ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations

271st Session
Geneva, March 1998

Committee on  Technical Cooperation



Report of the Working Party on the Evaluation
of the Active Partnership Policy


A. Background and terms of reference

B. Findings and issues

  1. General
  2. Country objectives
  3. ILO structure: Capacity, roles and responsibilities
  4. Multidisciplinarity and working together in the MDTs
  5. ILO resources
  6. Visibility and relations with other international agencies
  7. Machinery for evaluation and impact assessment

C. Issues for further discussion

  1. Country objectives
  2. Field structure
  3. Increasing the ILO's visibility
  4. Training
  5. Review and evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy

Appendix I: Composition of the Working Party and mission dates

Appendix II: Terms of reference of the Working Party

Appendix III: Draft for consideration by the Working Party on the Evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy proposed by the Employer and Worker members

A. Background and terms of reference

1. In 1993 the ILO adopted its Active Partnership Policy with the aim of bringing it closer to its tripartite constituency in member States and enhancing the coherence and quality of the technical services provided to them, within the mandate of the Organization and in the pursuit of common objectives.

2. The Governing Body discussed the concept of active partnership at length at its 252nd Session (February-March 1992).(1)  Three major reasons were invoked for a new policy of relations between the Organization and its constituents. The first was that the major donors and UNDP had proposed national execution, with the transfer of responsibilities for the implementation and management of operational activities to recipient member States. Specialized agencies should therefore focus on their normative functions and their analytical capacity. A second reason lay in the transformation of most countries to a market economy and democratic political regimes. Under these more fluid conditions, constituents need to make rapid decisions, and must have the conviction that the ILO is capable of responding to their needs and of helping them develop their capacities and human resources. The third reason was the need for the ILO to compete in the international market for technical cooperation. In order to do so, the ILO had to project a much sharper image and become more visible, defining its role and improving its products, which should concentrate on the Organization's core mandate and integrate international labour standards.

3. In order to put the policy into practice, the Organization underwent important internal changes. The establishment of 14 (now 16) multidisciplinary teams in the regions was a response to the complex nature of the economic and social problems arising in member States and to the need to offer them a more coordinated response. Area Offices were made responsible for developing an active partnership with constituents and drawing up ILO programmes and projects through more extensive tripartite consultations. This new organizational structure was intended to make the best use of the Office's capacity both in the regions and at headquarters. The policy was to be increasingly executed in the field; certain administrative and financial functions were accordingly to be progressively transferred to field offices. Personnel and recruitment policies were revised, and the whole system was to be supervised by the Regional Offices. The link between the work of the MDT members responsible for employers' and workers' activities with ACT/EMP and ACTRAV was specified.

4. The Active Partnership Policy has now been in operation for five years. The Committee on Technical Cooperation has monitored the progress of the policy through Office papers submitted to its meetings in 1994, 1995 and 1996. Among the issues discussed have been: the need for a multidisciplinary approach in the services provided to constituents; cooperation and teamwork between headquarters technical departments, the MDTs and the field offices; the need for full consultations with constituents to ensure that their priorities and concerns are fully integrated into the country objectives; the need to implement activities in support of the country objectives and to mobilize external resources for this purpose; the need to ensure and maintain the demand-driven nature of the country objectives exercises and to maintain dialogue with the constituents at the highest level. The members of the Committee also raised the issue of an assessment of the impact of the Active Partnership Policy.

Scope of the Working Party

5. In March 1997 the Committee on Technical Cooperation recommended to the Governing Body that an evaluation of the APP be undertaken. This was approved and the necessary budgetary allocation was made. A Working Party, comprising three Government, three Employer and three Worker members, was constituted with the Chairperson of the Committee on Technical Cooperation as an additional member to chair its proceedings. It was emphasized that the evaluation should be independent.

