Evaluation of UNV Support to enhancing capacity of United Nations Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience in South and East Asia and Pacific

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, UNV
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
12/2018
Completion Date:
11/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
20,500

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Title Evaluation of UNV Support to enhancing capacity of United Nations Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience in South and East Asia and Pacific
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, UNV
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2018
Planned End Date: 12/2018
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Organisational Output 3.2 UNDP support to integrated SDG delivery
Evaluation Budget(US $): 20,500
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 20,500
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Lawrence Robertson Consultant robertsonlawrence@hotmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: THAILAND
Lessons
Findings
1.

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

Findings - Efficiency

Efficiency considers the relationships between the inputs to the program and the outputs that are results of the program. Efficiency considers the timeliness of inputs and outputs and whether and how cost considerations are assessed in working towards project objectives.The UN Volunteers DRR Regional project had its own program design in the Project Document, which developed and explained mechanisms for implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting under the project. The ProDoc had little discussion of management (discussed further under effectiveness below). The mode of project implementation for the regional project was decentralized with the day-today work of UN Volunteers mobilized under the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project done with and through other UN agency projects or UN Country Office teams in the countries where the UN Volunteers were deployed. In each country, the direct supervision and management of UN Volunteers was provided by host agency staff, with whom the UN Volunteers worked most closely. This mechanism produced supervision of UN Volunteers by qualified UN staff working as managers in the countries where UN Volunteers were deployed for all the UN Volunteers in the program. This supervision came at no financial cost to the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project.  

UN Volunteers interviewed noted issues with the efficiency of this supervision; supervisors interviewed noted almost no problems with managing UN Volunteers from the program. One issue was with supervising the International UN Volunteers program manager for the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project based on the initial posting of this UN Volunteers to the UNDP Thailand Country Office. This was problematic as the country office was not engaged at the regional level like the UN Volunteer; the solution was to change the posting and the supervisory relationship to the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific office; this change when made improved the ability of the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Program Coordinator to coordinate. However this change took substantial time. Other UN Volunteers noted that it was problematic if their initial supervisor was the UN Resident Coordinator; this level of supervisor was too high to provide the management sought, as well as did not have the technical knowledge to supervise UN Volunteers in DRR. The solution in these cases was to have supervision of the UN Volunteers changed to a different person or different UN agency. Other supervisors were noted to be indifferent to the needs of UN Volunteers and not supportive of their work in at least two cases. In these cases, UN Volunteers sought to have their supervisors changed – or reportedly resigned their positions as UN Volunteers. The UN Volunteers DRR Regional Program Coordinator located in RBAP or in UNDP/Thailand was noted to not be in a good position to influence any needed changes in the supervision of UN Volunteers the other countries where the program was implemented.

The UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project Coordinator provided connectivity between the UN Volunteers working on the project. This management came at the financial cost of a single international UN Volunteers posting in Bangkok. The project had an initial UN Volunteers to deliver this management with management of this UN Volunteers provided to the UNDP country office in Thailand. When the first international UN Volunteers posted for this assignment left, the recruitment process was restarted which again identified and deployed a new well-qualified international UN Volunteers for this role. There was a gap period with no UN Volunteers project coordinator; it was not made clear to the evaluator whether or how project management was done in this period.The UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project Coordinator however has no authority to manage the UN Volunteers deployed under the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project. The direct reporting lines of the UN Volunteers in the project are only to their supervisors listed in their DOAs. Without management lines of authority over UN Volunteers posted through the project, the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project Coordinator has only their influence and good will to develop relationships with the UN Volunteers deployed under the project. In addition, the Project Coordinator had some project funds that could be used to support regional activities and encourage work towards UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project goals. The amount of funding was not specified, but described as small in interviews. The lack of management tools makes the project difficult to manage – or unmanageable. The UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project Coordinator was not able to direct UN Volunteers towards meeting regional project goals. Instead, the coordinator was able to work collaboratively with UN Volunteers deployed under the project to identify and use areas of their work with UNCTs and UN agency projects to also count towards meeting UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project goals and outcomes. This collaboration counts on the good will of all and was not seen as an efficient mechanism to manage for results. Some UN Volunteers posted under the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project reported that they used the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project ProDoc as part of planning their activities; others reported that they were not aware of the ProDoc for some time while they worked towards their DOAs. The two regional meetings conducted by Project Coordinators provided this general briefing; however, at the time of the regional meetings, UN Volunteers had already been working in their assignments for some time. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Efficiency Communication Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Operational Efficiency Project and Programme management Results-Based Management

2.

