Evaluation of UNDP Contribution to Poverty Reduction

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Evaluation Plan:
2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
Thematic
Planned End Date:
01/2013
Completion Date:
01/2013
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
250,000
This evaluation focuses on the evolving role and contribution of the United Nations Development Programme in the reduction of multidimensional poverty. The evaluation considers UNDP work over the period 2000-2012 and covers its contribution across all its focus areas. The evaluation report includes findings and conclusions and provides recommendations for improvement. The UNDP management response is included as an annex to the evaluation report.

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Title Evaluation of UNDP Contribution to Poverty Reduction
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: Thematic
Status:Completed
Completion Date:01/2013
Planned End Date: 01/2013
Management Response:Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty and MDG
Corporate Outcomes (UNDP Strategic Plan 2008-20013)
  • 1. Capacities of national and local institutions enhanced to scale up proven MDG acceleration interventions and to plan, monitor, report and evaluate the MDG progress in the context of related national development priorities
  • 2. Inclusive growth and social equity promoted through pro-poor macroeconomic and fiscal policies that support income, employment and social protection of youth, women and vulnerable groups in a sustainable way
  • 3. Policies, strategies and partnerships established to enhance public-private sector collaboration and private sector and market development that benefit the poor and ensure that low-income households and small enterprises have access to a broad range of financial and legal services
  • 4. Strengthened national capacities to integrate into the global economic system and to negotiate and manage traditional & emerging development finance for inclusive development
  • 5. Strengthened capacities to mainstream action into national policies, plans and strategies on the socio-economic causes and consequences of HIV and the linkage to the health MDG
Evaluation Budget(US $): 250,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 250,000
Joint Programme:No
Mandatory Evaluation:Yes
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Prof. S.R. Osmani Team leader
GEF Evaluation:No
Key Stakeholders:
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 Recommendation 1. UNDP should forge stronger links with national stakeholders, especially civil society and academia, to ensure that the ideas and lessons it propagates through its flagship documents, such as NHDRs and MDG reports, may influence the national policy agenda.
2 Recommendation 2. Programmes and projects undertaken by UNDP should be designed with an explicit pro-poor bias, always trying to add specific elements that would enhance the likelihood that the poor will benefit more than they otherwise would through general development interventions. Activities where it is impossible to introduce such an explicit pro-poor focus should be kept to a bare minimum and should be taken up only under strict guidelines with the strategic objective of leveraging the resources and ensuring the goodwill that UNDP will need in order to advance its mission of poverty reduction.
3 Recommendation 3. UNDP country offices should strengthen efforts to create more effective integration between thematic clusters and stronger partnerships with United Nations agencies, especially in terms of ensuring a sharper focus on non-income dimensions of poverty.
4 Recommendation 4. Downstream activities should be undertaken for the most part with the explicit strategic objective of contributing to something bigger than what those activities can deliver on their own ? by way of learning lessons for up-scaling or feeding into upstream policy advice relevant for poverty reduction. UNDP should incorporate into its system of performance evaluation for both its staff and its activities specific provisions that explicitly spell out the means as well as incentives for institutionalized learning so that lessons learned from successes and failures in each of its activities can feed into everything that UNDP does ? both across portfolios and over time.
1. Recommendation: Recommendation 1. UNDP should forge stronger links with national stakeholders, especially civil society and academia, to ensure that the ideas and lessons it propagates through its flagship documents, such as NHDRs and MDG reports, may influence the national policy agenda.
