Silo Fighters Blog

From radio to theatre, bringing the voices of youth to centre stage in Lebanon

BY Alex Shoebridge, Kristine Najjar | December 13, 2017

When we last blogged in this space in May 2016, we wrote about our plans to support the roll out of the 2030 Agenda in Lebanon. We knew that engaging the public – especially youth – would be critical. As part of our approach, we didn’t want to come in with any pre-developed solutions, but rather let young people provide the answers, even pose the questions. We wanted to enable youth-generated evidence that could be shared with policy makers and linked to national efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda. In 2016, the government wasn’t ready yet to engage on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Supporting a conversation with the public was our best and, at the time, the only option. It held the promise of generating better and less-filtered information, and creating new public spaces for citizen-to-citizen interaction to achieve the SDGs. Radio and theatre as a way to learn from young people in Lebanon Together with UNESCO and the radio station, Voix du Liban, we launched “Chabab Wa Tanmia,” a radio show produced and hosted by six young journalists that focused on bringing a youth focus to bear on the SDGs. Each week the show would cover a different SDG-related area . Young people called in from across the country to share their priorities and concerns. Subjects ranged from how to address smoking among youth (a widespread issue in Lebanon), to how to strengthen community services and support mechanisms for the elderly, and how everyday actions can help protect children’s rights.   On top of the radio show, to better understand the development perspectives of those furthest behind – such as unemployed youth or women-headed households – we collaborated with the American University in Beirut (AUB) to produce two case studies reflecting a broad set of consultations with Lebanese and Syrian refugees and other vulnerable groups. Employing playback theater – a type of improvisational and interactive theater in which people tell stories about their lives and watch them being enacted on the spot – helped people narrate the issues, such as corruption in hiring, and gender discrimination in all aspects of daily life. Theatre methods created an opportunity for youth to share their experiences and find common ground. It also meant that we, as the UN and partners, could learn from young people. One major takeaway for the theater programming centred on the need to focus on lifelong learning opportunities for families to support the development of youth. And now… a platform for government engagement These initiatives have been important for enhancing citizen-to-citizen interaction, and providing public spaces for people to express themselves. They have also been key to understanding some of the issues we should focus in the future. Having listened to more than 500 people in our engagement efforts, which includes those who participated in the radio shows, on social media, and via the national consultations spearheaded by AUB, we will be putting an increased focus on corruption, gender discrimination and child rights. Nonetheless, without government leadership we won’t have a platform to amplify what we have been hearing. Recently, the Government committed itself to working on the SDGs by establishing an inter-ministerial committee, which will be a key entry point for UN engagement in supporting the roll-out of the SDG agenda. The committee provides a forum to bring all ongoing SDG initiatives under one umbrella, which is a real opportunity to connect what we heard from people to political decision-makers. Together with the government, civil society and the private sector, we aim for our work to feed into a national multi-stakeholder consultation process that reflects the priorities and perspectives of those left farthest behind. People informing priorities As a result of our consultation process with youth, corruption, gender discrimination and child rights will be highlighted in our deliberations with the government and will inform our work planning for 2018. Things may shift in Lebanon’s current political environment. But the country has weathered many a political storm – and it is not easily shipwrecked. We are hopeful that the work that has been done will lead to tangible results for the people of the country, and leave no one behind.   Do you have experience utilizing key findings from youth engagement activities and elevating them to the national level? What have you learned?