Findings - Efficiency (continuation)

UN agencies with whom UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project worked appreciated the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project which they saw as an efficient way to provide additional staff to their efforts to support climate change adaptation, DRR, and country team integration on disaster response and DRR. The costs to host UN agencies to have a DRR Regional Project UN Volunteers were only their staff time to provide the management for these UN Volunteers and some additional financial costs as needed for these UN Volunteers to do the work (such as travel costs for the work of UN Volunteers within the country). The living allowance for the UN Volunteers was paid by the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project. With the project winding down in 2018, many of the UN Volunteers that had been in the project in 2017 continued to work as UN Volunteers – but not through the DRR Regional Project. Most UN Volunteers under the project that were working in 2017 under the project continued onward past 15 January 2018 when their UN Volunteers contracts ended under the project working with the same or similar host UN agency programs. This time however the costs of deploying the UN Volunteers were taken up by the UN agencies and projects with which they work. The continued interest of former UN Volunteers from the program in working with the UN was evident for all program UN Volunteers interviewed as was the interest of UN entities in continuing their work for most of these UN Volunteers. The current supervisors of the UN Volunteers interviewed in this position or the managers of the units under which they work noted that continuing to deploy these former project UN Volunteers was an efficient way to staff their work because the costs were reasonable and since UN Volunteers supported the processes of keeping them on board. While the costs of a national UN Volunteers were seen to be comparable to the costs of hiring a national project coordinator, the UN Volunteers route was taken as a way to minimize not having staff by avoiding breaks in the process through any competition for individual contractor or other mode of hiring personnel for UN postings.

A challenge to overall efficiency was substantial turnover of DRR Regional Project UN Volunteers during implementation of the project. UN Volunteers managers and some partner agency staff noted that substantial work was needed to draft an appropriate Description of Assignment (DOA) to start the process of acquiring a UN Volunteers, for interviewing candidates, and for getting the selected candidate on board – who then needed orientation and some time to get acclimated to UN work. Interviews with former UN Volunteers and UN agency staff noted that project UN Volunteers were highly capable individuals, which enabled the program UN Volunteers to find alternatives to being a UN Volunteers. Employment as UN staff, with civil society organisations, or in the private sector provides salaries that exceed the living allowance provided to UN Volunteers and may provide direct prospects for upward mobility in these organisations that UN Volunteers cannot match. UN Volunteers recognized that they cannot be promoted within UN Volunteers and that their living allowances would not increase based on good performance. 

The UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project was also seen to have a low cost management structure by interviewees that understood the project (which was not all interviewees, particularly host country partners). An international UN Volunteers under the program served as project coordinator and managed the project. The first international UN Volunteers project coordinator was placed under the UNDP Thailand country office, which was seen to not work well as the project is a regional project; her supervision was moved to the UNDP regional hub after a year. The second international UN Volunteers project was placed in the UNDP Regional Hub which was seen as more appropriate for a regional project. Some UN Volunteers noted that the first project coordinator engaged in more frequent coordination with UN Volunteers at the period of project start up. Project UN Volunteers and UN agency counterparts also noted that the ability of the UN Volunteers to operate efficiently was also substantially influenced by the extent to which national counterparts took a direct interest in UN Volunteers’ work. In the Maldives, the UN Volunteers reported that the absence of “official” support for his placement in the NDMC left him with only “informal” support which was less support from the Centre than he needed to operate efficiently. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Efficiency Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Operational Efficiency UN Agencies

3.

2. Findings – Effectiveness (Overall)

The Project Document for the UN Volunteers DRR Regional also described the objectives of the project, anticipated outputs, explained why these outputs were relevant, and discussed how the benefits of the project were meant to continue on beyond the life of the project. The project did not have an explicit theory of change underpinning the project. Effectiveness measures the extent to which a program attains its objectives. Effectiveness provides the opportunity to discuss the main factors that contributed to the achievement or non-achievement of program objectives based on the methodologies employed in the evaluation. DRR Regional Project UN Volunteers noted how the project and their work with UN agencies had contributed to the professional development of the UN Volunteers. Most UN Volunteers in the project felt that the DRR Regional Project had been effective in terms of supporting their professional growth and their career development. With the project winding down, many of the UN Volunteers in the project continued to work as UN Volunteers – but no longer through the DRR Regional Project – working with the same or similar host UN agency programs. This time the costs of UN Volunteers were taken up by the projects with which they work. The continued interest of former UN Volunteers from the program in working with the UN was evident for all program UN Volunteers interviewed. This is seen by UN Volunteers in Bonn as an unintended positive result. 

In the Maldives, at the end of 2016, the government surprised the UNCT, UN Volunteers, and UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project management by not recommending an extension of the contract of the international UN Volunteers DRR specialist. This precipitous end to the UN Volunteers posting was professionally difficult for the UN Volunteers as detrimental to his ability to continue work in DRR. Curtailing the posting also impeded the outputs and outcomes that the UN Volunteer was able to achieve and their sustainability. Some UN Volunteers in the project found the need to contribute to policy papers and research under the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project to not be a part of their other work with host UN agencies; they thus viewed this research aspect as additive and an extra set of tasks that they had not anticipated based on their DOAs. While some UN Volunteers in the project reported planning to work on joint research through the project, this kind of joint activity did not successfully materialize as some individual UN Volunteers were too busy to carry out this task. Some UN Volunteers under the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project were particularly interested in conducting research and particularly sought to produce research papers. This appears to have been substantially a personal preference, which was supported by the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project and the UN agency project teams with which they worked. UN Volunteers under the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project however did produce numerous products. The January-June 2018 Project Progress Report (Annex 4) noted three papers meeting the target called for in the project Results and Resource Framework (RRF). However, interviews suggested the three papers listed did not best represent the work of the project in two ways. The contributions of UN Volunteers under the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project were modest to the case study on the community based “Kyone Ma Ku Creek Network” done by UN Volunteers for the annual report on volunteerism. And some of UN Volunteers under the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project produced many more research and policy documents so three understates the output of the project significantly. 


