The Facility for Refugees in Turkey: helpful support, but improvements needed to deliver more value for money
About the report The Facility for Refugees in Turkey is the EU response to the European Council's call for significant additional funding to support refugees in Turkey. It is a mechanism for coordinating and streamlining aid from the EU and its Member States. Our audit examined whether the Facility effectively supported the refugees in Turkey by focusing on the management of the Facility, and on the results achieved so far under its humanitarian strand. We found that, in a challenging context, the Facility for Refugees in Turkey rapidly mobilised €3 billion to provide a swift response to the refugee crisis. Nevertheless, it did not fully achieve its objective of coordinating this response effectively. The audited projects provided helpful support to refugees; most of them have achieved their outputs, but half of them have not yet achieved their expected outcomes. Furthermore, we identified room for increasing the efficiency of cash-assistance projects. We therefore conclude that the Facility could have been more effective, and that it could achieve more value for money.
The Facility for Refugees in Turkey is the EU response to the European Council's call for significant additional funding to support refugees in Turkey. It is a mechanism for coordinating and streamlining an amount of €3 billion from the EU and its Member States. The support covers humanitarian and non-humanitarian activities, with a financial allocation of €1.4 billion and €1.6 billion respectively. The Facility aims to enhance the efficiency and complementarity of support provided to refugees and host communities in Turkey.II
Our audit examined whether the Facility effectively supported the refugees in Turkey. We focused on the management of the first tranche of the Facility, and on the results achieved so far under its humanitarian strand.III
We found that, in a challenging context, the Facility for Refugees in Turkey rapidly mobilised €3 billion from the EU budget and the EU Member States to provide a swift response to the refugee crisis. Nevertheless, it did not fully achieve its objective of coordinating this response effectively. The audited projects provided helpful support to refugees; most of them have achieved their outputs, but half of them have not yet achieved their expected outcomes. Furthermore, we identified room for increasing the efficiency of cash-assistance projects. We therefore conclude that the Facility could have been more effective, and that it could achieve more value for money.IV
The Commission identified the priority needs of refugees based on a comprehensive needs assessment. However, disagreements between Turkey and the EU on how to address the priority needs in municipal infrastructure and socio-economic support resulted in these areas being insufficiently covered.V
The Facility supported similar type of activities in the health and education sectors through different instruments. This made coordination more complex and resulted in the parallel use of different management structures to fund similar projects.VI
Although we identified some good examples in the health sector, where the Commission supported the transition from humanitarian to more durable development assistance, this complementarity was not systematically achieved.VII
We also found room to improve the efficiency of the humanitarian projects funded by the Facility. Firstly, when reviewing project proposals, the Commission did not consistently and comprehensively assess the reasonableness of the budgeted costs. Secondly, even if they were in line with the legal framework, the indirect costs paid to the partners implementing large cash-assistance projects were high, and the level of advance payments was not aligned with the actual cash outflows of the projects.VIII
The Commission put in place appropriate measures to monitor humanitarian projects. The main limitation was the Turkish authorities’ refusal to grant access to beneficiary data for the two cash-assistance projects. In fact, neither the Commission nor the ECA was able to track the project beneficiaries from their registration to the payment.IX
The Facility results framework, which reports on the consolidated results, was still under development: baselines, milestones or quantified targets for high-level indicators had not yet been completed. Public reporting was limited and its scope did not capture the whole EU assistance to refugees in Turkey.X
All the audited humanitarian projects helped refugees to meet their needs, mainly through the cash-based assistance. Most of them delivered all or most of their intended outputs. However, half of them have not yet achieved the outcomes expected and nine out of ten had to be extended. The challenging operating environment was the main factor hindering the timely implementation of projects managed by INGOs.XI
The report sets out six recommendations aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the second tranche of the Facility’s budget. The Commission should:
- better address refugees’ needs for municipal infrastructure and socio-economic support;
- improve the streamlining and the complementarity of assistance;
- implement a strategy for the transition from humanitarian to development assistance;
- improve the efficiency of cash-assistance projects;
- address with the Turkish authorities the need to improve the operating environment for (I)NGOs; and
- scale up monitoring and reporting of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.
Turkey and the EU have been linked by an Association Agreement since 1963. The European Council granted the status of candidate country to become a member of the EU to Turkey in December 1999 and accession negotiations were opened in 2005. Turkey is by far the largest beneficiary of the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), which the EU uses to prepare candidate countries for membership of the EU, with an allocation of more than €9 billion for the 2007-2020 period1.02
Due to its location, Turkey is both a reception and transit country for many refugees. Because of increased migratory flows, mainly due to the Syrian conflict, Turkey hosts the largest refugee population in the world: nearly 4 million people2. This includes about 3.5 million Syrians of whom about 94 % are living outside refugee camps3. Since the start of the crisis, Turkey has provided a significant and continued support to refugees.
The Syrian refugee crisis did not just affect Turkey: it also affected the EU Member States. In 2015 alone, some 850 000 refugees crossed the Mediterranean from Turkey to Greece4 and sought asylum in EU countries. Following the adoption of the European Agenda on Migration in May 2015, the EU and its Member States took several measures to address the challenges identified.04
On 15 October 2015, the Commission proposed an EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan (JAP) to assist Turkey in the management of the migration crisis. The JAP identifies measures to be implemented by the EU and Turkey with the aim of (a) providing support to the Syrians under temporary protection (SuTP) and their Turkish hosting communities and (b) improving cooperation with the aim of preventing irregular migration flows to the EU.05
The first action to be undertaken by the EU under the JAP was to mobilise a substantial amount of funds ‘to support Turkey in coping with the challenge represented by the presence of Syrian people under temporary protection’5. The funds were to be mobilised as flexibly and rapidly as possible. As a response to this requirement, the Commission set up the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.
The Facility for Refugees in Turkey06
The Facility is a coordination mechanism aimed at assisting Turkey in ‘addressing the immediate humanitarian and development needs of refugees and their host communities, national and local authorities in managing and addressing the consequences of the inflow of refugees.’ Its objectives are to coordinate and streamline actions financed from the Union’s budget and bilateral contributions from EU Member States, and to enhance the efficiency and complementarity of support provided to refugees and host communities in Turkey6. The Facility is an innovative pooling tool that is different from other pooling mechanisms used in the EU, such as the EU Trust Funds7 (see Table 1).
|Facility||EU Trust Funds|
|Within the EU budget||X|
|Donors' fixed contributions||X|
|Open to non-EU donors||X|
|In charge of project selection||X|
|Specific results framework||X||X|
|Specific annual accounts||X|
Established on 1 January 2016, it has a budget of €3 billion to be used in 2016 and 20178. Of this amount, €1 billion is financed from the EU budget and €2 billion from the EU Member States9 (Annex I shows the national contributions for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey). The support provided covers humanitarian and non-humanitarian activities, with a financial allocation of €1.4 billion and €1.6 billion respectively. The Facility coordinates financing from different existing instruments (see Table 2).
|Financing instruments (in million euro)||EU Budget line||EU Budget (a)||Contributions from Member States (b)||Total budget under the Facility (a+b)|
|Humanitarian aid (1)||23 02 01||310||1 090||1 400|
|Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance||22 02 03||650||910||1 560|
|Development Cooperation Instrument||21 02||20||20|
|Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace||19 02 01||20||20|
|Subtotal Non-humanitarian aid (2)||690||910||1 600|
|TOTAL (1+2)||1 000||2 000||3 000|
Source: European Commission “First annual report on the Facility for refugees in Turkey”.08
The assistance focuses on six priority areas: (1) humanitarian assistance, (2) migration management, (3) education, (4) health, (5) municipal infrastructure and (6) socio-economic support10. The projects funded by the Facility are selected and implemented through the underlying instruments (see Table 2) and therefore, in accordance with their applicable rules and requirements11. This includes implementation through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis – the ‘EUTF Madad’12. Annex II illustrates in more detail how this works.09
In the EU-Turkey Statement dated 18 March 201613, the Members of the European Council and Turkey confirmed their commitment to implementing the JAP and to ending irregular migration from Turkey to Greece14. On this occasion, they also agreed that an additional €3 billion funding could be added to the Facility’s budget before the end of 2018. On 28 June 2018, the European Council agreed to launch the second tranche of the Facility’s budget.
