Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2005 Global: Evaluation of DFID-UNICEF Programme of Cooperation to Strengthen UNICEF Programming as it Applies to Humanitarian Response 2000-2005



Executive summary

Background:

The DFID-UNICEF Programme of Cooperation in Capacity Building for Humanitarian Action and Response was launched in early 2000 to support UNICEF’s efforts to strengthen its capacity to respond to children in unstable situations. In recognition of the growing number of natural disasters globally and the protracted nature of armed conflicts, UNICEF established new strategies at a key conference in Martigny, Switzerland in 1998 to ensure children’s survival, protection and development. The Programme of Cooperation has supported the ‘Martigny Agenda’ for six years over two Phases (Phase I: 2000 to 2002; Phase II 2002 to 2005).  The principal aim of the Martigny Agenda is for UNICEF to respond in a predictable and efficient manner to children in unstable situations. In May 2000, UNICEF established Core Corporate Commitments that were revised in June 2003 as Core Commitments for Children in Emergencies. The CCCs outline the response that all children affected by humanitarian crisis should expect. The CCCs cover a broad range of sectors: health, nutrition, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, protection and education. UNICEF is not expected to provide for all of these sectors itself, but has committed to ensure that such provision is made. The principal strategy of the Martigny Agenda is to mainstream humanitarian response as the responsibility of all staff, at all times. The Programme of Cooperation, known in this report as the CB (Capacity Building) Programme, provided a total of GB£22.2mn (approximately US$39mn) over the five years. Phase I of the Programme comprised three projects: humanitarian preparedness and response, children and armed conflict and mine action. Phase II covered a broader set of goals, including the continuation of work in humanitarian preparedness and response, operations, human resources, a learning strategy and children affected by armed conflict.

Purpose/Objective:

This evaluation comes at the end of Phase II which ran from May 2002 to December 2005 . The purpose of the evaluation was to inform the development of UNICEF’s Mid Term Strategic Plan 2006-9 on humanitarian action and response as well as decisions on the future of DFID-UNICEF collaboration in the humanitarian arena, including the proposed Institutional Strategy 2006-9 that sets out DFID’s support for UNICEF in a broader context. For DFID, the evaluation will also inform its Public Service Agreement on support to humanitarian action.

Evaluation objectives were to provide an overall assessment of the CB Programme, track the changes and current status of UNICEF preparedness and response, provide recommendations on priorities and strategies for future response capacity and CB efforts, draw lessons for partnership in organisational capacity building and on policy and programming for children affected by armed conflict.

Methodology:

Data collection for the evaluation took place between January and May 2005, including visits to UNICEF HQ (New York, Geneva, Copenhagen) and DFID in London, three country case studies (Ethiopia, DRC and Sri Lanka), interviews at HQ and RO levels, questionnaires to Country Management Teams and individuals in countries selected at random.  Findings were validated through a joint UNICEF-DFID workshop in Geneva in May 2005.  A separate evaluation on the learning strategy (Goal 4 of the Phase II CB Programme) was undertaken simultaneously by a team through Le Group-Conseil Baastel Itée[1]. 

Findings and Conclusions:

In both phases of the CB Programme, there was a focus on building the capacity of the Regional Offices, only established within UNICEF in 1998, to support and oversee humanitarian preparedness and response at country level. In both phases one third of CB Programme funds were allocated to HQ Divisions to focus on policy guidance and strategic direction in humanitarian response, as well as some very practical inputs, in particular the Operations Centre (OPSCEN). Two thirds of the funds were divided between the seven Regional Offices to support the establishment of Regional Emergency Advisers and to mainstream humanitarian response within all programme sectors and operational functions. This approach was adopted to support the current decentralised model in which Country Offices, especially Country Management Teams, have primary responsibility for humanitarian response, with support and oversight from Regional Offices.

UNICEF set out a framework of objectives for the way in which funding was to be applied and invited Regional Offices and HQ Divisions to submit proposals. EMOPS, the Office for Emergencies Operations managed the overall CB Programme. The evaluation has found that this bottom up approach detracted from maintaining a strategic overview of how funding was used. Given that the objectives of the CB Programme were so ambitious – to shift an organisation of some 8,000 staff in 157 offices worldwide towards more predictable humanitarian response – the Programme needed to be very tightly driven at HQ level.

