Thursday, March 13, 2008

Partnership with UNDP in Africa has been a total disaster !!! - ....says Prez of Africa Dev Bank

African Development Bank (AfDB) has just finalized a yearly evaluation report of their joint-activities in Africa with the United Nations Development Programme for 2007. In the documentation obtained from UNDP Watch, is explicitly shown the discomfort of the AfDB in partnering with UNDP in many countries as well as specific thematic areas and their frustration about the UNDP's lack of "transparency" and "accountability" and "responsiveness" to African needs.

Reportedly, these latest findings have shaken the foundations of UNDP's African Bureau, which is headed from one of the most controversial figure UNDP has ever had, the former UNDP Comptroller and former Chief of Staff of Mark Malloch Brown - Mr. Gilbert Houngbo. Eventhoug the report in itself is not a real surprise, after the latest discovery from UNDP Watch on the major corruption and diversion of funds in Burundi, where DFID and Belgium Cooperation funds were stolen and diverted to private accounts of UNDP officials.

This latest report from AfDB - only reiterate what G77 and other individual member states have been raising with Ban Ki-moon and UN General Assembly in the past year: - "that UNDP lacks of substantial leadership, internal control mechanisms, transparency and accountability".

Some of the projects mentioned in the report, includes ECOWAS-PADEP project, "UNDP has not delivered on its obligations". To a project on statistics of poverty, to build capacity, "UNDP did not contribute materially to the program, nothing concrete materialized." A Tsetse Fly Eradication Program, "UNDP decided not to join." Meanwhile in the report there are plenty of project enlisted under the "not implemented", like for example is rendered on HIV / AIDS projects in South Africa, a Lake Tanganyika bio-diversity project, and a project for "UNDP to provide the Bank with a roster of credible NGOs," among others.

AfDB president Kaberuka stated, among many others, that UNDP has failed to execute a project in Sierra Leone and it "had been a disaster." He also pointed out that UNDP had said it would be involved in, but reneged on, private sector profiles in Egypt, Mali, South Africa, Mozambique and Algeria.

When asked by the press, President Kaberuka said bluntly that "UNDP performance has fallen short of every expectation". Sources close to the President also indicate that Office of Audit and Performance Review (OAPR) at UNDP - had incurred an internal audit review of all the above complains of AfDB, but that since UNDP leadership have failed to deliver on their promise to share the Audit Report and any findings or conclusion from it.

Continue to watch this site, while we bring you the latest from internal UNDP corruption....

1 comment:

Leon Kukkuk said...

This state of affairs is not new. Negative reports on UNDP’s performance go back at least a decade and a half. It is only now becoming public knowledge.

Only a very few mainstream media outlets ever bother with extensive coverage of United Nations operations and performance. An almost exhaustive list includes the International Herald Tribune, The Economist, The New York Times and the Financial Times (UK), as well as the more controversial Fox News Network. Even they report on the UN only sporadically.

If it was not for people such as Russell Lee, almost nothing would be known about the United Nations, as was largely the case before Innercitypress came along.

Reporting on UNDP must also compete against the extensive and well financed UNDP spin machine. Every single UNDP report will make one or more of the following claims:

A trusted partner in development
a leader in development thinking
connecting countries to knowledge and ideas
an important affirmation of the confidence partners have in UNDP’s role and performance
more nimble and adaptable, UNDP will be prepared for the challenges ahead
Operating as an Effective and Accountable Development Partner.
stronger, more focused and better connected
seeks and achieves results, and that underscores accountability in all that we do
looks for new and creative opportunities to help people build better lives, through partnerships and the exchange of knowledge
ensuring that our resources flow steadily behind our mission to reduce poverty.

Amongst the many independent evaluation reports that I have in my possession I will here repeat only briefly sections of those that I had already reported on. (The rest will become public as soon as I can confidently attach names to the failures.):

While these programmes were well conceived, relevant and important, they all suffered major problems for a number of reasons, and lasting results are very few.
Poor design of the actual projects, without adequate consultations with and ownership by the government institutions involved
Weak programme management by UNDP and inadequate accountability by its institutional partners, especially UNOPS
Inadequate transfer of technical and management expertise by external consultants to local staff
Inability by UNDP to quickly modify programmes to reflect the changing political and security environment.
the absence of an effective monitoring and evaluation system.
most programmes and projects suffered serious problems during implementation, some had to be terminated, and there are very few sustainable results
It seems equally evident that UNDP did not thoroughly scrutinize the proposed programmes and projects, before accepting funding.
The relationship between UNDP and government partners was not good at the central level during 1997-98.
Both NGO’s and private sector partners indicated that their experience with UNDP in the execution of projects to have been negative.
Experience in project execution through UNOPS has also appeared to be costly, bureaucratic and slow.
Partners have questioned the quality of technical assistance particularly that recruited through UNOPS.
Bureaucratic procedures have been employed by both UNDP and National partners to protect themselves and to provide excuses for inaction.
the impact on communities targeted by programming in this sector has by and large been negative.
High expectations have not been met, promised funding to community projects has been slow to deliver at best, and often not arrived.
the Country Office did not adequately support the implementation of these projects in a timely and efficient fashion but was rather seen as slow, bureaucratic and without transparency.
UNDP must also ensure that the inputs, especially the international advisors and consultants that are funded, are relevant, efficient, effective and client oriented.
strongly believes that UNDP should not handle any more cost sharing, Trust Funds and other funds on behalf of other partners, before it has drastically improved its own performance and efficiency.
the shortage of resources that were made available for the project at this central level, complicated implementation efforts on the ground.
Strategic management was also weak.
its weak coordination with other agencies, little ground was prepared for a scale-up and a transfer of results in a subsequent phase
project was hence a success – but a success that materialised in spite of an unsuitable organisational framework, weak strategic management, insufficient coordination
It was in other words a “success by default”; one that came about despite choices made within the project that were not the most amenable to goal attainment.