This chapter analyses the role and nature of partnerships in the search for durable solutions. The chapter then analyses the role of UNHCR in forging partnerships and exploiting the opportunities that partnerships have provided in the conceptualisation and implementation of TANCOSS. The chapter finally assesses the prospective roles of UN DaO and UNHCR in the implementation of Pillar 3. This is based on a brief analysis of the partnership in the UN DaO Joint Project 6.1 “Transition from Humanitarian Assistance to Sustainable Development”, in a former refugee camp area in North-western Tanzania.
Both Government (at national and sub-national level) and implementing partners informed the Evaluation that UNHCR was playing a major catalytic role in engaging the different stakeholders and moving TANCOSS forward. Manager and ’energiser’ of the different partnerships was the label put on the role of UNHCR. Annex 6 presents an overview of different stakeholders’ support to TANCOSS as seen by the Evaluation.
6.1 The role of partnerships in solutions to protracted refugee situations
The central role of partnerships, especially cooperation with non-humanitarian partners is highlighted in the HC’s Special Initiative on PRS, “development related activities are central to viable management of protracted refugee situations”, and there is a need to engage with “less traditional actors in the search for solutions, especially those in the development sector”. The partners mentioned are the different UN agencies, as well as the World Bank.
TANCOSS (I, II, III, IV) is explicit about the broader partnership engagement, which is seen to extend beyond the humanitarian actors and the usual government counterparts for humanitarian action. At the international level the HC’s dialogue meeting on protracted refugee situations (December 2008), boosted the broader partnership engagement of TANCOSS. Through the participation of the Prime Minister of Tanzania, the meeting seems to have created visibility and consensus at the international level of the need to address the protracted refugee situations and to engage a broader range of partners in solutions.
TANCOSS I lists the following government partners: Government of Tanzania: Ministry of Home Affairs, the Refugee Department and the Immigration Department, Regional authorities in Rukwa and Tabora, as well as district authorities in Mpanda and Urambo districts. In Burundi the main partner is the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Solidarity.
Implementing partners are the Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service for implementation of Pillars one, two, and three. GTZ are engaged in repatriation (Pillar 1) and in the logistics of naturalisation (Pillar 2). The International Rescue Committee and Relief to Development Society also play a supporting role in the implementation of TANCOSS. In Burundi a number of NGOs are also engaged as implementing partners.
The following partners are expected to support the Government in the implementation of Pillar 3: The UN DaO, (although NASCIP is not clear on the DaO role) along with CBOs and international development partners (not specified further in the strategy).
6.2 UNHCR and partnerships
UNHCR and international development partners
International development partners are considered as partners at different levels, i.e. at the level of funding (responses to appeals) but also as broader supporters to the overall strategy (international burden sharing). The considerable costs of implementing TANCOSS called for a close partnership with the international community.
The role of the international development partners is emphasised in the High Commissioners Dialogue on Protection Challenges as it talks about the shared commitments that must be made by the international community to develop a more effective response to the protracted refugee situations. In accordance with UNHCR’s mandate, as an entirely non-political organization, the role of UNHCR is to support the international community’s efforts to address the political causes and consequences of protracted refugee situations. As said in the same dialogue document, it is the political will and actions of the states, regional organizations and relevant components of the UN system, i.e. mainly the Security Council and the General Assembly, which play key roles. Another key element in the partnership concept is the principle of international solidarity and responsibility sharing. It is in this light that the implementation of TANCOSS calls upon development partners to share the costs of its implementation.
The considerable costs of implementing TANCOSS have also called for a close partnership with the international community, which UNHCR has managed well. For example, when it was decided to change the naturalisation process from fast track to expedite, extra resources were needed. UNHCR advocated successfully with the international development partners present in Tanzania to provide extra resources if needed and be flexible around purposes of existing grants. If UNHCR had not managed this process, the whole strategy could have been jeopardised.
UNHCR and implementing partners
NGOs/CSOs have been involved in implementation in particular of Pillar 1. In the UNHCR terminology NGOs are called implementing partners signalling the contractual engagement between them and UNHCR. This working relationship between UNHCR and NGOs/CSO is common, not only in Tanzania. In the case of repatriation and naturalisation these partnerships were reported by the parties involved to have worked well. How-ever, there was also some frustration in the group of partners. They felt that their knowledge and insights could be better utilised by UNHCR. It was indicated that UNHCR has a top down approach rather than a partnership approach, which would also value the skills and knowledge of the implementing partners. It was reported that knowledge of local conditions and a dialogue concerning local knowledge could have produced higher quality implementation. This could not be verified by the Evaluation but UNHCR management recognised the issue and admitted that UNHCR should be better at tapping the knowledge and insights of NGOs and the engagement between the two parties should be in the spirit of partnerships rather than a “contractor” relationship.