Additionally, for a programme that aimed to change the organisation as a whole, a comprehensive organisational assessment at the early stages would have been advisable but this did not take place. EMOPS also lacked sufficient financial information for strategic management; the fact that budget codes were not established against goals at the beginning of the CB Programme meant that financial information was dispersed and difficult to use as an overview.

The overall conclusion of the evaluation is that UNICEF has made important advances in building capacity supported by the CB Programme and there are examples of very effective response. However, UNICEF remains some distance from achieving the goal of reliably delivering humanitarian response as the rights-based approach and the CCCs require.

UNICEF’s role was universally appreciated by other UN agencies, partner NGOs and national governments. Humanitarian response was good in the three country case studies: Sri Lanka, DRC and Ethiopia. In DRC and Sri Lanka, advocacy for children’s rights was also strong. However, there are also examples where response has been poor and lives have been put at risk (e.g. Darfur, Liberia). Equally, UNICEF has found it difficult to draw attention to rights violations in some contexts (e.g. Nepal). 

1.         UNICEF’s principal achievements in capacity building for humanitarian response.

Emergency Preparedness (and Response) Planning(EPRP) has been rolled out to more than 90% of UNICEF COs over the last five years, an impressive achievement. The EPRP tools have recently been updated and improved to make the process lighter in response to requests from the field. The evaluation concludes that emergency preparedness planning is not sufficient on its own to translate into effective humanitarian action. It needs to be bolstered with other measures including surge capacity from managerial, technical and operations specialists. However, EPRP has been important in changing attitudes towards emergencies being the responsibility of all and in bringing operations and programmes staff together in planning.

The development of the Core Commitments for Children in Emergencies has provided a framework to define exactly what services UNICEF aims to guarantee for children as a right in humanitarian response. There was universal agreement by staff that the CCCs are a very useful reference tool, although very few agencies outside UNICEF are yet aware of their existence.

UNICEF has made impressive contributions to high-level advocacy in recent years that have created the drive for resolutions in the Security Council and General Assembly on children and armed conflict. This built on UNICEF’s earlier seminal work through the Graca Machel study on Children and Armed Conflict. In some countries where children are affected by conflict, UNICEF has driven the agenda for the rights of children in armed conflict, especially notable being the Action Plan for Children in Sri Lanka.

UNICEF has strengthened work in child protection over the last five years by increasing the size of the team (although still relatively small) and introducing the ‘Protective Environment’ as a framework to support greater cohesion in programming and advocacy. Importantly, NGOs consulted are impressed with UNICEF’s work in protection and want UNICEF to lead in standards and approaches.  UNICEF and partners produced the landmark ‘Guidelines on Unaccompanied and Separated Children’ during this period.

Important contributions have been made to the UN Reform agenda and especially to working groups and task forces. In particular, UNICEF has led the IASC process of rolling out training in sexual exploitation and abuse in humanitarian contexts. UNICEF has also been a strong and important defender of humanitarian principles within and beyond the UN system.

Enhanced security management systems through OPSCEN in New York as a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week centre providing ongoing information to UNICEF at all levels on key events and potential hazards. Considerable investment has gone into the hardware of security, substantially improving MOSS compliance and into staff training. There is a question of whether enough attention is being given to implementation of security accountabilities through the management system. Security management remains an area that must be given continuing priority and resources.

The Supply Division has made significant improvements over the period including establishing an Emergencies Coordination Unit in Copenhagen and stockpiling a set of emergency items directly related to the CCCs. This has brought delivery time down to 48 hours from the receipt of an order for items in stock. Regional warehouse hubs were established in Dubai and Johannesburg in 2003 (and later Panama in 2005). Dubai appears to be the most successful in reducing costs and timings in delivery of items.

To bolster specialist capacity in humanitarian response, UNICEF established a five person Emergency Response Team.  The Team was agreed in principle in 2004 and established in early 2005 and funded under the ECHO capacity building programme[2]. The team has considerable experience that can be called upon to provide overall management and coordination of UNICEF’s response. As yet, the Team does not include sector specialists according to the CCCs (including no Protection specialist). The ERT represents recognition that whilst mainstreaming humanitarian response is fundamental as a foundation, mainstreaming does not obviate the need for some specialists to be available at short notice. There are plans to expand the team in the next MTSP period through core funding.

The introduction of technical capacity at regional level through the network of Regional Emergency Advisers. The REAs have provided technical support closer to Country Office level and rolled out emergency preparedness and response planning and training to more than 90% of offices. They provide the first wave of surge capacity support to Country Offices in most emergencies and have raised the profile of emergencies within most regions. All but two of these key posts have now been incorporated into core funding to ensure sustainability.

