Assessment of Development Results: Armenia

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Evaluation Plan:
2014-2017, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
ICPE/ADR
Planned End Date:
12/2014
Completion Date:
12/2014
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
160,000

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Title Assessment of Development Results: Armenia
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2014-2017, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2014
Planned End Date: 12/2014
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
Ana Rosa Soares UNDP IEO Evaluation Manager
Agapi Harutyunyan Consultant (Poverty Reduction Thematic Area)
Jan Salko Consultant (Democratic Governance Thematic Area)
Nino Partskhaladze Consultant (Environment and Crisis Thematic Area)
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Location of Evaluation: Country Level
Countries: ARMENIA
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 Recommendation 1: UNDP should hold further discussions with government stakeholders to redefine a more consultative relationship with regard to strategically prioritizing resources and identifying and selecting programme themes and beneficiaries. Equally important would be to define with the Government ways to ensure that UNDP?s neutrality, efficiency and effectiveness are not compromised. This may require putting in place mechanisms to allow UNDP the flexibility needed to foster innovation, ensure value for money, and make timely and efficient contributions to sustainable development.
2 Recommendation 2: UNDP Armenia should develop the next programme with a focus on fewer and more specific, realistic and strategically targeted outcomes, narrowing the range of activities accordingly. UNDP should prioritize initiatives in which it can bring added value and in which costs can be shared by strategic national partners to ensure national ownership and sustainability of results.
3 Recommendation 3: UNDP should further capitalize on the opportunities offered by IBM initiatives. It should develop a well-articulated strategy, in close cooperation with the National Security Council and other stakeholders, to leverage synergies with interrelated development issues and diversify funding sources with a conscious technical and value-for-money strategy.
4 Recommendation 4: UNDP should make further efforts to effectively document and disseminate its successful experiences and lessons learned in programme approaches and initiatives, particularly the successful pilot ones.
5 Recommendation 5: UNDP Armenia should strive to adopt a more holistic, sustained, longterm and multipronged approach in order to more fully and explicitly integrate gender equality components into all areas of work. UNDP Armenia should focus not only on genderresponsive, but on gender-transformative contributions that can fast-track development and address power relations and cultural structures.
6 Recommendation 6: As Armenia is a country prone to disasters, UNDP should explore how to further integrate and mainstream DRR into all its programmes and initiatives.
7 Recommendation 7: UNDP should further improve results-based management and monitoring and evaluation of the programme at the outcome level, and work with coherent and comprehensive theories of change to map assumptions and ensure complex contexts and the multifaceted nature of development are considered to contribute to development, behavioural and transformational change.
1. Recommendation: Recommendation 1: UNDP should hold further discussions with government stakeholders to redefine a more consultative relationship with regard to strategically prioritizing resources and identifying and selecting programme themes and beneficiaries. Equally important would be to define with the Government ways to ensure that UNDP?s neutrality, efficiency and effectiveness are not compromised. This may require putting in place mechanisms to allow UNDP the flexibility needed to foster innovation, ensure value for money, and make timely and efficient contributions to sustainable development.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/29]

Management Response: Since 2005, UNDP benefitted from a system of National Directors at Deputy Ministerial level for each portfolio, who provide overall guidance and coordination of UNDP projects and programmes, aimed at promoting stronger national ownership. This approach is currently under revision by the Country Office as in some portfolios one Ministry does not have the mandate for the range of activities, such as democratic governance that covers many areas and issues. As UNDP?s programming becomes more cross-cutting, and as the programme aligns to the new UNDP Strategic Plan, so the traditional portfolio boundaries are also becoming blurred. Discussion will be held going forward to balance consultation with the necessary flexibility, efficiency and effectiveness of UNDP. The ongoing UNDAF and CPD preparation process, which includes the strategic prioritization of resources and programme themes, is being coordinated with the Government. Government Ministries are also encouraged to take more responsibility for donor coordination, and to attend the respective donor coordination meetings which are currently organized by the UN.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Ongoing UNDAF and CPD discussion with the Government
[Added: 2017/11/20] [Last Updated: 2017/11/21]
RC Unit, Senior Management, Programme Unit 2020/12 Completed Mechanism of collaboration with the Government for 2016-2020 UNDAF and CPD has been set up through Results Groups and Programme management arrangements History
1.2 Revision of National Director approach
[Added: 2017/11/20]
Senior Management of the Country Office 2016/01 Completed National Directors' system is no longer applicable. The management arrangements of 2016-2020 Country Programme apply. 2016-2020 CPAP will by signed by end 2015.
2. Recommendation: Recommendation 2: UNDP Armenia should develop the next programme with a focus on fewer and more specific, realistic and strategically targeted outcomes, narrowing the range of activities accordingly. UNDP should prioritize initiatives in which it can bring added value and in which costs can be shared by strategic national partners to ensure national ownership and sustainability of results.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/29]

