Mid-Term Evaluation: UN Joint Programme in Aral Sea region II

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Uzbekistan
Evaluation Type:
Project
Planned End Date:
05/2018
Completion Date:
11/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
20,000

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Title Mid-Term Evaluation: UN Joint Programme in Aral Sea region II
Atlas Project Number: 00097114
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Uzbekistan
Evaluation Type: Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2018
Planned End Date: 05/2018
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Environment & Sustainable Development
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.1. National and sub-national systems and institutions enabled to achieve structural transformation of productive capacities that are sustainable and employment - and livelihoods- intensive
Evaluation Budget(US $): 20,000
Source of Funding: UNHSTF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 16,770
Joint Programme: Yes
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: Yes
  • Joint with UN Agencies
  • Joint with Donors
  • Joint with UN Agencies
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Government of Uzbekistan
Countries: UZBEKISTAN
Lessons
1.
  • An approach that is first assessing the needs and priorities of targeted beneficiaries, facilitates the implementation of interventions, ensure a greater “ownership” of these interventions by the beneficiaries and by extension a greater chance for the long-term sustainability of these achievements. It provides a fact-based analysis of issues to be addressed, their root causes and lead to realistic solutions well adapted to the local context.
  • Flexibility is a necessary management mechanism when implementing a programme. It allows to better respond to beneficiaries' needs and priorities. It provides the programme with the capacity to adapt to changes, including disruptive events and yet keep its overall efficiency and effectiveness. It also allows the flexibility to mobilize additional sources of funding if available and align procedures and agendas with other partners.
  • A two-pronged approach seeking for short term results on one hand and long term results on the other hand is a way to mitigate the sustainability risk of this type of programme. Establishing a MPHSTF is a long term endeavor which will benefit beneficiaries only in the long term. However, implementing innovative initiatives in parallel to the establishment of the MPHSTF is an approach allowing for short term benefits for targeted local communities.
  • Piloting social infrastructure projects allows a programme to demonstrate the "Proof-of-Concept" of these innovative interventions, which will be ready to be replicated/scaled up under the MPHSTF over the long term, benefiting of the pilot experience and lessons learned.
  • A two-pronged approach contributes to building trust between the programme, government/local authorities and stakeholders and particularly the trust in the new concept that is being implemented. It builds a good “image” on what a human security approach can bring to these communities.

 


Findings
1.

1.         EVALUATION FINDINGS

 

  1. his section presents the findings of this MTE adhering to the basic structure proposed in the TOR and as reflected in the UNDP project review guidance.

 

1.1.     Conceptual Design and Relevance

 

  1. his section discusses the assessment of the project strategy – including its relevance - and its overall design in the context of Uzbekistan.

 

Eval. Question 1: Is the Programme relevant to national and regional priorities?

 

  1. The development of the Aral Sea region is a strong priority for the government of Uzbekistan. One of the key government programme is the State Programme for the Development of the Aral Sea Region 2017-2021, which was adopted by the Presidential Decree No. ??-2731 on January 18, 2017. This programme is specific for the Aral Sea region and focuses on measures to improve the socio-economic condition and quality of life of people living in Karakalpakstan. The programme includes measures such as create new jobs, increase the investment attractiveness of the region, develop the water supply system, sewerage, sanitation and waste disposal, improve living conditions of the population and develop the transport, engineering and communication infrastructure of settlements. The action plan to implement this programme is composed of 67 projects worth 8.422 trillion soms (USD 2.58 billion). To ensure a reliable and stable financing of the implementation of these measures, this programme plans the establishment of a fund for the development of the Aral Sea basin.

 

  1. Nationally, the development of Uzbekistan is led by the Development Action Strategy 2017-2021, which was adopted by a Presidential Decree on February 7, 2017. This strategy is overseen by a National Commission and includes the priorities for all government agencies and officials. It focuses on five priority areas: (i) improving the system of state and social construction; (ii) ensuring the rule of law and reforming the judicial system; (iii) development and liberalization of the economy; (iv) development of the social sphere; and (v) ensuring security, inter-ethnic harmony and religious tolerance, implementation of balanced, mutually beneficial and constructive foreign policy. Furthermore, it was noted that the government of Uzbekistan has also been reforming its agricultural sector over the last few years to improve the rights of farmers and the efficiency of agricultural systems as well as the organizational structure to support the development of agriculture.