There has been an increased focus on HR for emergency response through the creation of the ‘Corporate Trigger’[3]for emergencies in August 2004 and through the introduction of the post of Emergency Focal Point in HR Division at HQ level from 2003. The Corporate Trigger has noticeably enhanced priority to staff deployment in emergencies (although it has only been used in Darfur and the tsunami response to date). The post of Emergency Focal Point has developed systems for surge capacity and was pivotal in identifying UNICEF staff for redeployment and external consultants for the tsunami response.

The CB Programme has also placed increased emphasis on training for emergencies and has facilitated the roll out of training on Emergency Preparedness and Response and humanitarian issues in emergencies through PATH training. The Learning Strategy Evaluation concluded that EPR Training has contributed significantly to the understanding of country office staff teams about individual roles in emergency response and, as such, has supported mainstreaming. The training has also increased dialogue between programmes and operations staff about emergency response as it is one of the few opportunities for the two principal arms of CO staff to work together.  EPR training has been successfully linked to EPR planning as a streamlined process.

A network of peer supporters has been created to support staff coping with stress in humanitarian crises (although more work needs to be done to increase use and coverage).

The Capacity Building Programme has supported most of the above achievements and linkages.

2.         Internal constraints on UNICEF’s capacity to reliably deliver humanitarian response

UNICEF’s decentralised model places a great deal of emphasis on the Country Office – especially the Country Management Team – to manage emergency response and not all teams are able to fulfil the role effectively (see leadership below).  It also makes heavy demands on Regional Offices to exercise an oversight role.A question for the evaluation was whether a centralised model for emergency response (not for development programmes) may produce a better response overall.  The evaluation has concluded that centralisation would require a much larger team than at present and would not be sustainable given the size and duration of emergencies. HQ could only manage the very largest emergencies and it would be difficult to sustain more than one or two countries on the ‘global trigger’ at any one time.

The evaluation has also concluded that UNICEF’s strategy of developing Regional Offices as the base for support, oversight and a back up trigger to Country Offices is the most appropriate. However, the Regional Offices face a number of constraints on their capacity to exercise this role.  The extent of authority and accountability of the Regional Office remains unclear in practice, even if stated in theory. In addition, the sheer number of countries within each region and growth in humanitarian crises makes it extremely difficult for Regional Advisors in each sector to meet the demand for support to development programmes and humanitarian response. There are also issues about independent travel budgets and the quality of the technical skills of some Regional Advisers.

Nevertheless, the role is appropriate and needs to be strengthened. It also needs to be more pro-active and directive in some circumstances. It needs to counterbalance the reluctance of some Country Offices to recognise a looming emergency and to act. Fundamentally, it needs to bolster country level leadership.

Country level leadership is variable. This has emerged clearly as one of the principal determinants of an effective humanitarian response. Reliable humanitarian response will require reliable leadership from the Country Management Team, especially the Country Representative, with proven emergency experience. In weak response scenarios, CO level leadership has invariably been a key factor. 

HR planning for emergencies at CO and RO levels is weak and organisation wide systems for surge capacity and mainstreaming have not progressed as fast as needed. Most Country Offices have not mapped and identified skills strengths and gaps for humanitarian response as part of the EPRP process. When an emergency happens, they have to begin that process or, worse, try to manage with technical teams that do not adequately match the requirements of the CCC sectors. The Human Resources Officer at RO level has also not actively engaged in planning for rapid response. At HQ level, systems based around the recommendations of the Brasilia Conference[4]and follow up analysis (Heffinck, 2004), have been slow to develop.

Technical capacity in all CCC sectors is not yet guaranteed. Water and sanitation capacity is particularly weak. Over the last decade, there has been a shift in development programming towards the life-cycle approach and particularly to young child survival. Water and sanitation has been the main casualty of this approach in terms of technical expertise (although nutrition is also weaker than other sectors). Up to very recently there had been no permanent posts of water and sanitation regional adviser[5]and a reduced water and sanitation staff overall in comparison with other sectors. Child Protection has also been weak in coverage at all levels. There has not been sufficient technical training through the learning programme in the CCC sectors. While the new Mid Term Strategic Plan for 2006-9 is more closely aligned between development and emergency contexts, the legacy of this decline must be addressed otherwise UNICEF remains exposed to serious technical capacity gaps in the CCCs.