UNHCR and national government
At national level UNHCR was supportive of the MoHA and the Office of the Prime Minister in their role to engage the public and at times diffuse refugee xenophobia, engage and inform parliamentarians and provide technical implementation skills to the Old Settlements Task Force. At national level the partnerships with the donors were, according to interviews, essential as the costs of the operation were huge by all standards and momentum should not be lost.
UNHCR and regional and district governments
A less smooth partnership emerged with some regional and district governments, law enforcement agencies and immigration authorities at local level. The prevailing view at this level was that repatriation was the (only) suitable solution to pursue. Concerns were voiced particularly in relation to high crime rates and environmental degradation.
With regard to naturalisation, there was outright resistance among the officers deployed locally (police and immigration officials) to assess the applicants according to neutral criteria. UNHCR financed training of these officials, and also purchased different kinds of equipment and infrastructure projects to smooth relations. UNHCR also played an advocacy role in diffusing the local resistance. With regard to local authorities UNHCR has managed to strike a balance between mitigating xenophobia towards refugees and identifying positive spin-offs. This has been achieved at considerable costs, such as the financing of an airstrip in Mpanda and other infrastructure support near the existing settlements.
Although mainly related to the camped refugees in Mtabila camps and other camps, which have now been closed (not to the 1972 group in the settlements), the District Commissioner in Kasulu reflected on the role of her administration and their frustrations. She said that, the district is “at the receiving end” trying to deal with the consequences of the refugee problem (such as higher crime rates and environmental degradation), and she called for more active engagement by the leaders the Great Lakes region to seek political solutions. In this regard she mentioned the potential role to be played by the East African Community. She also made the point that both regional and district governments and UNHCR could do little unless the political processes moved in the right direction.
6.3 UNHCR and the UN Delivering as One
In November 2007, the Secretary-General of the UN decided to establish a series of pilot country initiatives to test the DaO approach. The governments of eight countries – including Tanzania – volunteered to pilot the approach.
The DaO approach was initially conceptualised as the “Four Ones” – One Programme, One Leader, One Budgetary Framework, and One Office where appropriate. Tanzania then added One Voice, making it “Five Ones”.
In the implementation of Pillar 3, the plan is for UNHCR to work under the auspices of the UN DaO. UNHCR is at present involved in the DaO pilot through the “Joint Project (JP) 6.1”. This project concerns the “Transition from Humanitarian Assistance to Sustainable Development” and is implemented in the context of downscaling the humanitarian presence following the closure of refugee camps in Kagera and Kigoma Regions. The project supports the Government in the transition from a humanitarian aid environment towards a sustainable development environment. The project also aims to hand over the area to the host communities in good order. A large part of the programme consists of the rehabilitation of infrastructure and facilities in the former refugee camps in order to serve the needs of host communities. The implementation is through the government system and the support from the UN system comes under the leadership of UNDP.
On the one hand UNHCR acknowledges UNDP’s approach i.e. to build capacity and work through existing institutional mechanisms in Government, but there are also considerable frustrations within UNHCR with regards to the slowness of the mechanisms of implementing through Government. Establishing the role and coordinated actions of the different UN organizations (present in Western Tanzania) have also created considerable friction among the organizations and their internal relations have not been smooth. This was indicated to have had substantial transaction costs for the project. Delays seem to have occurred both in the “interface” between the UN agencies but also due to procedural issues in Government (government exchequer and tendering processes are lengthy and low institutional capacity was mentioned by the UN system as a cause of delay). Meanwhile government officials mentioned that UNDP procedures are cumbersome and caused delays.
The findings sketched above point in the same direction to that of firmer conclusions reached in a recent evaluation of the DaO in Tanzania: “The very core of DaO (the joint programmes) is a multiple of existing initiatives and projects put together without an overall vision and strategy. In as much as being a practical gradual approach, this however has implications for programme efficiency and coherence. Despite some joint work, it is not fully clear that the UN in terms of programme design, implementation and management is ’doing business’ in a new way. Stakeholders expect, specifically the Development Partners, that an implication of the UN reform and the new ’business approach’ will result in reduced transaction costs, increased programme effectiveness and the creation of synergy effects. However, clear quantitative information is not available on what has been reduced and saved or where the value added is to be found. In fact, to some degree it appears that joint programming has meant an increase in internal UN transaction costs with an increase in time and resources spent in coordination”.
