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Final Evaluation of the project ? Institutional and Capacity Support to the Parliament of Afghanistan (ICSPA)
Commissioning Unit: Afghanistan
Evaluation Plan: 2015-2020
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 08/2019
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Afghanistan
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

7. Recommendations

Based on the analysis of findings and conclusions the evaluation has prepared the following core recommendations: 

R1. It is recommended to design new project that will continue and further build on activities that were available through the ICSPA project.

The National Assembly of Afghanistan, with the newly elected Speakers and Secretary Generals of both houses and also newly elected members of the Parliament has reached challenging stage of its development. At the same time, technical assistance that was available through international development assistance ceased: the USAID/ ALBA Project as the principle technical research and legislative drafting assistance provided to committees has been completed. Similarly, other initiatives such as UN Women support to women MPs and ICSPA project have been completed. Further support is needed – as requested by Parliament’s leadership - to ensure consolidation and development of the gains made by the secretariats with the help of ICSPA and previous projects. It is recommended to consider large, multi-annual programmatic framework to support the NAA, following, aligned with the successful ICSPA’s approach. Hence, for the follow up project it is recommended to continue support to the General Secretariats and directorates of the Wolesi and Meshrano Jirgas. Considering best practice from the ICSPA project, it is recommended to include revision of the Reform Action Plan as one of the first activities, and set clear priorities for the period 2020-2022. The RAP should resolve the issues from the previous period, particularly concerning the roles and responsibilities for implementation of priorities, timelines and clearer indicators to measure progress. It is recommended to continue and expand efforts for preparation/ finalization and adoption of the Code of Conduct for each house of the NAA. Also, it remains the priority to continue support to define and improve rules and regulations that would regulate the core areas of the NAA performance. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/15] [Last Updated: 2020/11/29]

Agreed: UNDP has initiated to design new project to support the Parliament of Afghanistan

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop new prodoc Strenghtening of Legislature in Afghanistan (SOLA)
[Added: 2020/01/15]
Programme Officer 2019/12 Completed This activity is completed. History
2. Recommendation:

R2. It is recommended for the follow up project to include support for the elected members of the Parliament and the committees. Particularly recommended is to consider development of capacities of the MPs for policy making and law drafting

It is recommended for UNDP to use its technical capacities and expertise and support newly elected members of the Parliament and strenghten their capacities to implement core functions, namely, lawmaking, oversight, and representation. Large number of the MPs are elected for the first time, and do not have any political experience. Therefore, it is recommended to prepare and deliver basic training on the core functions of the Parliament. Also, there will be a need for more specialized training programs. Particularly important will be to address and develop capacities of the MPs for the overall policy cycle (from issue definitiation, to policy drafting and allocation of resources, to policy implementation, including monitoring and evaluation to reporting on progress). It remains critically important to strenghetn law-making capacities of the MPs, from preparation to analysis of possible impacts of laws. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/15] [Last Updated: 2020/11/29]

Agreed: UNDP unders its new project to support the Parliament of Afghanistan has included a compreshesive section on capacity development of newly elected MPs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Include capacity development component in SOLA Prodoc.
[Added: 2020/01/15]
Prorgamme Officer 2019/12 Completed This activity is completed
3. Recommendation:

R3. It is recommended to link the support to the NAA with the Sustainable Development Goals and enhance the role of the NAA in the achievement of the SDGs for Afghanistan

Parliamentarians have an opportunity, and a constitutional responsibility, to play a significant role in supporting and monitoring SDG implementation. The Agenda 2030 Declaration acknowledges the “essential role of national parliaments through their enactment of legislation and adoption ofbudgets, and their role in ensuring accountability for the effective implementation of our commitments.” Members of parliament are uniquely positioned to act as an interface between the people and state institutions, and to promote and adopt people-centered policies and legislation to ensure that no one is left behind. Therefore, it is recommended to design support that would start with an overview of the SDGs and their relevance to parliamentarians. It is recommended to demonstrate and highlight that almost all the issues that come before a parliament for consideration concern the SDGs. Implementation of the SDGs in Afghanistan would require to use a wide range of policy and programme approaches. In this context, legislation is the necessary policy response to address challenges that the NAA should carry out. The NAA plays a vital role in the adoption of the state budget (enacted as a law of the NAA). Thus, the NAA has critical importance in creating enabling environment and ensuring that funds are directed towards the most vital national SDG priorities.Based on a review of the core functions of a parliament - lawmaking, oversight, and representation- it is recommended to identify specific methods and tools for the parliamentarians to actively deliver results for the people whom they represent that support SDG implementation. 

