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Evaluation report

2010 Papua New Guinea: Achieving Development Results Through Partnership: UN Country Programme 2008-2012 and Delivering as One, Papua New Guinea. Independent Mid-term Review, 2010



Author: Dr. Graham H.R. Chipande, Dr. Eric L. Kwa, and Ms. Minoli De Bresser (Independent Consultants). Institution: UN DaO. Partners: Government

Executive summary

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Background:

The United Nations (UN) launched the “Delivering as One” (DaO) pilot initiative in 2007 to respond to the challenges of a changing world, and to test ways, through which the UN can increase its impact on the lives of people in developing countries by delivering more coordinated and effective assistance. The main objectives of DaO are to increase the impact of the UN at country level by reducing programmatic fragmentation and duplication, increasing national ownership of UN activities, reducing transaction costs for government and development and implementing partners, and increasing the UN’s efficiency and effectiveness in helping countries attain their national development goals, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals.

The DaO pilot initiative builds on the existing reform agenda set by UN Member States, which asks the UN development system to accelerate its efforts to increase coherence and effectiveness of its operations in the field through the establishment of Joint Offices. The initiative is being piloted in eight countries. In addition to the original pilots, there are several “self starter” countries of which Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the earlier ones.

The DaO strategy in Papua New Guinea is based on 5 pillars:

• UN Country Programme (One Programme) and Country Programme Action Plan, covering 95% of all programme interventions in PNG
• UN Budgetary Framework, including a UN Country Fund (One Fund) and a Joint Resource Mobilization strategy, covering 22% of all country resources of the UN in PNG (for 2010), both in country noncore and additional resources
• Joint UN Communication and Advocacy for common UN advocacy and communication initiatives
• UN Operations, including the development of a One Office and further development and enhancement of Common Services

The DaO process in PNG started as far back as 2005, when the Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) and the UN Country Team (UNCT) commenced discussions to initiate the process. The GoPNG had expressed the intention and lobbied to join the initial pilot phase. Due to the large number of countries requesting pilot status for the first round PNG did not make it but instead was offered pilot status for the second round of pilots, scheduled to start a year later. However, the UNCT decided not to postpone the start of the DaO programme and, with strong support of government, went ahead with the DaO on a self starter basis, without extraordinary financial or technical support from external sources. In this respect the GoPNG and UNCT reached an agreement to launch the DaO process and start preparations for the one UN Country Programme (UNCP-2006), later followed by the UN Budgetary Framework (incl. The One Fund-2008), the Joint UN Advocacy and Communication strategy (2008), the UN Operations strategy (2009) and the UN House.

The GoPNG saw the UNCP as a way of reducing transaction costs and bolstering harmonization and aid effectiveness as espoused in the Rome and Paris Declarations, respectively. The UN, on its part, saw its presence in PNG continue to grow, both in terms of human and financial resources, as well as the number of agencies, funds and programmes active in the country.

The UNCT and the GoPNG commissioned the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the UNCP and the other 4 pillars of the Delivering as One strategy in PNG to generate lessons from the PNG experience. The main objectives of the MTR are to determine the extent to which the reformed UN business processes and practices and coordinated programming contribute to the DaO’s overall aim at the country level. Specifically, the review seeks to assess the extent to which the DaO contributed to national development results and priorities and to aid effectiveness.

Purpose/Objective:

The Review Team was contracted by UNDP-PNG, on behalf of the UNCT in PNG, to conduct a Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the UN Country Programme (UNCP) 2008-2012. The objectives of the MTR are:

1. To assess the progress made towards achieving results outlined in the UNCP and inform decision makers on the challenges and opportunities; and

2. To assess progress against the strategic intent of DaO’s five results frameworks, namely:

• UN Country Programme (One Programme) and Country Programme Action Plan, covering 95% of all programme interventions in PNG
• UN Budgetary Framework, including a Un Country Fund (One Fund) and a Joint Resource Mobilization strategy, covering 22% of all country resources of the UN in PNG (for 2010), both in country noncore and additional resources
• UN Communication and Advocacy for common UN advocacy and communication initiatives
• UN Operations, including the development of a One Office and further development and enhancement of Common Services
• UN House, aimed at creating a single physical presence of the UN in PNG