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Silo Fighters Blog

Involving the UN in Sudan in the data revolution

BY Astrid Marschatz, Mohamed Mutasim | July 5, 2016

There’s no way back from data! Organizing information, understanding trends and making strategic decisions based on data is becoming an inexorable necessity. Many initiatives have highlighted the importance of using data to conceptualize and implement more effective development strategies: the Independent Expert Advisory Group’s report A World that Counts: Mobilizing the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Solution Network’s report Data for Development are just two examples showing that there is no way back from data in our field of work. So we wanted to test out how the UN in Sudan can use technology to get insights from data. We started looking into the different options available and we are currently working to harness tools like data visualization technology, mapping tools, mobile data collection systems, and more. What are our data needs in Sudan? Monitoring progress on the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) in Sudan has been a challenge due in part to weak and fragmented data collection and analysis mechanisms. As a result, the UN Country Team in Sudan has struggled to measure and communicate to partners its collective contribution to the development of the country. Once we defined this as our core problem, we went back to the drawing board and decided to create a web-based common system to collate, manage, analyze and visualize UNDAF indicator data using a variety of technology tools. In that spirit, motivated by similar tools such as U-report and M-vam, the UN Country Team in Sudan worked with Community Systems Foundation to develop the UNDAF Indicator Reporting System (IREPS) to help monitor and report on UN development interventions in the country. So what exactly is IREPS and what are its features? IREPS is developed as a user-friendly, web-based common platform to facilitate monitoring and reporting on the UNDAF. UN staff are able to quickly and securely enter, track and analyze UNDAF performance from anywhere using online tools. We linked IREPS to SudanInfo (a database containing a wealth of data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys for Sudan), so that we can connect UNDAF data to socio-economic indicators and enhance their analysis. IREPS is also supported by a bounded-crowd SMS-based data collection mechanism. At a glance, IREPS has three parts: 1)     Indicator reporting to help users track progress towards UNDAF targets. Data entered by multiple users will get updated in real time. The system is designed to allow the entry, display and download of narrative reports, too. 2)   Survey creation and data collection through mobile phone SMS plug-in: The SMS feature allows the creation and dissemination of survey questions to community users and the remote collection of real-time data through mobile phones. 3)  Performance dashboard which enables users to view various charts automatically, including who-does-what-where maps, and thematic maps and graphs showing data for UNDAF outcome and output indicators, as well as indicators in SudanInfo and data collected via SMS. The dashboard also presents traffic light summaries for the UNDAF outcomes and outputs. With these functions IREPS is using technology to harness data to support our work and help us be more results-oriented, transparent, accountable, as well as to increase our coherence in monitoring and reporting. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence - Carl Sagan Our innovation in Sudan is an attempt to pave the way to help the UN system be a part of the data revolution. We launched IREPS, with flying colors, in May, and it was appreciated positively. So much so that a number of UN agencies in Sudan started using it for their own monitoring purposes! As it is based on open source software, we are happy to share it to help other UN Country teams  monitor and report on the UNDAF. Our aim through the IREPS SMS plug-in is to gather perceptions and opinions from individuals across Sudan, including remote areas, to provide contextual information for an improved understanding of UNDAF data from administrative and survey data. We can also use it to understand how national and local partnerships are going. For instance, to gauge the effectiveness of UN capacity building activities (e.g. training workshops on new irrigation techniques in various states) we can use the SMS tool to collect feedback on how our partners are applying what they learn. In addition, we can use the SMS feature to outreach to communities and raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030. We would like to invite you to join our efforts, sharing ideas and experiences on how we can advance IREPS to shape the way we think about transforming data into better decisions-making to bring about a positive impact for development.

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What if we don’t have all the development answers…or even the questions?

