Partnership Framework for Development evaluation

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Turkmenistan
Evaluation Type:
Outcome
Planned End Date:
10/2019
Completion Date:
11/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
10,000

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Title Partnership Framework for Development evaluation
Atlas Project Number: 00116719
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Turkmenistan
Evaluation Type: Outcome
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2019
Planned End Date: 10/2019
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty and MDG
  • 2. Democratic Governance
  • 3. Crisis Prevention & Recovery
  • 4. Environment & Sustainable Development
  • 5. Cross-cutting Development Issue
  • 6. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 7.1. Global consensus on completion of MDGs and the post 2015 agenda informed by contributions from UNDP
Evaluation Budget(US $): 10,000
Source of Funding: UNDP
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 29,259
Joint Programme: Yes
Joint Evaluation: Yes
  • Joint with UN Agencies
  • Joint with UN Agencies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Council of Ministers
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: UN Agencies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Council of Ministers
Countries: TURKMENISTAN
Lessons
Findings
1.

CHAPTER 4: MAIN FINDINGS

This evaluation‘s findings are organized in the following four sections: i) relevance (the extent to which the programme has been relevant to the country‘s priorities and needs); ii) effectiveness (whether the programme has been effective in achieving planned outcomes); iii) efficiency (whether the delivery of results has been efficient); and, iv) sustainability (the extent to which programme benefits are likely to be sustained).

4.1. RELEVANCE

This section provides an assessment of the relevance of the work of the UN system in the country according to the following three criteria: 1. Alignment with country priorities defined in national strategies, policies and programmes.; 2. Responsiveness to country needs, especially those of the neediest and most disadvantaged.; 3. Extent to which UN contributions are valued by partners and beneficiaries. Figure 9: Assessment of Relevance.

4.1.1. Alignment with Government Priorities

Overall, UN‘s work in the country has been well-aligned with national priorities articulated in strategic documents in areas where UN agencies have been working. First of all, UN‘s contributions have been aligned with Turkmenistan‘s National Programme for Socio-Economic Development (2011-2030). This alignment is demonstrated in the PFD‘s Results and Resources Framework (RRF), which maps planned PFD outcomes to specific national development goals in the national programme for socio-economic development. Further, the table below shows linkages between PFD outcomes and the six overarching objectives of the National Programme for Socio-Economic Development. As can be seen from the table, all PFD outcomes directly support the achievement of national development objectives. PFD‘s outcome 1 is peculiar in that through improved data availability and quality, and hence improved policy making, it supports the achievement of all other PFD outcomes and national development objectives. Table 8: National Programme Objectives and PFD Outcomes.


Tag: Coherence Relevance Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Civic Engagement Human rights Rule of law Policies & Procedures Results-Based Management Country Government SDG Integration

2.

4.1.2. Responsiveness to Country Needs

As will be seen throughout this report, one key feature of the work of the UN system in the present programme cycle has been its significant focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged people – the poor, children, youth, women, persons with disabilities or health challenges, etc. Such focus has enabled the UNCT‘s work to be largely compliant with the - no one left behind -principle espoused by the UN at the global level. During the PFD period, the government has made progress in integrating equity and rights-based approaches into national policies and programmes, thus promoting the rights of vulnerable people. Although gender equality has been one of the guiding principles for many activities, it has still not become a key driver of support provided by the agencies. With UN support, national institutions have begun to mainstream gender equality concerns into policies and decision making, but this work requires a lot more sustained efforts. The Gender Scorecard exercise conducted in 2016 by the UNCT generated a score between 2 and 3.5 for the eight dimensions of the assessment (see Table 9 below). These scores – which fall between - inadequate and - needs improvement categories – indicate that a lot more work is required to strengthen the gender dimension of the UN‘s work. Table 9: Average Score for Each Dimension of the Gender Scorecard.

The meetings conducted in the framework of this evaluation in all the regions (velayats) reveled a better perception among stakeholders of the PFD‘s focus on the disadvantaged. Further, 75% of UN staff who responded to the online survey indicated that the PFD had addressed the needs of women, children and the most vulnerable groups and had adequately incorporated gender equality and rights of children and PwDs as a cross-cutting principle. Further, about 95% of UN staff thought that the PFD had adequately incorporated human rights as a cross-cutting principle. A major guiding principle of UN programming has been sustainable development, guided by the national SDG framework. As will be highlighted in the following sections (especially, the sections on outcome areas 6 and 7 in the effectiveness chapter), many UN activities have been underpinned by the principles of environmental sustainability. Stakeholders interviewed for this evaluation indicated that the UN has been instrumental not only in supporting the government in refining development priorities and adopting its own SDG targets and indicators, but also in integrating environmental protection, climate change mitigation and adaptation and disaster risk reduction into national plans and programmes. About 96% of UN staff who responded to the online survey thought that the PFD had adequately incorporated environmental sustainability as a cross-cutting principle. Also, UN‘s work in the area of data generation and analysis, including disaggregation by gender and other key dimensions, is very relevant in light of country needs. During the field work, interview after interview confirmed the real challenge around the lack of data for many areas of policy making. This was strongly confirmed not only by development partners, who are seriously constrained in their work by the lack of statistics and clear baselines, but also by certain government departments. The importance of this work also came up in the online survey conducted with UN staff. Lack of data was one of the major challenges they identified when asked about the negative factors that had affected the achievement of PFD results. One crucial instrument supported by the UN in this area has been the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), which has not only helped authorities establish baselines for selected indicators, but has also enabled them to collect disaggregated information and thus obtain a much better understanding of vulnerabilities by location, sector, and many other dimensions. Another important feature of the UN programme has been the fact that it has responded not only to the needs of the stakeholders at the central level in Ashgabat, but has also delivered tangible contributions to the communities in the regions (velayats). At this level too, the focus of interventions has been on the needy and vulnerable – children, women, youth and persons with disabilities.


Tag: Local Governance Partnership Strategic Positioning UN Country Team Inclusive economic growth Data and Statistics Private Sector Vulnerable Challenges Relevance Government Cost-sharing Gender Mainstreaming Civic Engagement Human rights

3.

4.2. EFFECTIVENESS

This section provides an assessment of achievements of the UNCT in the period in question. The first part examines how those achievements were planned in the PFD document and its Results and Resources Framework (RRF). The second part compares the commitments the UNCT had made at the beginning of the programme with what it has actually achieved and provides a broad overview of UN‘s major contributions to the country‘s development process.

4.2.1. Programme Design

With regards to the design of the PFD, it should be recognized that the UNCT has invested significant efforts in developing a comprehensive programme document and RRF. The PFD document lays out with clarity the country context, development needs and priorities and the UN‘s strategic approach to contributing to those needs and priorities. Interventions under each outcome area are described in clear terms and linked to the broader context. The PFD document does also a good job in linking outcome areas to specific national development goals under Turkmenistan‘s National Programme for Socio-Economic Development (2011-2030). Furthermore, institutional arrangements for the PFD implementation are described with clarity and have turned out to be as were designed in the document – including key structures such as the NSCC, Result Groups, etc. This evaluation provides two suggestions for improvement in the new cooperation framework (see recommendations section for more details on this). First, the first outcome on data/statistics does not have to be a stand-alone outcome area, as it is in the current programme. It is understandable that this is a major area of work for the UN in the country, and that the availability and quality of data is a major challenge in Turkmenistan not only for UN agencies, but also for government bodies which need baselines to plan and monitor activities. And the magnitude of the contributions of the UN agencies in this programme cycle in this area is unquestionable. However, given the cross-cutting nature of data, it is still possible to pay the same degree of attention to this matter and at the same time have it integrated into substantive areas such as health and education. Such integration will allow for better discussion of policy issues in Result Groups and better policy making both at the level of the UN and government. Second, the two environmental outcomes (5 and 6) should be merged. There are already many overlaps between these two outcomes and, given the high level of the PFD document, they will be better understood and managed together.


Tag: Effectiveness Gender Mainstreaming Policies & Procedures Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Data and Statistics

4.