Methodology:

The Review Team (RT) therefore proceeded to record achievements, identify areas for improvement and remaining challenges, distil lessons to inform decision making processes at national, inter-governmental and headquarters levels. It is envisioned that, the results of the MTR will be used by the Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) in ascertaining the effectiveness of the DaO initiatives in bringing to the country’s benefit the whole potential of the UN development system. The review assessed how, and the extent to which, intended and unintended results were achieved at country level. The RT reviewed progress made against two sets of results frameworks, namely the development results framework, and the DaO framework, as represented by the UN Country Programme (UNCP) and the five “Ones” underpinning DaO in PNG, respectively.

Essentially, this review was aimed at measuring the extent to which the specific features of reformed UN business processes, and practices at the country level have contributed, or are contributing to the overall DaO aim, as follows:
 Assess the extent to which the DaO has contributed to the achievements of national development results and priorities;
 Assess to what extent the DaO in PNG is on track to achieve the expected results as outlined in the Position Paper;
 Assess specifically the key mechanisms, processes and structures set up under the DaO in PNG to implement change and improve effectiveness;
 Assess the extent to which the DaO is contributing to the principles and recommendations of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness;
 Identify lessons learned from the implementation of the DaO in PNG; and
 On the basis of the findings, make recommendations on which actions would be required by key stakeholders in order to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the DaO in PNG up to and including the formulation of the next UNCP.

The review process engaged, and is intended to address the following stakeholders:
• Government of Papua New Guinea;
• UN Agencies (both in PNG and at HQs);
• Development partners in PNG (representatives in PNG and at HQ level); and
• Other key stakeholders in PNG (academia, civil society, etc).

While in principle, the DaO initiative has been implemented in PNG since early 2006, some of its features have just been recently introduced, such as the One Budgetary Framework, as such the RT felt that it may be rather presumptuous to talk about assessing the contribution of DaO to the achievement of national development results since such results are affected by many factors and usually tend to have a long gestation period. In this respect, the RT decided to focus its attention on a number of key areas, including the following: processes and mechanisms put in place; adherence to DaO principles; Government support and expectations; Development partner financial support; UNCT commitment to DaO principles, programming modalities; UN Headquarters support; UN HQ reforms to support DaO challenges faced to-date; and distil any lessons learned. The RT also presents some recommendations on how the desired objectives could best be pursued. In this regard, the RT was guided by the detailed questions that were proposed in Annex A of the Terms of Reference (TORs), examining the operationalisation of the DaO principles (including the harmonized approach to cash transfers), within the PNG context, while also taking into consideration the issues of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability.

The RT acknowledged that the DaO can also contribute to aid effectiveness in PNG, maximizing the benefits from aid, by embracing the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Hence, the UNCP was also assessed in terms of its consistency with the MTDS in terms of its adherence to the five principles of aid effectiveness, namely:

• National Ownership;
• Alignment to National Development Priorities;
• Harmonization;
• Management for Results; and
• Mutual accountability.

The RT also assessed:
• The contribution of the UNCP to national development priorities, strategies, and plans;
• Compliance with UN normative frameworks, and cross-cutting issues, including gender, human rights, HIV and AIDS, capacity development and aid effectiveness and their concrete translation in the UNCT; and
• The relevant operational activities of all UN agencies under the UNCP.
The UNCP and the wider DaO initiative were evaluated within the PNG context. Just as the MDGs and the Paris Declaration agendas were localized in PNG, the RT also tried to assess the extent to which the DaO initiative had been domesticated in PNG, to ensure its conformity to the prevailing environment. The RT therefore focused on the GoPNG’s development priorities, plans and strategies and on the UN response to address those priorities.

The RT assessed the operational initiatives conducted within the DaO process since its inception. This should entail examining all programme activities falling under the One Programme and other initiatives that were not falling under One Programme that affected the performance of DaO. The timeframe under review covered initiatives implemented since 2006. While the emphasis of the review was on the contribution of DaO to development results, however, where initiatives related to humanitarian assistance or emergency relief were considered part of the DaO approach, these were also covered.