Management Response: As per new Country Programme Document (CPD) guidelines, the number of outcomes is reduced to four so this point will be addressed in the preparation of the next CPD, which will be aligned with the new UNDP Strategic Plan. The areas of cooperation will be based on country needs and UNDP comparative advantage.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
As per new Country Programme Document (CPD) guidelines, the number of outcomes is reduced to 4 so this point will be addressed automatically in the preparation of the next CPD, which will be aligned with the new UNDP Strategic Plan. The areas of cooperation will be based on country needs and UNDP comparative advantage.
[Added: 2015/12/13]
Country Office 2016/01 Completed 2016-2020 CPD and CPAP have 4 Outcomes
2.1 Participate in HQ Alignment exercise to ensure full alignment with the new Strategic Plan
[Added: 2017/11/21]
Senior Management, Programme Team, RBM focal point 2016/01 Completed Completed within the framework of corporate alignment process to Strategic Plan History
2.2 Preparation of new Country Programme Document
[Added: 2017/11/21]
Senior Management, Programme Team, RBM focal point 2016/01 Completed As per new Country Programme Document (CPD) guidelines, the number of outcomes is reduced to 4 so this point will be addressed automatically in the preparation of the next CPD, which will be aligned with the new UNDP Strategic Plan. The areas of cooperation will be based on country needs and UNDP comparative advantage. History
3. Recommendation: Recommendation 3: UNDP should further capitalize on the opportunities offered by IBM initiatives. It should develop a well-articulated strategy, in close cooperation with the National Security Council and other stakeholders, to leverage synergies with interrelated development issues and diversify funding sources with a conscious technical and value-for-money strategy.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/29]

Management Response: The Country Office is beginning to explore ways to link the IBM work with other portfolios, for example in mainstreaming energy efficiency construction practices and bringing experts to look at the feasibility of providing energy supply to communities near the border crossing.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Develop a strategy for leveraging synergies of the IBM work with other development issues, including a partnership strategy
[Added: 2017/11/21] [Last Updated: 2019/01/15]
IBM Portfolio in cooperation with the Programme team 2020/12 Completed Connectivity and opening up of trade corridors, including with the EU, Eurasian Economic Union, and Iran, is one of the high priority issues in the current development agenda of Armenia. In this relation UNDP’s current MIBMA project is an important contributing element. On 3 October 2016, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a project cooperation agreement on “Support to Migration and Border Management in Armenia” (MIBMA). The overall objective of MIBMA project is to support the Government of Armenia in establishing state-of-the-art Border Crossing Point infrastructure to ensure improved conditions for business and trade, safe, secure, gender friendly and facilitated movement of people and goods across the border. To that end, the MIBMA project aims to support modernization of the Meghri border crossing point for the Armenia/Iran land boundary to be controlled and secured in a way that is compatible with international border management standards and norms. History
4. Recommendation: Recommendation 4: UNDP should make further efforts to effectively document and disseminate its successful experiences and lessons learned in programme approaches and initiatives, particularly the successful pilot ones.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/29]

Management Response: The Country Office is attempting to do this through the diversification of UNDP communications, public outreach and strengthened knowledge management. Some projects are trying, for the first time, to prototype ideas early in the development programme and project cycle in order to test, and prove, what works and what can then be scaled up. Kolba, UNDP Armenia?s innovations lab, is responsible for experimentation in new approaches to development assistance and for working with other projects and programmes to integrate these new approaches. Lessons learned from experiments/pilots and UNDP Armenia?s broader programmes are disseminated in multimedia communications. The Communications Associate will be working more closely with the RBM focal point, Kolba and Programme teams to link corporate learning, capacity development, RBM, innovation and knowledge management. The use of conventional media tools, such as press releases, news articles and success stories, audio-video materials, has been augmented by non-conventional media tools, such as websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 UNDP Armenia website updated to document experiences and lessons learned
[Added: 2017/11/21]
UNDP Communications Associate in cooperation with the Programme team 2020/12 Completed UNDP lessons learned and experience is presented through communications narrative and audio-visuals on UNDP Armenia website. At present, the country office website is been revamped. History
4.2 UNDP Armenia social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) accounts created and updated
[Added: 2017/11/21]
UNDP Communications Associate in cooperation with the Kolba team 2020/12 Completed Diversified communications and public outreach new approaches are broadly applied in country office History
4.3 UNDP Communications Strategy revised
[Added: 2017/11/21]
UNDP Communications Associate in cooperation with the Kolba team 2020/12 Completed Reviewed annually
4.4 Monitoring missions to project sites to capture the successes and lessons learned
[Added: 2017/11/21]
UNDP Communications Associate in cooperation with the Programme and the Kolba teams 2020/12 Completed Done regularly History
5. Recommendation: Recommendation 5: UNDP Armenia should strive to adopt a more holistic, sustained, longterm and multipronged approach in order to more fully and explicitly integrate gender equality components into all areas of work. UNDP Armenia should focus not only on genderresponsive, but on gender-transformative contributions that can fast-track development and address power relations and cultural structures.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/29]