4.2. EFFECTIVENESS (continuation)

4.2.2. Achievement of Outcomes and Main Contributions

Achievement of Outcomes

The UNCT tracks all RRF indicators through a spreadsheet which it updates every year. Progress on the achievement of RRF targets for all outcomes areas is shown in the tables in Annex VIII of this report (PFD Results Framework). The information in these tables is provided by the UNRC Office based on their monitoring tool. While data for most indicators is available from this spreadsheet (as can be seen from the tables), given the challenges and limitations discussed above, it is was challenging to draw a solid picture of progress made on achievement of targets as set in the PFD document. However, for all the weaknesses of the current framework, it is possible to make an assessment of progress towards the achievement of targets based on the information provided by the UNCT on the basis of their monitoring and reporting tools and were not independently verified by the evaluator in the course of this assignment (an independent collection or verification of detailed quantitative information did not fall under the scope of this evaluation). The table below presents a tally of the achievement of targets based on information available at the beginning of 2019. Also, the assessment of whether a target is on track to being met by the end of 2020 is based on extrapolation of progress made in the period 2016-2018.Table 11: Achievement of PFD Targets. From the table, we can see that based on the way the indicators are currently framed and interpreted all eight outcome targets are on track to being met at the end of the PFD period. The table also lists some challenges with indicators in each outcome area, some of which were described in the previous section. As has already been mentioned, a detailed analysis of these challenges could be the subject of a separate assessment. So, the focus of the rest of this section will be on some concrete contributions that the UN has provided to the country.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact Civic Engagement Policies & Procedures Results-Based Management Theory of Change UN Country Team Capacity Building

5.

4.2. EFFECTIVENESS (continuation)

2. Education

In the area of education, the UN has supported the development of a range of policies and programmes, which are shown in Annex IX of this report among other sectors (outcomes areas). A few crucial policy instruments worth pointing out here are the drafting of a new Early Childhood Development Strategy for 2019-202446 and the 2013 Youth Policy Law and State Programme on Youth Policy for 2015-2020 and its Action Plan. UNICEF, in particular, has supported the development of a range of policy documents on pre-school and pre-primary policy and an operational plan for the introduction of universal pre-primary education. UNICEF and UNESCO have been supporting the Ministry of Education in the establishment of an electronic Management Information System (E-MIS) for the education sector, which is expected to improve data collection and analysis, measurement of quality of education and monitoring of progress in the sector. UNFPA‘s promotion of youth peer-to-peer approach resulted in the opening of three youth centers under the Ministry of Education and Youth Organization. This initiative represents a platform for young people to connect and promote reproductive health issues and rights using youth friendly approaches. Also, with UN support, the Ministry of Education is expanding the youth education network and integrating peer-to-peer education on reproductive health into the work of the centers.

UNICEF has supported the development of professional standards for early childhood educators with a focus on pre-primary education and a training programme for quality teaching. Support was also provided on the formulation of a policy document on child-friendly standards across pre-school, primary and secondary education. The policy document also guides the inclusion of children with disabilities in participatory learning environments. With UNICEF support, the Ministry of Education approved the pre-primary curriculum resource and parental empowerment documents with child-friendly school readiness measurement tools. Further, the topics of sexual and reproductive health have been introduced into school curricula. UNFPA has supported the development of a set age-appropriate comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education standards and the updating of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Education manual for teachers. Reproductive health is now included into mandatory school subjects (Basics of Life Skills). UNICEF has assisted with the introduction of inclusive kindergarten-based services for children with disabilities based on the social model of disability and early identification and intervention. These services are delivered by a team of professionals, including a developmental pediatrician, pedagogue, early communication specialist, psychologists, physical and occupational therapist. Based in regular kindergartens, these services improve the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream education and society. 


Tag: Effectiveness Civic Engagement Reproductive Health Policies & Procedures UN Agencies Disabilities Education Social Protection Youth Leaving no one behind SDG Integration

6.

4.2. EFFECTIVENESS (continuation)

4. Health

UNCT‘s focus in the area of health has been the improvement of the quality of health services, especially for children, women and adolescents. The main dimensions of this work have been nutrition, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and its risk factors, mental health, disability prevention, communicable diseases, including pandemic influenza preparedness, infectious diseases hazard management, tuberculosis and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB and MDRTB), environment and health, food safety, health systems, access to medicines and other health technologies and strengthening regulatory capacity, human resources for health, health information system, early detection and prevention of diseases, etc. During the period in question, UNCT has assisted the government in the adoption of a number of policies and strategies to implement the National Programmes (Health) for 2016-2020. A large part of the policies and programmes listed in Annex IX of this report – which shows all policies and programmes developed with UN support – belongs to the health sector. Furthermore, as has been mentioned in the previous sections, WHO has also helped partner organizations to improve the availability and quality data in the health sector by conducting a number of surveys on nutrition and key risk factors of NCDs – i.e. urban food environment (FEED cities), obesity in children (COSI), prevalence of risk factors for NCD (STEPS), second drug resistant survey (DRS-2), joint WHO-UNICEF evaluation of Turkmenistan‘s Nutrition Programme for 2013-2017, etc. This report‘s Annex X shows all data-related initiatives supported by the UN, including the list of initiatives related to the health sector which is quite impressive.


Tag: Effectiveness Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Human rights Health Sector Non-Communicable Diseases Pandemic Reproductive Health Policies & Procedures Service delivery UN Agencies Disabilities Capacity Building Coordination Data and Statistics Youth

7.

4.2. EFFECTIVENESS (continuation)

5. Environmental Sustainability and Energy

Efficiency UN activities in this area have focused on promoting sustainable practices of energy efficiency, use of renewables, urban development and waste management. At the policy level, the UNDP has supported the development of the national action plan for the rational use of energy in residential buildings and the revision of the National Strategy on Climate Change, including a plan to implement the Paris Agreement. UNDP has also launched the Sustainable Cities initiative which is expected to strengthen the policy framework around the management of cities. At the practical level, UNDP has piloted a gravity-flow approach to irrigation municipal water supply, which resulted in improved irrigation and stable access to quality drinking water for 35,000 residents, shut-down of 40 water pumps and reduction of associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This initiative has potential for replication in other regions. Over 120 irrigation pumps, including 44 diesel ones which are part of the water management system were audited to assess pump efficiency, energy consumption and potential for emissions reductions. The audit revealed that up to 50% of energy can be saved through replacement of old and inefficient pumps and adequate pump maintenance. Based on the findings, UNDP has procured and installed energy efficient pumps to demonstrate the modern pumping technologies. Results of ongoing monitoring and comparison exercise will lay the ground for recommendations for further strategic development of the water pumping sector resulting in major reduction of GHG. Pump regulations are now being revised to introduce more stringent energy efficiency standards to ensure long-term emissions reductions. UNDP has also piloted the construction of energy efficient buildings, contributing to the adoption of four new building codes in the residential sector. UN agencies have also supported public awareness campaigns and events targeted at environmental sustainability and environmentally-friendly waste management. UNICEF and UNDP have introduced climate change related subjects into school curricula and provided the required training for pedagogical staff. UNDP introduced the Climate Box education toolkit in educational institutions and provided training to teachers and methodologists. UNICEF has supported integration of climate change topics into primary and secondary school curricula. Also, UNDP supported the formulation of the Sixth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity which was submitted to the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Overall, UN support in this area has contributed to research and piloting of energy efficiency, use of renewables and waste management in rural and urban areas. Going forward, what will be crucial in this area is the extent to which some of the measures that have been promoted and piloted will be scaled up and implemented nation-wide. As will be seen further in this report, the piloting of new models and solutions requires a more systematic approach and better follow up over time. Also, the sustainability and scaling up of piloted infrastructure projects requires continued financing beyond the lifetime of a piloting project. Hence, to ensure sustainability and replication in areas such as energy efficiency or waste management, it will be important to link piloting initiatives to market-based solutions from the private sector, such as financing from the banking sector. In general, there are opportunities for stronger engagement of the private sector in these types of initiatives.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Disaster Risk Reduction Biodiversity Energy Effectiveness Women's Empowerment Policies & Procedures Strategic Positioning Capacity Building Policy Advisory Data and Statistics Vulnerable

8.