The RT also drew from the findings and recommendations of previous progress reports of the UNCP, and other relevant programme documents. In addition, a selected number of review reports that have been conducted in some of the Pilot countries to ensure that all pertinent issues are included in the final PNG MTR Report , were also reviewed by the RT.

The recommendations made in the text and captured in the Conclusion are intended to help frame the UN-GoPNG subsequent discussions and offer suggestions and options for the next steps in the DaO process in PNG, in order to consolidate the gains thus far and suggest further improvements that will enhance effectiveness and efficiency of UN assistance to PNG.

Findings and Conclusions:

The Review Team has identified a number of results through the review. These are clustered into two categories as shown below. It must be stated at the outset that the DaO process in PNG has shown many promising outcomes. Based on the team’s findings, a number of recommendations are presented for consideration by the UNCT and GoPNG. These recommendations are found in Chapter 5 of this report.

a) UNCP Results

• The preparation process of the UNCP in PNG, took a remarkably different approach to that taken in most pilot and “self starter” countries. In many cases, the normal UNDAF approach, involving the Common Country Assessment (CCA) and an aggregation of individual agency Outcome areas and work plans resulted into a UNCP, which can best be described as a “loose alliance” of the UN, driven mostly by the mandates of the various agencies, and often with many individual agency activities being pursued outside the “loose alliance”.

• The UNCP was perceived by both GoPNG and UNCT stakeholders as being fully aligned to national development priorities, as it drew from the MTDS priority areas, reflecting the overall UN areas of comparative advantage and mandates. This clearly demonstrates GoPNG’s ownership of the development priorities addressed in the UNCP.

• In light of the recently formulated Long Term Development Strategy (Vision 2050), the Development Strategic Plan, 2010-2030 (DSP), and the upcoming Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP), 2011-2015, while being seen as a re-articulation of the PNG development agenda, with no major policy shift, apart from strong emphasis on human resources development, the UNCP requires some adjustment to the areas of focus, to align it to the new PNG development paradigm.

• The UNCP has an elaborate coordination mechanism, supported by the GoPNG which fitted into the MTDS Framework as it provided a mechanism for meeting with development partners, making it compliant with the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness.

• Progress towards the expected results stipulated in the various Annual Work Plans (AWPs) is mostly on track except for the Intermediate Outcome dealing with MDGs and MTDS.

• The Task Team (TT) approach is suitable for the implementation of the UNCP, particularly with respect to Intermediate Outcome Areas dealing with cross-cutting issues that call for synergies, as well as multi-agency cooperation and coordination.

• Generally, the working relationship between the TTs and government partners is good at the planning and programming levels, but is variable at the implementation level, ranging from strong involvement to weak involvement in the TTs.

• At the sub-national levels the UNCP programme appears less focused and less coordinated, including geographically, and programme activities are still implemented largely at the national level and much less is being implemented at the sub-national and local levels.

• Effective participation of non-resident UN agencies in the UNCP is quite a challenge, largely due to distances and staffing constraints.

• Because of the general insecurity, the cost of doing business is very high in PNG, including rentals of office space and staff accomodation, transportation (due to poor infrastructure and the wide dispersion of population), and the provision of an adequate security regime for all staff.

b) DaO Results

• The DaO initiative in PNG was based on a strong partnership between the GoPNG and the UNCT. Both parties, starting from their own perspectives, saw DaO as providing them with a means “to do things differently”.

• The DaO, through the One UN Programme, has brought positive elements to the UN system by enabling the UN agencies to work more closely on agreed priority areas of work. This has strengthened coherence and unity of purpose. It has also allowed the UN to present itself to its partners and other stakeholders as One UN especially on such issues as Health, HIV/AIDS, Education, Disaster Management and Decentralisation.

• The One Programme has made work much easier for development partners and the GoPNG by introducing one coordination framework and one UN Country programme, thereby making coordination much simpler and reducing transaction costs.

• The UN neutrality is seen as a positive factor by both the GoPNG and development partners in helping to coordinate and facilitate consensus building among development partners, particularly in sensitive areas such as human rights and governance.

