General Assembly-mandated Evaluations
The CERF secretariat has commissioned a number of formal evaluations to assess the fund’s overall performance and value added. These include the General Assembly-mandated two- and five-year evaluations of CERF, and an interim evaluation carried out after the first year of CERF’s operations in 2006.
To ensure credibility, transparency and independence, all evaluations are conducted by external evaluation experts. All evaluations include a formal management response, which addresses recommendations and identifies responsibilities for follow-up action.
In 2008, the General Assembly (GA) requested an evaluation of the CERF’s activities, with results to be presented at the GA’s 65th session. The evaluation, conducted by Channel Research, encompassed the five-year period of 2006 – 2010 and marked the third evaluation since 2005 to specifically focus on the CERF. It highlighted the CERF’s strengths and weaknesses and provided recommendations at the policy and operational levels to improve its effectiveness. More broadly, the evaluation was intended to inform debates at the United Nations GA on the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
This evaluation specifically examined five key areas:
Added Value: The performance and “added value” of the CERF grant and revolving fund in the context of the humanitarian architecture and humanitarian reform process.
Management: The strategic, managerial and operational aspects of the CERF.
Achievements: The CERF’s success in meeting its objectives to (i) promote early action and response to reduce loss of life, (ii) enhance response to time-critical requirement, and (iii) strengthen core elements of the humanitarian response in underfunded crises.
Accountability: The level and nature of accountability between CERF-recipient actors.
Influencing factors: Internal and external factors which affect the CERF’s ability to deliver on its objectives.
Management Response Plan (MRP)
In line with OCHA’s Guidelines on Management Response and Follow-Up to Evaluations, the CERF Secretariat developed OCHA’s Management Response Plan (MRP) to the five-year evaluation in consultation with a variety of stakeholders both inside and outside of the UN Secretariat, and the MRP was then approved by the Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms. Valerie Amos. Implementation of the follow-up actions contained in the MRP will be tracked by the CERF Secretariat and the MRP periodically updated before the meetings of the CERF Advisory Group.
The recent MRP was reviewed and updated in September 2013.
Country Reports for the Five-year Evaluation of CERF
The Evaluation was carried out by a team of twelve independent consultants over an eight-month period. Data was collected through 16 case studies, based on seven field missions (Afghanistan, Kenya, Niger, the occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, the Philippines and Somalia (the Somalia study was conducted from Kenya)) where the CERF had funded humanitarian programmes and a desk-based review of CERF operations in nine other countries (Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Guatemala, Lesotho, Mongolia and Nepal). Country studies were supplemented by visits to UN headquarters in Geneva, Rome and New York and to six donor agency headquarters. The data was analyzed.
As requested by the General Assembly (A/RES/60/124), the Secretary-General commissioned an independent review of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2008, at the end of the second year of operation.
The evaluation found that CERF has proven itself as a valuable and impartial tool, becoming in a short time-frame an essential feature of international humanitarian action and complementing other humanitarian financing mechanisms. It concluded that the Fund helped to accelerate response and increase coverage of needs, in addition to serving as a catalyst for improved field-level coordination, and evidence-based prioritization.
The evaluation also outlined several challenges and presented a series of thirty-seven recommendations.
Management Response Matrix (MRM)
In response to the recommendations presented in the Two-year Evaluation, a Management Response Matrix was developed with inputs from a wide-range of stakeholders. The matrix details the response and action to be taken for each recommendation, and serves as a ‘road map’ for the work that needs to be undertaken until the next review of the Fund, planned for 2011.
Interim CERF Review
OCHA commissioned an independent interim review of the grant component of the CERF.
The purpose of the review was to take stock of the CERF’s first year of operations, with the aim of contributing to strengthening the effectiveness of the mechanism and its potential impact on overall humanitarian response.
The Interim Review concluded that significant progress had been made in the implementation of CERF in its first year of operations. However, there were a number of issues which needed to be clarified, including ensuring a common understanding of the scope of the CERF, providing more effective management of the CERF, strengthening working relationships with UN agencies, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the NGO community, and finally, providing more effective and transparent information on CERF.
Management Response Matrix (MRM)
The review presented fifteen recommendations for consideration. A Management Response Matrix was developed in December 2007 and updated in February 2009.Recommendations that were accepted but partially implemented were subsumed under the management response matrix of the Two-year Evaluation.