4.2. EFFECTIVENESS (continuation)

8. Rule of Law

One of the key contributions of the UN in the area of human rights has been the support for the establishment of the institution of the ombudsperson, with the first ever Ombudsperson of the country elected in 2017. The UN has conducted capacity building activities, including provision of information about good practices in the Central Asia region and beyond, presentation of guiding international standards and principles for the establishment of Ombudsperson Office, particularly to the Global Alliance of the National Human Rights Institutions. UN agencies have also facilitated the dialogue of the new Ombudsperson with the civil society. Another major achievement in this area has been the close cooperation that the UNCT has developed with the National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (currently renamed to the Institute of State, Law and Democracy), which led to the development of the National Human Rights Action Plan and a number of specific human rights plans – for instance, the National Action Plan on Gender Equality, National Action Plan on Combating Human Trafficking, National Plan of Action for Realization of Child Rights, and National Action Plan on the Elimination of Statelessness. What is notable here is that the Government of Turkmenistan has provided funding (cost-sharing) for the development and implementation of human rights action plans.

UN agencies have contributed to the development or amendment of key pieces of legislation, such as the law on Human Rights Ombudsperson, Combating Human Trafficking, Criminal Code, etc. The government has been assisted to also develop relevant policies to address in an integrated manner emerging cross-border issues, including flows of goods and people. IOM has assisted the establishment of a Working Group for the development of procedures for the determination of statelessness, by which identification and documentation of stateless migrants will be possible. UN also supported the establishment of the State Service for Combating Economic Crimes and the national response to the implementation of the Paris Pact on combating illegal financial flows. Also, a number of analytical documents focused on the rights of disadvantaged groups have been formulated with UN support. These include the situation analyses on children, women and youth, analysis of women rights, assessment of the State Programme for Juvenile Justice, etc.

UN has also assisted Turkmenistan in meeting its international obligations as a signatory to major international and regional agreements (see the box below for more details). In addition to supporting the development of key national human rights action plans (mentioned above), the UN has also organized a series of events aimed at supporting their implementation. Further, the UNCT has assisted the government‘s reporting to the Universal Periodic Review, as well as the Committee on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT), etc. Box 10: UNCT’s support to the country’s international human rights commitments.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Human rights Justice system Rule of law Policies & Procedures Results-Based Management Disabilities Data and Statistics

9.

4.3. EFFICIENCY

This section provides an assessment of the efficiency of the UN programme by focusing on key parameters closely associated with efficient management. 

- Operational efficiencies such as budget execution rates and timeliness of activities; 

- Strength of cooperation among UN agencies which allows the UNCT to deepen interventions through pooled efforts and synergies; 

- Quality of collaboration between the UNCT and the Government.


Tag: Efficiency Operational Efficiency Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management UN Agencies Coordination

10.

4.3. EFFICIENCY

4.3.2. Cooperation among UN Agencies

One of the most essential factors of efficiency in the context of UN programming is the strength and quality of cooperation among UN agencies. This is the main purpose behind the Delivering as One agenda promoted by the UN globally. This is also one of the main motivations behind the restructuring of the institution of the UN Resident Coordinator. Therefore, this section will focus on cooperation within the UN family in the context of Turkmenistan. Overall, UN staff who responded to the online survey identified the good cooperation among the UN agencies as one of the key positive factors in the current programme cycle. There are a number of factors that have been important in facilitating cooperation. The following are the most important ones.

- Role of the PFD as a planning tool – The PFD has been an important instrument for coordination among UN agencies. More than 90% of UN staff who responded to the online survey answered that the PFD has created complementarities among UN agencies and has contributed to increased collaboration between them. About 75% thought that the PFD has created a clearer division of labor among agencies. Also, about 80% stated that the PFD has created a UN system that is more effective than the work of individual agencies. However, when it comes to actual synergies and efficiencies, the response was less consistent. Only 60% thought that the PFD has contributed to better synergies among programmes of the agencies and less than 40% agreed that the PFD has contributed to a reduction of transaction costs in their agency.


Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Efficiency Resource mobilization Gender Mainstreaming Gender-Based Violence Joint UN Programme Knowledge management Partnership Policies & Procedures UN Agencies UN Country Team Capacity Building Coordination SDG monitoring and reporting

11.

4.4. SUSTAINABILITY

The strong national ownership of the PFD programme (which has already been discussed in previous sections) is the most important aspect of the programme‘s sustainability because it ensures that changes effectuated by the agencies‘ work will last beyond the intervention. Also, another important factor of sustainability is the programme‘s good balance between support for economic growth on the one hand, and support for vulnerable populations and environmental sustainability on the other. Other key aspects of sustainability that will be reviewed below are: i) policy implementation; ii) pilots, replication, and institutionalization; iii) sustainability of funding; and, iv) information sharing and awareness raising.

4.4.1. Policy Implementation

A common feature of UN‘s work in this programme cycle, with important implications for the sustainability of its interventions, has been its significant focus on policy formulation. This can be seen from the description of main contributions in the previous sections, as well as the extensive list of policies, programmes and laws developed with the support of UN agencies which is shown in Annex IX to this report. In each outcome area, the agencies have provided major contributions to the development of policy. Also, the support the UN agencies have provided to their counterparts on the improvement of the availability and quality of data has been crucial for strengthening policy analysis and the monitoring and evaluation of policies. However, as can be seen in the figure below, the analysis, formulation and monitoring and evaluation of policy is not enough – it is crucial that policies get implemented and implementation requires that the focus be placed not only on the development of policies and strategies, but also on the development of the capabilities of the respective organizations to implement them. Figure 12: Policy Cycle

Insufficient implementation was identified as a serious challenge by many stakeholders interviewed for this evaluation. There are cases when approved plans and strategies exist on paper, but often do not get fully implemented. Also, there tends to be a disconnect between what gets stated on paper with regards to gender equality and what gets implemented in reality. The lack of implementation has an impact on the sustainability of UN initiatives supporting policy reforms, including exercises such as gender mainstreaming, because in such situations UN interventions are unable to turn outputs (such as policies, regulations, studies, etc.) into sustained action leading to improved outcomes. At a basic level, this requires the development of actions plans which spell out specific measures and activities that will be undertaken to ensure the implementation of a policy. Not all strategies supported by the UN have specific action plans. However, recognizing this challenge, the UN agencies have provided significant contributions in the development of a number of action plans across sectors (as discussed in the previous sections of this report). For example, the human rights action plans mentioned previously are important because they lay out specific measures and activities to be undertaken by specific actors. Also, the development of the M&E framework attached to the human rights action plan (along with the indicators, targets, timeline for implementation, and parties responsible for implementation) is a significant achievement because it facilitates the implementation of activities.

However, even action plans are not sufficient. There is also a need to identify and allocate the financial resources that are necessary for implementation. This is a challenge for a number of instruments developed with the support of the UN. For example, for the plans to become fully implementable and their results sustainable, specific budget allocations from the state budget should be identified for each activity. This is also the case with regards to the SDGs – their achievement requires clear budget allocations from the state budget. Further, as outlined in the gender scorecard assessment of the UNCT, there is a need to mainstream more effectively gender concerns into action plans and associated budgets. In particular, gender-sensitive budgeting remains a challenge to the UNCT and national partners. Gender focal points in the individual agencies lack the adequate capacity to carry out their mainstreaming work and their TOR need to be revised based on the concept and methods for mainstreaming.

Overall, in order to ensure sustainability, support to policy making should be linked more closely to the country‘s public financial management system. The UN recognizes that there is a possible risk of disconnect between its work at the policy level and the reality on the ground. The UN‘s Annual Report for 2018 states that to ensure sustainability of results and their scale-up in education, it is important that sectoral or multi-sectoral policy documents also contain relevant sectoral budgetary allocations. Also, UNICEF‘s Strategic Moment of Reflection recognizes this challenge and focuses on the need to operationalize the National Plan of Action on Realization of Child Rights. It pays particular attention to the organization‘s work in the area of Public Financial Management (PFM). The document highlights the need for UNICEF to reinforce its capacity and presence in PFM and support the capacities of the Ministry of Finance and Economy and line ministries in PFM and outcome-based budget formulation. Overall, there is a need for more focus on the implementation of laws and regulations. Activities should focus not only on passing laws and strategies, but also on ensuring their effective implementation. At the level of programme design, the UN could take a more systematic approach to the support it provides to national partners, covering the whole policy-makingspectrum, including implementation. Policy and strategy documents should be accompanied with action plans and should be linked to the budget. There should also be more focus on the establishment of systems that track implementation parameters linked to results, rather than inputs/outputs, and assess the sustainability of achievements.