BY Kristine Hauge Bjergstrøm | May 12, 2016

Lebanon has weathered many a storm, and is not easily shipwrecked. But five years and counting into the Syria Crisis, the country’s developmental trajectory and prospects are cause for serious alarm. Regional turmoil and insecurity have scared off investors, halted trade and reversed economic growth, and the presence of over 1 million Syrian refugees continue to place a tremendous burden on the country’s services and infrastructure. Many current challenges, of which Lebanon has no shortage, have been compounded by the crisis, leading to significant development losses, including deepened poverty and marginalization. At the same time, Lebanon is experiencing an almost complete paralysis of political decision-making, drifting without a president or a clear vision for the country’s future. For the UN system in Lebanon, 2016 presents a unique opportunity to support the development of such a vision. Not only is the UN developing a new strategy for cooperation (an UNDAF/ISF), but also 2016 is the year we launch the Sustainable Development Goals. Both of these initiatives open windows for a renewed, inclusive and ambitious conversation with – and among – different parts of Lebanese society on what a national development agenda could meaningfully look like. They also provide an opportunity to see how the SDGs can be used to contribute to the security, stability and growth of the country in the medium term, while laying the foundation for sustainable development over the long term. When development experts don’t come with pre-developed answers A prominently visible role for the UN influences the conversation.The UN has agenda-setting power. This realization has informed our design. We at the UN in Lebanon will try to take a back seat as much as possible by seeking strategic partnerships with local academic institutions to spearhead the debate and engage students from a wide range of subjects to drive the conversation. We will kick off the conversation, but we want to learn not to ask the questions or provide the answers. This is important for the design of our approach. Our thinking is that when we ask the students to research the development priorities and perspectives of the most marginalized communities, these activities not only generate better and less filtered information, but also lead to improved citizen-to-citizen interaction across very diverse parts of society. When we ask students to help us develop a modality for staying in touch with these communities for their continued feedback and to keep us accountable, our working hypothesis is that students are better placed to assess what is likely to motivate people to remain part of the conversation. In extending the conversation to a wider audience through film and radio, the students are insiders rather than outsiders, and much better placed to prompt debate on how the SDGs resonate in Lebanon. Bringing together the information gleaned from these activities, the students will provide a locally grounded, multi-disciplinary analysis of the key challenges and priorities for change, and what this means for development in Lebanon in the medium term. We think that this kind of knowledge is the key to tackling the twin challenge of connecting the SDGs to people’s local priorities and of creating an accountable United Nations Strategic Framework for Lebanon 2017-2020. In both cases, the aim is to promote a much more inclusive process. Turning a conversation into a response Once we hear from people, the challenge will be to turn this knowledge into genuine responsiveness on the part of the UN as we prioritize, design and implement programmes within the broad strategic framework. The UN in Lebanon will be challenged to take a step back and consider how its programme responds to the priorities that are emerging from the conversation within Lebanese society. In addition, we will be challenged along with the university partners to come up with concrete suggestions for how to adapt what the UN does in partnership with national counterparts to accommodate these insights. The challenge will be to connect the SDGs to people’s local priorities and support the setting of national targets. Here again, the UN will take a back seat and ask our university partners to relay their analysis directly to national decision makers, the private sector and civil society. These are just ideas – but ideas that we hope will have the potential to change the way we do business. At the very least, we can expect to come out of this with better knowledge of what society aspires to achieve during this time of crisis. It will be up to us to make the people’s voices count. We know we are not the first to try this kind of approach, and we imagine that there’s much to learn from others. Do you have any advice as we take this work forward?

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Silo Fighters Blog

Restructuring aid for Syria and its neighbours

BY Jason Pronyk | December 7, 2015

