External Progress Assessment. UNDP Green Commodities Programme (GCP)

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Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, RBLAC
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
12/2019
Completion Date:
12/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
20,000

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Title External Progress Assessment. UNDP Green Commodities Programme (GCP)
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, RBLAC
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2019
Planned End Date: 12/2019
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Sustainable
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 2.1.1 Low emission and climate resilient objectives addressed in national, sub-national and sectoral development plans and policies to promote economic diversification and green growth
Evaluation Budget(US $): 20,000
Source of Funding: GCP Funds, donor: IKEA
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 13,750
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Christian Sieber Team Leader
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Private Sector, country offices
Lessons
1.

Although the continuous review of strategies and tools allowed to adjust to a rapidly changing context, and build-in learnings from implementation, it might have deviated some attention from actual implementation and achieving results on the ground (inward looking perspective). It is important to focus on implementation rather than revision.


2.

Commodity platforms can be powerful instruments to contribute to sector transformation. However, progress in implementation is generally slow and full of hurdles. Systemic changes require time and resources, and their ultimate success depends on numerous external factors, including continued political commitment.


3.

The MSCFSC strategy puts the focus on the approach (the „how“), rather than weighing the different dimensions of sustainability against each other. This gives GCP the ability to adjust the content of each MSCFSC intervention according to any given country and sector context, while maintaining its distinctive approach (consistency). Depending on the sector, a special focus can be given to social or environmental topics.


4.

UNDP being an organization that primarily interacts with government counterparts, country offices are not prepared to engage with the private sector. They often lack the methodologies, tools and networks to engage and create interest from private sector partners for joint efforts. GCP has been helpful to build up capacities in CO on engagement with the private sector and multi-stakeholder collaboration.


5.

Global virtual Communities of Practice (CoP) are challenging to handle, sharing information within existing CoP can be an alternative to administrating its own community can be an alternative to administrating its own community.


6.

Measuring the development of capacities of main platform stakeholders (institutional performance, stability and adaptability in regard to MSC) and the quality of interactions among them can be a good indicator of progress towards systemic change


Findings
1.

4 Main findings

4.1 Relevance

When looking at relevance, it is important to differentiate between the project under evaluation and the relevance of GCP as such. The project under review constitutes the backbone of the GCP, and acts as umbrella and foundation for different country level activities. The project aims to develop the strategies, tools, knowledge products and networks necessary for the achievement of the programme’s goal. From a funding perspective, it can be considered as the core funding of GCP that enables the program to support substantive activities on the ground (in collaboration with others and proper funding). Assessing the relevance of this project is intrinsically linked to an assessment of the relevance of GCP’s objectives as a programme. We will first look at the relevance of having such an “umbrella” project, before looking at the relevance of GCP’s objectives more broadly


Tag: Green Climate Green Economy Efficiency Relevance Partnership Project and Programme management

2.

4.1 Relevance (continuation)

GCP’s objective as a programme is highly relevant. Looking at the relevance of GCP’s objective more broadly, the programme addresses several highly relevant subjects. Commodity sectors in developing countries affect ecosystems and livelihoods of rural communities. Public and private sector committed to global goals of zero commodity-driven deforestation by 2020, however will fall short of their commitments. Reducing the negative environmental and social impact of global commodity production and turn it into a driver of positive rural development is a challenging but highly relevant objective. Because of the high relevance of the topic, GCP’s efforts to contribute to economic, social and environmental sustainability in global agricultural commodities do not happen in isolation but happen in an ever more crowded universe of different national and commodity initiatives. 

Successful national/subnational action plans/commodity platforms play an important role in demonstrating the relevance of the approach. Commodity platforms can be powerful instruments to contribute to sector transformation. However, progress in implementation is generally slow and full of hurdles. Systemic changes require time and resources, and their ultimate success depends on numerous external factors, including continued political commitment. Although an assessment of the factors that determine the successful implementation of National Action Plans and Commodity Platforms is beyond the scope of this evaluation, it is important to recognize here that successful examples are important for the recognition and relevance of the GCP approach, whereas a lack of progress in implementation or unsuccessful intents question the potential of the approach. A few interviewees were of the view that existing platforms have not yet produced the desired impact. 


Tag: Relevance National Regional Partnership Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management Private Sector

3.

4.1 Relevance (continuation)

GCP has been an early mover in putting sustainable commodities on the development agenda and developing multi-stakeholder and sectoral approaches for systemic change, long before the current hype of landscape and jurisdictional approaches has captured the attention of many others. GCP started to develop a more systemic approach at a time, when most efforts still considered certification and the transformation of individual supply chains as the panacea. GCP draw on UNDP’s experience in public sector dialogue and consensus building and refined it to be used in the commodity sector. By being ahead of the curve, GCP played an important role in agenda setting and over the years accumulated valuable experience that today can serve UNDP to strengthen its portfolio of private sector oriented programmes/initiatives. 

The GCP approach is well aligned with UNDP’s Strategic Plan. GCP contributes to UNDP’s overall objectives as defined by the Strategic Plan 2018-2021, contributing directly to Outcome 1 and indirectly to Outcomes 2 and 3. Also, GCP is aligned with relevant sectoral UNDP frameworks such as the Biodiversity and Ecosystems Global Framework 2012-20 or UNDP’s Private Sector and Foundations Strategy 2016-2020. GCP has made a special effort to demonstrate its contribution to the SDG’s and its latest ToC is guided by the Agenda 2030. UNDP combines several characteristics that make it a particularly useful promotor of the GCP approach. These characteristics include: - Values and strategic goals in line with GCP; - Neutrality and level of trust with the public sector. Access to the highest level of government; - Local presence through a broad network of country offices; - Convening power; - Track-record in dialogue, multi-stakeholder platforms and consensus building outside the commodity sector. Some of these characteristics clearly differentiate UNDP from other private or civil society actors (WCF, IDH, TFA, CI, WWF, Solidaridad) that seek to promote multi-stakeholder platforms in commodity sectors. 


