10 May 2019 - The Independent Evaluation Section (IES), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has carried out its first-ever strategic evaluation of a regional coordination mechanism for security governance, creating a best practice for future strategic interventions while meeting the demands of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Specifically, IES planned, conducted and supported the follow-up of the innovative evaluation for the EU-funded Western Balkan Integrative Internal Security Governance mechanism (WBIISG). While maintaining the independence of the evaluation process, the evaluation was carried out within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe.
Evaluation couples effectiveness with accountability and transparency, being fully in line with current UN Reforms Initiatives and the Secretary-General pointing to the need of "independent and real-time evaluation with full transparency." UNODC continues to be at the forefront of countering drugs, crime and terrorism in the Western Balkans, and by offering this innovative evaluation, which fully mainstreamed human rights and gender equality, it has added another important dimension to these efforts.
In the context of the negotiations for accession to the EU of the different jurisdictions in the Western Balkans and the changing criminal landscape in the region, the new platform Western Balkan Integrative Internal Security Governance was launched to seek to improve capacity-building for and reform of internal security governance in the region. The concept enables a coordinated, aligned and sustainable effort in the fields of internal security governance reform on part of the EU and all relevant international donors of external assistance.
The evaluation carried out by IES together with four senior external evaluators and experts found that the WBIISG is best considered an early-stage entrepreneurial venture that has identified 'the right customer needs', but is yet to develop, establish and institutionalise formal systems and processes.
Evaluation results also show that there is wide support for the concept of the IISG as a potentially effective tool for regional coordination. Among other things WBIISG's work was recognized as promoting informal collaboration and trust-building among beneficiaries across the region.
The WBIISG Support Group highlighted that "the evaluation process itself has offered space for honest, open dialogue and exchanges, supporting learning and building trust." This space for dialogue and exchange was essential for leading to actionable recommendations.
One of the most innovative aspects of this evaluation is the continuous engagement with the WBIISG also beyond the end of the evaluation, for example through dedicated follow-up workshops, thereby ensuring utility of recommendations. Katharina Kayser, Chief, IES, highlighted that "the political ownership of this process constitutes a best practice, in particular the endorsement of the evaluation plan and subsequent presentation of results to the Ministers of the region, allowing for future evaluations to build upon this one."