Tag: Disaster Risk assessments Disaster Risk Reduction Effectiveness Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Theory of Change Youth

4.

Plans, standards, and DRR in the post-2015 development agenda (continuation)

Findings – Effectiveness

India (continuation) In 2017, UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project supported the implementation of DRR activities and documenting best practices in UN Volunteers field projects supporting Strengthening National Service Scheme and Nehru Yuha Kendra Sangathan, the largest youth volunteering networks in India. They also supported a UNDP consultant who developed a “National Action Plan on Social Entrepreneurship” with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs by proofreading the document and supported in development of the UN Sustainable Development Framework 2018 – 2022 results group priority areas Energy, Environment and Resilience. UN Volunteers DRR Regional project in 2017 supported UNOCHA-led review process and development of new contingency plans for India UN Country office through engagement with Focal Points and Operation Heads of key UN Agencies in the Disaster Management Team (UNICEF, UNDP, UNDSS, FAO, UNFPA, WFP, WHO and UNIDO). UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project facilitated and supported a WHO and UNICEF-led effort through the UNCT Results Group with to hold a roundtable discussion on Air Pollution in New Delhi with UN, government, and civil society partners. UN Volunteers collaborated with UNDP to support a side event at the Third World Conference on DRR in Hyderabad. UN Volunteers from the project worked with UN Volunteers India and developed and tested a comprehensive training manual for DRR practitioners and volunteer first responders in 2017 and held consultation meetings with key stakeholders in states of the Northeast Region for a Green Climate Fund (GCF) Proposal and participated in the validation meeting of the proposal. UN Volunteers DRR Regional project UN Volunteers in 2017 represented UNDP for consultation and validation of a Participatory Land Use Planning policy developed through a UNDP project in areas of Nagaland State. A UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project in 2017 drafted a research paper “Resilience Smart Cities: Kakinada - Andhra Pradesh; Amravati – Telangana: Analysis of technical and policy options for adaptation and DRR towards addressing consequences of Climate Change in India.

Indonesia In 2015, the International UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project contributed to “Disasters by Drought: Livelihood resilience under the conditions of climate uncertainty” academic seminar and workshop organized by United Nations University’s Environment a Human Security (UNU-EHS) Institute, California Polytechnic University and Munich Re. That year she also supported the development an analytical and alignment matrix for SDGs, SFDRR, climate change agreements, Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Vision 2025 and AADMER Workplan and made recommendations on AADMER Work plan based on the analysis. In 2016, UN Volunteers with the project mapped and analysed UN support to DRR activities, the UNPDF and CCA, and developed a Guidance Note on DRR mainstreaming “Indonesia: An Overview Of the Need For Risk-Informed Planning To Achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) And Agenda 2030.” In 2017, UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project partnered with UNISDR to conduct a webinar for the UNCT on SFDRR and coherence with Agenda 2030. The team also developed a guidance note on DRR mainstreaming “Indonesia: An Overview Of the Need For RiskInformed Planning to Achieve SDGs and Agenda 2030.” In 2017, UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project drafted a Guidance note for SFDRR member-states and DRR stakeholders on inclusion of volunteerism in the SFDRR process based on Indonesia’s experience. They contributed to the draft of Indonesia’s Roadmap for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development (2015-2030) and organized meetings with Indonesia’s Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) on the draft.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Effectiveness Knowledge management Policies & Procedures UN Agencies Capacity Building Technology Youth Coordination

5.

Plans, standards, and DRR in the post-2015 development agenda (continuation)

Findings – Effectiveness

Indonesia In 2015, the International UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project contributed to “Disasters by Drought: Livelihood resilience under the conditions of climate uncertainty” academic seminar and workshop organized by United Nations University’s Environment a Human Security (UNU-EHS) Institute, California Polytechnic University and Munich Re. That year she also supported the development an analytical and alignment matrix for SDGs, SFDRR, climate change agreements, Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Vision 2025 and AADMER Workplan and made recommendations on AADMER Work plan based on the analysis. In 2016, UN Volunteers with the project mapped and analysed UN support to DRR activities, the UNPDF and CCA, and developed a Guidance Note on DRR mainstreaming “Indonesia: An Overview Of the Need For Risk-Informed Planning To Achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) And Agenda 2030.” In 2017, UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project partnered with UNISDR to conduct a webinar for the UNCT on SFDRR and coherence with Agenda 2030. The team also developed a guidance note on DRR mainstreaming “Indonesia: An Overview Of the Need For RiskInformed Planning to Achieve SDGs and Agenda 2030.” In 2017, UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project drafted a Guidance note for SFDRR member-states and DRR stakeholders on inclusion of volunteerism in the SFDRR process based on Indonesia’s experience. They contributed to the draft of Indonesia’s Roadmap for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development (2015-2030) and organized meetings with Indonesia’s Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) on the draft.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Effectiveness Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Policies & Procedures UN Agencies Agenda 2030

6.

Findings – Impact

Impact is defined as the positive or negative changes produced by a project or activity. This involves considering what happened as a result of the project and why. One way to consider impact is through partners and beneficiaries by attempting to assess what difference the project has made for them. This can also include considering how many people have been affected.

