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Evaluation of UNDP contribution to strengthening electoral systems and processes
Commissioning Unit: Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Plan: 2009-2013
Evaluation Type: Thematic
Completion Date: 08/2012
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

4.2.1 Institutional and strategic direction setting 

Recommendation 1: UNDP should intensify efforts to build the shared sense of purpose among headquarter, country-office and project teams, and to improve their understanding of the UNDP approach and programming options for electoral assistance.

UNDP should ensure that its institutional frameworks, vision for electoral assistance, and how these fit within the broader United Nations electoral assistance framework are more fully understood by staff and key stakeholders working at the country level. This should include training for country office and project staff on how UNDP promotes the normative United Nations values and fulfils an impartial role in the provision of electoral assistance. UNDP should better leverage the considerable amount of its knowledge products and expertise within the Bureau for Development Policy, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery and some of its more experienced Resident Representatives through more systematic dissemination, networking efforts, and follow-up to its community of practice meetings. This would increase the consistency, effectiveness and relevance of the UNDP contribution. 

UNDP should also consider more intensive and comprehensive induction training—on the organization’s institutional vision and implementation guidelines on electoral assistance—for new Resident Representatives, Chief Technical Advisers, senior country office management and governance unit staff. This training should takeplace well in advance of the initial needs assessment mission so that a representative of the country office can participate in the mission and more effectively contribute to its findings and recommendations. Networking efforts between country office governance and electoral project staff, and among offices and regions should be expanded. 

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/09] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

This recommendation is very much in line with the UNDP AOC, which calls for improving performance 'from good to great' so that UNDP programming and implementation consistently lead to positive impact. The AOC means that UNDP will use the best configuration of knowledge, policy, programme and corporate services to support consistently high quality electoral assistance delivery at the country level. The actions proposed here form part of a larger organizational effort that goes beyond addressing the issues raised in the present evaluation and that seeks to standardize UNDP performance on the ground - not just in the area of elections but overall. UNDP will do more to make policies and guidance easily available - in particular through Teamworks - to encourage cross-regional information sharing. UNDP will also make greater use of in-house expertise through a strengthened quality assurance function for electoral assistance design, in particular by regional centre and headquarters advisors. UNDP will also make greater use of regional electoral workshops and trainings to contribute to consistency and effectiveness. Finally, senior country office leadership plays a particularly important role in framing the dialogue with the government on UNDP electoral assistance and will be engaged more through management/cluster meetings and training to build coherence.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Improve cross-regional collaboration to share lessons and approaches in UNDP electoral assistance such as during global management meetings and regional bureau/cluster meetings.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2018/05/02]
Regional bureaux, BDP, regional centres 2019/12 Completed BDP has ongoing regular dialogues on electoral assistance to share status checks, strategy and lessons learned with RBA and RBAP, which together account for 75% of electoral assistance work and on specific country cases with other regional bureaux. This allows for cross-regional lessons learned. The annual DRR/DCD Dialogue in the Asia Pacific region in March 2013 looked at two issues, one of which is electoral support in politically volatile environments. As a practice, UN/UNDP internal conversations are being organized side to side to major electoral conferences and trainings. A conversation among UNDP/UN electoral staff was organized side to side the Global Electoral Officials Conference in October 2013. History
1.2 Develop a stronger quality assurance role in the design of electoral assistance projects that makes use of in-house expertise.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2016/02/05]
BDP and BCPR, with regional bureaux 2014/06 Completed BDP (DGG and KCIG) developed a TOR for UNDP programming criteria to improve the quality of the design of electoral assistance projects. However, it was decided that this work should be folded into the corporate initiative on programme and project level quality assurance (rolled out in 2015), which apply to all projects including elections. BPPS has a critical role in providing substantive support to ensure that quality criteria are met in all projects.
1.3 Ensure electoral policies and guidance are easily available, accessible and frequently updated using the Teamworks platform and other methods.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2014/02/24]
BDP 2013/02 Completed All electoral policies are available online on Teamworks and have been circulated through the Democratic Governance Practice Network. Online Toolkit on Electoral Assistance is updated regularly to include all guidance available. Key policy documents have also been shared by the Administrator and BDP Director.
1.4 Ensure UNDP input to DPA/EAD-produced guidelines on needs assessment missions and types and principles of United Nations electoral assistance and ensure their distribution to country offices.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2014/02/24]
BDP (engaging DPA), regional bureaux 2012/09 Completed UNDP feedback has been incorporated into needs assessment guidelines and other six policy documents developed in the context of ICMEA. These documents have also been circulated to country offices and are all available in Teamworks and the Online Toolkit on Electoral Assistance. Needs Assessment Guidelines and Policy Directive on Types and Principles of UN Electoral Assistance are due for review in May 2014. UNDP will engage in a review of lessons on the two years of implementation and participate in the review of these policies in the context of ICMEA.
2. Recommendation:

4.2.1 Institutional and strategic direction setting 

Recommendation 2: UNDP should assess the way it frames relationships with national authorities for electoral projects, and develop a model that embodies UN impartiality within its long-standing relationship within a country.

UNDP should guard its reputation as an impartial provider of electoral assistance, because this reputation can play a critical role in managing local political dynamics while promoting the broader requirements of electoral integrity. UNDP should ensure that its involvement in an electoral process serves as a mark of legitimacy, providing confidence to electoral management bodies to take the right decisions and dissuading nondemocratic forces from making frivolous claims or disrupting the process. UNDP should ensure that all country offices are aware of the option of providing support based on a request from an electoral management body. UNDP should focus its technical and normative assets on strengthening these independent institutions to enhance their standing in society and reinforce the political role they play as arbiters of the electoral contest. 

In cases where a primary counterpart may be within the host government’s Executive branch (such as the Ministry of Interior), the country office should distinguish electoral technical assistance from other, non-political forms of technical assistance. The means by which this distinction could be made include hosting of a needs assessment mission, appointing a Chief Technical Adviser with clearly defined authority, establishing a consultative mechanism with representatives of civil society and opposition political parties, and appealing to UNDP and EAD when the executive institution appears to be coming under political pressure from the incumbent administration.

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/09] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

It is the DPA-led needs assessment process that continues to set the parameters of UNDP electoral assistance and requests from EMBs are still considered exceptional, with the executive branch more often seen as the initiator of such requests to the United Nations. UNDP will advocate more to consider the EMB as a routine source of electoral requests. Electoral assistance - like democratic governance and even development - features both political and technical dimensions. UNDP believes that the solution to political challenges in the electoral field is not to distinguish further between the political and technical dimensions, but rather to manage the political aspects in a manner that allows UNDP to maintain the highest level of impartiality. This can entail calling on DPA services when and as needed. In peacekeeping or mission contexts, this will mean clearly distinguishing the lead political role of the mission from the technical role that UNDP plays, while designing the technical assistance to take into account the political context. UNDP will explore ways to sensitize senior UNDP officials more on the lessons learned with respect to the political-technical relationship and to what role DPA can provide. UNDP electoral assistance projects usually feature clear reporting lines of CTAs to the UNDP country office (normally to the head of governance or to the senior country office management) in order to reinforce the chain of accountability and communication through which electoral assistance is closely aligned to the UNDP country office's democratic governance work.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Sensitize senior country office and electoral staff - taking advantage of inductions of resident coordinators, country directors and deputy country director and other opportunities - to the fact that they can rely on DPA to provide political support or interventions on international norms and standards.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2018/04/25]
OHR, United Nations Staff College, regional bureaux, country offices, BDP 2019/12 Completed Induction courses now regularly include a session on electoral assistance and DPA?s role. More could be done to ensure a comprehensive treatment of electoral assistance ? as part of development programming as well as peacekeeping and political assistance ? in staff induction processes. 2018: UNDP TDU delivers 5 LDPs every year: LDP Foundations, LDP1, LDP 2, LDP 3, LDP 4 and LDP RR totaling 1600 UNDP employees. History
2.2 Finalize lessons learned study with DPA and DPKO on integrated electoral assistance for recommendations on division of labour between missions and UNDP.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2014/02/24]
BDP (engaging DPA and DPKO), BCPR 2012/09 Completed The lessons learned study was finalized and presented to the Integration Steering Group in February 2013. Findings are being used for the development of new policy guidance on integrated electoral assistance.
2.3 Input to DPA/EAD-drafted needs assessment mission and principles and type of electoral assistance guidelines to expand consideration of requests for electoral assistance from EMBs.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2014/02/24]
BDP (engaging DPA), BCPR and regional bureaux 2012/08 Completed UNDP lobbied EAD for inclusion of this provision into the principles and types paper. The final draft notes: ?Requests for electoral assistance can be made by the head of government or the minister of foreign affairs. In some circumstances, requests from other entities such as a ministry involved in the delivery of electoral assistance or the electoral commission may also be considered as acceptable. Requests cannot be made by groups within the legislature, not by civil society or other groups.?
3. Recommendation:

4.2.1 Institutional and strategic direction setting 

Recommendation 3: UNDP should ensure a more consistent grounding of electoral assistance in the broader democratic governance framework to better incorporate the values of that framework.

UNDP should more firmly ground electoral assistance in its larger democratic governance programme to give more meaning to its support. Specifically, this means working more systematically to build synergies among different democratic governance programmes, some of which may already be assisting women’s groups, civil society advocates, media, political parties and members of parliament. This process should start by taking advantage of existing opportunities and becoming more systematized as part of the Country Programme Action Plan process. This requires better diagnosis of governance issues and designing the governance programme, including electoral assistance, around that analysis. In contexts marked by a lack of political will, and where repeated electoral technical assistance has not resulted in the envisioned outcomes, UNDP should ensure that country offices are given full headquarter and regional support through mentoring and backstopping. In cases where there is no political will for competitive multiparty processes, UNDP should carefully assess its support options, as assisting parts of a process under such circumstances is tacit approval of them. Country offices with upcoming electoral events should be prioritized for training on the organization’s new political economy-based analysis and on how to integrate this political analysis into soft and hard assistance. Strengthening contextual analyses and integrating early warning systems into electoral assistance programming could help country offices and regional bureaux identify potential triggers for electoral conflict and develop mitigation and prevention responses at the policy and technical levels. 

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/09] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

Elections are one input into UNDP democracy and governance work. In and of themselves, elections offer value as a unique and sufficient development goal. However, many linkages between elections and the broader governance framework exist with the electoral cycle approach and ensuring greater traction for the approach will also help to ensure more linkages between electoral assistance and work with political parties, civil society, including women's groups, media, domestic observers, security forces, parliaments and the judiciary. When electoral assistance is identified in the CPD/CPAP, linkages with other areas of UNDP work in country (and regionally) are identified at that time. UNDP will use the findings and recommendations from its study on longer-term electoral assistance to identify ways of using the electoral cycle approach better in environments where focus on the EMB per se may not be yielding the desired results. Similarly, UNDP will use the findings from the study on gender mainstreaming in electoral assistance and other knowledge products to identify key entry for gender mainstreaming in the electoral cycle. UNDP will also make better use of institutional and contextual analysis and collaborative cross bureaux (BDP-BCPR-regional bureaux) approaches to programme development (both country programmes and sector projects). In cases where there is no political will for competitive, multi-party processes, UNDP should carefully assess its options for support. It is crucial that UNDP is fully associated with the political analysis of the NAMs and does not limit its contribution to the design of future potential electoral projects. It is the DPA-led needs assessment process that continues to set the parameters of UNDP electoral assistance and the final decision on whether to assist a country lies with DPA. Country offices should be fully associated with the decision-making the political analysis provided to DPA since they need to take NAM recommendations forward with counterparts and are best placed to highlight the sensitivities and appropriateness of any given support.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.2 Identify electoral assistance and democratic governance synergies in the CPD/CPAP when possible and at project design phase, in particular in ABP priority countries.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2018/05/02]
Regional bureaux, country offices, BDP and BCPR 2019/12 Completed Good work done to identify electoral assistance and democratic governance synergies in the CPDs and/or precursor strategies in DRC (Q2 2012) and Afghanistan (Q1 2013; Q1 2014). BDP electoral team collected all CPD and CPAP and initiating tracking the ones that envision electoral assistance. History
3.3 Finalize the lessons learned study on the longer-term impact of United Nations electoral assistance and the study on gender mainstreaming in electoral assistance.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2014/01/23]
BDP 2012/08 Completed Both lessons learned studies completed.
3.1 Adapt the institutional and contextual analysis methodology to the electoral assistance area.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2017/12/28]
BDP (including OGC) 2012/09 No Longer Applicable [Justification: DPA colleagues vehemently objected to use of ICA in UNPD electoral assistance, claiming, with some credibility, that contextual analysis is their mandate. ]
BDP has finalized the draft of the Guidance Note on Using Institutional and Context Analysis for Electoral Assistance, but launch has been delayed due to ongoing discussion on this product with DPA. Launched of the publication expected for first quarter of 2014. History
4. Recommendation:

4.2.1 Institutional and strategic direction setting

Recommendation 4: Beyond addressing technical needs, UNDP programmes should strategically focus on the areas of critical need for credible, inclusive processes.

UNDP should be strategic in the choice of areas where it offers assistance and not try to address everything requested by national authorities or donors. The agency should also ensure that all of its hard and soft assistance, training and activities directly contribute towards the achievement of a more credible, peaceful and inclusive process. UNDP should concentrate on ensuring that the most essential needs of the process are covered through its mobilization and coordination role, and, in conjunction with national and international partners, determine which partners are best-placed and able to address specific needs. This process should be based on sound analysis of the political and electoral context, prioritization of needs and a clear exit strategy. UNDP should ensure that its own programmes effectively leverage its United Nations status, multinational nature and development mandate, and that such programmes focus directly on strengthening the credibility of the processes assisted. In particular, UNDP should do more to exploit its convening capabilities and its comparative advantage of facilitating national dialogue on needed electoral reforms and reducing the winner-takes-all nature of electoral systems. Strengthening multiparty political systems should be a part of this process. These types of activities are, by their very nature, process issues, and UNDP should allow sufficient time for them to be carried out both before and after the electoral event.  

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/09] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

This recommendation assumes that UNDP is trying to do everything everywhere, which is not confirmed by a close reading of what country offices are actually doing in electoral assistance, which tends to be fairly focused. What does bear scrutiny, however, is whether UNDP is taking the most strategic approach in a given context, which is rarely a factor of UNDP decision-making alone. In several countries, UNDP had designed electoral cycle approach projects that prioritized work with actors such as political parties that were deemed essential to peaceful and inclusive elections based on thorough analysis. However, these activities were considered by other actors as 'complementary' and ultimately dropped by the project when funding and priority were instead placed on 'core' electoral management. Greater advocacy therefore needs to be done in-house and with donors to recognize that work with the EMB alone may not be the best or only entry point for UNDP. Donors and EMBs also sometimes come to UNDP as the provider of last resort. This is a role that many will presumably continue to ask of UNDP in general and is not isolated to electoral assistance. In these contexts, the ability of UNDP to respond is highly appreciated by partners, so much so that in some cases if UNDP were to limit its areas of support it may present a reputational risk for the organization. At the same time, UNDP will do more to design electoral assistance projects with clear benchmarks for progress and, where possible, seek to transform and reduce its role over time to meet changing needs. This entails understanding the trajectory of countries that have been net 'importers' of United Nations electoral assistance, but are now providers of peer support, and knowing how UNDP can use the electoral cycle in each context to accompany programme countries along this pathway.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Input on DPA/EAD-drafted needs assessment mission guidelines to identify early UNDP comparative advantages and to eliminate division between ?core? and ?complementary? activities.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2014/02/24]
BDP (engaging DPA), BCPR and regional bureaux 2012/08 Completed As a result of input from UNDP, the DPA/EAD needs assessment guidelines discuss various stakeholders and entry points in a very UNDP programme-friendly manner. There is no distinction made between "core" and "complementary" activities.
4.3 Use the lessons learned study on the longer-term impact of United Nations electoral assistance to identify strategies for evolving electoral assistance from large-scale technical assistance to partnership over time.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2018/04/25]
BDP, regional bureaux, country offices 2014/12 Completed Lessons from this study are already starting to be used in electoral assistance. For example, at an October 2012 lessons learned exercise on the electoral assistance experience in Libya, the study was used to identify pragmatic strategies to transition from large-scale political mission support to support focused on longer-term national capacity and sustainability; also in Pakistan the findings on capacity development strategies and training centres are being used for the development of their activities in the area (Q1, 2014). History
4.2 Use the institutional and contextual analysis adapted to electoral assistance to design electoral assistance projects that take into account winner-takes-all politics.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2017/12/28]
Country offices, regional bureaux, BDP, BCPR 2014/12 No Longer Applicable [Justification: DPA colleagues vehemently objected to use of ICA in UNDP electoral assistance, claiming, with some credibility, that contextual analysis is their mandate. ]
Draft Guidance Note on Using Institutional and Context Analysis for Electoral Assistance finalized in 2013. Launched of the publication expected for first quarter of 2014. Bangladesh (Q1/2014) would pilot ICA for governance, including elections. Draft Guide has been shared with CO for their use in this exercise. History
5. Recommendation:

4.2.1 Institutional and strategic direction setting

Recommendation 5: UNDP should prioritize efforts to clarify the application of the United Nations electoral assistance policy framework to more effectively fulfil the institutional mandate of development assistance.

UNDP should seek to resolve the differences arising from the application of the United Nations electoral assistance policy framework where it affects UNDP ability to fulfil its development mandate. Senior UNDP managers should engage with the United Nations Focal Point to discuss these issues and seek a synergistic application of the framework so that UNDP, as well as other United Nations organizations, are able to make the best use of their institutional mandates in support of these important national processes. UNDP should continue its efforts through the Inter-Agency Coordinating Mechanism on Electoral Assistance to resolve operational issues.

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/09] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

Decisions 2010/23 and 2011/23 of the Policy Committee of the Secretary-General have sought to clarify pending issues of division of labour among different parts of the United Nations system working in electoral assistance, from how policy is formulated to how the United Nations should respond to demands for electoral assistance from Member States. DPA and UNDP have also signed a Note of Guidance on Electoral Assistance (most recently in September 2010) that governs their division of labour in this area. However, differences in interpretation of this guidance continue to affect implementation in the field. These differences largely relate to interpretations of what it means for the United Nations focal point to have a normative and political role in setting the broad parameters of electoral assistance and what it means for UNDP (or other United Nations actors) to take the lead in designing and delivering technical assistance at the request of Member States, respecting these parameters. UNDP will continue to work at the technical level, through the ICMEA, to better collaborate with DPA and share information on approaches used by UNDP at country level with national and international partners to design and deliver electoral assistance. UNDP will also engage through senior management with DPA to ensure that the division of labour and policy guidance in this area is mutually understood and consistently applied by DPA and UNDP in a manner that allows UNDP to deliver on its development mandate.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Senior-level UNDP engagement with DPA on the policy framework governing elections and clarification of how to implement Policy Committee guidance.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2016/02/05]
Executive Office, BDP, BCPR, regional bureaux 2012/09 Completed UNDP maintained senior and working level engagements with DFS and DPA on the operational support review and the framework for a single roster. While these process was delayed due to discussions among different UN entities, however, significant progress has been made in 2015, and single UN system electoral roster was established and made operational.
5.2 Participate in the ICMEA regularly to ensure information sharing and mutual understanding of mandates and constraints.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2018/05/02]
BDP, with BCPR and regional bureaux 2015/12 Completed Regular participation through BDP in the monthly technical-level ICMEA meetings and participation by BDP in the two Director-level ICMEA meetings in 2013.. An action agenda on information sharing and knowledge products was produced as a result of those meeting. 1) the BBPS electoral staff participate in all ICMEA meetings with other UN agencies, sharing information, advancing UN policy in the area, and promoting mutual understanding. Since its creation, we have not missed a single meeting.Completed and ongoing. History
6. Recommendation:

4.2.2 Programmatic Improvements

Recommendation 6: UNDP should strengthen implementation of electoral cycle projects so they are able to retain their process-oriented focus.