Tag: Challenges Sustainability Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Operational Efficiency Ownership Policies & Procedures Country Government

12.

4.4. SUSTAINABILITY (continuation)

4.4.3. Sustainability of Funding

The availability and sustainability of programme funding emerged as the top challenge in interviews with UN staff. This was also confirmed by the online survey conducted with agency staff. This is a challenge for the agencies for a number of reasons. First, Turkmenistan is an upper-middle income country and as such it does not attract a lot of donor interest. Furthermore, because of political constraints, there are limited opportunities for work in the area of governance and human rights, and consequently limited funding for these areas in which the UN plays an important role globally. Another factor is the weakness of the private sector, which in the country remains small. In these conditions, government cost-sharing has emerged as a crucial component of the funding strategy of some UN agencies. In UNCT‘s Joint Resource Mobilization Strategy for 2017-2020, cost-sharing is indeed identified as a main source of funding. As has already been noted and shown in the table below, the 2016-2018 PFD programme has actually involved significant costsharing by the government. In the three-year period since the beginning of this PFD cycle, government financing (cost-sharing) has constituted about 35% of all spending by UN agencies. The table below shows that this type of financing represents a significant share of the expenditure of the three major resident agencies (UNDP, UNFPA and WHO). Table 15: Share of Government Financing to Total Expenditure (2016-2018).

As shown in the table below, cost-sharing from the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry (MOHMI) has been significant. It has focused on health services in the areas of communicable diseases (TB, HIV, viral hepatitis), NCDs and reproductive health commodities. Another major initiative funded by MOHMI has been on the regional cooperation to implement the global health treaty on Tobacco Control and to reach the goals of the 2017-2021 National Programme and Plan of Action on the realization of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Other government entities that have provided significant financing are the Customs Service and the Statistics Committee. Table 16: Government Cost-sharing for 2016-2018 (in USD).

Going forward, there is a need for greater financial capacity of UN agencies to respond to unmet demand from national partners for collaboration and support. The UNCT should explore financing models that increase availability of funding for programming in strategic areas where there is unmet demand. This could include:

- A broader co-financing framework between the UN and government, allowing for increased funding that can be tapped more flexibly on a needs‘ basis. If such an overarching co-financing framework will have to be established, it will need to be coordinated by the UNRC Office.

- Trilateral partnerships between the UN system, government and International Financial Institutions or other multilateral organizations, where each party brings substantial contributions and comparative advantages to the table. Here as well, the UNRC Office can play a major role in coordinating the agencies.

- Greater engagement of the private sector in the resolution of development problems and the achievement of national SDGs and other national priorities.


Tag: Efficiency Sustainability Government Cost-sharing Resource mobilization Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Health Sector Reproductive Health Communication Knowledge management Donor Private Sector UN Country Team Technology Advocacy SDG Integration

13.

4.2. EFFECTIVENESS - 4.2.2. Achievement of Outcomes and Main Contributions -Achievement of Outcomes (Continuation from Finding 4)

Sustainable Development Goals

A large number of UN activities have taken place around the SDGs. This work has contributed to all outcome areas, but will be reviewed here because of its direct linkages to quality of data and access to statistics. UN support to the government for the establishment of a national SDG framework has been considerable. UN agencies have played a key role in the SDGs nationalization process, including establishment of the national institutional mechanism and monitoring framework.


Tag: Communication Knowledge management Policies & Procedures UN Agencies Advocacy Awareness raising Institutional Strengthening Policy Advisory Data and Statistics Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) SDG monitoring and reporting Voluntary National Review

14.

4.2. EFFECTIVENESS - 4. Health (Continuation from Finding 6)

UNICEF has worked closely with the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry to address critical gaps in survival and development of children with a range of life-saving interventions combined with policy and regulation development and putting it into the practice: (i) standards of quality of young child care and essential drug list for children under 5; (ii) perinatal mortality audit with UNFPA (iii) introduction of the international quality assurance tools into the practice of the maternities and children hospitals with focus to implement the Global Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP). UNICEF‘s support has been also reflected in two other directions: providing technical assistance in 1) development of the national standards on delivering early identification and intervention service for care of children under five; 2) building capacity of local professionals, working in health and education with establishing pathways for multi-sectoral cooperation with digitalization of early identification services. UNICEF‘s advocacy and technical support has made significant progress towards creating an enabling environment for Early Childhood Development at the policy level. This includes adoption the National Concept on Development Pediatrics and Early Identification and Intervention for 2016-2020.

In the area of nutrition, UNICEF has supported the development of a regulatory framework for Infant and Young Child feeding, with all maternities and primary health care facilities in the country transforming in line with the Baby Friendly Initiative programme. A Food Fortification Monitoring and Surveillance System (FORTIMAS) was established to track nutrition indicators and effects of the food fortification programme. In support of government‘s efforts to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), WHO‘s efforts have focused on preventive measures related to key NCD risk factors – cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic pulmonary diseases. One of the most significant steps in the health sector at the regional and global level was the adoption of the Ashgabat Declaration, which established a roadmap for action to control NCDs in the European Region and around the world. The Ashgabat declaration was adopted during the WHO European Ministerial Conference on the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases in the Context of Health 2020 that was held in Ashgabat in 2013. The UN has assisted the development of surveys examining the link between nutrition and risk factors. Significant progress has been made in limiting the use of tobacco – Turkmenistan has the lowest rate of smokers in the region. WHO has supported the government in adopting the National Programme on the implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control for 2017-2021, aiming to reduce tobacco prevalence of smoking among the adult population to 5% or less by 2025. Support has also been provided on the development of guidelines for tobacco cessation and treatment of tobacco addiction. Additionally, WHO has supported government in the development and approval of the Strategy on Mental Health Strategy on Prevention of Harmful Use of Alcohol and Strategy on Physical Activity.


Tag: Reproductive Health Policies & Procedures Quality Assurance UN Agencies Technology Institutional Strengthening National Institutions Vulnerable Women and gilrs Youth Health Crises Nutrition Pandemic

15.

4.2 Effectivness (Continuation from Finding 7)

7. Employment, Economic Diversification and Trade

In the area of economic diversification, employment and trade, UN‘s focus has been on capacity development, knowledge generation and sharing, and technical assistance to different actors, including government institutions, research entities and the private sector. A major UN contribution at the policy level has been the support for the development of the Programme of the President of Turkmenistan on Socio-Economic Development for 2019-2025, which has had a major focus on private sector development and economic diversification. The UN has also supported the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection in reviewing the national labour and employment legislation for compliance with international human rights obligations and ILO conventions. The UN also supported the government to align the national labour safety system with international standards. Also, in this area, the focus of activities has been on disadvantaged people – people with disabilities, youth, women, etc. UNDP has supported a needs assessment in the area of youth employment, which identified employment challenges that youth faced in rural and urban areas. The youth organization has become a training hub which provides support for soft skill trainings for vulnerable groups of young men and women. So far, trainings on communication skills, resume writing, job search and stress management to change violent behaviors have been offered to unemployed young men and women vulnerable on the labour market in major cities. Initiatives were undertaken to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities – including the first career fair in the country, which enabled them to meet representatives from the private sector, government, and non-governmental sector. In partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the Turkmen Deaf and Blind Society, the UN organized a forum to promote career opportunities for women with disabilities. It also sensitized government officials on issues of domestic unpaid work, occupational segregation, and structural barriers to the labour market. An active labour market programme for inclusive employment was initiated in pilot cities with the endorsement and support from the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population: profiling work as well as assessing motivation and counselling work for young men and women vulnerable on the labour market has been carried out by trained specialists of employment services in pilot cities of the country. 


Tag: Donor relations Policies & Procedures International Financial Institutions Inclusive economic growth Jobs and Livelihoods Poverty Reduction Trade and Development Capacity Building Civil Societies and NGOs National Institutions Private Sector

16.

