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External Evaluation of the Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Ian Christoplos Alexandra Galperin Yasemin.

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Presentation on theme: "External Evaluation of the Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Ian Christoplos Alexandra Galperin Yasemin."— Presentation transcript:

1 External Evaluation of the Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Ian Christoplos Alexandra Galperin Yasemin Aysan

2 Purpose of the evaluation To assess the effectiveness of the ISDR Secretariat in meeting its functions and responsibilities in line with its initial mandates, how these have evolved and present recommendations for the future role of the ISDR in light of the studys findings, other pertinent proposals, and the Hyogo Framework for Action

3 Purpose of the evaluation Assess the outcomes of the Secretariats work in raising political will and public commitment –Effectiveness –Stakeholder relations –Added value and relevance A key issue became that of Secretariat prioritisation amid grand expectations

4 Purpose of the evaluation Requests were raised during the evaluation for precise recommendations for the future, especially regarding governance Confusion and strong distrust appeared in some discussions due to the various other UN DRR-related reviews recently performed or underway

5 Methodology Emphasise view from the partners and network members Avoid undue focus on the usual suspects 152 Semi structured interviews 49 Questionnaire responses Review of documents and website Qualitative methods to capture outcomes and the breadth of different types of stakeholders

6 Findings: The scale of the challenge facing the Secretariat and the Strategy Strong stakeholder support for a Secretariat that is an honest broker within the UN system and that works to promote inter-agency collaboration/focus on DRR Secretariat effective in maintaining and building on the momentum of the IDNDR with some impact on key decision-makers Conflation between the Secretariats role and that of the DRR community in implementing the ISDR has blurred the Secretariats profile and has raised unrealistic expectations

7 Findings: The scale of the challenge facing the Secretariat and the Strategy Difficulties exist in communicating with mainstream development and humanitarian actors –Despite exhaustive efforts, weakness in influencing policy-formation processes in mainstream development forums –Links with humanitarian policy forums largely undeveloped

8 Findings: The scale of the challenge facing the Secretariat and the Strategy Difficulties in maintaining strategic plans Widespread concerns (within and outside Secretariat) about gap-filling, donor-driven programming and its impact on focus Differing interpretations of the cause of this problem

9 Findings: Policy and advocacy Very energetic efforts, but need to reconsider what constitutes a compelling argument vis-à-vis development/humanitarian target groups Need to find a more effective balance among 3 areas: technical knowledge of DRR, policy analysis and communication efforts Some lack of clarity in advocacy roles between Secretariat and national DRR advocates Weak engagement in IFI led policy forums limits impact

10 Findings: Information and communication Living with Risk and ISDR Informs very much appreciated and used Broad range of views on the impact, relevance and added value of other publication efforts –Unclear link to communication strategies, target group analysis and Secretariat niche/added value Communications strengthened for WCDR, but still not given appropriate level of attention to achieve mandated outcomes

11 Findings: Information and communication Unclear definitions of clearinghouse Unclear ambition levels for information efforts Speculation on target groups Website much improved, but significant weaknesses still exist

12 Findings: Institutional relevance Strong support for regional offices among targeted countries Field-level contacts needed as a reality check and to build stakeholder confidence Tendencies toward raising unrealistic hopes/expectations for aid funding Blurring of operational versus honest broker roles

13 Findings: Institutional relevance National Platforms Generally highly appreciated and potential for further development Justified flexibility in NP modalities Unclear ambition level for Geneva support Some concerns raised about inter-UN role confusion, but not a problem where regional offices have intervened

14 Findings: Management, finance and governance The Secretariats multiple accountabilities create uncertainties about whose secretariat it is intended to be There are significant concerns (especially among several donors) regarding governance and management Concerns also expressed regarding recruitment

15 Findings: Management, finance and governance Greater clarity in both management and governance are a prerequisite to continued support for the Secretariat Lack of multi-year donor commitments and support from the UN regular budget are part of this problem Improved management means reform in recruitment, planning and budgeting

16 Conclusions The UN needs an independent honest broker in DRR to demonstrate that DRR advocates in member states are not alone Clearer focus can ensure realistic planning and avoid inappropriately raised ambitions Stronger efforts are needed to ensure programmatic and financial continuity

17 Recommendation: A secretariat for DRR is needed, but with revised structure and focus The Secretariat should not grow, but shift some resources to the regional offices Fundraising strategies should emphasise stability –The Secretariats continuation should be contingent on the availability of at least four multiyear funding commitments of at least USD 500,000 The USG should propose that at least two Secretariat positions be funded from the UN regular budget The USG should present significantly reformed governance structures for the Secretariat

18 Recommendation: The Secretariat should clearly define a realistic range of strategic tasks and priorities The Secretariats leadership should take a consistent stance on priorities, even if this requires saying no to pet projects The ISDR Support Group and the USG should work actively with the Secretariat to develop an appropriate three year strategic plan and step in to defend the Secretariat if pressures should arise to deviate from this plan The Secretariat should take forceful steps to present a narrower, more comprehensible image

19 Recommendation: Clearly define a realistic range of strategic tasks and priorities Specifically Focus on one or two annual forward-looking strategic themes/messages of pressing significance for DRR Give priority to presentations with an innovative and evidence-based message, using well-known and respected professionals from member states, other organisations and respected DRR advocates Limit publications to periodically updated editions of Living with Risk and regionally produced ISDR Informs Mandated clearinghouse functions should be redefined as being limited to providing access to UN DRR materials with links to other sites with more extensive DRR collections, and structured support to networking

20 Recommendation: Prioritise policy analysis & communication/ information support The regional offices and policy cluster in Geneva should link relevant expertise to those who need it through a more structured and focused networking approach The Secretariat should learn from partners in choosing appropriate indicators for implementation of the HFA Advocacy should be supported by the Secretariat, but should be led by DRR advocates at national and regional levels and within higher levels of the UN itself

21 Recommendation: Prioritise policy analysis & communication/ information support Efforts to influence mainstream development policy processes should be reviewed to identify compelling, appropriate and realistic entry points (MoF, IFI) The Secretariat should strictly limit its operational activities and be cautious about raising national stakeholders expectations for receiving assistance National platforms and other informal partnerships should be strongly supported, but within a pragmatic assessment of what can be achieved A consensus must be found with other UN agencies on a coherent and joined-up perspective on the concept of platforms and partnership at national levels

22 Recommendation: Restructuring focused on policy analysis and communication/ information Three clusters: administration/finance, policy analysis and information/communication, plus the Directors office The administration/finance cluster should ensure that plans and budgets are clearly formulated and accurately reflect financial commitments, and that transparent merit- based recruitment procedures are applied The policy cluster should find an optimum balance between working within the UN system (coordinating and promoting a coherent UN approach to DRR), and beyond the UN system (linking the UN DRR agenda to the broader efforts to achieve the goals of the ISDR)

23 Recommendation: Restructuring focused on policy analysis and communication/ information The information/communication cluster should create a forceful communications strategy that will impact on wider political will for DRR This requires rethinking how it should provide information services to ensure viable, quality services that provide unique added value Stringent guidelines should be developed for the regional offices that reflect defined added value and assurances that the Secretariat does not take on the tasks of member states

24 Recommendation: Reform of governance and review of higher management roles It should be recognised that the IATF/DR is not currently a governance structure for the Secretariat A strong steering/advisory committee should be established consisting of three major donors, UNDP, OCHA and revolving representation from all regions, two other ITAF/DR members and one IFI The USG should represent the ISDR as a Strategy within the UN leadership and the ECOSOC, with the ASGs support in these tasks, in restructuring efforts and for management vis-à-vis the Secretariat

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