Project reporting note outputs in this area (see above under effectiveness) but do not identify the impact of the work of the UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project. Interviews with UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project and their supervisors from UN Agencies also focused on outputs and how these contributed to outcomes that they were working towards through the UN Agency projects with which they worked, through the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project, and through working with UN Agencies on processes for developing plans, standards, and DRR in the post2015 development agenda. Staff from host country institutions that UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project worked with also noted how the UN Volunteers from the project contributed to standards setting and planning exercises for their institutions and framed this contribution within the overall contributions of UN agencies and programs to their achievements. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Impact Policies & Procedures

7.

Findings –Relevance

Relevance examines the extent to which the activity is suited to the priorities and policies of the target group, recipient and donor. Relevance can also be part of considering whether the objectives of the project were valid and are still valid. Relevance considers also whether the activities and outputs of the program are consistent with the objectives and overall goal of the project and the intended impact. The UN Volunteers DRR Regional project focused on DRR as a key area for countries of the region. The range, extent and magnitude of disasters and the risks faced by people in the countries of the region, particularly marginalized populations, make DRR a priority for countries the Asia and Pacific region. Planning documents and interviews with former project UN Volunteers, other UN staff, and host nation institutional counterparts all noted the relevance and importance of DRR for the countries of the region. The region is prone to a wide range of disasters that has had detrimental effects on development and led to hundreds of thousands of deaths in the last few decades (particularly with the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar). Because UNCTs and UN agencies work to plan with and support national capacity building for DRR, including standards for DRR, the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project work to support the UN’s work on planning and setting standards, in DRR in these countries was seen as relevant. 

National UN agency staff and partners from some host country counterpart agencies were less than receptive to the efforts of some international UN Volunteers in the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project with more experience in DRR from their home countries to apply this experience to their new context. Some interviews with UN agency staff and host government counterparts felt that the particular international experience that these UN Volunteers brought did not fit the countries to which they were posted. Particular experience from Africa was claimed not be relevant to Sri Lankan conditions. In part due to this reception, these individual international UN Volunteers did not stay with the project long and moved on to other opportunities. The perceived relevance of their experience was seen as a problem whether UN Volunteers came from continents away or the country that was closest to the one in which they worked. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Relevance Human and Financial resources

8.

Findings –Sustainability

Sustainability is concerned with measuring whether the benefits of an activity are likely to continue after donor funding has been withdrawn. Sustainability can sometimes be assessed by examining whether benefits continue after funding support ceases. Sustainability however is often more of an estimate of contributions to a continuing process as in this evaluation, as other UN entities continue to operate (including through work with the same UN Volunteers that were part of the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project at the conclusion of implementation in many of the partner countries. Because some UN Volunteers in the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project did not stay with the project long and moved on to other opportunities, the contributions they were able to make were often seen as less sustainable by interviewees, including the UN Volunteers themselves.

Implementation over a shorter time period than the two to three years envisioned for implementation in the project document was recognized to be a hindrance to sustainability. University students in Sri Lanka for example were reached to train interested students on how to volunteer and contribute to DRR and disaster management - but the UN Volunteers under the project noted how a longer period of engagement than the one year that UN Volunteers had would have better supported sustainability and national ownership. Similarly, the engagement of the UN Volunteer to the Maldives was seen as too short to have had sustainable effects – one of several reasons for limited sustainability there.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Sustainability

9.

Volunteerism and DRR

Findings – Effectiveness

UN Volunteers in the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project worked in “Promoting the Integration of DRR and Volunteerism in Assessments, Frameworks, Partnerships, Strategies, and Recovery Plans.” The UN Volunteers DRR Regional project developed and managed in conjunction with UN Volunteers key events to promote volunteerism in DRR. UN Volunteers successfully organized a series of high-level events to engage partners to highlight the value of volunteerism in DRR and the crucial role of volunteers in the post-2015 era during the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) held in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015. This event was useful for Japan as well, as was clear from the participation of the Director of the Global Issues Cooperation Division from the MoFA, Japan, who reportedly reported to UN Volunteers interviewed that he appreciated the visibility for MoFA. Particular highlights of the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project’s work promoting volunteerism in DRR in the seven countries are noted below. These highlights were noted in the document review and/or interviews for the evaluation; there are likely other outputs and outcomes in this area that are not captured through these methods that are not included below.

India UN Volunteers from the project in India developed and managed a pre-conference event on volunteerism and DRR at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in November 2016 highlighting the role of volunteerism. The event drew high-level representation and shined the light on the importance and roles of volunteerism to DRR across the region. Project UN Volunteers also held a two-day capacity building event to observe the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) in 2016 which trained over 350 people. The team in 2017 conducted two 5-day training programmes titled “DRR Capacity Building of Adolescent and Youth Volunteers. 

Indonesia In 2015, UN Volunteers supported the integration of the SFDRR into the UNCT annual work plan for the new UNPAF and supported the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in mainstreaming DRR in Humanitarian Action. The UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project Team in Indonesia also provided technical, coordination and report writing support to Indonesian Government in development of National Baseline Status Report on Disaster Risk Management for Sendai Framework (2015-2030) and worked closely with National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) and selected line ministries in liaison with civil society actors and UN agencies, particularly on volunteerism. This included providing recommendations for Joint UN/ASEAN activities that included volunteerism for the ASEAN Vision 2025 document. The UN Volunteers in the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project also were the Focal point for El Niño Focus Group in Indonesia. In 2017 and 2016, the UN Volunteers in the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project supported the development of Indonesia’s Disaster Risk Management Baseline Status Report on Volunteerism 2015: Towards identifying national and local priorities for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR (2015-2030), one of the first reports to measure the baseline status of volunteerism in DRR, with the government.A UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project presented on Volunteerism and DRR during the July 2016 Pre-conference event in preparation for the global Habitat 3 meeting in Ecuador.