Tag: Relevance Business Model Project and Programme management

4.

4.2 Effectiveness

The project under review and its outcome 1 defined four outputs. Hereafter we assess the level of achievement of these outputs and its contribution to the achievement of broader GCP goals. Output 1.1 Methodological framework and guidance for transforming commodity production

STRATEGY

The project aimed at supporting the development of a GCP Strategy that allows GCP to be well positioned globally, operate effectively at country level and grow its portfolio.

GCP undertook a consistent strategy review process guided by internal and external stakeholder inputs. During the time covered by this evaluation, GCP has undertaken important efforts to revise and sharpen its strategy. Two strategy documents were developed (2015-17; 2018-2020) in participatory processes. Although the overall mission remained the same (“GCP exists to improve the national economic, social and environmental performance of agricultural commodity sectors”), the programme’s values and implementation modalities have been further defined. For example, based on experience, GCP has adopted a more flexible approach, recognizing that commodity sector transformation does not have to happen through National Commodity Platforms in all cases. Sometimes other forms of multi-stakeholder collaborations/action plans can be more appropriate to achieve the desired systemic change. This new MSCFSC approach leaves more room to adapt to specific local contexts. Also, GCP over time recognized the importance of more collaborative leadership. Although governments continue to be the main entry door for any UNDP activity in a country, it is important to develop parallel work streams with different stakeholder groups in order not to be entirely conditioned to the governments’ work pace.


Tag: Environment Policy Green Economy Effectiveness Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management Results-Based Management

5.

4.2 Effectiveness (continuation)

Despite the excellent alignment of GCP’s strategy with UNDP’s mission and strategies and an increased communication effort, GCP continues to struggle to get appropriate recognition within UNDP. Although most interviewees confirmed that GCP has improved its communication and outreach efforts, several interviewees are still of the view that there is a lack of understanding and recognition at the higher levels and country offices of what GCP does. Some interviewees expressed the view that the programme’s role is not easy to grasp. Others found that GCP is isolated from the work of some of the other UNDP areas and more horizontal integration is needed (for example with democratic governance teams). A good integration is reported with the UNDP climate and forest team. The challenge to get appropriate recognition within the broader UNDP structure may be explained by three complementary factors: 1) GCP is not just another programme. With its knowledge hub and technical service offer to RB/CO, GEF/GCF funded projects and UNDP REDD, GCP plays a role that diverges from the traditional UNDP project portfolio logic 2) Country offices and beneficiary governments are not always keen to accept and pay for international advisory 3) There are other competing initiatives with more direct presence on the ground. 


Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Efficiency Knowledge management Programme Synergy Project and Programme management

6.

4.2 Effectiveness (continuation)

METHODOLOGY AND GUIDANCE

With support from the project under review, GCP has developed and supported the implementation of relevant tools such as the root causes analysis, the targeted scenario analysis or numerous tools related to the setting up and implementation of national commodity platforms.

GCP has been successful in putting sustainable commodity production on the international agenda and forged a new vision for the development of commodity sectors. With its National Platform Approach, GCP provided a concrete tool that aimed at translating global talk into concrete action on the ground. GCP’s methodology for establishing and operating platforms and relevant guidance aims at supporting national teams in the development and implementation of national action plans.


Tag: Effectiveness Business Model Communication Knowledge management Partnership Policies & Procedures Strategic Positioning Country Government

7.

4.2 Effectiveness (continuation)

Output 1.2 Technical assistance and quality management system for country level implementation

Country focal points assure communication between the global and national levels. Each country level implementation is supported by a focal point of the GCP global team, which in coordination with the national team identifies needs, provides support and monitors progress in implementation. In 2018, GCP defined several measures to deliver greater impact of the global team at country level4 . Measures adopted included monthly calls with national platform teams, multi-advisory country missions, cross-portfolio learning for Country Office Programme Officers, management integration with country projects (e.g. support to CO in contracting consultants directly through Panama office), and thematic third-party reviews of GCP interventions. Based on our discussions and review of documents, we conclude that there was a partial follow-up to these measures. 


Tag: Effectiveness Communication Knowledge management Project and Programme management Results-Based Management

8.

4.2 Effectiveness (continuation)

Output 1.2 Technical assistance and quality management system for country level implementation (continuation)

GCP defined a clear value proposition for Country Offices, however sometimes greater understanding of effective demand is needed. In May 2017, GCP developed an internal note for  UNDP country offices informing about the GCP services to UNDP projects. This note was a valuable attempt to clarify the kind of services GCP can provide and administrative modalities of engagement (cost recovery). While it is important to define a global service offer, when offering these services to a specific country , it is important to tailor the offer to the specific country needs. Some interviewees were of the view that global advisors were not always sufficiently familiar with the local context which limited their capacity to appropriately adjust their offer to country needs. If for example a country already has a certain multi-stakeholder/platform process underway, it is necessary to assess how GCP can support existing efforts, adjusting its tools and methodologies, rather than suggesting the launch of a new process. The Global Sustainable Supply Chains for Marine Commodities (GMC) has been mentioned as a successful example where GCP methodologies and tools were adjusted to local needs. Because CO’s and governments are increasingly reluctant to pay for global advisory, the service offer must be all the more tailor-made, adjusting international knowledge/experience to the given national context, in order to be attractive. 


