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"Participatory policy-making among targeted groups is promoted" outcome evaluation
Commissioning Unit: Armenia
Evaluation Plan: 2005-2009
Evaluation Type: Outcome
Completion Date: 09/2008
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Armenia
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation: A number of sub-projects such as the UNCAC Gap Analysis and some of the e-governance activities involved short, limited amounts of funding and or Technical Assistance (TA) and have achieved the results intended. These projects seem to be more opportunity driven (in the positive sense) than being part of a more strategic approach. While staff may see them in a longer term perspective, they do not appear in documents as part of a longer term approach to fighting corruption.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/03/10]

We accept that the long term perspective may not be clearly formulated in the project document; however the most of the activities are very good entry points for the next at least five year programme. For example recommendations of the UNCAC Gap analysis are picked up by the Government and reflected in its 2009-2013 Anti-Corruption (A-C) Strategy. UNDP will also be guided by the recommendations while designing its A-C interventions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Properly formulate the strategic perspective of the interventions in the design documents and especially Country Programme Document 2010-2015.
[Added: 2009/03/10] [Last Updated: 2010/02/22]
UNDP CO 2009/12 Completed Formulation of strategic perspective of an intervention in project design documents is an on-going process. The draft CPD 2010-2015 was prepared considering the recommendations of the evaluations and the impact of the Outputs is formulated. After the CPD is finalized, the status of the Action can be changed into "Completed".
2. Recommendation: Most of the projects are short term. With short-term sub-projects, particularly those that are demand or request driven, significant or additional upfront design work does not seem to make sense. While they may be short term, at the same time it is important to understand the enabling (or disabling) environment in which small projects must operate. Too often small projects lack perspective about the challenges to their sustainability - because of lack of analysis. Specific examples are awareness raising and advocacy projects which often fail to adequately assess resistance and the resources and effort needed to deal with the underlying issues at work that affect sustainability. As with many things, there is a balance to be struck between adequate upfront analysis and overanalysis.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/10/07]

This issue is very similar to the first one. We consider it as a formulation issue, as long term perspective is always seen and put behind any project or intervention conducted by UNDP. We accept that the sustainability plan is not always in place and this issue needs improvement.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Consider the possibility of developing a sustainability plan for each project developed and implemented by UNDP.
[Added: 2009/10/07] [Last Updated: 2010/02/22]
UNDP Armenia CO No due date No deadline established
3. Recommendation: More complex projects such as Anti- Corruption Participatory Monitoring (ACPM) in the health and education sectors, which required design, assessment, redesign, and monitoring as well as considerable interaction and communication with a diverse group of stakeholders. Such projects are relatively labour intensive for UNDP staff. Different implementing arrangements might reduce the work load. This issue is important in terms of thinking about the size and scope of a possible anti-corruption portfolio and the next generation of projects. This is not an argument against such projects but a reality check in terms of staff requirements.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/10/07]

During design stage the issue of staff was thoroughly considered and decision was made also based on the fact that a big part of activities will be implemented by an implementing partner.

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation: Short term scope and indicators: In a development area where progress is well known to be long term, the outcome, its indicators, the projects and sub-projects and their indicators are all short term. The indicators are, for the most part, quantitative and provide limited information. For example, the Outcome Indicator 1 is "# of recommendations channeled through participatory mechanisms and through legal/policy analysis and the proportion of those incorporated into the national strategies, policies and programmes". One of the critiques of anti-corruption work is the need to go beyond new laws and regulations to enforcement - or in the case of policy to move to policy implementation. None of the indicators concern changes to corrupt practices because it would not be reasonable to expect such results in the time involved.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/10/07]

Selection of quantitative indicators, first of all, is that they are more measurable and thus easier considered as indicators, and second, the information reported against those indicators is more reliable as can be easily checked. On the other hand the qualitative indicators provide more room for not very reliable reporting which can be avoided by an operational and well-established M&E procedures and staff which is not fully available. On the other hand the change of corrupt practices is a long term goal of the project. Our interventions aim at those changes, however it is not realistic to measure such a result in a few years. Putting high level indicators like level of corruption decreased etc. would be also very ambitious especially considering the nature of interventions in that area. And finally, the issues of time and resources required for measuring the indicators are very important and being considered while they are developed.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation: Tenuous linkages between projects and the outcome statement: The causal linkages between the "Strengthening Awareness and Response in Exposure of Corruption" project" (and sub-projects) and the outcome statement of "Promoting Participatory Policymaking" are tenuous. The reasons for framing outcomes in this way have more to do with the requirements of the UNDP programming approach (and making changes) than a need to establish reasonable or probably causal links between outputs and outcomes that various stakeholders can relate to and which provide a beacon as to where efforts are headed.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/10/07]

