Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Uruguay

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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: Uruguay
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 1.2.1 Capacities at national and sub-national levels strengthened to promote inclusive local economic development and deliver basic services including HIV and related services
  • 3. Output 1.2.3 Institutions and systems enabled to address awareness, prevention and enforcement of anti-corruption measures to maximize availability of resources for poverty eradication
  • 4. 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
  • 5. Output 3.1.1 Core government functions and inclusive basic services4 restored post-crisis for stabilisation, durable solutions to displacement and return to sustainable development pathways within the framework of national policies and priorities
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 40,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Ana Rosa Soares Lead Evaluator
Natalia Acosta Associate Lead Evaluator
Eduardo Gomez Rivero Consultant
Luis David Grajeda Consultant
Leopoldo Font Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: URUGUAY
Lessons
Findings
1.

Finding 1. Strategic positioning, value added and comparative advantages. UNDP has been strategically positioned in Uruguay, mainly for its reputational capital and administrative efficiency to facilitate the implementation of public policies but also as a valuable provider of experts to strengthen capacities and complement national development efforts. UNDP responsiveness to national priorities and needs is acknowledged but national stakeholders expect a more innovative and integrated approach from UNDP, in line with the 2030 Agenda, the 2050 National Development Plan and the Uruguay’s status as a high-income and net contributor country.


Tag: Agenda 2030 SDG Integration Integration Strategic Positioning Relevance Technical Support

2.

Finding 2. Overall satisfactory progress. UNDP has progressed well towards most country programme outputs, delivering relevant contributions to the country programme outcomes. For the most part, UNDP is valued for its efficiency in providing technical and administrative services that have led to effective results with good prospects for sustainability.


Tag: Operational Efficiency Strategic Positioning Efficiency Relevance Policy Advisory Technical Support

3.

Finding 3. Lack of systems thinking to leverage integration. The programme could have performed at an even more strategic level with the support of theories of change considering systems dynamics and adequate mapping and integration of cross-sectoral, intergovernmental, inter-agency and multi-stakeholder engagements to improve complementarities and synergies with more coordinated and timely investments.


Tag: Agenda 2030 Integration Results-Based Management Theory of Change Challenges Effectiveness Technical Support

4.

Finding 4. Programme management. UNDP Uruguay demonstrated healthy financial management and systems and a good cost-efficiency ratio. However, the limited number of UNDP staff is spread thinly with 45 percent of the portfolio being composed of smaller projects of below $100,000, many of which work in siloes and lack clear and integrated theories of change. Additional staff were not hired to address the growth in projects and resources.


Tag: Human and Financial resources UNDP management Efficiency Technical Support

5.

Finding 5. Gender. The programme has been mostly gender-responsive and gender-targeted but with some transformational approaches and potential with a view to addressing key structural barriers to women’s empowerment and gender equality, through initiatives addressing gender-based violence, the care of small children and how mobility affects gender.


Tag: Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Operational Efficiency Effectiveness Technical Support

6.

Finding 6. Improved living conditions. UNDP has helped to reduce the social inequalities of the resident population in marginal urban areas of Uruguay by supporting the relocation of low-income families; the construction of houses and concession of property titles, considering affirmative measures in favour of female heads of household; the recovery and improvement of public spaces; and the access of relocated families to social services.


Tag: Inclusive economic growth Inequalities Gender Equality Operational Efficiency Effectiveness Technical Support

7.

Finding 7. Enhanced capacities for social inclusion policies. UNDP has helped to strengthen the universal social protection matrix of Uruguay, contributing to the outcome of promoting social inclusion of the least favoured groups with the extension of coverage and quality of early childhood care services, but attention to persons with a disability has been limited.


Tag: Capacity Building Inclusive economic growth Social Protection Operational Efficiency Effectiveness Technical Support

8.

Finding 8. Social protection matrix strengthened. UNDP has made relevant contributions to the outcome of strengthening legal and institutional structures by addressing labour and economic inclusion of vulnerable sectors of the Uruguayan population, mainly women and people of African descent, through the building of institutional capacities; incorporation of gender clauses in collective bargaining agreements signed by unions and employers; inclusion of people of African descent in the public and private sectors; promotion of social branding for inclusive business economic initiatives; and the implementation of local economic development initiatives.


Tag: Inclusive economic growth Social Protection Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Coherence Relevance Policy Advisory Technical Support

9.

