7 Conclusions and assessment against the OECD-DAC criteria
This chapter presents conclusions by applying the OECD-DAC evaluation criteria of relevance and appropriateness, coordination and connectedness; effectiveness; and impact (to the extent possible) of TANCOSS, the role of UNHCR and the HC initiative.
Relevance asks for an assessment of the validity of the objectives and the consistency of the internal logic of a programme (in this case the strategy) including the logic of the intended impacts and benefits. Appropriateness (criterion especially added in evaluation of humanitarian assistance) refers to the tailoring of humanitarian activities for example to local needs and increased ownership. Assessment of coordination includes answering whether the strategy, the HC’s special initiative and the role of UNHCR have been coordinated with Government and key stakeholders. Connectedness deals with the question of whether there is a link between short- and medium-term activities on the one hand and longer term development goals on the other hand.
Effectiveness is understood as an assessment of whether the objectives are likely to be attained based on the planned outputs, as well as major factors influencing achievement or non-achievement. A key element in the assessment of effectiveness is timeliness.
Finally elements of expectations and potential impact of the strategy are assessed. TANCOSS mentions some anticipated impacts, which have not been possible to fully substantiate, partly because it is too early but also and more importantly, because the verification would require considerable resources. Impact is envisaged as:
- The end of one of the most protracted refugee situations in Africa through voluntary and peaceful means (voluntary repatriation and naturalisation).
- The dispersal and resettlement of the naturalised Tanzanians, helping to allay potential concerns over the existence of a substantial Burundian enclave in Central-western Tanzania.
- Economic benefit to both Burundi and Tanzania from the influx and the liberation of a “highly productive, skilled and self sufficient agricultural and trading labour force”
- Return of 2,500 square kilometres of productive and reserve lands to the state. The forest systems, encroached on and damaged will have the opportunity of being rehabilitated. The infrastructure will be handed over in good state for use by the districts.
As the ambitions of impact are high and require considerable analysis based on data availability, the chapter only sketches the trends to the extent that these could be detected by the Evaluation.
First, this chapter presents the overall conclusions and subsequently the chapter has subsections specific to the selected OECD-DAC criteria and Pillars one, two and three of TANCOSS.
7.1 Overall conclusions
TANCOSS was set in a unique historical context, which has been instrumental in formulating the options of the strategy and the strategy was driven by political will internally in the Tanzanian Government. UNHCR has played a catalytic role and been instrumental in the conceptualisation and implementation of the strategy. The solutions of TANCOSS have at a general level largely been in accordance with UNHCR’s mandate under its Statute to pursue protection, assistance and solutions for refugees. Moreover UNHCR has provided modalities and implementation capacity to the three pillars of the strategy in line with the mandate of UNHCR.
There are, however, reservations to the conclusion. These concern the reintegration process in Burundi, with the clause that if the Evaluation had been in Burundi the conclusion drawn in this respect could have been more nuanced. A second reservation relates to the linking of naturalisation (Pillar 2) and full integration of the newly naturalised citizens (Pillar 3). Pillar 3 includes two distinct steps, relocation from the settlements and local integration in new communities. The Government has decided only to issue the citizen certificates (of Pillar 2), once the relocation step of Pillar 3 has taken place. At present, this move leaves the newly naturalised Tanzanians in a situation, where their legal status and their rights are unclear. This should be of concern to UNHCR and other observers. The Evaluation finally flags concern that the strategy for Pillar 3 is vague on the locations that more than half of the affected families will be sent to and how and when in the process the NNTs can expect to receive their citizen certificates. This could have severe consequences for the future life situation of the NNTs and jeopardise the already acclaimed success of TANCOSS. The Evaluation is, on a cautionary note, of the view that full integration of the newly naturalised Tanzanians (Pillar 3), which is still at the planning stage, could become the most difficult part of the comprehensive solutions strategy to implement.
Following the conceptualisation and the launch of TANCOSS in the beginning of 2008 (January/February), the HC’s special initiative on PRS included Tanzania as one of the five situations in the initiative (March 2008). In the initial phase of TANCOSS implementation, the initiative played a role in facilitating attention to the protracted refugee situation of Burundians in Tanzania. The HC’s engagement attracted attention and visibility to the situation. Additionally, high-level missions helped to build a bridge of trust and support to the Government of Tanzania. The Prime Minister’s participation in the Dialogue Meeting in Geneva in December 2008 is a case in point. TANCOSS is likely to have been implemented without the Special Initiative, but the initiative appears to have made a contribution for example in the trust and confidence building between the Tanzanian and the UNHCR leadership and international partners. The initiative is, however, no longer traceable among staff and other partners.