Management Response:

Engaging civil society and academia has been normal UNDP practice in its substantive work and programmatic exercises at the country level. For example, NHDRs have systematically involved academia and research institutions at the national and sub-national levels. In India, the Human Development Report for West Bengal was led by academics in Jawaharlal Nehru University. The country MDG reports engage civil society and the private sector. In programmatic activities such as MAF at the country level, involvement of multi-stakeholders in the roll-out is a pre-requisite. UNDP result-oriented annual reports have recently introduced requests to country offices to report on partnerships and engagement profiles, which include civil society and academia. UNDP will take further actions to ensure systematic engagement of multi-stakeholders in the processes of its substantive and programmatic work.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Include engagement of civil society and academia as a critical step in knowledge product quality assurance procedures. BDP, regional bureaux, country offices, HDRO 2013/06 Completed In the roll out of numerous poverty reductions oriented initiatives, such as the MAF roll out and implementation of action plans, BDP continues to critically engage with CSOs and academia at the country level as part of the implementation and validation of knowledge creation and programmes on the ground. Additionally, all Poverty Practice knowledge products and services are regularly quality assured internally and externally, including peer reviews by leading scholars and development practitioners. In the context of the post 2015 development framework discussions, engagement with civil society and academia is the underpinning of national, thematic and global consultations and outreach efforts through MyWorld. On the regional front, leading think tanks in the Russian Federation and Central Asia have been engaged in providing feedback on the Central Asia human development papers. Another good example of collaboration with academia is the RBEC and London School of Economics joint publication of the regional Development and Transition newsletter, which inter alia featured LSE faculty/experts providing critical assessments of RBEC regional and national results reporting. During 2005-2012 RBEC cooperated with the Central European University in holding regional human development courses at which regional experts provided quality assurance of concept notes for regional and national HDRs, and other knowledge products and programming. HDRO has continued to promote the development of National Human Development Reports (NHDRs) as vehicles to ensure engagement of civil society and academia in the production of high quality knowledge products. Indeed, the R/NHDR toolkit presents this as among the first steps in starting the development of a Human Development Report. The importance of this is stressed in the new quality assurance guidelines that have been uploaded in the POPP in 2013. HDRO also seeks to promote these principles through regional training courses for NHDR teams, for which COs are encouraged to bring in participants from civil society and academia. A Central Asia regional workshop was conducted in late 2013. 2016 update: UNDP standard operating procedures require external peer review of all global and regional knowledge products, including relevant civil society and academic partners. UNDP engages civil society and academia in the design and validation of country programming and knowledge products, including country programme documents and Millennium Development Goals acceleration action plans. The operating framework of the UNDP Civil Society Advisory Committee states that members provide substantive inputs to the development of key UNDP strategies and policies across its areas of focus. The forthcoming UNDG guidelines on sustainable development goals reporting suggest specific channels to facilitate civil society involvement in reporting local progress, including face-to-face and electronic platforms.Regional and national human development reports continue to be vehicles for local thought-leaders, academic institutions and civil society organizations to engage in national and global debates related to poverty. UNDP focal points are tasked with facilitating civic engagement at every stage of production.
1.2. Report on partnership and engagement with civil society and academia in Result-Oriented Annual Report (ROAR). Country offices, regional bureaux, BDP, OSG, BERA 2014/12 Completed ROARs for 2013 increasingly capture partnerships with CSOs and academia. A quick mapping of Country Offices reports, notably from the RBEC region, document good results on engagement with civil society and academia. 2016 update: All UNDP country offices, through the results-oriented annual report, are asked to report on their cooperation with the private sector, civil society organizations and academia. In 2015, 29 per cent of country offices reported cooperation with Southern-based civil society organizations, compared to 12 per cent in 2014. In 2015, cooperation with academic and research institutions increased by 19 per cent. According to its Integrated Results and Resources Framework, UNDP strengthened civil society capacities in 21 countries in 2014, supporting their engagement in development- and poverty-related debates, including groups representing women, youth, and other marginalized groups. In 2015, the number jumped to 37 countries, while 32 country offices worked to strengthen the enabling environment for civic engagement. By the end of 2017, UNDP expects to have helped 48 countries strengthen the capacity of civil society to engage meaningfully in pro-poor policy debates and action. The Integrated Results and Resources Framework includes an output on establishing frameworks for civic engagement. Country offices, and other parts of UNDP, regularly report on progress against this output. Additionally, to capture the extensive work promoting citizen participation, UNDP has proposed including a question on how opportunities for citizen participation are being expanded as a result of UNDP activities (results-oriented annual report, 2016).
