Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Turkmenistan

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
Planned End Date:
Completion Date:
Management Response:
Evaluation Budget(US $):


Document Type Language Size Status Downloads
Download document ICPE Turkmenistan - Annexes.pdf related-document English 500.86 KB Posted 101
Download document ICPE Turkmenistan - Annexes ToR.pdf tor English 244.04 KB Posted 64
Download document ICPE_Turkmenistan_EvaluationBrief.pdf summary English 292.87 KB Posted 64
Download document ICPE_Turkmenistan full report.pdf report English 6312.95 KB Posted 92
Title Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Turkmenistan
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
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.2 Marginalised groups, particularly the poor, women, people with disabilities and displaced are empowered to gain universal access to basic services and financial and non-financial assets to build productive capacities and benefit from sustainable livelihoods and jobs
  • 2. Output 1.5.1 Solutions adopted to achieve universal access to clean, affordable and sustainable energy
  • 3. 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
  • 4. 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
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
Yogesh Kumar Bhatt Senior Evaluation Specialist and Lead Evaluator
Zehra Kacapor-Dzihic Evaluation Consultant
Lilit Melikyan Evaluation Consultant
Tianhan Gui Research Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:

Finding 1. UNDP’s programme in Turkmenistan is relevant to national priorities as defined in government policy documents and to contextual challenges. UNDP successfully cooperated with the Government of Turkmenistan, positioning itself as a reliable and credible provider of development services, which is reflected in increased government financing of the UNDP programme. Overall, a faster pace of reforms in certain sectors will further support the achievement and sustainability of results.

Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Relevance Government Cost-sharing Public administration reform Technical Support


Finding 2. Within the country programme implementation period, UNDP worked on a wide range of sectors, areas and issues, which has directly affected the depth, strategic focus and coherence of interventions and the sustainability of institutions and structures it helped establish. While the projects apply the theory of change approach and use results chains, the country programme theory of change and definition of causal linkages between activities, outputs and desired outcomes of support call for further elaboration. At times, it is found too thinly spread and resources are overstretched across a range of projects, requiring greater synergies, cross-project and portfolio collaboration and corporate-level reflection on the achievement of CPD outcomes.

Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Efficiency Programme Synergy Results-Based Management Theory of Change


Finding 3. Together with the other UN agencies active in Turkmenistan, UNDP coordinated efforts in areas such as health, DRR and human rights that create good ground for enhanced efforts towards joint programming. Given the shrinking donor base in the country, cooperation between UN agencies is increasingly relevant, particularly due to the Government’s sharper focus on the SDGs, which encompasses mandates of other UN agencies.

Tag: Disaster risk management Coherence Effectiveness Relevance Human rights UN Agencies Social Protection Coordination Agenda 2030 SDG Integration


Finding 4. UNDP has facilitated South-South exchanges for partners across the country programme portfolio at regional and global levels. However, barring a few exceptions, these exchanges are one-time isolated events benefiting the participating individuals with limited potential to institutionalize learning and facilitate long-term institutional partnerships.

Tag: Relevance Sustainability Human rights Partnership South-South Cooperation


Finding 5. There is limited evidence of gender mainstreaming across CO projects and programmes. Recent efforts to strengthen gender mainstreaming by the adoption of a Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan are moves in a positive direction.

Tag: Effectiveness Relevance Sustainability Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Human rights Partnership Strategic Positioning Country Government UN Agencies


Finding 6. Turkmenistan’s UMIC status and the limited landscape of donors and development partners including the IFIs in the country presents a challenge for UNDP to diversify its resource portfolio.

Tag: Coherence Efficiency Country Government Agenda 2030 SDG Integration


Finding 7. UNDP achieved mixed results within the participatory governance and basic services portfolio. UNDP support brought sustainable results in strengthening the response to TB in the country. The foundations for future enhancement of human rights were laid by the establishment of the Ombudsperson’s Office and the human rights policy framework. Limited results were achieved in participatory governance outcomes with regard to access and protection of rights, particularly for the most vulnerable. There is an ongoing need for investment in this area to ensure the implementation of adopted legislative and strategic frameworks and to ensure sustainability.

Tag: Effectiveness Impact Relevance Civic Engagement Human rights Pandemic


Finding 8. UNDP’s work on human rights and governance has resulted in positive outputs, particularly within the complex framework for human rights work, and call for sustained systematic efforts to ensure transformative effects.

Tag: Effectiveness Impact Sustainability Civic Engagement Human rights Country Government Policy Advisory Agenda 2030 Voluntary National Review


Finding 9. UNDP, in partnership with the Government and the Global Fund, has significantly contributed to enhancing the country’s response to TB and HIV.

