Final Evaluation - Promoting a Fair Business Environment in ASEAN (FairBiz)

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Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, RBAP
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
03/2022
Completion Date:
02/2022
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
20,000

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Title Final Evaluation - Promoting a Fair Business Environment in ASEAN (FairBiz)
Atlas Project Number: 00126335
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, RBAP
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 02/2022
Planned End Date: 03/2022
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. 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
SDG Goal
  • Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development
SDG Target
  • 17.16 Enhance the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries, in particular developing countries
Evaluation Budget(US $): 20,000
Source of Funding: Donor Funding
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 20,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Kevin Deveaux Evaluator
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: UK FCDO
Countries: PHILIPPINESTHAILANDVIET NAMMALAYSIAMYANMARINDONESIA
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

FairBiz should continue as a regional project as its work in this innovative field of governance needs a long-term commitment.

Given that FairBiz is working in an area of governance that is relatively new, especially for UNDP, it has taken some time for the project team and BRH to build capacity and establish partnerships that are only now, as the project draws to a close, starting to show results. UNDP, through FairBiz, has ploughed the ground and planted the seeds of results, so it now needs to reap the results. This will require another three-four year project.

2

The next phase of FairBiz must reflect the priorities of the new UNDP Strategic Plan, Regional Plan and the principles of regionality

The new UNDP Strategic Plan (2022-25) has identified governance as one of six “signature solutions” that will form the core of its work. The Plan speaks to the need to build new partnerships with the private sector (something already initiated by FairBiz) and the need for a “Triple A” approach to programming – programming that is anticipatory, agile and adaptive. This will require the next phase of FairBiz to be designed with a level of flexibility that will enable the project to open to opportunities and to be forward-thinking in how and where it delivers support to national and regional partners. It will also require more robust monitoring, evaluation and learning to capture and respond to changes in context and to identify and act upon new entry points for the promotion of business integrity. Given the principles of regionality, the project must continue to “lead from behind” and support COs in building trusted relationships with national partners. But this will still leave an important role for the project in sharing knowledge across the ASEAN region, building and maintaining networks for such sharing and the promotion of South-South and peer-to-peer capacity development. Also, given that business integrity is still a new area of work (in general and for UNDP specifically), working regionally offers space for national partners to maintain a dialogue and to raise awareness of how the issue(s) can be addressed in the context of ASEAN countries.

3

FairBiz must focus in the future on replicating and scaling up the good results observed at the national level in select countries.

In its first years the project has done a very good job at seeding innovative approaches and building networks at the national level in several ASEAN countries. Some of these interventions have seen more results, but the work of scaling up regionally or replicating in other ASEAN countries has been slow. This should be a priority for the next phase of the project.

4

Capacity development and knowledge sharing needs to move beyond training and seminars.

The project has relied on a significant amount of trainings to transfer knowledge to beneficiaries. While this is not a bad approach in the early stages of its work, especially on a topic for which many do not have a deep knowledge, there is a need for the project to pivot to other modalities for capacity development, including coaching and mentoring. This would be particularly effective for women and youth business leaders and entrepreneurs.

5

FairBiz needs to enhance its capacity for knowledge brokering.

The project, to date, has been building its knowledge and capacity with regard to business integrity and has utilized partnerships and networks effectively to do so. But in the next phase of its work it needs to anticipate the “tipping point” where the project is no longer obtaining knowledge but will become a knowledge broker, leveraging its partnerships and networks to support peer-to-peer and south-south knowledge exchanges.

6

Continue to design targeted activities with women to expand the momentum on gender responsive work and assess the differentiated impact on women

The project’s work in support of women business leaders has shown some results and women are starting to receive the knowledge they require to fully engage in business integrity. This work must continue and be expanded, both in breadth (more countries in the region) and depth (more substantive and result-oriented engagement). The use of national and regional mentoring, for example, may be a logical next step in the evolution of the project’s work in this area.

7

Expand engagement of business leaders from minority and marginalised groups

The project’s work with youth has shown some promising results. Lessons learned from this has shown the value in building partnerships and co-ownership of the activities and results. The project should try to replicate this model for work with other groups, such as people with disabilities and others from marginalised groups.