The Facility’s Steering Committee10
The Facility is governed by a Steering Committee, which is chaired by the Commission, and includes representatives from all EU Member States. Representatives from Turkey attend its meetings in an advisory capacity and participate to the discussions related to the implementation of the support. The Steering Committee’s role is to provide strategic guidance. This involves ‘setting overall priorities, [the] types of actions to be supported, the instruments to be used […] and the coordination of the actions’ financed under the Facility15. It is also in charge of monitoring and assessing the implementation of the actions.11
The Commission retains ultimate responsibility for managing actions. The Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), with the EU Delegation in Turkey, is responsible for implementing projects funded via IPA, whereas the Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) is responsible for the humanitarian strand. The Commission is also in charge of the projects implemented via the EUTF Madad.
Audit scope and approach12
Our objective was to assess the management of the Facility and the results achieved so far. The audit covered the period from the establishment of the Facility until 31 March 2018. The main audit question was: ‘Is the Facility for Refugees in Turkey effectively supporting refugees in Turkey?’. This question was broken down into two sub-questions.
- Did the set-up and functioning of the Facility as a mechanism contribute to a relevant, swift and well-coordinated support?
In order to answer this question, we examined whether the Commission identified the priority needs of refugees and addressed them in a swift and coordinated manner.
- Have the humanitarian projects funded by the Facility achieved their expected results?
In order to answer this question, we examined the implementation, monitoring and results achieved by a sample of projects supported by the Facility. Because most non-humanitarian projects were not yet at a sufficiently advanced stage of implementation at the time of the audit16, we focused this part of our analysis on humanitarian projects.
We audited a sample of 10 humanitarian projects amounting to €458 million (see Annex III A). We selected the sample to have a balanced coverage of projects in terms of financial significance, sectors (basic needs, protection, health, education) and types of implementing partner (UN agencies, INGOs). The sample was selected from a total of 45 humanitarian contracts, and represents 33 % of the total amount of contracted humanitarian assistance.14
The audit included desk reviews and interviews with various Commission departments, the EU Delegation and ECHO offices in Turkey, some EU Member States’ representatives to the Steering Committee of the Facility, the Turkish authorities, international bodies and non-governmental organisations and final beneficiaries17. We visited eight out of the ten projects in our sample during a visit to Turkey in January 201818.15
The Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policies (MoFSP) did not grant us access to its database of eligible beneficiaries of the audited cash-transfer projects (the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) and the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE)). As a result, we could not track final beneficiaries from their registration to payment. Further details are provided in paragraph 53.
The Facility rapidly mobilised relevant support, but was not fully effective as a coordination mechanism16
We assessed the following:
- Whether the Facility identified and addressed the main needs of refugees by means of a comprehensive and rigorous needs assessment;
- Whether the Facility’s administrative arrangements allowed the €3 billion assistance to be contracted swiftly, i.e. during the period 2016-2017, as laid down in the Commission’s decision establishing the Facility; and
- Whether the Facility effectively coordinated the assistance. In particular, we examined whether the procedures in place for selecting and approving actions streamlined the assistance and ensured complementarity between: i) the different EU spending instruments used and, ii) humanitarian and non-humanitarian support.
The Facility appropriately addressed the main needs of the refugees, except those needs related to municipal infrastructure and socio-economic support17
The allocation of €3 billion in funding was the result of a political decision agreed between EU Member States and Turkey. This amount represented a significant increase in the overall amount of assistance being made available by the EU in Turkey. However, it did not aim to cover the whole cost of support for refugees19.
A needs assessment with some limitations18
The EU Turkey Joint Action Plan (see paragraph 4) required the EU institutions and Turkey to proceed with a comprehensive joint needs assessment before disbursing the €3 billion budget20. Even though the Turkish authorities were involved in the needs assessment, they did not officially endorse the exercise.19
The needs assessment was finalised in June 2016. It was comprehensive, as it included an assessment of both humanitarian and development needs and provided relevant information on the situation of Syrian refugees, identifying gaps to be addressed taking into account past, ongoing and planned assistance to Syrian people under temporary protection (SuTP) in Turkey. However, it was not sufficiently rigorous:
- Most of the numerical data (e.g. sector statistics) in the needs assessment was provided by the Turkish authorities. The consultants who carried out the needs assessment were not able to access primary data. They could therefore not validate the estimated cost of the measures needed to address the needs of refugees and host communities.
- There was a lack of up-to-date demographic information broken down by gender, age group and location and a lack of information on vulnerabilities (female-headed households, children, elderly people, etc.). The consultants described this as ’a serious hindrance to assessing needs and designing programmes and interventions’. For example, in the sector of social support and cohesion, the latest nation-wide vulnerability assessment was from 2013.
- The needs assessment targeted SuTP and did not address the needs of the non-Syrian refugee population (mainly Afghans and Iraqis). The vast majority of refugees in Turkey are SuTP (see paragraph 2); SuTP were therefore the primary target group supported under the Facility. Nevertheless, this was not in line with the stated aim of the Facility to address the needs of all refugees.
The priority areas of the Facility (see paragraph 8) were largely aligned with the needs assessment. The only exception was ‘migration management’ which the Steering Committee selected as a priority area although it was not included in the scope of the needs assessment. Considering that the main objective of the Facility was to support refugees and host communities, and that migration management in Turkey had already been allocated about €350 million in support under the IPA (outside the Facility), the grounds for identifying it as a priority area are questionable. In fact, after having funded two migration-management projects, the Steering Committee decided not to allocate any more money to this area.21
The priority areas were broadly defined to ensure the necessary flexibility in a difficult and rapidly changing context. The individual projects were aimed at addressing the specific needs of refugees. We reviewed the rationale for the selection of the 10 audited projects and found that this was indeed the case for all of them (See Annex III B) for details). When submitting a proposal for funding, the implementing partner of humanitarian projects must describe the problems, needs and risks identified and how the proposed response is adequate and consistent with the Commission’s overall humanitarian strategy in Turkey. Box 1 shows how the EU’s largest humanitarian project funded by the Facility addressed the needs of refugees.
The ESSN: an innovative project design to address the needs of refugees
The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) is the largest-ever humanitarian project funded by the EU, aimed at providing assistance to 1.3 million refugees. The project is being implemented in two phases covering the periods from 2016-2018 and from 2018-2019, with a budget of €348 million and €650 million respectively. The ESSN addresses basic needs (food, non-food items and services) by providing cash assistance. The project is implemented across Turkey by a UN Agency in collaboration with a local implementing partner and the Turkish authorities. It is innovative because it is a hybrid humanitarian aid project embedded in the national social-protection system.
In recent years, despite the perceived risk of misuse of funds, there has been a growing consensus amongst humanitarian stakeholders on the benefits of cash assistance21. This was reflected at the World Humanitarian summit in June 2016, where cash transfers were promoted, when appropriate.
The project targets refugees living outside the camps, whose opportunities to enter the national labour market are limited. It provides a stable and predictable source of income to cover their basic needs, mainly accommodation and food. In practice, refugees receive a monthly fixed amount (about €30 per person). They use a debit card to withdraw cash at ATMs or to pay in shops.
Two priority areas were insufficiently supported22
The Facility focused its spending on the priority areas of education, health and humanitarian assistance (mainly the ESSN). These areas made up approximately 90 % of the total contracted amount (see Figure 1).
It is difficult to assess whether this distribution of funding is proportionate to the scale of the needs in the priority areas, because the Steering Committee did not set indicative up-front allocations for each priority area. Although this increases flexibility in the allocation of funds, it does not allow an assessment to be made of the differences between planned and actual expenditure for each priority area.24
We found that the priority area ‘municipal infrastructure’ and ‘socio-economic support’ were not sufficiently addressed. As shown in Box 2, the main reason was that the Commission and the Turkish authorities disagreed on how to address them.