4.3. EFFICIENCY - 4.3.2. Cooperation among UN Agencies (Continuation from Finding 10)

Most of cooperation among UN agencies in the current programme cycle has taken place in the first three levels – they have shared information and networks, knowledge and lessons learned, premises, etc. As far as the fourth level is concerned, there have been a number of joint activities, which are outlined in the â??Joint Implementation of the Common Chapters of the UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF Strategic Plans for 2018-2021 document. The following are some key examples: - Situation Analysis of Youth, conducted jointly by UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA. - Joint Assessment of the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) strategy, conducted by UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO. - Joint Analysis of Women Rights, conducted by UNFPA and UNICEF. - UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA support jointly the drafting of the national strategy for disaster risk reduction. - Introduction of climate change education in schools, supported jointly by UNICEF and UNDP. - Cooperation between WHO and UNDP in support to National TB Programme.- Within the framework of Result Group 1, UNICEF conducted a baseline assessment focusing on 55 child-related SDG indicators, providing a framework for similar assessments. - Another area of joint activities is the conduct of joint awareness raising events (i.e. 70th anniversary of adoption of the Declaration on Human Rights, Road Safety Week, SDG Month, 16 Days of Activism, etc.). - UNDP and UNFPA jointly supported participation of Turkmen youth delegates to ECOSOC Forum, held in New York in April 2019. ï?· Assessment of Health Information System and development of strategy – joint activity of WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA. · Joint development of Nutrition Action Plan by WHO and UNICEF.  - UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA supported the development of the National Risk Communication Strategy (2017) at the request of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry within the framework of the International Health Regulations.

Despite all these cooperation achievements, the agencies have not been able to implement joint programming. UNDP, UNICEF, WHO jointly submitted a proposal on disabilities to the UNPRPD Fund, but the application was not successful. There was also a Joint Program on Gender Equality developed by UNCT in 2016, but its implementation did not start due to no buy-in from the government and lack of financing. Another joint proposal on social services has been submitted to the SDG fund and the UNCT has been selected to develop a full-fledged programme. The development of joint programmes is something that should be explored more systematically in the new programme. But even outside the scope of joint programmes, there is potential for the agencies to achieve greater efficiencies by undertaking more joint activities (trainings, communications, advocacy, operations, etc.). The following are some areas where there are opportunities for the agencies to strengthen cooperation.

- Gender – UNCT could advocate with and sensitize government partners more effectively on gender than the individual agencies. This could include joint efforts on the development of gender-sensitive legislation (i.e. gender-based violence), implementation of international commitments, etc. While a joint communications strategy exists, the UNCT could adopt a joint advocacy and communication strategy and work plan to promote gender equality adapted to the Turkmenistan‘s context. It will be also beneficial for the agencies to adopt joint external communications on gender to ensure consistent messages and information and promote gender equality in external communications.


Tag: Resource mobilization Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Partnership Country Government UN Country Team Advocacy Awareness raising Capacity Building Data and Statistics SDG Integration

17.

Sustainability (Continuation from Finding 11)

4.4.2. Pilots, Replication and Institutionalization

UNCT activities in this cycle have had a significant focus on piloting and demonstrating innovative solutions to specific problems, with the expectation that if successful they will be replicated, scaled up and institutionalized. The key idea here is that UN is not in the business of itself solving Turkmenistan‘s problems, but helping national stakeholders identify systemic solutions to these problems. Annex XI of this report shows a list of pilot initiatives pursued in the current programme cycle. 

For all the importance of pilots, it is not always clear how they will be replicated and taken to scale. A major challenge is that some pilots are not fully institutionalized into national structures which can then take them forward sustainably. For example, interviews in the velayats showed that the youth centers established with the support of the UN do not have strong ownership. The question is whether these youth centers are sufficiently institutionalized to continue their existence in the long run. The same question applies to the water user associations in the agriculture sector. Also, the stakeholders involved in the gravity-flow pilot in Ahal did not seem to know how this pilot that has already shown positive results will be taken to scale throughout the country. Even the SDG center in Ashgabat does not seem to be resourced properly in financial and human resources‘ terms, so that it can become a permanent and vibrant institution. The innovative ideas on the achievement of SDGs that it is soliciting from young people are great, but to have real impact these ideas require financing which the SDG center is not able to provide. Further, UNICEF supported the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection in developing a framework for service delivery and piloting of community services, but the scheme has not been rolled out yet as funding requirements are not in place.Overall, there is a need to follow through on successfully piloted initiatives to ensure that they become systemic, scaled up or replicated and that effects are not limited in scope, but nation- or society-wide. This challenge has already been noted in some programme documents. UNICEF‘s Strategic Moment of Reflection noted the institutionalization and scaling up of new early intervention services that have been introduced with UNICEF’s support across the health and education sectors as a key priority. Also, the evaluation of the UNFPA programme recognized the importance of institutionalization through the integration of innovative pilots into existing national systems.


Tag: Sustainability Ownership Policies & Procedures Institutional Strengthening Data and Statistics SDG Integration National Institutions Youth

Recommendations
1

Improve Programme Design and Results-Based Management

2

Strengthen Inter-agency Cooperation

(Joint Programming; SDGs and Data; Advocacy, Awareness Raising and Communications; Trainings, Analytical Products, Strategies and Assessments; Gender)

 

3

Strengthen the UN Positioning and Impact

4

Improve engagement with Local Governments, Civil Society and Private SectorImprove engagement with Local Governments, Civil Society and Private Sector

5

Ensure sustainability of Structures created by Agencies

6

Ensure sustainability of Funding

7

Improve Administrative Efficiencies

8

RECOMMENDATIONS

Based on the analysis presented in this report, this evaluation report provides the following recommendations for the consideration of the PFD stakeholders.

Recommendation 1: Programme Design and Results-Based Management

- The new cooperation framework document will benefit from a more coherent Theory of Change which brings together all the different pieces of the programme under one unified framework. The Theory of Change should not be seen as a theoretical exercise, but as an opportunity to have a structured analysis and discussion about specific roles and responsibilities in the programme and the mechanisms through which the desired change at the level of institutions and behaviour happens.

- The outcome on data (in the current PFD) does not have to be a stand-alone outcome in the new cooperation framework. While work on data generation and quality is essential, it will be more effective to integrate it with the other substantive outcomes. In this way, each outcome area will have its data/statistical component which will inform discussions and policy making in the respective area.

- The two environmental outcomes should be merged together into a single outcome. As they currently stand, there is no need for having them separate. If more than one outcome is required to prioritize the large array of environmental protection, climate change, disaster risk management, waste management and energy efficiency issues, it is possible to have two outcomes. But in that case, the borders between the outcome areas should be clearly delineated.

- In preparation for the new cooperation framework, the Results Groups should review existing PFD indicators and targets and draw practical lessons from the experience with them. New indicators should be selected carefully to be meaningful and meet the SMART criteria. They could be fewer in number than currently, but stronger in terms of meaningfulness. Gender sensitivity needs to be incorporated in PFD formulations and avoid the usage of gender-blind terms. Furthermore, the new RRF should be firmly grounded in the national SDG framework and relevant state programmes.

- During programme implementation, the UNCT should track more effectively a number of parameters, some of which have been discussed in this report. They include overall expenditure not only across agencies, but also across outcomes, cost-sharing across the programme, pilot projects and their performance over time (further after the respective projects have ended), the status of adoption and implementation of various policy instruments, etc. The UNRC Office can play a major role here in establishing the systems that will allow the tracking of these parameters at the UN level.

- The process through which the new cooperation framework and the respective RFF will be developed should be highly participatory. Result Groups should be clearly the main vehicle for the development of the programme. However, the process should be inclusive of other stakeholders, especially from civil society, who are not part of the Result Groups.

9

Recommendation 2: Strengthening Inter-agency Cooperation

The UNCT, under the coordination of the UNRC Office, should explore and establish measures and incentives for closer cooperation between the agencies. The following are some key areas that were identified in this evaluation: 

Joint Programming – The UNCT, in partnership with local counterparts, should explore opportunities for creating and establishing incentives for the agencies to engage in joint programmes at the country level, taking into account the agencies‘ respective mandates and rules and regulations. The UNRC Office has a key role to play in the promotion of joint programming. This evaluation does not recommend a specific instrument or model – it is up to the UNCT and partners to explore different options and decide which ones are more suitable to the local conditions. Potential options that could be considered where feasible include government co-financing linked to joint programming criteria, establishment of national SDG pooled fund for the financing of joint activities, etc.

