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Final Project Evaluation: Supporting Public Administration Reform (PAR) in Georgia
Commissioning Unit: Georgia
Evaluation Plan: 2021-2025
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 07/2021
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Georgia
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

1/ Leadership and Ownership of the of PAR Process: The PAR Roadmap, currently under development, will help to set the direction for further interventions. The project was well placed as a catalytic actor that helped to advance change in a constructive, collaborative and results-oriented manner. The project team showed resourcefulness even when outputs or activities appeared stalled.  And, as has been shown through the project and other efforts, the adoption and tailoring of EU and international standards is possible, practical and having an impact. Sometimes it takes several efforts, as was done with attempting to address dispute settlement. Such EU and international standards should continue to be pursued and applied though some require some adjustments to apply to the Georgian context.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/07]

Agreed. The PAR Project, in its new phase, will continue to facilitate the implementation of the applicable standards by tailoring those to the local context while ensuring that ownership from key government counterparts is secured. This is foreseen to be structured as a phased, "learning-by-doing" process

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. The PAR project will maintain active (almost daily) communication with the partners to communicate the project priorities, objectives and activities and adjust the cooperation format and timelines accordingly while ensuring that applicable standards and methodologies remain relevant.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP/ PAR project 2025/03 Initiated
1.2 Close contact with the expert community and OECD/SIGMA in the design and implementation phases of specific projects/activities will ensure that the EU administrative space standards are streamlined throughout
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP 2025/03 Initiated
2. Recommendation:

2/ Developing Linkages Within and Between PAR Components: For the next PAR phase, cooperation and collaboration within PAR components should be sought at the beginning of intervention planning rather than towards the end. Such collaboration will provide more GoG ownership and help facilitate implementation at a more rapid pace.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/07]

Agreed. The disconnect between the components was partly due to the government's lack of such coherence in the PAR Roadmap. The PAR project has advocated for more horizontal coherence between PAR aspects in the upcoming new strategy document and will mirror the same approach in its II Phase proposal. The PAR project's next Phase approach will be built on linking the elements where the progress has been achieved during the previous phase. The policy cycle and the service delivery are foreseen as two such integrating pillars, while the interventions under the civil service pillar will also have direct implications on the policy component and vice versa.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.3 Activities under policy and service delivery pillars will be planned to take into account the achievements of I Phase and ensure integration of reform outcomes across the pillars.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR Project 2025/03 Initiated
2.1. PAR Project advocates for the inclusion of the common, coherent base of standards and indicators in the new PAR Strategy.
[Added: 2021/09/07] [Last Updated: 2022/03/29]
UNDP PAR Project 2022/03 Completed Despite the political will for PAR implementation, the process of drafting new PAR strategy was delayed due to political upheavals caused by two rounds of municipal elections and shifting government resources towards managing COVID-19 pandemic. The process renewed by the end of 2021 and the PAR project actively advocates, including through its technical assistance for the compliance of the process with the new policy making rules ensuring that common, coherent base of standards and indicators are in place in the final document. History
2.2. II Phase project foresees building linkages between different PAR pillars.
[Added: 2021/09/07] [Last Updated: 2022/03/29]
UNDP PAR Project 2022/03 Completed The development of the new Results Framework of the 2nd phase of the PAR project envisaged meaningful linkages between its pillars, in particular the new phase project strategy aims at creating common cycles in policy making (Pillar 1) which would also integrate elements of human resource management (Pilar 2), logically related to relevant policy procedures (linking organizational strategy with performance appraisal as well as with professional development of civil servants). In addition, the project also aims to introduce interlinkages between the policy (Pillar 1) and service delivery (Pillar 3) by supporting participatory policy tools, (e.g., electronic policy platform) to ensure public participation in the process of delivering services and policies. History
3. Recommendation:

3/ Medium Term Depth and Breadth of PAR: While there have been advances on a professional and merit-based civil service, the question of “independence” still lingers. The issue of independence continues to warrant attention and needs to be pursued. The status of LEPLs also seems to be an issue for PAR. The LEPL situation needs to be addressed so there is more conformity with the public administration framework, laws and policies. The suggestion also concerns the PAR civil service and public perception surveys. Any future surveys framework should be built so that the data could definitely be comparable from survey to survey.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/07]

