Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Maldives

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
ICPE/ADR
Planned End Date:
12/2019
Completion Date:
11/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
15,000

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Download document ICPE Maldives ToR.pdf tor English 284.42 KB Posted 113
Download document ICPE Maldives Annexes.pdf related-document English 521.57 KB Posted 103
Download document ICPE_Maldives_Report_2019.pdf report English 2228.03 KB Posted 193
Download document ICPE_Maldives-Evaluation_Brief.pdf related-document English 202.94 KB Posted 97
Title Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Maldives
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2019
Planned End Date: 12/2019
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Governance
  • 3. Resilience
  • 4. Sustainable
  • 5. Energy
  • 6. Gender
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.1 Capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other international agreements in development plans and budgets, and to analyse progress towards the SDGs, using innovative and data-driven solutions
  • 2. Output 1.6.2 Measures in place and implemented across sectors to prevent and respond to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)
  • 3. Output 2.2.2 Constitution-making, electoral and parliamentary processes and institutions strengthened to promote inclusion, transparency and accountability
  • 4. Output 2.2.3 Capacities, functions and financing of rule of law and national human rights institutions and systems strengthened to expand access to justice and combat discrimination, with a focus on women and other marginalised groups
  • 5. Output 2.3.1 Data and risk-informed development policies, plans, systems and financing incorporate integrated and gender-responsive solutions to reduce disaster risks, enable climate change adaptation and mitigation, and prevent risk of conflict
  • 6. Output 2.4.1 Gender-responsive legal and regulatory frameworks, policies and institutions strengthened, and solutions adopted, to address conservation, sustainable use and equitable benefit sharing of natural resources, in line with international conventions and national legislation
  • 7. Output 2.5.1 Solutions developed, financed and applied at scale for energy efficiency and transformation to clean energy and zero-carbon development, for poverty eradication and structural transformation
  • 8. Output 3.2.1 National capacities strengthened for reintegration, reconciliation, peaceful management of conflict and prevention of violent extremism in response to national policies and priorities
  • 9. Output 3.3.1 Evidence-based assessment and planning tools and mechanisms applied to enable implementation of gender-sensitive and risk-informed prevention and preparedness to limit the impact of natural hazards and pandemics and promote peaceful, just and inclusive societies
Evaluation Budget(US $): 15,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 15,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
David Slattery IEO Evaluation Advisor and Team Leader david.slattery@undp.org
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: MALDIVES
Lessons
Findings
1.

Finding 1. While UNDP’s stated objectives in the governance area are ambitious, its resources are modest.


Tag: Operational Efficiency Resource mobilization Technical Support

2.

Finding 2. Overall, the outcomes from UNDP’s work have been modest, reflecting the lack of resources, but also the broad spread of those resources across different activities and partners.


Tag: Operational Efficiency Challenges Impact Advocacy

3.

Finding 3. A mitigating circumstance is that the extended political crisis has meant the space for UNDP to work in a meaningful way with the government in many areas outlined by the CPD has been constrained.


Tag: Civic Engagement Challenges Private Sector Technical Support

4.

Finding 4. UNDP’s biggest project in the Maldives is the large GCF project, ‘Support of Vulnerable Communities in Maldives to Manage Climate Change-Induced Water Shortages’ ($28.2 million [$23.6 million from GCF, $4.5 million from the Maldives Government, and $0.1 million from UNDP]) (See Box 1). The GCF project represents a continuation and scaling up of UNDP’s focus on water resources management and will be a test of UNDP’s ability to support adaptation at scale.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Resilience building Green Economy Water resources Effectiveness Efficiency Technical Support

5.

Finding 5. The GCF project design does not address key risks encountered by UNDP’s previous work in water resource management, which had an unsatisfactory outcome.


Tag: Programme/Project Design Water resources Technical Support

6.

Finding 6. UNDP’s support for low-emission and climate-resilient development through LECReD faced some fundamental challenges, which limited its effectiveness.


Tag: Emission Reduction Resilience building Effectiveness Sustainability Technical Support

7.