SDGs and Data – The UNCT should strengthen cooperation around data and the SDGs. With the coordination of the UNRC Office, the agencies should establish a clearer division of labour. This includes further mainstreaming of SDGs into national planning and budgeting processes, monitoring of SDGs (including the SDG database under development), etc. The agencies should also coordinate more closely all the ?data management systems? (education, health, etc.) they are supporting. The SDG platform that UNDP is supporting provides an opportunity for integration of the work of all UN agencies and national institutions in implementing, monitoring and reporting on the SDGs, but for it to be successful it should have the full buy-in and active involvement of all stakeholders.

Advocacy, Awareness Raising and Communications – UNCT should undertake more actively joint advocacy activities, especially around important issues such as human rights. Programmes should be designed taking into account recommendations from UN human rights mechanisms and bodies to address human rights issues, discrimination and embracing people in vulnerable groups (leaving no one behind). The agencies should further intensify cooperation in the area of communications to be able to deliver stronger one-voice messages on critical issues to external audiences.

Trainings, Analytical Products, Strategies and Assessments – UNCT should strengthen cooperation by organizing joint events and activities in areas where the potential for synergies is considerable. This includes the joint production of analytical products in sectors or areas of common interest, such as sectoral analyses or other areas, joint development of strategies or conduct of assessments, health systems strengthening, information management systems, joint organization of trainings for UN staff and national partners (in areas such as RBM, gender mainstreaming, human rights-based approaches, emergency preparedness and response, systemic approaches to disability programming, etc.). As in the other areas, the UNRC Office will have an important role to play in coordinating such joint activities.

Gender – UNCT should cooperate more actively on gender equality. The results of cooperation should be greater than the sum of the results of individual agencies. Cooperation should include joint efforts on the economic empowerment of women, education opportunities especially in post-secondary education for young women, development of gender-sensitive legislation and support services (i.e. gender-based violence), implementation of international commitments, social norms related to gender discrimination, gender representation in public communication and media, etc. The UNCT should adopt a joint advocacy and communication strategy and work plan to promote gender equality adapted to the Turkmenistan‘s context. It will be also beneficial for the agencies to adopt joint external communications on gender to ensure consistent messages and information and promote gender equality in external communications. Agencies should allocate resources for improving the capacity of their gender focal points to mainstream gender concerns into programming documents and activities. Gender focal points should be equipped with specific methodological tools on promoting gender mainstreaming within the work in their sectors, including clear steps on how to.Their TOR need to be revised based on the concept and methods for mainstreaming gender equality. 

10

Recommendation 3: Positioning and Impact

- UNCT should identify areas where it can create more depth at the expense of breadth. Given the agencies‘ small budgets and large breadth of areas covered by the PFD, the UNCT should conduct an assessment of areas where more depth, impact and value-added could be created. There will always be areas of key importance where there will be value in maintaining even limited activities, but in general this evaluation found that there are opportunities for consolidation and better synergies.

- The UN should maintain, and where possible strengthen, support in the area of statistics, which are essential for planning, implementation and monitoring of national and agency policies. Work in this area should concentrate on:

o Further enhancing the national SDG framework by further adopting methodologies, setting benchmarks, etc.;

o Further mainstreaming SDGs into the national planning and budgeting process;

o Strengthening the country‘s monitoring capabilities through further development and coordination of data management systems.

- Activities at the subnational level should be expanded where feasible and should be coordinated more closely or even integrated where possible. The scale of interventions is small at this level, so integrated approaches across agencies will not only be more efficient, but easier for the local governments and counterparts to manage. This should be done in line with the presidential programme targeting the modernization of the village. The Aral Sea Assessment by UNICEF demonstrates that the Dashoguz velayat is the most disadvantaged across all social-economic domains – this region represents an opportunity for coverage in a more rigorous and integrated fashion by the UNCT as a whole.

11

Recommendation 4: Engagement with Local Governments, Civil Society and Private Sector

- The UNCT should explore opportunities for more work with local governments, civil society and private sector. The UN could contribute to the key national priority of economic diversification by strengthening the crucial role of the private sector. The UNCT should also exploit more effectively the opportunity of using civil society organizations in providing community-based social services, building on existing regional networks. Engagement with both the private sector and CSOs will require more effective advocacy with the government as it is related to regulatory matters. 

12

Recommendation 5: Sustainability of Structures Created by Agencies

- The UNCT should follow through on successfully piloted initiatives to ensure that they become systemic, scaled up or replicated and that effects are not limited in scope, but nation- or society-wide. Pilots should be evaluated, adapted and integrated into the larger nation-wide efforts by these responsible parties. The design of projects that involve piloting should include a clear plan for what is expected from the pilot initiatives.

o How are they expected to be replicated?

o Under what timeframes?

o What resources will be required for the replication and scaling up? 

o Further, the agencies should track pilot initiatives over time and beyond the end of the project‘s lifetime to understand how they are doing in the long run.

- The UNCT should focus not only on the development of policies and strategies, but also on their implementation. This requires specific actions plans and identification of financing. Activities should focus not only on passing laws and strategies, but also on ensuring their effective implementation. Policy and strategy documents should be accompanied with action plans and should be linked to the budget. There should also be more focus on the establishment of systems that track implementation parameters linked to results, rather than inputs/outputs, and assess the sustainability of achievements.

13

Recommendation 6: Sustainability of Funding

- The UNCT needs greater financial capacity to respond to unmet demand for collaboration and support. The UNCT should explore financing models that increase availability of funding for programming in strategic areas where there is unmet demand. This could include:

o The UNCT and government could establish a broader co-financing framework which allows for increased funding and could be tapped more flexibly on a needs‘ basis.

o The UNCT should explore the feasibility of trilateral partnerships with International Financial Institutions and other multilateral organizations, where each party brings substantial contributions and comparative advantages.

o Also, partnerships with the private sector should be explored more effectively.

14

Recommendation 7: Administrative Efficiencies

- The UN and government should work towards streamlining administrative/bureaucratic procedures related to programme planning and implementation. The UNCT should improve its advocacy with the relevant government structures for the streamlining of bureaucratic procedures.

- The UNCT should strengthen its capacity to quickly mobilize support (i.e. expertise, etc.) where and when needed.

Management Response Documents
1. Recommendation:

Improve Programme Design and Results-Based Management

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/03] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Create a more coherent Theory of Change, which combines various pieces of the programme under one unified framework
[Added: 2019/11/03] [Last Updated: 2019/12/26]
UNCT\ Results Groups 2019/12 Completed Theory of change was developed for the new cooperation framework 2021-2025, including each Outcome has it's own ToC. New CF is now under review of Peer Support Group. History
1.2 Integrate work in data generation and quality with other “substantive outcomes”
[Added: 2019/11/03] [Last Updated: 2020/09/06]
UNCT\Results Groups 2020/09 Completed The data component has been included as part of each outcome of the new CF 2021-2025. One of the provisional outputs in each outcome is related to data. The outcome theory of change narrative has a reference to importance of data. History
1.3 Merge two environmental outcomes into single outcome
[Added: 2019/11/03] [Last Updated: 2019/12/08]
UNCT\ Results Groups 2019/11 Completed Done in the new Cooperation Framework 2021-2025 History
1.4 Review existing PFD indicators and targets and draw practical lessons from experience with them. Select new meaningful indicators, which meet SMART criteria. Firmly ground new RRF in national SDG framework and relevant state programmes
[Added: 2019/11/03] [Last Updated: 2020/08/03]
Results Groups 2020/04 Completed The review of the progress on the PFD Indicators by the Results Groups took place during the Annual meeting of the National Steering Committee in February 2020. The findings and recommendations of the Steering Committee were taken into account when developing the RGs Joint Work Plans for 2020. The lessons learned were helpful in the development of indicators for the Results Framework of the new Cooperation Framework for 2021-2020. They are aligned to the national SDG framework and being integrated into the national programs. History
1.5 Establish a highly participatory process of the development of the new cooperation framework and the respective RFF
[Added: 2019/11/03]
Results Groups (main development vehicle) Other stakeholders (esp. civil society) 2019/12 Completed
2. Recommendation:

Strengthen Inter-agency Cooperation

(Joint Programming; SDGs and Data; Advocacy, Awareness Raising and Communications; Trainings, Analytical Products, Strategies and Assessments; Gender)

 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/03] [Last Updated: 2020/12/27]