Methodology adopted for the evaluation exercise

6. The Working Party conducted its evaluation through discussions in Geneva, through the study of documentation and through field trips to ILO member States in four regions: Ethiopia and Côte d'Ivoire in Africa; Brazil and Peru in the Americas; Pakistan and Thailand in Asia; and Hungary and Ukraine in Europe. Each mission comprised three members of the Working Party (see Appendix I).

7. In accordance with the terms of reference established by the Governing Body,(2)  the main assessment issues that were addressed were the following:

(a) Has the Active Partnership Policy brought the ILO closer to its tripartite constituency in member States?

(b) Have the constituents been increasingly involved in joint action with the ILO?

(c) Have the coherence and quality of technical services provided to constituents been enhanced?

8. Within the framework of the above issues, a large number of questions were posed and provided the basis for the evaluation. The Office prepared a detailed record of all the individual meetings held by the missions at the field level. The members of the Working Party had individual regional group meetings and two general meetings in Geneva during the 270th Session of the Governing Body (November 1997). It was decided that the full Working Party would meet again in Geneva for three days in January.

9. Four regional reports were prepared and sent to all the members of the Working Party for comment and observations. Following the format agreed upon during the November meeting, and on the basis of comments received from members of the evaluation team, the Office prepared a factual synthesis document with conclusions and observations provided by the members of the Working Party themselves.

10. Members of the Working Party met in Geneva for three days in January 1998. The Employers' and Workers' groups provided a joint paper as their contribution to the final report,(3)  which was commented on by the Government group. The workload was such, however, that in spite of great efforts by all, it was not possible to arrive at fully definitive conclusions that would make it possible to finalize a report within the time alloted. The Working Party therefore requested the Office to prepare a report on the issues raised to facilitate discussion in the Committee on Technical Cooperation. The Working Party observed that the evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy should in any case be a comprehensive ongoing process which should involve both headquarters and field structures, and one that required further effort. The current exercise should hence be seen as a first step in that continuing process.

B. Findings and issues

1. General

11. Positive changes were observed by the evaluation team. ILO technical assistance and services had become more demand-driven and relevant for constituents. It had made possible greater involvement by the social partners in the development and implementation of technical assistance programmes. The establishment of the MDTs had brought ILO technical expertise physically closer to constituents. There was enhanced ILO visibility and increased familiarity and responsiveness on the part of ILO experts towards constituents. The multidisciplinary approach had brought greater potential for synergy, cost-effectiveness and the provision of more rapid and comprehensive responses to requests from constituents.

12. There was a general feeling that the APP is the appropriate policy. The evaluation team noted positive assessments of the policy by all constituents. The importance of keeping the policy under constant review and its adaptability to meet the changing environment was raised.

2. Country objectives

13. The main function of the country objectives has been to provide a basis for the concentration of effort, prioritizing demand and promoting basic ILO values. The evaluation team observed that the country objectives had not been completed in all the countries covered by the mission, and that experience of the formulation exercise and its effects had been varied. In some countries the process had gone extremely well, precipitating numerous tripartite meetings and dialogue on important labour and social issues in the country, strengthening the capacities of constituents and obtaining funding for some of the programmes. There had been cases where the process went further and even helped constitute tripartite committees not only for the formulation and implementation of the country objectives, but also to facilitate permanent consultation between the ILO and its constituents. At the other extreme, in one case some of the constituents had the impression that, although formal tripartite meetings had been held and a consensus reached, they had only been heard and their points of view and interests had not been taken into account and did not appear in the final document. In other cases the process had taken a very long time and by the time the document was finalized, constituents felt that things might have been overtaken by events.

14. It was mentioned that the country objectives exercise has an important role to play in the APP. It helps the ILO focus on priorities, promotes tripartism in a concrete way, and ensures that ILO programmes are responsive to the needs and priorities of constituents. The importance was emphasized of social dialogue and tripartism as standard procedures in all countries, regardless of how difficult the situation may be.

15. The importance of involving constituents as from the commencement of the country objectives exercise was emphasized. Questions were also asked about the degree of flexibility of the exercise and its capacity to adapt to new developments, and the available human and financial resources.

