Evaluation of UNDP Contribution to South-South and Triangular Cooperation (2008-2011)

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Evaluation Plan:
2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
Thematic
Planned End Date:
05/2013
Completion Date:
05/2013
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
160,000

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Title Evaluation of UNDP Contribution to South-South and Triangular Cooperation (2008-2011)
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2009-2013, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: Thematic
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 05/2013
Planned End Date: 05/2013
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
Evaluation Budget(US $): 160,000
Source of Funding:
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Anne Gillies
Langnan Chen
Monica Hirst BRAZIL
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Lessons
Findings
1.

Chapter 4 Evaluation Findings

Chapter 4 presents progress made since the last evaluation in 2007 and the main findings of the evaluation based on an extensive data collection process as explained in the methodology section in Chapter 1. The evaluation framework used covered a range of evaluation criteria and topics (relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability), in line with standard UNDP evaluation practice. However, in order to present a more dynamic view of UNDP’s work given the interconnected nature of support for SSC, the findings across different criteria are grouped in this chapter in a cross-cutting manner according to: a) UNDP accomplishments and progress, b) challenges in UNDP’s approach, and c) the situation of the UNO-SSC as an entity with a specific focus and mandate. The findings and evidence presented in Chapter 4 were also used as the basis for synthesis ‘performance assessment’ of UNDP’s and the SU-SSC’s work as captured in the two main performance frameworks: the 2008-2013 UNDP Strategic Plan and the Fourth South-South Cooperation Framework.

4.1 Progress since the last evaluation

In order to provide a coherent performance analysis and a balanced judgment of progress for the past five years of UNDP’s and the Special Unit’s work, the evaluation drew on a range of analysis and information, including progress towards: 1) implementation or application of key recommendations from the 2007 SSC evaluation; 2) the three SSC-related outputs found in the 2008-2013 Strategic Plan; and 3) the key outcome areas of the Fourth South-South Cooperation Framework.

Overview of UNDP and the SU-SSC progress since 2007

Progress towards implementation of 2007 evaluation recommendations The previous SSC evaluation which was completed in late 2007 provided a benchmark for assessment of progress and performance over the past five years. There was incomplete implementation for two of the recommendations from the independent evaluation conducted in 2007. The available evidence suggested that many aspects of these recommendations remain a work-in-progress, and that, due to their broad nature, they were reinterpreted in practice. Strong efforts were made by the Special Unit to adhere to the key components of recommendations #1 and #2 related to design and implementation of its programme of work from 2008 onwards. However, UNDP was unable to fully implement recommendation #3 related to the creation of its own corporate strategy. Implementation of recommendation #4 related to the cooperation arrangements between the SU-SSC and UNDP was also problematic due to the continued challenges of defining and clarifying the institutional relationship between the two entities. It is worth noting that many of the findings of the 2007 SSC evaluation were quite similar in nature to those presented in the current evaluation, while the relative importance of SSC has increased during the time covered by this evaluation.

Significant initiatives and improvements noted throughout the current evaluation report have taken place to move UNDP and the Special Unit forward, however, the evaluation also highlights the dynamic nature of the development cooperation context and points out to the continuing challenges and requirements of further improving UNDP’s approach to SSC-TrC. More detailed analysis for each recommendation is provided below.

Previous Recommendation #1: The Fourth Cooperation Framework (managed by the Special Unit) should be shaped around three activity streams – knowledge sharing, policy development and advocacy, and catalysing innovation.Initiatives in each of these streams should be time-bound and results oriented.


Tag: Knowledge management Advocacy Policy Advisory South-South Cooperation

2.

Previous Recommendation #2: In programming initiatives, the Special Unit should adopt strict criteria and leverage the capacities of UNDP and other relevant United Nations organizations to enhance the contribution of South-South cooperation to development effectiveness.


Tag: Partnership UN Agencies South-South Cooperation

3.

Previous Recommendation #3: UNDP should develop a corporate South-South cooperation strategy that: addresses emerging issues; draws on its own experience; integrates all of its programme frameworks; and is underpinned by resources, incentives and accountability.


Tag: Integration Policies & Procedures Results-Based Management Theory of Change South-South Cooperation

4.

Previous Recommendation #4: UNDP and the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation should define clear collaboration arrangements between the Special Unit and UNDP. 


Tag: Business Model Communication UN Country Team Coordination South-South Cooperation

5.

4.2 Recent UNDP accomplishments and progress

The evaluation examined UNDP’s relevance to the needs of programme countries and regional entities engaged in SSC. These included the relevance of UNDP’s development objectives and it specific programming and operational approaches to partner needs and priorities (the Southern perspective); its comparative advantages as a global development partner; and its ability to respond appropriately to the rapidly changing context and changing partner needs around support for SSC.

The development effectiveness of UNDP support for SSC-TrC was looked at from two main perspectives: 1) UNDP’s contribution to global, regional and national development objectives and results, and 2) contribution of activities to the UNDP Strategic Plan outputs related to SSC and the three outcome areas of the FourthCooperation Framework, namely the policyadvocacy dimensions of SSC-TrC, knowledgesharing, partnerships and innovations.

The evaluation looked at efficiency with regard to the clarity and precision of UNDP planning and reporting tools for SSC-TrC, timeliness and value-for-money of UNDP support for SSC-TrC, quality of performance information produced in various reports and evaluations, use of knowledge management systems and tools, funding support and allocations, and quality and definition of the strategic and operational relationship between UNDP and the UNO-SSC. 