Difficulties in the programming of the priority areas ‘municipal infrastructure’ and ‘socio-economic support’
In July 2016, the Commission allocated €200 million to address needs associated with municipal infrastructure. Expected results were increased capacity in the areas of water and wastewater management, and solid waste collection. Two partners, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), were selected to implement related actions on the ground. The EBRD wished to make its intervention contingent on the inclusion of a loan component in the support it provided; this condition was not accepted by the Turkish authorities. Following extensive negotiations, EBRD had to be replaced by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Ultimately, both the EIB and the KfW were forced to cancel their projects due to the lack of adequate and sufficiently mature projects put forward by the local institutions and municipalities. As a result, the priority area ‘municipal infrastructure’ was not addressed by the Facility22. The funds allocated to this priority area were transferred to the priority area ‘education’ at the end of 2017.
Socio-economic support (access to the labour market, vocational training, and social inclusion)
The Commission concluded contracts to a total value of €215 million under the priority area ‘socio-economic support’, most of it (68 %) in December 2017, at the end of the contracting period. The conclusion of contracts in this area was delayed because it was initially not a priority for the Turkish authorities and due to disagreements on credit components included in the projects. However, given the increasingly protracted nature of the crisis, most stakeholders we met felt that more funding should be allocated to this area to develop the resilience of refugees, and enhance their participation in the economy and in society.
The Facility achieved its objective of contracting three billion euros in two years25
The decision to set-up a ‘Facility’ reflected the need to mobilise additional funds. A key benefit of the Facility was that the Member States agreed23 on their €2 billion contribution in February 2016 immediately after the establishment of the Facility. This provided the basis for swift use of the funds, based on a pre-defined budgeted amount.26
The legal and administrative framework of the Facility was also put in place relatively quickly. The Commission and the EU Member States agreed the rules of procedure of the Facility during the first Steering Committee meeting on 17 February 2016. This meant that the Facility became operational less than three months after the EU-Turkey summit of 29 November 2015. Annex V presents the key dates and events associated with the set-up and governance of the Facility.27
The Facility’s funds were disbursed using a mix of existing instruments (see paragraph 8) and implementing partners. This allowed the Facility to quickly absorb the significant increase in the EU funds channelled to Turkey and to contract €3 billion in two years. As shown in Figure 2, the scale-up in funding was particularly high for humanitarian assistance.
Aside from the rapid set-up of the Facility and effective pooling of funding, the Commission’s choice of delivery mechanisms, as described below, was a key factor in enabling the Facility to achieve its objective of delivering assistance swiftly.
- The Commission made three direct grants totalling €660 million available to the Turkish authorities for large-scale projects under the non-humanitarian strand, without calls for proposals. In Turkey, EU direct grants are usually used for much smaller projects with an average amount of €1 million.
- 70 % of the €3 billion budget was channelled to UN organisations and international financial institutions (see Annex II). This contributed to increasing the absorption capacity, since organisations of this kind normally have the means to implement large projects; for example, the multi-purpose cash-assistance project, the ESSN, which was implemented as the main vehicle to provide humanitarian assistance, with €998 million in funding (see Box 1).
The combined features described in paragraphs 25 to 28, are not always available to other EU instruments or EU Trust Funds outside the Facility. This explains why the IPA funds channelled under the Facility were contracted up to five times faster than traditional IPA assistance in Turkey. As shown in Annex VI, the contracting speed of the Facility was also faster than that of the EU Trust Funds.
The Facility contributed to enhanced coordination but the streamlining and complementarity of the assistance was not systematically achieved30
We assessed whether the Facility coordinated and streamlined the assistance provided under different instruments to reduce the risk of inefficiencies (e.g. overlapping projects) and whether it enhanced the complementarity of support, with the aim of facilitating a transition from humanitarian to non-humanitarian assistance.31
We found that the Commission coordinated the strategic direction of the Facility through a common needs assessment, governance structure (the Steering Committee) and results framework covering both humanitarian and non-humanitarian support. This enabled the coordination and the exchange of information between the two main responsible Commission departments (DG NEAR and DG ECHO) and the EUTF Madad.32
However, the Commission did not set up clear demarcation lines between instruments and implementing partners. In some cases, we found that the funding instruments used by the Facility supported very similar activities in the health and education sectors. This implied the use of parallel management structures for the financing of similar activities, and required comprehensive coordination efforts from the Commission and partners to mitigate the risk of overlaps. This is not in line with the Facility’s objective of streamlining EU assistance. Box 3 presents examples of how the Facility funded similar activities under different instruments.
Examples of similar activities funded under different instruments
In the field of education, implementing partners received funding channelled through three instruments under the Facility and also through IPA funding (outside the Facility) and EU Member States’ bilateral contributions. ECHO’s key project in education (the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education - CCTE) focuses on formal education. But EUTF Madad and IPA also supported formal and non-formal education activities within and outside the Facility24. This resulted in three different project selection boards from ECHO, IPA and EUTF Madad working in parallel to approve similar projects. In addition, other donors in Turkey also supported the education sector, which complicated coordination. Annex VII shows the complexity of the education activities that were funded through and outside the Facility.
- A project submitted for funding under the Humanitarian priority area in June 2016, worth €40 million, was put on hold and later rejected as the activities proposed were already going to be covered under a contract signed with another partner under the EUTF Madad. That contract was concluded on 31 March 2017, nine months after the initial proposal submitted to ECHO.
- Activities dedicated to women’s and girls’ safe spaces were implemented simultaneously by the same implementing partner from two different sources of EU funding: (i) under the Facility via ECHO and (ii) outside the Facility, as a subcontractor of an IPA €40 million project. In practice, this entailed both ECHO and the EU Delegation managing and monitoring the same activities in parallel, though in different geographical areas. Also, in this particular case, the activities funded outside of the Facility were not included in the results framework of the Facility, although they are very similar in nature and timing.
As noted above, channelling support through different instruments allowed the Commission to speed up the Facility’s funding (see paragraph 27). On the other hand, it added to the complexity of the management, implementation and supervision of the Facility as a whole. Indeed, these instruments have different mandates and legal frameworks, different delivery mechanisms, different reporting and monitoring requirements, and are managed by different departments. Furthermore, EU funds spent in Turkey outside the Facility also supported some of the same priority areas as the Facility25. Some of the stakeholders we interviewed during our visit to Turkey confirmed that this situation was confusing, notably in terms of the role each instrument was expected to play.34
The Facility’s stated objective of ensuring the complementarity of the assistance includes the link between humanitarian and non-humanitarian support. Although we identified some good examples in the health sector where the Commission ensured that humanitarian aid would give way to more durable development assistance, we found that this complementarity was not systematically achieved. For example, the Commission did not design joint implementation plans between DGs ECHO and NEAR and the EU Member States26 although such plans could have enhanced the overall coherence and streamlining of EU assistance. We consider joint implementation plans to be a good practice, and the Commission used it when designing Joint Humanitarian and Development frameworks for Jordan and Lebanon with the objective of developing a comprehensive and joint response27.35
In seven out of the ten humanitarian projects we audited, we found no evidence of any agreed transition or exit strategy, whereby humanitarian projects, which are supposed to cover emergency needs, could be taken over by the non-humanitarian strand of the Facility, or by Turkey, when these needs persisted in the medium to long term. In several cases, the audited projects were subject to follow-up actions, still under humanitarian funding and with an implementation period beyond 2018. The indicative deadline set by DG ECHO for the transition of humanitarian aid was the end of 201828. This deadline was later extended. Box 4 provides examples of good and weak transition strategies from the sample of audited projects.
Examples of good and weak project transition strategies
Project 4, ‘Supporting adapted and culturally sensitive healthcare services to Syrian refugees’, shows how the Commission used the Facility to foster synergies between ECHO and IPA funding to ensure a smooth transition from humanitarian to development assistance.