16. The importance of finalizing the outstanding country objectives was highlighted.

3. ILO structure: Capacity, roles and responsibilities

17. The Working Party observed that the APP had raised both the level and the quantity of demands from constituents. It had brought about a shift in the nature of the services that constituents required of the ILO. Governments expected high quality services delivered with speed and supported by follow-up action. Employers' and workers' organizations increasingly requested upgrading of their knowledge base and of their capacity to deal with major issues arising from economic restructuring, and in order to broaden their reach into civil society.

18. The Working Party was aware that ILO field structures have been the subject of recent Governing Body review. However, in the context of the APP it expressed concern at the role, capacity and interaction of different ILO units.

19. The role of Area Offices in the APP was raised. It was recognized that they facilitate dialogue with the social partners for the formulation of country objectives, prepare the latter in consultation with the MDTs, and maintain dialogue on the issue. They ensure that the work carried out by the MDTs, Regional Offices and headquarters at the country level are coordinated and focused. They coordinate with donors and other international institutions at the country level, and play an important role in raising funds.

20. There was a general feeling that the Area Offices had not been sufficiently strengthened to cope with the new and more intensive tasks relating to country objectives, programming and follow-up activities. Reduced staffing in certain Area Offices had restricted the scope for better and wider dissemination of the APP and ILO principles, policies and standards at medium and lower levels of government structures and among employers' and workers' organization at similar levels.

21. Attention was drawn to the difficulties faced by countries where ILO field presence was absent and the support normally provided by the Area Office could not therefore be ensured.

22. In many cases the Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) seemed overwhelmed with demand for their services. The evaluation mission recognized that the coverage and demand for services were much larger than what could be provided by the MDT specialists. As a large number of countries had to be covered by a single specialist, the assistance provided in some cases had to be at a very superficial level. A specialist in one of the MDTs had to deal with 53 countries -- by all standards an impossible task. Furthermore, it seemed that the burden of work had prevented the MDTs from building close working relationships. Limitations on financial resources also created bottlenecks affecting the execution of programmes and projects.

23. Attention was drawn to the existence in the teams of vacancies which had been unfilled for long periods. Associate experts, especially in some MDTs, were working on their own in situations where no relevant expert (to whom they should have been attached) was in post or expected to arrive in the foreseeable future. Concern was expressed at this practice, which seemed widespread.

24. The Working Party found that the multidisciplinary teams, as presently constituted, did not always appear to match constituent needs. The composition of MDTs is crucial, and the importance of having, as a minimum, technical expertise in the priority areas demanded by the constituents of the countries covered by the MDT was emphasized. The key role played by standards experts and by employers' and workers' specialists was raised. The importance of periodic reviews of the composition of MDTs in order to remain relevant was emphasized.

25. Given the limited availability of human resources in ILO field units, attention was drawn to the issue of using external experts to provide services (criteria for their recruitment, MDT staff time required for their supervision and backstopping, etc.).

26. The role of the Regional Offices was examined. It had been observed by the evaluation team that the presence of three levels of field units (Regional Office, Area Office and MDT) in single locations gave rise to confusion among constituents. The importance of keeping the structures under review with a view to rationalization where opportunities arose was highlighted.

27. Headquarters role in making the APP work also received comment. The evaluation mission felt that there were some problems in communication and cooperation not only between field units, but also between field units and headquarters.

28. Questions were asked about the implications of, and the difficulties created by, regional and interregional project activities decided by headquarters without adequate consultation or information of the field units in the context of the APP.

4. Multidisciplinarity and working together in the MDTs

29. Mixed results were observed by the evaluation team. Some specialists, including the former Regional Advisers who had earlier been working in isolation in their own specific fields, were now working within the MDT structure; they now interact with other specializations and have a much more global perspective of issues. Missions to draw up country objectives and participation in meetings and workshops involving different disciplines have also helped in this respect. Positive effects could be seen at the level of the recipient country: whereas previously different experts and advisers were seen performing different tasks in a single country with very little interaction, there is now a more consolidated approach. The evaluation team also noted cases where specialists were still focusing on their own areas without consideration for multidisciplinarity or joint work.