At a different level the reported inefficiencies and friction within the UN agencies is about different mandates and different cultures. In relation to the implementation of Pillar 3 of TANCOSS, the issue at stake is the change from a short-term humanitarian paradigm on the one hand to a longer-term development paradigm on the other. UNHCR staff interviewed both at regional and national level, recognised the role to be played by DaO in the implementation of Pillar 3 but also stressed a wish for UNHCR to stay engaged and have a visible role until the end of implementation of Pillar 3 in order to safeguard “the investment”. It was also said by UNHCR staff that there would be a need to engage other development partners at the same time, when working through the DaO mechanism, in order to ensure that implementation would be adequately resourced and that there would be a pressure on the UN system to deliver; a statement which basically reinforces the findings of the evaluation quoted above.
In the interview with the Evaluation, MoHA officials expressed concern about the delays of the Joint Project 6.1 and of development projects “of long-term capacity building character”, as being unsuitable for the purpose of refugee matters. The real need was said to be “for visible projects to be implemented fast and efficiently”.
The joint UN work programme from 2011 (UNDAP) has included implementation of Pillar 3. With regard to expectations and capacity of the DaO to carry out the implementation and avoid delays such as those experienced in the JP 6.1, the Evaluation has not been able to form a solid view. The implementation has been marked by difficulties and delays, but it could be argued that the lessons learned and the country evaluation of the pilot initiative should lead to future improvements.
6.4 Conclusions on partnerships
UNHCR has worked with a broad number of partners throughout the implementation. This is in line with the policy of UNHCR in search for durable solutions. UNHCR has been catalytic in policy processes at national level, in moving implementation forward and overcoming difficulties with some partners. This has included “payoffs” to local authorities and other officials such as the local police, who have received equipment and infrastructure to help smoothen relationships.
Implementing partners (mainly NGOs) find that the working relations with UNHCR have been smooth but also find that their knowledge has not been recognised and tapped by UNHCR. In their view this could have improved the quality of implementation. UNHCR agreed that this is a common shortcoming of the agency’s relationships with implementing partners.
Interviews found that both Government and international development partners find it valuable to cooperate with UNHCR, as the office in Tanzania was considered dynamic and action oriented. In MoHA it was said that the leadership in the UNHCR office during implementation had made a big difference, because it was so dynamic and engaging.
UNHCR should be complimented for its ability to engage partners at different levels and in different capacities, both in connection with strategy development and in implementation of durable solutions for the protracted refugee situation.
UNHCR is committed to work through the DaO, but the JP 6.1 shows that the common approach and cooperation of the UN agencies has been difficult. The long-term capacity building approach and the implementation through the local government, with UNDP as the main government counterpart has been a different approach to the “fast contractor style” implementation practised by UNHCR. The implementation of JP 6.1 has been seriously delayed, also because of bureaucratic hurdles in the UN system and in the government system.
Pillar 3 will be part of the UNDAP and will be brought into the planning system of Government. Additionally, UNHCR wants to remain visible and closely monitor implementation, although UNHCR’s protection mandate does not extend to the reintegration of the NNTs, who are citizens of Tanzania. The authority of UNHCR is therefore a point to be considered if a monitoring role is established. It is the view of the Evaluation that UNHCR intends to see TANCOSS being successfully concluded and raise concerns if and as necessary.
 ExCOM, 2 June 2008, p 6.
 Interviews with senior UNHCR officials (present and former staff in Tanzania) and Refugee Department, MoHA.
 Listed in TANCOSS II.
 Terminology used in Tanzania for foreign donors.
 Terminology used in Tanzania for foreign donors. Most international development partner representatives interviewed were relatively new in post and only few had some knowledge on the contents of Pillar 3.
 UNHCR/DPC/2008/Doc.02: A Discussion Paper prepared for the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges, Geneva December 2008.
 Ibid p 6.
 Interview with UNHCR senior official, interview with Refugee department in MoHA.
 Interviews with NGO partners and acknowledged by UNHCR country team.
 Interviews with senior UNHCR officials and international development partners.
 UN agencies, UNHCR staff, it should also be mentioned that there were divergent views on this and the recently published NASCIP does not specify the exact modality and division of labour between the UNHCR and the other UN agencies.
 The Evaluation visited infrastructure rehabilitation sites, had a meeting with the staff of the participating UN Agencies in Kigoma and had a focus group discussion with local government. An unsuccessful attempt was made to meet with representatives of the host communities. The host community interviews were with random villagers.
 The interviews, site visit and materials available do not allow for an in-depth analysis.
 Nordic Consulting Group (July 2010): Country Led Evaluation of the Delivering as One UN Pilot Initiative in Tanzania, p xiv.
 Interview Refugee Department, MoHA.
 The question was raised at a meeting with representatives from UN agencies in Dar es Salaam, the participants were, with a few exceptions, not senior staff and had no perspectives to offer in this respect.
This page forms part of the publication 'Evaluation of the protracted refugee situation (PRS) for Burundians in Tanzania' as chapter 8 of 15
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