Evaluation of UNDP Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (2008-2013)

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Evaluation Plan:
2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
Regional Programme
Planned End Date:
06/2013
Completion Date:
05/2013
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
180,000

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Title Evaluation of UNDP Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (2008-2013)
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: Regional Programme
Status:Completed
Completion Date:05/2013
Planned End Date: 06/2013
Management Response:Yes
Corporate Outcomes (UNDP Strategic Plan 2008-20013)
Evaluation Budget(US $): 180,000
Source of Funding:
Joint Programme:No
Mandatory Evaluation:No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Brian Cugelman
Claudia de Barros Marcondes
Dean Pallen
Eva Otero
Jordi del Bas
Oscar Huertas Díaz
GEF Evaluation:No
Key Stakeholders:
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 Recommendation 1. The regional programme needs to focus on fewer and more realistic thematic priorities and more strictly prioritize initiatives in which UNDP brings a regional added value and in which costs can be shared by strategic partners able to support countries and, when and if appropriate, regional institutions in taking ownership to ensure the continuity and sustainability of results.
2 Recommendation 2. The regional programme should be less involved in project implementation and should invest its limited resources on upstream initiatives such as: policy and technical advice; advocacy; dialogue; partnership building; multistakeholder coordination; networking; knowledge brokering; and capacity development.
3 Recommendation 3. UNDP should rethink its approach to the Caribbean and should develop a new development cooperation strategy with an adequate resource mobilization plan to allow UNDP to tackle the specific challenges, needs, priorities and opportunities of the Caribbean countries and the different development status and vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States, net contributor countries and middle-income countries.
4 Recommendation 4. Mainstreaming strategies for cross-cutting areas should be reviewed.
5 Recommendation 5. UNDP should rethink how the regional programme can more strategically and realistically support triangular and South-South cooperation and measure the concrete effects and sustainability of those initiatives in a more systematic manner.
6 Recommendation 6. UNDP should rethink how the cross-cutting areas can best support the core practice areas, increasing synergies and more thoroughly integrating planning, monitoring and learning from evaluations into knowledge management, capacity development, South-South solutions and communication in a more structured and focused environment to bring about a combined perspective for action, accountability and learning.
1. Recommendation: Recommendation 1. The regional programme needs to focus on fewer and more realistic thematic priorities and more strictly prioritize initiatives in which UNDP brings a regional added value and in which costs can be shared by strategic partners able to support countries and, when and if appropriate, regional institutions in taking ownership to ensure the continuity and sustainability of results.
Management Response:

RBLAC fully agrees with this recommendation. The new Regional Programme 2014-2017 will be aligned to the new UNDP Strategic Plan. Global and regional programming will directly address country needs. It will focus on a limited number of strategic issues related to sustainable development and resilience and tailored to key areas according to the specific demands of Country Offices in the region. Some related actions have already been initiated, with regards to new Country Office business models that will ensure focus and sustainability, as well as optimal positioning and team structure; alignment of new RP with country offices priorities and planned annual strategic key results; and strengthened technical assistance.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Increased consultation with internal and external stakeholders, including Country Offices, governments, regional institutions, civil society, UN agencies and donors, and hence Regional Programme based on demand-driven priorities. UNDP/RBLAC - Regional Service Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean (RSC LAC) 2013/12 Completed RBLAC held consultations with internal and external stakeholders, including governments (18 countries of CELAC and Directors of International Cooperation Agencies in LAC), development partners (through the Thematic Boards) and all RC/RRs in the region.
1.2 Reflect evaluation recommendations in the new regional programme, by fostering synergies between global, regional and country programmes to ensure more targeted responses and a complementarity approach. UNDP/RBLAC - RSC LAC 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated During the elaboration of the RPD, consultations were done with BDP and BCPR. Comments were also received during the RP PAC, thus initial alignment was initiated. Additionally, joint work with BCPR was recently approved. However, this is a task that will continued this year, given that there is as of January an approved Global Programme, and once BPPS and the RSC complete the structural review process.
1.3 Reflect evaluation recommendations in the new regional programme, by focusing on fewer thematic priorities, and more flexible demand driven actions in the context of the post-Rio+20 and post-2015 development agendas. UNDP/RBLAC 2013/12 Completed The new programme contributes now to 4 outcomes as opposed to 12 in the previous period. It includes 15 regional interventions that were prioritized on the basis of their addressing underlying causes and their potential to leverage other resources and partners to ensure achievement.
2. Recommendation: Recommendation 2. The regional programme should be less involved in project implementation and should invest its limited resources on upstream initiatives such as: policy and technical advice; advocacy; dialogue; partnership building; multistakeholder coordination; networking; knowledge brokering; and capacity development.
Management Response:

Largely relevant and acceptable. The main emphasis will be placed on increasing policy and technical advice, capacity development, knowledge brokering, coordination and partnership building. However, Regional Programme activities will also include project implementation when the supported initiatives are replicable, can be up-scaled and/or support policy making and advocacy, have strong potential for transformational change, and complement the support provided at the country level. In addition to policy advice and technical support, the Regional Service Centre provides operational support to Country Offices as well. The RP will retain its versatility and flexibility to support the differentiated needs of countries in the region.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Elaboration of an inventory of policy and technical services to be provided at the Regional level. UNDP/RBLAC - RSC LAC 2014/03 Overdue-Initiated In the context of the Structural Review, the analysis has taken in consideration this recommendation and is imbedded in the discussions and proposals under way. However, completion of this action is subject to the final capacities agreed with BPPS and installed in the RSC once the Structural Review process is completed. Decisions will be taken mid-March 2014, after the GMM.
2.2. Establishment of an assessment mechanism to define the most effective implementation modalities, based on their potential to contribute to development changes, and in full alignment with national or regional demands, via consultation with key actors and institutions. UNDP/RBLAC 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated The implementation modality approved in the Regional Program is DIM. Update of the existing PRE-PAC and PAC procedures to include the alignment criteria with the new SP as well as other criteria which should guide the approval of the new initiatives under the Regional Programme. Criteria should consider considerations such as the potential of the initiatives to contribute to transformational changes from a regional perspective in a region with high portion of net-contributor and middle-income countries. This action is pending receipt of the corporate guidance for alignment of the Regional Programmes to the SP
2.3 Establishment of a comprehensive partnership strategy, with key partners consulted. UNDP/RBLAC - RSC LAC in coordination with BDP, BCPR, BERA 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated This action is subject to the corporate guidance being prepared by BERA on partnership and resource mobilization. In the meantime, the RSC has included as part of the Structural Review a post for partnership and resource mobilization which will support the implementation and follow up of this strategy
3. Recommendation: Recommendation 3. UNDP should rethink its approach to the Caribbean and should develop a new development cooperation strategy with an adequate resource mobilization plan to allow UNDP to tackle the specific challenges, needs, priorities and opportunities of the Caribbean countries and the different development status and vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States, net contributor countries and middle-income countries.
Management Response:

Largely relevant and accepted, response already initiated. UNDP has been rethinking its approach to the Caribbean and the support to the sub-region remains a top priority for RBLAC. UNDP continues to be engaged in a dialogue with the CARICOM and OECS Secretariats. UNDP and the UN development system at large have established the following areas of collaboration: Climate Change and Environment, Institutional Strengthening, and Human Security. UNDP, and the UN system in LAC will furthermore continue to support the consultations on the post 2015 development agenda, as well as to the sub-regional consultations in preparation for the upcoming SIDS conference in 2014.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Analytical review of the Caribbean portfolio to determine optimal programmatic presence, financial sustainability and team structure UNDP/RBLAC 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated RBLAC has commissioned an analysis of the programmatic opportunities and have identified key strategic priorities for the Caribbean over the coming 3 years. This has since been further elaborated with inputs from RRs in Caribbean Offices, members of UNDG LAC and regional actors such the CARICOM secretariat under the aegis of the UNDG-CARICOM collaboration. In addition, a financial sustainability exercise was commissioned among the Caribbean Offices to assess the likelihood of achieving optimal programmatic and operational efficiency. Several staff adjustments were pursued to increase the probability of financial sustainability of Caribbean CO, including: move from a P5 CD in Suriname to a P4 DRR, abolishing a P5 DRR in TT and replacing with a ARR at NOD level and a restructuring of Jamaica CO with resulted in an overall reduction in staff.
3.2 Capacities of the Regional Service Centre (RSC) to be strengthened in order to provide technical advice and operational support to Country Offices in the Caribbean in order to ensure optimal presence of UNDP in light of the specific needs of the sub-region UNDP/RBLAC - RSC LAC 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated In the context of structural review, RBLAC has presented to ExO a proposal to hire a P4 Programme Manager to be based in Panama to coordinate support for Caribbean COs. This will be buttressed by the ongoing process to relocate HQ based technical staff to the Panama RSC, which should result in an increase in the number of technical experts available to support Caribbean Offices.
3.3 Dedicated unit in RBLAC strengthened to provide services and support to Country Offices in the Caribbean. UNDP/RBLAC - RSC LAC 2013/11 Completed A P4 Programme Manager was recruited for the Caribbean unit based in New York in October 2013.
3.4 Support and collaboration to the CARICOM and OECS for the preparation of the upcoming SIDS conference and post-2015 consultations UNDP/RBLAC - RSC LAC 2015/12 Overdue-Initiated RBLAC will provide USD150,000 in 2014 for Caribbean SIDS and USD100,000 to OECS to be used as leverage funds aimed at enabling broad based, multi-stakeholder planning for and participation in the SIDS 2014 conference and continuation of the support to the OECS
3.5 Develop a resource mobilization strategy for the Caribbean UNDP/RBLAC - RSC LAC 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated 3 priorities (Climate Change and Environment, Human Security and Institutional Strengthening) have been identified and will drive the RM efforts for the Caribbean. In this regard, two initiatives are being pursued: a Caribbean-Japan Climate Technology Facility to support adaptation and mitigation efforts of Caribbean countries, a citizens-security-border management initiative to be presented to EU and a SIDS proposal to mobilise funding to support 4-country level projects to be launched at the SIDS Samoa Conference in September 2014.
4. Recommendation: Recommendation 4. Mainstreaming strategies for cross-cutting areas should be reviewed.
Management Response:

Largely relevant and acceptable (this recommendation focuses above all on gender and HIV/AIDS). In order to address fully gender mainstreaming in a systematic manner, RBLAC will promote its integration starting from the planning phases of all programmes, and will establish effective accountability mechanisms for this purpose.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 A specific outcome in the Regional Programme that captures the dimensions of the global interagency agreements on UNDP HIV/AIDS to be included in the Regional Programme results framework. UNDP/RBLAC - RSC LAC 2013/12 Completed The guidance for the formulation of the new RP mandated alignment with the SP with a limited number of outcomes,. This led to the inclusion of HIV/AIDS related matters as an output and not an outcome as originally proposed. This output was included in the RP results framework under a Governance outcome as per the results framework of the SP.
4.2 A comprehensive strategy and an operational plan for gender mainstreaming will be developed to align the Regional Programme with UNDP Gender Equality Strategy. UNDP/RBLAC - RSC LAC 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated The May 2013 UNDP Gender Community of Practice Meeting in Panama, resulted in a number of recommendations and strategies to be mainstreamed into the next regional programming cycle as well as strategic inputs for the first draft of the Gender Equality Regional Strategy 2014-2017. This document, in alignment to the just approved (January 2013) Regional Programme and Global Gender Equality Strategy is being the road map of the Gender Community of Practice in the region for next programming cycle. The Regional strategy and the operational plan will be ready to be implemented in the first semester 2014.
5. Recommendation: Recommendation 5. UNDP should rethink how the regional programme can more strategically and realistically support triangular and South-South cooperation and measure the concrete effects and sustainability of those initiatives in a more systematic manner.
Management Response:

Largely relevant and acceptable. Strengthening triangular and South-South Cooperation in the region is already one of the pillars of UNDP programming in LAC and will continue to do so in the new Regional Programme. RBLAC considers South-South Cooperation as one of the ways to innovate through exchanges of experiences that permit learning and knowledge sharing among countries in the region. South-South Cooperation is a strategic element that will involve all Regional Programme area, including intra-regional and inter-regional dimensions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Develop further the operational aspects and scope of existing and new South ? South cooperation frameworks in Latin America and the Caribbean. UNDP/RBLAC in coordination with BDP and other Bureaux 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated A first outline of the Regional Strategy of South-South Cooperation was drafted, pending on the SSC Global Strategy. An alignment process will be carried out between both strategies. While this happens, a detailed consultation with the countries will be made to nourish the regional strategy.
5.2 Develop the Regional Service Centre capacity to act as service broker between demand and supply of expertise in the region in the context of South South cooperation frameworks. UNDP/RBLAC 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated Considering the demand of countries, we have initiated an assessment of needs, challenges and opportunities to identify the support and/or capacity strengthening needs for mainstreaming SSC in thematic areas and in programming instruments. This is done in alignment with the Strategic Plan and the Regional Programme, and in coordination with UN agencies.
6. Recommendation: Recommendation 6. UNDP should rethink how the cross-cutting areas can best support the core practice areas, increasing synergies and more thoroughly integrating planning, monitoring and learning from evaluations into knowledge management, capacity development, South-South solutions and communication in a more structured and focused environment to bring about a combined perspective for action, accountability and learning.
Management Response:

Largely relevant and acceptable. Response already initiated through the improvement of Knowledge Management (KM) standard products and activities, and enhanced support to Country Offices. Given the variety of countries in the LAC region and the complexity of development challenges, the Knowledge Management strategy in Latin America and the Caribbean aims to contribute to policy making and institutional reforms.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Reflect evaluation recommendations in the new regional programme for RBLAC 2014-2017 and subsequent programming UNDP/RBLAC - RSC LAC 2013/12 Completed The new RP incorporates gender and other transversal issues in all proposed outcomes and outputs. Accountability mechanisms will be established during the implementation phase of the new programme to monitor the effectiveness of the support provided and the contributions made by the cross-cutting areas, as well as to make their mainstreaming work visible.
6.2 Design and implement standards for the KM strategies, activities and products to support learning for behavioral and institutional change. UNDP/RBLAC - RSC LAC 2014/12 Overdue-Initiated In the absence of a global corporate KM strategy, we continued with the approach used in LAC in recent years configured around COs demand and systematized knowledge. We have also identified COs priorities but it remains as a challenge to align them with the future global corporate KM strategy. KM has become more visible in the new Regional Programme.

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