30. As for the MDTs as a whole, difficulties had been faced in developing a multidisciplinary culture. The sheer volume and variety of the demand for their services had inhibited the assignment of a number of experts to work on single issues.

31. The role of multidisciplinarity as a key element in the provision of high quality technical services and the importance of MDT specialists' working as a team was highlighted.

5. ILO resources

32. The Working Party observed that the resources available to the ILO were not adequate to meet the increasing demands of constituents or to fulfil the task of making the country objectives fully operational. Various proposals and comments were made on this issue, touching on the possibilities for the reallocation and more efficient use of existing resources; ways and means of mobilizing new resources; the capacity of the field structure to raise extra-budgetary funds; the possibilities of national governments' funding activities to implement country objectives; and existing practices that were cited as obstacles to resource mobilization.

6. Visibility and relations with other international agencies

33. It was generally observed by the evaluation team that even though the APP has made significant achievements in improving the presence of the ILO in member countries, constituents frequently felt that there was a need to improve the Organization's visibility and to make the full range of services that it is able to offer better known. It was stated that dialogue with the ILO at times tended to be only at senior levels with a limited number of interlocutors.

34. Comments were also made on the possibility of using MDT newsletters and the Internet to improve information flows between the ILO and its national constituents and the role of headquarters in responding to this challenge.

35. The evaluation team had observed that there was greater awareness of the ILO's presence among development partners and other international agencies at the national level. In some instances the ILO expertise available at the field level had been used in joint projects and activities with such organizations.

36. The APP operates in a field where other international agencies are donors as well as competitors, and at times they themselves are involved in providing technical cooperation and advice. It was stated that the APP provides a mechanism that can facilitate cooperation with other organizations.

7. Machinery for evaluation and impact assessment

37. The evaluation team did not find any clearly established internal procedures for the evaluation of APP-related activities; the possibility was raised of remedying this by establishing evaluation machinery as an integral part of the APP, involving both ILO units and the tripartite constituency, and reference was made to the need for further discussion on the important supervisory function of the Governing Body.

C. Issues for further discussion

1. Country objectives

2. Field structure

3. Increasing the ILO's visibility

4. Training

5. Review and evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy

Geneva, 26 February 1998.

Appendix I

Composition of the Working Party and mission dates


Mission dates

Mission members

Brasilia, Brazi
Lima, Peru

22-25 September 1997
25-27 September 1997

Ms. J. Perlin (G, Canada)
Mr. J. Varela (E)
Mr. W. Brett (W)

Bangkok, Thailand
Islamabad/Karachi, Pakistan

13-14 October 1997
16-17 October 1997

Mr. K. Fannizadeh (G, Islamic Republic of Iran)
Mr. I.P. Anand (E)
Mr. Z. Rampak (W)

Budapest, Hungary
Kyiv, Ukraine

20-22 October 1997
22-24 October l997

Mr. R. Henczel (G, Poland)
Mr. E. Hoff (E)
Mr. Y. Kara (W)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

16-17 October 1997
13-15 October 1997

Mme. A.C. Diallo (G, Senegal)
Mr. E. Hoff (E)
Mr. I.M. Mayaki (W)

G Government member
E Employer member
W Worker member

Appendix III

Draft for consideration by the Working Party on the
Evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy
proposed by the Employer and Worker members


The Working Party gave effect to the Governing Body's decision by undertaking missions to examine the operation of the APP in selected member States in the different regions. Its aim was not to comment in detail on specific situations, but rather to draw from them general lessons about how the policy can be made to work better.

It believes that its recommendations provide a sound basis for follow-up action.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the comprehensive evaluation of the APP needs to be an ongoing process, requiring further effort, including the in-depth examination of specific issues and broader country coverage.