8

Maintain staff continuity

The turnover in staff for the project in the early stages of its work was a challenge to the delivery of activities. More recently, the project has benefited from a more stable staffing situation. Going forward, the project must have systems and supports to maintain this continuity. Programmes produce better results with a stable staff team, and again, this would be a consideration for any upcoming projects and programmes.

9

Indicators for the results framework must reflect SMART principles

The design of the next phase of the project must include a strong emphasis on the identification of indicators, as part of the results framework, that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). The lack of such indicators in the current phase of the project caused challenges with regard to a necessary focus on outcome-level results. Indicators should be a snapshot of what is possible when a planned result is achieved. It may take some extra effort in the design phase of the next project, but, when done correctly, it will have a profound impact on the ability of the project to deliver results.

Additionally, investments in measurement of output indicators while ensuring that there is a clear link to the outcome indicators is critical to establish the effectiveness of the project based on data and evidence. This is especially important when we wish to understand how results and impacts are defined and how they will be measured to define success.

10

FairBiz needs to capture its knowledge with regard to working with the private sector and UNDP needs to share this knowledge with other regions to build these new partnerships globally.

Within UNDP, FairBiz has developed a unique set of skills and knowledge with regard to engaging the private sector and the new approaches that work for these new partners. Such knowledge is highly valuable to UNDP as it works towards achieving the SDGs and the need to leverage all actors, including the private sector, in this goal.

1. Recommendation:

FairBiz should continue as a regional project as its work in this innovative field of governance needs a long-term commitment.

Given that FairBiz is working in an area of governance that is relatively new, especially for UNDP, it has taken some time for the project team and BRH to build capacity and establish partnerships that are only now, as the project draws to a close, starting to show results. UNDP, through FairBiz, has ploughed the ground and planted the seeds of results, so it now needs to reap the results. This will require another three-four year project.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/05/05]

Agreed with the recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. The extension of FairBiz project has been approved from UK government from April-December 2022. The additional funding mobilized for extension amounts to USD 635,037. In the extension period, the project will work to mobilize resources for the new FairBiz project to be submitted for funding. If approved, the new FairBiz programme will start in January 2023, with 3-5 years implementation and with estimated budget from 7-10 million USD. Apart from UK government, the project will reach out to other donors (US government, Sweden, etc) to seek their interest and support for the possible next phase of the project.
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz Team 2023/03 Initiated A draft proposal for FairBiz next phase worth USD 4.5 million has been submitted to Japanese Supplementary budget. Another element of the work worth USD1 million has been embedded as part of a larger Business and Human Rights project. Project will be updated by November and if initiated will start in March 2023. History
2. Recommendation:

The next phase of FairBiz must reflect the priorities of the new UNDP Strategic Plan, Regional Plan and the principles of regionality

The new UNDP Strategic Plan (2022-25) has identified governance as one of six “signature solutions” that will form the core of its work. The Plan speaks to the need to build new partnerships with the private sector (something already initiated by FairBiz) and the need for a “Triple A” approach to programming – programming that is anticipatory, agile and adaptive. This will require the next phase of FairBiz to be designed with a level of flexibility that will enable the project to open to opportunities and to be forward-thinking in how and where it delivers support to national and regional partners. It will also require more robust monitoring, evaluation and learning to capture and respond to changes in context and to identify and act upon new entry points for the promotion of business integrity. Given the principles of regionality, the project must continue to “lead from behind” and support COs in building trusted relationships with national partners. But this will still leave an important role for the project in sharing knowledge across the ASEAN region, building and maintaining networks for such sharing and the promotion of South-South and peer-to-peer capacity development. Also, given that business integrity is still a new area of work (in general and for UNDP specifically), working regionally offers space for national partners to maintain a dialogue and to raise awareness of how the issue(s) can be addressed in the context of ASEAN countries.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/05/05]