Finding 9. Social policies and inequalities. Although still incipient and subject to significant improvement, UNDP support has made significant contributions to the formulation and implementation of a new generation of social policies, with a stronger focus on identifying and addressing social inequality and the multiple connection between its causal factors. Initiatives included: consideration of multidimensional factors in care services; articulation of social policies and economic policies; incorporation of variables of social inclusion and coexistence in urban development; and incorporation of social inclusion variables in local economic development initiatives.


Tag: Inequalities Programme Synergy Strategic Positioning Coherence Relevance Technical Support

10.

Finding 10. Towards sustainably managing natural resources. UNDP has been key in strengthening the management capacities of an important group of national institutions responsible for the sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation; pollutant reduction; adaptation to climate change; and disaster risk management. Support has been provided through training and specialized technical advice; adaptation and development of regulations (policies, laws and plans); preparation of national reports on compliance with international environmental commitments; and strategic and operational institutional planning.


Tag: Sustainability UNDP management Natural Resouce management Sustainability Technical Support

11.

Finding 11. Productive practices with nature conservation. UNDP has supported innovative practices of conservation and restoration of the biodiversity of natural ecosystems, as well as sustainable management of natural resources. The conceptual and methodological approach of “productive landscape” has been incorporated in seven protected areas and their surroundings with agricultural and livestock activities. However, despite the efforts of UNDP, protected areas in the national territory of Uruguay have only expanded from 0.84 percent to 0.88 percent, below the expected target of 1.9 percent.


Tag: Natural Resouce management Site Conservation / Preservation Effectiveness Technical Support

12.

Finding 12. Initial conditions for transformation towards a sustainable production matrix. UNDP has made relevant contributions to the creation of initial conditions for the transformation of the current production matrix of the Uruguayan economy into a more sustainable production model, which can integrate the benefits of economic development with environmental sustainability considerations. UNDP has supported the design and implementation of public policy instruments (policies, standards and plans); the capacity-building of sectoral institutions (environment, agriculture, livestock, industry, energy, tourism); the development of sustainable production initiatives with potential for replication and scaling up; and helped the country access global funds.


Tag: Economic Recovery Inclusive economic growth Climate Change Adaptation SDG Integration Business Model Sustainability Green Economy Water resources Effectiveness Agriculture Technical Support

13.

Finding 13. Enhanced democratic governance. UNDP has supported the development of legal and institutional mechanisms for transparency and efficacy of public management and promoted citizen participation at the national and subnational levels. This contributed to the processes of institutional modernization and political decentralization carried out by the Uruguayan public administration and the outcome of strengthening government capacities to generate information and to design, implement and evaluate policies.


Tag: Human rights Justice system Local Governance UNDP management Effectiveness Technical Support

14.

Finding 14. Improved public expenditure and investment. UNDP has supported the Government in planning, management and implementation of tools and information systems as well as evaluation of public policies that have contributed to the improvement of public expenditures and investment. However, the ambitious goal of moving from partial to wide availability of tools and systems has not yet been achieved.


Tag: Public administration reform Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management Efficiency Technical Support

15.

Finding 15. Advanced open government. With the provision of technical and administrative support for the development and implementation of instruments and action plans to promote the use of open data in the public sector and to monitor transparency in public management, UNDP has made an important contribution to greater citizen participation in the public agenda, and enabled greater transparency, accountability and efficiency of institutions with a well-defined role and recognized comparative advantage.


Tag: Public administration reform Operational Efficiency Efficiency Technical Support

16.

Finding 16. Promoting South-South and triangular cooperation. UNDP was fundamental in establishing and developing the capacities of AUCI and its international cooperation policy. However, the technical value of UNDP to South-South and triangular cooperation has been limited.


Tag: Capacity Building Operational Efficiency Effectiveness South-South Cooperation

17.

Finding 17. Decentralization, strengthening local governance and citizen participation. UNDP administrative and to a lesser extent technical support to strengthen the capacities and knowledge of municipalities for the effective management and auditing of public policies have contributed to decentralization efforts. UNDP has made an important contribution by helping to bring in experts, but it made less of a direct contribution with its own expertise and resources.


Tag: Capacity Building Local Governance UNDP management Effectiveness Technical Support

18.

Finding 18. Strengthened justice. UNDP has supported the strengthening of judicial institutions for the application of the new Criminal Code through the implementation of the Information System of Criminal Justice and building capacities of the General Prosecutor’s Office. This has contributed to government efforts in reducing the number of persons deprived of liberty without sentencing in jail.