1.3. Support countries develop over 40 "third generation" MDG reports serving as evidence to inform the post-2015 development agenda, with guidance on engaging civil society and academia. BDP and regional bureaux 2014/12 Completed UNDP continues to respond to country demand to devise strategies to tackle the unfinished business of the MDGs, including in new, emerging areas that would inform the post-2015 development agenda, including through the development of MAF action plans and post-2015 implementation knowledge In this context, it continues to facilitate country reporting on the final impact of the MDGs (with support to 40 countries in 2013), while enabling the transition to the new global agenda. Guidance on MDG reports was issued in 2013. At the regional levels, Bureau for Development Policy through its poverty group and regional bureaus and service centres have continued to provide technical support to the drafting of national MDG reports. In the CIS region, for instance, support was provided to: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan in producing such reports. These reports will be used as input for a UN regional MDG report. In the Arab States region, support was provided to: Lebanon, Morocco, PAPP, Somalia, and Tunisia. In the Africa region, support was provided to: Botswana, Comoros, Cote d Ivoire, DRC, Guinea, Lesotho, Namibia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Rwanda, and Togo. In the Asia and Pacific region, support was provided to: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. In the Latin America and Caribbean region, support was provided to: Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, and Uruguay. To date, UNDP, in its role as the scorekeeper for the MDGs, has supported the production of over 420 government MDG country reports. The next of MDG monitoring at country level will encourage governments to set the baselines for the SDGs/post-2015 development agenda, including both the unfinished business of the MDGs and indicators for measuring sustainable human development. In this context, it continues to facilitate country reporting on the final impact of the MDGs (with support to 40 countries in 2013), while enabling the transition to the new global agenda. At the regional levels, BDP/PG and RBx/RSCs have continued to provide technical support to the drafting of national MDG reports. In the CIS region, for instance, support was provided to: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan in producing such reports. Following on the UNDG regional directors? team decision, these reports will be used as input for a UN regional MDG report. In the Arab States region, support was provided to: Lebanon, Morocco, PAPP, Somalia, and Tunisia. In the Africa region, support was provided to: Botswana, Comoros, Cote d?Ivoire, DRC, Guinea, Lesotho, Namibia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Rwanda, and Togo. In the Asia and Pacific region, support was provided to: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. In the Latin America and Caribbean region, support was provided to: Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, and Uruguay. To date, UNDP, in its role as the scorekeeper for the MDGs, has supported the production of over 420 government MDG country reports. The next of MDG monitoring at country level will encourage governments to set the baselines for the SDGs/post-2015 development agenda, including both the unfinished business of the MDGs and indicators for measuring sustainable human development. Currently, UNDP is mobilizing resources for this initiative. 2016 update: As the Millennium Development Goals score-keeper, UNDP worked with its national partners to facilitate periodic, inclusive reviews on progress towards the Goals. At least one national Millennium Development Goals report was produced by each of the 156 UNDP programme countries. Governments led their production, working with UNDP and United Nations country teams to engage the full range of stakeholders, including from marginalized and vulnerable communities.In 2013, a UNDP amendment to the UNDG guidance note on MDG reporting recommended that governments consult with stakeholders to mine lessons on their experience in implementing the Goals. The resulting 55 â??third-generationâ?? national Millennium Development Goals reports, suggest that the multiple manifestations and underlying causes of poverty were increasingly analysed, better understood and better reflected in Goals-focused initiatives. Civic engagement underpinned UNDP efforts to build consensus on the post-2015 global development agenda, particularly to ensure the inclusion of poor and marginalized communities. Global thematic debates brought world-class experts, advocates and think tanks into the conversation; and the global My World survey allowed the participation of over 10 million people.
2. Recommendation: Recommendation 2. Programmes and projects undertaken by UNDP should be designed with an explicit pro-poor bias, always trying to add specific elements that would enhance the likelihood that the poor will benefit more than they otherwise would through general development interventions. Activities where it is impossible to introduce such an explicit pro-poor focus should be kept to a bare minimum and should be taken up only under strict guidelines with the strategic objective of leveraging the resources and ensuring the goodwill that UNDP will need in order to advance its mission of poverty reduction.
Management Response:

With organizational commitment to human development, dedication to poverty elimination and concrete actions ensuring poverty focus in thematic areas, UNDP has been on track. The challenges are three-fold: (a) consolidation of the above approach; (b) broad-based integration of a poverty focus across areas and in more country programmes; and (c) developing country-level staff capacity to ensure such integration. More concerted actions will be undertaken on diagnostic assessment tools, methodologies and frameworks, guidance notes, practice tool kits, and dissemination of lessons learnt from real programme. Through dialogue with national counterparts and by reflecting national priorities, a more deliberate, evidence-based approach to programming will be developed that emphasizes a policy-based, broader poverty reduction approach and focused poverty interventions. Developing national capacities and promoting more deliberate, concrete, evidence-based programming, with appropriate monitoring and assessment, will help to inform policies and contribute to scaling up policies and results. This theory of change will help to conceptualize and design appropriate poverty-focused initiatives in different focus areas, developing required implementation plans and rolling out necessary monitoring and evaluation exercises.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Develop guidelines and a practical tool kit with project examples of how to design pro-poor programme in the area of democratic governance, energy and environment, HIV and AIDS, and crisis prevention and recovery. BDP, BCPR, LRC together with country offices 2015/06 Completed The recommendations and committed action plans were put forth before the new strategic plan IRRF finalization and before the structural review process. Based on the original TOR for this action, initial desk reviews have been conducted. Key pro-poor indicators have been proposed for all relevant outcomes. 2016 update: Explicit guidelines and toolkits have been developed in all UNDP thematic areas (see sample list in annex 3). These publications enable UNDP country offices to maximize the poverty reduction impact of their initiatives. The 2015 UNDP publication Mainstreaming environment and climate for poverty reduction and sustainable development, for example, elaborates approaches that have worked to maximize poverty reduction and environmental objectives. UNDP prospectuses and policy briefs released in 2015 also elaborate on the UNDP integrated approach towards the eradication of poverty.
