Group info
More info
Debate

Recommendations in the Joint Programming Evaluation Report 2017 - what is in it for me?

The Evaluation Report on Joint Programming has been published and its message is that Joint Programming is valuable, it should be continued, but it can be improved.

https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/evaluation-eu-joint-programming-process-d...

It also includes eight recommendations that apply to both the EU and the Member States, HQs and Embassies/Delegations/field offices alike.

We would like to use this revamped platform of capacity4dev to open a debate/discussion on "what is in it for me" - what you make of the recommendations and how we can use them to improve the European development cooperation.

In short, the recommendations can be grouped in categories: 1. Improve and update the Intervention Logic; 2. Keep Joint Programming strategic, flexible and pragmatic; 3. Clarify and reinforce the role of all stakeholders.

 

Please also invite colleagues and partners in your partner country to join the Joint Programming group in capacity4dev (if not registered yet) and give us their take on the recommendations and how to improve our "European family".

Comments

Keep JP strategic, flexible and pragmatic.

R4. Use JP process to improve EU collaboration as a group on the ground, identifying the key capacities and interests of the EU and MS for JP to see how they can complement and provide mutual benefits. Use the JP process to build a more joint vision/ response to country challenges both internally and in its dealings with the partner country and external actors. EU and MS should deliver as much as possible joint messages and speak with one voice and further the pragmatic ways for joint implementation. EU should better inform MS of what it plans to do. Within this process, participation by all MS should be facilitated, allowing them to fill various roles and responsibilities.

COMMENT: Although the aid landscape in Myanmar is somewhat fragmented, JP has brought about some degree of synchronisation regarding the roles and responsibilities, as indicated in the Country Note. However, the Evaluation of the European Union's Joint Programming Process of Development Cooperation suggests otherwise, giving a more negative perspective than the reality (page 24). The general report should be in line with the country report, where a more realistic perspective was given.

The reformulated wording for the intervention logic is not very result orientated and does not seem to live up to the ambitions of joint programming : focusing on  better/improved development impact with EU joint programming would strengthen the intervention logic to also look at the results of 'coming together'.

 

In terms of outputs, the comprehensive and coherent approach of the EU could perhaps make more explicit reference to aid effectiveness principles that would be part of this approach – this is referenced in the improved intervention logic as contribution over time but might benefit from a direct linkage with the additional output . 'Comprehensive and coherent EU approach that puts into practice aid effectiveness commitments…'

 

Regarding the scope of joint programming, I agree that there is value in JP taking on board a wider range of funding and strategic issues, however trying to be all encompassing from the beginning while might be ideal could make the process even more challenging… based on country experience (Cambodia) would recommend an approach that is flexible to start with and builds on what EU / MS do and allows the scope of JP to develop as the 'group' becomes more comfortable with working under a JP and sees the benefits of broadening the scope.

 

Cambodia country experience fully supports strategic joint results monitoring mechanisms as a way to bring greater analysis to the discussions (in terms of choice of indicators) as well as ensuring regular feedback to the dynamic of the group on changes in context, needs to refocus messages and emerging issues etc.

 

Joint programming commitments also need to be factored into EU MTR processes to avoid 'disruption' in the country led JP process. Ways to ensure institutional memory in country offices also need to be thought about in more practical sense. In Cambodia we are working on a joint 'handover note' for incoming colleagues on JP.

 

Related to clarifying roles, it is important to also recognise the tensions that can come from the longer term development perspective and the shorter term and more reactive political perspective and how these are managed through JP. What has worked at country level is to maintain JP on HoMS agenda as well as joint HoMs and Development Counsellors meetings at critical stages in the process. In Cambodia we have embarked on a JP dialogue with the country partners after each JP progress report which is led by the HoMs.

 

In terms of conslting stakeholders, consultation in Cambodia JP processes was also undertaken with civil society and the private sector in separate exercises before the dialogue with Government and then followed by an exchange with the Parliament. While a heavy process for all this provided several useful platforms for increasing the EU voice as one and bringing certain policy messages to partners.

 

I would also suggest that DEVCO regional seminars look to provide sharing of JP in the region so that regional colleagues are aware of experience they can draw on from other Delegations.

R1. The Commission and EEAS should review the intervention logic of Joint Programming to update its strategy, in consultation with EUD and MS HQ and field staff (as to reflect a shared vision). The desired impact “increased EU aid effectiveness” in the initial intervention logic should be reformulated as “better EU contribution to development” and the two primary expected outcomes from JP should be “better coordinated and more strategic EU-MS aid” and “joint EU-MS positions and messages”. An additional output could be added: “comprehensive and coherent EU approach”. EU and MS should also clarify how they expect JP to contribute to aid effectiveness principles over time and who are the main target beneficiaries of JP at different levels. This update should be reflected in texts and guidance.