Tag: Environment Policy Green Economy Effectiveness Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management Capacity Building Technical Support

9.

4.2 Effectiveness (continuation)

Output 1.3 Partnerships with companies and organizations

PARTNERSHIPS WITH THE PRIVATE SECTOR

In 2016, GCP defined its engagement with global partners in a strategy document. The Global Partnership & Stakeholder Strategy 2016, an internal operational document, aimed at guiding the work of GCP with respect to partnerships and global stakeholder engagement. The document defined the objectives of engaging global partners and ways how this contributes to the implementation of GCP Platforms at the national level. The strategy identified benefits and formulated commitments that GCP expected from its global partners. The idea of a Partnership Charter that would define roles and responsibilities and to which global partners would have to adhere to was launched. The strategy foresaw a regular review and update process. 

The implementation of the 2016 strategy was partial. The VBVC Initiative was more successful in framing the dialogue with global private sector partners. The 2016 strategy was reviewed in 2017and its ambition adjusted. It was proposed to “start organically and allow for flexibility in terms of membership expectations”. The idea of a Partnership Charter was abandoned because it could defer global corporates to engage with GCP. Instead, a “Private Sector Group” should be created. Based on the documents reviewed and interviews held, the evaluation could not confirm the establishment of this private sector group. Individual follow-up with potentially interested companies and participation in industry meetings and engagement of private sector in global fora were reported in the period 2017-18. In 2018, GCP launched the “Value beyond Value Chains Initiative” which aims to increase the effectiveness of private sector collaboration with governments to protect and strengthen agricultural commodity production and supply chains. Interviewees welcomed this initiative, which focuses on areas where UNDP has its greatest value added: engagement with governments and multi-stakeholder collaboration. The VBVC guidance note for the private sector, currently under development, is an interesting attempt to sensitize companies on the need to think beyond their value chains and engage in multi-stakeholder collaborations. The format looks attractive for the target public. 


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Partnership Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Private Sector

10.

4.2 Effectiveness (continuation)

Output 1.3 Partnerships with companies and organizations (continuation)

EFFECTIVENESS OF FUNDRAISING AND DONOR ENGAGEMENT

The project under review was financed by contributions from SECO (USD 4,4 Mio) and Norway/UN REDD(USD 1,6 Mio) for the period 2014-17 (see ProDoc). At the time of approval, the project reported an unfunded budget of USD 5,2 Mio. Thus, since the very beginning of this project, GCP was under pressure to identify and secure additional funding. Fundraising for co-funding was therefore an explicit activity of the project. The strategy to identify and assure co-funding for the implementation of the project and GCP more broadly was threefold:


Tag: Effectiveness Private Sector Financing Resource mobilization Donor relations Partnership Bilateral partners

11.

4.2 Effectiveness (continuation)

Output 1.3 Partnerships with companies and organizations (continuation)

EFFECTIVENESS OF FUNDRAISING AND DONOR ENGAGEMENT (continuation)

The GCP strategies 2015-17 and 2018-20 did not meet their funding targets. Similarly to the project under review, the GCP strategy has been struggling to live up to its funding targets. The 2018-20 strategy aimed at securing annually 2 mio./year for global activities and 0.5 mio. for each country project (downscaling the ambition from the 2015-17 strategy, where GCP thought to mobilize 2.5 and 0.7 mio. respectively). This strategic funding target could not be met.

The lack of stable core-funding for global activities has marked the development and implementation of GCP strategies. A certain tension between the need of following the money versus maintaining GCP’s strategic focus can be observed in the last years. The lack of stable core funding has obliged GCP to adopt an opportunity-driven approach which impeded long term programming and somewhat diluted the focus during the implementation of the 2015-17 and 2018- 20 strategies. 

Output 1.4 Scaling up innovative models for sustainable commodity production GCP, through its global team, has acted as a broker for knowledge-sharing between UNDP practitioners aiming to improve the social and environmental performance of agricultural commodity supply chains worldwide. GCP aims to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge, information and best practices among UNDP project and country office staff. Several interviewees confirmed that knowledge dissemination and exchange between regions should be a priority for GCP.


Tag: Green Climate Green Economy Effectiveness Sustainability Resource mobilization Business Model Donor relations Innovation Knowledge management Operational Efficiency Capacity Building

12.

4.2 Effectiveness (continuation)

Output 1.3 Partnerships with companies and organizations (continuation)

EFFECTIVENESS OF FUNDRAISING AND DONOR ENGAGEMENT (continuation)

2. Engage/Lead the development of new initiatives that could benefit from international environmental finance and cost in support to GCP’s global structure The GCP global team, and particularly its project director, has undertaken important efforts to identify funding opportunities for commodity related work from international environmental finance. By doing so GCP/its director has led the development of GEF initiatives such as the Good Growth Partnership launched in 2017. Although engaging in project formulation can be an effective way of assuring a certain role and funds during implementation, the execution of GEF projects increasingly happens under Full National Implementation Modality (NIM) which could leave UNDP in the future with less room to assume an executing role as it currently has in GGP.


Tag: Effectiveness Global Environment Facility fund Resource mobilization Donor relations Knowledge management Partnership

13.