Some of the recommended activities could be:

i) Possible activities and recommendations related to lawmaking

The achievement of the A-SDGs would require law reform in different sectors. Therefore, a systematic approach is recommended that will enable the NAA to undertake more comprehensive law reform, to contribute to the implementation of national development priorities. This process should start with an SDG Law Reform Needs Assessment. The assessment should enable to identify legal reform priorities for progress under the A-SDGs. 

ii) Possible activities and recommendations related to budget approval and oversight

The annual state budget law should be the primary funding instrument to direct resources towards SDG implementation. Therefore, the role of the NAA will be highly instrumental in the process of budget formulation and endorsement. The NAA should ensure that the budget is primarily focused on outcomes within the SDG framework. This would require that MPs develop their technical capacities for budget preparation and analysis. At the same time, the guiding principle should be to ensure that efforts are “people-centered” and that no-one – especially from marginalized and vulnerable groups – is left behind. The NAA should develop capacities to analyze and ensure that the funding allocated for SDG achievement (through the national budget) is effectively and accountably spent. The focus should be on sustainable and impactful results. Particularly important will be to provide technical support to the specialized parliamentary committees mandated with reviewing the government’s expenditures at the end of the budget cycle. It is recommended to carry out hearings and field monitoring activities, and provide technical support to the committees through direct interaction to assist with the analysis and reporting.

iii) Possible activities and recommendations related to oversight role of the NAA

It is recommended to strengthen committee oversight role, as one of the most reliable mechanisms available to the NAA to engage in SDG implementation. The priority will be to enhance capacities of the MPs to assess in more depth if and to what extent policies, laws, and programmes are supporting attainment of the SDGs. The MPs should be capacitated to provide recommendations on how to improve implementation. The MPs through the committees have the opportunity to undertake detailed examinations of critical issues, by allocating more time to individual issues and engaging a wide cross-section of stakeholders in their deliberations. In this regard, parliamentarians can play an essential role as a link between the State and the people, including the most marginalized and vulnerable. Ideally, it is recommended that the committees consider public engagement as a core part of their functions. This could become one of the most active domestic accountability mechanisms available to make sure that SDG implementation stays on track.

iv) Possible activities and recommendations related to the representation role of the NAA in implementation of the SDGs

It is recommended to build on the results of the ICSPA project and further strengthen policyoriented dialogue with the citizens. The objective should be to establish continues dialogue and gain insight from the experiences of people if the laws passed and the monitoring conducted by parliament reflects interests and concerns of people. It is recommended to explore opportunities to get comments and insights from the most vulnerable citizens of Afghanistan. Finally, it is recommended for the NAA to work with other implementing institutions from the public management system and also with civil society and the media to ensure progress towards the ASDGs.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/15] [Last Updated: 2020/11/29]

Agreed: UNDP has been fostering its role as (SDG integrator) and will definitly link the support to NAA under its new project to the SDGs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Link SOLA outputs to SDGs
[Added: 2020/01/15]
Programme Officer 2019/12 Completed This activity is completed.
4. Recommendation:

R4. It is recommended to prioritize adoption of the Parliamentary Service Act

Adoption and implementation of the Parliamentary Service Act remains a critical requirement for the long-term institutional development of the NAA. However, the current governance system in Afghanistan including division of power remains particular challenge and the executives will resist the adoption of the PSA. It is recommended that the new project consider carefully approaches and scenarios to advocate for the adoption of the PSA. The strong argument could be that the enactment of the Parliamentary Service Act would ensure adequate oversight of the SGDs and control of the national resources and budgetary support from the EU and other international partners. It is recommended to subsequent to the adoption of the Parliamentary Service Act, UNDP and development partners provide more specific assistance to facilitate full implementation of the PSA. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/15] [Last Updated: 2020/11/29]

Agreed: UNDP under its new project has a specific (activity result) on following up the Parliamentary Service Act .

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Add Parliamentary Service Act as an activity result in SOLA project.
[Added: 2020/01/15]
Programme Officer 2019/12 Completed This activity is completed.
5. Recommendation:

R5. It is recommended to continue support to the NAA for its active role to ensure of greater gender equality in Afghanistan

The need remains high to ensure effective gender equality processes within the National Parliament.

It is recommended to design activities to foster women empowerment and gender mainstreaming within the Afghan Parliament. Some of the recommended actions could be capacity building for female employees to increase their participation in decision-making; capacity building for all employees to understand the basic principles of gender equality and gender mainstreaming in policy formulation. Support to the Gender Directorates in both Houses should intensify in the next period. It is recommended to consider gender transformative approach (not only participation as the mean feature of gender equality) in all interventions within the new project. Also, the new project should include more elaborate gender-specific targets and gender disaggregated indicators.

For the new intervention, it is recommended to explore opportunities and introduce gendersensitive reporting practice (to the extent possible) especially in the preparation of annual reports.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/15] [Last Updated: 2020/11/29]

Agreed: UNDP under its new Parliament project - SOLA has a specific Gender component that will ensure greater Gender Equality in the Parliament functions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Add Gender component to the Parliament functions.
[Added: 2020/01/15]
Programme Officer 2019/12 Completed This activity is completed.

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