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United Nations Development Assistance Framework Afghanistan 2015-19 Mid-Term Review Report
Commissioning Unit: Afghanistan
Evaluation Plan: 2015-2020
Evaluation Type: UNDAF
Completion Date: 11/2017
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Afghanistan
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

Management Response was never developed. A new One UN for Afghanistan document and Results Framework were developed in response to government request.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/10/23]

Management Response was never developed. A new One UN for Afghanistan document and Results Framework were developed in response to government request.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

12. RECOMMENDATIONS

Taking into consideration the emerging development situations in the country and lessons learnt for implementation by the MTR this report suggests the direction for future programming. The discussion throughout the report indicates the way forward, but this section focuses on the key issues the MTR identified for adjusting the UNDAF as well as developing future strategic development framework.

12.1 Architecture of UNDAF

The most significant debate at the time of the MTR was whether the content management of the UNDAF should be changed through adjustments or there should be a radical structural change. The internal feedback was that the Pillar system was not effective as it was not able to provide a cohesive management to UNDAF. The Pillars per se were unmanageable because of their compositions (especially Pillar I) or it did not have a specific counterpart (Pillar V) or there was lack of political will fettered by social norms (Pillar III) and limited human resources. The government perspective was presented in no uncertain terms that UNDAF was not an effective tool for Afghanistan and there was a need for a complete overhaul. With this came the issue of structural functioning of the UN system in Afghanistan. Debates of one UN and Delivering as One (DAO) was not only an MTR scrutiny but had been discussed for a while during annual and mid-year reviews, government too has been keen for One-UN approach.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation:

12.2 Reorganization of UNDAF Results

The MTR has observed that the pillar structure the way it is functioning now is not effective in managing results. It is limited with inadequate participation and it is not based on strategic initiative; mostly confined to reporting. Expenditure analysis has indicated that five thematic areas consuming most of the budget were agriculture, health, education, return, reintegration and migration and returnees, and rule of law. These should be the focus of the future strategic accountability for development. However, UN development support is not only about short-term service delivery and procurements but long-term capacity development and system strengthening. UN must continue the normative support. This could be implanted in the thematic areas. For this kind of proposed structural changed to the next version of UNDAF the UNCT should consider the following issues:

  • Cross cutting programmatic issues like urbanisation, climate change, gender, equity, human rights, peacebuilding, youth, among others, should be incorporated and managed
  • The thematic areas should not become sectoral silos; it is recommended that to avoid this there should be regular consultations on programme management and identified programme overlaps. Joint programming will assist in building bridges among agencies, themes, and programmes
  • There should not be over emphasis on supplies and procurements, which should be reduced over the years
  • Emphasis should be on policy advocacy, system development and strengthening, institution building based on a well-articulated Right Based Approach
  • This UNDAF theory of change should include a conflict sensitivity analysis and a ‘Do No Harm’ approach. There is a need to focus on strategic results concerning migration and refugees because it could be a significant destabilizing factor on the fragile peace and stability. It is also an opportunity when it comes to economic growth and resilience capacity. Issues related to return of refugees such as Housing, Land and Property (HLP) and documentation should be central to reinforce the human right component of the peace building process.

Figure 7 is the summary of the way forward with the constraints that need to be avoided. It depicts how the resources are utilised, which indicate future consolidation as this suggests where UN is effective. There are cross-cutting areas that require specific considerations for fuller development. And, most importantly, while the thematic approach may serve greater development purpose it should be ensured that it does not become limiting in a silo like approach but should focus on sharing, collaboration, and coordination for synergy and efficiency.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

12.3 Alignment of Results

The process of concerted alignment of the UNDAF results with the (national) ANPDF as well (international) SDGs has already begun in earnest as a parallel exercise this should not be restricted as a one -time activity but facilitated by the UN until the national ownership of the process is complete. It must be a collaborative goal oriented exercise among the stakeholders. Some factors that should be considered are:

  • Raison d'être of the organisations and programmes (organization’s mission, programs, resources, and needed support areas)
  • Culture of the organisations (government department and UN agencies have distinct cultures)
  • Identify what’s working well and what needs to be adjusted – all aspects of the programmes being aligned may not be working well or have the same priority)
  • Alignment process also provides opportunities to Identify how adjustments should be made and determine the best approach
  • Develop a roadmap with a stated alignment path
  • The adjustments will be incorporated as strategies for the collaboration between the government and the UN culminating in the ‘A-UNDAF’
Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