Malaysia In 2015, the UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project supported the HCT by reviewing and finalizing the HCT Strategy and Action Plan. The UN Volunteers reported working with the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRC), the NGO Lead Coordinator in dealing with government agencies during disaster, on developing a model for coordinating NGO partners in 2016.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Effectiveness Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Partnership Policies & Procedures Capacity Building Youth

10.

Findings – Impact

Interviews for the evaluation noted that some countries of the region had extensive, well-developed national volunteer frameworks and networks which had also been applied to DRR with the help of UN Volunteers from the project. This was noted as a significant contribution to DRR in these countries. UN Volunteers in the DRR Regional project were able to have an impact; national UN Volunteers in the project were recognized as effective in encouraging more volunteerism in some countries where volunteerism was noted by UN Volunteers in the UN Volunteers Regional Project as already having an extensive role in society (such as Sri Lanka). Support from project UN Volunteers was asserted to be important in contributing to project impacts in Sri Lanka of UNDP projects by UNDP managers. 

 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Impact Project and Programme management

11.

Findings – Relevance

UN Volunteers is recognized by UN Agency partner staff interviewed as expert in volunteerism. UN staff and UN volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project interviewed did not expect that the UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project would necessarily be promoting volunteerism. Their jobs were set through their DOAs. However, the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project itself had goals to promote volunteerism in DRR, which was recognized as relevant to the countries in the project by UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project and the UN Agency partner staff that they worked with. 

Interviews emphasized the better known roles of volunteers in disaster response relative to DRR. UN Volunteers under the program, other UN staff, and host country partner institutions noted substantial interest in volunteerism in disaster management in the countries where the project was implemented. With education and engagement, including through UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project, this interest in DM especially among youth in some countries was channelled into DRR as well. UN Volunteers in the project noted ways that they had not only contributed to this evolution of interest but also worked to train potential volunteers in DRR and disaster management so that their interest in volunteering would be helpful rather than impede efforts to do disaster management and DRR properly and or endanger the lives of volunteers and others.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Relevance UN Agencies

12.

Findings – Sustainability

UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project noted that approaches to supporting volunteerism in DRR that worked through frameworks and government partners were expected to be more sustainable because of the continued validity of frameworks and on-going work of government institutions in DRR. UN agency staff interviewed echoed this perspective. The support from UN Volunteers to stimulate and build volunteerism in DRR was recognized to focus on sustainability through working through national volunteer systems, national DRR systems, other national institutions (such as universities), and UN agencies. The engagement of UN Volunteers was grounded in institutions and supported frameworks and trainings to have more enduring effects after the particular contributions supported by project UN Volunteers to volunteerism were done. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Sustainability Human and Financial resources Partnership Civil Societies and NGOs UN Agencies Capacity Building

13.

Women, youth, people with disabilities and marginalized people in DRR and volunteerism

Findings – Effectiveness

Particular highlights of the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project’s work in working with women, youth, people with disabilities and marginalized people in DRR and volunteerism in the seven countries are noted below. The activities on volunteerism focused on above already under Volunteerism and DRR are not discussed in detail again, although there is substantial overlap as many volunteers were women and youth or influenced women and youth. These highlights were noted in the document review and/or interviews for the evaluation; there are likely other outputs and outcomes in this area that are not captured through these methods and not included below. Many of the volunteer efforts above also focused on youth and women; these efforts are not duplicated from the text below. 

India In 2015, UNDP mobilized over 400 volunteers with the support of the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project Team for sensitization on the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (13 October). A project UN Volunteers was a panel participant on youth engagement in DRR for International Volunteer Day (5 December).

Indonesia A UN Volunteers from the project in 2017 provided inputs for inclusion of disaster risk management in UNCT Indonesia’s Gender Working Group. 

Malaysia The project’s UN Volunteers worked and mobilized the Youth Volunteers Foundation students for gender balanced flood simulation exercises in 2017.

Myanmar Project UN Volunteers supported the 2017 school evacuation drills. These drills continued in 2018 (although the UN Volunteers support was now outside of the framework of the project), with more than 650 participants supported (approximately half women and girls).


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Disaster Risk Reduction Vulnerable Effectiveness Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Disabilities Technical Support

14.

Findings – Impact

Interviews with UN Volunteers from the program noted the ways that their work mobilized women, youth, people with disabilities and marginalized people in DRR and volunteerism through their work with UN projects. The UN Volunteers in the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project, through their contributions to other UN agencies’ programs, particularly noted that they were able to reach and engage large numbers of young people in DRR exercises, for example in schools. The UN Volunteers DRR Regional project does not appear to have targeted or had non-mainstreamed approaches to reach women and girls, the disabled, or marginalized populations. However when these populations were included among the population that UN Volunteers worked with (as in schools for evacuation drills), the UN Volunteers were able to point to ways that they had piloted approaches to incorporate the particular needs of these groups into the exercises (such as evacuations for the disabled in schools). Project reporting from July 2018 (see Annex 4) reports life of “project partners capacitated” were around 2389, of which a minimum of half were female.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Vulnerable Impact Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Disabilities Education Youth

15.

