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Evaluation of Phase 1 Regional Electoral Support Project: Middle East and North Africa 2013-2016
Commissioning Unit: Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
Evaluation Plan: 2014-2017
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 12/2016
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 1. Gender equity and the provision of opportunity for women and youth to participate equally in democratic, political  and electoral processes within the legal and cultural framework  is a massive regional issue,  and a primary focus  for SIDA. It is recommended that in Phase 2 the project develop a clear gender strategy with defined objectives and targets that includes more focused strategies for women and youth political participation and ensure dedicated gender and youth election experts engaged with the project.  A glossary of gender terminology that may guide some thematic interventions is attached as an Annex.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

The need to focus on the political inclusion of women and youth in the Arab States is well recognized by the project, with specific outputs designed around promoting the increased and enhanced participation of women and youth in electoral and political processes. To strengthen this work, the project agrees to the development of a gender strategy guiding the work of the project in phase II.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Include the development of a gender strategy for the project in Phase II document
[Added: 2017/12/18]
BPPS/IPP, GPECS Arab States 2017/03 Completed
1.2 Include the development of a gender strategy for the project in the first year of phase II implementation
[Added: 2017/12/18]
BPPS/IPP, GPECS Arab States 2017/03 Completed
1.3 Develop the gender strategy
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
GPECS Arab States 2018/12 Completed Awaiting signing of phase II agreement History
2. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 2. Sustainability of the Organization of Arab Electoral Management Bodies (ArabEMBs) is a risk and should be a major focus of phase II, with a clear funding model that ensures not only the sustainability but effectiveness of the new organization. While its charter includes provision for membership fees, the ArabEMBs will need assistance from the project in ensuring it has a clear strategy and action plan for becoming fully operational and sustainable. Furthermore, acknowledging the very positive aspects of organization as a model, and in partnership with EMBs, it is recommended that the Project create additional sectoral opportunities for linkages and networking in additional electoral stakeholder areas.  Such areas might include legislators on the drafting of electoral legislation and regulations; the judiciary and EMBs responsible for election dispute mechanism processes, and possibly with domestic observer bodies through the Arab Network for Democratic Elections, a body that could also help coalesce work with civil society, on gender, youth and work with other vulnerable groups.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

Sustainability of the ArabEMBs organization has and continues to be a priority of GPECS Arab States.  Since and during the initial discussions on the need for a regional organization of EMBs in the Arab States, UNDP has been advocating on the importance of sustainability. It has been along these lines that UNDP shares the experiences of other regional EMB associations in running an effective and sustainable organization. The project works on an ongoing basis with the executive board and president on developing mechanisms to ensure future sustainability such as a) obtaining membership fees as outlined in the organization’s charter, b) secondment of EMB staff to the ArabEMBs secretariat, c) sharing of event costs by hosting member EMB, and d) joining EMB ongoing national initiatives that would benefit from a regional perspective, e) advocating for partnership with the League of Arab States and other regional bodies, and e) exploring partnerships with other electoral assistance regional and global providers. In the organization’s annual general assembly, sustainability was an agenda item with decisions taken for the secretariat to work with UNDP on further developing sustainability measures.  The project will continue, in phase II, to provide technical support to ArabEMBs on further developing and monitoring its sustainability strategy.  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Continue advocating on sustainability of ArabEMBs
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
GPECS Arab States 2023/12 Completed History
2.2 Support ArabEMBs to review and update its sustainability strategy on regular basis
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
GPECS Arab States 2018/12 Completed History
3. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 3. The five intervention areas outlined in the Phase 2 draft project Document provide a solid basis for a more integrated advisory function for the Project and learning platform regionally, and wisely refrain from setting objectives outside the capacity or responsibility areas of an EMB to deliver. To achieve this the Project needs to move towards becoming a regional resource both in the provision of high level electoral advisory support and in strengthening the collaboration with and between country projects.  Recognizing both the limited skills sets in a necessarily small country team and the value-for-money cost efficiencies of regionally-based expertise already provided (as in communications and voter registration), a greater focus on the provision of   regionally based capacity development and policy support be pursued.   It is suggested the Project lead on  a focused capacity training programme / approach in collaboration with  country projects in areas including  communications and the use of social media; electoral technology; monitoring and evaluation and other thematic areas identified by CTAs as gaps or weaknesses  in the general knowledge base.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