4.2 Effectiveness (continuation)

Output 1.3 Partnerships with companies and organizations (continuation)

EFFECTIVENESS OF FUNDRAISING AND DONOR ENGAGEMENT (continuation)

CoP are useful for learning through sharing, but establishing a strong community is difficult. Global virtual Communities of Practice (CoP) are challenging to handle, both due to organizational reasons (challenge to establish strong connections without face-to-face interaction; overcoming language and time zone barriers) but also content wise (finding the right topics; responding to different needs; different sociocultural environments of participants). In addition, such platforms compete for the limited time members can dedicate to knowledge and experience sharing besides their operational responsibilities. Against this background, it is important to carefully assess how, and with which format a CoP can best address the above-mentioned challenges. Sometimes sharing information within existing CoP can be an alternative to administrating its own community. As far as the evaluator could observe, since itsintegration with GGP no further reflection has been made whether the GCC could increase its impact by coordinating with or integrating into other existing knowledge sharing communities.The organization of in-person CoP workshops, training activities and (south-south) study tours is an effective way to deepen interaction and strengthen the community. GCP successfully took advantage of global gatherings to organize trainings back-to-back to such events. GCP’s strategy to associate relevant UNDP country officers into learning workshops and study tours seems to be a useful way of deepening relationships with UNDP country offices. Interviewees praised workshop and training methodologies, also because particular attention is given to group dynamics and relationship building?


Tag: Effectiveness Resource mobilization Communication Donor relations Knowledge management Partnership Capacity Building Coordination South-South Cooperation

14.

4.3 Efficiency

MANAGEMENT

The GCP board provides limited strategic guidance but could be useful to position GCP within UNDP. Project oversight is assured by a project board. The GCP Board was supposed to meet on a yearly basis and to provide strategic and operational guidance to the program. Whereas the amount of substantive strategic guidance provided by the board seems to be somewhat limited (inter alia due to a changing composition of the board and limited knowledge of UNDP RB of GCP’s work; the board did not meet every year), board meetings could serve as a useful platform to create awareness among different UNDP units at regional/HQ level about the workings of the programme. Outside this formal structure of the project, GCP has undertaken a continuous effort to make itself known up the UNDP hierarchy. As a result, GCP has been successful in engaging highlevel representatives in some of its activities (for ex. Good Growth Conference Peru 2019). 

GCP’s main asset is a highly qualified global team. GCP’s strength is its team of experts with relevant experience in global commodity value chains, sustainability standards and multistakeholder collaboration. The GCP team has grown considerably over the last years, particularly since the start of GGP implementation. In order to adjust the programme structure and processes to this new reality, GCP undertook continuous efforts to strengthen internal (communications) processes and management tools. Examples include the development of internal communication guidelines, the constitution of a management committee (since 2019 the strategic committee) or the organization of monthly calls and regular virtual coffee talks. Various interviewees acknowledged that management undertook great efforts to assure team building and internal alignment and compensate for the lack of collective experience generated by day-to-day work. Despite the fact that individuals are spread all over the world and have only limited opportunities to meet in person (at least once per year for the annual planning meeting), there appears to exist a good team spirit. The apparent low turnover of senior advisors in the last years seems to confirm this.


Tag: Efficiency Business Model Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Operational Efficiency Oversight Project and Programme management Results-Based Management

15.

4.3 Efficiency 

MONITORING

When assessing the M&E system, it is important to differentiate between the M&E system that has been set up for the project under review, and broader monitoring efforts of GCP as a programme. We will first look into the M&E system of the project, before discussing the monitoring of the GCP more broadly. 

The project under review achieved its output targets as defined in the ProDoc. As far as the results framework of the project under review is concerned, the project defined 4 outputs under outcome 1 that were covered by 3 indicators. Indicators were focused on the revision of the GCP strategy (1.1.), the number of partnerships established with NGOs, donors and private sector companies (1.2.) and the establishment of an operational KM system (1.3.). GCP has reached the quantitative output targets defined in the ProDoc. Although these targets were set for 2017, as a result of the extension of the project to 2019, there was no adjustment in targets. 


Tag: Efficiency Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Risk Management

16.

4.3 Efficiency 

MONITORING (continuation)

GCP as a programme has developed several monitoring tools, however their implementation is only incipient. Looking at GCP’s M&E efforts more broadly, GCP undertook important efforts to strengthen its M&E and develop different monitoring tools (GCP M&E database related to ToC; Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Ladder of Change; NAP Monitoring Tool; Lessons learned system; outcome indicators in strategy documents). To operate effectively as a cohesive global programme, it is important to have a programme level monitoring, evaluation, and learning system that ties together the strategic project components and supports reporting, fundraising, and management. However, the evaluator could not evidence that these tools are currently in use. Their embedding into national monitoring efforts (including contribution of sustainable production to deforestation avoidance) would be important in order to reduce reporting burden and assure appropriation at the national level. Some tools might need simplification. GCP’s M&E Database for example, which is based on the recently developed ToC, is a very complete tool that aims at tracking progress of the 16 outcomes defined in the ToC. It seems rather unlikely that a successful tracking of the 62 indicators can be established in practice.


Tag: Efficiency Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management Quality Assurance Results-Based Management Data and Statistics

17.