Findings – Relevance

Women, youth, people with disabilities and marginalized people make up the majority of the population in all countries; this makes them relevant to engage in DRR and volunteerism. Interviews with UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project noted that the UN projects they worked with often had a youth focus; while no UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project interviewed reported working on projects that viewed DRR through a gender lens, nevertheless UN Volunteers considered and reported out on the gender distribution of beneficiaries in the activities.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Vulnerable Relevance Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Youth

16.

Findings – Sustainability

UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project noted that their work with women, youth, people with disabilities and marginalized people in DRR and volunteerism had institutional partners, both national and UN Agencies. The approach taken to sustainability was an expectation that supporting institutional practices of national agencies could become sustainable. The short period of project implementation did not test this assumption.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Vulnerable Sustainability Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Disabilities Youth

17.

Coordination with UNISDR, OCHA, and UNDP Regional Offices in Bangkok Ensuring that Country Progress and Efforts on Volunteerism and DRR are Captured in Regional Progress Reviews

Findings – Effectiveness

Interviews and project documentation demonstrated that UN Volunteers under the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project were able to coordinate with other UN agencies (particularly UNISDR, OCHA, and the UNDP regional office in Bangkok) as well as contribute to UNCT and UN agency project reporting. These contributions come in addition the planning support/standards development and work of UN Volunteers DRR Regional project UN Volunteers through UNCTs and UN agency projects on DRR as discussed above. UN Volunteers from DRR Regional Project worked with directly with UNDP, OCHA, UNICEF, and UNISDR projects and were supervised by UNDP, OCHA, UNICEF, and UNISDR staff in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Interviews with UN Volunteers and other UN agency managers noted how this strengthened relationships between their organisations and UN Volunteers. UN Volunteers in the DRR Regional Project and project reporting explicitly noted making the following contributions. These highlights were noted in the document review and/or interviews for the evaluation; there are likely other outputs and outcomes in this area that are not captured through these methods which are not included below.

Coordination was not one of the areas interviewees sought to focus on. Project UN Volunteers and others interviewed preferred to focus on the work that they had done to support DRR directly rather than work on coordination. It also proved challenging to try to separate support for coordination and ensuring that country progress and efforts on volunteerism and DRR are captured in regional progress reviews from support for country progress itself through the work of these UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project on UN agency projects and volunteerism. Staff from other UN entities interviewed noted that they appreciated the contributions of DRR Regional Project UN Volunteers to UN and their own agency reporting as parts of their agencies’ teams.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Effectiveness Partnership Policies & Procedures UN Agencies Coordination

18.

Findings – Impact

UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project reported instances where their interventions and engagement influenced changes in UNCT reporting and coordination between UN agencies at the country level. In most cases, UN Volunteers engaged in these processes through other UN agency staff. 


Tag: Impact UN Country Team Coordination

19.

Findings – Relevance

Interviews with UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project noted that coordinating and reporting were core areas of their work and some of their responsibilities under their DOAs. Coordinating and reporting was thus relevant to their work. Capturing results on progress developing and integrating volunteerism into DRR from the project was important to the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project. 


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Relevance Monitoring and Evaluation Results-Based Management Coordination

20.

Findings – Sustainability

Interviews noted the contributions of UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project to the core UN coordination and reporting processes in the countries in which they worked; the UN Volunteers contributed through the UN agency programs in which they worked or through these agencies to the UNCT. UN staff and former UN Volunteers noted that these documents lived on and continue to guide UN engagement in these countries, thus sustaining their engagement. Practices on coordination and reporting appear quite heterogeneous across countries and agencies that UN Volunteers from the UN Volunteers DRR Regional project worked with. This heterogeneity was seen to make enduring effects from coordination or reporting limited and uncertain by UN Volunteers and UN staff interviewed.


Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Sustainability Monitoring and Evaluation Results-Based Management UN Agencies UN Country Team Coordination

Recommendations
1

Efficiency - Recommendations

If UNV is going to implement regional thematic programs, it should consider developing clear briefings and ensure clear communication with UN Volunteers that are part of regional programmes to facilitate their efficient work towards programmes goals and objectives.

The UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project was able to deliver support to meet project objectives and goals largely through the work of UN Volunteers for the projects of other UN agencies, but also sometimes through the extra efforts of individual UN Volunteers.

2

If UNV is going to implement regional thematic programs, it should develop ways to make reporting straightforward and facilitate management of the program and UN Volunteers in the program by UNV regional thematic program managers.

UN Volunteers that work under these programs need simple measures and methods to report on activities and progress towards objectives. UN Volunteers managers need methods to monitor and manage for results that they can use for project management.  

3

Effectiveness – Recommendations

While UN Volunteers can implement regional programs, UNV should consider what the benefits to implementing regional thematic projects are for UNV as an organisation.