Following an initial contract of the value of €2 million, DG ECHO provided €10 million to train Syrian medical personnel (doctors and nurses) so that they could work within the Turkish health system from March 2017 to March 2018. After this date, the training activities continued thanks to an additional €11.5 million in funding channelled through EUTF Madad. Once trained, these people were assigned to a migrant health centre. Their salaries were then paid by the Ministry of Health using funding received from the €300 million direct grant under the IPA special measure.
Project 1, the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN, see Box 1), was designed in 2016 to build on existing national capacities with the objective of ensuring its sustainability through the integration of the refugees supported by the ESSN into the national social protection schemes.
The Commission’s guidelines on cash transfers29 state that cash assistance, especially in a protracted crisis, should be provided with the intention that ‘longer-term development efforts or government interventions [should take] over as soon as possible.’
At the time of the audit, there was no clear exit strategy in place to set out who would take over responsibility for the ESSN after EU funding ended; and discussions were ongoing. Although it was embedded in the national protection system, the ESSN was still totally dependent on EU funding.
The extension of this project in 2018 gave the Commission more time to negotiate an exit strategy. Nevertheless, a successful handover is ultimately dependent on the Turkish authorities’ willingness to take over the project and to allocate sufficient resources to fund it.
In a challenging context, the humanitarian projects helped refugees to address their basic needs, but did not always deliver the expected value for money36
We assessed the efficiency and effectiveness30 of the humanitarian assistance provided under the Facility, and considered in particular:
- whether the Commission ensured that the costs of funded projects were reasonable in relation to the expected results, and whether projects were implemented in a timely manner;
- whether the Commission monitored the Facility’s spending in a comprehensive manner and produced sufficient relevant information on the results achieved; and
- whether the humanitarian projects delivered their intended outputs (i.e. what was produced or accomplished), and achieved their expected outcomes (i.e. changes arising from the outputs).
We reviewed 10 humanitarian projects, implemented under indirect (UN agencies) or direct (INGOs) management (See Annex III A). Despite delays in implementation, nine on-going projects31 were sufficiently advanced for us to report on the outputs delivered and the outcomes achieved at the time of the audit.
There is potential to improve the efficiency of projects
The Commission’s assessment of the reasonableness of costs has weaknesses38
In the Humanitarian Implementation Plans 2016 and 2017 for Turkey, the Commission stated that supported actions should have an ‘overarching emphasis on cost efficiency and effectiveness’. We found that the Commission did not consistently and comprehensively assess the reasonableness of the budgeted costs when reviewing project proposals. In particular:
- the ratio of administrative costs to operational costs was not appropriately assessed in five out of ten projects;
- in four out of ten projects, there was no calculation of the cost per beneficiary. When the cost per beneficiary was calculated, it did not always lead to an assessment of whether the ratio obtained was reasonable.
We acknowledge that the different environments in which the Commission works when providing humanitarian assistance can make the use of standard costs or quantitative benchmarks difficult. Nevertheless, we consider that these tools could indeed be used, particularly for consecutive projects implemented by the same partners. For the five audited projects in this situation, the Commission did not carry out a thorough comparison between projects. Box 5 provides examples of the insufficient assessment of the reasonableness of costs by the Commission.
Examples of insufficient assessment of the reasonableness of costs
The Commission neither analysed nor referred to the reasonableness of costs for project 4. For project 10, the Commission assessed the ratio of administrative costs to operational costs as acceptable. However, the Commission did not document the underlying analysis supporting the assessment made.
Project 5 was a follow-up project from two previous grants implemented by the same INGO. It initially aimed at providing several health services in Turkey, such as lifesaving health, physical rehabilitation, mental health, gender-based violence and protection. The Commission calculated that the cost per beneficiary was €19.50 compared with €10.88 and €105.11 for the two previous grants. Even if some activities were not identical, the analysis was not sufficiently documented to identify the reasons for this difference, or to determine whether it was reasonable.
For humanitarian projects implemented by UN partners, the Commission did not have a complete overview of the costs associated with subcontracting to (local) implementing partners. Without this overview, the Commission cannot comprehensively assess the reasonableness of costs.
The ESSN has a high efficiency ratio but it could be more efficient41
Cash-based assistance allows for a better assessment of cost-efficiency as the level of aid that reached the final beneficiaries is easier to establish. The cost-efficiency of the project is measured by comparing the amount directly received by the beneficiaries to other costs of the action (‘efficiency ratio’).42
For the ESSN (see Box 1), the Commission had set up in 2016 an initial target efficiency ratio of 85:1532. This target ratio was increased to 87.5:12.5 in 2018. We benchmarked this ratio against other Commission-funded basic needs projects in the region and found that, on average, these projects showed an efficiency ratio of 79:2133.43
On the other hand, we found that the efficiency ratio calculated for the ESSN does not include all of the costs directly associated with the project, and in particular the expenses incurred by the Turkish MoFSP that supports the project’s implementation through the Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundations. These Foundations receive the applications from refugees to join the ESSN, assess their eligibility and conduct household visits, acting through around 1 000 offices in Turkey.44
We also identified the following potential efficiency gains for the ESSN.
- This project is implemented by a UN organisation that can claim up to 7 % of the total direct project costs to compensate for indirect costs incurred, e.g. management and administration costs incurred at the headquarters level. We found that this percentage, although in accordance with the Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement34 between the Commission and the UN, is normally applicable to projects that have a much lower budget. Because of the large scale of this project35, the budgeted indirect costs for the two phases was €64 million36. Despite the size of this amount, no supporting evidence was provided to demonstrate that this cost was reasonable and had been kept to the absolute minimum37. Instead, it was set to the upper limit.
- The funding of the ESSN is transferred from the UN implementing partner to the bank through a local implementing partner. For the transfer of the funds, the local implementing partner receives a ‘cash transfer fee’, amounting to €8.9 million (calculated on the basis of 1 % of the total transfers to be made). Considering that funds could be transferred directly to the bank without channelling them through the local implementing partner, the need for this fee was not sufficiently demonstrated by the Commission. Besides, no such fees were charged under the second cash-assistance project in our sample (project 3 – CCTE). Furthermore, the local implementing partner charges a further 7 % flat rate for indirect costs.
- The level of pre-financing paid is not appropriate. In accordance with the legal framework governing the partnership between the EU and the UN, the Commission must pay pre-financing of 80 % of the total contracted amount before projects start. We found that this level of pre-financing is not adapted to the specific spending patterns of both of the audited cash-assistance projects (the ESSN and the CCTE). For example, under the ESSN, €278 million for phase 1 and €520 million for phase 2 were paid upfront to the implementing partner. However, the funds were to be disbursed on a linear basis over 16 and 13 months respectively. Under the CCTE phase 2, the Commission paid a €40 million advance in December 2017, whereas the first payment round is expected at the end of September 2018. The eventual interest generated on the advance payments is kept by the implementing partners and is not reinvested in the ESSN or the CCTE.
Implementation delays undermined the efficiency of most audited projects45
Timeliness is an important aspect of efficiency. It can also have an impact on cost efficiency because when a project is delayed, administrative costs such as rents and salaries may still have to be paid, which could lead to less funding being available for the final beneficiaries. Nine out of ten audited projects were delayed and had to be extended, on average by 60 %38. In one case, the initial budget was revised upwards and in three cases, the budget was reduced because some of the planned activities could not be implemented (see Annex III A).46
We identified several reasons for these delays. In five cases, the delays were mainly caused by technical and administrative constraints associated with the projects, such as the unavailability of the necessary technical equipment or of experienced staff to implement the projects. In one case, the Commission granted an extension to allow a better transfer of activities to the national system. In three cases, constraints linked to the legal and regulatory framework imposed by the Turkish authorities on NGOs impeded the timely implementation of the projects39. Consequently, EU projects implemented by INGOs, which had been working in Turkey until that date, experienced significant delays or reductions in the scope of their activities. Where appropriate, the Commission provided a flexible response by granting contract extensions and in some cases by revising the initial targets set.47
The Commission also faced difficulties in obtaining the Turkish authorities’ approval for the involvement of INGOs at funding stage. For instance, the MoFSP did not agree to authorise INGOs to carry out certain key protection activities, namely case management and household visits. The Commission had to cancel four projects with a total budget of €14 million even though they were considered relevant for funding to address the pressing need for protection of the refugee population. Box 6 presents examples of delays and difficulties faced by projects.