The efforts of implementing Pillar 1 and two have been impressive but Pillar 3 has been seriously delayed. A short timeline of two years was set for implementation of the strategy. During interviews of the Evaluation, it was acknowledged that the timeline was probably unrealistic but was set as a way to keep the momentum and to ensure that actions would be taken swiftly in order to capitalise on the unprecedented opportunity of naturalisation.
The effectiveness of implementation seen in this perspective would therefore not do justice to the strategic considerations behind setting such a short timeline.
The internal coordination in the implementation of Pillar 1, repatriation and reintegration, was considered by UNHCR staff, by implementing partners and by the Tanzanian Government to be smooth and well coordinated at all levels. Nevertheless, the Evaluation is of the view that the unresolved situation for a large number of returnees in Burundi could possibly have been lessened, if UNHCR coordination between Burundi and Tanzania had been stronger. In Tanzania UNHCR was instrumental in ensuring that several in depth studies were carried out in 2007 to prepare the ground for implementation, but the situation for the particular circumstances for the 1972 group of refugees when returning to Burundi was not given due attention in this process. The Evaluation has not been able to determine the role of headquarters in these activities. It is proposed that a regional approach instead of a “two country office approach” could have led to a more appropriate and realistic assessment of the absorption capacity in Burundi.
The staff profiles and personalities of UNHCR at the time of strategy formulation were instrumental in UNHCR Tanzania “seizing the opportunity” to actively engage and pursue the durable solution offered by the Tanzanian Government and also in seeing the value addition of the HC’s special initiative as a boost to the process. This has for the Evaluation raised the issue of the role played by UNHCR staff as catalysts in the development of strategies for durable solutions. The ability of UNHCR staff in such a situation to network with a broader range of stakeholders, to engage with Government and to take swift action on opportunities, seems to have played a major role.
UNHCR has also coordinated with a broader range of stakeholders, including the UN DaO partners, as it is envisaged in the overall strategic conceptualisation of seeking durable solutions to PRS. Interviews showed that both Government and international development partners considered it valuable to partner with UNHCR, because 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 dynamic and engaging. Implementing partners, i.e. NGOs voiced concern that their expertise and resources were not valued and exploited by UNHCR, they mentioned that they could add more value to implementation. The viewpoint was recognised by UNHCR, Tanzania. The implementing partners also found that high staff turnover in UNHCR hampered cooperation, UNHCR on their part found that implementing partners also had difficulties retaining qualified staff in the areas of implementation.
7.2 Pillar specific conclusions
Pillar 1 – conclusions
In the broader geopolitical context, the peace process in Burundi had advanced to the extent that repatriation of Burundian refugees in general was relevant, but concern is raised both with regard to the specific relevance and the appropriateness of the strategy in relation to the particular needs of the 1972 group.
Overall, those repatriated have faced considerable livelihood difficulties upon return, although the Evaluation cannot draw a conclusion for the group as a whole. It is likely that some have managed well upon return and repatriation has been relevant, but for a large part of the group there have been constraints, which questions the relevance of return. The appropriateness can also be questioned at a general level, because the preparation of the refugees for their return did not anticipate their special situation and needs. UNHCR should have paid more attention and resources to trace and avail accurate information about these difficulties.
Assessing connectedness, the repatriation was a short-term humanitarian type activity, but with a profound link to longer-term development, i.e. reintegration. The presumed prospect was to return to sustainable livelihoods, in line with what the returnees had been used to, when they lived in the settlements in Tanzania. This has not yet happened and could compromise the achievement of connectedness. The Government in Burundi, UNDP, UNHCR and other organisations in Burundi have responded to the situation and taken steps to alleviate the problems faced by the returnees. These efforts include promotion of permanent settlement for example in rural integrated villages and legal settlement of land rights issues for the returnees, as well as promotion of alternative livelihoods.
With regard to effectiveness, the expected result was that refugees would make a voluntary and informed choice, and that 46,000 Burundian refugees would be transported back in safety and dignity with their personal belongings. The repatriation issues of “practical” nature (such as luggage allowance and size cash grants) were resolved rather swiftly. The reintegration process has not been effective, as discussed above. This reflects a pattern of effectiveness being hampered in those parts of TANCOSS, which are highly political. Access to land for the returnees is such a case. Implementation has been smooth and timely, when there is political backing and will, but effectiveness is immediately hampered when issues become political.