The evaluation concludes that the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project had many positive impacts and value at the national level in the countries in which it was implemented. The evaluation’s field work did not find important benefits to DRR or the promotion of volunteerism that came from implementing the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project regionally in this case. The UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project produced outputs and contributed to outcomes that furthered the objectives of UN Volunteers and the program in the areas of DRR strategies and standards, the promotion of volunteerism in DRR, the engagement of women, youth, people with disabilities, and marginalized populations in DRR, and in coordination in DRR across UN agencies. These benefits appear at the country level, which contribute to UN Volunteers’ global goals; it was not clear what benefits there were at the regional level based on the design and project implementation.

4

Effectiveness – Recommendations

If UNV is going to implement regional programmes, it should develop ways to have them systematically and clearly add value to the placement of UN Volunteers with host agencies based on sharing and synthesising learning across countries in the region.

Any future UN Volunteers regional programs should work with partners and stakeholders to develop ways and mechanisms for cross-national learning across the region or ways to implement regionally in ways that augment program influence, effectiveness, impact, and/or sustainability. 

5

Effectiveness – Recommendations

Plans, standards, and DRR in the post-2015 development agenda  

UNV should seek to place UN Volunteers for a substantial period of time in order to develop the trust and confidence of national counterparts and staff of the UN host agency needed to make substantial contributions to DRR through their work on UN agency projects through a regional UNV project  through a regional UN Volunteers project. UN Volunteers needs to consider how to balance the merits of longer postings for greater substantive impact with supporting the professional development and advancement of UN Volunteers. 

6

Effectiveness – Recommendations

Volunteerism and DRR

UNV and UN Volunteers should continue to emphasize and promote volunteerism as the area where UNV most clearly has a specialization that contributes to UNCTs, partner UN agencies, and national agencies. The DRR Regional Project was able to support and promote volunteerism in the diverse contexts of UNCTs, UN partner agencies, and host countries in the region.

7

Effectiveness – Recommendations

Women, youth, people with disabilities, and marginalized people in DRR and volunteerism 

In order to more strongly support women, youth, people with disabilities, and marginalized people, UNV should develop clear guidance for UN Volunteers to more effectively and efficiently focus on these populations in their work and provide structured support through UNV managers for these efforts in their work and provide structured support through UN Volunteers managers for these efforts.

8

Effectiveness – Recommendations

Coordination with UNISDR, OCHA, and UNDP 

UNV should be more realistic and modest about the roles and expectations of deployed UN Volunteers in UN-system coordination in the drafting of any thematic project documents as well as in the expectations put in any Description of Assignment. For future regional or thematic programs in UN system coordination, Project Documents should focus on what is realistic – for UN Volunteers to support rather than lead agencies and UNCTs in coordination efforts. DOAs for UN Volunteers should be correspondingly realistic. The heads of UN Volunteers offices in countries or UN Volunteers regional offices should take the lead in coordination across UN agencies.

1. Recommendation:

Efficiency - Recommendations

If UNV is going to implement regional thematic programs, it should consider developing clear briefings and ensure clear communication with UN Volunteers that are part of regional programmes to facilitate their efficient work towards programmes goals and objectives.

The UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project was able to deliver support to meet project objectives and goals largely through the work of UN Volunteers for the projects of other UN agencies, but also sometimes through the extra efforts of individual UN Volunteers.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/23] [Last Updated: 2020/12/13]

UNV agrees with the recommendation. This project was designed prior to the opening of UNV's Regional Office in Bangkok in 2015 and prior to its Strategic Framework 2018-2021. UNV has revisited its approach to programming since and is not implementing directly thematic programmes anymore.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
No action needed, as UNV does not foresee to engage in this kind of thematic regional programme anymore as implementing partner.
[Added: 2019/04/23]
UNV 2018/11 No Longer Applicable [Justification: UNV is not directly implementing regional thematic programmes anymore.]
History
2. Recommendation:

If UNV is going to implement regional thematic programs, it should develop ways to make reporting straightforward and facilitate management of the program and UN Volunteers in the program by UNV regional thematic program managers.

UN Volunteers that work under these programs need simple measures and methods to report on activities and progress towards objectives. UN Volunteers managers need methods to monitor and manage for results that they can use for project management.  

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/23] [Last Updated: 2020/12/13]

UNV agrees with the recommendation. This project was designed prior to the opening of UNV's Regional Office in Bangkok in 2015 and prior to the Strategic Framework 2018-2021. UNV has revisited its approach to programming since and is not implementing directly thematic programmes anymore.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
No action needed, as UNV does not foresee to engage in this kind of thematic regional programme anymore as implementing partner.
[Added: 2019/04/23]
UNV 2018/11 No Longer Applicable [Justification: UNV is not directly implementing regional thematic programmes anymore.]
History
3. Recommendation:

Effectiveness – Recommendations

While UN Volunteers can implement regional programs, UNV should consider what the benefits to implementing regional thematic projects are for UNV as an organisation.

