Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Mauritius

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Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
ICPE/ADR
Planned End Date:
12/2019
Completion Date:
12/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

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Title Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Mauritius
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2019
Planned End Date: 12/2019
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Resilience
  • 2. Sustainable
  • 3. Energy
  • 4. Gender
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.6.1 Country-led measures accelerated to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment
  • 2. 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
  • 3. 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
  • 4. 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
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 30,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
David Slattery Lead Evaluator
Laurence Reno Consultatn
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: MAURITIUS
Lessons
Findings
1.

Finding 1. UNDP expected its regular resources to amount to less than $ 250,000 annually and to be able to mobilise a similar amount from other sources. Actual TRAC resources have been even less than the small amount anticipated ($150,000), and external resource mobilisation for governance activities has been limited to a small amount of Government cost-sharing (around $100,000 in 2018). To put this in context, total public-spending in Mauritius is anticipated to amount to over $ 3.7 billion in 2017–18.8 Given these very limited resources, it is unrealistic to expect that all the activities associated with the governance objective could be addressed in any meaningful way.


Tag: Poverty Reduction Public administration reform Gender Mainstreaming Operational Efficiency Resource mobilization Efficiency Coordination

2.

Finding 2. Although the programme objective of improving environment and natural resource management is ambitious, the mobilisation of significant resources from environment funds has enabled UNDP to mount a credible response.


Tag: Partnership Natural Resouce management Effectiveness Efficiency Donor Coordination

3.

Finding 3. UNDP has developed a strong and well-respected programme of work in climate change mitigation through grants from GEF and GCF, supporting the Government to make progress in reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and jump-start the solar photovoltaic (PV) energy sector.


Tag: Green Climate Climate Change Adaptation Strategic Positioning Renewable energy Global Environment Facility fund Technical Support

4.

Finding 4. UNDP, with funding from the Adaptation Fund, has supported a comprehensive consideration of options for protecting coastal communities and assets, to a level that would not have been achievable by the Mauritius Government alone.


Tag: Adaptation Fund Effectiveness Efficiency Technical Support

5.

Finding 5. While the core focus of adaptation work was sensible, it has been challenging to implement with many different components, including a substantial physical works component, and significant interface with affected communities.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Disaster risk management Disaster Risk Reduction Challenges Technical Support

6.

Finding 6. Despite some early challenges with the dedicated teams at the Forestry Service and the National Parks and Conservation Service, UNDP has achieved some good results in the area of biodiversity protection.


Tag: Biodiversity Site Conservation / Preservation Challenges Technical Support

7.

Finding 7. Unfortunately, the project has fallen far short of its objective of expanding the protected area network of Mauritius, which remains at near baseline levels because of the difficulty of establishing a framework to incorporate private lands into the system.


Tag: Protected Areas Challenges Effectiveness Efficiency Technical Support

8.

Finding 8. UNDP was the primary provider of support for the September 2017 ratification of the Minamata Convention by Mauritius.


Tag: Strategic Positioning Environmental impact assessment Global Environment Facility fund Efficiency Technical Support

9.

Finding 9. The evaluation team’s assessment of the country office portfolio, and its heavy reliance on resources from environment funds, suggests that scope for using programme resources to achieve significant gender equality outcomes is currently constrained. The classification of programme activities using the gender marker system substantially overstates the extent to which the programme promotes gender equality.

 


Tag: Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Programme Synergy Efficiency Relevance Technical Support

10.

Finding 10. The Mauritius CPD has some positive features but still reads as highly aspirational and unrealistic given the existing human resource base and prospects for resource mobilisation.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Strategic Positioning Challenges Efficiency Operational Services

11.

Finding 11. UNDP programming policy states that the CPD is intended to outline UNDP contributions to national results and serves as the primary unit of accountability to the Executive Board. Given the broad scope and ambition of the CPD, its results and resources framework does not provide a basis for clear and transparent reporting of UNDP contributions to national results.


Tag: Results-Based Management UNDP management Challenges Efficiency Operational Services

12.

