Access to Justice and Rule of Law end of project evaluation

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2016-2018, South Sudan
Evaluation Type:
Project
Planned End Date:
05/2017
Completion Date:
02/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
80,000

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Title Access to Justice and Rule of Law end of project evaluation
Atlas Project Number: 00077970
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2018, South Sudan
Evaluation Type: Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 02/2018
Planned End Date: 05/2017
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Governance
  • 2. Not Applicable
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.2.3 Capacities, functions and financing of rule of law and national human rights institutions and systems strengthened to expand access to justice and combat discrimination, with a focus on women and other marginalised groups
  • 2. Output 3.2.2 National and local systems enabled and communities empowered to ensure the restoration of justice institutions, redress mechanisms and community security
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
  • 16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all
Evaluation Budget(US $): 80,000
Source of Funding: Netherlands
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 75,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Justice, Judiciary of South Sudan, Ministry of Interior
Countries: SOUTH SUDAN
Comments:

Evaluation was succesfully completed

Lessons
1.

Organizational limitations on resources allocations in some sectors constrain the results, which implies that a broader civil service reform would be required (human resources in judiciary, justice, financial management generally).


2.

The commitment of decision makers / commanders within each institution is necessary to implement a proper capacity building strategy and ensure relevant allocations of resources, in first place human resources.


3.

The difficulties and lack of clear framework to measure capacity building highlights the needs to strengthened results-based management. This includes in first place to clearly identify and prioritize interventions with the most of results.


4.

The role of the rule of law sector in conflict affected / stabilization contexts may depend on the provinces. In conflict affected areas, awareness raising bears an interest to mitigate risks of abuses, and to find ways to solve issues through non-violent methods.


5.

The fragmentation of accountability illustrates the fragmentation of the governance and of the command chain. In such a context, expectations on the use of resources and accountability should be defined in details with the partners institutions prior to the interventions, and monitored.


Findings
1.

Relevance

The project builds on UNDP unique positioning and ability to engage with State institutions, and was then particularly relevant to national priorities, given the country context and to UNDP’s mandate. Other comparative advantages include UNDP’s technical legitimacy and skills in the sector, especially for a comprehensive and multi-layered approach, as well as its history in the country. UNDP was the sole partner of some institutions, or for operations on RoL in some States. It also triggered development dynamics while most of the international assistance concerned humanitarian aid. The project used a sector-wide approach. It addressed capacity gaps across the RoL institutions to avoid inbalances on the RoL chain that could create bottlenecks in the sector. Because of the crises, the project reduced staff presence to five States, while it extended the scope of its programme to conflict affected states (Jonglei and Lakes) through the use of CSOs as Implementing Partners (IPs).  

The project was aligned with national frameworks and contributed to ratification of international human rights treaties and conventions and development of the institutional framework. . In practice though, there are a number of challenges that the country faces (resources, abuses and practices) which affect Rule of Law implementation compare with international standards.

 


2.

Effectiveness

The project implemented a relatively high number of activities: in January - August 2017 only, more than 78 activities were put in place, for a total number of beneficiaries of 5 736 women and 25 760 men.. The different methods and channels for capacity building combined various leverages on both the supply (knowledge, practices and processes with trainings and daily technical assistance) and the demand for justice (outreach activities), with some results on most of the aspects. The extent of those results varied: limited on transitional justice, ID registration and mobile court – given the volatility of the context. Capacity building results included notably assistance to victims through paralegals, even after failure to get supports from customary courts. Results cover also the conception of knowledge products, equipment, building and rehabilitation of infrastructures, which represented a significant share of the budget.


3.

Efficiency

The project could leverage more funds than originally planned in the project document, for the various Strategic Objectives. The project capacity to deliver was good, taking into account the interruption in 2013/2014 in relations to the crisis, as well as in July 2016. 

The high level of staff turnover at both UNDP or partner’s levels, constituted a strong limitation in the efficiency of the interventions and occurred at every level – from political to local level in the states -. After being trained, staff is often reallocated to other services or other institutions. Staff commissioned to attend trainings are not also always the most relevant ones. Some staff were however able to replicate independently approaches that they found useful, such as a police commissioner who implemented community policing and sensitization activities in schools and hospitals in a state where he was newly affected, using his previous experience. Those results are not documented or consolidated.

CSOs could not include all the personal costs in the project, which required to ensure synergies with other sources of funding, and their staff sometimes worked on a volunteer basis, meaning that actually much more was provided than average for the same costs.