Agreed with the recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.2. The project has taken a two-pronged approach in regard to resource mobilization and sustainability: we are in the process of mobilizing resources for a new phase while at the same planning (sustainability and exit strategy) in case there is no FairBiz project beyond 2022. If by July 2022 we have indications that there will be a new FairBiz project from 2023 we will work on developing a project document and ensure that we complete all UNDP corporate requirements regarding approval of new project. If new FairBiz project becomes operational in 2023 we will not be working on sustainability and exit strategy, as we plan to continue working on activities and partners that have demonstrated good results in the current phase. However, if by July 2022 there are no indications of additional resources for FairBiz, we will start from September discussions with partners how they can take some of our work forward to ensure sustainability. FairBiz will ensure that different networks and initiatives have access to the innovations promoted through FairBiz country technical assistance and vice versa. This is to ensure both sustainability and a multiplier effect as these other networks will continue operating beyond the FairBiz and will reach more national institutions and stakeholders. The FairBiz will also facilitate exchanges across these different networks and partners to promote similar approaches and methodologies By the end of the extension phase, we will ensure that the activities and initiatives conducted under FairBiz are strategically transferred to other partners and networks. Online procurement course will be fully transferred to ACPIS (UNDP Global Anti-Corruption) project. The training programs developed in Indonesia to enhance SME’s inclusion in public tenders will be conveyed to Public Procurement Agency (LKPP), in conjunction with the recommendation and guidance developed during the extension phase. This will enable the LKPP to continue building capacity and widen the access of SME’s, including women-led businesses and marginalized groups. The project specifically designed activities (transfer of Supply Chain Trainings, Business Integrity Toolkit dissemination plan, South-South Exchanges in Vietnam etc) in a form that promotes transfer of knowledge, establishment of meaningful partnerships will be discussed with key stakeholders (Vietnam Chamber of Commerce, Anticorruption Organization of Thailand, etc) for continuation and impact beyond the project duration.
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz Team 2022/09 Completed The proposed prodocs are aligned to the new Strategic Plan. If funded, the new project will be aligned to the SP. History
2.3. FairBiz website will provide instant access to knowledge and innovative products, significantly reducing search time, while increasing knowledge retention and long-term sustainability. This will ensure a multiplier effect as other networks continue operating beyond the FairBiz, and it will allow information to reach a wider audience of stakeholders. The website will be also a repository of knowledge, ensuring that all relevant knowledge products, concept notes and key project documents are posted online.
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz 2022/12 Completed Training for all Knowledge Management and Communications teams on UNDP's platform for hosting the website. The transition is completed. History
2.1. The future FairBiz project will continue to support CO while also maintain a regional component which will elevate the knowledge and innovations that are taking place in the countries for higher impact at reduced cost. The project team will work closely with the regional RBM specialist/M&E officer to ensure the new FairBiz project have robust monitoring, evaluation and learning and accelerate south-south and peer to peer exchange and capacity building.
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz Team 2023/03 Not Initiated Dependent on project approvals, expected by MArch 2023 History
3. Recommendation:

FairBiz must focus in the future on replicating and scaling up the good results observed at the national level in select countries.

In its first years the project has done a very good job at seeding innovative approaches and building networks at the national level in several ASEAN countries. Some of these interventions have seen more results, but the work of scaling up regionally or replicating in other ASEAN countries has been slow. This should be a priority for the next phase of the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/05/05]

Agreed with the recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1. The potential new phase of the FairBiz project will focus on replicating and scaling up results in the countries. In the current extension phase from April-December 2022 we are already supporting that approach by organizing scaling up some country initiatives (such as Vietnam Business Integrity Index, transferring of knowledge from Malaysia to Vietnam, etc).
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz Team 2022/12 Initiated Te VNM Business Integrity Index launch expected by September Scaling up Event in October with countries The new proposal already includes elements of scaling up of country successes. History
4. Recommendation:

Capacity development and knowledge sharing needs to move beyond training and seminars.

