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Joint evaluation of the role and contribution of the United Nations System in the Republic of South Africa
Commissioning Unit: Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Plan: 2008-2009
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Completion Date: 09/2009
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: South Africa
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation: Develop a comprehensive cooperation framework. It is recommended that a strategic planning process be initiated jointly by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Treasury with the participation of all other government departments that interact with the UN system.The goal would be the creation of a flexible, permanent structure that will effectively cover the range of international relations related to the provision of national,1 regional and global public goods and reflect South Africa?s position as a middle-income country. Contributors to this new structure would include a number of government departments with regional or international outreach, South African embassies abroad, academic institutions that contribute to the body of global scientific knowledge, private sector corporations that provide new technologies, as well as UN and other development partners. The purpose of the cooperation framework would be to ensure coherency and systematic monitoring of overall South African engagement. This framework should take into full consideration an approach to manage regional interventions in consultation with structures such as SADC, the New Partnership for Africa?s Development (NEPAD) and the African Union, along with individual country representatives. The new cooperation framework should be closely aligned with South Africa?s Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and medium-term programmes of national departments; it should also be integrated with the objectives of the National Framework for Sustainable Development. The UN?s partnership with civil society, especially non-governmental organizations, should be strengthened through a planned programme that moves beyond one-off events to building the capacity of NGOs as partners in development. The ways in which cross-cutting issues and synergies with related initiatives will be managed should be clearly defined.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

No Management response

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation: Enter into a joint strategic planning process. It is recommended that, within the philosophy of the framework described above, the government (in national, provincial and local spheres) and the UN system (at the local, regional and headquarters levels) enter together into a strategic planning process. Assistance would be provided by external consultants to determine the scope and rules of engagement governing future cooperation that would extend beyond the UNDAF concept. The government should define a sound and comprehensive policy and process to manage UN assistance within the broader framework of international cooperation to South Africa and the region. The process should produce clear guidelines for roles and responsibilities that are spelled out in a Memorandum of Understanding that will keep parties mutually accountable.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

Assistance would be provided by external consultants to determine the scope and rules of engagement governing future cooperation that would extend beyond the UNDAF concept.

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation: Review the roles of key government departments in relation to the UN. It is recommended that the current roles and responsibilities of the National Treasury and Department of Foreign Affairs as key contact points for the UN be reviewed. While the Department of Foreign Affairs is mandated as the first point of entry for all foreign engagements, and the National Treasury deals with inward ODA flows, the complex set of relationships between the government and the UN requires interaction at strategic as well as technical levels with many government departments. As the evaluation demonstrates, this interaction does not function in ways that facilitate the full utilization ofmutual resources. It is therefore recommended that clearer and more flexible mechanisms be developed.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

It is therefore recommended that clearer and more flexible mechanisms be developed

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop mechanisms to deal with the ODA
[Added: 2013/10/07]
UN, National Treasury and Department of Foreign Affairs 2008/01 Completed
4. Recommendation: Improve coordination. It is recommended that government departments take the initiative to improve their coordination with UN agencies through bi-annual round-table discussions in which priorities and programmes can be reviewed. Such discussions could also serve to deepen mutual understanding of each party?s mandate. Furthermore, it is recommended that the government take steps to improve the knowledge and skills of international relations focal points in departments regarding the UN system. This could be accomplished by securing the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the National Treasury and the UN to design a programme to build such capacities. The government should demonstrate ownership of the expanded UN-government cooperation framework by ensuring that consultations are not relegated to officials who lack the mandate and skills to participate in such consultations, possibly under the auspices of the Consultative Forum on International Relations, an inter-governmental structure comprising senior officials. The current system of focal points should be evaluated and structured to become more effective, especially to improve the integration between the official focal points in the international relations entities and the technical entities within and outside of departments responsible for implementation.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

No Management response

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation: Adapt theUNCountryTeamto the specific needs of South Africa. It is recommended that the UN at country and headquarters levels take steps to develop a unique model of ?Delivering and Receiving as One? for South Africa, taking into account its status as a middle-income country and aiming to support national priorities in a comprehensive manner. For inspiration, it is recommended that the UN Country Team and government representatives monitor the experience of the ?One UN? pilot programme as it unfolds, possibly including a joint visit to some of the pilot countries, as well as through the forthcoming evaluation.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

UN Country Team and government representatives to monitor the experience of the One UN pilot programme as it unfolds

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Monitor the experience of the One UN pilot programme as it unfolds
[Added: 2013/10/07]
UN Country Team and government representatives 2008/01 Completed
6. Recommendation: Create one budgetary framework. It is recommended that the UN Country Team, in collaboration with the UN Secretariat and agency headquarters, review the option for integrating budgets at the country level. It is further recommended to encourage bilateral development partners, in the spirit of the Paris Declaration, to avail funds to the UN Country Team rather than earmarking them for specific projects implemented by agencies. This process can be painful for some agencies and care should be taken not to negatively impact the agencies? ability to make use of their comparative advantages.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