Tag: Effectiveness Impact Sustainability Global Fund Access to Medicines HIV / AIDS Pandemic Country Government


Finding 10. Support to social inclusion of PWD is relevant to Government priorities and the needs of PWD. This support, however, has been marginal, fragmented and with limited outcomes thus far.

Tag: Effectiveness Impact Country Government Disabilities Social Protection


Finding 11. UNDP has made notable contributions in improving the policy environment and regulatory frameworks related to sustainable energy, environmental sustainability and resilience. The slow adoption of draft policies and laws in certain cases has limited the institutionalization, upscaling and replicability of the respective pilot initiatives.

Tag: Energy Impact Relevance Sustainability


Finding 12. UNDP’s support on climate change adaptation in agriculture has led to improvements in the policy environment, built capacity and promoted innovative solutions through demonstration pilots. The Government now invests in climate change adaptation with increased engagement from the private sector. Establishment of effective mechanisms for extension and outreach is required to scale up and replicate lessons across the country.

Tag: Agriculture Adaptation Fund Water resources Effectiveness Sustainability Government Cost-sharing Private Sector Financing


Finding 13. UNDP has made important contributions to climate change mitigation and GHG reduction through energy saving in the construction sector and improving irrigation efficiency. Further progress requires overarching legislation on energy efficiency and renewable energy, and the gradual reduction of subsidies in the energy sector.

Tag: Energy Green Climate Green Economy Water resources Effectiveness Impact


Finding 14. UNDP’s efforts in biodiversity conservation and DRR have been limited despite being critical in addressing climate change.

Tag: Disaster Risk Reduction Biodiversity Effectiveness Efficiency Impact


Finding 15. UNDP has invested significant efforts in strengthening the capacity of institutions to coordinate and manage the implementation of the NSCC. The effectiveness of the efforts will be further strengthened by systematic capacity development plans, the consolidation of activities and stronger institutional, regulatory and monitoring mechanisms in the country to track the implementation and financing of the NSCC. 



Tag: Adaptation Fund Green Climate Effectiveness Relevance Sustainability Local Governance Public administration reform Monitoring and Evaluation


Finding 16. UNDP CO has played a key role in driving the SDGs and Agenda 2030, resulting in the integration of the SDGs in domestic plans and policies as well as VNR. Support for improving statistical systems and capacity needs to continue to enhance availability and access of data to the public.

Tag: Effectiveness Impact Sustainability Coordination Policy Advisory Agenda 2030 SDG Integration SDG monitoring and reporting


Finding 17. UNDP support to the SBFEA has improved its capacity and network to expand access to international development finance. Given the nascence of the initiative, it is too early to assess the outcomes.

Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Coordination


Recommendation 1. Guided by a strong theory of change, UNDP should consolidate its country programme portfolio through the integration of themes and strengthen the focus and depth of interventions in a limited number of thematic areas to ensure stronger outcomes.

UNDP CPD outcomes have been sufficiently wide to provide for the demand-driven nature of UNDP and also piloting some new approaches (e.g. in the field of social services, civil society participation, PWD, climate change adaptation and energy). Considering the country’s UMIC status, limited funds and lessons learned from pilots and tested models, UNDP needs to consolidate its portfolio through the integration of themes, strengthening of focus and depth of interventions in a limited number of thematic areas to ensure stronger outcomes and contribution to impact. UNDP’s new country programme needs to be founded on a well-articulated theory of change elaborating what it intends to accomplish and how it will do it around the identified focus areas. Long-term programmes that have brought sustainable capacities, such as response to TB, should start phasing out with a carefully crafted exit strategy. New areas, such as support to social service provision, should be strongly advocated with integrated interventions to support mechanisms and policies. Human rights and gender dimension should cut across the programming and be the bedrock of UNDP’s work. While UNDP should continue piloting and modelling new approaches, these pilots should be an integral part of a wider set of interventions that take into account replication, scalability and the institutionalization of results.


Recommendation 2. UNDP should continue its coordination role in driving the SDGs and Agenda 2030 in Turkmenistan and use its strategic position to strongly advocate for the inclusion and contribution of civil society, private sector and other development partners in the fulfilment of the SDGs.

UNDP’s Strategic Plan envisages the organization undertaking an integrator role by creating a platform for a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach towards the achievement of the SDGs. UNDP has led these efforts in Turkmenistan and established itself as a trusted partner of choice of the Government making positive headway in collaborating with the Government and UN agencies to create foundations for the implementation of the SDGs. This work needs to continue by ensuring that shared understanding and commitment to the fulfilment of Agenda 2030 obligations is maintained and operationalized by supporting the Government to engage in dialogue with civil society, the private sector and other development partners on further operationalization and monitoring of SDG indicators. Thus far, UNDP has had only limited success in enhancing capacities and positioning of civil society and private sector in this process, and further efforts are needed to create more space and enabling environment not only for civil society and the private sector, but also for other development partners to contribute to the fulfilment of the SDGs.