Examples of delays and difficulties faced by projects
Project 2 – Providing protection and durable solutions to refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey
A key activity under project 2 was to assist the Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) with the verification, update and correction of the registration data of 2.7 million Syrian refugees. This project was implemented by a UN Agency. The start of the verification exercise was delayed by seven months. The main reasons for the delays were the consequences of the July 2016 attempted coup, which led to internal changes within government institutions following the suspension of senior officials in the DGMM and additional security constraints. In addition, the timing set at the design phase of the project had been overambitious considering the technical, capacity and administrative constraints, which existed at field level. For instance, the project initially suffered from a lack of experienced staff in the verification centres, problems with the performance of the DGMM database and internet connectivity issues.
These difficulties led to two modifications of the contract providing a 12-month extension followed by a €8 million budget increase.
Project 8 - Mitigating risks of key protection concerns of refugee population
The audited project is aimed at improving the protection of vulnerable refugees through case management, individual protection assistance and the provision of information and legal assistance. It was launched in 2017 and is a continuation of a previous project already funded by the Commission and implemented by the same INGO since 2015. From the beginning, the implementing partners faced difficulties in obtaining authorisations from the Turkish authorities to operate in the initially planned locations (Gaziantep, Ankara and Sanliurfa) and in obtaining the cooperation permits necessary to work with local NGOs. Consequently, the project was extended from 13 to 22 months, its activities were restructured and its budget was reduced by 20 %, as the implementing partner was unable to operate in Ankara.
Project 10 - Support to most vulnerable refugee women and girls
The aim of the project was to provide enhanced access to safe spaces and specialised services for women and girls by establishing and running dedicated centres. A local implementing partner in charge of 6 of the 20 ECHO funded centres was closed down by a governmental executive order. The UN Agency, as the main implementing partner, asked DG ECHO to partially suspend the project’s activities for five months, with the aim of transferring the activities to other local partners.
There were shortcomings in monitoring cash-assistance projects and in measuring results48
Monitoring is the regular examination of expenditure, activities and results, which provides up-to-date information on whether projects are progressing as intended. We assessed the Commission’s monitoring of the Facility at two levels. Firstly, we examined whether the monitoring of humanitarian projects was comprehensive and timely. Secondly, we examined whether the Facility results framework, a dedicated tool designed by the Commission to show aggregated data on the results achieved by the Facility, provided relevant and quantifiable performance information.49
The Commission put in place an appropriate framework for monitoring humanitarian projects. It visited all audited projects, at least once, in accordance with its own guidelines. The project monitoring allowed Commission staff in the field and in headquarters to follow project operations continuously.
Lack of access to primary data for cash assistance programme50
However, we found that monitoring of the two cash-assistance projects was limited because the Commission and its UN implementing partners did not have access to original beneficiary data (i.e. list of eligible beneficiaries with their names, ID numbers and addresses). The MoFSP holds this data, but refused to share it with the UN and the Commission, citing Turkish data-protection legislation. Instead, the UN implementing partner received anonymised data, where each beneficiary’s name and ID number had been replaced by a unique number generated by the local implementing partner.51
Indeed, a key role of the UN partners implementing humanitarian projects on behalf of the Commission is to be responsible for the supervision of the payment process and for monitoring project implementation. This lack of access to primary data held by the MoFSP limited the UN partners’, and thus the Commission’s, capacity to carry out their monitoring and oversight functions efficiently and effectively.52
The UN implementing partners were obliged to adapt their internal control framework to the lack of access to key primary data. They put in place additional triangulation controls to substantiate the anonymised data received and reconcile them with the anonymised payments data received from the bank. Despite these additional controls, the UN implementing partners were unable to track beneficiaries from registration to payment. We consider this to be a significant weakness in the monitoring of the cash-assistance program.53
As part of our audit procedures and in accordance with our audit rights, we requested access to the primary ESSN and CCTE data from the MoFSP. This access was denied and we could only access the anonymised data held by the UN implementing partners. Consequently, we could not establish the full audit trail from the registration of eligible refugees to the payments made under these two projects. Annex VIII shows the data-access limitations for the different stakeholders involved.
Weaknesses in the Facility results framework54
As regards the Facility results framework, we identified the following weaknesses:
- Baseline and target values for high-level indicators of the Facility, to allow an objective measurement of the progress achieved, had not been established yet. In addition, there were no intermediate milestones to track progress at mid-term;
- The actual contribution of the Facility towards the aggregated high-level indicators40will be difficult to isolate. The main reason for this is that additional EU funds outside the Facility, the Turkish government, some EU Member States and other donors are supporting the same objectives (see the example of project 10 in Box 3);
- The results framework does not provide a complete overview of the performance of EU assistance for refugees in Turkey, because it does not include EU assistance provided outside the Facility;
- There were no aggregated indicators measuring progress with regards to sexual and gender based violence, school dropouts, or child protection due to disagreements with the Turkish Government. However, these aspects were important components of some humanitarian projects. In addition, some specific objectives and indicators only referred to SuTP and did not cover refugees of other nationalities;
- The results framework of the Facility did not yet present an up-to-date picture of the performance achieved. In May 2018, the latest available monitoring report covered output indicators (e.g. number of primary health care consultations) for the period from January to July 2017. It did not report on outcomes (e.g. proportion of refugees who have access to health services);
- The results framework of the Facility was not available to the public.
Audited projects have positive effects on refugees but half of them have not yet achieved their expected outcomes55
We based our assessment of the effectiveness of the audited humanitarian projects on an analysis of the monitoring indicators, implementing partners’ progress reports, monitoring visit reports from ECHO field officers, site visits41 and interviews with the Commission, Turkish authorities and the project implementing partners and beneficiaries. Our conclusions are summarised in Annex III B).56
The Commission’s selection procedures ensured that projects were relevant to the needs of refugees (see paragraph 21). Consequently, all the audited projects helped refugees to meet their basic accommodation, food, health, education and protection needs. Six projects out of ten delivered all or most of their intended outputs. However, half of the audited projects, some of which were still on-going, have not yet achieved their expected outcomes, as defined at the time they were approved for funding42.57
The two cash-assistance projects representing 83 % of our sample managed to deliver cash aid to a higher number of beneficiaries than initially planned. Based on the data reported by the UN implementing partners, the ESSN reached 1.2 million beneficiaries in March 2018, compared to an initial target of 1 million refugees and by March 2018, more than 330 000 pupils had received at least one CCTE payment since the project was launched, compared to an initial target of 230 000 children43.58
The preliminary results of the ESSN reported in May 2018 indicate that the project contributed positively towards helping the refugees to meet their basic needs. For instance, one of the key indicators for the ESSN is the coping strategy index. It aims at measuring the use of negative coping behaviours44 by refugees to meet their basic needs. The preliminary results achieved under ESSN show that the target of 30% decrease in the coping strategy index has been achieved45.59
The impact of the ESSN in improving the living standards of refugees depends on the targeting of the assistance (who is eligible) and the amount of cash transferred. The targeting was based on basic demographic criteria46 to direct the assistance to the most vulnerable refugees. The use of these criteria was justified by the need for swift implementation as they are easier to verify compared to socio-economic criteria, such as household income.60
On the other hand, the use of demographic criteria is less precise and may lead to refugees being wrongly included in or excluded from the project. This is measured in terms of exclusion errors (vulnerable families considered ineligible) and inclusion errors (eligible families meeting demographic criteria, but not poor). Based on the latest available monitoring data47, the ESSN achieved its planned objectives in terms of exclusion errors (4 % compared to an initial target of below 10 %) but not in terms of inclusion errors (18 % compared to an initial target of 5 %).61
Concerning the amount of cash transferred, the primary objective of the project was to fully cover the basic needs of the most vulnerable refugees. The funding necessary to cover these basic needs was initially estimated to be 180 Turkish Lira48 per person per month. Following discussion with the Turkish authorities, the amount of cash transferred was set at 100 Turkish Lira49. It was increased to an average of 133 Turkish Lira in June 201750, corresponding to 74 % of the initial estimated need. Despite a context of high inflation in Turkey, the value has not been updated since June 2017. This continuously lessens the impact of the project on the most vulnerable beneficiaries.62
Example of projects achieving most of their expected results are described in Box 7.
