Independent country programme: Egypt

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2022-2025, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
ICPE/ADR
Planned End Date:
12/2022
Completion Date:
04/2022
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
No
Evaluation Budget(US $):
85,000

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Title Independent country programme: Egypt
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2022-2025, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2022
Planned End Date: 12/2022
Management Response: No
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Governance
  • 3. Sustainable
  • 4. Energy
  • 5. Gender
  • 6. Others
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 1.2.1 Capacities at national and sub-national levels strengthened to promote inclusive local economic development and deliver basic services including HIV and related services
  • 4. Output 1.2.2 Enabling environment strengthened to expand public and private financing for the achievement of the SDGs
  • 5. Output 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
  • 6. Output 1.6.2 Measures in place and implemented across sectors to prevent and respond to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)
  • 7. 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
  • 8. Output 2.1.2 Capacities developed for progressive expansion of inclusive social protection systems
  • 9. 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
  • 10. 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
Evaluation Budget(US $): 85,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 85,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Yogesh Kumar Bhatt Lead Evaluator
Genta Konci Lead Evaluator
Elizabeth Wojnar Research Analyst
Cheayoon Cho Research Analyst
Zehra Kacapor-Dzihic Evaluation Consultant
John Carter Evaluation Consultant
Ahmed Seliem Evaluation Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: EGYPT
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

UNDP should strengthen its potential added value and deepen its development contributions, capitalizing on its knowledge, expertise and international networks as direct inputs to strengthening the Government’s potential to fulfil its priorities. This also applies to projects designed to provide administrative and procurement services.

UNDP should use the opportunities presented in the design of the new CPD, as well as ongoing and potential pipeline projects with the Government, to review its internal organization and human capital to provide deeper country-specific and international knowledge and expertise, beyond administrative and procurement services, across the areas of governance, inclusive growth, environment and climate change. In this process, UNDP should consult closely with the Government and other development partners to find niche areas where UNDP can really add value and maker deeper investments to bring about transformative change. Besides the environment and climate change outcome areas, possible openings exist in the areas of: public service provision (including interoperability and e-services); further support to public finance management; inclusive growth; and the wider economic growth– environment nexus, areas where UNDP is also generally well-positioned globally. UNDP should also consider supporting the Government of Egypt in the production of governorate-level HDRs as an important resource for data, baselines and transformative programming in the country

UNDP should build on its best practices and lessons learned from support to the Government for the development of the new city of Al Alamein, to continue support to such initiatives by the Government over the next period. Joining government efforts within the Hayya Karima programme, for instance, could mark the continuation of such efforts.

 

2

UNDP should expand its support to the strategic strengthening of digitalization and e-governance reforms.

Building on the good results of UNDP support to digitalization and e-services, which have been utilized in particular during the COVID-19 crisis, UNDP should continue working with the Government and private sector to strengthen internal interoperability mechanisms, build stronger government capacity, and develop specific e-services which have been identified as crucial to overcome accessibility problems (such as the restrictions due to COVID-19). UNDP work on e-service solutions, based on support to stronger interoperability across agencies, should be underpinned by initiatives to help government and private sector entities to develop long-term strategies and financial plans addressing digitalization and e-governance needs and priorities to enable equitable access to public services.

3

UNDP should continue to support inclusive entrepreneurship and job creation initiatives, with a strong focus on building an enabling environment to address structural challenges, and integrate sustainability mechanisms.

UNDP should continue to support the efforts of partner government entities and the private sector to promote and support inclusive job creation, entrepreneurship and innovation measures and interventions. In particular, UNDP should capitalize on the positive foundations created through its support to MSMEDA to expand youth employment opportunities, at subnational level in particular, including the promotion of a more conducive enabling environment to overcome structural challenges for youth employment and economic empowerment. Support to MSMEs is crucial, and new ideas to expand financial support for entrepreneurship and innovation should be tested, including ways to better utilize remittances or other private sources to stimulate jobs, and support to more excluded and marginalized local populations to ensure that no one is left behind.

4

UNDP should build on results and lessons from the implementation of initiatives in support of women’s empowerment, gender and equity as a basis for the country office strategy to fully integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment into its portfolio.

UNDP should build on cross-sector and cross-portfolio synergies with transformative potential for women to provide more integrated support to government efforts across UNDP thematic areas. UNDP should further capitalize on its regional and global experience and lessons learned in gender and environment and WPS.

UNDP should capitalize on the gains achieved thus far in terms of GEWE and use the momentum from the publication of the HDR to continue advocating for and ensuring that gender and equity are mainstreamed across all outcome areas and related support to government institutions, to design and deliver effective interventions with transformative GEWE potential. This requires a more concerted effort during project formulation and review, in consultation with the Government. Specific efforts should be made to enable and deepen interconnectivity between the social inclusion, inclusive growth and environment and climate change pillars, considering the multidimensional nature of gender issues and their impact potential. In addition, continued attention by the country office to invest in meaningful partnerships with other United Nations agencies and development partners is needed to raise public awareness on social inclusion and support for marginalized communities, taking into account the factors shaping social norms and behavioural aspects of change. UNDP should prepare a progress report on the Gender Seal recommendations and prepare for the next Gender Seal certification.