UNDP should strengthen its efforts to fully implement electoral cycle projects by focusing on the process alongside the event. UNDP should provide country offices, Chief Technical Advisers and project teams with training on the electoral cycle approach, improve dissemination of implementation guidelines, and promote increased networking and peer-to-peer exchanges among electoral management bodies and civil society organizations in the periods between electoral events. UNDP should also leverage the range of entry points in an electoral cycle approach to reach media, political parties, legislators and others to strengthen the process and promote the independence of electoral management bodies, whether they are formally independent or part of the executive branch. UNDP country offices should also be more proactive in the period between elections to maintain relationships with such bodies and election-oriented civil society organization (such as local observer groups) to promote improvements in electoral processes, electoral dispute resolution mechanisms, electoral management body independence and electoral law. Engagement with donors regarding post-election activities should begin long before the electoral event, in order to avoid losing momentum in the crucial months after an election. A post-election strategy that places due emphasis on sustainability and an exit strategy should be prepared as part of any election assistance project document. 

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/09] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

The electoral cycle approach is being used by more than half of UNDP country offices undertaking electoral assistance. Some of the constraints in fully implementing the approach, however, are beyond UNDP control. These include the timeliness of donor funding and interest, the electoral management framework in place (i.e., whether an electoral administration is permanent or reconstituted before elections), and national funding and interest in the inter-election period. UNDP will endeavour to work on those variables within its control, such as ensuring that guidance on using the approach is available - particularly during the United Nations Development Assistance Framework and CPD drafting stages of programming - and the consistent use of electoral-cycle-savvy staff in the design of electoral assistance projects. GPECS will continue playing a vital role in promoting the electoral cycle approach with both donors and national counterparts by financing long-term initiatives between elections. To date, GPECS has supported electoral processes and institutions in 18 countries with a total allocation of $14 million (11 in Africa, one in Asia and six in the Arab States region). Moreover, regional initiatives, workshops and seminars, geared at advocating the electoral cycle approach, will continue to be organized on a regular basis across all regions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Ensure guidance of policy advisors familiar with the electoral cycle approach is available to country offices when designing and implementing projects and country programmes.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2018/05/02]
BDP, BCPR, regional bureaux and country offices 2015/12 Completed Sensitization of regional and global electoral advisors to the electoral cycle approach, the lessons emerging from the various evaluations and lessons learned exercise, and UNDP participation in NAMs which helps focus on cost-effectiveness, national capacity and sustainability issues from the outset. BPPS electoral staff, who are familiar with the electoral cycle approach, supports electoral assessments and electoral project development in most, if not all, countries where UNDP provides electoral assistance; UNDP has a very strong electoral procurement team in Copenhagen that supports and provides advise on electoral procurement, and BPPS electoral staff in New York, Brussels, Amman, Addis, Bangkok, and Panama provide advisory services in other areas. Completed and ongoing. History
6.2 Ensure electoral policies and guidance are easily available and in an accessible format that is frequently updated using the Teamworks platform and other methods.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2014/02/24]
BDP 2012/12 Completed Key policies have been sent to all COs by Administrator or BDP Director. All electoral policies are available online on Teamworks and have been circulated through the Democratic Governance Practice Network. They are also available on the Online Toolkit on Electoral Assistance.
6.3 Continue to foster South-South peer exchanges among electoral management bodies through established projects such as Pro-PALOP and new initiatives such as the SADC-ECF as part of a sustainability strategy.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2018/05/02]
Country offices, regional bureaux, BDP 2015/12 Completed Pro-PALOP and SADC-ECF projects continue implementation. A mid-term evaluation of Pro-PALOP finalized on Q4/2014. Other south-south cooperation on-going at the moment , mainly through MoU with Indian EMB and significant cooperation with Mexican electoral institutions and the Arab States region. History
7. Recommendation:

4.2.2 Programmatic Improvements

Recommendation 7: More emphasis and effort are needed to reduce the costs of some of the supported processes and ensure they are context-appropriate and sustainable.