The recent surge of hundreds of thousands of refugees travelling from Syria and elsewhere into Europe has prompted new debate about the international aid response to the crisis caused by the Syrian conflict. Should European and other countries do more to help refugees leaving Syria and its neighbours? Should they do more to help in Syria and its neighbours? Can more be done to bring about an end to the war? Amidst the debate, in September the EU pledged an extra US$1.1 billion in aid and the United States pledged an extra US$419m. These pledges come on top of the large sums these donors had already pledged and disbursed this year. They have been welcomed by aid organizations and the countries at the front of dealing with the consequences of the Syrian conflict. Nonetheless, the gaps are still large between the funding that aid organizations and their national partners have appealed for, and the funding that has been pledged or disbursed. The governments of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are still seeking more assistance with the costs of hosting between them more than four million refugees. And all the while Syrians continue to be displaced within Syria itself, and refugees continue to travel out of the region. Underfunding – and obstacles Underfunding in aid has consequences, direct and indirect. The World Food Programme has had to cut food aid for refugees. Local authorities have struggled to provide water and sanitation. National budgets have been unable to finance all the schools, teachers, health centres and healthworkers that are needed. And initiatives to generate jobs and livelihoods have gone underfunded – leaving people struggling to make a living. The task of helping those in need has also been hampered by the structures and systems of international aid. The greatest obstacle is the way aid is structured according to whether it is labelled humanitarian or development. Aid is then further compartmentalized, according to goals under each of these headings. In general, if money is labelled humanitarian it goes to short-term goals. If it is labelled development, it goes to longer-term goals. A further obstacle is the classification of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey as middle income countries. This precludes them from receiving the types of grant aid from multilateral financial institutions that poorer countries receive. Little of this makes sense for helping the millions displaced in Syria and who have fled abroad, and the neighbouring countries that have taken in more than 4 million refugees, and which face their own budgetary pressures. A change – and more needed Put simply, the structure of international aid – its architecture – is not fit for the purpose of responding effectively to the consequences of the Syrian conflict. So what needs to change? One recent proposal has been to increase the access that Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have to “concessional loans.” Under the proposed arrangement, the World Bank will provide new loans to Syria’s neighbours to help deal with the financial burden of the conflict, and wealthy donor countries will pay the interest on those loans. The proposed arrangement is welcome and overdue. But more needs to be done. More needs to be done to break down the barriers between humanitarian and development aid, and to create new and innovative mechanisms for financing the collective response to the Syria crisis. This is why the structure of the international aid response to the Syrian conflict was one of the topics discussed at the Resilience Development Forum held in Jordan on November 8th and 9th. The event brought together 500 participants in an unprecedented spectrum of stakeholders: senior representatives of Governments from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey; 31 UN Agencies and IOs and IFIs; 23 donor countries; 50 international and local NGOs and research institutions; and private sector leaders exchanged their rich experiences and discussed innovative ideas. The Forum explored ways to better connect public finance and private finance, where they can work well together, and ways to remove unhelpful barriers between humanitarian and development aid. You can download the Dead Sea resilience Agenda here. Changes need to be made so that good projects can be designed and implemented, less constrained by needing to present themselves as short-term, immediate responses just in order to maximize their chances of being funded. Changes need to be made so that good projects do not go underfunded. And changes need to be made so that there is more international solidarity and burden sharing with the countries in the frontline of dealing with the consequences of the Syrian conflict. Investing in the resilience of these countries means strengthening their ability to cope with the millions of displaced and refugees who remain among them. It means striking a better balance between providing emergency assistance and investing in the kind of longer-term development that will enable the displaced and refugees to fulfill their ambitions and aspirations in Syria and in the neighbouring countries. And it means supporting these countries’ national response plans and the linked international plans. On December 7th, the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (‘3RP’) for 2015-16 and the Syria Response Plan will be part of the Global Humanitarian Appeal. The 3RP provides a framework to deliver on the results in the Dead Sea Resilience Agenda. Its elements will be the point of reference as we prepare for the pledging opportunities at the London Conference on 4 February 2016. What do you think? What more needs to be done to break down the barriers between humanitarian and development aid, and create new mechanisms for financing the collective response to the Syria crisis? 

