Final Evaluation of China South-South Development Center Project

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This report presents the findings and conclusions of an end of project evaluation for the China South-South Development Centre Project, a project funded mainly by the Government of China through contributions to the United Nations Fund for South-South Cooperation (UNFSSC), with some small seed funding from the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). The project under evaluation was initiated in 2009 after signing of the project document in 2008, as a partnership between UNOSSC (formerly UNDP SU/SSC) and the China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE), aiming to establish  the South-South Development Centre (SSDC) to foster public-private partnerships and triangular cooperation from China, as well as developing Chinese expertise in SSC, bringing together Chinese experts, and sharing Chinese expertise and knowledge with other Southern countries. The original project design envisioned a five-year period for implementing the desired interventions, but the SSDC project board decided to extend the project for a further five years to December 2018. 


The objective of this evaluation was to take stock of the effectiveness of the project activities, management practice, and implementation in general; to identify outcomes and lessons learned from the project; and to put forward recommendations for future programme development, systems development and strategic initiatives, including sharpening its focus in line with SDGs. The latter is a critical aspect of the evaluation given that both UNOSSC and CICETE are planning a new stage for the project. 

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Title Final Evaluation of China South-South Development Center Project
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, UN Office for South-South Cooperation
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2018
Planned End Date: 08/2018
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
Evaluation Budget(US $): 20,000
Source of Funding: Project budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 20,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: CICETE
Countries: GLOBAL
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

Future design of a possible new phase must be rigorous and comply with UN/UNDP guidelines to the extent appropriate. It should contain a theory of change that establishes clear linkages between the broad outcome/goal of the project and immediate objectives and activities.

2

If a new phase is to be launched, the proven implementation capacity of CICETE, considered an asset in this phase, should continue to be leveraged.

3

Introduction of a Project Management Committee to strengthen monitoring and evaluation and to separate the day-to-day management related advisory role from the Project Steering Committee can be considered, where the latter Committee can focus more on strategic advisory and policy roles.

4

Future project could add the triangular cooperation dimension in line with the Strategic Framework of UNOSSC. This will mean a stronger role of UNOSSC as the facilitating body, and those of other UN entities and Northern partners.

5

SSDC needs to work on the project website, making it more user friendly, with particular emphasis on the English version. The next phase of the project should consider a complete redesign of the website.

6

SSDC needs an integrated approach to knowledge management and organizational learning, combining advocacy, communications and M&E and research as one component of a future project. Future activities should focus on “easy to understand” advocacy and communication materials focused on operational research, case studies, newsletters etc. This will require increased capacity of SSDC. The existing team at UNOSSC together with possible future resources can assist in building this capacity. UNOSSCs global reach is essential to this work.

7

The small grants project has proven to be highly effective but should be more targeted in the next phase and demands and supply determined through a possible mapping exercise. Linked to this is the need to develop an appropriate M&E mechanism to assess impact and outcomes of small grants projects. This would mean improving the M&E capacity of the SSDC Secretariat and SSDC members.

8

The China South-South Cooperation Network (CSSCN), which forms the basis for the network members of the SSDC, can be expanded beyond Chinese institutions.

9

As the current project official ends in December 2018, the remainder of 2018 should focus on completing planned activities as outlined in the Annual Work Plan; designing the next project document; and potentially signing the new project document so that there is no gap between existing and new project.

1. Recommendation:

Future design of a possible new phase must be rigorous and comply with UN/UNDP guidelines to the extent appropriate. It should contain a theory of change that establishes clear linkages between the broad outcome/goal of the project and immediate objectives and activities.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/02/25] [Last Updated: 2020/06/01]

UNOSSC management accepts this recommendation. The project document for the next phase of the SSDC is currently under development and will align with UNDP’s project document template.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Design of next phase SSDC project document, according to UNDP guidelines, taking into account relevant recommendations from SSDC evaluation
[Added: 2020/02/25] [Last Updated: 2020/06/01]
UNOSSC, CICETE 2019/04 Completed Design PACed in April 2019 History
2. Recommendation:

If a new phase is to be launched, the proven implementation capacity of CICETE, considered an asset in this phase, should continue to be leveraged.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/02/25]

UNOSSC agrees with this recommendation and will continue to engage with CICETE as a project partner for the next phase of the SSDC

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Design of next phase SSDC project document, according to UNDP guidelines, taking into account relevant recommendations from SSDC evaluation
[Added: 2020/06/01]
UNOSSC, CICETE 2020/04 Completed Design PACed in April 2019
3. Recommendation:

Introduction of a Project Management Committee to strengthen monitoring and evaluation and to separate the day-to-day management related advisory role from the Project Steering Committee can be considered, where the latter Committee can focus more on strategic advisory and policy roles.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

UNOSSC will take this recommendation into account during the design of the next phase of the SSDC. Design will align with all relevant UNDP policies, protocols, templates etc.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Under the guidance of the steering committee, improve and implement the project M&E framework
[Added: 2020/06/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/18]
UNOSSC, CICETE 2021/01 Overdue-Initiated History
4. Recommendation:

Future project could add the triangular cooperation dimension in line with the Strategic Framework of UNOSSC. This will mean a stronger role of UNOSSC as the facilitating body, and those of other UN entities and Northern partners.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

UNOSSC agrees with this recommendation and will take this into account during the design of the next phase of the SSDC. Efforts will be made to engage more global partners in the SSDC, from the both the South and the North, as well as UN entities and other development partners

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Design the new phase project incorporating the triangular component
[Added: 2020/06/01]
UNOSSC, CICETE 2019/04 Completed The new phase is designed as a multi-country SSC project with UNOSSC as IP.
5. Recommendation:

SSDC needs to work on the project website, making it more user friendly, with particular emphasis on the English version. The next phase of the project should consider a complete redesign of the website.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

UNOSSC agrees with this recommendation. UNOSSC has already had discussions with CICETE about regular updates to the English version of the website. A redesign of the website – in both Chinese and English – will be considered for the next phase of the project, subject to available resources.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
improving and updating the existing SSDC website to GSSDC website in both English and Chinese
[Added: 2020/06/01]
CICETE 2020/12 Overdue-Initiated
UNOSSC and CICETE discussion on need to update regularly English version of the website
[Added: 2020/06/01]
UNOSSC CICETE 2018/09 Completed
6. Recommendation:

SSDC needs an integrated approach to knowledge management and organizational learning, combining advocacy, communications and M&E and research as one component of a future project. Future activities should focus on “easy to understand” advocacy and communication materials focused on operational research, case studies, newsletters etc. This will require increased capacity of SSDC. The existing team at UNOSSC together with possible future resources can assist in building this capacity. UNOSSCs global reach is essential to this work.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

UNOSSC agrees with this recommendation. Increasing the capacity of the SSDC Secretariat to engage in knowledge management/organizational learning work will be explored as part of the next phase of the SSDC, subject to available resources

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
implement the improved M&E plan
[Added: 2020/06/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/18]
UNOSSC CICETE 2021/01 Overdue-Initiated Results Framework revision and M&E plan development will be completed by Jan 2021 History
Design of new phase GSSDC incorporating integrated KM, learning, advocacy communications, and M&E.
[Added: 2020/06/01]
UNOSSC CICETE 2019/04 Completed
7. Recommendation:

The small grants project has proven to be highly effective but should be more targeted in the next phase and demands and supply determined through a possible mapping exercise. Linked to this is the need to develop an appropriate M&E mechanism to assess impact and outcomes of small grants projects. This would mean improving the M&E capacity of the SSDC Secretariat and SSDC members.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

UNOSSC agrees with this recommendation. The need and usefulness of a mapping exercise will be discussed with CICETE, SSDC network members, and other stakeholders following finalization of the next phase project document. If stakeholders agree, mapping exercise will proceed.

 

Regarding M&E, UNOSSC will work closely with CICETE in the design of the next phase project document to improve M&E capacity.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
develop the M&E capacity of project secretariat at Responsible Party P (CICETE)
[Added: 2020/06/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/18]
UNOSSC 2021/03 Overdue-Initiated Three trainings conducted, and more trainings will be organized History
Discuss and agree upon usefulness and relevance of supply and demand mapping exercise
[Added: 2020/06/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/18]
UNOSSC CICETE 2020/03 Completed small grants SOP and proposal template revised History
develop the result-based M&E system to track the progress at the Project level and sub-grant level
[Added: 2020/06/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/18]
UNOSSC CICETE 2020/06 Completed Sub-grants management tools including result-oriented SOP, result matrix and reporting templates adopted History
update the Sub-grant SOP
[Added: 2020/06/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/18]
UNOSSC CICETE 2020/10 Completed SOP updated History
8. Recommendation:

The China South-South Cooperation Network (CSSCN), which forms the basis for the network members of the SSDC, can be expanded beyond Chinese institutions.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

UNOSSC agrees with this recommendation and will incorporate a more global outlook into the next phase of the project document. Links to potential network members outside of China will be explored and brokered.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Scoping and development of links to potential network members outside of China
[Added: 2020/06/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/18]
UNOSSC CICETE 2021/03 Overdue-Initiated Scoping started and initial potential partners are proposed. History
improve the SOP of China SSC network to have a global coverage
[Added: 2020/06/01] [Last Updated: 2020/12/18]
UNOSSC CICETE 2021/06 Initiated Global Network of Centers of Excellence Strategy development will in January 2021, which will also include improved SOP History
9. Recommendation:

As the current project official ends in December 2018, the remainder of 2018 should focus on completing planned activities as outlined in the Annual Work Plan; designing the next project document; and potentially signing the new project document so that there is no gap between existing and new project.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/01]

UNOSSC agrees with this recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Completion of activities in Annual Work Plan
[Added: 2020/06/01]
CICETE 2019/07 Completed SSDC Project was extended for half a year per board decision.

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