2.2a. Ensure designated capacity in poverty clusters (teams) in the country offices, regional service centres and headquarters to advise and support other practices to design, monitor, implement and evaluate programmes with explicit pro-poor bias. Country offices, regional bureaux, BDP, BCPR 2015/06 Completed The Poverty Practice is currently undertaking a mapping (connected to the guidelines mentioned above in 2.1) to determine service needs to design, monitor, implement and evaluate programmes with explicit pro-poor bias. On the regional front, methodological approaches are piloted on the selection of appropriate national and regional baselines and targets for the poverty-related indicators in the UNDP programmes. 2016 update: In March 2016, the UNDP project document template was revised to require a description of the development challenge the project seeks to address, provide evidence of how it relates to national/ regional/global development priorities for women and men, marginalized and excluded groups and therefore, explain why it is important for reducing poverty, curbing inequality and exclusion. This requires all projects to elaborate on how they intend to reduce poverty, and incentivize staff to design projects, in consultation with policy advisors, with specific poverty reduction targets and clear theories of change, from the outset. The reorganization of UNDP in 2014 sought in part to avoid compartmentalizing poverty reduction (highlighted by the evaluation), by organizing staff in thematically integrated practices. All practices are responsible for delivering long- and short-term poverty reduction results by building more peaceful, just and cohesive societies; working to safeguard and restore essential ecosystems important to the welfare of the poor; strengthening governance and accountability; generating livelihoods; and laying the ground for productive, inclusive economies.
2.2b. Poverty teams in crises countries and in regional service centres acquire skills on UNDP programming in crises response with a focus on livelihoods and economic recovery programming, including linkages with other practice areas such as crises governance and conflict prevention. Country offices, regional bureaux, BCPR 2014/03 Completed BCPR organized a well-attended global community of practice meeting in 2013 (33 country offices) convening programme staff from poverty and CPR units. The GCOP focused on experiences and lessons learnt on livelihoods and economic recovery in crisis and post crisis settings and provided training on UNDP signature products in this area. The GCOP also focused on training in crisis governance especially local government/institutional capacity and conflict development analysis in crisis and post crisis situations. In follow up to this meeting, a GCOP platform was established and continues to promote the sharing of experiences and lessons learned on livelihoods and economic recovery across the UNDP COs globally. Further training activities in this area are programmed for 2014. In March, a SURGE training was organised for countries in Southern Africa. Poverty and governance teams from Liberia, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe, to name a few, participated. One day was devoted to training on the livelihoods and economic recovery signature products, and the link to governance and conflict prevention. On the regional front, RBEC since 2008 has been leading the UN-system?s Central Asia Regional Risk Assessment process, which has focused on integrating poverty/vulnerability analysis and social impact assessments with capacity building for humanitarian/ emergency responses and disaster risk management in this sub-region. It has also ensured that the activities of the DPA/BCPR UN working group on Belarus have been well informed by evidence-based analyses of growing threats of poverty, social exclusion, and socio-economic vulnerability in this country. 2016 update: In 2013, staff from poverty and crisis prevention and recovery units from 33 countries were trained to assess and deliver economic recovery and livelihoods â?? including through emergency employment, enterprise recovery, community infrastructure rehabilitation, debris management and local government support (participatory planning). In 2014, 2015, and 2016, similar such trainings were held for staff with diverse expertise â?? involved in UNDP crisis-response (â??SURGEâ??). In 2015 over 100 colleagues were trained in immediate post-crisis livelihoods generation â?? including through debris management, municipal solid waste management, infrastructure rehabilitation, enterprise recovery, and cash-based interventions. A global platform and community of practice facilitates ongoing exchange and learning on economic recovery and livelihoods in both (post-) crisis and non-crisis contexts among UNDP staff, at all levels and in all thematic areas.