Positive results of some projects
By providing training to Syrian medical staff, the project strengthened their capacity to work within the Turkish health system in the 15 Turkish provinces with the highest numbers of refugees. The project therefore improved refugees’ access to primary health care in their own language, and resulted in more than 140 000 consultations.
The project achieved its objective of significantly increasing the percentage of refugee women and girls who have access to women’s and girls’ safe spaces in their own province and in their own language. Overall, 337 525 beneficiaries accessed sexual and reproductive health services and received hygiene kits through 20 EU funded women’s and girls’ safe spaces in 2017. In addition, 194 719 beneficiaries accessed sexual and gender based violence services and hygiene kits. Eight out of ten planned outputs were delivered.
On a less positive note, we found that four out the five audited projects that have been implemented by INGOs have not yet achieved their initially planned outputs or outcomes. The difficult and changing operating environment for (I)NGOs in Turkey led to the suspension, modification or cancellation of planned activities (see paragraph 46) and the revision of initial targets. Although the Commission provided flexible support, notably through advocacy and deadline extensions, the difficulties faced during implementation had a direct negative impact on the level and timely achievement of the results (see Annex III B).
Conclusion and recommendations64
We found that, in a challenging context, the Facility for Refugees in Turkey rapidly mobilised €3 billion from the EU budget and the Member States to provide a swift response to the refugee crisis. Nevertheless, it did not fully achieve its objective of coordinating this response effectively. The audited projects provided helpful support to refugees; most of them have achieved their outputs, but half of them have not yet achieved their expected outcomes. Furthermore, we identified room for increasing the efficiency of cash-assistance projects. We therefore conclude that the Facility could have been more effective, and that it could achieve more value for money.65
The Commission identified the priority needs of refugees based on a comprehensive needs assessment. However, disagreements between Turkey and the EU on how to address priority needs in municipal infrastructure and socio-economic support resulted in these areas being insufficiently covered. Furthermore, the inclusion of migration management as a priority area was not clearly justified.66
It was difficult to assess whether the funds spent in each priority area were proportionate to the scale of the needs, because the Steering Committee did not set up-front indicative allocations for each priority area. Although this increases flexibility, it hinders accountability, since planned and actual expenditure in each priority area cannot be compared (paragraphs 18 to 24).
Recommendation 1 – Better address refugees’ needs for municipal infrastructure and socio-economic support
For the second tranche of the Facility’s budget, the Commission should:
- ensure that the Facility contributes better to address the needs in the priority areas ‘municipal infrastructure’ and ‘socio economic support’;
- reassess the need to keep Migration Management as one of the Facility’s priority areas;
- set an indicative allocation of funds for each priority areas before spending begins.
Target implementation date: 31 December 2019.67
The Commission and Member States set up the Facility’s administrative arrangements quickly. In addition, the effective pooling of funding and the Commission’s choice of delivery mechanisms, with a mix of instruments and partners to implement large projects, allowed the Facility to reach its objective to conclude contracts to the value of €3 billion by the end of 2017 (paragraphs 25 to 29).68
While the Commission coordinated the strategic direction of the Facility through a common needs assessment, governance, and a results framework covering both humanitarian and non-humanitarian support, the assistance could have been streamlined better. The Facility supported the same type of activities in the health and education sectors through different instruments. This made coordination more complex and resulted in the parallel use of different management structures to fund similar projects. Furthermore, EU funds spent in Turkey outside the Facility also supported some of the same priority areas as the Facility (paragraphs 31 to 33).
Recommendation 2 – Improve the streamlining and the complementarity of assistance
For the second tranche of the Facility’s budget, the Commission should develop a joint strategy with a clear division of tasks between the different instruments and the EU Member States, in order to enhance the coherence and the streamlining of the assistance.
Target implementation date: 31 December 2019.69
The stated objective of the Facility to ensure complementarity of the assistance also concerns the links between its humanitarian and non-humanitarian strands. Although we identified some good examples in the health sector, where the Commission supported the transition from humanitarian to more durable development assistance, this complementarity was not systematically achieved. At the time of the audit, the conditions for a transition from humanitarian to development assistance were not yet in place for most audited projects (paragraphs 34 to 35).
Recommendation 3 – Implement a strategy for the transition from humanitarian to development assistance
The Commission should develop and implement a transition strategy, with the final objective of handing over both humanitarian and non-humanitarian activities to the national authorities.
Target implementation date: 31 December 2021.70
We also found room to improve the efficiency of the humanitarian projects funded by the Facility. Firstly, when reviewing project proposals, the Commission did not consistently and comprehensively assess the reasonableness of the budgeted costs. Secondly, even if in line with the legal framework, the indirect costs paid to the partners implementing large cash-assistance projects were high and insufficiently justified and the level of advance payment was not aligned with the actual cash outflows of the projects (paragraphs 38 to 44).
Recommendation 4 – Improve the efficiency of cash-assistance projects
The Commission should strive to increase the efficiency of large cash-assistance projects to better reflect their specific nature and scale, in particular by:
- negotiating a reduction in the percentage of indirect costs charged by the UN implementing partner for the implementation of the ESSN;
- ensuring that the cash transfer fee (for the ESSN) is paid only when duly justified and necessary;
- negotiating with partners a reduced level of pre-financing that is better aligned with the projects’ expected cash outflows.
Target implementation date: 31 December 2020.71
The efficiency of projects is also dependent on their timely implementation. When a project is delayed, costs such as rents and salaries may still have to be paid for longer. Nine out of the ten audited projects had to be extended; they required, on average, a 60 % time extension. The challenging operating environment was the main factor hindering the timely implementation of projects for INGOs (paragraphs 45 to 46).
Recommendation 5 – Address with the Turkish authorities the need to improve the operating environment for (I)NGOs
The Commission should use policy and high-level political dialogue with the Turkish authorities to improve the operating environment for (I)NGOs in Turkey.
Target implementation date: 31 December 2019.72
The Commission put in place appropriate measures to monitor humanitarian projects, and was well aware of whether projects were progressing as intended. The main limitation was the Turkish authorities’ refusal to grant access to the original list of eligible beneficiaries for the two cash-assistance projects. This prevented us and the Commission from tracking beneficiaries from their registration to payment for this substantial share of the Facility’s humanitarian strand (paragraphs 49 to 53).73
The Facility results framework reported on the consolidated results, but has some weaknesses: the aggregated indicators have no baselines, milestones or quantified targets. Public reporting was limited and its scope did not capture the whole EU assistance to refugees in Turkey (paragraph 54).
Recommendation 6 – Scale up monitoring and reporting of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey
The Commission should:
- insist that the Turkish authorities grant implementing partners of the cash-assistance projects full access to the data on eligible beneficiaries, in order to improve the accountability and efficiency of the monitoring framework of these flagship projects;
- improve the design of the Facility results framework, notably by including milestones, targets and baseline data for the aggregated result indicators;
- report on EU instruments spending supporting refugees in Turkey outside the Facility.
Target implementation date: 31 December 2019.74
All the audited humanitarian projects helped refugees to meet their main accommodation, food, health, education and protection needs. Six projects out of ten delivered all or most of their intended outputs. However, half of the audited projects, some of which are still on-going, have not yet achieved their expected outcomes, as defined at the time they were approved for funding (paragraphs 56 to 63).