4.3 Efficiency 

MONITORING (Continuation)

There is a need to think in alternative ways of measuring impact. GCP’s ambition is to contribute to systemic change in sustainable commodity production. It tries to achieve this ultimate objective by working towards strengthening of practices, regulatory frameworks and changing mindsets and behaviors which in turn should lead to more sustainable commodity sectors. This is a medium to long-term objective, and the systemic change is dependent on various external factors. Against this  background, it might be necessary to re-think how to measure the programme’s systemic impact. Using traditional indicators such as number of farmers with improved living conditions or hectares with sustainable production systems might not accurately address the nature of GCP’s approach. GCP does not directly interact with farmers on the ground, but rather supports implementers in strengthening relationship building with different stakeholder groups, thereby creating trust and a fabric of relationships that ultimately should enable systemic change. As part of the development of the MSCFSC approach, GCP recently started a reflection on how to measure systemic change (see e.g. ladder of change). In the view of the evaluator, measuring the development of capacities of main platform stakeholders (institutional performance, stability and adaptability in regard to MSC) and the quality of interactions among them can be a good indicator of progress towards systemic change9 . Without a continuous measurement of progress in these medium to long-term processes, it is difficult to substantiate that GCP actually contributes to systemic change. 


Tag: Efficiency Impact Communication Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management Results-Based Management

18.

4.4 Sustainability

When assessing the benefits of a global programme such as GCP and their likeliness of continuing after donor funding has ended, we must look at the capacities that were built up within UNDP country offices and knowledge generated and made accessible for interested users. 


Tag: Efficiency Sustainability Resource mobilization Communication Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Operational Efficiency Partnership Policies & Procedures Institutional Strengthening Private Sector

19.

With UNDP embracing GCPs approach, GCP could evolve from a programme to a thematic unit within corporate UNDP. GCP started as a programme at a time when collaboration with the private sector was innovative and still rather unusual within standard UNDP thinking. With the adoption of the SDGs and the Agenda 2030, and a growing recognition that new innovative approaches are needed to address the world’s development challenges, the private sector has been recognized as a key player to effectively achieve the global development goals. As a result, UNDP has increasingly embraced collaboration with the private sector and more innovative strategies to achieve the SDGs. In doing so, the GCP approach slowly trickles into the DNA of UNDP. Against this background, GCP in the future might be no longer considered an innovative “spin off” in the form of a programme, but could become part of core UNDP, as a thematic unit driving the organization’s work on MSCFSC. 


Tag: Efficiency Sustainability Business Model Communication Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Partnership Programme Synergy Project and Programme management Agenda 2030 SDG Integration Private Sector

Recommendations
1

6 Recommendations

In order to take full advantage of the experience and expertise GCP has accumulated over the last 10 years, leverage its comparative advantage and keep its relevance in a changing environment, we recommend the following: 

R1. Focus on GCP’s distinctive approach, now defined as the MSCFSC approach, leverage UNDP’s competitive advantage (engaging governments/convening power), and use clear criteria regarding were the MSCFSC approach can be implemented with the greatest potential impact (need to review Green Light Criteria).

Currently GCP impact is aimed at 8 million farmers and 20 million hectares. Aligned to this ambition the Green Light Criteria prioritizes interventions using the following decision route: tropical forest hectares – commodity strategic importance – Country Office capacity – National Government interest- additional stakeholder interest. Under the MSCFSC approach and leveraging on UNDPs competitive advantage (engaging governments / convening power), the key contribution of GCP is to become a catalyser for systemic change. Under this strategic priority, commodities, forest hectares and farmers are the ecosystem that different actors want to transform, they are an aspirational consequence of GCP action rather than a goal; likewise, the “enabling environment” is what emerges through the interactions (synergies) of different actors within the ecosystem (a means rather than an end). The direct goal of GCP is to incentivize collaboration among diverse/improbable actors and support the institutionalisation of change (formal and informal). Therefore, GCP needs to carefully assess for any given country-level intervention whether there is a genuine commitment in place that allows for a successful initiation of a systemic change process.

Under this framework, the success of GCP is linked to its ability to support networks (i.e. number, participants and dynamics of platforms and other dialogue schemes); learning processes (various types, focus on helping others understand and design collective solutions; participatory root cause analysis); strengthen the development of transformative capacity (influence, self-evolution of pilot schemes, embeddedness, policy) and finally transformative impact (hectares, farmers, etc.). GCP’s value proposition is to build capacities for and accompany this process, measure progress and induce corrective action where necessary (adaptive management).

2

R2. Secure stable core funding that enables GCP to finance its global core operations independently from country advisory. Core funding should allow the team to have enough resources for networking, conceptual/strategic reflections and to provide ad-hoc advice (for ex. in project design). Implement a multi-lawyered fundraising strategy that includes traditional (bilateral) donors, non-traditional donors (foundations) interested in innovation and longer-term systemic thinking, as well as access to GCF/GEF resources. Develop suitable fundraising products for each donor group.

Bilateral donors are mainly interested in country level/regional interventions because they are under pressure to present measurable results in the short run. At the same time, they are interested to contribute to the upscaling and spreading of specific country-level experiences (including through south-south cooperation), which creates opportunities for a global programme like GCP. GCP should present itself to bilateral donors as a global knowledge platform on MSCFSC that is able to connect local resultsto the global debate, thereby increasing visibility and impact of bilateral donors’ work. Foundations on the other hand are often less constrained to produce short-term results and have more flexibility to fund innovative work that produces medium to long term impact. GCP should identify foundations that have invested into sustainable commodity supply chains (as an example: the David & Lucile Packard Foundation and its new Agriculture, Livelihood and Conservation Program) and seek support for the advancement of the MSCFSC approach. Finally, GCP should concretize and assure continued support through larger GCF/GEF programmes (e.g. FOLUR).