The project has relied on a significant amount of trainings to transfer knowledge to beneficiaries. While this is not a bad approach in the early stages of its work, especially on a topic for which many do not have a deep knowledge, there is a need for the project to pivot to other modalities for capacity development, including coaching and mentoring. This would be particularly effective for women and youth business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/05/05]

Agreed with the recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1. This recommendation is very much in line with our thinking about the future programming. FairBiz is developing an online course on public procurement for governments, private sector and civil society. This will ensure more sustainable approach to our interventions and higher impact.
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz Team 2022/12 Initiated This online training course is completed in design and inauguration is expected in the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Washington DC in Dec 2022. History
5. Recommendation:

FairBiz needs to enhance its capacity for knowledge brokering.

The project, to date, has been building its knowledge and capacity with regard to business integrity and has utilized partnerships and networks effectively to do so. But in the next phase of its work it needs to anticipate the “tipping point” where the project is no longer obtaining knowledge but will become a knowledge broker, leveraging its partnerships and networks to support peer-to-peer and south-south knowledge exchanges.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/05/05]

Agreed with the recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1. During the current phase of FairBiz project we have been developing networks and partnerships with governments, private sector and civil society. This has led to an enhanced trust in our work which will be instrumental for the next phase of FairBiz project. We will organize south-south exchange between Malaysia (Johnson and Johnson and Maxis) and Thailand (Vietnam Chamber or Commerce) to transfer the knowledge of business integrity trainings from one country to another. We will be working with School Lab in Vietnam to include Business Integrity Toolkit modules in their learning curriculum. Our plan is to become a knowledge broker and to utilize and leverage the networks and partnerships that have been established to promote business integrity and anti-corruption agenda.
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz Team 2022/12 Completed South-South exchange completed. (incl. VNM Chamber of Commerce, Johnson and Johnson, Ecco and others) School Lab approach was no longer applicable. History
6. Recommendation:

Continue to design targeted activities with women to expand the momentum on gender responsive work and assess the differentiated impact on women

The project’s work in support of women business leaders has shown some results and women are starting to receive the knowledge they require to fully engage in business integrity. This work must continue and be expanded, both in breadth (more countries in the region) and depth (more substantive and result-oriented engagement). The use of national and regional mentoring, for example, may be a logical next step in the evolution of the project’s work in this area.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/05/05]

Agreed with the recommendation. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1. As part of the extension phase, FairBiz will be placing an additional emphasis on women owned/led businesses, both in terms of improving their capacity when it comes to business integrity as well as supporting them to access public procurement and win the bids. We are also supporting and showcasing women leaders who have demonstrated remarkable results on business integrity. This work will continue and will be expanded both in breadth and depth.
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz team/Business Engagement Specialist 2022/12 Completed This work continues to be ongoing and also part of the new proposal History
6.2. Indonesia: Scale -up SHE-BID training with women led/owned SMEs in partnership with LKPP and new partners such as (Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and/or Indonesia Global Compact Network (IGCN)
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz Team 2022/10 Completed In-person training completed with 70 participants with LKPP, UN Global Compact and Alliance for Integrity. History
6.3. Thailand: Organize Action Day in July. This is a continuation of the training that was conducted in March 2022. FairBiz and the Federation for Business and Professional Women of Thailand (BPW Thailand) have organized a training on business integrity under the Women Leadership in Business Integrity initiative. Part of our impact assessment methodology is to organize an Action Day following the training (3 months after the training) to assess how much the learnings from training have been integrated into operations of the women owned/led businesses.
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/07/15]
FairBiz Team 2022/08 Completed An Action Day has been organized on 6 July 2022. Results summary from the Action Day is attached. History
7. Recommendation:

Expand engagement of business leaders from minority and marginalised groups

The project’s work with youth has shown some promising results. Lessons learned from this has shown the value in building partnerships and co-ownership of the activities and results. The project should try to replicate this model for work with other groups, such as people with disabilities and others from marginalised groups.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/05/05]