The evaluation examined the sustainability of the benefits from SSC initiatives supported by UNDP, especially at the country level. The main intent was to understand and assess the degree to which transfer of skills, knowledge and/or development cooperation resources (with UNDP involvement) between and among countries would likely lead to lasting institutional arrangements or benefits for partners.

Finding 1. UNDP’s policy frameworks and statements of intent are aligned with the key principles for SSC embodied in the Buenos Aires and Nairobi Outcome Documents.


Tag: Coherence Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Ownership Capacity Building

6.

Finding 2. UNDP has a strong comparative advantage in supporting and facilitating SSC-TrC.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Partnership Strategic Positioning Capacity Building Coordination South-South Cooperation

7.

Finding 3. Demand for UNDP’s support and/ or facilitation in SSC-TrC activities among partners is very high, reflecting its perceived comparative advantage. 


Tag: Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Project and Programme management Strategic Positioning Country Government South-South Cooperation Technical Support

8.

Finding 4. UNDP support for SSC-related policy and institutional work hasled to positive preliminary results that reinforce the potential of the organization for innovation.


Tag: Effectiveness Human and Financial resources Innovation Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Partnership Policies & Procedures Capacity Building Advocacy Policy Advisory South-South Cooperation

9.

Finding 5. UNDP brokering of South-South knowledge exchanges and learning experiences has produced immediate and short-term benefits for participants which have the potential to evolve into more institutional and country benefits.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Disaster Risk Reduction Energy Effectiveness Sustainability Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Election Justice system Local Governance Parliament Communication Human and Financial resources Knowledge management MDGs Ownership Partnership UN Agencies Capacity Building Inclusive economic growth Poverty Reduction South-South Cooperation

10.

Finding 6. UNDP supportfor SSC has contributed to regional integration efforts.


Tag: Integration Partnership Coordination South-South Cooperation

11.

4.3 Challenges in UNDP support for SSC

Finding 7. UNDP’s current financing commitment for SSC has not grown proportionately with current demand.


Tag: Efficiency Resource mobilization Operational Efficiency South-South Cooperation

12.

Finding 8. UNDP efforts to mainstream SSC within its programmes have been uneven.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Integration Knowledge management Operational Efficiency Partnership Policies & Procedures Capacity Building South-South Cooperation Technical Support

13.

Finding 9. There is a gap between how SSC is promoted and/or advocated for at higher levels of the organization, and its practical and functional integration into programming


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Implementation Modality Integration Knowledge management Partnership Policies & Procedures Programme Synergy Results-Based Management Theory of Change UNDP Management Advocacy

14.

Finding10. At the time of the evaluation, corporate-wide operational guidance and mechanisms to fully support SSC-TrC at regional and country levels were not in place.


Tag: Human and Financial resources Knowledge management Operational Efficiency Policies & Procedures Quality Assurance Results-Based Management UNDP Management UNDP Regional Bureaux Capacity Building South-South Cooperation

15.

Finding 11. Knowledge sharing platforms and institutional reporting systems concerning SSC are not generating adequate learning and/or systematically providing performance information.


Tag: Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Results-Based Management Capacity Building Technology South-South Cooperation

16.

Finding 12. It is too early to determine whether the results of current SSC initiatives are sustainable due variations in the context and to the absence of effective monitoring systems. 


Tag: Efficiency Sustainability Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Ownership Results-Based Management Capacity Building South-South Cooperation

17.

Finding 13. UNDP partnership strategy has been undergoing a gradual repositioning in many countries in response to the changing development cooperation context.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Resource mobilization Human and Financial resources Partnership Policies & Procedures South-South Cooperation

18.

4.4 Situation of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation

Finding 14. There is a lack of clarity about the division of labour,roles and responsibilities and lines of accountability for outcome achievement between UNDP and the newly renamed UNO-SSC.


Tag: Business Model Human and Financial resources Integration Knowledge management Policies & Procedures Programme Synergy South-South Cooperation

19.

Finding 15. The UNO-SSC has recently faced challenges to facilitate consensus around critical HLC documents, raising concerns over the presentation of the Southern perspective.


Tag: Integration Knowledge management Partnership Policies & Procedures

20.

Finding 16. The UNO-SSC has produced some key outputs under the Fourth Cooperation Framework related to the ‘three-in-one’ architecture for SSC support, but the overall effectiveness of the approach is still to be seen.


Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Knowledge management Partnership UN Agencies Capacity Building Technology Coordination South-South Cooperation

21.

Finding 17. It is difficult to gauge the sustainability and broader effects of the UNO-SSC’s products and services due to limited monitoring and evaluation.


Tag: Effectiveness Sustainability Monitoring and Evaluation Ownership Policies & Procedures South-South Cooperation

22.

Finding 18. The UNO-SSC is recognized as having an extremely broad mandate and limited resources and its operational capacity was thus questioned.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Operational Efficiency Coordination South-South Cooperation

Recommendations
1

Recommendation 1. UNDP should develop a comprehensive corporate strategy for its support to SSC and TrC.

Following the decision of the 2012 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of the United Nations System for Development, UNDP needs a fully articulated strategy to mainstream its support to SSC and TrC. This requires dedicated plans, tools, structures, resources, and incentive and accountability mechanisms that ensure its mainstreaming into the regular planning and programming activities for development. UNDP needs to embark on an iterative process of integrating SSC into its programming with the necessary budgeting, implementation and monitoring processes at national, regional and global levels.