Partially agree, One recommendation rejected, because the current bureaucracy is part of the established procedures of communication with national authorities 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Explore opportunities for creating and establishing incentives for agencies to engage in joint programmes at the country level
[Added: 2019/11/03] [Last Updated: 2020/12/23]
RC/UNCT 2025/12 Initiated The UN Country Team has become more active in applying One UN approach to addressing development challenges in the country. In the end of 2019, the UNCT received funding from the Joint SDG Fund for the first ever Joint Program on improving the system of social protection through introducing community-based social services to be implemented in 2020-2021. In 2020, teh UNCT submitted three Letters of Interest to the calls from the UN Human Security Trust Fund, UN PRPD Fund and UN Covid response Fund. The concept note for the UN HSTF was approved and the UNCT was admitted to the programme document development stage. At the same time, the Expression of Interest submitted to the 4th call for aplications of the UNPRPD TF was put on the piplilne of EoIs that will be funded for the dvelopment of the Situational Analysis. History
2.1 Strengthen cooperation around data and SDGs. Establish clearer division of labor by further mainstreaming SDGs into national planning and budgeting processes, monitoring of SDGs. Coordinate more closely all supporting “data management systems”. Ensure full buy-in and active involvement of all stakeholders for the integration of the work of all UN agencies and national institutions in implementing, monitoring and reporting on SDGs
[Added: 2019/11/03]
During the lifetime of the cycle 2025/12 Initiated Activities under these recommendations will be implemented under UNDP’s Coordination Platform with close engagement of the UNCT with the National SDG Working Group
2.3 Strengthen cooperation by organizing joint events and activities in areas with potential for synergies (joint productions of analytical products in sectors/areas of common interest i.e. sectorial analyses or other areas; joint development of strategies or conduct of assessments; joint organization of trainings for UN staff and national partners)
[Added: 2019/11/03]
UNCT UNRC Office (key role in coordination of joint activities) 2025/12 Initiated
2.5 Cooperate more actively on gender incl. joint efforts on economic empowerment of women, development of gender-sensitive legislation, implementation of international commitments, etc.). Adopt a joint advocacy and communication strategy and work plan to promote gender equality adapted to Turkmenistan’s context. Adopt joint external communications on gender to ensure consistent messages and information, and promote gender equality in external communications
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT 2025/12 Initiated UNCT advocacy message on gender will be delivered through UNRC statements and gender equality issues will be tracked through the country’s reporting to UN Treaty Bodies
3. Recommendation:

Strengthen the UN Positioning and Impact

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/04] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Strengthen impact by focusing more on certain areas, where depth, impact and value-added can be created.
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT 2025/12 Initiated There will always be highly important areas with value in maintaining limited activities, but generally, PFD evaluation found there are opportunities for consolidation and better synergies.
3.2 Maintain, and where possible, strengthen support in the area of statistics, which are essential for planning, implementing and monitoring of national and agency policies
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UN 2025/12 Initiated MoU on cooperation in building statistical capacity of Turkmenistan signed. SDG data base creation is underway. Management information systems in health and education are being developed.
3.2.1 Further enhance national SDG framework by further adopting methodologies, setting benchmarks, etc.
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT and National SDG Working Group 2025/12 Initiated
3.2.2 Further mainstream SDGs into national planning and budgeting process
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT and National SDG Working Group 2025/12 Initiated
3.2.3 Strengthen the country’s monitoring capabilities through further development and coordination of data management systems
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UN 2025/12 Initiated Hopefully by 2025 we will have E-MIS and H-MIS
3.3 Coordinate closely or integrate activities at the subnational level where possible. Use integrated approaches (in line with presidential programme targeting the modernization of the village) across agencies to allow for efficient and easier managements for local governments and counterparts
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UN joint programming will spread to subnational level 2025/12 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Improve engagement with Local Governments, Civil Society and Private SectorImprove engagement with Local Governments, Civil Society and Private Sector

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/04] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Explore opportunities for more work with local governments, civil society and private sector. Exploit more effectively the opportunity of using civil society organizations in providing community-based social services
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT 2025/12 Initiated UN joint programming will spread to subnational level; examples Joint Program on community based social services; Empowering persons with disabilities;
4.2 Contribute to key national priority of economic diversification by strengthening the crucial role of the private sector
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT 2025/12 Initiated Addressed through two Outcomes of the CF and several outputs
4.2 Contribute to key national priority of economic diversification by strengthening the crucial role of the private sector
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT 2025/12 Initiated Addressed through two Outcomes of the CF and several outputs
5. Recommendation:

Ensure sustainability of Structures created by Agencies

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/04] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Follow through on successfully piloted initiatives to ensure they become systemic, scaled up or replicated, and that effects are not limited in scope, but nation- or society-wide. Evaluate, adapt and integrate pilots into larger nation-wide. In the design of projects involving piloting, include a clear plan for what is expected from pilot initiatives
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT 2022/01 Initiated Models of community based social services will be piloted in the JP starting in 1 Jan 2020. By end of 2021, some of the models will be scaled up nationwide.
5.1 Focus on implementation of policies and strategies, such that a specific actions plans is created and financing is identified. Policy and strategy documents should be accompanied with actions plans and should be linked to the budget. Focus more on establishment of systems tracking implementation parameters linked to results, and access the sustainability of achievements
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT 2025/12 Initiated National Policies to track implementation of the Recommendation: RMNCAH Program 2020-2030 with Action Plan for 2020-2025 Youth Policy Program and Action Plan 2020-2025 National Human Rights Action Plans
6. Recommendation:

Ensure sustainability of Funding

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/04] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1.1 Establish a broader co-financing framework, which allows for increased funding and cou ld be tapped more flexibly on a needs’ basis
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT, Government of Turkmenistan 2025/12 Initiated
6.1 Explore financing models that increase availability of funding for programming in strategic areas with unmet demand
[Added: 2019/11/04] [Last Updated: 2020/12/23]
UNCT 2020/12 Completed The Financial Landscape Analysis was conducted as part of the development of the CF2021-2025 Funding Framework exercise. The FLA has analyzed various sources of financing including national and international public and private sources and flows. It will serve as a basis for the development of the Resource Mobilization Strategy for the CF. Also, the UNCT actively promoted the Addis Ababa Action Agenda by holding high-level national and international dialogues on financing for SDGs History
6.1.2 Explore the feasibility of trilateral partnerships with International Financial Institutions and other multilateral oragnizations, where each party brings substantial contributions and comparative advantages
[Added: 2019/11/04] [Last Updated: 2020/12/23]
UNCT 2020/12 Completed As part of the imlementation of the SERP and CPRP, UNCT convened a number of meeting with Government in which the IFIs were constantly taking part, and raising issues on the implementation. In October 2020, a dedicated UN-IFIs meeting with the Government was held at which data availability for the activities of SERPs was discussed. History
6.1.3 Explore more effectively the partnerships with the private sector
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT 2025/12 Not Initiated Will be continuously applied when designing support programs
6.1.3 Explore more effectively the partnerships with the private sector
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT 2025/12 Not Initiated Will be continuously applied when designing support programs
7. Recommendation:

Improve Administrative Efficiencies

Management Response: [Added: 2019/11/04] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

Disagree. This recommendation is the comparative advantage of UN and not a recommendation perc

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Work towards streamlining administrative/bureaucratic procedures related to programme planning and implementation
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UN, Government of Turkmenistan 2025/12 Not Initiated Not accepted
7.2 Strengthen the capacity to quickly mobilize support (i.e. expertise, etc.) where and when needed
[Added: 2019/11/04]
UNCT 2025/12 Not Initiated Not accepted
8. Recommendation:

RECOMMENDATIONS

Based on the analysis presented in this report, this evaluation report provides the following recommendations for the consideration of the PFD stakeholders.

Recommendation 1: Programme Design and Results-Based Management

- The new cooperation framework document will benefit from a more coherent Theory of Change which brings together all the different pieces of the programme under one unified framework. The Theory of Change should not be seen as a theoretical exercise, but as an opportunity to have a structured analysis and discussion about specific roles and responsibilities in the programme and the mechanisms through which the desired change at the level of institutions and behaviour happens.

- The outcome on data (in the current PFD) does not have to be a stand-alone outcome in the new cooperation framework. While work on data generation and quality is essential, it will be more effective to integrate it with the other substantive outcomes. In this way, each outcome area will have its data/statistical component which will inform discussions and policy making in the respective area.