Agreed with the recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1. We have taken seriously this recommendation and we are in the extension phase (April -December) conducting a mapping analysis to understand the correlation between disability and business integrity. The study will identify what are the barriers to a fair business environment for people with disability in the region and provide an overview of the main priorities which can help inform FairBiz future programming.
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz team/ Business Engagement Specialist 2023/02 Initiated the mapping analysis consultant is on board as of Sep 2022 and report is expected by Feb 2023. With Youth team, the project is updating the Business Integrity toolkit for young entrepreneurs originally drafted in 2018 based on request by young entrepreneurs. A section has been added on Gender in consultation with the regional gender team. The YCL Movers team is also reviewing the toolkit to provide recommendations. The YCL has their own compendium of tools and this has been added to the same. It will be pasted in the digital format. Second meeting with the Movers is in mid September 2022. History
8. Recommendation:

Maintain staff continuity

The turnover in staff for the project in the early stages of its work was a challenge to the delivery of activities. More recently, the project has benefited from a more stable staffing situation. Going forward, the project must have systems and supports to maintain this continuity. Programmes produce better results with a stable staff team, and again, this would be a consideration for any upcoming projects and programmes.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/05/05]

Agreed with the recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1. While we agree with the recommendation from evaluation that staff continuity is very important for the success of the project, FairBiz has been granted 2 short extensions (first from October 2021-March 2022) and second (April 2022- December 2022). The short extensions are not providing sufficient stability for the team members. If there is a new multi-year FairBiz programme from 2023, all efforts will be made to ensure key project posts e.g. Project Manager, Project Specialist and project management support) receive stable contracts i.e. Temporary Appointment (TA), International Personnel Services Agreement (IPSA) and National Personnel Services Agreement (NPSA) . To the extent possible, a possibility for fixed-term appointments for key project staff will be explored (which would be the most preferred option if the new FairBiz project will last from 3-5 years)
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
Governance and Peacebuilding Team Leader/ BRH senior management 2023/03 Not Initiated More information dependent on funding availability History
9. Recommendation:

Indicators for the results framework must reflect SMART principles

The design of the next phase of the project must include a strong emphasis on the identification of indicators, as part of the results framework, that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). The lack of such indicators in the current phase of the project caused challenges with regard to a necessary focus on outcome-level results. Indicators should be a snapshot of what is possible when a planned result is achieved. It may take some extra effort in the design phase of the next project, but, when done correctly, it will have a profound impact on the ability of the project to deliver results.

Additionally, investments in measurement of output indicators while ensuring that there is a clear link to the outcome indicators is critical to establish the effectiveness of the project based on data and evidence. This is especially important when we wish to understand how results and impacts are defined and how they will be measured to define success.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/05/05]

Agreed with the recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
9.1. We have taken this recommendation in development of the FairBiz extension phase from April until December 2022. Activities are following the SMART indicators to the extent possible. In consultation with regional M&E Specialist, the project will develop SMART indicators for future FairBiz project.
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz Team 2023/03 Not Initiated The new programme document will be developed after the confirmation of funding. History
10. Recommendation:

FairBiz needs to capture its knowledge with regard to working with the private sector and UNDP needs to share this knowledge with other regions to build these new partnerships globally.

Within UNDP, FairBiz has developed a unique set of skills and knowledge with regard to engaging the private sector and the new approaches that work for these new partners. Such knowledge is highly valuable to UNDP as it works towards achieving the SDGs and the need to leverage all actors, including the private sector, in this goal.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/05/05]

Agreed with the recommendation

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
10.1. Our current work is very much related to ASEAN countries. During the Regional Procurement Dialogue which took place in October 2021, countries beyond our region have participated (Africa, Europe etc). In the extension phase (April-December 2022) we will finalize online procurement course in partnership with UNDP ACPIS programme (global programme on anti-corruption). UNDP Anti-corruption Advisor and his team will organize a global webinar to introduce online procurement course and that will be an opportunity to share FairBiz work on procurement. At the end of current phase (December 2022) we will organize a final event, where we will highlight the achievements and key innovation of the project in the past 4 years. This will be an opportunity to invite colleagues from other regions to participate.
[Added: 2022/05/05] [Last Updated: 2022/09/13]
FairBiz Team 2022/12 Initiated Launch of procurement course is in Dec 2022 and the event will be in November 2022. History

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