UNDP still lacks a coherent corporate strategy with a clearly defined vision, priorities and practical approaches to support SSC and promote TrC. The corporate strategy would allow the organization to capitalize on its comparative advantages. Administrative and political leadership are needed to address this shortcoming.

The new strategy should help the organization position SSC as a key element contributing to enhanced national and local capacities for human development and the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, and a valid development cooperation modality relevant for programme countries. Working with a common definition is an important requirement for the development of a strategy. The definition can take the framework of operational guidelines on United Nations support to South-South and triangular cooperation as a basis and recognize the somewhat differentiated development trajectory of Southern countries as a complement to the broad experience of international cooperation and as a relevant vehicle to address development challenges faced by developing countries. The strategy should help the organization operationalizing the Southern perspective to SSC based on the great importance given by UNDP to the principle of national ownership.

The human development perspective is another added value that UNDP brings to the global debate on SSC and TrC. Programme and donor countries value the people-centred approach of the proposition. The strategy should build on this comparative advantage and help develop the capacities of programme countries to maximize the benefits and impact of SSC and TrC in order to achieve their national goals, with special emphasis on the achievement of internationally agreed development goals.

UNDP should promote further investment and engagement in institutional capacity development initiatives that have proved successful in the past to expand efforts of programme countries to engage in SSC. UNDP support should shift from the downstream level of direct involvement in implementing programmes to a capacity development and knowledge innovation as shown by the experiences of the thematic centres established in partnership with selected Member States. With this approach in mind UNDP can act as an enabler of substantive policy dialogue among developing countries to promote, enhance and advocate for a new global partnership for development. UNDP is viewed by many partners as an organization with the potential to offer new forms of advisory and institutional support related to SSC, and this must be reflected more strongly at the level of concrete interactions and methodology.

Based on its extensive presence UNDP should strengthen cross-regional knowledge exchange and improve its support to regional cooperation as important components of its approach to SSC. UNDP ability to foster effective initiatives around regional integration was also seen positively in some regions and should be leveraged. The UNDP approach to SSC could gain important spillovers from a dedicated strategy to support regional integration efforts.

2

Recommendation 2. Under the new corporate strategy for SSC, UNDP will need to clarify its corporate structure and define more precisely its operational approaches and guidance for continued support to SSC-TrC.

In conjunction with the need for a corporate strategy as noted under Recommendation 1, UNDP should clearly establish the roles and responsibilities within its operational structure to implement its strategy and to coordinate the efforts made by programme units at global, regional and country levels. Concretely, strengthening and further delineating the distinctive accountabilities and functions of UNDP’s units in support to SSC, can greatly benefit on-going work in having a more coherent approach to supporting SSC and TrC.

There is a need to operationalize in stronger and more coherent ways UNDP’s support to SSC-TrC. UNDP needs to restructure incentives and reform internal management and operational systems to discourage top-down approaches to SSC and facilitate enhanced country ownership. UNDP should introduce planning and operational procedures that streamline and fully mainstream SSC within its programmes. While recognizing the continued advantages in some instances of a projectized approach to SSC-related programming, UNDP should consider developing more flexible and agile mechanisms to respond to rapidly evolving needs of programme countries for exchange of knowledge and technology.

Support to SSC at country level. UNDP supports the Resident Coordinator system encompassing all organizations of the United Nations system dealing with operational activities for development, regardless of their formal presence in the country and in that capacity should enhance its efforts in support of a more coordinated and cohesive support to SSC and TrC initiatives demanded to the UN by programme countries on the ground. UNDP support to SSC at country level should be undertaken in an integral and cooperative way with the UN development system. UNDP should intensify its cooperation and adopt collaborative approaches to support country-level development initiatives, in alignment with the UNDAF to establish and/or improve mechanisms to promote knowledge sharing through SSC or triangular schemes. This implies that the UN system and specifically UNDP should respond to the diverse priorities, visions and demands of UN Member States regarding SSC. This highlights the emerging role of the important mechanism of triangular cooperation in which neutral third party funders/supporters can play a brokering or facilitation role for demand-driven, intercountry and country-owned sharing of expertise, knowledge and/or technology.

The recent renaming of the Special Unit serves to positively reinforce its broader role as an office in the UN system and should help reduce some of the ambiguity regarding its exact relationship with UNDP as its host agency. A re-examination of the existing division of labour and responsibility between UNDP and the UNO-SSC is needed for improved coordination and synergy. UNDP’s extended country presence and operational capacity should benefit from the convener role played by the UNO-SSC which enables various UN legislative bodies to make inform decisions on SSC and TrC. The link between the normative side, represented by the UNO-SSC and the operational side, represented by UNDP, of the UN support to SSC and TrC should be mutually reinforcing. UNO-SSC had a very broad mandate and a thin resource endowment, both human and financial, and, as mentioned repeatedly by Member States, it requires further institutional strengthening. At the same time, the UNO-SSC still has to forge its own parallel and complementary approach, building on past successes while at the same time rethinking its relationship to UNDP. Now that it is clearly identified as a UN office, there should be less confusion and also more opportunities for the unit to define new and improved institutional working relationships and synergies with UNDP.

3

Recommendation 3. Knowledge management, which was a critical component of previous cooperation frameworks, needs to be addressed in a more systematic and coherent manner.