Agreed. To address the questions of "independence" of civil service, UNDP has started to explore two of the potential ways: introducing the position of a senior civil servant at the ministry level and the development of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Both avenues are planned to be explored and further supported in the II Phase of the project. This will be complemented by working with international partners and CSOs/academia to highlight the importance of civil service independence better. Prompt resolution of the status of LEPLs is a subject of ongoing discussion with the new leadership at AoG. To ensure comparability of the data collected through surveys, future studies will be designed with the relevant methodology ensuring desired comparability of the results

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1. The project aims to support CSB in creating favourable conditions for mediation (e.g. availability of trained mediators, increased capacities of human resource managers, clear guidelines and tools, cooperation with Georgia's Association of Mediators); advocating and piloting of ADR mechanisms in selected ministries.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR Project 2025/03 Initiated
3.2. With HoAoG, the project will also explore possibilities to establish Senior Civil Servants Position or alternative institutional mechanisms ensuring political neutrality of civil service through in-depth discussions, consultations, and advocacy.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR project 2025/03 Initiated
3.3 The project will plan the future surveys keeping in mind the previous PAR evaluation studies to capture the trends and design the framework of the upcoming surveys ensuring measurability across the surveys.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR Project 2023/03 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

4/ Human Rights-Based PAR Addressing Gender, Various Community Needs and Civil Society Input: the human rights emphasis needs to continue. Implementation is always challenging, and attention can be refocused elsewhere. For the next phase of the project, indicators should be identified at the beginning along with collection modalities so the impact can be better measured. There should be constant monitoring of indicators to make sure the appropriate feedback is being provided from civil society so that needs are met.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/07]

Agreed. Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI) activities will be mainstreamed under each pillar of the project and integrated within the project results and risks framework. They will also be integrated into all interventions. The project will be guided by this general, three-pronged approach to addressing the GESI objectives: 1) Project management with gender and social inclusion perspective; 2) Specific initiatives (studies, research) particularly focusing on gender and social inclusion will be carried out; 3) GESI indicators will be mainstreamed in strategic documents and action plans; 4) Coordination mechanisms with other UNDP projects dealing with GESI issues within the relevant portfolio will be furthered.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.2. When commissioning studies, the project will ensure GESI is meaningfully weaved into the design and analysis phase.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR Project 2025/03 Initiated
4.3 As part of supporting government partners in developing strategic policy documents, proper attention will be paid to integrating GESI elements where relevant and possible.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR Project 2025/03 Initiated
4.4. The project will further the existing cooperation with other relevant UNDP projects that deal specifically with gender and social inclusion issues to engage them in an advisory capacity to the project team and also to channel their experience into specific activities, whenever relevant
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR Project 2025/03 Initiated Support from the relevant projects has already been reflected during the drafting stage of the project’s II Phase proposal.
4.1. The project will engage with national counterparts to ensure that GESI mainstreaming is observed in the overall project design (Results Framework) and implementation of interventions, i.e., that impacts on gender equality are analysed in the design phase, gender equality is maintained in implementation, and gender-disaggregated data is collected, where possible, for monitoring and evaluation purposes. The project will also work through a set of recommendations with project counterparts to identify the areas where the most considerable and tangible impact can be made within each PAR pillar.
[Added: 2021/09/07] [Last Updated: 2022/03/29]
PAR Project 2022/03 Completed The development of the new Results Framework of the 2nd phase of the PAR Project envisaged inclusion of GESI dimension in the outcomes and outputs of the Project through engaging the GESI specialist in the participatory process of the framework development. As a result, the annual work plans of the project will be fully GESI sensitive with relevant GESI milestones and reporting will be continued in a gender disaggregated manner. Additionally, the project initiated GESI mainstreaming training sessions for the national partners in order to ensure that they are aware of the key concepts of the GESI mainstreaming and are able to design, implement and monitor the sub-projects through GESI lenses. Number of studies were dedicated to GESI thematic and the follow up actions will be based on the findings of the studies to contribute to inclusive civil service by increasing representation of female managers and Persons with Disabilities in civil service. History
5. Recommendation:

5/ Decentralisation and Local Government: For true decentralisation and local government development to occur that is on par and synchronised with the central level PAR, a more concerted effort is needed. It is not currently foreseen that the next phase of the project will be able to address applying what has been developed through the project at the local level. Such activities could be integrated into projects that are currently active at the local level if additional funding is added to such a project. Or, additional funding could be added to bring the next phase of the PAR project's activities to the local level.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/07]

