Providing tailored support and documenting progress
How the AAP’s Programme Analysis and Implementation Unit helps countries along the road to success
By Simon Hagemann, International Reporting Officer, AAP’s Programme Analysis and Implementation Unit
Pictured: The progress and achievements of the AAP have been catalogued by the Programme Analysis and Implementation Unit through Quarterly and Annual Reports.
An urgent request comes in to the AAP’s Helpdesk from one of the 20 countries participating in the Programme. They’re looking for assistance in recruiting a management expert, someone who can help their national meteorological service promote greater awareness of climate change. Within two working days, the PAI Unit (short form for AAP’s Programme and Analysis Implementation Unit) selects an expert who puts together a package of information and learning materials and spends a week on-site working with the met service. The PAI goes on to support a stakeholder workshop and the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework covering all of the country’s thematic areas.
‘This is a fairly typical scenario,’ says Marco Corsi, head of the PAI. ‘The point is to respond quickly to help countries put in place optimal programme management support, and I think you can see the difference in the results.’
Thematic focus in line with AAP’s strategic priorities
From its Regional Office base in Dakar, the AAP’s Programme Analysis and Implementation Unit has helped countries overcome a wide range of challenges through its online Helpdesk and tailored in-country support, ensuring that AAP country teams, UNDP Country Offices and government counterparts can access both remote and in-country technical support in all five of the AAP’s core programmatic areas: data and information management services; capacity development; climate-resilient policy implementation; knowledge management;innovative financing options; as well asplanning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation systems, reporting and other programme-management related matters.
AAP Helpdesk: fast and comprehensive remote support
The AAP Helpdesk was launched at the AAP Peer Review Meeting in November 2010 and has since provided a unique service for countries seeking assistance or information.
Anchor Consultants: Direct in-country support
A number of highly-skilled experts have been carrying out direct in-country support to guide countries through challenges in their implementation.
Following the no-cost extension provided by the Government of Japan at the beginning of 2011, the PAI recruited a team of seven Anchor Consultants. Their initial priority was to address the specific needs of countries adjusting their implementation strategy in response to the no-cost extension. This entailed focusing on programme management related issues including the revision and update of annual work plans, results frameworks and monitoring and evaluation frameworks. By mid-2011 they had visited 80% of the AAP countries. Ongoing support from the Anchor Consultants has helped countries maintain focus on their strategic issues, make better use of regional initiatives and report comprehensively to the regional component on a quarterly basis.
In order to strengthen the effectiveness of the programmatic support and reporting aspects of the Anchor Consultants’ country visits, the PAI organised a coordination meeting midway through 2011. At this event the Unit ascertained priorities in the countries’ needs, refined reporting tools and formalised how the consultants’ expertise could best be used to refine regional services. The Anchor Consultants provided great insight and expert advice at the meeting on how best to achieve high-quality outcomes and disbursement in the time remaining.
Support for reporting and programme management
The PAI has also catalogued regional and national success rates in the AAP’s Quarterly and Annual Reports, which keep internal stakeholders and the wider public informed of the overall progress of the AAP.
Directly and remotely the unit has been helping AAP countries record their progress. In the process the Unit has monitored and assessed its regional support processes. Each quarter this data was consolidated into a Quarterly Progress Report for the overall programme. These Reports document how national projects and the regional components together have fulfilled the ambitions of the AAP.
‘Sharing this in-depthknowledge of AAP successes, lessons learned and needs has certainly informed programmatic innovation across the AAP,’ says Marco Corsi, ‘and I think it has really inspired it in a way that has enhanced programme delivery across the AAP.’
The PAI’s assessment of countries’ achievements and needs has provided the Regional Team with a great source of information with which to refine its services, such as leadership and knowledge management workshops. On popular request, the PAI provided extended procurement and installation support and training, ensuring that all countries have access to the best available climate and data information technology.
To offer more direct support and enhance the performance of AAP countries, the PAI introduced the Task Manager Strategy in the beginning of 2012. This initiative strengthened the link between the Regional Team and the national teams by assigning a Regional Team Senior Expert to each country to ensure any remaining capacity shortfalls could be addressed directly. The Task Managers have regularly visited their assigned AAP countries and liaised with national teams around once a week to create an engaged and effective environment in which key outcomes and financial delivery could be promptly achieved. In conjunction with the work of the Anchor Consultants and other in-country technical consultants, as well as with the support of UNDP’s Regional Bureaus for Africa and Arab States’ Country Advisors, the Task Manager Strategy has expedited the increased delivery witnessed in many AAP countries, illustrated by a near doubling of country expenditures between January and August 2012 from 43% to 84%.
Building on this bold success within the AAP, the PAI has recently been providing major inputs to concepts for post-2012 African climate change adaptation programmes to ensure that the countries the Unit has been working with continue their progress towards designing and implementing long-term and fully integrated adaptation strategies. As experience has been gained and lessons learned during the implementation of the AAP, the PAI has ensured these have been captured and sustained. The Unit’s staff are proud that the legacy of the AAP’s work and its recommendations will be available to UNDP and other organisations as a basis for the design of future development programmes that seek to respond to the threat of climate change.