- The two environmental outcomes should be merged together into a single outcome. As they currently stand, there is no need for having them separate. If more than one outcome is required to prioritize the large array of environmental protection, climate change, disaster risk management, waste management and energy efficiency issues, it is possible to have two outcomes. But in that case, the borders between the outcome areas should be clearly delineated.

- In preparation for the new cooperation framework, the Results Groups should review existing PFD indicators and targets and draw practical lessons from the experience with them. New indicators should be selected carefully to be meaningful and meet the SMART criteria. They could be fewer in number than currently, but stronger in terms of meaningfulness. Gender sensitivity needs to be incorporated in PFD formulations and avoid the usage of gender-blind terms. Furthermore, the new RRF should be firmly grounded in the national SDG framework and relevant state programmes.

- During programme implementation, the UNCT should track more effectively a number of parameters, some of which have been discussed in this report. They include overall expenditure not only across agencies, but also across outcomes, cost-sharing across the programme, pilot projects and their performance over time (further after the respective projects have ended), the status of adoption and implementation of various policy instruments, etc. The UNRC Office can play a major role here in establishing the systems that will allow the tracking of these parameters at the UN level.

- The process through which the new cooperation framework and the respective RFF will be developed should be highly participatory. Result Groups should be clearly the main vehicle for the development of the programme. However, the process should be inclusive of other stakeholders, especially from civil society, who are not part of the Result Groups.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/26] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

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9. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2: Strengthening Inter-agency Cooperation

The UNCT, under the coordination of the UNRC Office, should explore and establish measures and incentives for closer cooperation between the agencies. The following are some key areas that were identified in this evaluation: 

Joint Programming – The UNCT, in partnership with local counterparts, should explore opportunities for creating and establishing incentives for the agencies to engage in joint programmes at the country level, taking into account the agencies‘ respective mandates and rules and regulations. The UNRC Office has a key role to play in the promotion of joint programming. This evaluation does not recommend a specific instrument or model – it is up to the UNCT and partners to explore different options and decide which ones are more suitable to the local conditions. Potential options that could be considered where feasible include government co-financing linked to joint programming criteria, establishment of national SDG pooled fund for the financing of joint activities, etc.

SDGs and Data – The UNCT should strengthen cooperation around data and the SDGs. With the coordination of the UNRC Office, the agencies should establish a clearer division of labour. This includes further mainstreaming of SDGs into national planning and budgeting processes, monitoring of SDGs (including the SDG database under development), etc. The agencies should also coordinate more closely all the ?data management systems? (education, health, etc.) they are supporting. The SDG platform that UNDP is supporting provides an opportunity for integration of the work of all UN agencies and national institutions in implementing, monitoring and reporting on the SDGs, but for it to be successful it should have the full buy-in and active involvement of all stakeholders.

Advocacy, Awareness Raising and Communications – UNCT should undertake more actively joint advocacy activities, especially around important issues such as human rights. Programmes should be designed taking into account recommendations from UN human rights mechanisms and bodies to address human rights issues, discrimination and embracing people in vulnerable groups (leaving no one behind). The agencies should further intensify cooperation in the area of communications to be able to deliver stronger one-voice messages on critical issues to external audiences.

Trainings, Analytical Products, Strategies and Assessments – UNCT should strengthen cooperation by organizing joint events and activities in areas where the potential for synergies is considerable. This includes the joint production of analytical products in sectors or areas of common interest, such as sectoral analyses or other areas, joint development of strategies or conduct of assessments, health systems strengthening, information management systems, joint organization of trainings for UN staff and national partners (in areas such as RBM, gender mainstreaming, human rights-based approaches, emergency preparedness and response, systemic approaches to disability programming, etc.). As in the other areas, the UNRC Office will have an important role to play in coordinating such joint activities.

Gender – UNCT should cooperate more actively on gender equality. The results of cooperation should be greater than the sum of the results of individual agencies. Cooperation should include joint efforts on the economic empowerment of women, education opportunities especially in post-secondary education for young women, development of gender-sensitive legislation and support services (i.e. gender-based violence), implementation of international commitments, social norms related to gender discrimination, gender representation in public communication and media, etc. The UNCT should adopt a joint advocacy and communication strategy and work plan to promote gender equality adapted to the Turkmenistan‘s context. It will be also beneficial for the agencies to adopt joint external communications on gender to ensure consistent messages and information and promote gender equality in external communications. Agencies should allocate resources for improving the capacity of their gender focal points to mainstream gender concerns into programming documents and activities. Gender focal points should be equipped with specific methodological tools on promoting gender mainstreaming within the work in their sectors, including clear steps on how to.Their TOR need to be revised based on the concept and methods for mainstreaming gender equality. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/26] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

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10. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: Positioning and Impact

- UNCT should identify areas where it can create more depth at the expense of breadth. Given the agencies‘ small budgets and large breadth of areas covered by the PFD, the UNCT should conduct an assessment of areas where more depth, impact and value-added could be created. There will always be areas of key importance where there will be value in maintaining even limited activities, but in general this evaluation found that there are opportunities for consolidation and better synergies.

- The UN should maintain, and where possible strengthen, support in the area of statistics, which are essential for planning, implementation and monitoring of national and agency policies. Work in this area should concentrate on:

o Further enhancing the national SDG framework by further adopting methodologies, setting benchmarks, etc.;

o Further mainstreaming SDGs into the national planning and budgeting process;

o Strengthening the country‘s monitoring capabilities through further development and coordination of data management systems.

- Activities at the subnational level should be expanded where feasible and should be coordinated more closely or even integrated where possible. The scale of interventions is small at this level, so integrated approaches across agencies will not only be more efficient, but easier for the local governments and counterparts to manage. This should be done in line with the presidential programme targeting the modernization of the village. The Aral Sea Assessment by UNICEF demonstrates that the Dashoguz velayat is the most disadvantaged across all social-economic domains – this region represents an opportunity for coverage in a more rigorous and integrated fashion by the UNCT as a whole.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/26] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

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11. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4: Engagement with Local Governments, Civil Society and Private Sector

- The UNCT should explore opportunities for more work with local governments, civil society and private sector. The UN could contribute to the key national priority of economic diversification by strengthening the crucial role of the private sector. The UNCT should also exploit more effectively the opportunity of using civil society organizations in providing community-based social services, building on existing regional networks. Engagement with both the private sector and CSOs will require more effective advocacy with the government as it is related to regulatory matters. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/26] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

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12. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5: Sustainability of Structures Created by Agencies

- The UNCT should follow through on successfully piloted initiatives to ensure that they become systemic, scaled up or replicated and that effects are not limited in scope, but nation- or society-wide. Pilots should be evaluated, adapted and integrated into the larger nation-wide efforts by these responsible parties. The design of projects that involve piloting should include a clear plan for what is expected from the pilot initiatives.

o How are they expected to be replicated?

o Under what timeframes?

o What resources will be required for the replication and scaling up? 

o Further, the agencies should track pilot initiatives over time and beyond the end of the project‘s lifetime to understand how they are doing in the long run.

- The UNCT should focus not only on the development of policies and strategies, but also on their implementation. This requires specific actions plans and identification of financing. Activities should focus not only on passing laws and strategies, but also on ensuring their effective implementation. Policy and strategy documents should be accompanied with action plans and should be linked to the budget. There should also be more focus on the establishment of systems that track implementation parameters linked to results, rather than inputs/outputs, and assess the sustainability of achievements.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/26] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

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13. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6: Sustainability of Funding

- The UNCT needs greater financial capacity to respond to unmet demand for collaboration and support. The UNCT should explore financing models that increase availability of funding for programming in strategic areas where there is unmet demand. This could include:

o The UNCT and government could establish a broader co-financing framework which allows for increased funding and could be tapped more flexibly on a needs‘ basis.

o The UNCT should explore the feasibility of trilateral partnerships with International Financial Institutions and other multilateral organizations, where each party brings substantial contributions and comparative advantages.

o Also, partnerships with the private sector should be explored more effectively.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/26] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

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14. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7: Administrative Efficiencies

- The UN and government should work towards streamlining administrative/bureaucratic procedures related to programme planning and implementation. The UNCT should improve its advocacy with the relevant government structures for the streamlining of bureaucratic procedures.

- The UNCT should strengthen its capacity to quickly mobilize support (i.e. expertise, etc.) where and when needed.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/11/26] [Last Updated: 2020/11/28]

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