We can clearly see the links between the projects and the Outcome statement. The focus of the projects was on developing a corruption participatory monitoring methodology and promoting its application, on promoting participation of citizens in decision and policy-making through on-line tools etc. Thus the main focus of the projects was on promoting participation. Certainly some projects had more goals, which sometimes went out of the scope covered by the Outcome, which does not make them irrelevant.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation: Need to Improve Diagnosis: Short term projects do not encourage deeper diagnosis. There does not appear to be strong encouragement or rewards to examine more deeply the challenges of larger, systemic issues, to do deeper diagnostic work and use the results strategically or in terms of project design. This is part of the rather circular problem of emphasizing relatively short term outcomes. This should not be interpreted as suggesting staff and many stakeholders are not aware of larger issues such as the roles of powerful economic interests, the need for broader public service reform, or changes to media ownership or the judicial system. This is also not meant to suggest that small projects should somehow take on such larger issues or invest heavily in diagnostic work. However, a reasonable understanding of broader issues or how even a sub-sector "works" is important to having a better judgment about whether one is supporting the right thing for informed reasons, or because we believe that what we are doing is intuitively the right thing. A better sense of the issues and the problem also provides a basis to consider how the combined efforts of various stakeholders (donors, international organizations, government and CSOs) might mitigate some of the challenges.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/10/07]

A diagnostic work is being done at the beginning of a project and is being updated later according to changes in the situation.

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation: Short-term perspective on capacity development: Capacity development needs tend to be seen from a short-term perspective which may minimize the importance of larger, systemic impediments to making change. Diagnosis of capacity needs from a larger perspective, which is related to the issue above, does not appear in project documents in any significant way - which again does not mean that staff and stakeholders do not think about them. However, short term approaches tend to mean that capacity development is frequently approached in terms of training, workshops and awareness raising. What effects these have on larger impediments and how they contribute to higher level, longer term outcomes is uncertain.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/10/07]

We accept that sometimes project funds ands duration do not make the strategic approach to capacity development possible. However the UNDP and project staff try to do their best to ensure its sustainability. Of course sustainability planning would give more opportunities for ensuring the sustainability and more systematic and strategic approach to different issues including capacity development.

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation: Bilateral donors contribute to small project, short term approaches: Project funding from Norway and SDC is project based and short term. The Paris Declaration emphasizes, among several things, the importance of more programmatic approaches; greater and long term predictability of financing and the reduction of transaction costs through more common reporting systems. The support of the Government of Norway and the SDC are important and strategic to the work of the UNDP and the government of Armenia. However, longer term and more programmatic approaches could make them more valuable.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/10/07]

Despite the fact that some projects seem to be short-term as the funding is short term, they are seen in strategic perspective, as they are part of Country Programme and feet into CPD results.

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation: Support to civil society organizations is short term: This is not unique to the UNDP but part of the general donor approach to civil society. Donors increasingly acknowledge the importance of civil society in areas such as fighting corruption. The various weaknesses of civil society organizations are also well known. However, if they are valuable partners in the fight against corruption and the development process, it is not clear why donors take such short-term approaches with CSOs. Donors have agreed that it is important to support country partners through a package of measures such providing predictable, long-term financing (Direct Budget Support), strengthening financial management, and developing common reporting systems. However, with CSOs they continue, for the most part, to "support" them through small, short-term projects which forces them to spend a disproportionate amount of time making project proposals and forces many to make shifts to respond to the constantly shifting policy directions of donors. This is not meant as a simplistic suggestion for core funding but to point out the need for more long-term thinking and strategies vis-à-vis civil society.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/10/07]

The recommendation will be concidered during while it is not against UNDP rules.

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation: Labour intensity and opportunity costs of small projects: The planning and management of several small projects, particularly those such as ACPM is labour intensive. The reasons that the projects and sub-projects have achieved the results that have been achieved, speaks highly of the commitment of individual staff members. However, managing small labour-intensive projects, combined with inevitable staff turnover and the possible loss of organizational memory, should be consideration in the development of a future anti-corruption project or projects. This is not an argument against such projects but another reason for more programmatic approaches.
Management Response: [Added: 2009/10/07]

The programmatic approach is highly encouraged and supported.

Key Actions:

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