Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Serbia

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
ICPE/ADR
Planned End Date:
12/2019
Completion Date:
12/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
No
Evaluation Budget(US $):
35,000

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Title Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Serbia
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: No
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Governance
  • 3. Resilience
  • 4. Energy
  • 5. Gender
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.1 Capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other international agreements in development plans and budgets, and to analyse progress towards the SDGs, using innovative and data-driven solutions
  • 2. 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
  • 3. Output 1.6.2 Measures in place and implemented across sectors to prevent and respond to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)
  • 4. 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
  • 5. Output 2.2.1 Use of digital technologies and big data enabled for improved public services and other government functions
  • 6. Output 2.2.2 Constitution-making, electoral and parliamentary processes and institutions strengthened to promote inclusion, transparency and accountability
  • 7. 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
  • 8. Output 2.5.1 Solutions developed, financed and applied at scale for energy efficiency and transformation to clean energy and zero-carbon development, for poverty eradication and structural transformation
  • 9. Output 3.2.1 National capacities strengthened for reintegration, reconciliation, peaceful management of conflict and prevention of violent extremism in response to national policies and priorities
  • 10. Output 3.3.1 Evidence-based assessment and planning tools and mechanisms applied to enable implementation of gender-sensitive and risk-informed prevention and preparedness to limit the impact of natural hazards and pandemics and promote peaceful, just and inclusive societies
Evaluation Budget(US $): 35,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 35,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Alan Fox Chief of Section
Paul Georis Evaluation Consultant
Mojca Hrabar Evaluation Consultant
Jurij Kobal Evaluation Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: SERBIA
Lessons
Findings
1.

2.1. Democratic governance

Finding 1: UNDP support for democratic governance has contributed to making government institutions more open and effective, in line with the CPD. The portfolio was well-financed, with governance projects addressing the needs of central and local levels. UNDP support to increase the transparency and accountability of the Serbian Parliament has had a measure of success, but progress has been slow.  


Tag: Agriculture Rural development Effectiveness Resource mobilization Anti-corruption Civic Engagement e-Governance Human rights Justice system Local Governance Parliament Public administration reform Rule of law Donor relations Multilateral Partners Oversight Partnership Civil Societies and NGOs Security Capacity Building Technology Technical Support Data and Statistics SDG monitoring and reporting

2.

Finding 2: UNDP involvement in the promotion of human rights and rule of law issues, such as the fight against corruption, has decreased during the period under review.


Tag: Effectiveness Anti-corruption Civic Engagement e-Governance Human rights Justice system Parliament Public administration reform Rule of law Multilateral Partners Procurement Bilateral partners Country Government Coordination Technical Support

3.

2.2. Environment and energy

Finding 3: UNDP support on climate change, energy efficiency and disaster risk reduction has helped the Government to improve policy implementation. The CPD framework has been flexible enough to enable responses to unforeseen needs, increasing the size of the portfolio from that initially planned. 


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Disaster Risk Reduction Emission Reduction Energy Environment Policy Global Environment Facility fund Private Sector Financing Local Governance Monitoring and Evaluation Country Government Poverty Reduction Policy Advisory

4.

Finding 4: UNDP contacts and networks have been valuable in the context of Serbia’s implementation of international conventions and compliance with the EU acquis, particularly in the area of climate change and energy, although the resources mobilised are too modest to address the full scale of challenges in the sector. 


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Energy Efficiency Resource mobilization Human rights Justice system Parliament Human and Financial resources Policy Advisory

5.

Finding 5: UNDP in Serbia has demonstrated flexibility and agility in response to natural disasters, helping the Government to strengthen its rapid response systems. 


Tag: Disaster risk management Disaster Risk Reduction Natural Disaster Relevance Local Governance Procurement Country Government UN Agencies Migration Refugees Resilience

6.

2.3. Inclusive and sustainable growth

Finding 6: With fewer resources than originally planned, and encumbered with many small-scale and loosely connected interventions, the Inclusive and Sustainable Growth portfolio fell short of CPD objectives, notwithstanding positive results achieved at project level in some areas.  


Tag: Vulnerable Effectiveness Efficiency Sustainability Government Cost-sharing Human rights Local Governance Human and Financial resources Programme Synergy Results-Based Management Theory of Change UN Agencies Disabilities Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Social Protection Youth

7.

Finding 7: The UNDP contribution to sustainable economic development was limited under this outcome area, although interventions in other portfolios contributed to job creation and inclusive markets. 


Tag: Agriculture Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Energy Relevance Anti-corruption e-Governance Health Sector Innovation Knowledge management Multilateral Partners Procurement International Financial Institutions Capacity Building Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Technology Trade and Development Policy Advisory

8.

2.4. Gender equality

Finding 8: UNDP efforts for gender equality in Serbia have focused needed attention on zero tolerance for, and the eradication of, violence against women. Working with significant budget constraints, UNDP has also made important efforts to raise awareness and mainstream gender issues, including through joint programming with other United Nations Country Team (UNCT) members. 


Tag: Vulnerable Effectiveness Sustainability Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Gender-Based Violence Women's Empowerment Human rights Parliament Rule of law Joint UN Programme Knowledge management Partnership Bilateral partners Civil Societies and NGOs Country Government UN Agencies UN Country Team Capacity Building Social Protection Advocacy Agenda 2030

9.