It was pointed out that there could be positive economic impact to the receiving communities in Burundi. The returnees are an injection of a “highly productive, skilled and self sufficient agricultural and trading labour force”, into a depressed and resource scarce society. There could also be negative impacts of the voluntary repatriation, such as returnees to Burundi continuing to have difficulties in building sustainable livelihoods.
It was also said that school dropout is common for the returnees, because of a different education curriculum and language of instruction.
Pillar 2 – conclusions
The naturalisation was a gesture from the Government, which was relevant, given the affiliation of the 1972 refugees group with Tanzania and the fact that the majority of the refugee population is born and has grown up in Tanzania. Relevance is also underscored by fact that about 80% of the settlement population, when asked in 2007 made the choice to become Tanzanian citizens. The naturalisation process was until recently handled in an appropriate manner with the decision to treat refugee applications for citizenship in an individual expedite process. Earlier naturalisation processes for refugees had been issued by Presidential Decree to groups “with the stroke of a pen”, which had given legal complications downstream, first of all in relation to the citizenship of children.
More recently a major concern related to appropriateness has arisen in the interface between Pillar 2 and Pillar 3 of the strategy, when the Government decided to withhold the long awaited citizen certificates. This action also raises concern from a rights perspective. At the time of the Evaluation there appeared to be a state of insecurity and confusion among the NNTs in the settlements due to inadequate information sharing by UNHCR and the Government about the delays and actual contents of Pillar 3. UNHCR did not come forward as rights advocates for the NNTs. When asked by the Evaluation UNHCR staff pointed out that it was strategically more important for UNHCR to conclude the strategy for Pillar 3 in good cooperation with the Government and to ensure the respect of the rights of the NNTs in the strategy rather than engaging resources (more than done already) in the immediate situation. The rights advocacy role has been taken on by civil society and national and international observers.
With regard to connectedness, naturalisation is by nature a long-term development measure. This is particularly the case with the “expedite” process adopted in TANCOSS, because it follows normal procedures for naturalisation and gives the NNTs equal terms with other persons being naturalised. Nevertheless, the long-term and potentially sustainable nature of naturalisation could be jeopardised in the event that citizen certificates are not issued to the NNTs.
The expected results of Pillar 2 and thus the measure of effectiveness are the objectives that refugees would be well informed about the naturalisation process and procedures, and that 172,000 Burundian refugees would have Tanzanian citizenship through an expedited process by early 2009. The results as of June 2010 (with a minor difference in actual numbers in relation to the plan) confirm that the processes have more or less been completed on time. This part of the strategy has therefore been effectively managed and the outputs have been achieved through a tremendous work effort.
Naturalisation could have both positive and negative impact on refugees and host communities. The new citizens of Tanzania can potentially establish themselves everywhere and access education and employment opportunities on equal terms with others. There has also been a major institutional capacity building process at the Department of the Immigration in the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is assessed to have a sustainable impact.
Pillar 3 – conclusions
The overall relevance of Pillar 3 is questioned by the Evaluation, but relocation and local integration have been premises for TANCOSS throughout.
The relevance also differs between stakeholder groups. The Tanzanian Government has driven the relocation and local integration forward in order to avoid a Burundian enclave. From the refugees’ point of view one might question the relevance of forcefully removing people from the location where they have settled and integrated both economically, socially and culturally over the past almost 40 years.
The strategy for Pillar 3 takes on a broad partnership approach and envisages the implementation to be in the hands of the Government and UN DaO with UNHCR playing a role in protection and monitoring. This is considered relevant for UNHCR given the organization’s mandate. The strategy divides the population of the settlements into segments according to their characteristics and needs for assistance and protection.
The appropriateness of the future implementation hinges on a dignified relocation (including movement of persons, assets), and suitable local integration for the families (access to land), including the attitude and social acceptance by local authorities and host communities. The strategy is vague on the key issue of where, when and how the citizen certificates will be issued, which could jeopardize the appropriateness.
Full integration is by nature a long-term development process and this signals connectedness in principle. The strategy recognises the non-humanitarian actors mainly the Government, the UN DaO partners and other partners as key to successful implementation. Some efforts, although with several difficulties, are observed attempting to bridge the short-term humanitarian and the longer-term development modalities of operation, the UN DaO project, JP 6.1 in North-western Tanzania serves an example.
Originally the target was that naturalised refugees would be integrated in their new host communities by the end of 2010. This timeframe has changed to the end of 2014. A plan of operation is presently being elaborated and will present the different actions (activities and outputs), the sequencing and the timeline of implementation. The complication of the strategy and the need to thoroughly prepare the different elements of the strategy is recognised. One major complication in relation to effectiveness lies in the different conditions meeting the families. With such a large number being relocated and to different areas of the country, it is likely that “full integration” will only have been effectively implemented many years after the closure of the strategy implementation.