UNDP should undertake an earnest review of experiences of SSC and TrC for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals and reinforce its mandate to support the capacity development of programme countries. UNDP needs stronger information system in support to SSC and TrC. Starting with a single repository of recorded efforts in support of SSC and TrC that is easily accessible it needs to distil lessons learned from current practices and approaches within country and regional programmes. Important lessons can be drawn from successful and unsuccessful experiences and ensure they are systematically disseminated throughout the organization. UNDP should be able to support programme countries to scale up successful development initiatives based on South-South solutions. For that it needs to improve its capacity to learn from past experience. How to facilitate the complementarity of approaches between SSC and traditional NSC in which the UN in general and UNDP in particular should be an important and critical player is a necessary consideration. The UNO-SSC has developed innovative platforms for knowledge sharing that should also be used more systematically by UNDP on a corporatewide basis.

4

Recommendation 4. UNDP should intensify its information sharing, reporting and evaluation on support to and results achieved through SSC and TrC.

UNDP needs to continue to strengthen its approaches to performance reporting for SSCrelated work, as well as towards the monitoring and evaluation of SSC and TrC contributions to development results. Many results observed during the evaluation had an emphasis on shortterm benefits, showing the need for more clearly articulated theories of change during the design phase of the support. More robust M&E frameworks should be developed for any programmes or initiatives related to SSC that are supported by UNDP, with the aim of documenting and extracting lessons and best practices for further replication. The current results framework for SSC with the explicit reference to outputs, indicators and targets should be considerably improved. Firstly the outputs should refer to the efforts undertaken by UNDP programme units at regional and national level, leveraging the network of country offices and regional service centres in support of SSC and not rely on the implementing capacity of the UNO-SSC. Secondly, the relationship between outputs, indicators and targets should be tightened. Finally, there needs to be more clarity about the benchmarks and the way to measure progress in a cohesive and meaningful way against expected outcomes. UNDP is making significant efforts to improve its approach to capturing progress through the results-oriented annual reports. The organization needs to continue strengthening its resultsbased-management with regard to its support to SSC. It made important progress in capturing the quantity of supported initiatives. UNDP can now move into capturing and analysing the quality of SSC initiatives for the achievement of development results. UNDP needs to pay more attention to the impact pathways of SSC and TrC initiatives and the sustainability of its benefits.

5

Recommendation 5. UNDP should clarify its financial commitment with regard to its support to SSC-TrC.

UNDP should improve its accounting mechanisms to take stock of the current support being provided to SSC through programme resources. UNDP does provide financial and in-kind support to SSC and TrC that is not fully accounted for and/or recognized. UNDP does not collect financial information on SSC supported initiatives other than its regular contribution to the UNO-SSC.Country offices need to include dedicated resources to support SSC and TrC initiatives into their regular programmes. In practice initiatives that have not been planned within a programme or project are not likely to be supported, as there are no earmarked resources for the support of SSC at country or regional level. This is one of the aspects that hinder UNDP flexibility in response to increasing demand. Programme countries expect UNDP to allocate counterpart or seed-money to launch joint strategies and pilot initiatives. For example, the new partnership strategy, which aims to strengthen the relationship with middleincome countries, requires financial resources for its implementation that currently need to be mobilized through programme resources. 

The UNDP Executive Board may want to consider increasing its financial commitment to SSC-TrC as a key aspect of a renewed corporate approach. There is a need to address the current imbalance between stated ambition and financing. Specifically, the 0.5 percent of UNDP core resources allocated to SSC (all of which now go directly to support the UNO-SSC) should be re-examined to find ways for more funds to be directly available for use at the country and regional levels for SSCrelated programming. The Executive Board may consider increasing funding and resource allocation to support SSC and TrC to be aligned with increasing demand from programme countries.

1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1. UNDP should develop a comprehensive corporate strategy for its support to SSC and TrC.

Following the decision of the 2012 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of the United Nations System for Development, UNDP needs a fully articulated strategy to mainstream its support to SSC and TrC. This requires dedicated plans, tools, structures, resources, and incentive and accountability mechanisms that ensure its mainstreaming into the regular planning and programming activities for development. UNDP needs to embark on an iterative process of integrating SSC into its programming with the necessary budgeting, implementation and monitoring processes at national, regional and global levels.

UNDP still lacks a coherent corporate strategy with a clearly defined vision, priorities and practical approaches to support SSC and promote TrC. The corporate strategy would allow the organization to capitalize on its comparative advantages. Administrative and political leadership are needed to address this shortcoming.

The new strategy should help the organization position SSC as a key element contributing to enhanced national and local capacities for human development and the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, and a valid development cooperation modality relevant for programme countries. Working with a common definition is an important requirement for the development of a strategy. The definition can take the framework of operational guidelines on United Nations support to South-South and triangular cooperation as a basis and recognize the somewhat differentiated development trajectory of Southern countries as a complement to the broad experience of international cooperation and as a relevant vehicle to address development challenges faced by developing countries. The strategy should help the organization operationalizing the Southern perspective to SSC based on the great importance given by UNDP to the principle of national ownership.

The human development perspective is another added value that UNDP brings to the global debate on SSC and TrC. Programme and donor countries value the people-centred approach of the proposition. The strategy should build on this comparative advantage and help develop the capacities of programme countries to maximize the benefits and impact of SSC and TrC in order to achieve their national goals, with special emphasis on the achievement of internationally agreed development goals.

UNDP should promote further investment and engagement in institutional capacity development initiatives that have proved successful in the past to expand efforts of programme countries to engage in SSC. UNDP support should shift from the downstream level of direct involvement in implementing programmes to a capacity development and knowledge innovation as shown by the experiences of the thematic centres established in partnership with selected Member States. With this approach in mind UNDP can act as an enabler of substantive policy dialogue among developing countries to promote, enhance and advocate for a new global partnership for development. UNDP is viewed by many partners as an organization with the potential to offer new forms of advisory and institutional support related to SSC, and this must be reflected more strongly at the level of concrete interactions and methodology.