This Report was adopted by Chamber III, headed by Mrs Bettina JAKOBSEN, Member of the Court of Auditors, in Luxembourg at its meeting of 2 October 2018.
For the Court of Auditors
National contributions for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey
Source: Figure based on information provided by the Council.
|National contributions for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (million euro)|
Source: ECA based on information provided by the Council of the European Union.
The Facility for Refugees in Turkey: a coordination mechanism
Source: ECA based on Commission data.
Annex III A
Overview of the audited humanitarian projects
|Financial information (million euros)||Time|
|Nr||Project Title||Sector||Type of Partner||Allocated amount
|Contracted amount (a)
|Revised contracted amount (b)
|Start date||Initial end date||Extended end date||Difference
|1||The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) is a multi-purpose cash transfer system to address the everyday needs of refugees in Turkey||Basic needs||UN Agency||348.0||348.0||348.0||-||278.4||09/2016||12/2017||08/2018||8|
|2||Providing protection and durable solutions to refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey||Protection||UN Agency||43.3||35.0||43.3||8.3||34.6||08/2016||07/2017||07/2018||12|
|3||Providing conditional cash transfer for Education with the aim to increase enrolment and improve attendance for refugee children||Education - Protection||UN Agency||34.0||34.0||34.0||-||27.2||03/2017||02/2018||07/2018||5|
|4||Supporting adapted and culturally sensitive healthcare services to Syrian refugees||Health||UN Agency||10.0||10.0||10.0||-||8.0||03/2017||12/2017||03/2018||3|
|5||Provision of life-saving primary health care to the most vulnerable populations and strengthening of their resilience through MHPSS, rehabilitation activities, and protection support to GBV survivors||Health - Protection||INGO||2.4||8.0||2.4||-5.6||2.4||04/2017||12/2017||05/2018||5|
|6||Facilitation of access to health and psycho-social services for refugees||Health||INGO||3.0||3.0||3.0||-||2.4||04/2017||12/2017||06/2018||6|
|7||Emergency Humanitarian Response for Syrian Refugees in Turkey||Education - Protection||INGO||3.0||3.0||3.0||-||2.4||09/2016||08/2017||05/2018||9|
|8||Mitigating risks of key protection concerns of refugee population through targeted awareness raising, strengthening of referral systems and provision of specialized protection assistance||Protection||INGO||3.7||4.6||3.7||-0.9||3.7||04/2017||04/2018||01/2019||9|
|9||A multi-stakeholders and multi sectoral response mechanism improves the access to inclusive and quality services for the most vulnerable Syrian and non-Syrian refugees including people with disabilities in Turkey (Izmir and Istanbul city)||Health||INGO||2.0||2.5||2.0||-0.5||2.0||09/2016||08/2017||01/2018||5|
|10||Support to most vulnerable Refugee women and girls to access Sexual Reproductive health (SRH) and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Services||Health - Protection||UN Agency||9.0||9.0||9.0||-||7.2||08/2016||12/2017||12/2017||-|
Source: ECA based on Commission data (April 2018).
Annex III B
Performance of audited projects
|Design||Implementation||Effectiveness||Transition / exit strategy|
|Nr||Project Title||Sector||Type of Partner||Relevance||On time||Budget||Outputs delivered||Outcomes achieved|
|1||The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) is a multi-purpose cash transfer system to address the everyday needs of refugees in Turkey||Basic needs||UN Agency|
|2||Providing protection and durable solutions to refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey (Result 1 : verification exercise)||Protection||UN Agency||Not applicable|
|Providing protection and durable solutions to refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey (Results 2 to 4: registration and protection activities)|
|3||Providing conditional cash transfer for Education with the aim to increase enrolment and improve attendance for refugee children||Education - Protection||UN Agency||Not available|
|4||Supporting adapted and culturally sensitive healthcare services to Syrian refugees||Health||UN Agency|
|5||Provision of life-saving primary health care to the most vulnerable populations and strengthening of their resilience through MHPSS, rehabilitation activities, and protection support to GBV survivors||Health - Protection||INGO|
|6||Facilitation of access to health and psycho-social services for refugees||Health||INGO|
|7||Emergency Humanitarian Response for Syrian Refugees in Turkey||Education - Protection||INGO|
|8||Mitigating risks of key protection concerns of refugee population through targeted awareness raising, strengthening of referral systems and provision of specialized protection assistance||Protection||INGO|
|9||A multi-stakeholders and multi sectoral response mechanism improves the access to inclusive and quality services for the most vulnerable Syrian and non-Syrian refugees including people with disabilities in Turkey (Izmir and Istanbul city)||Health||INGO|
|10||Support to most vulnerable Refugee women and girls to access Sexual Reproductive health (SRH) and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Services||Health - Protection||UN Agency|
|Satisfactory||No extension||>80% consumption||Fully achieved||Fully achieved||Done and over|
|Mostly satisfactory||Extended with no impact on activities||Not applicable||Mostly achieved||Mostly achieved||Agreed|
|Mostly unsatisfactory||Not applicable||Low budgetary consumption||Mostly not achieved||Mostly not achieved||Under discussion|
|Unsatisfactory||Extended with impact on the activities||Additional funding provided||Not achieved||Not achieved||Plans not set|
List of audit interviews conducted in Turkey in 2018
|Visits||Name of entity visited|
|22 January||EU Delegation, Ambassador, ECHO office|
|22 January||World Food Programme (WFP)|
|23 January||Joint Management Cell ESSN|
|23 January||World Health Organisation (WHO)|
|23 January||Ministry of Health|
|24 January||Ministry of Family and Social Policies|
|24 January||United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)|
|24 January||Ministry of Interior - Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM)|
|24 January||International Medical Corps|
|24 January||Ministry of National Education|
|25 January||United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)|
|25 January||KfW Development Bank|
|25 January||The World Bank|
|25 January||Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD)|
|25 January||United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)|
|25 January||Handicap International|
|25 January||United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)|
|25 January||ECHO Office Istanbul|
|26 January||CCTE and ESSN beneficiaries|
|26 January||Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation (SASF)|
|26 January||Médecins du Monde|
|26 January||World Health Organisation (WHO)|
|29 January||Turkish Red Crescent (TRC) service center|
|29 January||United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)|
|29 January||Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation (SASF)|
|30 January||CCTE and ESSN beneficiaries|
|30 January||Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere|
|30 January||ECHO office Gaziantep|
Key dates and events associated with the Facility
Contracting speed of the Facility compared to EU Trust Funds (in million euro)
Source: ECA based on Commission data.
Complexity of EU assistance to refugees in Turkey – the example of the education sector
ESSN beneficiary data flow and data access limitations
Acronyms and abbreviations
CCTE: Conditional Cash Transfer for Education
DCI: Development Cooperation Instrument
DG ECHO: Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
DG NEAR: Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations
DGMM: Directorate General of Migration Management (Turkey)
EBRD: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
EIB: European Investment Bank
ESSN: Emergency Social Safety Net
IcSP: Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace
(I)NGO: (International) Non-Governmental Organisation
IPA: Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance
JAP: Joint Action Plan
KfW: Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau
MoFSP: Ministry of Family and Social Policies (Turkey)
MoNE: Ministry of National Education (Turkey)
SuTP: Syrians under Temporary Protection
UN: United Nations
1 See ECA Special Report 7/2018 “EU pre-accession assistance to Turkey”.
2 Source: UNHCR as of 31 May 2018 (http://www.unhcr.org/tr/en/unhcr-turkey-stats).
3 Turkey itself only grants the status of refugee to people affected by events occurring in Europe. It granted a special status in 2013 to Syrians giving them the status of ‘Syrian people under Temporary Protection’. Unless otherwise specified, we use the term ‘refugee’ in this report for all people looking for international or temporary protection.