Finding 7. UNDP has provided support for disaster risk reduction through the two-year Disaster Risk Reduction project funded by Japan ($0.4 million spent since 2016). The Disaster Risk Reduction project was executed by the National Disaster Management Centre and was completed in 2018, building on an earlier core funded two-year project working with the same institution. Based on the final project summary and interviews with staff of the National Disaster Management Centre and UNDP, the IEO considers the project was useful and well aligned to the role and mandate of Maldives’ key disaster management authority.


Tag: Disaster risk management Disaster Risk Reduction Effectiveness Technical Support

8.

Finding 8. Overall, resource constraints have limited the country programme’s scope to have a significant impact on gender equality, and there are no realistic mechanisms for the office to pursue UNDP’s corporate target of 15 percent of all country programme and project budgets allocated to advancing gender equality and/or empowering women as their principal objective (GEN3).


Tag: Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Operational Efficiency Challenges Technical Support

9.

Finding 9. Given an indicative funding envelope of just $7.8 million over the strategy period, the CPD displays a lack of realism about the level of influence UNDP can hope to have over objectives, or activities UNDP can hope to deliver with any kind of substance. This reflects a failure to consider UNDP’s likely resources and comparative advantage, and to identify plausible theories of change for how the country programme will contribute to the achievement of national objectives.


Tag: Operational Efficiency Theory of Change Challenges

10.

Finding 10. Reflecting the broad scope and level of ambition of the CPD, the CPD’s results and resources framework does not provide a basis for clear and transparent reporting of UNDP’s contribution to national results.


Tag: Operational Efficiency Results-Based Management Challenges Coherence

Recommendations
1

In the area of governance, the country office should work in the short term with the new government to identify and articulate its policy priorities, and work across government. In the longer term, the country office should ensure its governance programme is:

• Focused on working with a small number of partners, to underpin the achievement of a small number of realistic objectives

• Informed by a strong analysis of Maldives’ political economy, and focused on supporting sound reforms that have cross-party support and are likely to be resilient across political cycles

• Flexible enough to allow for adaptive management, to respond to likely shifts in the political environment.

Major projects in the past have failed to achieve their objectives because of changes in Maldives Government policy commitments. UNDP’s governance programme should be more strongly informed by analysis of the prospects for reform in areas it might support.

2

The next Maldives CPD should contain a much stronger statement of strategic intent for the programme than the current CPD. Within the framework provided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), the next CPD should include a much stronger articulation of the link between the analysis of context and statement of priorities, and of causal pathways that explain how UNDP will plausibly contribute to the achievement of stated objectives. CPD objectives, targets and related indicators should only be included if there is a realistic prospect of UNDP having a measurable influence over them.

The priority areas identified in the current CPD are ambitious statements that do not match the current capacities in UNDP or the indicative CPD outputs and UNDAF outcome indicators. Many of the indicators, baselines and targets contained in the Results and Resource Framework cannot be understood when viewed with the resources, capacity and comparative advantage of UNDP in Maldives. The country office should avoid a business as usual approach in the next CPD. The next CPD should be grounded in a realistic appraisal of UNDP’s likely constrained resource base for governance activities, and its capacity to have a meaningful influence on Maldives’ policies and governance, given the size, sophistication and complexity of the Maldives Government.

3

The country office should develop a strategy for addressing gender equality that is founded on a clear-headed assessment of the scope provided by different activities to do so. Gender marker coding should be reviewed annually, and coding updated where necessary to ensure the data provides an accurate picture of the level of focus on gender equality of UNDP’s programmes.

The focus on gender needs to be strategic, and realistic about the opportunities provided to promote gender equality across the programme. Coding of activities using the gender marker suggests a lack of realism about where and how they will contribute in a consistent and significant way to gender equality. Inaccuracies in coding of the programme’s focus on gender equality undermine the capacity of management and the UNDP Executive Board to track progress towards UNDP’s corporate commitment, that at least 15 percent of UNDP’s budget should be invested in gender-specific interventions. In the Maldives context, lack of flexible resources makes it highly unlikely that a 15 percent corporate target will be achievable.

4

UNDP should undertake an early review of the risks facing the GCF project, including political and institutional risks, and those related to procurement and delivery of required infrastructure in remote locations, with any revisions submitted to the project board for its consideration.