Many COs have not maintained EPRPs as operational planning processes. The evaluation recognises the importance of the EPRP process as a major contribution to enhancing capacity for response. However, to make a difference to the effectiveness of response they must be coherent with the CCCs (not always the case to date), updated as live documents, shared and agreed with partners and made operational by following through on plans (e.g. for procurement, staffing etc). 

Gender integration is not yet effective. Despite a strong policy commitment to gender integration in humanitarian assistance, this has not been followed through consistently or systematically to programme level. Instead, the record is patchy and inadequate. There is a tendency to equate gender sensitivity with targeting of women and girl children in programming, rather than adopt a truly gendered approach that analyses and addresses issues of gender inequality. Rather than gender integration being everyone’s responsibility, the default position seems to be that it is no one’s. There is limited support to Country Offices in promoting gender awareness and limited monitoring of the extent to which gender is truly integrated into UNICEF’s humanitarian work.

UNICEF has a central role in developing and implementing a system to monitor and report on six egregious child rights violations in conflict areas, established through Security Council Resolution 1539, April 2004 and a Plan of Action set out by the Secretary General in February 2005[6].  Systems and tools have not yet been agreed and it is also not clear whether current staffing levels are adequate to fulfil the mandate. The system for monitoring and reporting on child rights is essential to ensure strong advocacy for children in armed conflict and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Learning and training has been especially weak in the area of child protection. UNICEF staff’s confidence in applying the international legal frameworks, policy approaches and good practice is essential to ensure strong programmes and advocacy for children affected by armed conflict. It is also a prerequisite for effective coordination in the area of child protection. The Child Protection Section is aware that much greater investment needs to be made in this area at all levels (including formal training, mentoring, coaching, dissemination of guidelines and even opportunities within a possible Masters Degree in child protection).

Finance and administration proceduresremain cumbersome and bureaucratic. Designed for development programmes, finance and administration procedures are difficult to apply in emergency contexts. This causes delays in processing essential functions in emergencies such as purchasing essential items, approving contracts and releasing funds to partners. Although provision has been made for adaptations to some of these systems for emergency response, they are not well known or used by operations staff.  Institutional requirements are likely to be put ahead of rapid response requirements where staff lack confidence in adapting systems.

Organisational culture: too great a focus on excellence, while simpler and faster tools may be more effective in practice. UNICEF has produced many excellent guidelines, tools and policy papers. There are two issues with producing guidelines of this quality. First they are often complex tools that require determined dissemination and learning programmes to ensure that they are applied effectively in the field, otherwise they remain little known and little used (e.g. tool for Vulnerability Capacity Assessments, the standards in emergency education, the CCCs themselves). The second is that striving for excellence delays publication. Simpler, faster tools and guidelines, fewer and more basic indicators may prove more effective.

Organisational learning through practice is weak and there is not yet a culture of learning. Monitoring and evaluation systems are weak in most countries and there is not an established practice of concise and focused lessons learned workshops or after-action-reviews. Overall, there are relatively few evaluations of CO level performance. UNICEF has not yet consolidated a culture of learning and staff reported feeling guilty about taking time out to learn.

Strong partners are essential for effective and reliable response but are not always identified at the planning stage. As UNICEF does not directly implement in emergencies, except where no suitable partners have been identified, it is essential that planning for humanitarian response is done together with partners. In the best-case examples, that planning is ongoing with government and NGO partners, as in Ethiopia, but in many other contexts, potential partners were not aware of the plans. There was also extremely low awareness amongst partners, including UN agencies, of the CCCS that represent UNICEF’s commitments to children in emergencies.

The CCCs and standards for humanitarian response are not well known by UNICEF teams.An effective and reliable response should be shaped by the framework of the CCCs plus additional internationally accepted standards in each sector. The evaluation found that only just over half of Country Management Teams considered that their staff were familiar with the CCCs. There are probably even greater gaps in knowledge of the interagency humanitarian response standards by sector, even where they are standards that UNICEF has approved such as the Inter Agency Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies and Inter Agency Guidelines for HIV/AIDS in Emergencies. Knowledge of Sphere standards, used by the majority of NGOs in humanitarian response, is even lower and this has serious implications for sector-based coordination. 

Variable capacity in coordination skills. UNICEF is usually required to lead and coordinate in the technical sectors of the CCCs. NGOs look to UNICEF to provide guidance on technical standards, consolidate assessments identifying gaps in provision, coordination of supplies and advocacy when necessary with the government, donors or other agencies. These are major tasks that require specific coordination skills, as well as strong technical capacity and awareness of the situation on the ground. They also require time investment and should be considered as a fundamental part of the technical role. To be really effective, coordination needs to be funded as a distinct activity. At present, skills and time-investment are variable and do not support reliable performance in coordination.

