Commissioning Unit: Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Plan: 2008-2009, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Title: Evaluation of the third Regional Cooperation Framework for Arab States
Evaluation Type: Regional Programme
Unit Responsible for Providing Management Response: RBAS

Recommendations

1.
 
Recommendation: The overall objectives of the regional cooperation framework should be reviewed with a view to concentrating on fewer areas with clearly defined outcomes and strategic trust. The regional cooperation framework should be aligned with the directions and principles of the UNDP strategic plan, recognizing country-specific circumstances. Programmes should be brought in line with programmatic priorities of the strategic plan focus areas. A knowledge-based approach to South-South cooperation, where experiences are transferred or exchanged between countries in the region, should continue to be a main modality of the regional cooperation framework.
Management Response: Agree. The regional programme document 2010-2013 will be aligned with the UNDP strategic plan (2008-2011) and cover its key focus areas, as they relate to the needs of the region.
Key Actions:

No Key Actions added.

2.
 
Recommendation: The regional cooperation framework should explore enhancing sub-regional approaches based on distinctions between the developmental levels of countries in the region and corresponding development policies. There are marked socioeconomic differences among countries in the region (least developed countries, net contributor countries and middle-income countries), which renders a one-size-fits-all approach difficult. Taking note of contextual differences in the region complies with the emphasis of the UNDP strategic plan on greater country specificity.
Management Response: Agree. There is scope to enhance sub-regional approaches in the regional programme document based on developmental needs of the countries of the region.
Key Actions:

No Key Actions added.

3.
 
Recommendation: A better balance must be struck between knowledge generation and capacity development, as well as the transformation of policy advice into specific projects. Concrete efforts should be made as a follow-up to regional advocacy and policy dialogue initiatives. In many cases, such efforts would fall beyond the scope of the regional programme and would require follow-up at the country level by UNDP country programmes and national partners. Country office management should be involved at all stages of the planning and implementation of the regional cooperation framework in order to ensure alignment with country programmes.
Management Response: Agreed and initiated. The fourth regional programme document will capitalize on knowledge generated from the third regional cooperation framework to be mainstreamed into specific projects. The regional programme adopted approaches to ensure closer linkages with country programmes. The establishment of the regional service centre will contribute to strengthening those linkages.
Key Actions:

No Key Actions added.

4.
 
Recommendation: Gender mainstreaming and, in recognition of the demographic configuration of the region, youth, should remain crosscutting issues. In particular, the development of productive sectors, employment and trade policies are central from a gender and youth perspective. Developing a dedicated project designed specifically to meet youth issues would be appropriate, since it would properly fix the attention exclusively on youth and will be more conducive to monitor and evaluate its success.
Management Response: Agreed. Gender and youth will be targeted priorities in the fourth regional programme. Those needs will be addressed through projects that will be developed and implemented according to the outcome of regional consultations that will be organized.
Key Actions:

No Key Actions added.

5.
 
Recommendation: Programmes in the areas of poverty reduction and democratic governance should continue to form the focus of the programme. Environment and sustainable development, as a new component of the regional programme, is fully aligned with the strategic plan and the regional priorities. The programmatic activities developed under it should be closely aligned with the governance and poverty reduction focus areas of the regional cooperation framework. Given the serious resource constraints of the regional programme, and the existence of a dedicated bureau in UNDP, the evaluation cautions against addressing crisis prevention and recovery in the regional cooperation framework.
Management Response: Agree. Poverty reduction and democratic governance remain critically important to the development of the Arab region, and regional priorities in the area of environment (e.g. water) will be aligned with governance and poverty reduction. Also, agree regarding the area of crisis prevention and recovery.
Key Actions:

No Key Actions added.

6.
 
Recommendation: The Arab Human Development Report should be separated from the regional programme and become independent. It is suggested that a separate fund be set up with, inter alia, private sector contributions from the region. The Arab Human Development Report should still remain under the purview of UNDP in order to maintain its neutrality and high quality, but this arrangement would secure continuity, ownership and sustainability.
Management Response: Noted. There is a need to ensure the neutrality and high quality of the Arab Human Development Report, while securing continuity, ownership and sustainability.
Key Actions:

No Key Actions added.

7.
 
Recommendation: Resource mobilization efforts should tap into the financial resources of the region, including from net contributor countries as well as public and private sources. Individual programmes should be encouraged to mobilize additional resources and facilitate the application procedures of these funds, providing overall guidance with regard to the alignment with the regional programme focus and corporate resource mobilization strategies.
Management Response: Noted. The current regional cooperation framework has been successful in mobilizing total resources of $29,700,093, of which 38 per cent comes from Arab funds or Arab governments.
Key Actions:

No Key Actions added.

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