Country Report - LHD Quality Review



LHD in context

The extreme complexity of the [Example Country] context both speaks to the need for linking humanitarian and development programming (LHD) and provides a rigorous testing ground for UNICEF’s implementation of its commitments in this area.

Even as the country shows progress in economic development indicators, it continues to experience high levels of humanitarian needs stemming from cyclical natural disasters, frequent disease outbreaks, conflict-related population displacements, and being host to one of the largest refugee populations in Africa.

UNICEF’s close working relationship as a support to the government and its preeminent coordinating role among operational agencies puts it in a strong position to advance its LHD objectives further now that they have been made explicit in the Country Programme. However, with the onset of conflict over the Achu region, UNICEF’s strong partnership with the government has been shown to have risks, should the conflict worsen and UNICEF find itself unable to operate independently for humanitarian response, and it poses obstacles for implementing meaningful peacebuilding strategies.

Progress and Highlights

UNICEF staff and partners display a clear understanding and appreciation of the concept of linking humanitarian action with development and peacebuilding objectives. Survey results show that this understanding is reflected in increased level and quality of linkages in programming. According to people interviewed in the country, the logic for such programming is pervasive and ingrained as to be 'obvious’ to all aid actors. Despite this almost intuitive understanding, however, it was not until the concept was clearly articulated in program planning and made systematic and deliberate in project activities that staff reported seeing tangible change and progress made toward implementation.

Evidence from key informant interviews, survey responses, and relevant documents indicates that in terms of implementing LHD in programming, UNICEF Example Country is strongest in the areas of improving emergency response through preparedness and robust risk analysis, interagency coordination and collaboration, and working with government entities. In terms of wider aid system coordination, UNICEF also gets high marks from partners and counterparts, for promoting a coherent vision of LHD in coordination forums and playing a leading role on these issues.

WASH programmes were mentioned most often as examples of good practice in LHD. UNICEF WASH programming has increasingly sought to replace quick fixes, like water trucking, with durable solutions, such as constructing sustainable water supply systems through mapping climate resilient groundwater sources and conducting deep well drilling, especially in lowland areas. Though relatively expensive in terms of upfront costs, the use of satellite imagery has optimised the chances of finding sustainable water sources, and UNICEF is leading on the use of this technology.

Areas to improve (goals)

In addition to developing and improving conflict sensitive programming that integrates peacebuilding objectives and safeguards humanitarian principles, UNICEF Example Country is weakest is in the areas of accountability to affected populations (AAP), and advocacy efforts to mobilize predictable and flexible multi-year funding.

UNICEF staff felt the most significant challenge to implementing LHD to be insufficient funding (particularly the multiyear funding necessary for longer-term development and resilience objectives), suggesting the need for more assertive advocacy with donors to provide additional, more flexible funding.