2.5. Portfolio management

Finding 9: The Government’s readiness to fund UNDP interventions reflects its strong appreciation of UNDP expertise and capacity. However, this achievement carries the risk of funding being diverted to issues not envisioned in the agreed country programme. 


Tag: Relevance Government Cost-sharing Inclusive economic growth Policy Advisory

10.

Finding 10: While coordination among UNDP partners in Serbia is good, more could be done to achieve stronger impact and efficiency.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Public administration reform Donor relations Partnership Country Government Coordination

11.

2.6. Results management 

Finding 11: The country programme is well organised and resourced, although the current results framework does not fully capture the full scope of programme accomplishments. 


Tag: Effectiveness Project and Programme management Quality Assurance Results-Based Management Risk Management Data and Statistics SDG Integration

12.

2.7. Joint-programming and inter-agency cooperation

Finding 12: Although coordination with other United Nations agencies is encouraged through specific UNCT mechanisms to promote joint work and joint programming, the lack of enabling frameworks has been an obstacle to increased cooperation.


Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Government Cost-sharing Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Human rights Joint UN Programme Monitoring and Evaluation Partnership Policies & Procedures UN Agencies UN Country Team Migration Disabilities Jobs and Livelihoods Coordination

Recommendations
1

The next CPD should continue to support Serbia with high-level innovative advice and expertise to address its development needs, with increased emphasis on integrated and cross-cutting reforms, linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Due to the timing of the previous CPD development, it was not strongly aligned with the SDGs. The next CPD should ensure this alignment, while emphasising a more holistic and integrated approach to development needs, linking the various sectors in which UNDP operates. The mix of UNDP programming areas remains relevant, and UNDP should continue its efforts to provide support and strategic advice on democratic governance, environment and energy, inclusive and sustainable growth, and gender equality.

As a strong advocate and supporter of transparency, UNDP should continue its efforts to instigate clear and publicly open, transparent processes across the administration, developing and ensuring the sustainability of transparency tools, in particular for budgetary issues (e.g. My Budget Initiative). Efforts to ensure public participation at the local level should be stepped up in order to improve the transparency of local authorities and to strengthen confidence in local democracy by involving citizens in the policies that affect them. 

UNDP has a robust environment and energy programme with significant GEF funding. UNDP is well positioned to provide support to improve the legislative framework and promote transparent planning and implementation at both local and national levels, which are also in keeping with the country’s EU accession aspirations. There may be increased opportunities for UNDP to support Serbia’s air quality objectives, building on its expanding regional track record in support of sustainable energy and efficiency. 

Coordinating SDG fulfilment with the EU accession agenda can greatly accelerate both objectives. The promotion of EU norms and standards for environmental management, for instance, can greatly aid in the achievement of Serbia’s obligations under international environmental conventions. For example, the EU approach on biodiversity conservation (Natura 2000 network) is well-harmonised with the Convention on Biological Diversity.

 

2

UNDP should redouble its efforts to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment and continue to engage the Government on human rights. 

UNDP should scale-up its efforts to mainstream gender and the empowerment of women across its programming and project portfolios. While considerable improvements have been made regarding responses to gender-based violence, a stronger representation of vulnerable groups must be ensured in consultation processes. 

Consideration should be given to opportunities for expanded joint programming on gender equality issues in order to address a broader range of factors responsible for inequality, including illiteracy, access to prenatal care and education, and incentives to engage in economic activities. Interventions in the field of violence against women deserve to be continued and expanded, building on the achievements of previous projects. UNDP should seek opportunities to continue providing advice on the promotion of human rights in the country. This is an important aspect of the long-standing engagement of UNDP in the country, and the UNDP position as a respected partner to Government gives it voice and standing that can make a difference.
 

3

As UNDP looks to expand its funding base in Serbia, decisions on new programming opportunities should serve to strengthen the role of UNDP as a provider of strategic advice. 

Care should be taken to ensure that the increased use of government cost-sharing does not limit UNDP to a purely executor role. In this respect, UNDP should identify the areas in which its expertise can add value to government policies in order to remain an agent of change capable of influencing government choices in line with the SDGs, and the priorities set out in the DPF and CPD. 

The effort to diversify funding sources, including new forms of financing (e.g. public-private partnerships, crowdfunding), present important opportunities to test out innovative approaches. This is in line with the UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021, which seeks to improve the UNDP business model by putting emphasis on innovation and organisational efficiency. 

UNDP should continue to build on its successful utilisation of funds from the GEF, including for regional environmental projects, and seek opportunities to tap into UNDP global success as an implementing partner for the Green Climate Fund. 

4

Improvements in project design should be launched during the next CPD to strengthen impact and sustainability.

The country office should ensure that all projects support the CPD priorities, with more robust indicators describing the causal pathways connecting interventions to outputs, outcomes and impact. This is in keeping with the new UNDP requirements for ‘theories of change’ for new programming. 

Sustainability aspects should be integrated into all country office projects, with disengagement strategies planned and agreed with beneficiary organisations at national and local levels, to ensure that they can take full responsibility for the results and remain committed to long-term intervention objectives. 

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