3

R3. Assess risks and opportunities of evolving from a programme with proper identity and branding into a corporate UNDP unit/knowledge hub for MSCFSC. Such an integration would have to be carefully designed in order to take advantage of improved leverage and access to UNDP resources, without compromising on the flexibility, agility and innovative spirit of the programme.

Keeping a proper identity or seeking to become a corporate UNDP unit needs to be assessed from a financial and impacts perspective and with a pragmatic view. In the evaluator’s view, the growing embracement of UNDP of the typical GCP topics (multi-stakeholder collaboration and private sector engagement) will increase the risk that GCP’s work is perceived by other UNDP programmes/projects/Country Offices as duplication of what they already do (even if they don’t, or do so with a lack of capacities). Against this background, it might be better to actively advocate that UNDP as an institution capitalizes GCP’s 10-year experience by integrating it into UNDP’s corporate offer (knowledge hub for MSCFSC/private sector collaboration). After having completed its strategy review process, it is now a good time for GCP to start this discussion. 

4

R4. Evaluate the role of GCP in aggregating and measuring collective intelligence that could result from the articulation of different commodity platforms in landscapes where different commodities coexist. Further, in the same way that GCP pioneered NCPs when sustainable commodities conversations were focused on VSS, today GCP could play a role in broadening the platform approach at subnational levels by including key actors/themes (not necessarily commodity focused) that have a stake in the sustainability of local environmental services and in realizing human rights and gender inclusiveness.

Successful experiences of landscape/jurisdictional approaches remain scarce. And where they occur, they are normally linked to one single commodity within a jurisdiction/landscape, rather than the sustainability of the jurisdiction/landscape as such. Therefore, it remains challenging to make claims regarding sustainable jurisdictions/landscapes. Collective intelligence is the emergence of solutions that are more than the sum of the parts involved. Through strategic collaboration with country offices and through strengthening data & ethnographical M&E, GCP could pilot widening the commodity perspective to an environmental services perspective linked to landscapes with strong commodity presence. Instead of asking how do we make x commodity more sustainable, the question is how do we ensure that there will be water/soil/etc now and forever? This automatically widens the discussions to all of those with a stake in the environmental service and to cross cutting issues (gender, youth, human rights, etc) that constitute barriers to the conservation of the environmental service. This could lead to more systemic local pacts/strategies/solutions that become part of the GCP learning hub.

5

R5. Embed M&E into the GCP strategy and put into use existing M&E tools in order to gather data and communicate on achieved results. In parallel, continue to develop indicators that measure the systemic change GCP aims to achieve and engage in a dialogue within UNDP, donors, and peers on how to account for systemic change and indicators that go beyond the traditional focus on hectares, liters or number of smallholders.

M&E is vital for the long-term sustainability of GCP and needs to operate at two levels: the capacity of GCP to catalyse systemic change (see recommendation 1 above) and, most importantly for relevance and visibility, the transformations that take place on the ground (emergence of synergies and the results of those synergies). National actors (trade or sector associations, commodity specific initiatives, government, etc.) could be best positioned to track medium term changes in trade dynamics, sustainable offer, etc. GCP could partner with them for those inputs and focus instead on system transformation: how do actors see themselves and others (their roles)? What has changed in terms of perceptions, are actors communicating differently, are actors behaving differently, how have these changes impacted sector governance/landscape governance? what key innovations have emerged, who has benefited from them? Measuring changes in the institutional performance, stability and adaptability in regard to MSC can help capturing progress towards systemic change. 

6

R6. Focus on implementation rather than continued revision, once the current strategy review process has concluded. In doing so, make sure to focus on strategic deliverables, and pay attention to the needs of country offices, GCC members, and beneficiary governments. Be mindful in understanding the local context and ensure that global tools and advisory fit in and are tailored to local needs.

The successful uptake of a conceptually sound global approach (MSCFSC) at the national level depends on the ability of the transmitter (GCP global expert) and receptor (Country office/NCP coordinator) to develop a joint understanding and strategy on how to adjust the MSCFSC approach to a given country context. Whereas the transmitter must assure the consistent use of methodologies and tools and draw on best practices and lessons learned, the receptor needs to be able to translate and adapt this global knowledge into local practicalities. For the success of the subsequent systemic change process, it is of utmost importance that the intervention design is done with enough resources, time and capacities. It determines to a notable degree the success of the subsequent process. Cultural sensitivity and work-experience of the transmitter in the country of intervention facilitates the process.

7

R 7. Regarding operations, make sure that new members are properly introduced into GCP and that they are aware about the “broader picture” and not just their area of work. As far as possible, assure foreseeability and contractual stability for GCP consultants (speed up contracting). Maintain good practices related to team building. Make an effort to prioritize and simplify materials and tools in order to facilitate their uptake.

8

R8. If a new internal project for “core GCP” was developed (similar to the one being reviewed), make sure that targets and indicators are aligned with broader GCP M&E efforts and establish a reporting format that besides internal UNDP reporting purposes also serves GCP team’s information needs.

Management Response Documents
1. Recommendation:

6 Recommendations

In order to take full advantage of the experience and expertise GCP has accumulated over the last 10 years, leverage its comparative advantage and keep its relevance in a changing environment, we recommend the following: 

R1. Focus on GCP’s distinctive approach, now defined as the MSCFSC approach, leverage UNDP’s competitive advantage (engaging governments/convening power), and use clear criteria regarding were the MSCFSC approach can be implemented with the greatest potential impact (need to review Green Light Criteria).