Based on its extensive presence UNDP should strengthen cross-regional knowledge exchange and improve its support to regional cooperation as important components of its approach to SSC. UNDP ability to foster effective initiatives around regional integration was also seen positively in some regions and should be leveraged. The UNDP approach to SSC could gain important spillovers from a dedicated strategy to support regional integration efforts.

Management Response: [Added: 2013/05/21] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

UNDP agrees with this recommendation and will develop a corporate strategy to support its engagement with SSC and TrC by bringing to conclusion much of the work done to develop a corporate strategy as the 2007 evaluation highlighted. UNDP will develop a South-South and Triangular cooperation strategy following the approval of the new Strategic Plan. UNDP will however establish the fundamental principles of the strategy in the new Strategic Plan, following an inventory of corporate best practices for successfully mainstreaming cross-cutting issues such as gender equality.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 SS embedded in the new Strategic Plan
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2014/02/14]
SCIG 2013/09 Completed SSC/TrC embedded in the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan as core way of working. SSC/TrC output and related indicators developed in the IRRF, under both development results and organizational effectiveness.
1.2 Require programme formulation at all levels to examine how better development results can be achieved using SSC and TrC in any new Global, Regional and Country Programme Documents
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
RBx, OSG, BPPS 2014/01 Completed SSC/TrC integrated into the new approved global programme and five regional programmes. SSC/Trc Lead Advisor designated as a member of HQ PAC to ensure SSC/TrC integration into country programme documents wherever appropriate. Collaboration between BDP and RBX planned to support better design of country programme examining SSC/TrC modality as needed.
1.3 Develop corporate strategy for supporting SSC and TrC
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
BPPS, BERA, OSG, UNOSSC 2014/12 Completed Drafting of UNDP SSC/TrC Corporate Strategy is complete, and it is now being finalized.
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2. Under the new corporate strategy for SSC, UNDP will need to clarify its corporate structure and define more precisely its operational approaches and guidance for continued support to SSC-TrC.

In conjunction with the need for a corporate strategy as noted under Recommendation 1, UNDP should clearly establish the roles and responsibilities within its operational structure to implement its strategy and to coordinate the efforts made by programme units at global, regional and country levels. Concretely, strengthening and further delineating the distinctive accountabilities and functions of UNDP’s units in support to SSC, can greatly benefit on-going work in having a more coherent approach to supporting SSC and TrC.

There is a need to operationalize in stronger and more coherent ways UNDP’s support to SSC-TrC. UNDP needs to restructure incentives and reform internal management and operational systems to discourage top-down approaches to SSC and facilitate enhanced country ownership. UNDP should introduce planning and operational procedures that streamline and fully mainstream SSC within its programmes. While recognizing the continued advantages in some instances of a projectized approach to SSC-related programming, UNDP should consider developing more flexible and agile mechanisms to respond to rapidly evolving needs of programme countries for exchange of knowledge and technology.

Support to SSC at country level. UNDP supports the Resident Coordinator system encompassing all organizations of the United Nations system dealing with operational activities for development, regardless of their formal presence in the country and in that capacity should enhance its efforts in support of a more coordinated and cohesive support to SSC and TrC initiatives demanded to the UN by programme countries on the ground. UNDP support to SSC at country level should be undertaken in an integral and cooperative way with the UN development system. UNDP should intensify its cooperation and adopt collaborative approaches to support country-level development initiatives, in alignment with the UNDAF to establish and/or improve mechanisms to promote knowledge sharing through SSC or triangular schemes. This implies that the UN system and specifically UNDP should respond to the diverse priorities, visions and demands of UN Member States regarding SSC. This highlights the emerging role of the important mechanism of triangular cooperation in which neutral third party funders/supporters can play a brokering or facilitation role for demand-driven, intercountry and country-owned sharing of expertise, knowledge and/or technology.

The recent renaming of the Special Unit serves to positively reinforce its broader role as an office in the UN system and should help reduce some of the ambiguity regarding its exact relationship with UNDP as its host agency. A re-examination of the existing division of labour and responsibility between UNDP and the UNO-SSC is needed for improved coordination and synergy. UNDP’s extended country presence and operational capacity should benefit from the convener role played by the UNO-SSC which enables various UN legislative bodies to make inform decisions on SSC and TrC. The link between the normative side, represented by the UNO-SSC and the operational side, represented by UNDP, of the UN support to SSC and TrC should be mutually reinforcing. UNO-SSC had a very broad mandate and a thin resource endowment, both human and financial, and, as mentioned repeatedly by Member States, it requires further institutional strengthening. At the same time, the UNO-SSC still has to forge its own parallel and complementary approach, building on past successes while at the same time rethinking its relationship to UNDP. Now that it is clearly identified as a UN office, there should be less confusion and also more opportunities for the unit to define new and improved institutional working relationships and synergies with UNDP.