1. The APP in general

It is clear that The APP is assessed positively by all constituents. The ILO has been brought nearer to its constituents by the APP and is better able to serve their needs than before.

The APP is therefore an appropriate policy and nobody called it into question. However, there is much scope to make it work better. It is implemented unevenly across countries and regions, and the spreading of resources thinly means that it is not always possible to give full effect to its objectives. It needs to be kept under constant review and adapted to meet the changing environment.

The value of the APP must be seen not just in the contents of what it delivers, but also in the processes involved. The APP is a critically important vehicle for promoting tripartism at the national level. Efforts need to be made to maximize this potential, particularly by institutionalizing tripartite consultations associated with the policy. This should be linked to the promotion of Convention No. 144.

The APP does not exist in isolation from the rest of ILO activities. It is subject to a wide range of policy decisions and orientations handed down by the Conference, the Governing Body and the Director General. These must be observed.

An analysis of the workings of the APP requires that an evaluation also be made of headquarters, as it too has a role to play in the implementation of the APP. This element is missing from the evaluation and needs to be addressed as a matter of priority. Future evaluations should involve discussions with both constituents and ILO staff, both at headquarters and in the field; the latter should include members of the multidisciplinary teams.

2. Country Objective Reviews

Country Objective Reviews are a useful tool and help the ILO to focus on priorities and to come up with demand-driven work plans. It is important that the country objectives be those of the constituents.

Country Objective Reviews are the basis of national-level APP activity, and are thus of great significance. They are at different stages in different countries (precise statistics on how many have been completed should be included). It is essential that all three constituents be involved in the consultation process from the very commencement of the country objective exercise. The delays in finalizing country objectives reviews should be eliminated.

The process of drawing up country objectives is the first way in which the APP can promote tripartism in a concrete way. Already there are concrete results in some countries. However, it has not always proved possible to secure full tripartite agreement. Where this is the case, efforts still need to be made to promote agreement. Social dialogue and tripartism must be standing items for the APP in all countries, regardless of how difficult the climate may be.

Programmes based on the country objectives should not be over-ambitious, and should be in line with the financial and human resources available. It is therefore necessary to establish priorities.

Some reservations about the value of Country Objective Reviews were expressed, notably that they impose undue rigidity and take resources away from other priorities. Country Objective Reviews should not be over-formal, and should be subject to flexibility in their application, and modified in the light of developments. In all events, they should be reviewed on a tripartite basis at appropriate intervals.

3. Responsiveness to demand

The philosophy that the APP should be demand-driven, i.e. respond to the expressed needs of national constituents, is valid and is respected to a significant extent in practice. Nevertheless, further efforts are required to ensure that constituents at all levels fully understand their role in the APP and are in a position to participate in it effectively.

The APP should reflect overall ILO values, principles and priorities (currently democracy and human rights; employment and poverty; and the protection of workers). Attention should be given to these values and priorities in a balanced manner.

International labour standards have been recognized as a pillar of the APP. They should receive sufficient attention. Some of the major standards-related policy debates in the ILO require follow-up through the APP (the campaign to promote the fundamental Conventions, the work of the Working Party on Policy regarding the Revision of Standards, the operation of the supervisory machinery). These need to be better integrated into APP activities.

4. ILO resources

It is a truism that ILO resources cannot match the increasing demands of constituents. The Working Party cannot realistically, or responsibly, recommend that extra resources be allocated to the APP generally: they are not available. It can only recommend the reallocation of what already exists, and its more efficient use.

There is a need for greater transparency in the process of RBTC allocations, which must be reported regularly to the Governing Body. Levels of allocations to Regional and Area Offices and to MDTs need to be considered further, and their rationale clarified.