Finding 12. More rigorous monitoring of contract and performance management is required, and should be a shared responsibility between implementing partners and UNDP, for timely detection of problem areas and application of corrective measures.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Implementation Modality Efficiency Technical Support

Recommendations
1

The next Mauritius CPD should be far more focused and realistic than the current one, reflecting more accurately the country office’s capacity and resources. CPD objectives, targets and indicators should only be included if there is a realistic prospect for UNDP to have a measurable influence over them. Results reporting should focus on indicators that have a moderate to high level of significance in terms of the scale or the substance of the social change they measure, and where UNDP has sufficient resources to make a substantive contribution to results achieved against them.

The current CPD significantly misrepresents the scope and scale of UNDP work in several areas, and promotes fragmentation of limited resources, instead of a selective focus on areas where UNDP can make a significant difference.

Core funding allocations for governance in the CPD should be contingent on resource mobilization at minimum levels, or the ability of these funds to leverage contribution for UNDP’s global and regional network, or from the UN system.

If additional resources cannot be mobilized for existing democratic governance work, the country office should allocate its core resources to strengthen engagement in policy development relevant to the work being undertaken in the environment portfolio.

2

In developing its next country programme document UNDP should position the programme and align staffing structures and resources to support and enhance the performance of its growing environment and climate change portfolio, and mitigate the risks associated with this growth.

This should include consideration of ways to offset the limitations of project-based constraints associated with environment funds, by providing additional capacity development support, building larger and more integrated environment projects, increasing focus on knowledge and advisory services, improving sectoral coordination and supporting policy development. The country office should work with the Regional Bureau to improve its access to support from the UNDP cadre of regional technical advisers. While this reflects corporate priorities and limitations on existing resources, engagement with UNDP experts in the recent period has been uneven and is an area where performance can be improved. This is especially critical for a small country office such as Mauritius, which is lightly staffed. The country office should also use what flexibility it has to strengthen its small environment team to support monitoring and procurement activities.

In developing its next country program document UNDP should position the program and align staffing structures and resources to support and enhance the performance its growing environment and climate change portfolio, and mitigate the risks associated with this growth

3

CPD core funding allocations for governance should be contingent on minimum levels of resource mobilisation, or the ability of these funds to leverage contributions from the global and regional UNDP networks or the UN system. If additional resources cannot be mobilised for existing democratic governance work, the country office should allocate its core resources to strengthen engagement in policy development relevant to the work being undertaken in the environment portfolio.

Activities in the UNDP democratic governance portfolio are almost completely reliant on the very small core resource allocation to Mauritius and are very lightly spread across different stakeholders and issues. The activities being implemented are not on a sufficient scale to leverage significant development results, and do not strongly connect with or leverage contributions from the global and regional UNDP networks, or the UN system. Focusing available resources and the next CPD on the environment portfolio is aligned with the UNDP strategic plan and provides a substantive example of two of the six signature solutions (close the energy gap and promote nature-based solutions for a sustainable planet). These solutions address fundamental and existential issues for Mauritius. The environment is core to the country’s long-term economic interests. Its natural assets are especially important to its attraction as a global tourist destination. Tourism is an important source of foreign currency and represents a large component of GNI. Developing an affordable and sustainable energy sector is also vital.

4

The country office should develop a strategy for addressing gender equality that is founded on a clear assessment of the scope provided by different activities to do so. This strategy should outline how gender equality will be addressed by different activities and the extent to which these can reasonably be expected to produce significant and consistent gender equality outcomes. Gender marker coding should be reviewed annually, and coding updated where necessary to ensure that the data provide an accurate picture of the level of focus of UNDP programmes on gender equality.

Inaccuracies in coding of programme activities using the gender marker mean it is not possible to accurately establish how well the programme is performing in promoting gender equality, but it is clear that the actual focus on gender is far less than reported. Tangible gender equality results produced by the programme are limited, especially for the environment component, which accounts for 95 per cent of programme expenditure.

1. Recommendation:

The next Mauritius CPD should be far more focused and realistic than the current one, reflecting more accurately the country office’s capacity and resources. CPD objectives, targets and indicators should only be included if there is a realistic prospect for UNDP to have a measurable influence over them. Results reporting should focus on indicators that have a moderate to high level of significance in terms of the scale or the substance of the social change they measure, and where UNDP has sufficient resources to make a substantive contribution to results achieved against them.