Management Response: [Added: 2013/05/21] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

UNDP agrees to the need for an institutional home for SSC within UNDP. In particular, the following considerations will be factored in: ? UNDP is committed to the establishment of appropriate institutional arrangements, which would, among others, include better leveraging of dedicated South-South capacities across all levels of the organization, in partnership with UNOSSC. ? In its role as coordinator of the Resident Coordinator (RC) system, UNDP will work to integrate SSC in the work of UNCTs by providing tools and policy guidance on integrating SSC and TrC into the UNDAF process and other programming instruments throughout the conceptualization, planning, implementation, evaluation and reporting related to national and regional development initiatives. ? UNDP remains committed to hosting the UNOSSC and working closely with the UNOSSC as the coordinator for SSC and TrC in the United Nations system, leveraging the UNOSSC as it facilitates inter-agency UN support to SSC and provides secretarial services to intergovernmental bodies that provide policy guidance on SSC and TrC in the UN system.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Designate an institutional home for the substantive lead in and coordination of SSC and TrC
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
OPG to designate 2013/09 Completed
2.2 As an input to the corporate SSC strategy, define roles and responsibilities between UNDP and UNOSSC, building on the operational and normative nature of each entity respectively
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
BPPS, BERA, OSG, UNOSSC, EXO 2014/06 Completed
2.3 Global and Regional Centres define strategic niche, operational approaches and synergies within and between regions for SSC/TrC
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2018/05/07]
Global and regional centres 2018/12 Completed All global policy centers have initiated planning and new approaches in supporting SSC/TrC. Regional centres have taken various approaches to define strategic niche for the region, including, for example, Bratislava Centre emphasised support to East-east cooperation and capacity development for emerging economies. SSC providers, Panama centre has launched SSC platform; Cairo centre is organizing a regional SSC Expo. RBA-RBAP continute to jointly explore demand-driven approaches for SSC/TrC support through initiatives such as China-Africa forum. 2017/12: Reginal hubs have taken various approaches to define strategic niche for their respective regions, including, for example, the Regional Hub in Addis Ababa has supported the development of a Regional SSC initiative to promote SSC partnerships and exchanges as a means to stimulate transformational change in Africa to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and the AUC Agenda 2063 in Africa. The Regional Hub in Panama established a regional virtual Centre of Excellence which focuses on local and community development to facilitate SSC and TrC, knowledge exchanges and disseminate evidence-based results and experiences with the aim of achieving impact at the regional and global level. The Regional Hub in Amman, has developed and launched jointly with the UNOSSC a regional mapping report in the Arab States which maps SSC and TrC within Arab States and between Arab States and other countries in the Global South (as providers/recipients) and examines main trends and challenges to SSC to/from Arab States. The report charts a path for UN’s enhanced support to promoting SSC for sustainable human development in the region. RBA-RBAP continue to jointly explore demand-driven approaches for SSC/TrC support through initiatives such as China-Africa forum. UNDP jointly with the UNOSSC have established the “South-South Global Thinkers: The Global Coalition of Think Tank Networks for South-South Cooperation” initiative. The initiative aims to provide an enabling environment for think tank networks from the South to produce and share relevant knowledge for sustainable development and scale up the impact of SSC and TrC in the implementation of the SDGs. The research, knowledge and policy advocacy generated from the project will inform global policy dialogues on SSC, including the upcoming 40th Anniversary of Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA+40). To date, six partnerships were formalized with Southern think tanks across all regions and entered to a five-year partnership with two private sector institutions that are supportiing this initiative. Several research products highly relevant to SSC and TrC have been developed by members of the Global Coalition and published. More research will be produced and published by the Global Coalition. History
2.4 Programme and operational guidelines developed and rolled-out to mainstream and facilitate the inclusion of SSC and TrC within country, regional and global programmes/projects
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2016/02/08]
OSG, BPPS, BERA 2015/06 Completed SSC/TrC has been integrated into all the five regional programmes and the Global Progamme. SSC was integrated into guidance for developing country programme documents, IRRF and Results Oriented Annual Report (ROAR). Concept papers for the SSC modules of a number of flagship global initiatives have been developed, including for example one for Poverty-Environment Initiative, and one for local governance and decentralized cooperation.
2.5 Tools and policy guidance provided to integrate SSC and TrC in the work of UNCTs, including in UNDAFs and other programming instruments
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2017/12/12]
BPPS, DOCO, UNOSSC 2015/01 Completed SG's operation guidance was further disseminated through regional and country level trainings. Indicators of UN harmonization in supporting SSC/TrC included in the strategic plan IRRF output indicators. 2017/12: Changes have been adopted to allow for multi-country South-South and triangular cooperation projects, common results framework, and cost-recovery mechanisms, A new cost-sharing template has been developed for South-South and triangular cooperation contributions to accommodate both financial and in-kind contributions. The Integrated Results and Resources Framework (IRRF) includes outputs and indicators designed to measure results in South-South and triangular cooperation. The Results-Oriented Annual Report (ROAR) has a distinct section on South-South and triangular cooperation asking reporting units to present initiatives and modalities in which SSC was used in programmes at global, regional and country levels. SG's operation guidance was further disseminated through regional and country level trainings. Indicators of UN harmonization in supporting SSC/TrC included in the strategic plan IRRF output indicators. History
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3. Knowledge management, which was a critical component of previous cooperation frameworks, needs to be addressed in a more systematic and coherent manner.

UNDP should undertake an earnest review of experiences of SSC and TrC for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals and reinforce its mandate to support the capacity development of programme countries. UNDP needs stronger information system in support to SSC and TrC. Starting with a single repository of recorded efforts in support of SSC and TrC that is easily accessible it needs to distil lessons learned from current practices and approaches within country and regional programmes. Important lessons can be drawn from successful and unsuccessful experiences and ensure they are systematically disseminated throughout the organization. UNDP should be able to support programme countries to scale up successful development initiatives based on South-South solutions. For that it needs to improve its capacity to learn from past experience. How to facilitate the complementarity of approaches between SSC and traditional NSC in which the UN in general and UNDP in particular should be an important and critical player is a necessary consideration. The UNO-SSC has developed innovative platforms for knowledge sharing that should also be used more systematically by UNDP on a corporatewide basis.

