Assessment of Development Results: China

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Evaluation Plan:
2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
ICPE/ADR
Planned End Date:
03/2010
Completion Date:
06/2010
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
150,000

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Title Assessment of Development Results: China
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 06/2010
Planned End Date: 03/2010
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
Evaluation Budget(US $): 150,000
Source of Funding:
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Team Leader
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Location of Evaluation: Country Level
Countries: CHINA, PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 Refine the strategic vision that UNDP China has articulated for China?s development: Given that UNDP country programmes are demand driven by GoC, any strategic vision for UNDP will have to be developed in close consultation with GoC. Most stakeholders agree that UNDP, as a leading development agency that enjoys the credibility of both GoC and other stakeholders, will continue to play a valued role in China?s development. The challenge is to ensure that the limited resources of UNDP are used more strategically to catalyze public action in areas where need is the greatest and to mobilize additional resources for a country of such enormous size and diversity.
2 Make the next country programme more focused and concentrate on three f lagship interventions: Critical international issues? such as climate change, food security and low carbon economy; critical domestic issues?such as human development, livelihood, urbanization, migration and aging; and China?s integration with the world. A distinctively positive feature of the ongoing country programme is its focus on a number of flagship projects. The ADR recommends that this be continued.
3 Ensure balance between upstream and downstream initiatives: There should be a systematic review of the experience, context and opportunities in each practice area as the basis for arriving at a balance between upstream and downstream activities. It must also be emphasized that when engaged in upstream work, UNDP contribution should be to facilitate mainstreaming of the best practices of local projects and replicate its innovative approaches.
4 Further expand and strengthen partnerships: For further strengthening partnerships, UNDP China should: retain existing good cooperation with key ministries in the central government; actively involve local governments in the design and implementation of UNDP projects in order to strengthen project ownership and effectiveness; and extend partnerships to civil society organizations and the private sector in a strategic and systematic manner. At the same time, careful thought needs to go into developing partnership strategy with local and provincial governments, the private sector, NGOs and civil society organizations as well as with research and other policy think tanks.
5 Further mobilize additional financial resources to maintain the UNDP funding level to projects: UNDP China and GoC should engage in a round of discussions to develop a long-term perspective on funding for China?s development. This is important for UNDP to become more effective in using its core funds to catalyze projects, support capacity development, undertake policy research and make an impact on a country of China?s size and diversity.
6 Enhance capacity within the UNDP country office and among project management offices to augment UNDP contributions to China?s development: UNDP China must invest in augmenting its own capacities to match China?s needs and to bridge the knowledge and information gap between international organizations and local partners. UNDP needs to realign staff and work culture to enhance organizational effectiveness and become a more rigorous results focused organization. In addition, the National Execution Guidelines of 1998 should be updated. Systematic training should be held for UNDP country office project managers and project management offices in China on national execution. UNDP should also review its policies for recruitment of national and international experts and consultants as well as hiring of chief technical advisers. UNDP should plan for and initiate a transformation of UNDP staff members in China from being traditional project managers to becoming managers of development results. The latter will require, for instance, better domain knowledge and expertise to be able to engage in policy dialogue and an ability to initiate and follow through on systemic changes.
7 Establish a unified programme information system: UNDP should set up a unified programme and project information system, especially to manage projects with different funding sources.
8 Strengthen monitoring and evaluation of the country programme: UNDP should set up outcomes, indicators and baselines at the country programme level and clarify linkages between outputs and intended outcomes; improve evaluation at the project level, especially for flagship projects; develop an outcome evaluation plan for the next country programme; and develop new methodologies and approaches to evaluate ?soft interventions?.
1. Recommendation: Refine the strategic vision that UNDP China has articulated for China?s development: Given that UNDP country programmes are demand driven by GoC, any strategic vision for UNDP will have to be developed in close consultation with GoC. Most stakeholders agree that UNDP, as a leading development agency that enjoys the credibility of both GoC and other stakeholders, will continue to play a valued role in China?s development. The challenge is to ensure that the limited resources of UNDP are used more strategically to catalyze public action in areas where need is the greatest and to mobilize additional resources for a country of such enormous size and diversity.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/04/01]