The current CPD significantly misrepresents the scope and scale of UNDP work in several areas, and promotes fragmentation of limited resources, instead of a selective focus on areas where UNDP can make a significant difference.

Core funding allocations for governance in the CPD should be contingent on resource mobilization at minimum levels, or the ability of these funds to leverage contribution for UNDP’s global and regional network, or from the UN system.

If additional resources cannot be mobilized for existing democratic governance work, the country office should allocate its core resources to strengthen engagement in policy development relevant to the work being undertaken in the environment portfolio.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/30] [Last Updated: 2021/04/12]

From a monitoring and evaluation point of view, it was noted that some targets were beyond the human, technical and financial resources available to UNDP, notwithstanding that the CPD ought to measure outcomes to which other partners also contribute. On the other hand, it may be noted that some indicators were included at the request of the various key stakeholders from both Government and UNDP Regional Centre. Hence the next CPD should be more focused and include fewer indicators.

In line with the imperatives of the Sustainable Development Goals, and with the UNDP offer as an SDG integrator; the governance portfolio remains relevant to our positioning in Mauritius. Furthermore, the prospective attainment of high-income status while also seeing an increase in inequality, as reported in in the UNDP Human Development Report, 2019 suggests that the work towards addressing inequality remains of key importance.

In this transitional phase, UNDP will increase its relevance and leverage comparative advantage in supporting Government of Mauritius strengthen socio-economic transformation with a view to sustainability through provision of knowledge and policy advisory services.

During the CPD period under evaluation, UNDP’s support has been instrumental for the development of “Marshall Plan for Poverty Alleviation”, the Social Register https://www.globalinnovationexchange.org/innovation/social-register-of-mauritius and the Voluntary National Report on SDG progress https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/memberstates/mauritius .

The CO plans to undertake a resource mobilization discussion with the government in the context of the new UNDP Climate Promise and SIDS Offer and with other non-traditional development partners.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Identify key indicators on which UNDP has a measurable influence
[Added: 2021/04/12]
UNDP/ Head of Socio-Economic Development Unit 2020/06 Completed Working group to be established with stakeholders to identify parameters which Government is willing to support -TRAC 2 mobilized in 2019 -Cost Sharing from Government received -Direct Aid Program- Australian High Commission -Application for AFDB Technical Assistance Fund History
1.2. Review indicators for CPD 2017-2020
[Added: 2021/04/12]
UNDP/ Head of Socio-Economic Development Unit 2020/06 Completed Indicators that were not achievable were adjusted during Project Board Meeting
1.3. Engage RBA on the optimal office capabilities to support the evolving offer
[Added: 2021/04/12]
UNDP/ Head of Socio-Economic Development Unit 2020/12 Completed Short Term Economist support made available by RBA to support the portfolio for the time being while the Senior Economist will be recruited on full time basis in 2020.
2. Recommendation:

In developing its next country programme document UNDP should position the programme and align staffing structures and resources to support and enhance the performance of its growing environment and climate change portfolio, and mitigate the risks associated with this growth.

This should include consideration of ways to offset the limitations of project-based constraints associated with environment funds, by providing additional capacity development support, building larger and more integrated environment projects, increasing focus on knowledge and advisory services, improving sectoral coordination and supporting policy development. The country office should work with the Regional Bureau to improve its access to support from the UNDP cadre of regional technical advisers. While this reflects corporate priorities and limitations on existing resources, engagement with UNDP experts in the recent period has been uneven and is an area where performance can be improved. This is especially critical for a small country office such as Mauritius, which is lightly staffed. The country office should also use what flexibility it has to strengthen its small environment team to support monitoring and procurement activities.

In developing its next country program document UNDP should position the program and align staffing structures and resources to support and enhance the performance its growing environment and climate change portfolio, and mitigate the risks associated with this growth

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/30] [Last Updated: 2021/04/12]

The Mauritius country office currently has the largest environment portfolio in Africa; and it is projected to grow further. Management agrees that this suggests a need for adequate staffing, fit for purpose profiling, and due attention to risk management.