Tag: Justice system Rule of law Operational Efficiency Technical Support

Recommendations
1

Systems dynamics-based theory of change to improve programme progress and performance. UNDP should improve programme performance with theories of change that adequately consider systems dynamics. This should include the mapping and integration of multi-stakeholders and sectors and improve complementarities and synergies and promote better coordination and timely investments. In so doing, UNDP should increase the number of staff in the office but still consider focusing on fewer key thematic areas and fewer small projects. This should allow the country office team to operate more strategically, work less in siloes and in a more integrated fashion with adequate stakeholder mapping and coherent theories of changes. Attention should be focused on the few areas the for which the country does not yet have sufficient capacity, such as local governance; adversarial justice including cybercrime and environmental crime; and in areas where the country requires more long-term investment, such as to address the challenge of behaviour change around gender-based violence and inclusive sustainable development to transform the production matrix in alignment with environmental requirements.

2

Reposition the UNDP integrator role for innovation. UNDP should clarify how it will advance on further positioning its integrator role to help Uruguay with innovative and accelerated solutions to inclusive sustainable development in the context of the graduation to high- income and net contributor country status. With Uruguay’s National Development Strategy to 2050 and the 2030 Agenda, UNDP should define a strategy so that in the short to medium term, the organization can transition to a more strategic role of providing more integrated and innovative development solutions in areas which the country is not able to address on its own. This may require adaptations to the programme design as well as political commitment from UNDP and Government to develop exit strategies, so in the medium term Uruguay no longer depends on UNDP administrative and fund management services and relies more on UNDP to identify/test/pilot innovations and to promote knowledge exchange and South-South and triangular cooperation with other countries. Given its institutional memory, UNDP should also assist with the transition of the incoming Government and take advantage of this new cycle to reframe its integrator mandate in the country in view of the changing national context.

3

Integrate leaving no one behind. UNDP should develop a strategy that holistically integrates in the programme the broad vision of the 2030 Agenda for leaving no one behind. It should still prioritize attention to gender equality and women’s empowerment, building upon the lessons and success of the country’s early childcare system, but better integrate the care of persons with a disability and the elderly that also constitute a significant impediment to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Particular focus should be given to gender-based violence, an area where it will be important to map and integrate partners and initiatives to work with young men and address masculinity and citizen security. Attention should also be paid to further ensuring the rights and opportunities of the LGBT community, African descendants and those deprived of liberty. In addition, it will be necessary to strengthen the capacities of CSOs for their roles in civil control and monitoring of public policy implementation, particularly to ensure the rights and equal opportunities for these vulnerable groups. A stronger civil society will be key to leaving no one behind and to also ensure not leaving the environment behind, a significant issue to be addressed in integration with the transformation of the production matrix of the country.

4

Transform the production matrix in alignment with conservation requirements. UNDP should work in partnership with environmental counterparts and the productive sector to develop a conceptual model and strategy to scale up and generate innovations that expand and accelerate the transformation of the current production matrix towards a more sustainable production model. The strategy should help the country progressively replace the intensive use of natural resources of the current production matrix with a more diversified and innovative production model that can increase the competitiveness of the national economy in global markets and address the demands of the domestic market while striving for the conservation of natural resources. Considering the high percentage of the national territory that is privately owned and the limited number of protect areas, the UNDP theory of change should consider better integration of the following strategic lines of cooperation, among others:

1. Adaptation of the political-normative and institutional frameworks of the different productive sectors: economy, industry, energy, agriculture, livestock, forestry and tourism;

2. Design of dual or transitional economic policies;

3. Fossil and extractive economy decline policies;

4. Strategic incentive policies for the growth of green/sustainable economy;

5. Further mobilization of financial resources from global funds for the promotion of green/sustainable economy;

6. Incorporation of artificial intelligence into the new production model, through digital products to increase efficiency of sustainable management of production processes; and

7. Strengthening the participation of the civil society and academia in advocacy for the transformation of the productive matrix.

5

Strengthen public administration, especially at local level. UNDP should focus its attention to the local level to help the decentralization efforts and ensure the capacity development of local governments. At the central level, UNDP should focus its support on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public policies by providing more integrated and innovative development solutions, especially through strengthening institutional capacities and citizen participation for planning, monitoring and evaluation of public policies and programmes. For the most part, the Government of Uruguay already has sufficient capacity at central level, but it can still benefit from the support, experience and reputational capital of UNDP to solidify overall public administration capacities and improve integration and public policies, primarily in areas which the country is not yet able to address on its own. Given its great capillarity at the local level, UNDP is well positioned to help transfer capacities from central to local governments and to expand abilities for planning, management, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes while helping local contexts be better integrated into public policies.

