Assessment of Development Results: United Arab Emirates

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Evaluation Plan:
2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
ADR
Planned End Date:
05/2012
Completion Date:
05/2012
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
150,000

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Title Assessment of Development Results: United Arab Emirates
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: ADR
Status:Completed
Completion Date:05/2012
Planned End Date: 05/2012
Management Response:Yes
Corporate Outcomes (UNDP Strategic Plan 2008-20013)
Evaluation Budget(US $): 150,000
Source of Funding:
Joint Programme:No
Mandatory Evaluation:No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Team Leader
GEF Evaluation:No
Key Stakeholders:
Location of Evaluation:Country Level
Countries: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 Recommendation 1: Leveraging its organizational strength, UNDP should demonstrate a strong commitment to strategically engaging on key development issues and to furthering global development partnerships. Responsiveness to UAE expectations to provide services to government agencies is one option, but not necessarily the only option, given the UNDP comparative advantage in substantively responding to diverse country situations.
2 Recommendation 2: UNDP needs to make a strong commitment to support the northern emirates in addressing their development priorities and to contribute to bridging the developmental gap among the emirates. Specifically, UNDP should support a human development report for the northern emirates and work towards setting up a field presence there, if requested to do so by the emirates.
3 Recommendation 3: UNDP should strengthen the country office?s capacities to fulfil highquality service needs in the UAE. In addition to the core staff in the country, UNDP should build a network of professionals and use their expertise in delivering effective and timely services. The government?s expectations of UNDP include services related to facilitating technical expertise and procurement.
4 Recommendation 4: UNDP should make it a priority strategic goal to attract and develop an experienced workforce of nationals in the country office, and to take the lead in the research, technical and advisory services that UNDP provides.
5 Recommendation 5: UNDP should develop a resource mobilization strategy tailored to the UAE. This strategy should include an effective presentation of UNDP work, areas that UNDP can support, and fund management systems for monitoring, reporting and communications.
6 Recommendation 6: The country office should realistically assess headquarters support, particularly when the UAE needs high-quality professional support at an accelerated pace. UNDP should make concerted efforts to build mutually beneficial and sustained partnerships with local and regional research and policy institutions whose capabilities can be leveraged to improve UNDP country-office capacities. UNDP should seek opportunities to work together with other UN agencies to recognize comparative advantages of individual agencies and enhance overall UNDP contributions to development results.
7 Recommendation 7: UNDP should strengthen systems for programme management. This should include establishing clear guidelines for accountability and reporting within the country office and with clients. Engaging in global development partnerships also requires strengthening the country office?s media and communications capacities.
1. Recommendation: Recommendation 1: Leveraging its organizational strength, UNDP should demonstrate a strong commitment to strategically engaging on key development issues and to furthering global development partnerships. Responsiveness to UAE expectations to provide services to government agencies is one option, but not necessarily the only option, given the UNDP comparative advantage in substantively responding to diverse country situations.
Management Response:

During the past two years, the new country office management has made extensive efforts to engage the government of the UAE, both at the federal level and at the emirate level, in areas that are both strategically important to the UAE and part of UNDP?s mandate and areas of expertise. The Assessment of Development Results (ADR) was the first step management has taken towards a deep understanding of the changing development environment in UAE and the effectiveness of previous UNDP Country Programmes in responding to UAE development environment. Further, a parallel track exercise was put in place: one was a visioning exercise and developing a new business model conducive to NCCs/UAE specificity and the other was extensive consultation for a new Country Programme. These efforts resulted in the production of a new Country Programme Document 2013-2017 that has now been submitted to the UNDP Executive Broad for approval at its annual session in June 2012. The Country Programme Document identifies four key areas of support, as follows: (a) fostering regional integration and development, (b) mainstreaming environmental sustainability, (c) supporting institutional development and good governance, and (d) enhancing national capacities and leadership for international cooperation. These in turn are expected to support the following outcomes in the UAE, respectively: inclusive and equitable growth, green human development, responsive and accountable governance institutions, and the strong global standing of the UAE.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Secure final approval of the Country Programme Document 2013-2017 during the annual session of the Executive Board in June 2012. UNDP UAE 2012/07 Completed
2. Develop Country Programme Action Plan(s) (CPAP) focusing on key development priorities for the UAE. UNDP UAE/Ministry of Economy 2014/07 Overdue-Not Initiated
3. Implement the Country Programme, focusing on the key development issues of inclusive and equitable growth, greening human development, responsiveness and accountability of governance institutions, and the strong global standing of the UAE. UNDP UAE 2014/07 Overdue-Initiated
2. Recommendation: Recommendation 2: UNDP needs to make a strong commitment to support the northern emirates in addressing their development priorities and to contribute to bridging the developmental gap among the emirates. Specifically, UNDP should support a human development report for the northern emirates and work towards setting up a field presence there, if requested to do so by the emirates.
Management Response:

The new Country Programme 2013-2017 makes specific reference to UNDP?s commitment to the Northern Emirates. It states: ?UNDP will support economic development in the Northern Emirates promoting their comparative advantages and encouraging new investments in infrastructure, productive capacity and human capital. In response to requests from federal agencies and the governments of the emirates, UNDP will support institutional strengthening and capacity development for local economic development agencies, the formulation of integrated regional and local economic development strategies, and efforts that contribute to raising the profile of the Northern Emirates.? As part of this effort, UNDP will seek out opportunities to work with the Northern Emirates in the production of a human development report, or reports, noting however that this is contingent on the interests and will of the individual emirates involved. Work in the Northern Emirates is also contingent on funding, which has been a problem in past years. Since the UAE is a Net Contributor Country, all of UNDP?s programme funds come from government entities. In the past the individual emirates in the northern part of the country (Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah) have had limited resources and therefore have not been able to support UNDP programmes. At the same time, federal entities have not been able to provide sub-regional funding for UNDP programmes in the Northern Emirates either. UNDP will seek to change this situation by engaging with both emirate and federal government entities to develop, and fund, high priority initiatives aligned with UNDP?s comparative advantages.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Continue the dialogue that has already begun with individual emirates (namely, Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah) on areas of possible support from UNDP. UNDP UAE No due date No deadline established
2. Organize roundtable discussions together with the Ministry of Economy ? UNDP?s main counterpart for programming ? and northern emirate governments to clarify UNDP?s best role in helping achieve their development objectives, as part of the CPAP process. UNDP/Ministry of Economy 2014/07 Overdue-Initiated
3. Based on the above, and once/if the new funding instrument/modality is approved/in place, undertake detailed programme development in the Northern Emirates. UNDP UAE, together with the Ministry of Economy and northern emirate governments. 2014/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
3. Recommendation: Recommendation 3: UNDP should strengthen the country office?s capacities to fulfil highquality service needs in the UAE. In addition to the core staff in the country, UNDP should build a network of professionals and use their expertise in delivering effective and timely services. The government?s expectations of UNDP include services related to facilitating technical expertise and procurement.
Management Response:

Since January 2011, UNDP UAE has had several discussions and brainstorming sessions with various ministries and stakeholders to define and identify stakeholders? expectations from the Country Office. Discussions were held respectively with policy experts, university professors, economists and civil society. The discussions helped inform the new vision and business model exercise that the Country Office was engaged with the Management Consulting Team to develop, aligned with the new Country Programme and UAE priorities. Further, the Country Office has signed and continues to sign several MoUs with universities in the UAE (including the Northern Emirates) to draw on faculty expertise and provide (credit) internships and research opportunities for students in UNDP offices. Through the Abu Dhabi Human Development Report, the office has built a strong network of UAE experts (both national and non-national) that the office plans to draw on their knowledge and expertise throughout the new Country Programme cycle. Discussions with the Ministry of Economy have clearly led to a new role of UNDP in the UAE. The ministry accepted the idea/suggestion from UNDP to recruit young economist graduates from universities and train them for 1-2 years, after which the Ministry will recruit them, having gained international development experience. This new program will be a new milestone in the new Country Programme 2013-2017.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Ensure that the new Human Resources Associate and new Procurement and Operations Associate receive all of the online training and certifications required for their posts. Management 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated
2. Carefully review GMS rates charged on service projects to ensure that UNDP?s full costs are recovered. If necessary, renegotiate those GMS rates on future project extensions. Programme/PSU No due date No deadline established
3. Invite experts from the Cairo Regional Service Center and elsewhere as and when needed to provide oversight, monitoring and training to UNDP UAE staff in the areas of procurement, human resource management, financial management, etc. UNDP/RBAS 2014/12 Overdue-Not Initiated UAE will participate in RBM training to be organized by RBAS
4. Recommendation: Recommendation 4: UNDP should make it a priority strategic goal to attract and develop an experienced workforce of nationals in the country office, and to take the lead in the research, technical and advisory services that UNDP provides.
Management Response:

Recruiting nationals has been a challenge for a number of years. This is due in part to the fact that UNDP?s salary scales in the UAE are rather modest compared with the salary and benefit packages offered to nationals by the government and private sector. It is also due to the fact that the government?s policy of ?Emiratization? has increased the competition for highly-qualified Emiratis. As a result, repeated recruitment processes, especially for National Officers, has failed to identify suitable candidates. At present there are no National Officers working in UNDP. UNDP will nevertheless continue to try to recruit nationals through normal recruitment processes. In addition, however, UNDP has explored, and will continue to explore, innovate ways to identify qualified nationals to support UNDP?s work in the UAE. This has included entering into agreements with universities for internships and exchanges, holding discussions with government on the possibility of secondments, working with research institutions on joint initiatives, etc. This will help position UNDP as key knowledge and learning hub for students, faculty members and researchers. UNDP will continue and expand such efforts during the coming year. In recent discussions with the Ministry of Economy, there was clear expectations that UNDP should top up the current UN Salary Scale to raise salaries to that of the UAE public and private sector. In July 2011, NO and GS scales have seen an increase of 29% and 17% respectively.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Begin implementing the memoranda of understanding already signed with universities (including the UAE University, Dubai School of Government, Sharjah University and American University of Sharjah). UNDP 2014/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
2. Launch a recruitment campaign for national officers with expertise in the areas of economic development and environmental sustainability. UNDP UAE, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated
3. Hold additional discussions with the government regarding possible secondments, subsidization, and other incentives needed to attract and retain national talent in UNDP. UNDP 2014/12 Completed
5. Recommendation: Recommendation 5: UNDP should develop a resource mobilization strategy tailored to the UAE. This strategy should include an effective presentation of UNDP work, areas that UNDP can support, and fund management systems for monitoring, reporting and communications.
Management Response:

UNDP mobilizes resources in the UEA for two different purposes: first, to fund UNDP?s operational and programme costs within the UAE; and second, to fund humanitarian and development assistance projects in other countries. While UNDP needs to have a comprehensive resource mobilization strategy covering both purposes, they each require a different approach. Within the UAE, the government has provided approximately $1.3 million a year to UNDP for operating costs during the past 3 years (2009-2011). Programme costs have been covered on a ad hoc basis based on UNDP?s partnerships with various government entities. Outside the UAE, according to the Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid, the United Arab Emirates provided more than $750,000 million in Official Development Assistance in 2010. Only a small fraction of these funds passed through the United Nations, and only a fraction of that passed through UNDP. In 2011, for example, UNDP secured about $400,000 for projects outside the UAE. Part of the challenge has been the lack of dedicated capacity in the Country Office undertake and monitor resource mobilization efforts, both for internal and external projects and programmes. Even so, the Country Office did support the development of a private sector strategy and an initiative to create a Corporate Social Responsibility Centre. These can be further elaborated in the future. Further development of a resource mobilization strategy, however, will also need to address a number of key elements. UNDP must, first, demonstrate speed, efficiency and effectiveness in delivering projects and programmes; second, provide clear and timely reporting back to UAE donor entities; and third, give the UAE the visibility it requires, especially for external projects. In particular, UNDP needs to mobilize resources for implementing its new Country Programme 2013-2017. A comprehensive resource mobilization strategy therefore cannot be developed or implemented by the UNDP UAE Country Office alone. For internal projects and programmes, the strategy needs to be developed in close consultation with the responsible government entities, in particular the Ministry of Economy. For external projects and programmes, it should be developed after proper assessments are undertaken and requires support from the Regional Bureau for Arab States and collaboration with other UNDP country offices in the region. To the extent that UNDP can demonstrate small but clear successes, both internally and externally, the willingness of UAE entities to work with UNDP is likely to increase in the coming years. Based on this, UNDP UAE can build up its own internal capacities for resource mobilization and even consider establishing a dedicated resource mobilization unit.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Develop a comprehensive resource mobilization strategy taking into account both internal and external needs: internally, to support implementation of the new CPD, especially in providing support to the Northern Emirates; and externally, to increase UAE ODA flows through UNDP. As recommended, the strategy should include an effective presentation of UNDP work, areas that UNDP can support, and fund management systems for monitoring, reporting and communications. UNDP/RBAS 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated
2. Organize a series of presentations or workshops with national development entities, such as the Ministry of Economy, Departments of Economic Development; and international development assistance entities, such as the Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid, Abu Dhabi Fund For Development, Red Crescent Authority, Khalifa Foundation, Zayed Foundation, Al Maktoum Foundation, etc. UNDP UAE/RBAS 2014/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
3. Ensure that funds chaneled through UNDP in 2011 and 2012 produce timely and accurate reports on progress and achievements. UNDP UAE and other UNDP Country Offices 2012/12 Completed
4. Secure funding for implementation of the CPD 2013-2017, especially with regard to UNDP?s proposed support to the Northern Emirates. UNDP 2013/12 Completed
6. Recommendation: Recommendation 6: The country office should realistically assess headquarters support, particularly when the UAE needs high-quality professional support at an accelerated pace. UNDP should make concerted efforts to build mutually beneficial and sustained partnerships with local and regional research and policy institutions whose capabilities can be leveraged to improve UNDP country-office capacities. UNDP should seek opportunities to work together with other UN agencies to recognize comparative advantages of individual agencies and enhance overall UNDP contributions to development results.
Management Response:

In the fast-paced and dynamic development environment that exists in the UAE, focused and timely assistance is vital in serving government clients and demonstrating UNDP?s added value. Unfortunately, in the past, UNDP?s assistance has often been too little or too late. This results in part from the common perception that the UAE is not a high priority for regional and global policy advisors and in part from UNDP?s oft times sluggish response times and cumbersome recruitment processes. Nevertheless, if UNDP is to sell itself as a global development expert, such in-house support is vital to demonstrate UNDP?s credibility. This was demonstrated, for example, in the development and implementation of the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence, which relied heavily on regional and global UNDP experts. In addition, however, it is recognized that UNDP in the UAE should also build ?mutually beneficial and sustained partnerships with local and regional research and policy institutions.? While UNDP will strive to do so, an important constraining factor is finance. While some institutions have their own financial resources and would willingly collaborate with UNDP, others will look to UNDP for funding, which in turn will have to come from the government. In such cases, UNDP will have to prove that it brings some value to the mix. If not the government could just as easily enter into agreements with these institutions directly without UNDP. Thus the role of UNDP?s own regional and global experts in engaging with such institutions to demonstrate UNDP?s credibility remains important. Finally, it is recognized that collaboration with other UN agencies is important. One challenge in the UAE is that some resident agencies do not have country programmes because they are in fact regional offices. This is true for example for the World Food Programme. Nevertheless, UNDP will endeavor to develop joint initiatives with other UN agencies, whether resident or non-resident, to draw on the respective areas of expertise of UNDP and these agencies.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Develop concrete agreements with regional and global policy advisors to assist UNDP UAE in developing and implementing key initiatives under the strategic priorities identified in the new Country Programme 2013-2017 (inclusive growth, environmental sustainability, good governance, and international cooperation). UNDP 2014/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
2. Explore the possibility of developing memoranda of understanding with national and regional research and policy institutions to undertake joint initiatives financially supported by the UAE. UNDP 2014/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
3. Develop and implement joint programmes, where appropriate, with other UN agencies. UNDP 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated
7. Recommendation: Recommendation 7: UNDP should strengthen systems for programme management. This should include establishing clear guidelines for accountability and reporting within the country office and with clients. Engaging in global development partnerships also requires strengthening the country office?s media and communications capacities.
Management Response:

At present the UNDP UAE Programme Unit consists of one G6 Programme Associate (focusing on projects and programmes) and one G6 Programme Finance Associate (focusing on programme support functions). Thus, strengthening programme management will entail strengthening the Programme Unit in terms of human resources. This problem has already been discussed in part under recommendation 4 above (to ?attract and develop an experienced workforce of nationals in the country office ??). To the extent that UNDP is able to strengthen the Programme Unit, ?establishing clear guidelines for accountability and reporting within the country office and with clients? will follow. At present, the burden of such accountability and reporting falls on the shoulders of the Programme Associate and the Programme Finance Associate. Strengthening the office?s media and communications capacities is also vitally important. Unfortunately, this depends on funding which, at present, the country office does not possess. A key challenge therefore will be to secure the financial resources needed to strengthen the country office in these areas. One possibility is to ensure that all projects have a media, communications, advocacy and outreach component.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1. Undertake measures to strengthen the Programme Unit in terms of human resources. UNDP 2012/12 Completed
2. Continue to explore funding opportunities to hire dedicated staff for media and communications. UNDP 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated
3. Ensure that all new projects have a dedicated budget line for communications, advocacy and outreach. UNDP No due date No deadline established

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