5

UNDP should consider creating stronger intersectoral synergy between economic development and segments of its support to environmental and climate change management, to enhance the potential of investment in green growth and the green economy. Interventions in support of the circular economy and innovation should be supported, to expand the Government’s efforts to diversify the economy, and position UNDP as a leader in this field, building on its regional and global knowledge.

A large part of the UNDP environment/climate change and economic development portfolios promotes entrepreneurship and innovation activities and models. However, there is little internal cross-sector synergy or joint thinking on how specific sector interventions could mutually benefit each other, creating stronger leverage and transformational potential. UNDP should invest in internal consideration of a more holistic approach to enhancing green growth and the green economy, with a focus on carbon footprint reduction and climate change, to create a set of cross-portfolio interventions. Such a portfolio would bring more in-depth and operational synergies around green growth and climate change, and potential for larger scope and outreach, with interventions tackling different areas of the circular economy and climate change, combining individual and larger policy-level support. For example, environment and climate change interventions, involving many community stakeholders and local government, could benefit from proper consideration of the social aspects and governance models from other UNDP projects (as is happening within the GCF coastal protection initiative). Similarly, economic development initiatives supported by UNDP need to be filtered for environmental and climate change implications and opportunities.

6

UNDP needs to increase the emphasis on sustainability and the uptake of its environment and climate change interventions, so that community benefits from its market-based approaches are sustained over time, with clear exit strategies. This includes building government absorptive capacity (where gaps exist), providing multi-pronged policy and institutional support (as needed), and fostering strong engagement with all stakeholder groups.

UNDP needs to increase the emphasis on sustainability and the uptake of its environment and climate change interventions, so that community benefits from its market-based approaches are sustained over time, with clear exit strategies. This includes building government absorptive capacity (where gaps exist), providing multi-pronged policy and institutional support (as needed), and fostering strong engagement with all stakeholder groups.

There are certainly lessons in these project successes, as well as from those projects that have been constrained or less successful. However, they need to be consolidated (from individual project files) and analysed to better inform future project design. In many instances, business cases can be made for the actions, innovations and longer-term changes associated with projects, to clarify who benefits, the nature of benefits, the required investments, and the timeframes associated with these. These business cases would then help to promote the uptake and replication of new initiatives, as well as to inform the design of new projects to improve sustainability. Experiences with the market transformation approach, while in the collective memory of UNDP staff, are not evident to other individuals (current and future staff of UNDP, Government, private sector, etc.). The various ROARS, Project Implementation Reviews and project evaluation reports could be scanned for lessons, and these could then be analysed, brainstormed and clarified to inform future project design, as well as policy development in Egypt related to energy, NRM, protected areas, climate change adaptation and waste management. Specific topics that could be examined in this collective file include: policy changes/conflicts; partnership arrangements; institutional structures and processes; financial inducements; payback periods; innovations; technology constraints; performance indicators that truly reflect change and benefits; and public awareness. These topics could then inform the development of business cases for initiatives that have potential for scale-up.

7

UNDP should reassess and reinforce its results-based management approach and strengthen its M&E capacity. Coherence and cross-thematic synergy should be entrenched in programme design and implementation.

Challenges have been noted in the ways in which UNDP and national partners address RBM approaches, and in particular M&E. The new cycle of CPD development should be used to build strong RBM foundations through clarity of intervention logic, realistic indicators and strong synergies to leverage the potential of cross-sector engagement. The new CPD should be used as a foundation to reinforce existing RBM systems, processes and M&E culture through: 1) establishing a more standardized approach across the country programme in defining the intervention logic, indicators and cross-sector engagement for each project, with clear linkages to outcome-level results; 2) conducting a review of M&E processes to ensure optimization and clarity in monitoring lines of responsibility and duties within the office and with partners (considering the MPED and MoIC roles to follow up and coordinate development results in the country); and 3) conducting a rapid assessment of M&E competencies across teams (both in the country office and among national partners) to identify knowledge and skills gaps and provide capacity-building opportunities to ensure that UNDP has an empowered M&E unit with the required skills and capacity.

In the new country programme, the country office should include approaches and tools for entrenching coherence and intra- and cross-theme synergies between the different areas of the programme, beyond project level. These approaches should ensure that thematic areas are reinforcing each area’s pathways of change and facilitate implementation with consistent programme design and M&E. Similarly, it will be important to review external coherence to harmonize efforts, maximize synergy and effectively combine and complement collaboration with international and national partners to increase the UNDP added value and contribution to development priorities in Egypt.

8

UNDP should invest in existing and expanded partnerships with civil society, development partners and the private sector.

UNDP should invest strongly in maintaining existing and building new partnerships with CSOs across thematic areas of focus. In particular, investments in partnership-building with organizations implementing local social, economic and environmental activities would be important. Such partnerships could be built around the implementation of local activities, outreach to vulnerable groups and the collection of data on local contexts across the regions, with the potential for expansion into various advocacy and policy engagement issues. Furthermore, UNDP should invest efforts to further build relationships and joint partnerships with other United Nations agencies and development partners around SDG acceleration and wider human development issues. The joint ‘SDG Fund’ project and publication of the HDR may serve as good bases for such partnership-building around the themes that emerged as relevant in the HDR, in particular. Finally, UNDP should explore further avenues for partnership with the private sector to accelerate the achievement of envisaged results across its portfolio, and especially under the inclusive growth and environment and NRM areas.

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