6

Add more technical value to Uruguay’s South-South and triangular cooperation. UNDP, with the support of its Regional Bureau, should more systematically help identify, map, match and facilitate opportunities for Uruguay to learn from other countries and experiences and for Uruguay to collaborate with other countries, providing more technical value, instead of predominantly administrative support to SouthSouth and triangular cooperation. Given Uruguay’s net contributor country context and the potential and interest of AUCI, UNDP has the opportunity to go beyond the provision of administrative/fund management support and add more technical value to help Uruguay promote South-South and triangular cooperation. In so doing, UNDP should also help to negotiate with bilateral cooperation in the country, especially from developed countries, on how to join forces for triangular cooperation and mutual collaboration for South-North exchanges.

1. Recommendation:

Systems dynamics-based theory of change to improve programme progress and performance. UNDP should improve programme performance with theories of change that adequately consider systems dynamics. This should include the mapping and integration of multi-stakeholders and sectors and improve complementarities and synergies and promote better coordination and timely investments. In so doing, UNDP should increase the number of staff in the office but still consider focusing on fewer key thematic areas and fewer small projects. This should allow the country office team to operate more strategically, work less in siloes and in a more integrated fashion with adequate stakeholder mapping and coherent theories of changes. Attention should be focused on the few areas the for which the country does not yet have sufficient capacity, such as local governance; adversarial justice including cybercrime and environmental crime; and in areas where the country requires more long-term investment, such as to address the challenge of behaviour change around gender-based violence and inclusive sustainable development to transform the production matrix in alignment with environmental requirements.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/06] [Last Updated: 2020/05/19]

The CO takes note of the recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Within the framework of the Common Country Analysis (CCA), United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) and 2021–2025 CPD process, UNDP Uruguay will carry out a thorough analysis and mapping of issues and stakeholders, which will serve as an input for the development of a comprehensive theory of change. A first step in this process is already being undertaken through an interagency initiative led by UNDP focusing on identifying the key transitions that Uruguay will need to undergo to set it on a path to sustainable development.
[Added: 2020/04/16]
Uruguay CO 2021/01 Initiated
2. Recommendation:

Reposition the UNDP integrator role for innovation. UNDP should clarify how it will advance on further positioning its integrator role to help Uruguay with innovative and accelerated solutions to inclusive sustainable development in the context of the graduation to high- income and net contributor country status. With Uruguay’s National Development Strategy to 2050 and the 2030 Agenda, UNDP should define a strategy so that in the short to medium term, the organization can transition to a more strategic role of providing more integrated and innovative development solutions in areas which the country is not able to address on its own. This may require adaptations to the programme design as well as political commitment from UNDP and Government to develop exit strategies, so in the medium term Uruguay no longer depends on UNDP administrative and fund management services and relies more on UNDP to identify/test/pilot innovations and to promote knowledge exchange and South-South and triangular cooperation with other countries. Given its institutional memory, UNDP should also assist with the transition of the incoming Government and take advantage of this new cycle to reframe its integrator mandate in the country in view of the changing national context.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/06] [Last Updated: 2020/05/19]

UNDP Uruguay takes note of the recommendation and reiterates that its current model is the result of a joint dialogue between UNDP and the Government of Uruguay

 

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
(a) UNDP Uruguay will continue developing innovative solutions and exploring tools and initiatives to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the national nd subnational level, strengthening the integrator role of UNDP within the United Nations system. These tools will be integrated into the new 2021–2025 UNSDCF and CPD. (b) UNDP Uruguay is one of a handful of first-mover countries on SDG integration, which are testing new and innovative approaches of delivering integrated development solutions, that the organization will learn from when developing its global service offer on integration.
[Added: 2020/04/16]
Uruguay CO 2021/01 Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Integrate leaving no one behind. UNDP should develop a strategy that holistically integrates in the programme the broad vision of the 2030 Agenda for leaving no one behind. It should still prioritize attention to gender equality and women’s empowerment, building upon the lessons and success of the country’s early childcare system, but better integrate the care of persons with a disability and the elderly that also constitute a significant impediment to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Particular focus should be given to gender-based violence, an area where it will be important to map and integrate partners and initiatives to work with young men and address masculinity and citizen security. Attention should also be paid to further ensuring the rights and opportunities of the LGBT community, African descendants and those deprived of liberty. In addition, it will be necessary to strengthen the capacities of CSOs for their roles in civil control and monitoring of public policy implementation, particularly to ensure the rights and equal opportunities for these vulnerable groups. A stronger civil society will be key to leaving no one behind and to also ensure not leaving the environment behind, a significant issue to be addressed in integration with the transformation of the production matrix of the country.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/06] [Last Updated: 2020/05/19]

