Human Rights and International Law Secretariat programme in the Middle East

The Human Rights and International Law Secretariat – a joint funding mechanism financed by Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands – supports Israeli and Palestinian organisations active in promoting international humanitarian law and human rights.

The organisations are committed to ensuring that the Israeli and Palestinian authorities (Palestinian Authority and de facto authorities in Gaza) as well as third-party states all comply with international law. The Secretariat is managed by NIRAS, an organisation which, as part of a consortium with the University of Birzeit, has been mandated by the donors to implement the project on the basis of a public call for tenders. Switzerland's support for the Secretariat dovetails with its commitment in the Middle East to contribute to creating the conditions conductive to achieving peace.

Results of the MTR for the Secretariat and donors' position

In May 2016, a programme MTR was conducted by external experts mandated by NIRAS, with the donors' approval. The MTR highlighted the strengths of the programme (relevance of the joint mechanism, predictability of funds, capacity-building of the organisations) and those items requiring modifications or corrective measures.

Items requiring corrective measures/modifications and measures taken

On collaboration between the Secretariat and civil society organisations following recommendations have been elaborated:

On the Secretariat's management and governance following recommendation have been elaborated:

The MTR as well as the position taken by the project donors (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands) and the position of NIRAS (the implementing institution) on the MTR's findings can be found below.

What are a mid-term review and a management response?

A mid-term review (MTR) is one of the tools used by the SDC in connection with its projects. Multiple MTRs are conducted each year in the various areas where the SDC is active. An MTR is generally scheduled during the project preparation phase, at the same time as the performance and quality targets. It is used to conduct a critical analysis after an initial implementation period. The resulting recommendations are used to steer the further course of the project by making changes where necessary. Whereas assessments are generally published, mid-term reviews – which are more technical and mainly considered working tools – usually are not. The review is normally carried out by a contractor outside the programme, in which case it is called an 'external review'. The programme managers and donors take a position on the recommendations made in the review, generally in the form of a written 'management response'.