The recommendation was well-taken by the UNDP CO. The new Country Programme Document for China (2011-2015) has been formulated based on close and wide-ranging consultation with government counterparts, civil society and other related stakeholders. As China?s development needs have evolved over the last five years, work has been realigned to reflect decreasing bi-lateral contributions to domestic development. Meanwhile, attention has been redirected to high-level policy advice, global issues like climate change, and South-South Cooperation. Also policy research, in partnerships with Government and academic institutions, has been intensified and has focused on key development issues in China, such as civil society development, income distribution, ethnic minorities as part of a long-term strategy aimed at building China?s capacity to respond to deficits in public services.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strategic areas - enhancing the relevance and strategic nature of UNDP?s intervention in China
[Added: 2013/04/14]
UNDP China CO 2011/12 Completed The recommendation was well-taken by the UNDP CO in formulating the new Country Programme Document for China (2011-2015).
2. Recommendation: Make the next country programme more focused and concentrate on three f lagship interventions: Critical international issues? such as climate change, food security and low carbon economy; critical domestic issues?such as human development, livelihood, urbanization, migration and aging; and China?s integration with the world. A distinctively positive feature of the ongoing country programme is its focus on a number of flagship projects. The ADR recommends that this be continued.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/04/01]

The recommendation has been taken into consideration in preparing the UNDP new Country Programme Document (CPD) for China (2011-2015). Under the new CPD, the number of active projects has been reduced and was consolidated into 6 outcome areas ? poverty reduction, democratic governance, gender equality, environment, climate change, and China and the World. The Office also organised itself around these critical issues, with programmes on Energy and Environment and Poverty,Equity and Governance, with one specific unit focusing on high-level policy advice and another on growing South-South cooperation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strategic areas - enhancing the relevance and strategic nature of UNDP?s intervention in China
[Added: 2013/04/14]
UNDP China CO 2011/12 Completed Under the new CPD, total number of outcomes was reduced to 6 areas. The CO reorganized programmes on Energy and Environment and Poverty, Equity and Governance, with one specific unit focusing on high-level policy advice and South-South cooperation.
3. Recommendation: Ensure balance between upstream and downstream initiatives: There should be a systematic review of the experience, context and opportunities in each practice area as the basis for arriving at a balance between upstream and downstream activities. It must also be emphasized that when engaged in upstream work, UNDP contribution should be to facilitate mainstreaming of the best practices of local projects and replicate its innovative approaches.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/04/01]

UNDP CO agreed with the recommendations and actions have been taken to ensure the balance between upstream and downstream initiatives. The new country programme has been more focussed, integrated and coherent at a time of unprecedented competition for China?s attention. With the need to remain flexible and produce catalytic interventions in one of the world?s most rapidly-changing development contexts, the new 2011-2015 programme cycle is shifting towards a more focussed approach to high level policy dialogue and advocacy, where most ongoing projects are pilots which should produce ?lessons learned? in order to inform policy.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strategic areas - enhancing the relevance and strategic nature of UNDP?s intervention in China
[Added: 2013/04/14]
UNDP China CO 2011/12 Completed Actions have been taken to ensure the balance between upstream and downstream initiatives. The new country programme is shifting towards a more focused approach to high level policy dialogue and advocacy.
4. Recommendation: Further expand and strengthen partnerships: For further strengthening partnerships, UNDP China should: retain existing good cooperation with key ministries in the central government; actively involve local governments in the design and implementation of UNDP projects in order to strengthen project ownership and effectiveness; and extend partnerships to civil society organizations and the private sector in a strategic and systematic manner. At the same time, careful thought needs to go into developing partnership strategy with local and provincial governments, the private sector, NGOs and civil society organizations as well as with research and other policy think tanks.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/04/01]

The recommendation was well-taken by the UNDP CO and a Partnership and Resource Mobilisation Team was established to strengthen partnerships and resource-mobilisation. As the country has moved towards becoming a middle-income country, with rapid economic growth in recent years, the office has placed greater emphasis on strengthening partnership from the private sector and sub-national governments in the country, which resulted in significant resource mobilisation. The office has developed a public/private partnership strategy and a 2012 action plan with the private sector. Interaction with civil society has been increased both in projects and policy work.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strategic areas - enhancing the relevance and strategic nature of UNDP?s intervention in China
[Added: 2013/04/14]
UNDP China CO. 2011/12 Completed A Partnership and Resource Mobilisation Team was established to strengthen partnerships and resource-mobilisation.
5. Recommendation: Further mobilize additional financial resources to maintain the UNDP funding level to projects: UNDP China and GoC should engage in a round of discussions to develop a long-term perspective on funding for China?s development. This is important for UNDP to become more effective in using its core funds to catalyze projects, support capacity development, undertake policy research and make an impact on a country of China?s size and diversity.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/04/01]