The community representatives in the vicinity of the settlements interviewed by the Evaluation on the expected impact, found that closing of the settlements could lead to an unwanted reduction in produce flowing to the local markets, a decline in social services because of out-migration of a part of the population in the district, and to declining revenues of the local governments. A research project carried out at the University of Dar es Salaam has found in North-western Tanzania that the positive impacts of refugee presence outweigh the negative impacts. The presence of refugees in those areas has brought positive impacts such as improved social services especially health services; improved physical infrastructure (roads, airstrips, water facilities) as well as economic development (markets for agricultural produce). On the negative side the study mentions insecurity and large number of weapons found in local communities.
The expectations of the NNTs showed that they did not have much information on what was going to happen. Their views were that relocation and local integration could lead to loss of family ties, traditions and culture, and negative economic effects to the NNTs. For some people relocation was also seen as an opportunity to move on, and UNHCR staff mentioned that young persons expected to leave farming and go to town.
7.3 Lessons learned
Several lessons can be drawn from the Tanzanian experience. The lessons do not claim to be universal in scope, but should only be seen as sources of inspiration for other UNHCR offices and governments facing similar challenges:
Strong commitment of top-level officials in the Tanzanian Government. The Government was the driving force and played a crucial role in shaping durable solutions for the protracted refugee situation. Finding durable solutions to refugee situations can only be achieved if governments are driving the process and are supportive – i.e. political will and leadership is key.
Appropriate timing. The implementation of a durable solutions strategy in Tanzania illustrates that several factors have to be in place in order to move forward. The ongoing peace process in Burundi and the political will to find durable solutions both from the Burundian Government and the Tanzanian Government created a window of opportunity to draw up the strategy and embark on implementation. Repatriation is only possible if there is peace and stability in the country of origin, and naturalisation is only possible if the political will is present in the host country.
Presence of a UNHCR country team with strong networking and engagement skills. This point was reiterated again and again in interviews and was found to be crucial in initiating the discussions with the Tanzanian Government and in reaching an agreement for the Burundian refugees. The staff configuration seems to have been incidental rather than strategic. In the future, UNHCR could consider applying a more systematic deployment of staff members with professional experience in acting as “catalysts” to find solutions in protracted refugee situations.
Need for a regional approach by UNHCR. A regional approach instead of a “two country office approach” with the particular perspectives of national policies could have led to a more appropriate and realistic assessment of the absorption capacity in Burundi. UNHCR’s advocacy role could also have been more balanced than was the case.
The importance of undertaking a thorough contextual analysis. It is proposed (without having analysed the Burundi operation first hand) that the reintegration difficulties in Burundi could have been better assessed and analysed beforehand, if the coordination had been stronger. The situation in Tanzania was well studied but the reintegration problems appear to have been underestimated. UNHCR’s catalytic role in the process could have been more balanced if the situation and in particular the constraints of reintegration in Burundi, had been thoroughly analysed and advocacy for a durable solution had been based on a fuller picture.
The need to carefully assess when a durable solution has actually been successfully accomplished. TANCOSS is already being communicated as a success story, although the most difficult steps are still ahead. Politicisation of the strategy and delays associated with this could jeopardise the completion of the strategy with the unfortunate end result that the expected solution is not durable. This would have disastrous consequences and turn an existing durable solution – experienced by the 1972 group of refugees having lived in the settlements in Tanzania for about 40 years, into a situation resembling internal displacement.
 TANCOSS IV, p 9. The terminology in TANCOSS IV is slightly different from that used in other documents. In this section the wording of TANCOSS IV is used, this document is quite explicit on the expected impact.
 Interviews with present and former UNHCR Tanzania staff and management; interviews with senior UNHCR staff and MoHA, Refugee Department.
 This view came through strongly in interviews with Government officials, but also with UNHCR staff.
 ExCom, Standing Committee 42nd Meeting: Protracted Refugee Situations: revisiting the problem (2 June 2008).
 TANCOSS III, p 6.
 This has also been discussed by NGO articles and in Chambeyron, Nathalie: Land Issues in the Context of Refugee Return to Burundi. School of African and Oriental Studies, September 2009.
 Wording used by a senior UNHCR official in an interview with the Evaluation.
 http://www.refugees.org/article/The Impact of refugees on Tanzania.
This page forms part of the publication 'Evaluation of the protracted refugee situation (PRS) for Burundians in Tanzania' as chapter 9 of 15
Version 1.0. 07-02-2011
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