4 ECHO factsheet – Turkey – March 2016.
5 The full text of the JAP is available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-5860_fr.htm
6 Articles 1 and 2 of the Commission Decision (C (2015) 9500) as amended by the Commission Decision of 10 February 2016.
7 A ‘Trust Fund’ is a ‘legal arrangement with a distinct financial structure that pools the funds of several donors to jointly finance an action on the basis of commonly agreed objectives and reporting formats’ (source: Working Document XI – EU Trust Fund - Draft General Budget of the European Union for the Financial Year 2018).
8 Articles 4 and 9 of the Commission Decision (C (2015) 9500) as amended by the Commission Decision of 10 February 2016.
9 The EU Member States contributed these €2 billion in the form of externally assigned revenue to the EU budget and the €2 billion were assigned to the budget lines of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance and humanitarian aid. In legal terms, the Facility is therefore entirely funded by the EU budget.
10 Minutes of the second Steering Committee dated 12 May 2016.
11 Article 6(3) of the Commission Decision (C (2015) 9500) as amended by the Commission Decision of 10 February 2016.
12 The ’EUTF Madad’ was created in December 2014 with the objective to address long-term economic, educational and social needs of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, including Turkey. Following the establishment of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, a share of the Facility’s funds is implemented via the ‘EUTF Madad’.
13 The text of the second EU-Turkey statement is available at: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/03/18/eu-turkey-statement/pdf
14 In April 2018, the Commission reported that ‘the irregular arrivals [from Turkey to Greece] remain 97 % lower than the period before the Statement became operational’. For further details, see ‘EU-Turkey statement - Two years on’ at https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/background-information_en
15 Article 5(1) of the Commission Decision (C (2015) 9500) as amended by the Commission Decision of 10 February 2016.
16 Non-humanitarian assistance mainly relates to longer-term development aid with a focus on education, health, migration management and socio-economic support. Due to their specific nature, they take time to implement, usually between two (for operational actions such as training, health-related equipment, etc.) and four years (for infrastructure-related actions such as health care centres and schools).
17 Annex III lists all the organisations interviewed during the audit visit to Turkey.
18 The remaining two were in an impractically remote location.
19 The First Stage Needs Assessment carried out by the Turkish authorities estimated the overall needs to be €14 454 million for the period 2016-2018.
20 Paragraph 3, part 1 of the EU Turkey JAP.
21 See for instance: https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/grand-bargain-hosted-iasc and https://www.devex.com/news/for-humanitarian-response-a-cash-based-payment-consensus-88238.
22 The Turkey Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan (3RP) 2018-2019 in response to the Syria crisis mentioned in that respect that ‘Investments in municipal infrastructure and capacities remain a high priority (p. 5)’.
23 The agreement was concluded on 3 February 2016, at the start of the Facility (see http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/02/03-refugee-facility-for-turkey/).
24 The Commission refers to formal education in the 2017 Humanitarian Implementation Plan for Turkey as ‘An educational system with hierarchic structures and a chronological progression through levels or grades with a set beginning and end. Formal education usually takes place in an institution and involves some kind of assessment leading to a certificate of qualification’. On the other hand, non-formal education relates to ‘A flexible approach to education using alternative modes of delivery outside the formal system’.
25 EU projects representing more than €200 million were implemented outside the Facility simultaneously to the support provided to the refugees in Turkey through the Facility.
26 Direct bilateral contribution from EU Member States, in particular Germany with more than €175 million for the year 2017, aimed at funding similar activities and partners as the ones under the Facility (See Annex VII in the sector of education).
27 The Joint Humanitarian Development Framework in response to the Syrian crisis for Jordan aims at ‘addressing the humanitarian, mid-term and development priorities, thus better integrating and aligning DG NEAR, MADAD EU Trust Fund and DG ECHO planned responses’.
28 The ECHO Turkey Management framework dated March 2017 mentions ‘the objective is to have refugee-adapted services transitioned into the [Government of Turkey] system, services of other national actors or other development instruments, as this capacity is developed. Transition is expected to be near complete by the 31st of December 2018, with the possible exception of some specialist services.’
29 Guidance to partners funded by DG ECHO to deliver medium to large-scale cash transfers in the framework of 2017 Humanitarian Implementation Plan.
30 We considered ‘efficiency’ as the best relationship between the resources employed and the outputs or results produced and ‘effectiveness’ as the extent to which the objectives have been achieved.
31 For project 3, the CCTE, the preliminary project results tracking the school attendance and enrolment were still not available at the time of the audit, preventing us from assessing the outcomes of the project.
32 The actual efficiency ratio achieved was not yet known at the time of the audit.
33 The sample included both actual and budgeted efficiency ratios.
34 Article 19.4 of the general conditions of the Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement.
35 Projects funded by ECHO have an average budget of €9 million under the Facility and €2 million worldwide.
36 The percentage of indirect costs was 7 % under the first phase of the ESSN and 6.5 % under the second phase.
37 This was a requirement under the technical annex of the Humanitarian Implementation Plan 2016 which mentioned ‘The ESSN will, at a minimum, include the following distinctive features: (…) Overhead costs should be kept to an absolute minimum and duly justified.’
38 On average, projects were initially planned for 12 months and were extended by 7 months.
39 Many NGOs have been closed through governmental decrees or saw their activities significantly restricted through much stricter application of existing legal requirements or by imposition of new ones. For example, some INGOs had difficulties renewing their registration, opening bank accounts and obtaining work permits or the newly introduced cooperation permit for an INGO to work with local implementing partners.
40 Such as ‘Percentage of school-age refugees receiving education’ or ‘Rate of main communicable diseases among refugees and host communities’.
41 We visited all projects in our sample except projects 5 and 7.
42 More concretely, two projects were fully effective (projects 4 and 10), two were mostly effective (projects 1 and 6) and five projects did not yet achieve their initially planned outcomes (2, 5, 7, 8 and 9).
43 The CCTE implementing partner reported that about 81 % of the CCTE beneficiaries were also enrolled in the ESSN, demonstrating a strong complementarity between the two projects.
44 Negative coping behaviours range from less serious (such as food rationing) to very serious (such as child labour).
45 Interim ESSN report dated 31 May 2018.
46 The households matching the following criteria are eligible for assistance: 1. Single adult (between 18 and 59) females with no other people in the family. 2. Single parents with no other adults in the family and at least one child under 18. 3. Elderly people, 60 year or above, with no other adults in the family. 4. Families with one or more disabled people. 5. Families with four or more children 6. Families that have at least 1.5 dependents for every able bodied adult.
47 Post-distribution monitoring round one from UN implementing partner.
48 About €50 at the end of 2016.
49 One of the main reasons was that the Turkish authorities did not want to provide a higher level of assistance to refugees than to Turkish citizens, as this could fuel tensions.
50 This represented about €33 in June 2017.
1 FAFA: Financial and administrative framework agreement, signed between the European Community and the United Nations in 2003.
|Adoption of Audit Planning Memorandum (APM) / Start of audit||17.10.2017|
|Official sending of draft report to Commission (or other auditee)||12.7.2018|
|Adoption of the final report after the adversarial procedure||2.10.2018|
|Commission’s (or other auditee’s) official replies received in all languages||9.11.2018|
The ECA’s special reports set out the results of its audits of EU policies and programmes, or of management-related topics from specific budgetary areas. The ECA selects and designs these audit tasks to be of maximum impact by considering the risks to performance or compliance, the level of income or spending involved, forthcoming developments and political and public interest.
This performance audit was carried out by Audit Chamber III External actions/Security and justice, headed by ECA Member Bettina Jakobsen who was also the Reporting Member of this report. Ms Jakobsen was supported by Katja Mattfolk, Head of Private Office and Kim Storup, Private Office Attaché; Alejandro Ballester Gallardo, Principal Manager; Cyril Messein, Head of Task; Florin-Alexandru Farcas, Andrej Minarovic and Nikolaos Zompolas, Auditors.
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|ISBN 978-92-847-1143-7||ISSN 1977-5679||doi:10.2865/07509||QJ-AB-18-025-EN-N|
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