UNDP should renew and re-energize its efforts to develop cost-effective, sustainable solutions for electoral processes and institutions, and to build the national ownership needed to manage and maintain these systems. UNDP should facilitate the development of local solutions for local problems and avoid over-reliance on expensive imports, including inappropriately high-tech solutions implemented in low-tech contexts. UNDP should increase focus on strengthening national and, where relevant, subnational capacity and expertise for strategic planning, management, timely procurement and budgeting. Appropriate benchmarking, monitoring and budgetary controls should be considered to help foster costawareness. Elections are big business for some, particularly for vendors, and UNDP should assist electoral management bodies and civil society organizations in developing transparent and accountable procedures that reduce opportunities for economic and political corruption. 

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/09] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

Concerns about cost-effectiveness and sustainable solutions apply throughout UNDP work. This is an important consideration in electoral assistance programming but there are also limitations to how well UNDP can manage the costs of electoral assistance when, for example, a country makes a sovereign decision to schedule elections or adopt expensive systems and technologies, a national legal framework calls for certain technology to be used or when funding arrives late and drives up procurement costs. It is also important to realize that in some countries there will be a need for an initial large investment - for example, in a census, in identification cards or in a civil registry system - that will ultimately help to reduce the cost of elections. However, UNDP will step up efforts to help national electoral administrators to understand the implications of selecting technological solutions, including exploring local solutions, and to understand the importance of starting early, since starting late usually equals higher costs. UNDP will make a greater effort to balance economy, efficiency and effectiveness to ensure funds are being spent wisely in pursuit of local priorities. This means not only seeking to reduce costs and run electoral projects better, but also ensuring long-term capacity is built so that programme countries can run credible and sustainable elections on their own with little or no international help. UNDP will continue to organize workshops, conferences and seminars gathering EMBs, electoral practitioners and UNDP staff to raise awareness and to develop policy on issues pertaining to electoral processes. In 2012, a workshop of 230 participants was organized by UNDP in Mombasa, Kenya to highlight the appropriateness and costs of introducing ICTs in electoral process. This provided EMBs, UNDP staff and electoral practitioners with comparative information and data, analysis of timelines and costs, which will allow EMBs to effectively evaluate the choices available and make informed decisions regarding the possible introduction of technology in electoral processes.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Develop guidelines based on the Mombasa conference to help national electoral administrators implement ICT solutions in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2014/02/24]
BDP, regional bureaux, country offices 2012/12 Completed A publication was produced on the efficient use of ICT options in electoral processes, summarizing the Mombasa conference. This was disseminated to EMBs worldwide. In addition, a comprehensive e-learning course on ICT and Elections Management was launched in January 2013.
7.2 Continue to place procurement, budgeting and operations advisory support at the disposal of national EMBs and country offices.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2018/05/02]
PSO, BDP, country offices 2015/12 Completed PSO has a team of six people working on electoral procurement. BDP elections team providing support to COs on project development, which often includes budgeting and operations advisory services. Completed and ongoing. History
8. Recommendation:

4.2.2 Programmatic Improvements

Recommendation 8: UNDP should streamline its electoral assistance processes to ensure that they are more efficient in the fast-paced environment of the electoral process they support.

UNDP should review the chain of its electoral support processes from conceptualization to assistance delivery. Some procedural and efficiency issues are internal to UNDP, while others stem from the larger United Nations framework of response and require resolution. In particular, this applies to the relationship between UNDP and the Electoral Assistance Division and the extent of the latter’s authority over UNDP programmes. Timelines to review include those pertaining to the receipt and processing of assistance requests, needs assessments and selection of their participants, and project formulation, negotiation and adoption. UNDP should also closely examine and streamline its recruitment and procurement processes. In addition, UNDP should encourage: the development of impact analysis for its work; a standard template to better track, monitor and report on the accomplishments of projects and their costs by intended outcomes; and more systematic efforts to document and share UNDP institutional memory. UNDP regional bureaux and the Bureau for Development Policy should strengthen oversight and monitoring of electoral programmes and improve the capacity of concerned staff, particularly for problematic processes or projects.