 

  1. In addition to these programme and strategy, Uzbekistan is also part of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS). IFAS was established in 1992 on the initiative of the Heads of the Central Asian States for the purpose of improving the social, economic, and ecological situation in the basin of the Aral Sea. The last programme of actions providing assistance to integrated use of water resources, ecological direction, socio-economic direction, improvement of institutional and legal mechanisms.

 

  1. The UN joint programme is much aligned with government strategies and priorities for the development of the Aral Sea region. It was developed in close collaboration with government partners. As a result, the programme enjoy a strong government commitment, including a strong budget commitment. According to the UN Resident Coordinator, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan recently approved the financing of the Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund (MPHSTF) for the Aral Sea region for about USD 5 to 10M per year.

 

Eval. Question 2: How is the Programme aligned with international instruments?

 

  1. When considering the objectives of the programme, which is to focus on the As noted in the UN General Assembly resolution 66/290, “human security is an approach to assist Member States in identifying and addressing widespread and cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of their people.” It calls for “people-centred, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented responses that strengthen the protection and empowerment of all people.” It states that the human security approach is a proven analytical and planning framework that supports more comprehensive and preventive responses by the United Nations, cutting across sectors, developing contextually relevant solutions, and adopting partnerships to help realize a world free from fear, want and indignity.

 

  1. In order to strengthen the UN response to human security, the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS) was created in March 1999. This financing instrument brings diverse partners together to collaborate with Governments in addressing the needs and vulnerabilities of local communities. Projects advance empowerment and capacity-building measures that increase the resilience of vulnerable communities and people. Projects are selected according to their ability to provide concrete and sustainable benefits to people and communities facing threats to their survival, livelihoods and dignity. They employ integrated strategies that respond to specific situations of human insecurity, strengthen social harmony, and are oriented towards the prevention of crises and the promotion of long-term development.

 

  1. In Uzbekistan, the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2016-2020 reinforces the strong partnership between the Government and the UN Country Team (UNCT) in support of national priorities and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals for the post-2015 period, tailored to the local context. In particular, it is focused on benefitting the most vulnerable populations in the country, linked to Uzbekistan’s obligations under its ratification of various international human rights instruments.

 

  1. Following the Development Action Strategy 2017-2021 that was developed by the government of Uzbekistan and focusing on five priority areas formulated around conceptual issues for the socio-political, socio-economic, and cultural-humanitarian transformation of the country, the UN developed a roadmap 2017-2020 to identify the most urgent

 

  1. Under its Country Development Programme 2016-2020, UNDP seeks to create opportunities for human development for sustainable economic growth. Under this priority area, UNDP set an expected result that is “integrated, multi-sector and multi-level approach established to mitigate human security risks for communities affected by Aral Sea disaster”, including the establishment of a financial mechanism for coordinated operationalization of human security initiatives.

 

  1. The UN joint programme is well aligned within this context. It is focused on identifying and implementing development solutions for people living in the Aral Sea area, including the establishment of a sustainable financing mechanism for the region. Through the interventions of multiple UN agencies, the programme is able to implement activities in different sectors using the respective comparative advantage of each agency. As stated on the UNTFHS website, it is a programme that is “providing concrete and sustainable benefits to people and communities facing threats to their survival, livelihoods and dignity.” As stated by the UN Resident Coordinator, it is a UN flagship programme in Uzbekistan where UN agencies are pulling their respective expertise together to implement initiatives based on a human security approach but also strongly rooted on the needs of the people from the Aral Sea region.

 

Eval. Question 3: Does the Programme address the needs of targeted beneficiaries?

 

  1. As stated in the project document, beneficiaries would be identified through a joint needs assessment and mapping exercise at the outset of the programme. Indicators were developed to identify the most vulnerable districts/communities. Rural communities were targeted with the focus on those who did not have the means or the opportunity to migrate; however, including households that may have one member working outside the region on a seasonal basis. The strategy to conduct a needs assessment at the outset was also to identify baselines of needs. The plan was to target about 150,000 beneficiaries from 3-4 districts in Karakalpakstan facing the most significant human security challenges.

 

  1. The final report on the Needs of the Population in the Aral Sea Region was conducted by the Institute for Social Research under the Cabinet of Ministers and was published in 2017. It was based on conducting a social survey of 1,600 households in 8 selected districts of the region and 8 focus groups with the participation of also 1,600 people representing local authorities and civil society. The assessment covered the development of agriculture and its priority directions; social infrastructure; education system; healthcare system; ecologic situation; gender aspects of employment; and social risks and security.

