Conducted by independent consultants: Margie Cook, Ralph-Michael Peters, Denis Mutabazi, Patricia Maritim, Alick Mwale
Zambia has a long, regionally and internationally respected history of providing refuge to people fleeing crisis and in need of a safe haven and protection. This fundamental position of welcome has been a consistent theme of Zambian policy for more than 50 years. It was in this spirit that Zambia became in 2017 one of the first countries to adopt the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), which preceded the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). Zambia’s National Roadmap for the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (2019–2021) was framed on the CRRF. A major contributor to results is the foundational position of the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) regarding provision of land and the principle of non-refoulement; this principle is comprehensively adhered to by the GRZ and forms the basis for UNHCR’s work in Zambia and its effective protection and assistance measures.
Zambia hosts the longest-standing refugee settlement in Africa, at Mayukwayukwa. It was established in 1966 and UNHCR has been actively engaged in the country since that time. As part of its 2020 workplan, UNHCR’s Evaluation Service commissioned an independent evaluation team to conduct a Zambia country strategy evaluation for the period 2015 to 2020.
The purpose of this forward-looking evaluation is to generate evidence to inform UNHCR’s future operational planning and strategy in Zambia; to leverage further effective inclusion and prioritization of refugees for the planning cycle of the next Sustainable Development Partnership Framework; and to support the articulation of the Eighth National Development Plan of the GRZ. The evaluation further aims to provide inputs into UNHCR Zambia’s multi-year planning strategy beyond 2022.
The evaluation aimed to address three core areas of inquiry:
• results achieved in the areas of Protection and Solutions, and the factors informing or impeding those processes;
• the relevance and alignment of the UNHCR Country Strategy to the current and evolving needs of refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR in the light of evolving contextual factors; and
• the opportunities to leverage UNHCR’s strategic influence.
The evaluation covered the period 2015 to 2020 during which fundamental global strategy changes occurred. These included the introduction of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (2015), the CRRF (2016), and the GCR (2018). The UNHCR Zambia Multi-year Multi-partner Protection and Solutions Strategy (MYMPPSS 2019–2021) was developed in response to the GCR and the CRRF, and represents an operational shift in identifying a clearly articulated strategic pathway for UNHCR compared with previous years.
As the principal articulation of the Country Strategy, the MYMPPSS takes into consideration different policy frameworks and planning documents such as: the National Roadmap for the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (2019–2021), the UN Sustainable Development Partnerships Framework (UNSDPF 2020) the UNHCR (Global) Strategic Directions (2017–2021) and the UNHCR Country Operation Plans for Zambia (COPs), which are annual plans that support pillars of the overall strategy. There is considerable interconnection of the MYMPPSS with the CRRF and the GRZ’s National Roadmap, and to a strong but lesser degree with the UNSDPF. This interconnectedness is both a strength and a challenge.
This evaluation is the first formal substantive review and opportunity to test various elements of the country strategy. The findings and recommendations are therefore put forward as suggestions for adaptation based on the first couple of years’ roll-out of the MYMPPSS, with a view to strengthen UNHCR’s operational planning and programmatic approach to achieving protection and durable solutions for persons of concern in Zambia.