2.3. Include pro-poorness and environmental sustainability as one of the criteria in the project appraisal committee checklist. OSG, Regional Bureaux, Country Offices 2014/02 Completed UNDP took concrete steps to develop an organization wide approach to project quality assurance. This tool will integrate Gender Marker, CD Tracker, Social and Environmental Standards, as well as pro-poorness criteria, all of which will feed into the QA system. The tool was piloted in a series of countries and will be launched in 1Q 2014. 2016 update: In 2015 UNDP adopted social and environmental standards for all projects and programmes, aligned with the integrated objectives in 2030 Agenda. The standards integrate the gender marker, the capacity development tracker, environmental standards, sustainability, human rights and pro-poor criteria. They require staff to analyse risks and the interlinkages between objectives, elaborating how they will achieve poverty reduction while advancing environmental, gender, crisis prevention, governance and other objectives.The criteria for project appraisal requires the inclusion of explicit â??strategies to effectively identify, engage and ensure the meaningful participation of targeted groups/geographic areas with a priority focus on the excluded and marginalizedâ?�. Projects are rated on how well they â??prioritize marginalized and excluded populations and engage them in the design of the project â?? in a way that addresses any underlying causes of exclusion and discriminationâ?�, as well as potential social and environmental risks, opportunities and adverse impacts.
2.4. Analyse programmes that crosscut multiple practice areas and contribute to poverty reduction, such as MAF programmes in different thematic areas, to tease out the successful factors and lessons learnt. Country offices, regional bureaux, BDP, BCPR 2013/12 Completed As with deliverable 2.1, this deliverable and its time-frame has been slightly adjusted in lieu of the structural review, accordingly a consultancy TOR to implement the deliverable will be launched soon. In general, a second global report featuring trends and results globally was produced and launched in September 2013, Accelerating progress, Sustaining Results. This report was informed by the discussions and papers presented at the Global MDG Conference held in Bogota in February 2013 with participants from academia, multilateral organizations, governments, NGOs, and others. Further lessons with the MAF implementation and acceleration will be extracted to inform the implementations of the SDGs beyond 2015. In several regional contexts, results from implementation of MAF action plans provided a very good basis for analysis given their cross-cutting nature. 2016 update: Country programme documents are required to use evaluations and evidence to identify what has worked and what has not, and apply those lessons to inform programming priorities. Corporate standards for project implementation require staff to regularly assess the theory of change to determine if it holds true in practice, including by considering social and environmental impacts and risks and ensuring that they are successfully managed and monitored. The country programme documents criteria require evidence that targeted groups are being systematically identified and engaged â?? prioritizing the marginalized and excluded. This incentivizes measures to target the poorest, and generates evidence that they benefit from UNDP support â?? thus directly addressing a concern noted in the evaluation. Reports against this criterion must be reviewed by country-level managers; shortcomings are flagged as requiring a review and management response to improve programming. A 2014 evaluation of UNDP contributions to the Millennium Development Goals, highlighted the Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Framework, UNDP-facilitation of lessons learned and its flexible approach to implementation as significant strengths and contributions to achievement of the Goals. A United Nations Chief Executives Board review of Acceleration Framework implementation concluded (noting examples) that it had successfully facilitated the application of lessons learned from practice to achieve results.
3. Recommendation: Recommendation 3. UNDP country offices should strengthen efforts to create more effective integration between thematic clusters and stronger partnerships with United Nations agencies, especially in terms of ensuring a sharper focus on non-income dimensions of poverty.
Management Response:

On both fronts, actions are on track, but further measures will be initiated. For example, in crises countries, UNDP will promote stronger integration between thematic clusters, particularly the crisis prevention and recovery and the poverty reduction and environment clusters, in adopting integrated post-conflict, post-disaster recovery frameworks and designing and implementing programmes. On the second front, MAF roll-out provides a unique platform for collaborating with other United Nations organizations on non-income aspects of poverty - e.g. with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) on hunger and food security (Central African Republic and Niger), with UNFPA and WHO on maternal mortality rate (for example in Ghana and Uganda). Efforts on both fronts will be strengthened, consolidated and institutionalized.