 

  1. The assessment identified potential risks and threats to the life of the population of the Aral Sea region, including economic security; food security; demographic security; social security; environmental security; and financial security. The potential high risks (where dissatisfaction level was over 30%) were found as: 1) employment, 2) ecology, 3) transport infrastructure, 4) medicines, 5) pre-school education, and 6) drinking water. The order to these high risks varied in each surveyed district, but the prevailing risks in all 8 districts were tension in the labor market and unemployment, unfavorable ecological situation, and provision of quality drinking water.

 

  1. Based on the assessment of these needs, measures to be implemented by the UN joint programme were identified and recommended. The assessment established the baseline for the project and was used to develop a roadmap for programmatic interventions in the Aral Sea region to address human insecurities in a holistic way. This approach ensured that the programme address the needs of targeted beneficiaries.

 

Gender Considerations

  1. Gender considerations were not really included in the design of this project; no specific sections discuss gender aspects of the project in the project document. It is only mentioned that gender equality was considered during the formulation of the project, and that during the implementation, gender equality will be tracked and mainstreamed throughout the activities supported by the programme. It was also stated that gender aspects in the labor market would also be considered during the needs assessment.

 

  1. Nevertheless, the programme has a designated staff focusing on gender empowerment to promote gender mainstreaming and operationalization throughout project interventions. The programme team has been reporting gender-disaggregated progress data. For instance, in the 2017 Monitoring Stage Quality Assurance report, it is reported that “the  measures to address gender inequalities and empower women relevant includes the fact that 3 out 6 business projects that was supported in 2017 were led by females. Moreover, 150 rural women have been trained on business development through enhancing their knowledge in economic development and entrepreneurship.” The latter event was done jointly with the Karakalpak branch of the Business Women Association Women Committee of Karakalpakstan. It included the participation of 37 women from Takhtakupyr, 56 from Muynak, and 57 from Shumanay district. This training has increased the knowledge of participants on the basics of business development: how to start a private business, conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, and build a start-up capital.

 

  1. Furthermore, the UNDP Gender Equality Assurance Team also provided support to streamline and strengthen gender mainstreaming in the needs assessments. The social infrastructure projects are identified based on a participatory approach of communities where the rural women/girls take part in deciding what sort of infrastructure projects should be funded by the these social infrastructure projects. Other training events targeting women and girls took place this year, including awareness raising on business planning and implementation stages for 45 women and girls with the collaboration of the Council of the Youth Union of Karakalpakstan, the Women's Committee of Karakalpakstan, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry; enhancing traditional skills on souvenirs making for 30 women seeking alternative income generation opportunities; training of 690 rural women on reproductive health and entrepreneurship; training of 170 healthcare providers on quality family planning services and pre-natal care; and enhancing skills on traditional weaving techniques and innovative design, as well as on natural dyeing technology and on the basics of culture and art of Karakalpakstan for 25 young artisans and designers.

 

  1. Finally, as per the Programme Manager, the recently approval of additional funding through the UNDP Funding Window, it is planned to establish a consultation center in close cooperation with the Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan. The center will serve as a supportive shelter in order to provide women with medical, psychological and legal support. Under this funding window funds, the programme will also organize a contest among unemployed women from remote communities in cooperation with the Women’s Committee and Business Women Association, and conduct training for rural women on start-ups, and on the provision of master classes to enhance various skills of rural women.

 

  1. Based on the assessment conducted for this evaluation and despite the fact that there is no particular gender mainstreaming strategy, the programme has been considering gender equality and gender mainstreaming throughout its implementation, including progress reporting.

 

Eval. Question 4: Is the Programme internally coherent in its design?

 

  1. The Results Framework formulated during the design phase presents a coherent set of expected results and no changes were made to the project strategy during the inception phase. The review of the objective and outputs indicates a satisfactory and logical “chain of results” – Activities è Outputs è Objectives. Programme resources have been used to implement planned activities to reach a set of expected outputs (12), which would contribute in achieving the overall two objectives of the programme. The overall strategy of this programme is twofold: (1) start the programme with an identification of the targeted beneficiaries through a needs assessment, establishment of a roadmap for interventions to be supported by the programme and based on the needs assessment; piloting innovative projects to address human security needs in selected communities, including the sustainable management and conservation of natural resources and the enhancement of primary healthcare services; and an impact assessment of these pilots; and (2) develop, establish, develop capacities and institutionalize a well-coordinated sustainable financial mechanism for implementing human security initiatives as a way to promote and mainstream the human security approach in the region.

 

  1. The logic model of the programme presented in the Results Framework is summarized in table 4 below. It includes one goal, two objectives and 12 outputs. For each expected output, targets to be achieved at the end of the programme were identified.