Furthermore, the country office will need to consider the overarching office structure in terms of limitations in keycore functions that provide the backstopping, risk and management oversight of the growing environment portfolio.Workload imbalance was highlighted in the last two Global Staff Survey responses to which substantive solutions remain under consideration. The limiting nature of the country office’soverreliance on vertical funds, which do not provide enough flexibility to augment roles beyond narrow project considerations, means a diversification in partnerships and funding sources will be necessary to adequately address this imbalance in programme, staff and resources. Going forward, the country office aims to engage with UNDP at global level to develop solutions for a sustainable office footprint and profile that enables economies of scale and efficient programme delivery and design.

The country office management agrees that attention will also need to be paid to the country office capability for governance work even as it relates to the environment portfolio. In this regard the economist function and increased technical advisory capacity in the social and environmental development unit will be required.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. The country office is applying staffing gap filling measures including deployment of UNV positions to supplement the Environment and Governance portfolios
[Added: 2021/04/13]
UNDP/Head of Environment Unit 2019/09 Completed RBA has approved the deployment of a senior economist and temporary establishment of an operations manager to enhance performance and mitigate risk
2.2. Review structure of country office to meet the requirement of the future CPD
[Added: 2021/04/13]
UNDP/RBA/RR 2020/12 Completed Discussions to be held in the context of the new CPD formulation as the size of the portfolio demands more programmatic support.
3. Recommendation:

CPD core funding allocations for governance should be contingent on minimum levels of resource mobilisation, or the ability of these funds to leverage contributions from the global and regional UNDP networks or the UN system. If additional resources cannot be mobilised for existing democratic governance work, the country office should allocate its core resources to strengthen engagement in policy development relevant to the work being undertaken in the environment portfolio.

Activities in the UNDP democratic governance portfolio are almost completely reliant on the very small core resource allocation to Mauritius and are very lightly spread across different stakeholders and issues. The activities being implemented are not on a sufficient scale to leverage significant development results, and do not strongly connect with or leverage contributions from the global and regional UNDP networks, or the UN system. Focusing available resources and the next CPD on the environment portfolio is aligned with the UNDP strategic plan and provides a substantive example of two of the six signature solutions (close the energy gap and promote nature-based solutions for a sustainable planet). These solutions address fundamental and existential issues for Mauritius. The environment is core to the country’s long-term economic interests. Its natural assets are especially important to its attraction as a global tourist destination. Tourism is an important source of foreign currency and represents a large component of GNI. Developing an affordable and sustainable energy sector is also vital.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/30] [Last Updated: 2021/04/13]

In line with the imperatives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and with the UNDP offer as an SDG integrator; the governance portfolio remains relevant to our positioning in
Mauritius. Furthermore, the prospective attainment of high-income status while also seeing an increase in inequality, as reported in the UNDP Human Development Report 2019, suggests that the work towards addressing inequality remains of key importance. In this transitional phase, UNDP will increase its relevance and leverage comparative advantage in supporting Government of Mauritius to strengthen socio-economic transformation with a view to sustainability through provision of knowledge and policy advisory services.
During the CPD period under evaluation, UNDP support has been instrumental for the development of the “Marshall Plan for Poverty Alleviation”, the Social Register https://www.globalinnovationexchange.org/innovation/social-register-of-mauritius and the VoluntaryNational Report on SDG progress https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/memberstates/mauritius.

The country office plans to undertake a resource mobilisation discussion with the Government in the context of the new UNDP Climate Promise and Small Island Developing States
Offer and with other non-traditional development partners. As evidenced by the findings of the 2019 Human Development Report and other research, a key issue within middle- and
upper-income contexts such as Mauritius is growing inequality and the governance policy options that may be necessary to address this phenomenon. As such, the governance portfolio of
UNDP Mauritius, which supported the currently used and seminal policy framework for addressing inequality in the Marshall Plan for Mauritius, remains relevant.