Since the project is already providing high level electoral advisory support and is working towards enhancing collaboration with and between country projects, the recommendation is fully in line with how the project is operating. As noted by the evaluator, the GPECS Arab States has provided regionally-based expertise to country offices/projects (i.e. in communication and voter registration). Further efforts will be taken to systematize the collaboration with and between national projects, including in the identification of areas of gap in expertise and knowledge.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Develop questionnaire to circulate to national projects on needed expertise, as well as available expertise
[Added: 2017/12/18]
GPECS Arab States 2017/08 Completed
3.2 Circulate and share findings of questionnaire on ongoing basis
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
GPECS Arab States 2018/12 Completed History
4. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 4. It is strongly recommended that Phase 2 embed clear baselines, based on information gathered through implementation of phase I, against which progress and impact can be measured over the coming years which provide for a robust M&E reporting framework

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

The Phase II will include updated and robust baselines based on information gathered through implementation of phase I. This is to be completed within the first six months of phase II, with funds allocated in the year one workplan.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Phase II RRF to be updated with baselines based on implementation of phase I
[Added: 2017/12/18]
BPPS/IPP, GPECS Arab States 2017/03 Completed
4.1 Completion of baselines
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
BPPS/IPP, GPECS Arab States 2018/07 Completed Awaiting signing of phase II agreement History
5. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 5. To leverage the impact of learning opportunities such as regional Workshops or study visits, it is recommended the Project dedicate resources, possibly through the CTAs and through M&E oversight, to locally-based follow-up and application. A follow-up support and intervention strategy will add qualitative and value-for-money impact from larger regional events and reorient the focus from being event-driven to being integrated-support driven.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

The project already undertakes monitoring and follow-up with national electoral project teams. The project is designed based on the needs as identified at the national level, and many of its initiatives are jointly conceptualized, designed or implemented with national electoral project teams. This will be further systematized in Phase II, with dedicated resources in the form of a staff member to follow and monitor the impact of regional initiatives at the national level, including supporting national projects in applying the learnings and outcomes of regional initiatives.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Continue to follow-up and monitor impact of regional initiatives at national level, with a section dedicated to this in the regular project reporting framework
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
GPECS Arab States 2023/12 Completed History
6. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 6. As the project transitions to Phase 2 it is recommended that it   leverage its coordinating role to act as a regional archive or knowledge-base on election issues such as legislation (able to provide access to the legislative frameworks of every country in the region, for example);   legislative models to address specific needs (such as quota  legislation or regulations); on voter and civic education, ballot paper design and examples; EDR, IT-solutions and so on and develop a suite of knowledge products to complement those already produced which could also be supported by a regional web-based community of practice.   CTAs have expressed a strong preference for more country to country information-sharing and have acknowledged the support of the regional project for the timely support to date.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

The project already serves as regional coordinator of electoral information and knowledge between UNDP electoral projects in the region; with GPECS globally serving as a repository of electoral knowledge and information. Through phase II this will be further strengthened with dedicated staff time to collecting and compiling data, conducting research, and developing knowledge products. In addition, the project’s support to ACE Arabic will be further strengthened in phase II to invigorate the Arabic site where electoral information and discussions taken place.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Continue to collect, compile and share knowledge on electoral activities in the region, and produce knowledge products.
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
GPECS Arab States 2023/12 Completed History
7. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 7. It is suggested the project continue building upon the networking and learning opportunities for CTAs and UNDP election project staff as a contribution towards the building of regional expertise through further BRIDGE and other training and the support to more fully accredited facilitators within the region.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

In phase II, the project has provisioned resources for continued capacity building initiatives that staff (particularly national staff) can also benefit from, including attending BRIDGE trainings. The project also plans to create a pool of Arab speaking electoral experts that will also target national staff of electoral projects. These will also support the networking between and among staff, and electoral experts in the region in general.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Continue supporting the participation of staff in capacity building initiatives
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
GPECS Arab States 2023/12 Completed History
8. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 8. Should the Project evolve as expected with possibly increased resources, the project will benefit from a review of staffing structures to strengthen the core team, and increasing its pool of senior, highly  experienced electoral  professionals.  A dedicated finance manager should be appointed to ensure accurate and timely financial reporting.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