 

  1. This framework also includes - for each output - an extensive set of 69 indicators and 48 targets to be achieved at the end of the project. They are used to monitor the performance of the project.

 

Table 4:  Project Logic Model

Expected Results

Targets at End of Project

Human Security GoalMitigating inter-connected risks to Human Security and Building the resilience of communities affected by the Aral Sea Disaster through an integrated and multi-level approach and Ensuring sustainable support through the Establishment of a Multi-Partner Human Security Fund for the Aral Sea.”

Objective 1: To address the human security needs of populations affected by the Aral Sea disaster at the local and national levels

Output 1.1: A baseline conducted

  1. Baseline is established
  2. Relevant HS indicators are developed and mainstreamed into the work of national statistical agencies

Output 1.2: A Strategy/Roadmap developed with recommendations for concrete possible programmatic interventions in the Aral Sea region

  1. Strategy/roadmap for concrete programmatic interventions is developed for Karakalpakstan
  2. Roadmap for concrete programmatic interventions at selected district level developed in Karakalpakstan

Output 1.3: Human security needs of selected communities are addressed through preparation of community development plans and implementation of innovative projects and trainings

  1. 20 community development plans are developed through extensive consultations with the communities
  2. 45-50 innovative projects are successfully completed
  3. 20 community members trained,
  4. 2 community-based tourism activities launched,
  5. 15 tourism signs, and
  6. 1 handbook on tourism for sustainable development for communities developed

Output 1.4: Sustainable management and conservation of natural resources is promoted

  1. 40,000 Dekhan farmers have adopted climate resilient conservation agriculture practices
  2. 40,000 Dekhan farmers have adopted water saving irrigation practices at 80,000 ha dekhan farms to improve farm-level drainage and minimize salinization.
  3. Dekhan farmers have established horticulture greenhouses on 20,000 ha of farms
  4. Laws on agricultural practices and water management are amended to integrate regulations on the adoption of conservation agriculture& water saving techniques
  5. 1 online course available,
  6. 3 capacity building trainings are conducted,
  7. Sustainable management and conservation of natural resources practices are enhanced,
  8. 300 farmers trained
  9. 1 cooperative network established
  10. Agronomic and water saving measures that proved to work in Uzbekistan have been identified and made publicly available
  11. User-friendly resources on effective practices of climate resilient agricultural and pastoral production systems in arid lands produced and disseminated (print and web-based) are widely available
  12. Frequent farm and pasture land demonstration meetings with participation of national, local authorities, media and communities are institutionalized

Output 1.5: Capacities of Primary Health Care Services to provide integrated mother and child healthcare are enhanced

  1. Increased capacity of healthcare providers to introduce the integrated supportive supervisory system for mother and child services health services at the PHC level
  2. At least 300 health care providers and
  3. At least 300 Makhalla advisers trained
  4. 2,000 community volunteers in 10 districts are trained to run a public awareness campaigns on preventing respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disease
  5. 140,000 people or 28% of the population reached
  6. Knowledge increased by 20%
  7. Local authorities create and implement relevant policies to maintain and manage the existing volunteer pool as well as to launch campaigns in media for raising awareness on preventing respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases as well as promoting mother and child health; reaching 250,000 people or 50% of the population in all target districts reached with media campaign

Output 1.6: Multi-dimensional changes in communities’ lives are assessed with particular attention on how improvement in one domain has had positive externalities in other insecurities

  1. An impact assessment methodology is implemented. The results of the interim and final impact assessment are published and widely disseminated.

Objective 2: To establish a well-coordinated financial mechanism for implementing and sustainable financing of human security initiatives as a way to promote and mainstream the human security approach in the region

Output 2.1: Framework for MPHSF developed in cooperation with Government and donor partners and approved by the Government

  1. Terms of Reference for MPHSTF are developed in consultation with all relevant partners and approved by the relevant Government authorities
  2. Draft Decree/legal document on establishment of MPHSF is approved by the Government.