Comments:

Agree that the strategy need to be updated and with words "The desired impact “increased EU aid effectiveness” in the initial intervention logic should be reformulated as “better EU contribution to development” and the two primary expected outcomes from JP should be “better coordinated and more strategic EU-MS aid” and “joint EU-MS positions and messages”. "

Disagree with " EU and MS should also clarify how they expect JP to contribute to aid effectiveness principles over time and who are the main target beneficiaries of JP at different levels. ": this would needlessly complicate the exercise, requiring a major time investment which is not available in the field, and the benefits of this are far from clear. It looks more like rather philosophical consideration from the evaluators.

R2. The EU and MS should define more precisely the overall scope or perimeter of JP and how this translates into its guidance, as well as the specific scope and focus of JP in a given country. JP should take into account broader funding and strategic issues. At country level it should focus on what EU and MS do best/is most needed/is not well covered by others.

Comments:

Agree: JP differs in Rwanda very much from the textbook, as the government leads the process. 

R3. JP process and products should be enhanced allowing more flexibility and ease adjustments over time, ensuring frequent exchanges at strategic level, defining the specific focus of JP at the start of each country process and fostering JP uptake (using existing platforms to provoke dialogue/foster common responses, considering the use of joint result monitoring).

Comments:

Agree: see also answer under R2

R4. Use JP process to improve EU collaboration as a group on the ground, identifying the key capacities and interests of the EU and MS for JP to see how they can complement and provide mutual benefits. Use the JP process to build a more joint vision/ response to country challenges both internally and in its dealings with the partner country and external actors. EU and MS should deliver as much as possible joint messages and speak with one voice and further the pragmatic ways for joint implementation. EU should better inform MS of what it plans to do. Within this process, participation by all MS should be facilitated, allowing them to fill various roles and responsibilities.

Comments:

Agree: this is already the case in Rwanda.

Disagree with the words " EU should better inform MS of what it plans to do ": JP requires information to flow both ways, not just from EU to MS. This looks like an out-of-date view from the evaluators.

R5. JP supporting services (guidance pack, experience-sharing, technical assistance) should be continued and consolidated, adding clarifications when needed and/or further disseminating them to EU and MS staff in the field and HQ. Ensure institutional memory with regard to JP exercises, in country offices and at HQ.

Comments:

Partially agree, as long as the process does not become top-heavy from the HQ side.

R6. Clarify roles and ensure both political and cooperation actors are engaged throughout the process. Ensure the political dimension is explicitly part of JP, along with the aid / development dimension. Continuously engage the two parties. Define respective roles. EEAS HQ should engage with MS HQ and EUD with MS Ambassadors.

Comments:

Agree… but: JP tends to be rather technical and the political side can easily loose interest because of this. Hence "continuously engage" could be wishful thinking and might need some refining in the engagement process.

 

 

R7. Deepen the dialogue with national stakeholders. Consider each milestone in the JP process as an opportunity for strategic dialogue with national stakeholders (line and technical ministries; Parliament; civil society; the private sector; diaspora when applicable…). When there is already a well-established forum for strategic dialogue, consider how JP can bring value to it. In parallel, continue emphasising good practices in aid transparency and aid predictability.

Comments:

Agree: this is already the case in Rwanda. However, the desire from the government to engage in a strategic dialogue is not the same across the country local actors.

R8. The incentives for investing in JP should be improved. MS Embassies/field offices to discuss the benefits of JP with the top leadership at HQ and with Ambassadors upstream. This could enable some MS to play an active role in leading parts of JP. MS to clarify who is the go-to person/unit at HQ for support, and to clarify their role. EU and MS to recognise and reward staff efforts on JP, e.g. by reflecting them in job descriptions. EU and MS to examine to what extent JP documents may replace or integrate bilateral programming documents.

Comments:

Disagree: what is described are not "incentives". An attempt to "incentivise" JP comes in the first part of the sentence " EU and MS to recognise and reward staff efforts on JP, e.g. by reflecting them in job descriptions ", but falls flat in the words after "e.g." as "reflecting in job descriptions" can hardly be considered as a reward.

Register or log in to comment

Debate posted by

Christos Marazopoulos
|
15 May 2017

Do more through capacity4dev