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Silo Fighters Blog

Real-time data analysis during crises

BY Maximo Halty | June 11, 2015

When crisis strikes, data – normally provided by national counterparts – suddenly can be in short supply, or outright unavailable. Each organization scrambles to find, or produce, the basic data they need to function in the crisis, with little time to consider common data needs, common collection systems or data sharing. The result is often translated into disconnected or overlapping responses, or simply the lack of appropriate responses. Based on an initial experience in Sudan and South Sudan, and now currently in Lebanon and Jordan, addressing the Syria-related crisis, a new web-based data management and mapping tool has emerged that can help manage and display  data on both humanitarian and human development issues in a user-friendly and integrated manner. The Information Management and Analysis Support (IMAS) Toolkit supports information management, joint analysis, integrated programming and effective coordination. It also supports monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and reporting, and it does so, in one integrated, online, user-friendly platform. The rollout of IMAS in Lebanon is linked to the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, a joint UN-Government strategic plan and appeal to manage the severe strains that the Syrian conflict has had the country’s economy, state institutions, hosting communities and its complex social fabric. Further, the demographic pressure of 1.2 million refugees now seeking asylum in small Lebanon challenges the coping capacity of the state, which faces a critical risk to its stability. Four years into the crisis, the UN family in Lebanon has now reoriented the humanitarian response within the context of Lebanon’s own stabilization into an integrated approach focused on strengthening the capacity of vulnerable people, systems and institutions to cope with these shocks. These tools build on the information management capacities established early in the response, but takes them much further, expanding their analytic breadth and capability and embedding them within national institutions.  The team that built them started small, drawing expertise through UNDP’s sub-regional facility based in Amman, cost-shared between UNDP regional and country offices and the Resident Coordinator's Office, and brought in technical experts from the private sector to design the tools according to our needs and reflecting models of best practice elsewhere. Managing information and enhancing data analysis The IMAS Toolkit is an online software package with a common mapping system. One of its strongest features is the way data is easily filtered in the database and then dynamically layered on the common mapping tool – allowing users to filter, select and display whichever data they want to compare and analyze. For example, a user could simply look at the status of their activities on the basic map. Or, a user could select the maps showing the density of refugees and pattern of deprivation, and overlay where livelihood projects that address these issues are being carried out by the UN and the government, and can help visualize if the targeting is correct, and where are the critical gaps (or overlaps) in livelihood programming. And the user can check, in the same tool, to see which donor has committed what funding, when and to whom, for Livelihoods programming. The IMAS Toolkit was developed with the initial support of the UNDP Sub-Regional Facility for the Syria crisis and the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office and the UNDP Country Office in Lebanon.  It was developed in-house at low cost, using license-free components. The toolkit is a new dimension in UN mapping because it connects humanitarian and development issues, while complementing existing resources. The scope is not only more comprehensive but also sets the stage for the post-crisis reconstruction and recovery efforts. How does it work? The IMAS Toolkit includes four components: Who, What, Where, When (4Ws) Municipal Risk and Problem Mapping Lebanon Aid Tracking System Country Digital Atlas COMPONENT 1: The 4Ws (Who, What, Where, When) This component addresses basic questions about the activities of United Nations agencies and partners taking place during a crisis situation: who, what, where and when? The 4Ws tool is an online project and activity tracking and mapping tool with a dynamically updated dashboard. The dashboard displays project and activity data in several ways, e.g. by donor, sector, area of intervention, status, implementer, activity Indicators, etc. Each activity can be geo-referenced on a satellite imagery map that zooms in to the selected location, e.g. school, community center, road, water station, etc. The user can also attach pictures and reports to each activity point, which will then be made available in the ‘map view’. Content can be exported and printed. The 4Ws tool also offers a search and mapping component that shows the work of other partners via ActivityInfo, an online humanitarian  reporting tool that helps humanitarian agencies  report and track delivery towards  crisis response indicators. COMPONENT 2: Municipal Risk and Problem Mapping The process of mapping municipal risks and problems is ideally a government-led process, both local and national. It can become a periodic exercise, e.g. annual, that is integrated into the national planning processes (as in practice in South Sudan, at the county level). This tool is part of the UNDP Municipal Risk and Resources Mapping process (MRR) first in Lebanon, and now in Jordan.   A multi-actor consultation process at the municipal level identifies, prioritizes, categorizes and geo-references the main risks and their associated problems. Once the data is input into the database management and mapping tool, results can be visualized and searched. The IMAS Toolkit works, as we said before, on a common map background. This is important because the user can select/filter any particular dataset of problems of the MRR; go to the 4Ws and see, filter and display all related interventions (ongoing or planned); and finally analyze how they relate to each other. COMPONENT 3: Lebanon Aid Tracking System In the IMAS Toolkit, this component is referred to as  Lebanon Aid. It is designed for reporting of all development funding by donors, and allows for cross-checking with Government and UN agencies and their partners. The tool also provides a direct  feed from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Financial Tracking Service (OCHA FTS),which records all reported aid contributions to the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP). Dashboards display data in several ways, e.g. by donor, sector, recipient, project, date range, status of funding, etc. The OCHA FTS part of the tool is currently online and publicly accessible, and the full system will be set up by the Government soon. COMPONENT 4: Country Digital Atlas The Country Digital Atlas is the common mapping platform for analysis, planning, coordination and M&E. The Atlas is therefore a key starting point for data compilation and sharing. It is ideally a government-led exercise, supported by the UN and partners through the Information Management Working Group (IMWG), where these exist. Essentially, the Atlas is a GIS (geographic information systems) tool for compiling all geo-enabled datasets that are relevant for joint analysis, planning, coordination and M&E. A metadata sheet identifies all available datasets, their producers, their periodicity and the conditions for their sharing (i.e. public or restricted), and is ideally set up as an online map, with a dynamic display. See this example of the Lebanon Digital Atlas. Using the toolkit in Lebanon today Together with the Lebanon Digital Atlas, the IMAS Toolkit is being used to support a new platform for joint analysis and programming for the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan. The platform will address aid management, donor coordination, risk/gap analysis and prioritization, among other needs.  A complementary tool will be the Lebanon Risk Index and Model recently completed and soon to be published. Its development was launched by the Lebanon Joint Analysis Unit with support from the Index for Risk Management (InfoRM), which identifies countries at high risk of humanitarian crisis.  The aim is to replicate national-level risk indexing at the sub-national level, which will improve in-country risk tracking and trend analysis. Access to the IMAS Toolkit Now that it is functional in Lebanon, and since it requires no costly licenses and very limited tailoring to use in other countries, the IMAS Toolkit is currently being rolled-out in Jordan, and a number of other country offices in the region have expressed an interest in using it. The Lebanon Resident Coordinator's Office and the UNDP Country Office are happy to facilitate the transfer of the Toolkit, and discussions are on-going with the Regional Office and the Sub-regional Facility to set up a sustainable support system for a regional roll-out of the Toolkit. To contact the IMAS development team for further information or to test the tool yourself, please email: Maximo Halty: (maximo.halty (at) undp.org) or Wendy MacClinchy (macclinchy (at) un.org).