Output 2.2: Governance structure of MPHSF designed and functional

  1. UN MPTF office provides the necessary technical and advisory support
  2. Structures of the MPHSF Steering Committee and technical secretariat are approved by the Government and have the necessary technical skills to execute their functions

Output 2.3: MPHSF is established and fully operational

  1. MoU between the Gov’t and MPTF office is approved by the parties; Standard Administrative Arrangements with donors are signed.
  2. At least 2 MPHSF Steering Committee meetings conducted to launch pilot projects through MPHSF funding

Output 2.4: A training methodology and materials are developed in Uzbek on the human security approach and its applications

  1. A range of a training package/materials on the HS in Russian/Uzbek is prepared and widely disseminated
  2. Trainings for different audiences on HS are successfully conducted

Output 2.5: The human security approach is integrated into policy making at the national level

  1. A communication strategy promoting HS approach is effectively implemented
  2. Exercise on how to apply HS approach to policy cycle is effectively delivered to public servants
  3. Cooperation with Government institutions and regional organization on human security is enhanced
  4. 60 journalists are trained on HS and how to apply it in their work
  5. 2 school curricula reflects HS approach
  6. 150 educators are trained in HS approach

Output 2.6: The human security approach used to influence the analysis and programs of strategies and documents developed by the UN in Uzbekistan

  1. UN staff and leadership visibly improved their knowledge of HS and skills of applying it
  2. CCA and UNDAF reflect HS
  3. HS is extensively used by UN leadership in communications with the Government and other partners
  4. Background work exploring a possibility to produce an NHDR on HS is completed

Source: project document

 

  1. As said previously, the review found that the programme strategy is coherent and logical. The project document provides a useful “blue print” for the project team to guide the implementation of the programme. Overall, it is a twofold strategy allowing the programme to quickly pilot innovative interventions addressing existing needs of targeted beneficiaries while at the same time, developing a sustainable Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund (MPHSTF) for the Aral Sea region. The pilots will be assessed near the end of the programme and lessons learned will be applied to the next phase of interventions which should be funded by the MPHSF over the medium and long terms. It is an excellent approach, which include a strong collaboration among UN agencies and the government of Uzbekistan and the possibility to include other donors as well.

 

  1. It was noted that this strategy provides good flexibility to be able to adjust the programme during the implementation, including the expansion of or new interventions that could be funded by additional funds/other donors. It is the case with an extra grant of USD 100,000 from Coca Cola through the Global Water Challenge, This grant provided financial resources to supply the remote communities in the district of Takhtakupir with clean drinking water. In early 2017, the UN joint programme signed a USD 120,000 agreement with the Swiss Development Cooperation agency (SDC) to promote effective use of water resources through local authorities, water users associations and farmers. This agreement was in line with the SDC priority theme “infrastructure, water and climate change.” It allows the SDC to transfer the experience and lessons learned in water management in the Ferghana valley.

 

  1. In the meantime, despite a coherent and logical strategy, the Evaluator noted that monitoring the programme through a total of 69 indicators and 48 targets must be a difficult and time consuming task. The review conducted for this evaluation reveals that some targets are low level targets, corresponding more to the monitoring of programme deliverables as opposed to monitoring a higher level of development results (more on this in section 4.3).

 

Eval. Question 5: How is the Programme relevant in light of other donors?

 

  1. The desiccation of the Aral Sea is a major environmental disaster in the world and became one of the major challenges to sustainable development of entire Central Asian region. Starting in the 1960s, the water level in the sea started to recede fast due to the offtake of water from its tributaries - the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers. The excessive offtake of water used for irrigating farmland turned the sea into a barren desert and completely disrupt local fishing economies and overall livelihoods of communities in the region.

 

  1. Since the 1990s, the international donor community has provided substantial financial and technical assistance to the region in order to mitigate the impact of the Aral Sea crisis and rehabilitate the area. However, these efforts have had limited impact due to inadequate coordination of the donor aid flows, duplication of activities, low degree of government ownership and non-sustainable results. Within this context, the IFAS was created in 1992 to improve the social, economic, and ecological situation in the basin of the Aral Sea. Furthermore, the Charity Social Fund for Aral Gene Pool Protection (AGPF) was also established for consolidating local and international efforts to facilitate the sustainable development of the Aral Sea region; and finally, the government of Uzbekistan established the “Aral Sea Region Development Fund” under the Ministry of Finance as the financial instrument to finance projects within the “State Programme on the Development of the Aral Sea Region” for the period of 2017-2021

 

  1. In 2008, an international conference on “Problems of Aral, Its Impact on the Gene Pool of Population, Plant and Animal World and International Cooperation for Alleviation of Its Implications” was held with the support of UNDP and AGPF. It was the first attempt of open discussion on the issue. The conference ended up with the formulation of the “Integrated Action Plan for Sustainable Development of the Aral Sea Area.” Then, following the visit of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to Uzbekistan in April 2010, a first UN joint programme was developed “Sustaining livelihoods affected by the Aral Sea disaster” and financed by the UNTFHS. The programme started in 2012 and was a joint effort of 5 UN agencies: UNDP, UNESCO, WHO, UNFPA and UNV. Under this programme, discussions were initiated on assisting the government in formulating an Integrated Area-based Development Strategy of the Aral Sea Region. The idea was to consider the needs and special features of the region as well as coordinate donor aid and create an effective coordination mechanism through a multilateral trust fund.

