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2013 BH: Final evaluation of the UN MDG Achievement Fund sponsored “Securing Access to Water through Institutional Development and Infrastructure” joint UNDP and UNICEF project in Bosnia and Herzegovina



Author: Lilit V. Melikyan

Executive summary

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Background:

The UN Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDGF) uses a joint programme (JP) mode of intervention, funding innovative programmes that have an impact on the population and potential for replication; the programs are viewed as a step towards UN reform and UN One and are also expected to contribute to enhanced national ownership of the MDGs’ achievement. The project “Securing Access to Water through Institutional Development and Infrastructure in Bosnia and Herzegovina” is a joint UNDP and UNICEF project funded under the MDGF programmatic window of Democratic Economic Governance (DEG). The programmes in this window are geared towards reducing the proportion of people without sustainable access to drinking water (MDG 7). The project started in November 2009 with a total budget of US$ 4.6 million, and a planned duration of 3 years; with a 6 months no-cost extension the JP ends in May 2013.

Purpose/Objectives:

The main purpose of the final evaluation is to provide an independent in-depth assessment of the achievements of the project against the planned results and the implementation modality of the MDGF DEG Joint Programme. This final participatory evaluation is a systematic exercise, carried out in line with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)/Development Assistance Committee (DAC) evaluation criteria (programme design and relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability) and in accordance with the standards of the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG).
The objectives of this JP were to contribute to the:
• Strengthening of inclusion of citizens in the participative municipal governance of water access;
• Improving economic governance in water utility companies for better services to citizens in targeted municipalities; and
• Strengthening capacity of government for evidence-based policy making and resource planning for equitable water related service provision.

Methodology:

The final evaluation was based on: 
• the desk review of project documents and third party reports (see Annex 6 for the list of documents reviewed);
• key informant interviews (KII) with stakeholders (central and local Government, UNDP and UNICEF staff, donor agencies, representatives of utilities, and residents) using a semi-structured questionnaire (see Annex 2 for the Semi structured Interview Guide and Annex 4 for the guide for interviews with residents); and
• A survey of participating water utilities (see Annex 3 for the Questionnaire) 

Recommendations:

With the information available at this stage, it seems the following are potential avenues for a follow up for the JP for UN agencies: 

1) In close coordination with Sida, EU and the WB,
• support increasing the accountability (in terms of both vertical and horizontal mechanisms) of municipalities and water utilities in cooperation with entity level sector ministries through for example, (a) framework for service delivery standards to ensure compliance across constituent jurisdictions, and (b) a performance-based system that includes publicly available benchmarks and indicators, and offers incentives to providers to improve their service delivery; and.
• provide capacity building and policy level support to the Department on Water Supply at MOFTER and the entity level governments to develop tariff setting guidance, ensuring coordination with plans related to implementation of the new draft law on Communal Service Management, once it is passed, possibly coupled with the support with the implementation of the latter in cooperation with the Association of Municipalities.       
2) Support the entity (and cantonal) level governments to develop W&S studies for municipalities, with utilization of IPA funds and municipality co-funding;
3) Mediate negotiations between various levels of the government to arrive at a decision on which level of the government should regulatory agency/agencies be established, as well as identification of the necessary steps leading do it and its scope; and
4) Potentially extend the JP model to other municipalities, but this should now concentrate on the poorest of the municipalities and promote IMC. This has to be coordinated closely with Sida/SECO assistance package. 

Lessons Learned:

Several elements of the JP are proving to be best practices transferable to other programmes or countries, e.g.:
• the establishment of consultative platforms at the municipalities equipped with prioritized Action Plans, ideally linked to municipality funding improves both the identification and support of vulnerable in the communities (including with water supply related issues) and the accountability in the operation of municipal utilities and other service providers; the concept of such platforms should ideally be enshrined in law. Such Action Plans need to be incorporated within legitimate integrated local development strategies and their sectoral plans, thus placing the identified priorities within the broader local development agenda and linking it with local government budget, as well as ensuring administrative responsibility for follow-up implementation;  
• supporting municipalities with water sector masterplans helps to unlock funding sources for those municipalities which would not have such opportunity without external assistance, as well as informs and improves local and sectoral policy making at higher government levels;
• investing in PAR groups and “Water for Life” campaigns at schools is a good investment in engaging the youth form an early age in solving community issues related to water preservation through advocacy work; and 
• combining assistance to municipalities with the support and advocacy at the higher levels of the government helps to highlight the requirement for improved service delivery based on financial sustainability of municipal water utilities.
• policy level advice needs to be tackled more forcefully, with sufficient time and resources allocated to achieve greater effectiveness and improve chances of sustainability in improving water supply in an equitable manner; and
• sufficient resources should be allocated for the purposes of carrying out large scale outreach and public awareness activities;




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Report information

Year:
2013

Country:
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Region:
CEE/CIS

Theme:
Social Policy

Type:
Evaluation

Language:
English

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