12.4 Coherence

The next version of the UNDAF must be a holistic strategic accountability framework based on principle of coherence reflected in delivering as one UN with government partnership in the unified strategy and, not in a piecemeal agency-line ministry corporation as is the practice. The UNDAF results should be above and not confined to programmes managed by agencies. For coherence, the UNCT should look at integration of humanitarian, development, and political aspects of the UN contributions in Afghanistan with the stabilisation framework. This must be done at the country as well as programme levels. There must be increased participation of humanitarian actors (OCHA) in the UNCT and the political aspects should have specific development content. While OCHA has infrequent presence in the UNCT and rarely makes a presentation of its results other than in times of emergencies UNAMA provides the political brief but with limited development perspective. UNDAF or its newer version must include relevant development and humanitarian indicators, which must be identifiable and measurable. Operations have been largely left out of the UNDAF proceedings. It is not possible to incorporate coherence without synergy in the operational aspects of the management. OMT neither participated in the UNDAF meetings nor went beyond supporting respective agencies or special coordination needs. OMT had a negligible role in the UNDAF and this indicated an absence of operational synergy. OMT must be engaged for ensuring increased efficiency in the future.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

12.5 Results Management & Monitoring

As observed by the MTR, one of the essentials of the UNDAF supervision was pertaining to Results Based Management and Monitoring. It is true that UNDAF has a results chain (Outcome-outputs-activities) but this needs to be strengthened by not only looking at the results hierarchy and logic at the planning stage but throughout the implementation. The following are recommended:

  • UNCT to take a decision on developing a theory of change for UN-GoIRA development collaboration as part of the transition
  • There must be structures for management, monitoring and reporting with defined accountability. The current system is based more on a need based reporting and not systematic monitoring
  • Agencies monitor their programmes but UNDAF monitoring is limited. M&E framework should be strengthened and there is a need for target-progress status score card. Simple monthly monitoring will track the progress of results at the target level
  • Progress data (targets and expenditure) should be available at any time within an acceptable timeframe.
  • UNDAF coordination should change from information seeking and reporting to monitoring and results tracking
  • RCO must be strengthened vis a vis M&E functions. The current M&E Working group was not adequate for comprehensive monitoring of UNDAF because of transient participation. The need for at least one dedicated M&E professional needs planned consideration.
  • More investment is required for generating evaluative evidence in a systematic way (based on the M&E plan), to place UN in a better position to demonstrate its contribution to results.
  • The annual reviews and midyear reviews must be made more comprehensive and requires a streamlined follow up and accountability otherwise these reviews are reduced to a ceremonial status. Each review must have an ‘action taken report’ within a month of the review presented in the UNCT by the PMT/M&E group chairs.
  • RCO should consider dedicating additional resources and personnel, and take a leadership role within all pillars for the strategic purposes for enhancing the effectiveness of the UNDAF.
Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

12.6 Fiscal Management

The Government has expressed greater transparency on the UN budgets. The programme budgets must be discussed with the government and publicised. The future A-UNDAF must work out mechanisms for being represented in the government budget and vice versa – UNDAF once it becomes the ‘one UN’-GoIRA document will also incorporate government contributions or from other sources for the same results. It is not possible to have one fund and experience from other countries has shown that one UN budget is also complicated. More consultations are required on the feasible options including participation in DAD and on/off budget reporting.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation:

12.7 Communications

UNDAF is not merely a strategic plan that needs effective planning and implementation but also an opportunity to communicate the UN work in Afghanistan. Thus, it will require to develop an UNDAF specific communication plan. The minimum required results for the communication plan will be:

  • Defined communications objectives and targets for UN assistance
  • Identified key staff for communication (in tandem with the Communications Working Group)
  • Demarcated target audiences (the communications should be at several levels: internal for UN, for the government, for the donors and for the public)
  • Selected messages to be communicated – the focus must be on results, but strategic intent can also be communicated if required
  • Dedicated resources to implement the communications plans
Management Response: [Added: 2021/02/03] [Last Updated: 2021/02/03]

Key Actions:

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