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Final Evaluation of the Project Strengthening the Role of Local Communities/Mjesne zajednice (MZs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Commissioning Unit: Bosnia and Hercegovina
Evaluation Plan: 2015-2020
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 04/2019
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Bosnia and Hercegovina
Documents Related to overall Management Response:  
1. Recommendation:

An effort should be made to institutionalise the establishment and official endorsement of the new vision of mjesne zajednice in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Various platforms, such as the entity associations of municipalities and cities (AMCs), should be utilised to share mjesne zajednice methodology and examples of substantial improvement in local government (through amendment of local government and/or mjesne zajednice statutes or decisions).

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/05/21]

UNDP agrees with this finding. UNDP agrees that efforts should be invested to further advocate and support the process of institutionalisation of the new vision of mjesne zajednice, until its full and official endorsement.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP concurs that a continued cooperation with all reputable strategic institutions, including Association of Municipalities and Cities (AMC), should take place to further diffuse products and tools developed by the Project (such as MZ methodology) with the aim to modernize MZs and improve their efficiency. The focus may be targeted towards popularizing new Vision of MZ and its benefits, as well as making adequate structural arrangements to support the transformation.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Project Revitalizing Local Communities 2022/09 Initiated UNDP continues to further support for institutionalization of MZ vision with reputable and relevant stakeholders at various levels, including highest government levels which require political will for changes to legislation, but also local level through AMC support for changes to local acts. The progress has been made at the local level, whereby 16 out of 24 local governments thus far have adopted the MZ vision and relevant methodology to implement vision models. The highest levels of government gave us official letter of support for institutionalization and three Commissions responsible for advocating changes to the legislation continue raising awareness and advocating for it. History
2. Recommendation:

Implement a structured advocacy campaign aimed at the endorsement of systemic legislative change that will build on the work done and the lessons learned during Phase 1 of the Project. Various innovative approaches should be applied including a) familiarising the presidents of the AMCs and their respective members in Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the introduced changes and using the AMCs platform to raise public awareness, b) organising workshops for mjesne zajednice to discuss the various legal implications of the legislative changes and c) establishing partnerships with the media in order to increase public awareness regarding the recommendations and the need for systemic legislative change.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/20]

UNDP agrees with this finding.  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Innovative advocacy campaign that takes on board all relevant stakeholders with the aim to back and promote should be put in place.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Project Revitalizing 2022/09 Initiated Initial structure for advocacy campaign has been established and a service provider for communication contracted. The aim is to reach as many people as possible for various topics. this will be a long term process and will require intentional campaigns which will be organized over the course of the next four years. We started the process and look forward to seeing how it evolves in the field. History
3. Recommendation:

Improve financial mechanisms of legislative and planning processes located at local governments and mjesne zajednice to support citizens’ initiatives.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/20]

In principle, UNDP agrees with the rationale behind the proposed intervention as a long-term strategic objective. However, systemic and structural interventions are needed to support citizens’ initiatives.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure an enabling environment such as adequate legislative framework to secure firm obligation towards MZ by LGs. This needs to be backed up by a corresponding criteria and capacity building for LGs.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Communities 2022/09 Initiated This is a long term solutions that requires legislative changes and alignment with local governments, we have made progress with the project partner local governments and will continue with Association of Cities and Municipalities to promote and ensure the support is materialized with other local governments in BiH. History
4. Recommendation:

Redesign local government. Support new profiling and restructuring of local government administration by helping the existing staff to become a more responsive resource for improved and effective work with mjesne zajednice. This can be done in many ways, including changing job descriptions, the creation of operational teams, setting up a specific department or identifying individuals who will be responsible for improving and standardising methods of work with mjesne zajednice.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/20]

UNDP agrees that significant reforms to cut the red tape and improve efficiency of BiH administration are indeed needed at all levels. Even though an actual redesign of local government cannot be influenced directly, UNDP agrees to continue supporting partner LGs in their process of re-inventing themselves, in line with its mandate and engagement in the Project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The Project will support LGs in setting up ‘operational teams’ that are composed of existing staff, to deepen LG support to MZs.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Communities 2019/09 Completed The operational teams have been set up. History
As a complementary effort, new channels of communication and tools for citizen engagement are being introduced through technologies in order to modernise workflow and processes and foster interaction with citizens.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Community Project 2019/09 Completed The webplatform as well as mobile application have been completed: www.mjesnazajednica.ba, What follows is ensuring that the tool is utilized. History
5. Recommendation:

Systematize incentives for mjesne zajednice through the allocation of grants by local government for various initiatives to support change at the local level. This could include a small grants scheme to support citizen initiatives for mjesne zajednice and CSOs, support for community hub initiatives and committing to the creation of incentives for mjesne zajednice staff.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/05/21]