The Management agrees that due attention will need to be paid towards minimum resource mobilisation; supported by key investments in staffing, communications and strategic partnerships development. Management also agrees that there is scope for addressing environmental governance issues within the portfolio. We do not, however, agree that a discrete governance pillar should be eliminated; and UNDP in Mauritius focus solely on environment work. Such a position does not properly consider the UNDP integrator role and the iterative nature of the Sustainable Development Goals, which requires iterative engagement across thematic and policy spaces to achieve development impact. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1. Step up resource mobilisation efforts for the governance portfolio to identify new projects which can show that the portfolio will continue to have impact considering the need to be more focused
[Added: 2021/04/13]
UNDP Head of Socio-Economic Development Unit 2020/06 Completed RBA has agreed to strengthen the Socio-economic unit in FY 2020 through the deployment of a senior economist; with the aim of increasing our capacity to strengthen strategic partnerships for research and policy advisory collaboration; and to develop concept notes and ideation for resource mobilisation.
3.2. Identify key actions for Resource Mobilisation
[Added: 2021/04/13]
UNDP/ Head of Socio-Economic Development Unit 2020/06 Completed -TRAC 2 mobilised in 2019 -Cost Sharing from Government received -Direct Aid Programme- Australian HighCommission -Application for AFDB Technical Assistance Fund
3.3. Review indicators for CPD 2017-2020
[Added: 2021/04/13]
UNDP/ Head of Socio-Economic Development Unit 2020/06 Completed Indicators that were not achievable were adjusted during Project Board Meeting
3.4. Engage RBA on the optimal office capabilities to support the evolving offer
[Added: 2021/04/13]
UNDP/ Head of Socio-Economic Development Unit 2020/12 Completed Short Term Economist support made available by RBA to support the portfolio for the time being while the Senior Economist will be recruited on full time basis in 2020
4. Recommendation:

The country office should develop a strategy for addressing gender equality that is founded on a clear assessment of the scope provided by different activities to do so. This strategy should outline how gender equality will be addressed by different activities and the extent to which these can reasonably be expected to produce significant and consistent gender equality outcomes. Gender marker coding should be reviewed annually, and coding updated where necessary to ensure that the data provide an accurate picture of the level of focus of UNDP programmes on gender equality.

Inaccuracies in coding of programme activities using the gender marker mean it is not possible to accurately establish how well the programme is performing in promoting gender equality, but it is clear that the actual focus on gender is far less than reported. Tangible gender equality results produced by the programme are limited, especially for the environment component, which accounts for 95 per cent of programme expenditure.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/30] [Last Updated: 2021/04/13]

The country office management agrees with the noted deficiencies in terms of the scale of ambition, identification of possible outputs and development impact. Internally, and following the completion of the Gender Action plans which were developed in the period 2016 onwards, there will be need to deploy the necessary technical expertise to ensure accurate use of the gender markers; and provide technical advice and capacity development for programme and project staff on gender mainstreaming. As a normative institution, seeking to ensure
implementation of international standards on inclusion and a rights-based approach to development – the UNDP management and key staff will need to make significant commitment to align our programmes with these standards and SDG5.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1. Recruiting gender and M&E expert End of November - Mid-December 2019
[Added: 2021/04/13]
UNDP/HR 2019/12 Completed TORs are drafted and will be advertised by end of December 2019. Recruitment should be finalized by end of January 2020.
4.2 Review Gender markers on an annual basis in accordance with actual project activities
[Added: 2021/04/13]
UNDP/Gender expert/ Head of Socio-Economic Development Unit/ Head environment Unit 2020/03 Completed To be integrated as part of the Annual Work Plan process The new GCF portfolio includes recruitment of a gender focal point to assist in mainstreaming.
4.3 Undertake Gender mainstreaming training sessions for Environment Unit project staff
[Added: 2021/04/13]
UNDP/Head environment Unit/ Head of Socio-Economic Development Unit 2020/03 Completed To be included as key deliverables of the Learning Committee
4.4 Review and implement the office Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan
[Added: 2021/04/13]
UNDP/Gender expert/ Head environment Unit/ Head of Socio-Economic Development Unit 2020/03 Completed The minimum requirements of a gender focal point do not align with the approved core structure of the Country Office despite meeting the programme volume threshold. The CO will engage with the bureau on the need to align the approved structure with the corporate policy.

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