Author: Evaluation Office, UNICEF NYHQ
This desk review aims to provide an overview of UNICEF’s strengths and weaknesses as described in key internal and external institutional reviews and evaluations conducted since 1992. Taking the findings from the eighteen documents together, the following conclusions can be drawn about UNICEF’s strengths and weaknesses:
UNICEF’s continuing strengths include:
Improvements made by UNICEF over the past decade include:
On-Going Concerns over UNICEF weaknesses include:
Self-Image. UNICEF has become far more active in, and sometimes the leader of, inter-agency processes, in which UNICEF now sees itself as a key player. Yet the image of UNICEF as an agency that ‘keeps its distance’ prevails.
Partnership. There has been a rapid diversification and expansion of partnerships with civil society. At the same time, UNICEF priorities and strategies for partnerships are limiting the scope for partnership.
Criticising Government. While UNICEF’s close strong relationships with government departments is praised, UNICEF is perceived as reluctant to tackle government partners on their policy and practice with regard to children.
Bureaucracy and Complexity. UNICEF is seen, and sees itself, as overly bureaucratic. Staff resources (i.e. time plus skill) are being wasted on overly complex internal processes and there seems to be no concerted organisational push to deal with this.
Results-based management. Programming is becoming more results-oriented but this is far from ‘managing by results’. Management by inputs is still the dominant management model.
Reporting. Business information solutions have greatly improved but still do not focus adequately on results and are not easily aligned with donor reporting requirements.
Accountability is hampered by a weak performance management regime. Managers are not yet accountable for results or being rewarded for achieving them. UNICEF is not the only UN agency affected by a more general UN malaise with regard to management responsibility for results.
Human Resources. Human Resource Management was a cause of concern, including continuing problems with timely recruitment, gaps in technical competencies, and increasing occurrence of staff “burn-out”. Weaknesses in RO support to country programme remain but are being addressed gradually.
Regular Resources. After a dip in the mid 90’s, total income has been growing since 1997. However, RR has been flat from 1997-2003 in real terms. It is now projected to grow from $1,441m for biennium 2002-3 to $1,584m for 2004-5.
, if adjusted for US inflation of 31% for 1997-2003.
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