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1a. Continue supporting multi-practice and multi-agency joint initiatives that aim at building synergies to achieve poverty reduction results, such as MAF, integrated strategy of local governance and local development and the Poverty Environment Initiative. Country offices, regional bureaux, BDP, BCPR 2014/12 Completed UNDP continues to support, as determined by the CEB, over 60 countries that have developed MDG Acceleration action plans to implement and achieve results, including through partnership with the World Bank at the CEB. With the support of the UNDP-UNEP joint Poverty Environment Initiative, over 25 countries have now in place poverty and environment mainstreaming strategies. On the regional front, all RBx have supported the adoption and implementation of MAF action plans at the country level. For instance, in Africa, 23 countries are being developed and implemented action plans with RBA and BDP?s support (Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, CAR, Chad, Cote D?Ivoire, Ethiopia (sub-national level), Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia). In the CIS region, MAF action plans are being developed and implemented in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. In Latin America and Caribbean, MAF action plans are being developed and implemented in Belize, Colombia (at sub-national level with over 75 local action plans), Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica and Peru. In Asia and Pacific, MAF action plans are being developed and implemented in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, PNG, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam. On the regional front, all RBx have supported the adoption and implementation of MAF action plans at the country level. For instance, in Africa, 23 countries are being developed and implemented action plans with RBA and BDP?s support (Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, CAR, Chad, Cote D?Ivoire, Ethiopia (sub-national level), Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia). In the CIS region, MAF action plans are being developed and implemented in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. In Latin America and Caribbean, MAF action plans are being developed and implemented in Belize, Colombia (at sub-national level with over 75 local action plans), Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica and Peru. In Asia and Pacific, MAF action plans are being developed and implemented in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, PNG, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam. MAF roll-outs in other countries are currently under consideration for 2014. 2016 update: UNDP supported over 60 countries in developing and implementing Millennium Development Goals acceleration action plans on issues related to poverty, including through partnerships with the World Bank. With the support of the UNDP-United Nations Environment Programme joint poverty-environment initiative, over 25 countries have poverty and environmental mainstreaming strategies in place. Working with the World Bank and the European Union, UNDP has been a key partner in the delivery of post-conflict and post-disaster needs assessments, to mitigate the impact of crises on the poorest. Countries involved have included: Lebanon, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Yemen. UNDP is a key partner with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and others on the â??Decent Jobs for Youthâ?? initiative, which aims to ensure policy and country-level joint coordinated action for young women and men, especially the poor and vulnerable. UNDP has partnered with the Peacebuilding Support Office, ILO and the World Bank on the links to employment and peacebuilding to ensure increased policy coherence and evidence-based programming on peacebuilding. In 2015, UNDP and its partner organizations developed guidelines to support national partners and stakeholders to effectively implement the sustainable development goals at the subnational level, in particular to empower poor and vulnerable communities.
3.1b. In at least three crises countries, UNDP will promote a stronger integration between thematic clusters and collaboration with key partners under GEF at the country level by: i. adopting integrated post-disaster or post-conflict country and recovery analyses; ii. jointly designing and implementing (CPR and poverty reduction clusters) sustainable livelihoods and economic recovery programmes. Country offices, regional bureaux, BCPR 2013/12 Completed See progress made under 2.2.b. RBEC is working closely with DOCO and the UNDG regional Programme Support Group to support and provide quality assurance vis-à-vis the next wave of UNDAFs that are now being prepared in 12 RBEC countries in order to ensure that CPR and poverty reduction considerations are well featured. 2016 update: In crisis countries, UNDP strives to achieve crisis prevention and recovery, poverty reduction and environmental objectives simultaneously, through integrated post-conflict, post-disaster recovery frameworks and programmes. The structure of country offices increasingly reflects this emphasis (post-crisis livelihoods recovery, environment and poverty reduction are housed in a common unit). The quality assurance process of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework includes criteria to ensure that crisis prevention and recovery and poverty reduction are approached as interlinked objectives. UNDP is implementing a number of integrated flagship programmes targeting the poorest and most vulnerable in crisis-affected communities with services involving livelihoods stabilization, basic service delivery, social protection, social cohesion and the rule of law. These include the Yemen Resilience Programme, the Iraq Crisis Response and Resilience Programme, host community support programmes in Jordan and Lebanon in response the Syria Crisis; the Syria Resilience Building Programme; the Nepal and Philippines disaster response and recovery programmes; and the community security and livelihoods stabilization programme in the Central African Republic. In 2013, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) entered its 6th tranche, with new guidelines and templates for programmes and projects. UNDP strengthened the guidelines to ensure poverty outcomes across its community-level work. GEF guidelines for community-based work include indicators on the generation of livelihoods for poor and vulnerable people. Djibouti is a good example of GEF efforts to achieve integrated, poverty-reducing outcomes in a post-conflict setting. GEF-supported adaptation measures are addressing water scarcity â?? a limiting factor for agricultural productivity and livelihood security. Climate resilient agro-pastoral practices, such as using date-palm trees to protect gardens from extreme heat, have been introduced. The sale of resulting agricultural products has diversified incomes. In addition, communities have benefited from more secure water infrastructure, including boreholes and solar pumps, increasing water availability and reducing the time spent collecting water.