There is no explicit consideration of the lessons from previous work in water and sanitation in the GCF project document, and it did not highlight risks associated with procurement and delivery of required infrastructure in remote locations. This created significant challenges in the previous project and presented problems for the current one.

Management Response Documents
1. Recommendation:

In the area of governance, the country office should work in the short term with the new government to identify and articulate its policy priorities, and work across government. In the longer term, the country office should ensure its governance programme is:

• Focused on working with a small number of partners, to underpin the achievement of a small number of realistic objectives

• Informed by a strong analysis of Maldives’ political economy, and focused on supporting sound reforms that have cross-party support and are likely to be resilient across political cycles

• Flexible enough to allow for adaptive management, to respond to likely shifts in the political environment.

Major projects in the past have failed to achieve their objectives because of changes in Maldives Government policy commitments. UNDP’s governance programme should be more strongly informed by analysis of the prospects for reform in areas it might support.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/05] [Last Updated: 2020/05/20]

After the ICPE was carried out the country has had a change in government. The new administration has embarked on an ambitious reform agenda with many aspects directly relating to and being supported by the UNDP. These include the national development planning process, reforms and return towards decentralization and comprehensive judicial sector reform. UNDP is able to provide direct support to the government on these areas as a leading development partner.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Future work through the project will be based on strategic partnerships that contribute directly to the advancement of the country’s governance agenda. These include focused and realistic priorities underpinned by government’s agenda such as a. Direct support to the formulation of the National Development Plan including cross-sectoral engagement b. Support to the judicial reform process through the Attorney General’s office
[Added: 2019/12/23]
Governance 2019/12 Completed a. UNDP provided direct support to the drafting and coordination of the SAP in lieu of the NDP b. UNDP assisted the government’s judicial reform proposal review and made technical recommendations to strengthen judicial independence and reforms to improve access to justice. The report can be found in the Maldives AGO website. The review recommended stronger gender equality in the justice sector, including increasing female judges. Upon recommendation, Maldives now has two female judges in the Supreme Court for the first time in its history. Despite this, gender equality remains one of the biggest challenges for the country. History
1.2 The President’s Office is seen as the government’s main hub for policy. Having close linkages with the President’s Office through the UNDP’s support to the Strategic Action Planning process will allow for stronger policy support.
[Added: 2019/12/23]
Governance 2019/12 Completed In 2019, the Government has formulated its Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for 2019 – 2023 to operationalize their Strategic goals to achieve key developmental milestones for the Maldives.
2. Recommendation:

The next Maldives CPD should contain a much stronger statement of strategic intent for the programme than the current CPD. Within the framework provided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), the next CPD should include a much stronger articulation of the link between the analysis of context and statement of priorities, and of causal pathways that explain how UNDP will plausibly contribute to the achievement of stated objectives. CPD objectives, targets and related indicators should only be included if there is a realistic prospect of UNDP having a measurable influence over them.

The priority areas identified in the current CPD are ambitious statements that do not match the current capacities in UNDP or the indicative CPD outputs and UNDAF outcome indicators. Many of the indicators, baselines and targets contained in the Results and Resource Framework cannot be understood when viewed with the resources, capacity and comparative advantage of UNDP in Maldives. The country office should avoid a business as usual approach in the next CPD. The next CPD should be grounded in a realistic appraisal of UNDP’s likely constrained resource base for governance activities, and its capacity to have a meaningful influence on Maldives’ policies and governance, given the size, sophistication and complexity of the Maldives Government.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/05] [Last Updated: 2020/05/20]

This recommendation is noted, and the CO will ensure that the next CPD has a strong strategic intent based on UNDP’s competitive advantages in the Maldives. CO will engage deeply in the formulation of the UN Cooperation Framework embedding a theory of change in light of other partners and priorities contributing to the SDG agenda. Consequently the next CPD will be closely fully geared towards achieving the SDG goals under the CF umbrella. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Ensure that CPD formulation is SDG based and strongly grounded in UNDP’s competitive advantages a. CO to carry out ‘sensing/visioning exercise’ in September 2019
[Added: 2019/12/23]
Management 2021/01 Completed a. In October 2019, the CO Maldives carried out its sensemaking journey. Collectively reviewing and reflecting on the office portfolio situational awareness, and finding common threads to improve our portfolio, recalibrate our programme responding to the current and emerging trends.
2.2 Engage in the formulation of the CF with a clear Theory Of Change of UNDP’s comparative advantage and statement of objectives
[Added: 2019/12/23]
Management and Programme Units 2020/02 Overdue-Initiated In December 2019, the UN country team undertook a consensus meeting to develop a quality, evidence-based CCA and UNSDCF, including a plan of engagement of UNCT throughout the process of the CCA. TOC will be finalized in February 2020. The inputs from the Sensemaking as well as evaluation reports will feed into this process to ensure that UNDP’s comparative advantage is put forth through a strong statement of objectives.
3. Recommendation:

The country office should develop a strategy for addressing gender equality that is founded on a clear-headed assessment of the scope provided by different activities to do so. Gender marker coding should be reviewed annually, and coding updated where necessary to ensure the data provides an accurate picture of the level of focus on gender equality of UNDP’s programmes.

The focus on gender needs to be strategic, and realistic about the opportunities provided to promote gender equality across the programme. Coding of activities using the gender marker suggests a lack of realism about where and how they will contribute in a consistent and significant way to gender equality. Inaccuracies in coding of the programme’s focus on gender equality undermine the capacity of management and the UNDP Executive Board to track progress towards UNDP’s corporate commitment, that at least 15 percent of UNDP’s budget should be invested in gender-specific interventions. In the Maldives context, lack of flexible resources makes it highly unlikely that a 15 percent corporate target will be achievable.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/05] [Last Updated: 2020/05/20]

The CO takes note of this recommendation and will undertake review of the existing actions and strategies within its programs for gender equality and put in the following measures to strengthen gender action.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 The CO will develop a gender strategy for the CO before finalization of the next CPD.
[Added: 2019/12/24]
Gender Focal Team 2020/03 Overdue-Initiated The launch of the UNDP 2019 Human development report on inequality raised debate and awareness on multiple inequalities, including gender and geographical parities. In December 2019, the parliament passed the Decentralization Act with a provision of 33% reserved seats for women at the local government level. This is a historical breakthrough in the history of the Maldives to address women’s low political representation. The CO will continue to work to ensure the election of strong competent women candidates and have a support system to make decisions that will level the field of gender equality in politics. The Gender Focal team will consult with programmatic and operations unit to develop a gender equality strategy that aligns with the corporate gender equality strategy. This exercise would support and guide the CPD drafting process and ensure gender is mainstreamed across all thematic areas. A comprehensive gender strategy will be part of the next CPD.
3.2 Gender scorecard developed for UNSDCF by UNCT will be used to review its applicability to ongoing initiatives. UNDP will make our own, deriving from UNSDCF gender strategy. UNDP’s specificity would apply in terms of our areas of support and office capacity.
[Added: 2019/12/24]
UNSDCF Outcome Group Chairs/ UNCT 2020/03 Overdue-Initiated Based on the UNSDCF UNCT-SWAP Scorecard, UNDP will ensure that gender mainstreaming practices and built into staff performance to ensure accountability and performance.
3.3 Gender markers will be reviewed annually.
[Added: 2019/12/24]
All programme units 2020/12 Initiated All project gender markers will be reviewed annually
4. Recommendation:

UNDP should undertake an early review of the risks facing the GCF project, including political and institutional risks, and those related to procurement and delivery of required infrastructure in remote locations, with any revisions submitted to the project board for its consideration.

There is no explicit consideration of the lessons from previous work in water and sanitation in the GCF project document, and it did not highlight risks associated with procurement and delivery of required infrastructure in remote locations. This created significant challenges in the previous project and presented problems for the current one.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/12/05] [Last Updated: 2020/05/20]

The recommendation is noted, and the CO will put in the following measures to address this.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Review of risk log will be carried out and risks updated based on current experiences. a. Review of political, geographical and procurement risks b. Presentation and discussion at project board.
[Added: 2019/12/24]
Resilience and Climate Change 2019/12 Completed a. The main findings was presented at the project board meeting held in 2019, including an update of the risk log. b. The mid-term evaluation of the GCF project was conducted including a review of the current political, geographical and procurement risks.

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