There are misconceptions about how RBTC funds should be allocated to specific activities for workers and for employers, with some units apparently taking the view that these are the exclusive responsibility of ACTRAV and ACTEMP. This is wrong. Field structures must also make appropriate RBTC allocations to activities with the social partners, since the APP was intended to strengthen the social partners as well. This objective is not served by only involving the social partners in tripartite activities.

There is a need for further examination of resource flows, for example from headquarters to the field; allocations among constituents of the technical cooperation resources used in the field; the criteria adopted in the use of such resources, etc.

5. Extra-budgetary resources

The mobilization of extra-budgetary resources is crucial to ILO technical cooperation, and the Governing Body has given detailed attention to it. It is clear that, without external funding, Country Objective Reviews will largely remain inoperative. It appears that field structures find the task of fund raising a major burden and are not well equipped to carry it out. The danger exists of a crisis of disappointed expectations, which could undermine the credibility of the APP in the eyes of constituents.

It is therefore disturbing that the ILO's financial procedures and rules (e.g. programme support costs of 13 per cent) are cited as an obstacle to attracting extra-budgetary resources. This situation needs urgent review.

Significant potential would seem to exist in national government funding of activities to implement Country Objective Reviews.

Extra-budgetary funding may become available for certain APP activities, but not for others. Where this is so, RBTC must be channelled to plug the gaps.

6. Field structures

ILO field structures have been the subject of recent Governing Body review. There are points of concern about the role and interaction of different field units in the context of the APP. These need to be addressed to avert the dangers of duplication, waste and incoherence which would undermine constituents' confidence in the APP.

Area Offices and MDTs are seen as the keys to the APP. The policy's success is dependent on their smooth functioning, and yet they are identified as being under-funded, and overwhelmed by responsibilities that they have difficulty meeting. This could constitute a potentially fatal bottleneck at the heart of the APP, and needs to be addressed

The role of Regional Offices in The APP is unclear. They are described as having a coordinating role, but this is not defined explicitly, and it is difficult to identify what the resource inputs really are.

The evaluation process revealed some problems in communications and cooperation between Area offices and MDTs. It is difficult to assess how widespread these are, or if the causes are anything more than the result of specific circumstances which need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

More generally, the existence of three levels of field structures gives rise to confusion among constituents, particularly when all three levels are present in a single location. This superimposition looks unwieldy and, without underestimating the political obstacles involved, should be kept under review with a view to rationalization where opportunities arise. In the meantime every effort should be made to ensure that communications between the different levels are optimal.

7. Relations between headquarters and the field

Headquarters has a critically important role in making the APP work.

Management has not only to keep itself abreast of social development trends around the world: it has also to keep field units informed of all plans, policy decisions and potential developments of relevance to the APP and ensure that these are acted upon and understood. Similarly, its oversight role requires it to ensure that activities in the field reflect ILO policy. Where things go wrong it also has to be prompt in troubleshooting.

Field units look to headquarters technical departments to react swiftly to requests for technical input which they are unable to provide themselves. Results appear mixed. It is important, therefore, that all technical departments recognize fully that support to the field is an integral part of their responsibilities, and allocate resources accordingly. The use of headquarters RBTC was mentioned as being central to this issue, and should be subject to review.

Concerns were expressed about the negative impact of global and regional project activities decided by headquarters without consulting or informing field units. Such activities should not raise problems, so long as appropriate information flows are maintained.

Leadership in the field structure is crucial to the success of the APP. In addition to specific technical competence, the leadership needs to have the ability to forge team spirit, motivate team members, build good relations with constituents and promote consensus.

Some concerns were also expressed that the decentralization of financial and administrative functions to the field was imposing work overloads, on Area Offices in particular. The situation needs to be kept under review and remedial action taken where necessary. Headquarters has an important backstopping role in this area.

8. Composition of MDTs

The composition of MDTs emerged as a key issue. It is important that the teams cover at least the priority areas of technical expertise demanded by constituents in the countries concerned, particularly since the availability of expertise was said to influence the content of Country Objective Reviews from the outset.