Local distribution systems are often weak. Given that UNICEF usually supplies items to beneficiaries through government and NGO partners in development programmes, UNICEF does not usually have independent logistics capacity. In humanitarian response, however, UNICEF can be called upon to rapidly deliver items. Unless plans are made for this beforehand, including identifying private transporters or alternative systems, this is likely to be slow. It may also be difficult to reach a decision on shifting away from the ‘normal’ system of warehousing and distribution through government to UNICEF taking on direct responsibility for logistics as well as supply.

Pre-positioning items in country clearly enhances response but is discouraged. Pre-positioning of emergency items was regarded as key to effective response in all country case studies. However, the Supply Division discourages pre-positioning because it can be wasteful and expensive to maintain. While the policy is appropriate, local circumstances can mean that pre-positioning would make response vastly more effective and greater flexibility on this issue is required.

Recommendations of evaluations and reviewsare not always analysed, approved and plans made for implementation. Many of the issues raised in this report had already been raised in previous evaluations.

Lack of strategic leadership in the capacity building programme The CB Programme depended largely on funding applications from Divisions and Regional Offices and lacked strategic overview aimed at unblocking the blockages to effective response. Strategic decisions should have been taken at the level of the Inter Divisional Standing Committee on Children in Unstable Situations but that Committee is not yet fulfilling that role. There was also insufficient financial information on the use of the funds for EMOPS to make strategic decisions.

Inadequate staffing levels in some areas Technical staffing is inadequate in water and sanitation, protection, gender and security management.

Lack of confidence in career development systems: a very low percentage of staff consider that UNICEF’s approach to promotion is objective, fair and correct. Promotion on the grounds of merit and competency is essential to ensure the most capable reach senior managerial and leadership positions.

3.         External constraints on UNICEF’s capacity to reliably deliver humanitarian response

Growing demand for humanitarian response means UNICEF is called upon for ever greater response capacity.  This can lead to over-commitment and a risk of poor performance and motivation. To reliably provide effective humanitarian response, UNICEF has two options:

i)        Increase its response capacity, which would require more staff and more funding.

ii)      Prioritise specific sectors within the CCCs and negotiate with other agencies to accept sectors that are no longer feasible.  In the short term it could be advisable for UNICEF to clearly state that shelter is not one of the CCC sectors and advocate for another UN agency to take responsibility for this area.

Reliable humanitarian response requires reliable and timely funding. The evaluation observes the vast differentials in funding per capita of populations affected by humanitarian crises.  Clearly, the volume of funding available rapidly to the tsunami response made a significant difference in the capacity to respond. Until more progress is made in the Good Humanitarian Donorship and other funding initiatives, this will continue to be a barrier.

Funding for capacity building is not a popular option with donors and it has been difficult to encourage other donors to support UNICEF’s efforts.

The deteriorating security situation in some contexts, coupled with UN security management procedures, is increasingly reducing UNICEF’s access to the affected population.

The blurring of boundaries between humanitarian action, foreign policy and military intervention, within the UN and by some of its donor governments, compromises UNICEF’s and other UN agencies ability to deliver impartial and rights-based humanitarian assistance.

4.         Priority recommendations: Unblocking the blockages

Detailed recommendations are included in the body of the report and all recommendations are consolidated at the end of the report, together with time frames as: i) within Year 1 ii) within the MTSP period 2006-9 and iii) strategic directions for the long term.

What follows is a summary of the priority recommendations directly related to unblocking the blockages and to the future of capacity building for humanitarian preparedness and response.

Enhance Regional Office oversight capacity

The objective of the recommendation on RO oversight capacity is to reinforce the pro-active and (if necessary) directive elements of RO support where COs do not recognise looming crises or have difficulty in planning an effective response. While some Country Management Teams will provide an effective response without this support, others will not. For that reason, the proposal is that standard operating procedures are introduced to counter balance potential weak leadership on emergency response.

i)         Establish a standard operating procedure that requires ROs to send in a representative of senior level personnel (Regional Emergency Adviser, other individual Regional Advisers or even RD) to COs as they move into a higher state of alert. The first priority should be to establish a 90 day response plan that will cover all aspects of response (leadership/management, funding, surge requirements, supply systems, partnerships, security, additional technical/operations support) and the respective responsibilities of CO and RO. This should happen whether the CO requests support or not to overcome the reluctance of some COs to request back up.