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From crisis to resilience in Jordan  

BY Edward Kallon | May 26, 2015

During the Syria crisis years, the context in Jordan has changed significantly. The situation has evolved from an initial focus on life-saving humanitarian assistance to a time when assistance to refugees and host communities must be equally prioritized. It is all about turning challenges into opportunities. The conflict in Syria, now entering its fifth year, defies conventional conflict resolution approaches and challenges aid responses. This requires a shift in the way the United Nations does business. The Government of Jordan, the UN system and the international community have worked hard to address complex challenges. Over the years, however, it has become evident that there is further scope to improve the coordination between humanitarian action and development assistance. A shared vision Extensive consultations with the Government, UN and donors in early 2014 led to a shared vision setting out a clear and grounded roadmap. Since then the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) has supported the Government of Jordan in establishing a nationally-led coordination platform; at the same time, the UNCT has worked internally towards strengthening the coherence of its own interventions in response to the impact of the Syria crisis. Jordan UNCT applies the Standard Operating Procedures The complex context has emphasized the need for the UN to be ‘fit for purpose’. It has also provided an entry point for Delivering as One (DaO). The UNDG Standard Operating Procedures for countries adopting the DaO approach provided a flexible entry point for the Jordan UNCT, as the SOPs left sufficient space for customization. In Jordan, the principle leading this effort is that of resilience. This principle is serving as the glue to bridge humanitarian action and development assistance within one coherent framework. What is a resilience-based approach? The resilience-based approach is defined by UNDP as the ability of individuals, households, communities and societies to cope with the adverse impacts of shocks and stresses, to recover from them, and bring about transformational change that supports sustainable human development. The resilience-based approach represents a strategic shift away from a pure humanitarian response to the Syria crisis. More importantly, it provided the conceptual framework to craft both UN and national plans. The process of creating the UNAF 2015-2017 An initial revision exercise of the UNDAF 2013-2017 sharpened the focus on resilience, and strengthened the UNDAF’s alignment with the priorities set out in the Government of Jordan’s National Resilience Plan 2014-2016. In the second half of 2014, the UNCT worked to align the UNDAF with the Jordan Response Plan 2015, which consolidates the humanitarian and development response under one nationally-led framework. It also constitutes the Jordan chapter of the Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan (3RP). Through an extensive consultative process, the UNCT in Jordan developed the United Nations Assistance Framework (UNAF) 2015-2017, which supersedes the UNDAF 2013- The UNAF is a strategic rather than an operational document with a sharp focus on high level results, in line with the latest guidance on DaO. The UNAF, with the inclusion of the refugee component and additional emphasis on resilience programming, enables the UN system to provide a comprehensive, coherent and synergistic response to nationally identified needs and priorities. The UNAF is operationalized through Joint Annual Work Planning. The focus is on joint programmes and joint programming. It contains only the most vital and strategic activities of UNCT, which are intended to be implemented jointly or in a coordinated fashion in the year ahead. A ripple effect for Delivering as One The resilience process around the complex situation in Jordan has triggered progress in other aspects of Delivering as One. UNCT leadership and accountability were fostered by assigning the chairmanship of each of the six UNAF Results Groups to a Head of Agency. In addition, the UN Communication Group, Operations Management Team, Gender Theme Group and Post-2015 Focus Group (each chaired by a Head of Agency) were strengthened and coordinated in ways that could further support the priorities articulated in the UNAF. Resilience is also the underlying principle of the pool-funding mechanism, the Jordan Resilience Fund. The Fund was established with UN support to help finance the Jordan Response Plan. In addition to a national window, the Fund also includes a window through which funds can be channeled to UN activities addressing the impact of the Syria crisis on the country. We know where we want to go With the conceptual framework in place, the challenge now lies in its successful and effective implementation. Becoming the first Delivering as One country in the Middle East is not something that can happen overnight. It is a gradual process that requires a behavioural change within organizations and among staff. However, we know where we want to go, and it is our intention to get there by 2018, in line with the roll-out of the new UNDAF cycle 2018-2022.