Partially Agreed. The project is working closely with UNDP's two other large-scale initiatives focusing on decentralisation of local government and emphasising the importance of extending PAR on the local level. Some achievements have already been made as a result of this collaboration when unified policy standards adopted with PAR project support at the central level were also applied in the context of local government policy planning. However, the project will not directly address the local dimension in its second phase, not to duplicate the scope of the above initiatives already working on the level governance (including PAR issues). In addition, since several international partners (USAID, GIZ) have re-oriented their projects to local issues, the certain gap has emerged at the central level, which requires UNDP’s attention.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1. Further efforts will be undertaken to ensure the transfer of knowledge and new methodologies to the local level through the other UNDP local government initiatives.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP 2025/03 Initiated
5.2. The PAR project will consider the local government dimension when planning future interventions under each pillar and design activities affecting local governments to complement other UNDP local government initiatives where needed.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR Project 2023/03 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

6/ GoG External Assistance Coordination: Development partner coordination is happening by the development partners amongst themselves and with government stakeholders as required. However, given that the PAR is intended to be government-wide and given the depth that is needed across government, there seems to be the need for more government-led development partner coordination. The GoG and development partners may benefit to have an inventory of all PAR related interventions. It should also be aligned with the new PAR Roadmap to show what areas are being addressed and what areas need attention. UNDP is positioned to assist in facilitating this government-led coordination given its experience with the governance reform agenda and its objective stance.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/07]

Agreed. The self-organised donor coordination under PAR has been instrumental in ensuring coordination among development partners' initiatives, and the PAR project will continue to play a leading role in this coordination efforts in its second phase. The new leadership of AoG has expressed interest to enhance the GoG external assistance coordination, and this will be followed up by the PAR Project team.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1. The project will continue the PAR Donor Coordination meetings to address both policy and operational issues, coordinate implementation, avoid overlaps and ensure complementarity
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR Project 2025/03 Initiated
6.2. The project will explore potential support to strengthen government-led PAR donor coordination and plan activities as needed.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR project 2025/03 Initiated
7. Recommendation:

7/ Exist Strategy, Exit Strategy, Exit Strategy: The next phase of the project should have an exit strategy for each outcome area. The respective strategies should be agreed to with each stakeholder and a "handover" timeline prepared. Included in the strategy should be the "elements of sustainability" to identify what is needed for interventions sustainability.  It is not known at this time if the research and CSO grant schemes and emerging needs sub-projects will be continued with the next phase of the project. These interventions have helped the project in a variety of ways as described previously. Such grant schemes and sub-projects can't continue unlimited. If future grants or sub-projects are planned, they should be discrete and targeted and directly related to project output. One of the criteria should be how the grant would integrate a human rights-based approach and address key issues such as gender and vulnerable groups.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/07]

Agreed. Efforts will be made to develop a viable exit strategy for II Phase of the PAR project, which could be accomplished through a gradual, phased approach along with staggered graduation from specific project areas via intensive cooperation with the key GoG stakeholders and the PAR donors active in the relevant PAR pillars. As for CSO grant schemes and emerging needs sub-projects, during the first phase of the project the project team found that CSO engagement had most impact when it was dovetailing with specific element of reforms being tested or implemented by the government agencies, rather than existing in isolation from them. As for emerging needs sub-projects, while this tool provided high flexibility, the considerations of more targeted utilisation of resources remain, suggesting the need for seeking a higher degree of efficiency, thus all activities will be aligned and grouped together under the pre-planned outcomes and outputs instead of having a separate stream of emerging needs activities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1. The project will apply the ‘handover’ strategy by transferring the respective program activities to the key Government partners leading the PAR implementation where feasible. This will be mostly achieved through the capacity building component of the project, which is strongly presented in the design of the proposed interventions, to ensure that the technical assistance and consultancy services provided can continue through local structures.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR Project 2025/03 Initiated
7.2. The project will aim at encouraging targeted interventions of CSOs under specific pillars for the effective implementation of specific outputs. The Requests for Proposals may still be announced to attract the best possible expertise but targeting relatively narrowly defined results, defined in consultation with the key partner agencies. All new initiatives of the project, including the CSO grants, will emphasise mainstreaming gender and social inclusion issues into the design, analysis, and developing policy papers.
[Added: 2021/09/07]
UNDP PAR Project 2025/03 Initiated

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