UNCT to review the option for integrating budgets at the country level

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Budget review at country level
[Added: 2013/10/07]
UNCT,National Treasury and Department of Foreign Affairs 2008/01 Completed
7. Recommendation: Strengthen UN leadership at the country level, focusing on theResidentCoordinator. It is recommended that the UN strengthen its leadership in South Africa in order to embark on strategic interaction with the government and South African civil society, drawing on the full register of UN capacity, while helping to channel South African expertise to the UN. This will require a streamlining of the UN Country Team?s mode of operations. It is recommended that the Resident Coordinator become the ?chief executive officer? of the system at the country level, with a separate office, instead of serving the dual role as Resident Coordinator and head of agency simultaneously. In accordance with the practice in an increasing number of countries, it is recommended that the UNDP country office be led by a country director. The Resident Coordinator should be endowed with executive powers for the whole system, including the budget. He/she should be the central contact point for the Government of South Africa, have easy access to senior levels of government, and ensure that the UN system always speaks with one voice. He/she should be supported by two senior deputies, namely a strategic development manager responsible for connecting the mandates and capacities of the UNwith relevant government departments, and a public diplomacy manager, responsible for UNexternal relations in South Africa (with the government, academia and civil society). Care should be exercised to ensure the correct balance of competencies in the recruitment of the three officials. Recruitment should be a joint process, and applicants from outside the UN system, including South African nationals, should be encouraged to apply. To the extent that the setting up of the new Resident Coordinator?s Office will require additional funding, the UN and the Government of South Africa should share the responsibility to ensure that such funding will be made available for three years on an experimental basis.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

No Management response

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation: Add value.The UN should focus on high-end value-added activities that generate knowledge and information for policies and programmes: activities where it has strength, such as providing technical assistance for monitoring and evaluating areas that cut across government departments (for example,human rights, gender equality, social protection and employment creation); and activities that promote South- South dialogue. The partnership should formulate and implement clear and effective strategies for all the sectors reviewed in this report, and create a governance arrangement that assures progressive adaptation and flexibility in the face of emerging knowledge and constraints. Small projects that are demanding in terms of time and resources and not necessarily suitable for cumbersome UN procedures should only be approved when particularly strong cases can be made for them by the government.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

No management response

Key Actions:

9. Recommendation: Enhance the specialized expertise of UN staff. It is recommended that UN agencies, funds and programmes ensure that career staff posted to South Africa are experts or researchers in their respective areas of expertise. They should also have advisory capabilities and be able to engage on an equal footing with government officials. Likewise, the UN should provide South Africa with high-level, short-term international expertise in selected fields upon request.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

UN to provide South Africa with high-level, short-term international expertise in selected fields upon request.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UN to provide South Africa with high-level, short-term international expertise in selected fields upon request.
[Added: 2013/10/07]
UN, Gov. of South Africa 2008/01 Completed
10. Recommendation: Strive to understand South Africa. It is recommended that the Resident Coordinator?s Office strengthen its briefing of staff to better communicate the specificities of South Africa, the intergovernmental relations at three levels, and the role of civil society. This would include attendance at annual sessions of the National Treasury/International Development Coordination Directorate as well as special modules on understanding the South African context, government priorities and the Programme of Action; the machinery of government; and how development cooperation in South Africa works. It is further recommended that UN agencies be encouraged to strategize, individually and together, about how they will engage with government counterparts in a decentralized setting with overlapping competencies, using intergovernmental relations structures as far as possible.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

No management response

Key Actions:

11. Recommendation: Strive to understand the UN system. It is recommended that more attention be given to UN public diplomacy in order to increase understanding of what the UN is and does. This should include: The marketing of services that can be offered by the UN system to South Africa and the region, with clearly defined processes on how to access these services. Bi-annual briefings to the government to discuss major policy developments and initiatives from UN headquarters and strategic issues pertinent to the implementation of the joint cooperation framework. These briefings should preferably follow on the bi-annual Cabinet Lekgotla. Briefing sessions and conferences for wider audiences (including national and provincial legislatures, the private sector and civil society) on global and regional issues of special importance where the UN is involved. Examples include climate change in the lead-up to the Copenhagen Conference, the food security crisis and peace-building in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

No management response

Key Actions:

12. Recommendation: Follow up on these recommendations in 2012. It is recommended that an independent follow-up evaluation be conducted in 2012 to ascertain if the strengthening of the UN Country Team has taken place: if the new roles of the Resident Coordinator and his or her deputies have enabled them to become trusted advisers to the government; if a comprehensive cooperation framework has been established covering the whole range of potential UN services; and if communication and mutual understanding have substantially improved.Based on the outcome, the evaluation should make recommendations with regard to further strengthening or, alternatively, reducing the UN presence in South Africa.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/21] [Last Updated: 2013/10/07]

No management response

Key Actions:

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