Management Response: [Added: 2013/05/21] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

UNDP agrees with this recommendation and notes that the UNDP?s goal of real time knowledge sharing, and ?connect? over ?collect?, has been at the core of UNDP?s corporately endorsed knowledge strategy. The main emphasis of the corporate Knowledge Strategy 2009-2011 was to initiate and support a culture shift away from overly formalized and hierarchical processes to a more open, organic environment where individuals across the South are empowered to share knowledge freely and informally as needed and desired and to better engage with multilateral processes. This strategy will be backed up by evidence-based knowledge from programme and institutional practices and complemented by a clearly elaborated UNDP business model of supporting SSC and TrC.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Map and review UNDP programme experience and institutional efforts in promoting SSC/TrC, including lessons learned for replication, and elaborate a business model
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
BPPS,RBx, RSCs and Global Policy Centres, BERA, BOM, OSG 2014/04 Completed Mapping is through with half of programme countries relevant programmes mapped out. SSC/TrC questions included in corporate reporting (ROAR) and IRRF platform. Data from ROAR and IRRF platform will be available in Feb and Mar respectively. Case study of SSC programmes identified and finalized. Programme mapping has been completed and analysis was used in the annual report of UNDP. Publication of report will be available by June 2014.
3.2 Leverage existing platforms developed in advance of Rio+20 and the post-2015 process to engage citizens in debating SSC content and modalities, deepening Southern perspectives
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2017/12/12]
BPPS in collaboration with RBx, RSCs and Policy Centres 2017/12 Completed SSC components being integrated into documents and materials for the post-2015 processes. Discussion initiated with UNOSSC and KM team to leverage interactive platforms to engage citizens in debating SSC/TrC in the context of broader development architecture and global partnership for post-2015 implementation mechanism. E-discussion on global partnership conducted including a designated subject on SSC/TrC. 2017/12: SSC components have been integrated into documents and materials for the post-2015 processes. Discussion were conducted with with UNOSSC and KM team to leverage interactive platforms to engage citizens in debating SSC/TrC in the context of broader development architecture and global partnership for post-2015 implementation mechanism. E-discussion on global partnership conducted including a designated subject on SSC/TrC. History
3.3 Scale up and provide more focused and tailored support to different typologies of countries providing in-kind and other forms of South-South development assistance
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
BPPS, RBx, RSCs, COs, UNOSSC 2014/06 Completed The completed programme mapping included a country typology dimension of analysis. The findings has informed a corporate strategy including approaches for tailored support to different typologies of countries. Discussions initiated with regional bureaus and various partners for scaling up tailored support to MICs, LDCs, SIDs, and fragile states.
3.4 Better integrate UNOSSC knowledge-sharing platforms/hubs into UNDP's own knowledge management systems
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2018/06/19]
BPPS 2018/06 Completed Discussions initiated and concept note developed in collaboration with UNOSSC, to set up a global knowledge exchange facility for SSC/TrC, providing demand-supply matching, sharing scalable Southern solutions, brokering expertise, institutions, and forming programme partnerships on UNDP priority areas, in collaboration and building on the 3-in-1 architecture and knowledge portal provided by UNOSSC. Newly approved UNDP knowledge management strategy highlights support to SSC through knowledge management and global knowledge platforms and networks. 2017/12: UNDP provided technical and financial support to the production of “Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development”- in support of the UN Task Team on SSC. This report provides compilation of 61 SSC mechanisms, addressing challenges in all the 17 SDGs. This exercise mobilized over 30 agencies and partner institutions to identify and document their good practice. Its findings are being used by United Nations Resident Coordinators and Country Teams when advising governments on national policies and actions for the implementation of the SDGs. UNDP further plans to support the UNOSSC in developing the next mapping of development cooperation activities led by the South. UNDP jointly with the UNOSSC also conducted a mapping exercise, involving all RBA COs, as well as Regional Institutions which gathered 700 SSC solutions and have the potential to be scaled up and replicated to other countries through SSC exchanges. To showcase the solutions, the team, with the assistance of UNOSSC, developed the African SSC world platform (http://africa.southsouthworld.org). These solutions are currently being integrated in the SSMart for SDGs which is one of the servicer packages committed in UNDP’s corporate strategy on SSC and TrC. This exercise will be rolled out in other regions. History
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4. UNDP should intensify its information sharing, reporting and evaluation on support to and results achieved through SSC and TrC.

UNDP needs to continue to strengthen its approaches to performance reporting for SSCrelated work, as well as towards the monitoring and evaluation of SSC and TrC contributions to development results. Many results observed during the evaluation had an emphasis on shortterm benefits, showing the need for more clearly articulated theories of change during the design phase of the support. More robust M&E frameworks should be developed for any programmes or initiatives related to SSC that are supported by UNDP, with the aim of documenting and extracting lessons and best practices for further replication. The current results framework for SSC with the explicit reference to outputs, indicators and targets should be considerably improved. Firstly the outputs should refer to the efforts undertaken by UNDP programme units at regional and national level, leveraging the network of country offices and regional service centres in support of SSC and not rely on the implementing capacity of the UNO-SSC. Secondly, the relationship between outputs, indicators and targets should be tightened. Finally, there needs to be more clarity about the benchmarks and the way to measure progress in a cohesive and meaningful way against expected outcomes. UNDP is making significant efforts to improve its approach to capturing progress through the results-oriented annual reports. The organization needs to continue strengthening its resultsbased-management with regard to its support to SSC. It made important progress in capturing the quantity of supported initiatives. UNDP can now move into capturing and analysing the quality of SSC initiatives for the achievement of development results. UNDP needs to pay more attention to the impact pathways of SSC and TrC initiatives and the sustainability of its benefits.