The sensitivity to the context was ensured through a conflict sensitivity analysis and a programme criticality assessment published in 2014, as well as an increased focus on SGBV, indicating an approach that allows to adjust and use the ressources in an optimal manner. At the level of beneficiaries, the specificities and complexity of the context were not addressed systematically, since the interventions did not cover the whole of the country and focused mostly on some urban centers and neighbouring communities. At this stage there are limited data on potential direct or indirect barriers to access to justice for the various ethnic groups. Although a risk log was established as part of UNDP rules and regulations, the potential negative effects of the interventions and the risks related to the project activities were not all analysed, measured and monitored (such as the fact that legal aid supported perpetrators, that SPU mostly addressed adultery cases in some states instead of SGBV, or were not widely used because of the constraints / fear by women to access them).

Delays occurred in staff recruitment and building of infrastructures, notably because of the crises dynamics. The project management structure was not fully effective with only a few Project Board meetings – there were however RoL forum closely related to the topics - and variations in the work of the UNVs, with limited formalized capitalization and lessons learnt exchanges for project staff, CSOs or other similar structures such as SPUs or JCCs.


4.

Partnership

Since UNDP is under direct implementation, there was no funding directly to State institutions. There has been capacity assessments of the MoJ, Judiciary and Ministry of Interior as part of using Letter of Agreement (LoA) but the needs in terms of organizational management for human resources, administration and finances, which are major weaknesses of the structures, are not clearly articulated with a capacity building plan and objectives on those subjects. Social workers and CSOs in charge of women protection were limitedly involved in the project, though they play a key role in the referral mechanisms for victims.

The project facilitated the collaboration between the various types of stakeholders, notably between CSOs in charge of legal aid and judiciaries, who were previously reluctant to let them access to courts, and with police stations, who contact the CSOs when somebody needs legal aid. This is also visible since the collaboration with the Juba College of Law led to the ascertainment studies being prescribed texts in respect of the Customary Law course under the Bachelor of Laws programme.


5.

Sustainability

 

There are elements of sustainability, because the project launched some dynamics and additional support from donors has been leveraged. In addition, the project has been working with existing statutory institutions and did not create new structures that could be unsustainable after the project. Given the lack of resources to maintain equipment and infrastructures, human resources and organizational practices are the main drivers of sustainability of the results. Some interventions have been institutionalized, at the police level, to a certain extent, such as the SPU and community policing, and as such form part of the institution strategy, with a potential for further extension. The capacity building efforts are not articulated with a more institutional and long-term planning, to which various organizations contribute and obviously the institutions approve all the efforts put in place. There are also examples of knowledge replication and training of trainers.


Recommendations
1

Strengthen legal aid and support to victim for SGBV and human rights abuses. Ensure that legal aid to women victims in all the states are considered a priority to benefit from legal aid assistance, and that strong linkages are established for the referral of the cases by women associations / NGOs to JCC / structures in charge of legal aid. To file a claim and for prosecution, victims need support throughout, from entering to an SPU, so there should be support for it through women associations / NGOs / CBOs starting from the grassroot level

2

Support local initiatives, particularly when it relates to replication of some of the project activities, such as community policing, or possibly of some of the trainings with local facilitators. Even minimal support, such as awareness raising material, leaflet, pictures and billboard would bring some encouragements to develop those kind of self-reliance approaches. This would be also of interest in areas where the project is not developed.

3

Conduct capacity assessment of the institutions to set up clear benchmarks / targets for improvement, potential conditionality’s to ensure effectiveness and maximize the resources. Support linkages with broader civil service reform on the functioning of administration.

4

Reinforce coordination with other agencies working in RoL to maximize the coverage of the interventions. In that respect, strategies to reach out to rural areas and non-targeted areas to be developed / strengthened. This should be first the responsibility of the State institutions

5

Ensure that the different levels of the command chain are involved and committed to the interventions, as well as that they concur to the effectiveness of the project. Specific attention could be paid to the commitment of the hierarchy notably to ensure relevant human resources management. This should also include political stakeholders.