UNDP fully agrees with the underlining principles of this recommendation. This recommendation is tied in and correlates strongly to the evaluation recommendation number three, as the former is related to securing a systemic arrangement, and the latter one is an extended arm at the local level contributing strongly to its realisation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support change at the local level through jointly addressing the identified priorities to support citizen-led initiatives, foster cooperation between MZs and civil society, MZ staff incentives, etc. is fully in tune with the bottom-up-approach applied by the Project. The strength of this approach is in investing in ideas of people and relying on resources of people in communities - which directly develops ownership and builds human capital.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Communities Project 2022/09 Initiated The project will support local governments in developing necessary grant scheme systems linked to forum prioritization through MZ for adequate support. This is linked to provision of opportunities for MZ and skills of local governments to implement them. History
6. Recommendation:

Support social inclusion and gender mainstreaming by strengthening development capacities of local government and mjesne zajednice in terms of addressing the lack of understanding on what constitutes and how to address social exclusion. Combine this with a strategic gender sensitive planning and monitoring process, which is critical for ensuring sustainable gender-sensitive mjesne zajednice. This can be effectively done by further widening opportunities for women to act as agents of change in their communities and by expanding the potential for women’s leadership and activism.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/05/21]

In principle, UNDP agrees with this recommendation but within boundaries of the legal opportunities and limitations of MZs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Regarding social inclusion, the Project commits to continue being involved in raising awareness about socially excluded groups, data mapping and analysis derived from findings and recommendations of Human Development Report on Social Inclusion.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Communities 2022/12 Initiated This is a long term process as it is linked to capacity building and awareness raising. we will continue working on it in the second phase. History
Regarding gender equality and empowerment of women, UNDP commits to work on several parallel tracks. The first is gender mainstreaming of all project interventions. Secondly, monitoring and evaluation will be fully gender-sensitive and the Project will collect sex disaggregated data that are in turn regularly analyzed to achieve parity on all fronts. Thirdly, gender specific activities will be implemented where the need is or where gaps prove to be too high. Women as drivers of change will continue to be applied as an overarching approach- whereby underutilized resources of women at the community level are being tapped into, and spaces and opportunities provided by the project- to create a multiplier effect, and ultimately contribute to social change.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Communities 2022/09 Initiated UNDP continues to commit and invest effort to aforementioned actions. History
In particular, synergetic actions aiming at further strengthening of leadership of women through Women in Elections project will be jointly designed and implemented for multiplier effect.
[Added: 2019/05/20]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Communities 2019/12 Initiated
7. Recommendation:

Contribute to development. Future Project interventions should aim to localise further the Sustainable Development Goals (in particular SDGs 5 and 11) by linking them to planned systemic changes at the local government and mjesne zajednice level.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/05/21]

UNDP agrees with this recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Continue supporting 2030 Agenda and implementation of SDGs (in particular SDGs 5, 11 and 16) by raising awareness and mobilising action for structural or soft changes and transformation of processes at the LG and MZ levels.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Communities 2022/12 Initiated UNDP continues supporting SDG awareness raising through partner local governments, institutions and community hubs. History
Community Hubs will be utilised as a platform for information sharing, dialogue, sourcing ideas and forging action. UNDP commits to pursue this as a cross-cutting theme for all activities.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Communities 2022/12 Initiated Community hubs utilized as platform for dialogue and awareness raising tool. History
8. Recommendation:

Develop a strategic framework for cooperation with civil society. In accordance with the findings of the 2018 European Commission Progress Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, develop a strategic framework for cooperation with civil society at all levels of governance. Utilise the potential of the Project to contribute to this new strategic approach by building on the achieved results in terms of working closely with civil society and by utilising a participatory approach.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/05/21]

UNDP partially agrees with this finding.  UNDP agrees with this recommendation but only with its aspect of offering continued support to civil society organizations and community-based organizations. We do not quite understand what specific reference the evaluator is referring to, nor do we understand what strategic framework for cooperation with civil society means especially from the perspective of ‘all levels of government. UNDP agrees with the continued need to support civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  However, developing a formal strategic framework for cooperation with civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina is somewhat beyond the scope of this Project, and should be tackled as a primary target of a dedicated initiative.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support CSOs to foster more substantive involvement of citizens in decision making on one hand, and on the other to better engage MZs in identifying priorities of citizens.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Communities 2022/12 Initiated UNDP supports collaboration and dialogue for constructive impact by MZ and CSOs. History
Deepen cooperation with the CSOs to gain momentum for implementation of the four MZ vision models.
[Added: 2019/05/20] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Communities 2019/12 Completed Three CSOs from Nevesinje, Jablanica and Kotor Varos implemented projects related directly to realization of the four models of MZ vision successfully. History
9. Recommendation:

Strengthen horizontal and vertical linkages. Local government has access to IPA II funds as part of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress towards EU candidate country status. Strengthening horizontal and vertical linkages at the local level would provide local government with increased opportunities to access IPA funds under the sectors of Democracy and Governance, Social Policy, Environment and Climate Change (which have been the focus of local priority projects to date). The centralised government finance system distances local government and as a result financial sustainability is among the top concerns of local government. Addressing this issue is essential for the sustainability of the Project and its activities.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/21]

UNDP agrees that strengthening horizontal and vertical linkages at the local level would provide local governments with increased opportunities to access IPA II funds however it would be useful to define whether we are talking about institutional, human or legal linkages are being explored. UNDP agrees that more broadly the Project may be geared to contribute to this goal. However, capacitating stakeholders for IPA II absorption is a complex, costly and long-term endeavour that requires a significant investment, undivided attention and focused action- and would be best treated by a separate programmatic intervention and a distinct funding source. Any action at this point and within this project phase is not possible.

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation:

Operationally, the Project should continue to work on Outcome 3 and explore avenues to amend the legal frameworks that regulate local self-governance in Republika Srpska, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Brcko District. This effort should in particular target potential influencers who would be willing to push the reform agenda on the table of members of parliament and other relevant institutional bodies (some already cultivated).

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/21] [Last Updated: 2019/05/21]

UNDP agrees that the completion of Outcome 3 requires perseverance and continuous cooperation with the opinion makers and influencers to jointly promote the benefits of amending legal framework that regulates local self-governance across board- while fully taking into account the political realities and noting that completion of this milestone will stretch beyond the first Project cycle.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
In this respect, UNDP is fully reliant on co-creation, cooperation and support in strategic advocacy efforts from Swiss Development Cooperation and Government of Sweden in months to come.
[Added: 2019/05/21] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Local Communities project 2022/10 Initiated UNDP will develop advocacy plan with relevant donors and implement it to ensure this action is fully supported from all segments. History
11. Recommendation:

The members of the Project Institutional Partners Board recommended that UNDP alongside the Government of Sweden and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation should use their resources, reputation and contacts for a subtle outreach campaign among newly elected members of Parliament in order to familiarise them with the Project results and intention to instigate legislative changes.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/21]

UNDP agrees that amending local self-governance legal framework in BiH will require a concerted effort.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP will join efforts with Swiss Development Cooperation and Government of Sweden targeting newly elected members of Parliament in order to familiarise them with the Project results and to instigate legislative changes.
[Added: 2019/05/21] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP, Revitalizing Local Communities 2019/10 Completed This has been instigated through meetings and public debates with donors and Commission members. Draft legislation for the Federation BiH ready, RS completed recommendations and Brcko District distributed recommendations to its MZs. History
12. Recommendation:

Given that the Project does not have a comprehensive communication strategy where outreach activates could be embedded, the evaluation recommends the development of an advocacy or communication plan for Phase II and the appointment of a specialist as a permanent team member to lead this important aspect of the new vision for local governance and its improved impact.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/21]

UNDP agrees with the recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Communications efforts will be identified in a strategic manner for possible next phase of the Project.
[Added: 2019/05/21] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP 2021/10 Initiated The next phase is currently in design stage and this will be an integral segment of it. History
13. Recommendation:

Additional donor funds and co-financing arrangements should be sought in order to increase the number of positive grassroots initiatives and diffuse good practices across the country. This could possibly involve other international donors such as the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, bilateral donors and actors such as USAID, UK, Switzerland, OSCE, etc. Co-financing and in-kind contributions in particular should be sought from institutional partners, but out-of-the-box institutional arrangements and implementation modalities need to be set up at the senior level in order to make such arrangements possible

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/21]

UNDP agrees with the commendable proposition to increase the number of positive grassroots initiatives and diffuse good practices across the country to the extent possible.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
In the future, new co-financing arrangements and opportunities for additional donor funds will be investigated.
[Added: 2019/05/21] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP senior management 2020/09 Initiated UNDP initiated greater level of support from partner local governments, whereby UNDP will increase contribution from 15 local governments from 30 - 70%, 10 from 30 - 50% *depending on their level of development - this is also inclusive of citizen contribution at the MZ level. History
14. Recommendation:

The last phase of the Project should further pursue building mechanisms for synergy with projects supported by the Government of Sweden, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation as well as UNDP. Such projects could consider, for instance, expanding the eligibility criteria of their funding schemes to include actions specific to non-project mjesne zajednice and/or issue calls to mjesne zajednice for locally implemented projects.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/05/21]

UNDP agrees with the relevance of the recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP gives its undivided attention to synergies wherever made possible by complex organisational procedures, donor arrangements and systems, as well as diverse project dynamics, and/or locations- that tend to impede synergies despite the apparent complementarities.
[Added: 2019/05/21] [Last Updated: 2019/09/19]
UNDP 2025/12 Initiated UNDP will work on this in the second and final phase of the project, which will expand to 2027. History

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