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/09] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

The newly revised needs assessment mission (NAM) guidelines are expected to facilitate the process (and speed) of request receipt, assessment (and who should participate in this process) and project formulation by UNDP, although last minute requests for assistance will continue to be made by Member States. The project formulation process should systematically give timelines for procurement processes, defining what is feasible and what is not. More specifically, UNDP will endeavour to involve operations experts at the project initiation stage, ensure procurement expertise is available throughout the project, draw up a procurement plan early on and make use of fast track procedures where beneficial. UNDP has developed a roster of vetted consultants that country offices may use to speed up the retention of experts. UNDP is committed to learning and improving its systems and approaches and will work towards better monitoring and evaluation in the area, although enhancing institutional memory requires United Nations-wide commitment. Reporting and tracking systems exist and are widely utilized but the reporting on electoral assistance in the ROAR is not fully accurate and includes gaps in the picture of where UNDP is working. On more specific operational issues, UNDP will continue to engage with the Operational Support Working Group (comprising DFS, DPA, DPKO, UNDP, UNOPS) which has been asked by the Policy Committee of the Secretary-General to advise on how to achieve greater efficiencies in system-wide operational support to elections, including in the areas of procurement, logistics, security, human resources and project management.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1 Explore whether a standardized post-election evaluation or lessons learned exercises should be developed.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2017/12/28]
Evaluation Office, BDP 2013/12 Completed Some discussions being undertaken on this issue with DPKO?s best practices unit, which undertakes After Action Review for its electoral assistance. Their methodology has been made available to countries in integrated settings; But no work yet undertaken with the Evaluation Office. History
8.2 Encourage the use of fast track procedures for electoral assistance and provide support to country offices making use of this modality.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2018/04/25]
BOM, BCPR, regional bureaux, BDP 2015/12 Completed In providing policy advice, BDP advisors explain the use of fast track procedures and the possibilities for using this modality. History
8.3 Explore the more systematic use of the Procurement Support Office to procure goods while promoting greater procurement of local services.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2017/12/28]
BOM (PSO), country offices, regional bureaux 2014/02 Completed BDP and PSO Elections team engage on constant discussions. PSO-initiated training in February 2013 on Electoral Procurement and Operational Support, where BDP participated. New discussions regarding working together on some training and piloting for developing national capacities on electoral procurement (Q3/2014). History
8.4 Continue to participate in the Operational Support Working Group to provide recommendations to the Policy Committee on how to improve operational support.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2016/02/05]
BDP, BCPR 2012/09 Completed UNDP maintained high-level level and working level engagements with DFS and DPA on the operational support review and the framework for a UN single electoral roster. While process was initially delayed due to on-going discussions among different UN entities, however, significant progress has been made in 2015 and the roster was established and made operational.
8.5 Identify ways country offices can more comprehensively reflect electoral assistance in the ROAR/its successor.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2016/02/05]
Operations Support Group, regional bureaux, country offices, BDP 2013/12 Completed New systems and rules developed for the new Strategic Plan outputs, which makes mandatory the linking of projects with the SP. On-going tracking by BDP elections team also help identify deficiencies in reporting.
8.6 Consider preparing a regular (annual or biennial) thematic publication on UNDP support to electoral assistance, which more fully captures electoral support and all of its variations.
[Added: 2013/03/18] [Last Updated: 2016/02/05]
BDP with partners 2013/09 Completed BDP maintains an Online Toolkit on Electoral Assistance that provides an overall umbrella of UNDP electoral support. A number of important publications on different key themes on the area have been prepared post-evaluation: Enhancing Youth Political Participation throughout the Electoral Cycle; Promoting Local Election Management as Part of an Electoral Cycle Approach; The Role of UNDP in Promoting Democratic Elections in Africa (2013) Media and Elections: A Guide for Electoral Management Bodies; Gender Equality in Elected Office in Asia Pacific: Six Actions to Expand Women's Empowerment; Intercultural Citizenship: Contributions from Political Participation of Indigenous Peoples in Latin America; Understanding Electoral Violence in Asia. Several other publications are in the process of completion.

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