to impulse a development originating from the African Union and more broadly from the international community. These bodies need institutional support to strengthen their abilities. The programme should be maintained in this niche and preserved to complement what the country offices of UNDP are doing at country level. Some issues are to be addressed at local level, while others need to be inserted in a cross-border approach.

2

Proceed with flexibility and with an approach on resources mobilization

While maintaining the programme, it is needed to strengthen its flexibility and capabilities in resources mobilization. Its survival is at this price. Flexibility enables the programme to regularly adjust to the context, by focusing on specific issues that are topical in Africa and meaningful to donors. Mobilizing external resources offers a sustainable alternative to the continued decline of UNDP core funding.

3

Revise the programme portfolio and focus on limited key areas

The programme doesn’t have enough time and resource to deliver what it was initially committed to deliver. 2014 was almost lost due to the restructuring going on. The start of the programme in 2015 unfortunately coincided with the introduction of budget cuts. Thus, for the remaining 2 years, with only one third available out of the initially planned budget, it is obvious that original targets cannot be met anymore. Therefore, there is strong need to adjust the programme and centre it on key issues adaptable to the priorities of the African context and marketable to the donors.

4

Enhance the communication and information sharing with stakeholders

1. Recommendation:

 Maintain the Regional Programme as it addresses the needs for intervention beyond the country level

The relevance of the programme in the African context is unquestionable. There is a well-furnished landscape of regional entities that are politically strong and willing to rely on their member states to impulse a development originating from the African Union and more broadly from the international community. These bodies need institutional support to strengthen their abilities. The programme should be maintained in this niche and preserved to complement what the country offices of UNDP are doing at country level. Some issues are to be addressed at local level, while others need to be inserted in a cross-border approach.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/01/26]

Noted. The RP will be maintained as is till the end of the programme cycle 2017. Since it is also aligned to the current strategic plan. It is best maintained as is until the end 2017 when the SP comes to an end. However, preparation is underway for the development of the new RPD which will take into consideration recommendations of the board and the summative evaluation that will be conducted in January 2017

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

Proceed with flexibility and with an approach on resources mobilization

While maintaining the programme, it is needed to strengthen its flexibility and capabilities in resources mobilization. Its survival is at this price. Flexibility enables the programme to regularly adjust to the context, by focusing on specific issues that are topical in Africa and meaningful to donors. Mobilizing external resources offers a sustainable alternative to the continued decline of UNDP core funding.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/01/26]

Accepted. a strong programmatic and advocacy partnerships with regional institutions and other partners will be  fostered for results accountability. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Reduce the scope of the programme based on the keys priorities areas recommended by the midterm review
[Added: 2017/01/26] [Last Updated: 2017/02/16]
Regional Programme Coordinator 2016/09 Completed The programme was reduced by 48%. More specifically, it involved a reduction of 33.3% of activities from Outcome One 68.75% from Outcome Two; 48.14% from Outcome Three; 28% from Outcome Four; and, 52.7% from Outcome 4+1. The activities that were removed from the programme occurred as a result of limited funds available for the Programme’s activities due to cuts in core funds/limited funding from other sources on the one hand, and due to the limited time available for implementation on the other. The limited remaining timeframe was due to the fact that resources were dispersed and received later in the programme that expected and planned for, resulting in a significantly shorter available timeframe for implementation in the context of the four-year regional programme History
Build synergies and complementarities as well as information sharing on analytical work between UNDP and regional institutions for resource mobilization
[Added: 2017/01/26] [Last Updated: 2017/02/16]
RSC Resources Mobilization specialist 2016/12 Completed A series of new initiatives has been developed. Central to the development of these initiatives is a comprehensive, external consultation process with the early involvement of interested funding partners. RBA has developed genuine strategic partnerships with numerous regional entities and despite a changing overall funding landscape, a growing resource mobilization pipeline has been built, Soft pipeline$84M (30% weight) Medium pipeline $83M (50% weight) and Hard pipeline $76M (80% weight) History
3. Recommendation:

Revise the programme portfolio and focus on limited key areas

The programme doesn’t have enough time and resource to deliver what it was initially committed to deliver. 2014 was almost lost due to the restructuring going on. The start of the programme in 2015 unfortunately coincided with the introduction of budget cuts. Thus, for the remaining 2 years, with only one third available out of the initially planned budget, it is obvious that original targets cannot be met anymore. Therefore, there is strong need to adjust the programme and centre it on key issues adaptable to the priorities of the African context and marketable to the donors.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/01/26]

Based on the Boards approval and OPG decision, the programme scope will revised and  the RBA will review Regional Programme Document RRF indicators and regional project indicators and make revisions as necessary to ensure each respective RPD RRF included sensible output indicators that can be monitored through existing regional projects for the whole Strategic Plan timeframe

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Re-evaluating the planned activities, sharply focusing on limiting the number of activities to those which has a high potential impact and activities that do not require an investment budget
[Added: 2017/01/26] [Last Updated: 2017/02/16]
Regional Programme Coordinator/RBM Adviser 2016/06 Completed The programme was reduced by 48%. The activities that were removed from the programme occurred as a result of limited funds available for the Programme’s activities due to cuts in core funds/limited funding from other sources on the one hand, and due to the limited time available for implementation on the other. The limited remaining time frame was due to the fact that resources were dispersed and received later in the programme that expected and planned for, resulting in a significantly shorter available time frame for implementation in the context of the four-year regional programme. History
Review programme indicators and select only those that can be monitored till the end of the SP/RPD period
[Added: 2017/01/26]
RBM Adviser 2016/12 Completed
4. Recommendation:

Enhance the communication and information sharing with stakeholders

Management Response: [Added: 2017/01/26]

Accepted. Aiming to position UNDP strategically in the continent’s development discourse and as a partner of choice, the RSCA will continued to strenthen its  development effectiveness and the improve on its communication strategy for both the RSCA and the RPD in line with the SDGs and Africa 2063 agenda. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
advocate the SDGs and multi-stakeholder engagement
[Added: 2017/01/26] [Last Updated: 2018/01/14]
Communications and SDG Advisor 2017/12 Completed Since 2015, the RSCA – across all clusters - has invested in advocacy for the SDGs, and particularly for an integrated, multi-stakeholder, inter-sectoral, and whole of government, whole of society approach to SDGs implementation. Investments in SDGs advocacy have been done at both regional and country level. Regional level advocacy: the RSCA has advocated for the SDGs in the context of regional and international events, including the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, convened yearly by UNECA and supported by UNDP; the UNDP-supported International Seminar on Social Protection in Africa (Dakar 2015); the UNDP Briefing to the ACP Committee of Ambassadors (Brussels, 2015); the 2015 ReSAKSS IFPRI Annual Conference; the UNDP Regional Workshops on the SDGs and Agenda 2063 (Johannesburg and Dakar 2016); the UNDP Expert Consultation meeting on the SDGs and Agenda 2063 (Nairobi 2016); the AUC Workshop on Agenda 2063 (Lesotho 2016), the Open Government Partnership Africa Regional Meeting and at the Open Sustainable Development Data Day (Cape Town 2016), the Responsible business Forum on implementing the SDGs (Johannesburg 2017), the RCM Africa meetings on SDG implementation, the Great Lakes Strategy, the Symposium on Governance for Implementing the Sustainable Development Commitments in Africa, co-convened by UNDP, UNDESA, UNITAR and OIF (Addis Ababa 2017); and the High Level Round Table on Mobilizing Support and Accelerating Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa (Accra 2017), just to mention a few. Country level advocacy: The RSCA has also advocated for the SDGs and promoted an integrated, multi-stakeholder, inter-sectoral, and whole of government, whole of society approach to SDGs implementation, including through the application of the UNDG Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) approach, in the context of all country missions undertaken since 2015. Country missions have covered, approximately, over 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The RSCA advocacy on the SDGs has, at country level, targeted government, and non-state actors (Private sector, CSOs, Academia, Donors including the UNCT). History
Amplify UNDP results and thought leadership through UNDP’s own channels and among media outlets
[Added: 2017/01/26] [Last Updated: 2018/01/10]
Communications Advisor 2017/12 Completed UNDP results and thought leadership were amplified through several media outlets and journals in 2016 -2017. For example, “Africa’s Unique Vulnerability to Violent Extremism” has appeared in 12 publications in 9 countries, published in five languages and has been seen nearly two million times on social-media platforms. Also, UNDP’s landmark study on the root causes of violent extremism attracted substantial attention from the global media. Based on interviews with recruits, the report pinpoints key factors in their decisions to join radical groups in Africa. The report, “Journey to Extremism in Africa”, was accompanied by a digital version, a video series, an exhibit at the Photoville festival and a companion website featuring stories from survivors of extremist violence. The report received hundreds of media mentions, reaching more than 450 million people. Nine of UNDP’s top 14 media targets covered the findings. BBC had extensive coverage online, on the radio and on television. Stories appeared in multiple languages, including French, Swahili and Nigerian Pidgin. Administrator Achim Steiner spoke with BBC Radio’s News hour and The World Tonight. Led by the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, spaces and platforms where development issues can be debated, and solutions discussed, that can then be put forward to decision makers at the national, regional and continental levels were developed. The Maendeleo Policy Forum is one of the organization’s contributions to the search for workable solutions to new and persistent problems of developmental transformation and effectiveness in Africa. It provides space for African leaders, international mediators and negotiators, researchers, policy makers, development practitioners and writers on African issues, to dialogue and debate on critical issues of development in Africa. Between 2016 – 2017, six of such policy forums were held http://www.africa.undp.org/content/rba/en/home/about-us/maendeleo-policy-forum.html Other blogs success stories, reports also were amplified on UNDP’s corporate channels. History
Protect UNDP's brand. Efforts will be particularly focused on UNDP’s support to countries in rolling out the SDGs
[Added: 2017/01/26] [Last Updated: 2018/01/14]
Communications Advisor and SDG Advisor 2017/12 Completed Since 2015, the RSCA has focused its efforts and resources in provided policy and programme support to countries in sub-Saharan Africa to integrate the SDGs into national plans and policies and to implement them. Since 2015, the RSCA has provided support to over 30 African countries. These include Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Lesotho, Liberia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Seychelles, Senegal, South Sudan, South Africa, Chad, Togo, Zambia, and others. Inter-agency and cross-cluster support has also been provided through the fielding of MAPS missions and the development of SDGs Roadmaps in Burkina Faso, Comoros, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritius, The Gambia. History

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