UNDP Uruguay will design a strategy of leaving no one behind, prioritizing interventions together with the new government that enters in March 2020 and with civil society.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP Uruguay will design a strategy of leaving no one behind, prioritizing interventions together with the new Government that assumes office in March 2020 and with civil society. The CCA, 2021–2025 UNSDCF and CPD will incorporate a strategy for leaving no one behind
[Added: 2020/04/16]
Uruguay CO 2021/01 Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Transform the production matrix in alignment with conservation requirements. UNDP should work in partnership with environmental counterparts and the productive sector to develop a conceptual model and strategy to scale up and generate innovations that expand and accelerate the transformation of the current production matrix towards a more sustainable production model. The strategy should help the country progressively replace the intensive use of natural resources of the current production matrix with a more diversified and innovative production model that can increase the competitiveness of the national economy in global markets and address the demands of the domestic market while striving for the conservation of natural resources. Considering the high percentage of the national territory that is privately owned and the limited number of protect areas, the UNDP theory of change should consider better integration of the following strategic lines of cooperation, among others:

1. Adaptation of the political-normative and institutional frameworks of the different productive sectors: economy, industry, energy, agriculture, livestock, forestry and tourism;

2. Design of dual or transitional economic policies;

3. Fossil and extractive economy decline policies;

4. Strategic incentive policies for the growth of green/sustainable economy;

5. Further mobilization of financial resources from global funds for the promotion of green/sustainable economy;

6. Incorporation of artificial intelligence into the new production model, through digital products to increase efficiency of sustainable management of production processes; and

7. Strengthening the participation of the civil society and academia in advocacy for the transformation of the productive matrix.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/06] [Last Updated: 2020/05/19]

UNDP Uruguay takes note of the recommendation, although the scope of its formulation makes it difficult to comply with in one programme cycle.

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Within the framework of the transition towards sustainable development initiative, UNDP Uruguay led a joint United Nations diagnostic and is preparing proposals to delineate a road map towards the sustainability of the productive matrix (e.g., support for the design and implementation of a National Agroecology Plan).
[Added: 2020/04/16]
Uruguay CO 2025/12 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Strengthen public administration, especially at local level. UNDP should focus its attention to the local level to help the decentralization efforts and ensure the capacity development of local governments. At the central level, UNDP should focus its support on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public policies by providing more integrated and innovative development solutions, especially through strengthening institutional capacities and citizen participation for planning, monitoring and evaluation of public policies and programmes. For the most part, the Government of Uruguay already has sufficient capacity at central level, but it can still benefit from the support, experience and reputational capital of UNDP to solidify overall public administration capacities and improve integration and public policies, primarily in areas which the country is not yet able to address on its own. Given its great capillarity at the local level, UNDP is well positioned to help transfer capacities from central to local governments and to expand abilities for planning, management, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes while helping local contexts be better integrated into public policies.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/06] [Last Updated: 2020/05/12]

UNDP Uruguay takes note of the recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP Uruguay has supported the decentralization process and strengthening of subnational governments, being recognized as a partner of choice by national stakeholders. The new CPD will include enhanced efforts to strengthen the capacities of subnational governments and UNDP will also provide support during the transition of subnational governments following elections in May 2020.
[Added: 2020/04/16]
Uruguay CO 2021/01 Not Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Add more technical value to Uruguay’s South-South and triangular cooperation. UNDP, with the support of its Regional Bureau, should more systematically help identify, map, match and facilitate opportunities for Uruguay to learn from other countries and experiences and for Uruguay to collaborate with other countries, providing more technical value, instead of predominantly administrative support to SouthSouth and triangular cooperation. Given Uruguay’s net contributor country context and the potential and interest of AUCI, UNDP has the opportunity to go beyond the provision of administrative/fund management support and add more technical value to help Uruguay promote South-South and triangular cooperation. In so doing, UNDP should also help to negotiate with bilateral cooperation in the country, especially from developed countries, on how to join forces for triangular cooperation and mutual collaboration for South-North exchanges.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/06] [Last Updated: 2020/05/12]

UNDP Uruguay takes note of the recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP Uruguay will explore opportunities with the new government to enhance South-South and triangular cooperation for Uruguay and include them in the new 2021– 2025 CPD
[Added: 2020/04/16]
Uruguay CO 2021/01 Not Initiated

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