1. Recommendation:

Strengthen legal aid and support to victim for SGBV and human rights abuses. Ensure that legal aid to women victims in all the states are considered a priority to benefit from legal aid assistance, and that strong linkages are established for the referral of the cases by women associations / NGOs to JCC / structures in charge of legal aid. To file a claim and for prosecution, victims need support throughout, from entering to an SPU, so there should be support for it through women associations / NGOs / CBOs starting from the grassroot level

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/25]

UNDP management noted the recommendation and will prioritize support to victim for SGBV and human rights abuses while acknowledging that the expansion of such intervention in all the states and partners is dependent on additional resources. In the new Country Programme Document (CPD), the project intervention focus on SGBV and HR abuses. In collaboration with the Ministry of Gender child and social welfare, UNFPA and UN Women, UNDP developed different tools and instruments to be used by CSOs and the institutional partners (ex: investigation and prosecution of SGBV training Manual).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support to victim for SGBV and human rights abuses will be taken into full consideration in the new proposals.
[Added: 2018/08/25] [Last Updated: 2019/11/14]
Project manager 2019/02 Completed SGBV issues addressed in proposals submitted to, and funded by the Government of Japan History
Intensify UNDP, UNFPA and UN-Women partnership to develop and diffuse resources for supporting SGBV Victims, particularly.
[Added: 2018/08/25] [Last Updated: 2019/11/17]
Project Manager 2019/07 Completed Subsequent funding from Japan provided good opportunities for partnership with UNFPA and UN-Women on addressing SGBV issues History
2. Recommendation:

Support local initiatives, particularly when it relates to replication of some of the project activities, such as community policing, or possibly of some of the trainings with local facilitators. Even minimal support, such as awareness raising material, leaflet, pictures and billboard would bring some encouragements to develop those kind of self-reliance approaches. This would be also of interest in areas where the project is not developed.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/25]

UNDP management notes the recommendation. UNDP had already made an important contribution to transfer capacities and competencies and strengthen local civil society actors and community’s engagement to raise the demand side of such mechanisms. UNDP will continue its engagement with various civil society actors.  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Continue UNDP’s partnership with local civil society organizations to reinforce capacities and raise the demand for such innovative mechanisms/approach’s.
[Added: 2018/08/25] [Last Updated: 2019/11/17]
Project Manager 2019/07 Completed UNDP continues to engage CSOS as grantees and responsible parties for project implementation. History
3. Recommendation:

Conduct capacity assessment of the institutions to set up clear benchmarks / targets for improvement, potential conditionality’s to ensure effectiveness and maximize the resources. Support linkages with broader civil service reform on the functioning of administration.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/25]

UNDP Management notes the recommendation. However, UNDP will table the proposal to the project board for approval. Capacity assessment will be limited to Rule of Law institutions and link with the public administration project on issue of civil service reform.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Submit a proposal to undertake institutional capacity to the project board and mobilize resource for the main rule of law institutions for which capacity development programme is delivered.
[Added: 2018/08/25] [Last Updated: 2019/11/17]
Project Manager 2019/08 Completed Proposal toundertake a situational capacity assessment was approved. The consultancy has ebeen advertised History
4. Recommendation:

Reinforce coordination with other agencies working in RoL to maximize the coverage of the interventions. In that respect, strategies to reach out to rural areas and non-targeted areas to be developed / strengthened. This should be first the responsibility of the State institutions

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/25]

The project had developed a strategic partnership with UNMISS under the umbrella of the GFP. Moving forward, UNDP will intensify its partnership development efforts with UN-Women and other UN agency to reinforce intervention at the field. New resources should support such dynamic.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Brief UN agencies on UNDP’s approach, niche and priorities on access to justice and rule of law through the UNDAF result groups/clusters.
[Added: 2018/08/25] [Last Updated: 2019/11/17]
Project managers 2019/07 Completed UN agencies have been briefed UNDP’s programming during UNCF result group discussions. History
5. Recommendation:

Ensure that the different levels of the command chain are involved and committed to the interventions, as well as that they concur to the effectiveness of the project. Specific attention could be paid to the commitment of the hierarchy notably to ensure relevant human resources management. This should also include political stakeholders.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/25]

UNDP management notes and will ensure that national ownership is strengthened at the different project management phase (design, implementation and closure). The project board is the main space where such technical and political involvement should be maintained and strengthened.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure that the project board meeting associate the political stakeholders and the national decision makers to advise and support the design, monitoring, implementing and evaluating access to justice and rule of law intervention.
[Added: 2018/08/25] [Last Updated: 2019/11/17]
Senior management, Project Manager 2019/06 Completed The next phase (2020-2024) of the access to justice project is being developed in consultation with partners History

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