ii)        Ensure that the post of Regional Adviser is considered to be a stepping stone to greater seniority to attract candidates of high technical quality.

iii)      Analyse what has been successful in regional office oversight to date and replicate those characteristics in all ROs

Enhance Country Office level leadership

Reliable response to emergencies will require reliable and quality leadership on humanitarian response, especially at CO level.  Leadership should be enhanced in three ways:

i)         By including significant humanitarian experience and demonstrated performance as selection criteria for the appointment of the Country Management Team (Country Office Representatives, Senior Programme Officers and Senior Operations Officers)

ii)        Through the Learning Programme for Leadership and Management, that should include modelling for effective leadership, coaching and mentoring for leaders and analysis of leadership in After Action Reviews. After Action Reviews should reflect on the influence of training on leadership in actual humanitarian response.

iii)      Building in standard operating procedures to address leadership issues in emergency response (Enhancing Regional Office Oversight Capacity above).

Strengthen coordination capacity

UNICEF is increasingly called upon to coordinate in emergencies, especially in the CCC sectors. This is an extremely important role but requires a high level of technical skill and should not be considered as an add-on to Programme Officer posts. There is also a need for donors to accept that additional funding will be required for effective coordination.

Enhancing coordination capacities will include training for coordination, inclusion of coordination capacities in competency profiles/job descriptions, using standards (e.g. Sphere) as a tool, ensuring that posts attract technically competent personnel and additional funding for the coordination function.

Enhance Surge Capacity with a focus on CO and RO levels

The principal focus in enhancing surge requirements in the next period will be at RO and CO levels, although HQ needs to complete systems already begun. Mainstreaming responsibility for emergency response should continue to be the major strategy but must be enhanced by specialists. One of the principal objectives of the following recommendations is to ensure adequate coverage in the CCC sectors in all countries. Procedures should work as follows:

i)         COs conduct a detailed mapping of skills and gaps as part of the EPRP process on an annual basis. While this should already happen as part of EPRPs, it is not sufficiently reliable to date. Mapping should relate specifically to the CCC sectors, as well as operational functions. The HR mapping should be shared with Regional Offices to maintain a regional overview of likely skills gaps and relate needs to the Regional Redeployment Register.

ii)        At RO level, a Regional Roster for Redeployment should be established as redeployment is the principal surge mechanism in UNICEF, especially for the early phase.  National staff should be included in the register. Staff willing to be part of the Regional Roster for Redeployment should be prioritised for learning opportunities and recognised in the Performance Evaluation Report.

iii)      UNICEF should continue strengthen Standby arrangements including providing training on UNICEF commitments, standards and procedures to staff on key standby registers.

Advocate for greater reliability and equity in funding for humanitarian response

Reliable response requires reliable funding.  This is essentially an advocacy issue and one which should be addressed by UNICEF through the Good Humanitarian Donorship initiative and direct negotiations with donors. Demonstrating the difference to children’s lives between well funded response (e.g. in the tsunami) and poorly funded responses (e.g. chronic emergencies such as DRC) could support the debate.

Enhanced supply and logistics functions, especially at CO level

To ensure that the right items are in the right place at the right time, Country Offices need to invest more time in planning for supply and logistics within the EPRP process, with the support of the Regional Adviser, Supply. UNICEF does not have independent capacity in logistics, usually relying on government facilities and private suppliers.  Often in an emergency UNICEF will need to establish independent systems for a period of time. The assessment should include agreements with potential suppliers and with transporters, as well as how warehousing would be managed and make a case for pre-positioning if necessary. The Supply Division should review the list of standard emergency items against the CCCs and in conjunction with field personnel based on recent emergency experience.

Ensure that procedures for Finance and Administration support effective humanitarian response

At present, there are different views within UNICEF about whether the major issue for effective finance and administration within emergencies concerns over-bureaucratic procedures or whether the blockage is that CO level staff are not aware/sufficiently confident in adapting systems. DFAM should be accountable for clarifying this issue. Over the next 18 months-2 years, DFAM should aggressively disseminate financial procedures (through Regional Finance Advisers) and conduct a field-based review at the end of that period. The review should clarify this issue and recommend appropriate action.