MDTs as presently constituted do not always appear to match constituents' needs as well as they should. Periodic reviews of all MDTs should be undertaken as a matter of priority.

The need for standards specialists to be included in all 16 MDTs was recognised, and early action in this regard is needed.

Similarly, the key role of workers' and employers' specialists was underlined. They too should be provided in all 16 teams.

The existence of long-term unfilled vacancies in many teams is very harmful, and is a cause for serious concern. The obstacles involved need to be identified and overcome immediately.

The use of associate experts to cover ILO staff vacancies appears widespread, and is an unsatisfactory practice. It is unfair to the experts concerned, and puts at risk the quality of service provided by the APP.

In this regard, training has a key role to play in ensuring that all field staff have the skills and knowledge required to deliver satisfactorily the services demanded of them. The ILO's own reputation and capacity to compete in the provision of technical cooperation depends on its speaking with coherence and authority on all matters within its mandate.

9. The multidisciplinary approach

The idea of providing a multidisciplinary perspective has been integrated into the APP from the beginning. In practice it seems difficult to develop a multidisciplinary culture. There is evidence that the volume and variety of demands from constituents makes it difficult to concentrate a number of experts on single issues.

Nevertheless, it is crucial that expertise is made available to workers' and employers' organizations as well as to governments. They should not be the exclusive responsibility of the workers' and employers' specialists in MDTs, but they should rather be able to call upon the services of all team members.

10. ILO visibility

While the APP has done much to improve the presence of the ILO in member States, constituents still commented frequently on the need to improve the Organization's visibility, and to make better known the full range of services that it is able to offer. Information flows between the ILO and its national constituents are as crucial to the APP as such flows are within the ILO.

Initiatives to meet this need might include MDT newsletters, or use of the Internet. Headquarters can help the field in responding to this challenge.

11. Outside expertise

One consequence of limited human resources in ILO field units has been the use of external experts to provide services. An estimate from one MDT was that 40 per cent of staff time was spent supervising and backstopping such experts.

This type of practice can be appropriate, so long as it is accompanied by appropriate safeguards concerning the competence of the consultants called upon. Age alone should not be an obstacle to the recruitment of a consultant.

12. Relations with other international agencies

The APP operates in a field where other international agencies are active, both as providers of technical cooperation and advice, and as donors. That puts the ILO into relationships of both cooperation and competition with them.

The APP is a mechanism that can facilitate ILO cooperation with other organizations. Country Objective Reviews should be determined by the ILO and its constituents alone, but their implementation can certainly be coordinated with that of UN Country Strategy Notes. On the ground, experience should cement good inter-organizational working relationships without compromising the ILO's identity or autonomy.

The ILO's competitive position will depend in large part on its proven capacity to deliver high-quality services in areas of importance. That is precisely the objective of the APP. There is a marketing function within the APP.

13. Evaluation and impact assessment

Field units explained that there were no clearly established internal procedures for the evaluation of APP activities. While some thought it too early, others said they would welcome evaluation machinery. MERS was not widely referred to as a tool in this area.

There is a clear need to establish evaluation machinery as an integral part of the APP, which would involve both ILO units and the tripartite constituency.

The Governing Body also has an important oversight function, covering follow up on the current evaluation process. Its precise content should be the subject of further discussion, but might involve regular, in-depth consideration of specific priority issues, and, periodically, more general assessments of problems and progress.

14. Further action

An evaluation of the role of headquarters in the APP should be conducted to complement the present evaluation.

The APP should continue to be evaluated at regular intervals, including through evaluations undertaken by members of the Governing Body in their respective regions on a tripartite basis, as well as global reviews at longer intervals.

1. In the context of its discussion of a paper entitled International labour standards and technical cooperation, GB.252/15/1.

2. GB.269/WP/APP/1, June 1997, reproduced in Appendix II.

3. See Appendix III.

4. Text in italics was intended as the major recommendations of the Working Party.

Updated by VC. Approved by NdW. Last update: 26 January 2000.