Recommendation 3. UNDP should capitalize on good partnership and collaboration with the Government in the area of human rights to advocate for and support implementation of its international obligations (UPR, ratified international conventions and treaties).

UNDP has contributed to laying the foundations for human rights in the country through policies and establishment of institutions such as the Ombudsperson’s Office and the Human Rights Commission. UNDP has also been a strategic partner in the implementation of the Human Rights Action Plan for 2016-2020, with the new phase coinciding with the new CP cycle. The next country programme should provide further support to empowering the Ombudsperson’s Office and Human Rights Commission to fulfil the human rights obligations and integrate global values of human rights and fundamental freedoms. UNDP should consider providing technical assistance through training and mentoring; exchanges with similar institutions in the region; supporting the Ombudsperson’s Office’s participation in the regional network of Ombudsperson’s Offices; and potentially, assisting the Ombudsperson’s Office in producing the next reports on the state of human rights in the country. Support to the Government to prepare for the next rounds of UPR should also be continued. Most importantly, UNDP should continue advocating strongly for the rights of men and women and ensure that collaboration with the Government does not take away their voice when a violation of rights happen.


Recommendation 4. UNDP should evaluate the effective models of social service provision from the perspective of their scalability and focus on their promotion, replication and institutionalization.

Support from the Global Fund and the engagement of the Red Crescent Society in the provision of services has brought positive outcomes for persons living with TB and their families and remains an example of best practice. This should be assessed in detail for its lessons learned, impacts, replicability and scalability, and promoted to the Government and international partners in light of their aspiration to invest further in the development of the social services in the country. UNDP should further strengthen the cooperation with CSOs on the social service provision and promotion of the CSOs as a partner of the Government in this sector.


Recommendation 5. UNDP should continue supporting the Government in its response to TB as it encounters new challenges emerging from the new forms of the disease.

The partnership between the Government of Turkmenistan, WHO and UNDP has brought important results in terms of prevention, diagnostics and treatment of TB across the country. There is an ongoing demand for UNDP to continue being active and to play a key role in addressing emerging gaps in terms of treatment of new forms of TB and strengthening laboratory services, including in etraps, as well as the promotion of new forms of treatment protocols and approaches.


Recommendation 6. Building on achievements, UNDP should deepen its engagement with the Government in areas of climate change adaptation and mitigation, climate-smart agriculture and sustainable energy solutions with a strong focus on knowledge sharing, outreach and replication to promote their upscaling and institutionalization. To facilitate the implementation of policies, UNDP should continue to support building local capacities, explore innovative financing models involving the private sector and non-traditional donors, and ensure that government ownership is strong in the areas supported by UNDP.

UNDP has heavily invested for years in building the legal frameworks, awareness and knowledge on climate change adaptation, which have now resulted in a greater on-the-ground understanding of climate change impact and the importance of promoting climate-resilient practices and technologies. This uniquely positions UNDP to deepen its focus and engagement with the Government to promote a green-economy approach and institutionalization of climate-smart solutions with a strong focus on knowledge sharing, outreach and upscaling. To facilitate the implementation of policies, UNDP should continue to support building local capacities (especially with more exposure to international best practices) and explore innovative financing models involving the private sector (which is already happening with a growing engagement of UNDP with the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs) and non-traditional donors. UNDP should also ensure that government ownership is strong in the areas supported by the organization to mitigate the risk of UNDP-supported policies and laws not being adopted for a long time.


Recommendation 7. UNDP should integrate gender dimensions in all its work and utilize its strategic position and relationship with the Government to advocate for and address the structural causes of women’s rights and inequality.

With the establishment of the gender focal group and the action plan in 2018, the CO has taken the necessary first steps to address gender issues in its programming and increase awareness among staff. In the next programme cycle, UNDP should make concerted efforts to systematically integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment in all its programming. Gender equality remains high on the national agenda with the ratification of CEDAW, adoption of the national adaptation plan on gender equality and the SDGs. UNDP should use this as an opportunity and utilize its strategic position and relationship with the Government to advocate for and promote gender mainstreaming across national policies and budgeting process for the implementation of the SDGs.

Latest Evaluations

Contact us

1 UN Plaza
DC1-20th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel. +1 646 781 4200
Fax. +1 646 781 4213