Management Response: The Country Office Gender Mainstreaming Strategy is currently being updated by the Country Office to align to new approaches in the UNDP Gender Equality Strategy and new Strategic Plan.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 UNDP Armenia to update the Country Office Gender Mainstreaming Strategy for integrating gender equality into all areas of work
[Added: 2017/11/21]
Gender focal point in collaboration with Senior Management and Programme team 2016/12 Completed UNDP Armenia Gender Equality Strategy is updated and posted on public web site.
5.2 UNDP Armenia to update project review procedure to ensure gender is fully mainstreamed into all projects
[Added: 2017/11/21]
Deputy Resident Representative/Gender focal point in collaboration with Senior Management and Programme Team 2018/12 Completed
5.3 Provide training for UNDP key personnel on gender mainstreaming
[Added: 2017/11/21]
Gender focal point 2020/12 Completed Provided regularly through training format or bilateral consultations
6. Recommendation: Recommendation 6: As Armenia is a country prone to disasters, UNDP should explore how to further integrate and mainstream DRR into all its programmes and initiatives.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/29]

Management Response: UNDP Armenia will update the project review procedure to ensure DRR is mainstreamed into projects, with clear criteria and indicators. All areas of work proposed in UNDP?s new Strategic Plan are aimed at building resilience whether, for instance, through greater employment and livelihoods, more equitable access to resources, better protection against economic and environmental shocks ? so this recommendation will be implemented as the Country Office aligns its programmes and planning to the new Strategic Plan.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 UNDP Armenia to update project review procedure to ensure Disaster Risk Reduction is fully mainstreamed into projects
[Added: 2017/11/21] [Last Updated: 2019/01/22]
RBM focal point, Environmental Governance portfolio 2020/12 Completed UNDP Armenia developed "Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction in Programme" short concept with the timeline (attached), which is to be implemented as part of 2019 Integrated Work Plan. History
6.2 Development of Disaster Risk Reduction mainstreaming criteria and indicators toolkit. Testing the toolkit within the UNDP projects
[Added: 2017/11/21] [Last Updated: 2019/01/22]
Environmental Governance portfolio, Regional Technical Advisor 2020/12 Completed UNDP Armenia developed "Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction in Programme" short concept with the timeline (attached), which is to be implemented as part of 2019 Integrated Work Plan. History
6.3 Provide training for UNDP key personnel on Disaster Risk Reduction mainstreaming
[Added: 2017/11/21] [Last Updated: 2019/01/22]
Environmental Governance Portfolio 2020/12 Completed UNDP Armenia developed "Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction in Programme" short concept with the timeline (attached), which is to be implemented as part of 2019 Integrated Work Plan. History
6.4 Development of monitoring and evaluation mechanism to track effectiveness of the toolkit
[Added: 2017/11/21] [Last Updated: 2019/01/22]
Environmental Governance Portfolio, Regional Technical Advisor 2020/12 Completed UNDP Armenia developed "Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction in Programme" short concept with the timeline (attached), which is to be implemented as part of 2019 Integrated Work Plan. History
7. Recommendation: Recommendation 7: UNDP should further improve results-based management and monitoring and evaluation of the programme at the outcome level, and work with coherent and comprehensive theories of change to map assumptions and ensure complex contexts and the multifaceted nature of development are considered to contribute to development, behavioural and transformational change.
Management Response: [Added: 2014/12/29]

Management Response: It is noted that outcome evaluations are costly and resources need to be available to fully implement this recommendation. Monitoring and reporting will increase efforts to produce and use evidence based data focused on outcomes to cover learning and accountability; and the feasibility of strengthening RBM and increasing the number of evaluations will be further discussed during CPD design.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Participate in HQ Alignment exercise to ensure full alignment with the new strategic plan
[Added: 2017/11/21]
Deputy Resident Representative, RBM focal point 2016/12 Completed Outcome evaluations have been planned within the framework of UNDP Armenia 2016 - 2020 Evaluation Plan History

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