3.2. Develop new joint initiatives with other UN agencies as needed in advancing the poverty reduction agenda. UNDP, UNCDF, UNV, and relevant UN agencies 2014/12 Completed UNDP coordinates with the UN system through a number of fora joint initiatives for poverty reduction. For instance, through the MDG Task Force ? an UN wide platform to advance MDG achievement as related to poverty reduction issues ? UNDP coordinates with the system ways to enhance support to countries on MDG acceleration efforts. In the context of UN wide initiatives, such as the System-wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth-SWAP), UNDP works closely with UN agencies to advance country support in these areas. Within the post-2015 context, RBEC is working closely with UNECE, UNICEF, ILO, IOM, UNEP, and the regional offices of other UN agencies to develop common approaches to assessing the regional lessons of the MDGs, developing new programming in the poverty-environment nexus, replicating good practices in social protection that can be brought from other regions, and exploring the prospects of harnessing migrant worker remittances as a source of development finance. Within the post-2015 context, RBEC is working closely with UNECE, UNICEF, ILO, IOM, UNEP, and the regional offices of other UN agencies to develop common approaches to assessing the regional lessons of the MDGs, developing new programming in the poverty-environment nexus, replicating good practices in social protection that can be brought from other regions, and exploring the prospects of harnessing migrant worker remittances as a source of development finance. A partnerships with the World Bank and other UN system agencies within the rubric of the Chief Executive s Board (CEB) for MDG Acceleration helps direct join support to most pressing bottlenecks to MDG achievement in selected countries. As a result, significant resources from the Bank and other partners is being channeled directly to countries. A new partnership (Partnership for Action on a Green Economy( was initiated and formally joined (with UNEP, ILO, ILO, UNITAR) in summer 2014 to help advance poverty reduction in the context IN of a green economy in developing countries. 2016 update: The Millennium Development Goals Gap Task Force served as a United Nations-wide platform that successfully advanced achievement of the Goals through its focus on Goal 8 and donor contributions. A similar United Nations-wide structure (the inter-agency task force) has been put in place to coordinate support for implementation of the sustainable development goals. UNDP works with United Nations partners to advance country support â?? through the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Youth, new programming in the poverty-environment arena, and replication of good practices in social protection and to promote the adoption of social protection floors.A partnership with the World Bank and other United Nations organizations within the rubric of the Chief Executives Board for acceleration of the Millennium Development Goals initiated United Nations system-wide support to help overcome pressing bottlenecks to achievement of the Goals in selected countries. The Partnership for Action on a Green Economy was initiated and formally launched in 2014, with the United Nations Environment Programme, ILO, and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research to help advance poverty reduction within a green economy context. In 2015, UNDP and ILO, together with the Economic Commission for Europe, the United Nations Childrenâ??s Fund and the World Bank, initiated a joint project to promote inclusive labour markets in the western Balkans, and in 2016 UNDP initiated a new inter-organization joint initiative on measuring poverty in the Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States region.
4. Recommendation: Recommendation 4. Downstream activities should be undertaken for the most part with the explicit strategic objective of contributing to something bigger than what those activities can deliver on their own ? by way of learning lessons for up-scaling or feeding into upstream policy advice relevant for poverty reduction. UNDP should incorporate into its system of performance evaluation for both its staff and its activities specific provisions that explicitly spell out the means as well as incentives for institutionalized learning so that lessons learned from successes and failures in each of its activities can feed into everything that UNDP does ? both across portfolios and over time.
Management Response:

UNDP has undertaken concerted efforts in scaling up and micro-macro linkages. The organization will further consolidate it in focus areas and processes. The organization has recently strengthened the knowledge base in promoting the scaling-up agenda, aiming at feeding lessons learnt into upstream policy advice. On the second issue, UNDP has been working on an integrated resources results framework, including financial and human resources and measurable quantitative and tangible qualitative results. Incentive mechanisms with a clear transparency and accountability framework are also being addressed. Measures will be taken to develop capacities in country offices, make a cultural shift in attitude and work-culture in order to provide effective support to countries and help them formulate real-time data and monitoring to ensure development effectiveness.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1. Roll-out the guidance on scaling up development programmes for transformational change to over 30 countries covering all regions. Regional bureaux, BDP, BCPR 2014/12 Completed The scaling-up guidance key messages have been integrated into the new strategic plan, new guidance for CPD development, and have been rolled out during the process of programme alignment. Over 30 countries countries have already applied scaling up guidance in programme designs, especially programme addressing local development issues and poverty reduction, including 16 supported by Asia Pacific scaling up fund, 10 supported by ROK-UNDP trust fund, and 6 more to be supported by ROK New communities programme. 2016 update: Guidance for scaling-up and learning from downstream projects and programmes was integrated into the country programming guidelines and template. In keeping with the UNDP quality standards and assurance processes, all country programme documents are required to demonstrate how they used evidence from evaluations, studies and lessons from practice regarding what worked, and what did not, to inform programming priorities and design. Theories of change must be elaborated in all projects and programmes, including to explain how downstream initiatives are designed, from the outset, to trigger transformative or broad-based change, creating a path for scaled-up poverty reduction. UNDP quality standards for implementation require ongoing assessment and monitoring of the degree to which theories of change holds true in practice, and adapt implementation on the ground to maximize learning and keep the initiative on track so as to achieve scaled-up impact.