Management Response: [Added: 2013/05/21] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

UNDP has strengthened its results-based monitoring and reporting system, explicitly addressing the SSC dimension. Building on that effort, UNDP will further intensify the SSC dimension in its integrated work plan and financial management systems, and will enhance information sharing.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 New strategic plan results framework includes ways to measure and monitor SSC using corporate systems, with South-South baselines, targets and indicators reported annually
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
OSG, SCIG, BPPS 2014/01 Completed The new strategic plan results framework includes 4 output indicators and 1 organizational effectiveness indicator for measuring SSC/TrC; methodological notes for all indicators have been developed. Global and regional programmes also integrated SSC/TrC indicators in their result frameworks. Annual Business Plan for 2014 prioritized output on SSC/TrC and related indicators, as well as enabling actions.
4.2 Incentives established for country offices to support and encourage SSC in programme frameworks
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
BPPS, RBx and other relevant bureaus 2014/12 Completed The updated ROAR system allotted a section on SSC and TrC, compelling COs to utilize SSC and TrC in the attainment of their goals.
4.3 Annual country, regional and global reporting includes more robust reporting on SSC and TrC
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
All units 2015/01 Completed SSC/TrC has been incorporated into the ROAR (Results-Oriented Annual Report) platform to ensure that countries and units report on SSC/TrC progress each year.
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5. UNDP should clarify its financial commitment with regard to its support to SSC-TrC.

UNDP should improve its accounting mechanisms to take stock of the current support being provided to SSC through programme resources. UNDP does provide financial and in-kind support to SSC and TrC that is not fully accounted for and/or recognized. UNDP does not collect financial information on SSC supported initiatives other than its regular contribution to the UNO-SSC.Country offices need to include dedicated resources to support SSC and TrC initiatives into their regular programmes. In practice initiatives that have not been planned within a programme or project are not likely to be supported, as there are no earmarked resources for the support of SSC at country or regional level. This is one of the aspects that hinder UNDP flexibility in response to increasing demand. Programme countries expect UNDP to allocate counterpart or seed-money to launch joint strategies and pilot initiatives. For example, the new partnership strategy, which aims to strengthen the relationship with middleincome countries, requires financial resources for its implementation that currently need to be mobilized through programme resources. 

The UNDP Executive Board may want to consider increasing its financial commitment to SSC-TrC as a key aspect of a renewed corporate approach. There is a need to address the current imbalance between stated ambition and financing. Specifically, the 0.5 percent of UNDP core resources allocated to SSC (all of which now go directly to support the UNO-SSC) should be re-examined to find ways for more funds to be directly available for use at the country and regional levels for SSCrelated programming. The Executive Board may consider increasing funding and resource allocation to support SSC and TrC to be aligned with increasing demand from programme countries.

Management Response: [Added: 2013/05/21] [Last Updated: 2020/07/04]

Funding flows through UNDP for SSC and TrC far exceed the 0.5% of core resources allocated through the fixed line. UNDP agrees to ensure a more robust financial management system that is able to better track and report on these funding flows.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Methods established to monitor SSC/TrC flows
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
BOM, BERA, BPPS 2014/12 Completed A SSC/TrC fund code (30081) designated to track SSC/TrC flows. A new cost-sharing template created for SSC/TrC initiatives which can accommodate in-kind contributions. The ongoing exercise of linking country programmes to the Strategic Plan will establish a baseline for determining the number of projects and associated budgets contributing to SSC/TrC programmes.
5.2 South-South funding mechanisms reviewed to propose modifications to resource allocation, including revisiting the current distribution under the Programming Arrangements governing fixed line of core resources for SSC
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
BPPS, BOM, UNOSSC 2014/12 Completed ExO has decided on a shielded mechanism from budget cuts for UNOSSC allocation of core resources.
5.3 Window established in thematic trust funds to support South-South priorities defined in Strategic Plan
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2016/02/08]
BPPS 2014/12 Completed New funding windows in thematic trust funds all included SSS dimensions.
5.4 Invest in capacities for strengthening UNDPs role in supporting SSC, including operationalizing Partnership Framework Agreements signed with emerging economies
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
SCIG 2013/12 Completed Budget allocation for strategic partnerships has been made. Focal points on SSC/TrC and/or strategic partnership designated by all relevant bureaus.
5.5 Step up resource mobilization for both core and non-core to support SSC and TrC
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2018/03/21]
All bureaux 2019/12 Completed New project modality of SSC/TrC developed and reviewed by OPG. GMS rates for programme country and donor country contributions clarified. 2017/12: New project modality of SSC/TrC developed. GMS rates for programme country and donor country contributions clarified and approved in the new project modality. Completed and ongoing. History
5.6 Introduce a UNDP specific project modality for SSC and TrC that can accommodate flows of both financial and in-kind assistance
[Added: 2013/09/19] [Last Updated: 2015/01/09]
OSG, BPPS 2014/12 Completed Project modality for SSC/TrC programmes has been redefined and reviewed by OPG; New cost-sharing template for SSC/TrC contributions developed accommodating both financial and in-kind contribution.

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