The Office agreed that funding is a challenge for the sustainability of the Country Programme. In the new Country Programme Cycle, UNDP is working closely with the Government and other development partners, including the private sector, to mobilise additional non-core resources. The GEF and the Montreal protocol, together with government cost-sharing, have become the CO?s major sources of funding. UNDP TRAC resources are used as seed money, and the ratio of TRAC/Gov C-S is increasing to 1:5 or higher. Recently the Country Office has been working towards a new stage with projects being entirely funded from Government contributions. The agreement for the first project under this new configuration was signed in late 2012 and more are currently under discussion.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strategic areas - enhancing the relevance and strategic nature of UNDP?s intervention in China
[Added: 2013/04/14]
UNDP China CO 2015/12 Overdue-Initiated The CO has taken actions to mobilize additional non-core resources, and pilot new funding modalities, e.g. 100% private sector funding, 100% foundation funding, etc.
6. Recommendation: Enhance capacity within the UNDP country office and among project management offices to augment UNDP contributions to China?s development: UNDP China must invest in augmenting its own capacities to match China?s needs and to bridge the knowledge and information gap between international organizations and local partners. UNDP needs to realign staff and work culture to enhance organizational effectiveness and become a more rigorous results focused organization. In addition, the National Execution Guidelines of 1998 should be updated. Systematic training should be held for UNDP country office project managers and project management offices in China on national execution. UNDP should also review its policies for recruitment of national and international experts and consultants as well as hiring of chief technical advisers. UNDP should plan for and initiate a transformation of UNDP staff members in China from being traditional project managers to becoming managers of development results. The latter will require, for instance, better domain knowledge and expertise to be able to engage in policy dialogue and an ability to initiate and follow through on systemic changes.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/04/01]

UNDP CO agrees with the recommendation and has been taking concrete actions to enhance a learning environment and improve knowledge-sharing among the staff. Despite financial constraints, the CO has set up a learning committee which allocates an annual budget to support office learning activities. These include programme management training for CO staff and implementing partners, regular exchanges and policy dialogues with the engagement of government counterparts, and knowledge sharing initiatives such as brownbag lunches and thematic newsletters. To further enhance human resource capacities, the CO is working with RBAP in piloting a new business model and in supporting the professional development of the staff.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Operational effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of UNDP management and project implementation.
[Added: 2013/04/14]
UNDP China CO 2012/12 Completed A learning committee was established. The CO is working with RBAP in piloting a new business model and in supporting the professional development of the staff.
7. Recommendation: Establish a unified programme information system: UNDP should set up a unified programme and project information system, especially to manage projects with different funding sources.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/04/01]

UNDP CO agrees with the recommendations, and systems and processes (SOPs) have been improved with the smooth introduction of IPSAS and the full compliance with the Internal Control Framework. Within the CO, actions have been taken to strengthen multi-year budgeting, two-year work planning, and programme/pipeline resource management and information sharing through the introduction and full use of MS Share Point.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Operational effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of UNDP management and project implementation.
[Added: 2013/04/14]
UNDP China CO 2015/11 Completed Within the CO, actions have been taken to strengthen multi-year budgeting, two-year work planning, and programme/pipeline resource management and information sharing through the introduction and full use of MS Share Point
8. Recommendation: Strengthen monitoring and evaluation of the country programme: UNDP should set up outcomes, indicators and baselines at the country programme level and clarify linkages between outputs and intended outcomes; improve evaluation at the project level, especially for flagship projects; develop an outcome evaluation plan for the next country programme; and develop new methodologies and approaches to evaluate ?soft interventions?.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/06/22] [Last Updated: 2013/04/01]

The recommendations were well taken by the UNDP CO. For instance, the CPD (2011-2015) indicators have been reviewed and updated, and a CO M&E Plan has been developed and put into implementation. This was done in close collaboration with project partners in order to monitor the implementation and management of programmes/projects in a timely manner. The evaluation plan has also been updated. Follow-up actions are being monitored for project/programme evaluations to ensure that management responses and ?lessons learned? are being incorporated into the new programming efforts.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Operational effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of UNDP management and project implementation.
[Added: 2013/04/14]
UNDP China CO 2012/12 Overdue-Initiated The CPD (2011-2015) indicators have been reviewed and updated, and a CO M&E Plan has been developed and put into implementation.

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