The evaluation concludes that the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project had many positive impacts and value at the national level in the countries in which it was implemented. The evaluation’s field work did not find important benefits to DRR or the promotion of volunteerism that came from implementing the UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project regionally in this case. The UN Volunteers DRR Regional Project produced outputs and contributed to outcomes that furthered the objectives of UN Volunteers and the program in the areas of DRR strategies and standards, the promotion of volunteerism in DRR, the engagement of women, youth, people with disabilities, and marginalized populations in DRR, and in coordination in DRR across UN agencies. These benefits appear at the country level, which contribute to UN Volunteers’ global goals; it was not clear what benefits there were at the regional level based on the design and project implementation.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/23] [Last Updated: 2020/12/13]

UNV agrees with the recommendation. This project was designed prior to the opening of UNV's Regional Office in Bangkok in 2015 and prior to the Strategic Framework 2018-2021. UNV's engagement in thematic regional programmes was discontinued under the new Strategic Framework.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
No action needed, as no rules for programme engagement are in place and UNV does not foresee to engage in this kind of programme anymore as implementing partner.
[Added: 2019/04/23]
UNV 2018/11 No Longer Applicable [Justification: UNV is not directly implementing regional thematic programmes anymore.]
History
4. Recommendation:

Effectiveness – Recommendations

If UNV is going to implement regional programmes, it should develop ways to have them systematically and clearly add value to the placement of UN Volunteers with host agencies based on sharing and synthesising learning across countries in the region.

Any future UN Volunteers regional programs should work with partners and stakeholders to develop ways and mechanisms for cross-national learning across the region or ways to implement regionally in ways that augment program influence, effectiveness, impact, and/or sustainability. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/23] [Last Updated: 2020/12/13]

UNV agrees with the recommendation. This programme was developed as a regional programme more than 5 years ago but without a clear regional purpose and value added. No regional results and regional partners where involved as well as very limited knowledge sharing happened among countries.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
For the time being, it is not envisaged for UNV to engage in regional programmes. Shall a regional programme be developed, UNDP's guidance defined by POPP (Programme and Operations Policies and Procedures) for regional programmes should be followed to ensure clear relevance and value added.
[Added: 2019/04/23]
UNV 2018/11 No Longer Applicable [Justification: For the time being, it is not envisaged for UNV to engage in regional programmes.]
History
5. Recommendation:

Effectiveness – Recommendations

Plans, standards, and DRR in the post-2015 development agenda  

UNV should seek to place UN Volunteers for a substantial period of time in order to develop the trust and confidence of national counterparts and staff of the UN host agency needed to make substantial contributions to DRR through their work on UN agency projects through a regional UNV project  through a regional UN Volunteers project. UN Volunteers needs to consider how to balance the merits of longer postings for greater substantive impact with supporting the professional development and advancement of UN Volunteers. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/23] [Last Updated: 2020/12/13]

UNV agrees with the recommendation. Overall incoherence of the regional programme approach led to a high rate of staff turnover in some countries and on the regional level which impacted on the duration of contracts.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNV's new cost recovery is more conducive to longer term assignment. In addition, UNV is advocating when possible for assignments of a minimum duration of one year.
[Added: 2019/04/23]
UNV Regional Office 2018/11 Completed
6. Recommendation:

Effectiveness – Recommendations

Volunteerism and DRR

UNV and UN Volunteers should continue to emphasize and promote volunteerism as the area where UNV most clearly has a specialization that contributes to UNCTs, partner UN agencies, and national agencies. The DRR Regional Project was able to support and promote volunteerism in the diverse contexts of UNCTs, UN partner agencies, and host countries in the region.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/23] [Last Updated: 2020/12/13]

UNV agrees with the recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNV's Strategic Framework 2018-2021 revisited its focus on the promotion of volunteerism and the support to the Global Plan of Action on Volunteerism, which is the core mandate of UNV.
[Added: 2019/04/23]
UNV Volunteer Advisory Services Section and Regional Offices 2018/11 Completed
7. Recommendation:

Effectiveness – Recommendations

Women, youth, people with disabilities, and marginalized people in DRR and volunteerism 

In order to more strongly support women, youth, people with disabilities, and marginalized people, UNV should develop clear guidance for UN Volunteers to more effectively and efficiently focus on these populations in their work and provide structured support through UNV managers for these efforts in their work and provide structured support through UN Volunteers managers for these efforts.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/23] [Last Updated: 2020/12/13]

UNV agrees with the recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The Volunteer Reporting App (VRA) collects data on UN Volunteers’ experiences in their assignment. Analysis of his data is ongoing and will allow UNV to connect volunteers in peer-to-peer exchange networks.
[Added: 2019/04/23]
Executive Office (RBM) 2018/12 Completed
8. Recommendation:

Effectiveness – Recommendations

Coordination with UNISDR, OCHA, and UNDP 

UNV should be more realistic and modest about the roles and expectations of deployed UN Volunteers in UN-system coordination in the drafting of any thematic project documents as well as in the expectations put in any Description of Assignment. For future regional or thematic programs in UN system coordination, Project Documents should focus on what is realistic – for UN Volunteers to support rather than lead agencies and UNCTs in coordination efforts. DOAs for UN Volunteers should be correspondingly realistic. The heads of UN Volunteers offices in countries or UN Volunteers regional offices should take the lead in coordination across UN agencies.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/04/23] [Last Updated: 2020/12/13]

UNV agrees with the recommendation. The Description of Assignments were very ambitious with limited resources and capacities to support.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
More standardized profiles for UN Coordination functions are being developed to support the new Resident Coordinator system.
[Added: 2019/04/23]
UNV Regional Office in cooperation with UN partners 2019/04 Completed

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