Currently GCP impact is aimed at 8 million farmers and 20 million hectares. Aligned to this ambition the Green Light Criteria prioritizes interventions using the following decision route: tropical forest hectares – commodity strategic importance – Country Office capacity – National Government interest- additional stakeholder interest. Under the MSCFSC approach and leveraging on UNDPs competitive advantage (engaging governments / convening power), the key contribution of GCP is to become a catalyser for systemic change. Under this strategic priority, commodities, forest hectares and farmers are the ecosystem that different actors want to transform, they are an aspirational consequence of GCP action rather than a goal; likewise, the “enabling environment” is what emerges through the interactions (synergies) of different actors within the ecosystem (a means rather than an end). The direct goal of GCP is to incentivize collaboration among diverse/improbable actors and support the institutionalisation of change (formal and informal). Therefore, GCP needs to carefully assess for any given country-level intervention whether there is a genuine commitment in place that allows for a successful initiation of a systemic change process.

Under this framework, the success of GCP is linked to its ability to support networks (i.e. number, participants and dynamics of platforms and other dialogue schemes); learning processes (various types, focus on helping others understand and design collective solutions; participatory root cause analysis); strengthen the development of transformative capacity (influence, self-evolution of pilot schemes, embeddedness, policy) and finally transformative impact (hectares, farmers, etc.). GCP’s value proposition is to build capacities for and accompany this process, measure progress and induce corrective action where necessary (adaptive management).

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/31] [Last Updated: 2021/01/31]

GCP is constantly positioning itself as representing and promoting the MSCFSC approach. For the development of the new project document the GCP’s value proposition to build capacities for and accompany this process, measure progress, and induce corrective action where necessary, will be made more visible. No need to take any additional actions.

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

R2. Secure stable core funding that enables GCP to finance its global core operations independently from country advisory. Core funding should allow the team to have enough resources for networking, conceptual/strategic reflections and to provide ad-hoc advice (for ex. in project design). Implement a multi-lawyered fundraising strategy that includes traditional (bilateral) donors, non-traditional donors (foundations) interested in innovation and longer-term systemic thinking, as well as access to GCF/GEF resources. Develop suitable fundraising products for each donor group.

Bilateral donors are mainly interested in country level/regional interventions because they are under pressure to present measurable results in the short run. At the same time, they are interested to contribute to the upscaling and spreading of specific country-level experiences (including through south-south cooperation), which creates opportunities for a global programme like GCP. GCP should present itself to bilateral donors as a global knowledge platform on MSCFSC that is able to connect local resultsto the global debate, thereby increasing visibility and impact of bilateral donors’ work. Foundations on the other hand are often less constrained to produce short-term results and have more flexibility to fund innovative work that produces medium to long term impact. GCP should identify foundations that have invested into sustainable commodity supply chains (as an example: the David & Lucile Packard Foundation and its new Agriculture, Livelihood and Conservation Program) and seek support for the advancement of the MSCFSC approach. Finally, GCP should concretize and assure continued support through larger GCF/GEF programmes (e.g. FOLUR).

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/31] [Last Updated: 2021/01/31]

Current the project is developing a fundraising strategy and an action plan that will be implemented in the upcoming years. Currently, a fundraising brochure was developed presenting GCP as a global knowledge platform on MSCFSC that can connect local results to the global debate. Additionally, several fundraising products are being produced which will serve to engage donors into the different topics GCP works. All these efforts will be discussed and analysed under the development of the Project Document. No additional actions will be taken.

Key Actions:

3. Recommendation:

R3. Assess risks and opportunities of evolving from a programme with proper identity and branding into a corporate UNDP unit/knowledge hub for MSCFSC. Such an integration would have to be carefully designed in order to take advantage of improved leverage and access to UNDP resources, without compromising on the flexibility, agility and innovative spirit of the programme.

Keeping a proper identity or seeking to become a corporate UNDP unit needs to be assessed from a financial and impacts perspective and with a pragmatic view. In the evaluator’s view, the growing embracement of UNDP of the typical GCP topics (multi-stakeholder collaboration and private sector engagement) will increase the risk that GCP’s work is perceived by other UNDP programmes/projects/Country Offices as duplication of what they already do (even if they don’t, or do so with a lack of capacities). Against this background, it might be better to actively advocate that UNDP as an institution capitalizes GCP’s 10-year experience by integrating it into UNDP’s corporate offer (knowledge hub for MSCFSC/private sector collaboration). After having completed its strategy review process, it is now a good time for GCP to start this discussion. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/31] [Last Updated: 2021/01/31]

During the strategy meeting that took place in Q4 of 2019, this topic was widely discussed and decisions were taken regarding the role of GCP inside UNDP. A strategy regarding the communications inside and outside UNDP was developed in order for GCP to be included in the corporate offer. This topic will be continuously reviewed in order to adapt the strategy as UNDP embraces the topics GCP works on. All the actions have been taken already.

Key Actions:

4. Recommendation:

R4. Evaluate the role of GCP in aggregating and measuring collective intelligence that could result from the articulation of different commodity platforms in landscapes where different commodities coexist. Further, in the same way that GCP pioneered NCPs when sustainable commodities conversations were focused on VSS, today GCP could play a role in broadening the platform approach at subnational levels by including key actors/themes (not necessarily commodity focused) that have a stake in the sustainability of local environmental services and in realizing human rights and gender inclusiveness.