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Country Stories

Morocco: Multi-stakeholder forums to adapt the SDGs to national and local contexts

November 9, 2016

The constitutional pathway Morocco’s national priorities are derived from its 2011 constitutional reforms with a focus to: complete the democratic transition and strengthen human rights; improve its economic viability, environmental sustainability and social stability; scale up climate change adaptation and energy transition; and consolidate its strategic leadership regionally and globally. For Morocco, the transition from the MDGs to the SDGs has enabled a strategic focus on inclusive development and the environment. As a further testament to the country’s commitment to sustainable development, in 2016 Morocco will host the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Marrakech. National ownership The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the High Commission for Planning in Morocco, together with a national interministerial committee and the UNCT, organized a national consultation in May 2016 under the theme ‘Contextualization of the 2030 Agenda in Morocco: Leave No One Behind’. During the consultations, approximately 500 stakeholders had the opportunity to collectively examine the 2030 Agenda, learn about the country’s engagement at the international level and explore their roles and responsibilities to achieve the goals. It was also the first opportunity for high-level public officials to take stock collectively on key national policies and sectoral strategies related to the SDGs. Raising public awareness Close to 200 non-state participants, mainly digital entrepreneurs, children and young people, civil society activists, celebrities, journalists and activists joined the national consultation. The UN also engaged the Royal Institute of the Amazigh Culture to translate the SDGs into the Amazigh language, which in 2011 became an official language of Morocco, alongside Arabic. Social media (#MarocODD) was used to inform stakeholders about the issues to be discussed at the national consultation workshop. Also, as part of the ‘Project Everyone’ campaign during the week preceding the UN Sustainable Development Summit, Hit Radio, a leading radio station with approximately 1.8 million listeners per day, partnered with the UN to translate SDG messages into Moroccan Arabic and broadcast them to reach young people. Reviewing the SDGs and the national context Thirty-five high-level panellists from the Moroccan parliament, administration, the Ministry of Justice, the Human Rights Council and the Confederation of Business Enterprises gave presentations on the status of the SDGs related to their sectors during the national consultations. The discussions and exchanges among participants collectively examined the work in progress and implementation and monitoring challenges. It also delved into the need for public policy coherence, adequate financing, and monitoring and evaluation systems. The Planning Commission shared the national framework which addresses the main targets and indicators. An initial analysis by the government revealed that the national statistical system can produce data on about 63 percent of the global SDG indicators. The missing data relate mainly to the SDGs on governance and the environment. Inclusive participation The Economic and Social Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UN system brought together CSOs and national institutions in the consultations. Discussions included how to support local authorities in the development, implementation and monitoring of the SDGs, and how to effectively engage children and youth and foster awareness and ownership of the 2030 Agenda. The role of CSOs in maintaining the public debate was also highlighted. UN entities such as UNDP, the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), UNESCO, UNV and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) proposed areas of policy support and tools at regional, national and subnational levels in support of contextualizing and accelerating the SDGs in Morocco. With a particular focus on children and youth, UNICEF and UNV organized sessions during and after the national consultations, leading to positive feedback that those sessions helped enhance the civic engagement of young people at the local level.

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Country Stories

Mauritania: Demonstrating early efforts to mainstream SDGs within a new national development strategy

November 9, 2016

National ownership and reviewing national plans for adapting the SDGsThe Government of Mauritania undertook a Rapid Integrated Assessment with UN support to inform its new Strategy of Accelerated Growth and Shared Prosperity for 2016–2030. The results showed that 92 SDG targets are represented in the existing strategic framework, suggesting good integration so far, with gaps to be addressed. This assessment will inform the formulation of the new strategy, which marks a transition from 15 years of implementing a strategy and policy focused on poverty reduction, to the formulation of a new, ambitious development strategy through to 2030. In addition, the Ministry of Economy and Finances provided SDG-related training to the new strategy’s technical team, using UN tools and modules. This training focused on the challenges of integrating the SDGs into national plans, with particular attention to cross-cutting elements, data and accountability. Raising public awareness In October 2015, the Ministry for the Economy and Finance, with support from the UN as part of its 70th anniversary celebrations, gathered participants from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, the government, parliamentarians, financial and technical partners and researchers to launch the 2030 Agenda and discuss future implementation of the SDGs in Mauritania. The celebrations included a free concert by local musicians, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the UN to promote the SDGs and raise public awareness of the role of each citizen to achieve them. The UN system in Mauritania also organized a national photography contest with the theme of the SDGs, giving all Mauritanians the chance to depict an SDG of their choice. An awareness-raising workshop took place in May 2016 to explain the global SDG formulation processand the future mainstreaming of the SDGs into Mauritania’s new strategy. The event brought together multiple government departments and the private sector (e.g. the Employers Association and the Chamber of Commerce), civil society (e.g. Platform of Non-State Actors, Organization for the Defense of the Disabled, Observatory of Organizations for Human Rights, the Network for the Social Promotion and Environment Protection, Mauritanian Association for Assistance to the Needy) and international technical and financial partners (e.g. the UN, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the European Union). The workshop allowed the participants to better understand the transition from the MDGs to the SDGs, to learn about the SDGs and to understand the importance of integrating them into national plans. The participants, based on their field of activity and expertise, also provided recommendations for the whole SDG mainstreaming and implementation process. Inclusive participation As part of the celebration of the UN’s 70th anniversary, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Children and Family And the UN system collaborated with the Center for Children Living with a Disability to organize a free concert at the Olympic Stadium. The musical group Evolution (with members representing youth from all diverse segments of Mauritanian society) performed a song about the SDGs while children from the Center performed a choreographed dance. Malian refugees also took part in the celebrations, through the musical group Etrane Timbuktu. The participation of children with disabilities and refugees in the performance was an effective way to highlight the commitment to leave no one behind in the process to implement the SDGs. Furthermore, representatives of marginalized groups, such as the Association for Disabled, Blind and Visually Impaired People, have taken part in the work to mainstream the SDGs into the Strategy of Accelerated Growth and Shared Prosperity, including in awareness-raising workshops and technical work to prioritize the SDGs.