•The One Budgetary Framework is viewed as an effective funding mechanism for the receipt of non-core resources, allowing development partners to channel their funds through one mechanism and thereby reducing transaction costs, a feature that is attracting development partners to utilize the UN Fund when funding UN supported activities.

• The One Budgetary Framework gives the smaller UN agencies more incentive in that their priorities are incorporated under the One UN programme, and its performance-based approach creates potential for agencies with smaller resource bases to access additional funding.

• The DaO imposes multiple reporting requirements. Government implementing partners have to report on activities undertaken and actual expenditures, while UN agencies still have to report on core resources to their respective headquarters and to development partners, on the use of funds, using different reporting formats.

Recommendations:

a) Prioritization and Rationalization of the UNCP

• The UNCP needs to be more focused and less widespread over many intermediate outcome areas. In this context, the UN needs to re-prioritise and rationalise these intermediate outcome areas to enhance the overall focus of the Programme, directing its assistance more “upstream” to planning, policy making, and advocacy, with complimentary “downstream” activities such as pilot demonstrations, community awareness raising, etc.

• The UN should continue to support Disaster Prevention and Management, and Crisis Prevention. These are intermediate outcome areas where the coordination and facilitation role of the UN and access to specific technical assistance is well appreciated. It is suggested that more efforts be made to join up with other development partners, especially to ensure that the necessary “hardware” and IT inputs are also in place.

• As PNG is performing poorly against its own MDG targets, the UN should continue its support to the MDG-related outcome areas, by placing more emphasis on strengthening MDG-integrated planning & budgeting, policy advice, programme management, monitoring & reporting, and accountability capacities at both national and sub-national levels. In addition, development of capacities of country’s human resources through the introduction of teaching and research programme on MDGs and Human Development in the universities is crucial for facilitating the achievement of MDGs.

b) Strengthening the Role of Partners in the UNCP Implementation and Monitoring

• To enhance Government participation in the UNCP, the UNCT and their staff should initiate more informal contacts for example by organising periodic (every 3-4 months) consultation meetings to “brainstorm” on the progress of the UNCP and come up with proposals to address bottlenecks.

• The UN should “invest” more in building the capacities, expertise and knowledge of Government partners, to enable them to gradually take over the project/programme management responsibilities that are currently being undertaken by UN staff.

• Since the role of other development partners, particularly NGOs/CSOs and the private sector is not strongly visible in terms of giving advice on major development issues (as opposed to being implementing partners), it is recommended that the TTs find new ways of strengthening their interaction with such partners to get broad-based support for their interventions.

c) Proposed New Areas of Focus

• The UN, given its neutrality, should consider a possible stronger role in “governance” particularly in the areas of rule of law, accountability and transparency, which are critical for PNG’s development, in view of the increasing role of the private sector in the economy, and the impending demands that the LNG project will impose on Government services and accountability/governance structures.

• In view of the increasing role of the private sector as a source of revenue for PNG and the possible decline in the share of ODA in the country’s development budget, it is recommended that the UN should get more involved (not necessarily through projects but advocacy and advice on best practices) in this sector, by identifying entry points into this sector and starting a dialogue with them.

• The UNCT should consider establishing a common “South-South Cooperation Programme for PNG”. Such an exchange programme should target the younger, mid-level managers, specialists and officers. In addition, there are many interesting and relevant development models and “best practices” in certain African and Asian countries e.g. Botswana, Ghana, Vietnam, etc., especially in the areas of resource management and democratic governance, which PNG could learn from. Such a programme could be supported by all the UN agencies working in PNG and they could offer such exchanges in their mandate areas.


d) Other Recommendations

• The UNCT needs to continue to lobby with their respective headquarters on the issues of double reporting and harmonizing internal systems, operational and common services. The GoPNG can also play a supportive role in this process.

In conclusion, the mid-term review has been undertaken at a critical point in PNG’s development which poses both challenges and opportunities for the UN system and its development partners. The review concludes that in most of the outcome areas, good progress is being made towards reaching the identified development results. However, given the fact that PNG is unlikely to meet the MDGs by 2015, the UN needs to intensify and consolidate its support to MDG-related outcomes and at the same time its support to the priorities of the Government’s Medium-Term Development Plan.



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