Successful experiences of landscape/jurisdictional approaches remain scarce. And where they occur, they are normally linked to one single commodity within a jurisdiction/landscape, rather than the sustainability of the jurisdiction/landscape as such. Therefore, it remains challenging to make claims regarding sustainable jurisdictions/landscapes. Collective intelligence is the emergence of solutions that are more than the sum of the parts involved. Through strategic collaboration with country offices and through strengthening data & ethnographical M&E, GCP could pilot widening the commodity perspective to an environmental services perspective linked to landscapes with strong commodity presence. Instead of asking how do we make x commodity more sustainable, the question is how do we ensure that there will be water/soil/etc now and forever? This automatically widens the discussions to all of those with a stake in the environmental service and to cross cutting issues (gender, youth, human rights, etc) that constitute barriers to the conservation of the environmental service. This could lead to more systemic local pacts/strategies/solutions that become part of the GCP learning hub.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/31] [Last Updated: 2021/01/31]

Although this recommendation is interesting, it goes beyond the scope of GCP and its role inside UNDP. Several efforts are being taken constantly for GCP to aggregate and collect collective knowledge and intelligence, as well as there is a constant effort to go beyond platforms. However, in the development of the new project document this will not be taken into consideration as it escapes the purpose of the programme itself.

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

R5. Embed M&E into the GCP strategy and put into use existing M&E tools in order to gather data and communicate on achieved results. In parallel, continue to develop indicators that measure the systemic change GCP aims to achieve and engage in a dialogue within UNDP, donors, and peers on how to account for systemic change and indicators that go beyond the traditional focus on hectares, liters or number of smallholders.

M&E is vital for the long-term sustainability of GCP and needs to operate at two levels: the capacity of GCP to catalyse systemic change (see recommendation 1 above) and, most importantly for relevance and visibility, the transformations that take place on the ground (emergence of synergies and the results of those synergies). National actors (trade or sector associations, commodity specific initiatives, government, etc.) could be best positioned to track medium term changes in trade dynamics, sustainable offer, etc. GCP could partner with them for those inputs and focus instead on system transformation: how do actors see themselves and others (their roles)? What has changed in terms of perceptions, are actors communicating differently, are actors behaving differently, how have these changes impacted sector governance/landscape governance? what key innovations have emerged, who has benefited from them? Measuring changes in the institutional performance, stability and adaptability in regard to MSC can help capturing progress towards systemic change. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/31] [Last Updated: 2021/01/31]

This recommendation is very important and great amount of work has been put into developing the M&E existing tools. Additionally, gathering data and information to communicate results is a process that started at the end of Q4 in 2019 and is extending into 2020, where different products will be delivered. New tools for measuring the measuring systemic change will be developed in 2020 and by the end of the year the new M&E system that was developed in the previous years will be finalized and implemented in a yearly basis. No additional actions need to be taken.

Key Actions:

6. Recommendation:

R6. Focus on implementation rather than continued revision, once the current strategy review process has concluded. In doing so, make sure to focus on strategic deliverables, and pay attention to the needs of country offices, GCC members, and beneficiary governments. Be mindful in understanding the local context and ensure that global tools and advisory fit in and are tailored to local needs.

The successful uptake of a conceptually sound global approach (MSCFSC) at the national level depends on the ability of the transmitter (GCP global expert) and receptor (Country office/NCP coordinator) to develop a joint understanding and strategy on how to adjust the MSCFSC approach to a given country context. Whereas the transmitter must assure the consistent use of methodologies and tools and draw on best practices and lessons learned, the receptor needs to be able to translate and adapt this global knowledge into local practicalities. For the success of the subsequent systemic change process, it is of utmost importance that the intervention design is done with enough resources, time and capacities. It determines to a notable degree the success of the subsequent process. Cultural sensitivity and work-experience of the transmitter in the country of intervention facilitates the process.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/31] [Last Updated: 2021/01/31]

This recommendation will be taken into consideration and the annual workplans developed for 2020 are focusing on implementation of the strategy that was revised at the end of 2019. Each member of the GCP team have their specific deliverables and currently GCP has reached a clearer understanding of their role and support in order to apply the new strategy in a more structured way.

Key Actions:

7. Recommendation:

R 7. Regarding operations, make sure that new members are properly introduced into GCP and that they are aware about the “broader picture” and not just their area of work. As far as possible, assure foreseeability and contractual stability for GCP consultants (speed up contracting). Maintain good practices related to team building. Make an effort to prioritize and simplify materials and tools in order to facilitate their uptake.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/31] [Last Updated: 2021/01/31]

new introduction package and plan was developed throughout 2019 for new GCP members to understand our broad work and position inside UNDP. It is planned to be developed in 8 weeks and in 2019 was applied successfully to new team members. No further actions will be taken.

Key Actions:

8. Recommendation:

R8. If a new internal project for “core GCP” was developed (similar to the one being reviewed), make sure that targets and indicators are aligned with broader GCP M&E efforts and establish a reporting format that besides internal UNDP reporting purposes also serves GCP team’s information needs.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/03/31] [Last Updated: 2021/01/31]

In the development of the new Project Document a new results framework will be developed reflecting the evolution GCP has had in the past ten years as well as the new Theory of Change and M&E system that have been developed in the past years. With a more structured and clearer results framework as the programme has already, a simplified one will be developed to facilitate the monitoring of global activities and country support.

Key Actions:

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