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Country Stories

Egypt: Aligning the nation’s plans with the 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063

November 9, 2016

National ownership Egypt has endorsed both the global 2030 Agenda and the regional African Union Agenda 2063, which strives to enable Africa to remain focused and committed to the ideals envisaged in the context of a rapidly changing world. The year 2016 marked a convergence of strategic planning for Egypt. At the national level, Egypt’s Vision 2030 was endorsed by the newly elected parliament as the nation’s sustainable development strategy. It aims to promote a competitive, balanced and diversified economy based on justice, social integrity and participation. The next 15 years will thus certainly place many important strategic demands on the country, including overcoming structural challenges, mobilizing resources and coordinating efforts to fulfil its national Vision 2030 and its commitments to the regional and global agendas. Egypt has shown early signs of commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda, and has already taken a number of important steps. In December 2015, the Prime Minister issued a decree to form a national committee, composed of key ministries and state institutions, to follow up on the implementation of the SDGs and to effectively report on progress. The Minister of International Cooperation was appointed as its Rapporteur. Reviewing national plans and adapting the SDGs to the national context With support from the UN, the Government of Egypt is conducting a rapid review of its existing strategies, including Egypt Vision 2030 and other relevant sectoral plans. The objective is to assess the level of alignment with the SDGs, identify possible gaps between existing national priority goals and targets and global targets, and highlight areas for change. Raising public awareness There has been a significant focus on systematically promoting public understanding of the SDGs. For instance, the UN in Egypt held an ‘Open Code for Sustainable Development’ camp in September 2015 as part of the Social Good Summit to launch the SDGs in the country. More than 100 children and youth took part in the camp and learned about new web programming and management technologies to develop solutions to help achieve the SDGs. Similarly, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Youth, together with the UN, used the occasion of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in May 2016 — which brought together more than 300 sports celebrities, diplomats, the general public and the media — to support and raise awareness of the SDGs. Inclusive participation The government has initiated a multi-stakeholder consultation process with CSOs, major groups from academia, the private sector, special interest groups, children and youth to raise awareness of the SDGs and seek their views and feedback on the SDG implementation. This process builds on the consultative process that Egypt undertook in partnership with the UN and development partners to prepare the post-2015 consultation The World We Want, during which over 17,000 Egyptians participated in shaping the 2030 Agenda. Monitoring and reporting The national statistical agency, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), has established an SDG Coordination Unit to build capacity and contextualize and set out the national indicator framework necessary to monitor and track Egypt’s progress towards achieving the SDGs. With the support of the UN, it is conducting a comprehensive assessment of its capacities and data systems. Egypt is also one of the African countries taking part in the 2016 Africa Data Report initiative11 to assess what is needed to fully realize the data revolution. The report will feed into other SDG initiatives and studies by providing concrete analysis of data issues at national and regional levels. With the support of the UN and other development partners, the government is looking into evaluating impact and building national capacity to assess the long-term effects of policies on specific SDGs, notably poverty alleviation, food security, child protection, employment and climate change, with the objective of fostering a knowledge base for policy dialogue and evidence-based decision-making.

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