Enhancing child protection capacity at all levels in programming and advocacy

To strengthen UNICEF’s capacity in further policy development, coordination of CP agencies and enhanced CP practice in programming and advocacy, UNICEF should:

i)         Increase the HQ staff team to address current policy gaps (including policy development in child protection in natural disasters).

ii)        Roll out the new training package (to be developed this year) and back it with follow up, mentoring and coaching of staff.

iii)      Regional Advisers in Child Protection should provide greater support to COs in dissemination and debate on key guidelines/policies, assessment of the factors that promote/detract from CO level advocacy for children’s rights, analyse what has worked across countries in developing Child Protection Networks.

iv)       Seek resources to augment the number of highly qualified staff for field and regional level coordination in the child protection sector.

Roll out the systems for Monitoring and Reporting of Child Rights Violations in Armed Conflict

Complete the indicators and data collection tools and roll out the Monitoring and Reporting system for violations of children’s rights as soon as possible. Complete mapping of Child Protection Networks and assess what will be required to ensure effective functioning of CPNs at CO level, not underestimating the size of this task. Review staffing levels overall in relation to capacity to comply with the mandate (Inter Divisional Working Group on Monitoring and Reporting).

Reinforce partnerships for humanitarian response

Continue to explore innovative mechanisms for partnership with local and international NGOs for emergencies (such as the developing partnership with Oxfam GB in water and sanitation). Initiate open discussions with NGOs on capacity, oversight and support needs at the outset of any form of partnership, contractual or otherwise. Actively disseminate the CCCs to partners so that they understand the parameters of UNICEF’s humanitarian response commitments.

In the face of increased demand for humanitarian response, either increase resources or reduce commitments

UNICEF’s commitments to the CCC sectors are extremely ambitious. As demand for response continues to grow, it will become increasingly difficult for UNICEF to achieve reliable coverage, especially as Regular Resources are not growing in the same proportions as Other Resources. UNICEF should take a strategic decision on the best of two options:

i)        to lobby for greater resources to achieve CCC commitments

ii)       to reduce commitments in CCC sectors. Either way, UNICEF should clarify with humanitarian actors that shelter is not one of the CCC sectors and advocate for another UN agency to take this responsibility.

Operationalise and update EPRPs and roll out the Early Warning-Early Action system

To ensure that UNICEF is adequately prepared for emergencies at CO level the EPRP process should continue to improve, with the support of Regional Emergency Advisers. This should include: enhanced Regional Office oversight functions, outsourcing facilitation of EPRPs, tailoring EPRPs to the level of risk, enhanced assessment of HR and logistics requirements and conducting EPRPs in two phases, engaging partners in phase II. The evaluation endorses the roll out of the Early Warning-Early Action system that helps to define accountabilities in response and links response to alert levels.

Enhance technical capacity in the CCC sectors

Technical capacity in each of the CCC sectors is essential for reliable response. This should include:

i)         Actively disseminate understanding of the CCCs and of appropriate humanitarian standards by sector during visits of all Regional Advisors (not just Regional Emergency Advisors).

ii)        Addressing skills in the CCC sectors within the Learning Programme (below)

iii)      Matching RO and CO technical capacity to the CCCs by ensuring that each sector is supported by an Advisor or Programme Officer with relevant skills/experience. Mapping technical capacity in the CCCs at CO level on an annual basis and feed this information into the RO to coordinate plans for Regional Redeployment.

iv)       Enhancing technical capacity through strategic partnerships in the CCC sectors.

Enhance learning programme

There are plans to develop new programmes at three levels: Basic, Programme Excellence and Leadership and Management. The Evaluation endorses the importance of these programmes, includes proposals of themes to cover in each level and proposes outsourcing some of the training.  Sector based learning in relation the CCCs should be enhanced as part of this programme.  To promote take-up and demand for learning programme, staff should be informed that each post carries 5% of staff time for learning and 2% of total staff costs.  Learning should be valued within staff performance evaluations and taken into consideration in promotion. Preference in access to learning opportunities should be given to staff on the Regional Redeployment Register.

Strengthen Gender Integration

The Gender Mainstreaming Unit should be strengthened with a staff member dedicated to humanitarian work.  Fundamentally gender integration must be understood as much more than a focus on targeting children and women towards greater assessment and awareness of underlying gender inequalities. The analysis of sexual abuse and exploitation and gender based violence should be deepened and related to gender inequalities and structural issues within society. Humanitarian tools, including the CCCs, should be revisited for gender integration. UNICEF could collaborate with other UN agencies in training/learning on gender integration (e.g. UNFPA and UNHCR).