In developing phase II, the staffing structure has been reviewed and adjusted; however, it is to be noted that since phase II is similar in scale of implementation and support, the staffing structure has not changed significantly from phase I. The project administrative and financial operations are well covered by the operational team, and to be supported further in phase II by the operational team of the regional Hub in Amman.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1 Continue to implement the project with strong admin and financial implementation and oversight
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
BPPS/IPP, Regional Hub, GPECS Arab States 2023/12 Completed History
8.2 Utilize the services of the operations team in the regional Hub as relevant
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
RBAS, BPPS/IPP, Regional Hub, GPECS Arab States 2023/12 Completed History
9. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 9. The donor envisages that in Phase 2 under the country window facility, requests from country offices in the region will come to GPECS. While there are already clear guidelines for this facility, it will be nonetheless be helpful to ensure that information on the guidelines for country window support are widely disseminated and understood by all country offices in the region.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

Phase II does not include country window support therefore this recommendation is no longer valid.

Key Actions:

10. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 10. Given the evolving political, economic, institutional and electoral dynamics of the region, the myriad issues demanding attention and the history of country election projects affected by issues essentially beyond their control, it is strongly recommended that the Project invest in periodic political analysis assessment of the region building on what is currently being undertaken by the Hub under its conflict prevention work.  Such analysis, focused particularly on prevention of electoral violence, would draw upon input from CTAs and country offices, academics, researchers and key interlocutors as well as on existing UN and donor political analysis. This effort reflects the reality that national conflict often spills over and has consequences regionally.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

The project benefits from political analysis undertaken at the hub, and those undertaken at the country level. Phase II has been developed with a more robust conflict sensitivity assessment and approach part of which includes conducting political and conflict analysis to inform activity design and implementation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
10.1 Continue to conduct regular political and conflict sensitivity assessments
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
Regional Hub Amman, GPECS Arab States 2023/12 Completed Ongoing activity History
10.2 Report on the political and conflict sensitivity work of the project in its regular reporting mechanisms
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
Regional Hub Amman, GPECS Arab States 2023/12 Completed Ongoing activity History
11. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 11. It is advised that for the protection of the project, the RRF in a future project document limit the ambition of objectives to those within the control of the project to deliver. See comments under Section 5a for further explanation.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

Phase II Results and Resources Framework has taken this recommendation into consideration, making objectives more realistic and indicators SMART.

Key Actions:

12. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 12. To enhance communications and address concerns of some Chief Technical Advisors (CTAs) for more timely information sharing, and to clarify roles and responsibilities between national and regional projects, it is advised that a robust communications protocol be agreed between regional and country projects.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

A communication protocol exists between regional and national projects through a) monthly update reports from national projects, b) quarterly newsletter from regional project, c) annual regional CTA meeting, d) annual work planning meetings with CTAs and teams, e) regular and frequent exchanges with national projects in the design, planning and implementation of regional initiatives, including those undertaken jointly with national projects. These mechanisms will be further strengthened and streamed through continued dialogue with CTAs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
12.1 Continue regular engagement with national electoral project teams
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
GPECS Arab States 2023/12 Completed History
12.2 Document and disseminate communication mechanisms between national projects and regional project
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
GPECS Arab States 2018/04 Completed History
13. Recommendation:

Evaluation recommendation 13. As national projects, particularly CTAs, have called for stronger focus on follow-up to regional events, it is recommended that the project prioritize national follow-up and sustainability of regional initiatives through close engagement with CTAs and country offices. This will also strengthen the project’s impact at the national level. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/18]

This is similar to recommendation 5, both of which are agreed with and taken into consideration through the allocation of human resources for coordination and more systemic follow-up with national level projects. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
13.1 Ensure follow-up with national CTAs and electoral teams of regional initiatives
[Added: 2017/12/18] [Last Updated: 2019/01/29]
GPECS Arab States 2023/12 Completed History

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