4.2. Launch and disseminate e-learning platform on scaling-up with practical guidance and relevant examples from all practices. BDP, BCPR, LRC 2013/12 Completed Content finalized and platform has been launched. In 2016, UNDP launched a new learning system the Talent Development Centre which hosts a number of learning instruments, including web-based courses, certification programmes, and an online learning library with materials relevant to cross-thematic poverty approaches. It also connects peers through social learning and collaborative tools linked to the UNDP Yammer. In 2016, UNDP introduced the Sustainable Pathways Network with the aim of fostering discussion among colleagues on sustainable development, including the eradication of poverty in all its forms as they relate to country work. The network allows members to post queries, and provides a space for sharing news, innovative good practices, lessons learned, and relevant information on events and publications. A knowledge management gateway was introduced in the Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States region in 2016, offering an e-learning, information management and collaboration/networking platform; the Regional Bureau for Africa is preparing to follow this approach with the launch of its own knowledge gateway.
4.3. Design and implement incentives linked with resource allocation and result recognition to support country office learning culture. Regional bureaux 2013/06 Completed For example, substantive support and feedback have been provided to RBAP on successful scaled up interventions submitted by COs. Documentation of those successful experiences enables teasing out lessons learned which in turn could feed into upstream policy advice on poverty reduction. RBEC in 2009 designed and implemented a week-long tailored course on the economics of development, transition, poverty reduction, and sustainable development for UNCT staff and national partners, that was conducted in four Central Asian countries. 2016 update: Organization-wide, integrated results-based work planning is improving alignment with strategic plan outcomes and strengthening accountability for poverty reduction results. The annual business plan of UNDP â?? tied to strategic plan outcomes and outputs â?? is used to inform and help determine the work plans of individual units, as well as the corresponding objectives of individual staff members.
4.4. Establish in at least three crises countries innovative approaches of real-time monitoring systems for UNDP recovery initiatives in order to improve accountability to crises-affected populations and effective capturing and sharing of lessons learned to inform policies. Country offices, regional bureaux, BDP, BCPR 2013/09 Completed Three crises countries were identified, including Somalia, Uganda and Kenya. Rationale for each country is summarized below. Somalia has developed a data base for M&E Information System that is accessible to donors, affected communities and other partners through a password system. This M&E Information system provides real time data/information on programme/project. The CO also uses satellite system for remote monitoring in areas not accessible due to insecurity. Under the Northern Uganda Recovery Programme, an assessment was conducted to identify the requirements for setting up data/information management systems in place. Subsequently, an inventory with tools for tracking savings, production income per household was developed for the supported rural farmers. The inventory is targeting over 12,500 farmers whose profiles will be regularly updated. Under the Northern Kenya Recovery Programme, UNDP has trained government officers on use of data collection and analysis tools. These include officers from Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Gender and Youth, NDMA, working at the community level to ensure real-time monitoring. The data collected is used for reporting in their respective ministry's annual reports. 2016 update: UNDP applied remote and real-time monitoring in various crisis affected contexts, including Syria and Yemen. Modalities for field monitoring included community-based monitoring, site visits, and third-party monitoring through a private firm or national or international non-governmental organization recruited by UNDP. UNDP Nepal, in partnership with the local team at the Microsoft Innovation Centre, created a mobile application that tracks and coordinates logistics, personnel, and payments, better enabling the Government to administer the rebuilding effort.UNDP supported Somalia in developing a monitoring and evaluation database accessible to donors, communities and other partners, providing real-time information on programmes and projects. UNDP Somalia uses a satellite system to remotely monitor areas that are insecure or inaccessible. Somali farmers are using the technology to address climate-related challenges, including increased rainfall variability, floods and droughts. In Uganda, UNDP established a system of tracking the savings and household income (from crops) of 12,500 farmers to support economic recovery in rural territories.

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