Ensure that UNICEF has sufficient access to populations in insecure contexts

Work vigorously within the UN system at both NY and CO levels for more sophisticated and sensitive UN security management systems

Focus on field-friendly tools, ‘good-enough’guidelines and light lesson learned systems

Support the planned development of simplified tools, e.g. worked examples of Vulnerability Capacity Analysis and a small number of readily collectable indicators on early warning. Hold one-day workshops on monitoring and evaluation and lightweight After Action Reviews.

Develop a long term vision for UNICEF’s role within the UN Reform Process

This should include an analysis of how planned activities in capacity building are influenced by the UN Reform process and which aspects can be done in collaboration with other agencies.

5.         Future capacity building

Enhance strategic management of CB Programmes

UNICEF should strengthen centralised strategic leadership for future capacity building for humanitarian response. EMOPS should seek to actively engage other Divisions ideally through the Inter Divisional Standing Committee on Children in Unstable Situations, alternatively the Global Management Team. The post of Capacity Building Programme Manager should be upgraded and financial information should be prepared against programme goals to facilitate strategic management. Preparedness and response goals should be separated from child protection.

DFID should continue to support UNICEF’s capacity building for humanitarian preparedness and response

Given i) the scale and importance of UNICEF’s role in humanitarian response and in the UN Reform process and ii) the fact that UNICEF has made improvements but to make sustainable changes in an organisation the size of UNICEF takes considerable time, the evaluation recommends that DFID continues to support and enhance UNICEF’s capacity building efforts in the medium term.  Further capacity building support should be earmarked or ring-fenced within an ISP.

Future capacity building should be considered in a holistic way, of which DFID, ECHO, UNICEF and hopefully other donors, are co-funding.  Given DFID’s experience in capacity building with UNICEF and other large agencies, DFID could support UNICEF in monitoring the effect and impact of the whole programme (not just inputs funded by DFID).  DFID could also support UNICEF in developing a tool to monitor effects organisation-wide.

Funding should continued to be applied strategically to make ‘catalytic’ gains, especially (but not exclusively) in relation to the oversight role of the Regional Offices. This could include, for example:  (a) continuing to support the further development of EPRPs and the Early Warning Early Action system; (b) travel budgets to all Regional Advisers, not just REAs, with a view to dissemination of policy directions; (c) support to developing the Regional Office redeployment system; (d) support to developing strong EPRPs including finance, supply and HR; (e) roll out of guidance by DFAM; and (f) the follow up analysis to determine whether greater dissemination has led to improved performance or whether procedures should be changed.  Funding should continue to support elements of the Learning Programme but also thinking strategically such as outsourcing training to specialist organisations already supported by DFID such as RedR/IHE.

All elements of the recommendations should be considered in relation to the direction taken by the UN Reform Programme, including the role of each agency in coordination.  In terms of child protection, there are excellent opportunities for DFID to continue to build on policy development in the gaps already identified through considering funding a post at HQ level. DFID could consider supporting an MA course in child protection (as recommended by the inter agency group on child protection) and funding part of the development of Child Protection Networks to fulfil the mandate on monitoring and reporting. 

DFID should also consider supporting UNICEF in advocacy and debate on two aspects of humanitarian response:

1.            Monitoring the impact on children of vastly different funding levels to different emergencies.

2.            Lobbying donors for more recognition of the fundamental importance of coordination in humanitarian response and the fact that this can be a role on its own. The aim would be to sensitise donors to accepting inclusion of posts in sector coordination within programme proposals for humanitarian response.


[1]Le Group-Conseil Baastel Itée, Evaluation of UNICEF Learning Strategy to Strengthen Staff Competencies for Humanitarian Response, 2000-2004.

[2]ECHO has provided complementary funding for capacity building in Emergency Preparedness and Response (supply, distribution and telecommunications) since 2004 and Child Protection in 2005.

[3]The Corporate Trigger is a mechanism to prioritise supply, procurement and delivery; emergency fundraising and deployment of staff for a period of 90 days in the first stages of an emergency.

[4]Conference on ‘Transforming the Human Resources Function in UNICEF’ June 2002.

[5]UNICEF has recently established four Regional Adviser posts in Water and Sanitation.

[6]The Security Council is expected to approve the Action Plan in the near future



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Report information

Date:
2005

Region:
Global

Country:
Inter-regional

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Emergency - Response

Partners:
DFID

PIDB:

Follow Up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:
2005/802

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