 

  1. Under this first UN joint programme, a study was commissioned to review the donor supported activities in Karakalpakstan for the period 2006-2011. A total of 43 projects intervening in the Uzbek Aral Sea region were reviewed. The study found that despite significant financial and technical support from the international donor community, the impact of aid was limited and focused primarily on short-term results in the region. It found that it was not effective over the long term on households well-being, socio-economic development, and on the environment. It found that in order to improve the socio-economic and environmental situation in the region, a comprehensive approach was required with intersectoral linkages. Based on the result of the assessment, the study recommended to increase coordination of efforts among donors and government of Uzbekistan; to standardize methodologies and approaches for the mobilization of aid; to provide public access to statistical data on regional development; and to establish a transparent monitoring system to measure progress made.

 

  1. Currently, this second UN joint programme is a first step toward better coordination of development efforts in the Aral Sea region. This programme is implemented with a strong engagement of the government of Uzbekistan, including the government of the Karakalpakstan Republic and of the UN system. Other donors are involved in the development of the framework for the establishment of the

 

  1. Finally, the recent international conference “Joint Actions to Mitigate the Consequences of the Aral Catastrophe: New Approaches, Innovative Solutions, Investments” held on June 7-8, 2018 in Tashkent was an excellent opportunity for the government of Uzbekistan and international donors to review the progress made for the development of the Aral Sea region and present the strategy to improve the cooperation and coordination of development players as well as attract investments to finance development of the region. This event added a strong visibility to the establishment of the MPHSTF initiative and reiterated an appeal for cooperation to all development partners.

Recommendations
1

It is recommended to expand the awareness and promotion of the human security approach and the establishment of the MPHSTF in Karakalpakstan

The programme has already conducted numerous activities to raise awareness and knowledge and train local community leaders and local authorities in Karakalpakstan on the human security approach. In addition, the programme has also supported activities to demonstrate this approach through the implementation of the social-infrastructure projects in some communities. As we are approaching the launch of the MPHSTF as the main financial instrument to finance and invest in the development of the region, it is recommended to expand the promotion of this approach throughout the republic of Karakalpakstan using concrete examples from social infrastructure projects supported by the programme. The focus should be on what is a MPHSTF, what it will do and how it will work. The more aware all Karakalpak communities will be about this approach, the better chance this financial mechanism will work.

2

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 2.

It is recommended to increase the promotion of the MPHSTF to the international donor community.

As the programme is expected to be established by the end of 2018, it is recommended to increase the promotion with the international donor community. The programme has already done a lot, has a lot of materials, and has a good network in place to reach out this community. Reinforcing the communications to this network of donors is recommended in order to maximize the chance of potential donors pledging their support to this initiative as early as possible.

3

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 3.

It is recommended to add to the risk log the risk “lack of interest from international donors in participating and financing the MPHSTF”.

The review conducted for this evaluation reveals that one missing risk is the potential for a lack of interest from the international donor community to participate and finance the MPHSTF. To fully succeed in sustaining its achievements over the medium and long term, particularly the sustainability of the MPHSTF, the programme needs the involvement of other donors. The current plan is to officially establish the trust fund by the end of 2018. The partners of the programme, including the government, need pledges from other donors to support the overall strategy for an integrated development strategy of the Aral Sea region financed by a MPHSTF. It is important to monitor this risk as part of risk management of the programme.

4

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 4.

It is recommended to conduct a study of existing policy and legislative frameworks to identify gaps and barriers, which could hamper the implementation of a human security approach.

The government is fully committed to the establishment of the MPHSTF, which will apply the principles of human security. The programme has been demonstrating the benefits of such an approach through social infrastructure projects responding to local communities needs and priorities. A model is emerging for the development of Karakalpakstan. However, to replicate this approach in other parts of the country, there is the need to know how compatible this approach is vis-à-vis the policy and the legislative frameworks in place in Uzbekistan. It is recommended that this programme conduct a study of these frameworks, assess their compatibility with the implementation of the concept of human security and identify any gaps and barriers, which would hamper the scaling-up of such an approach.

5

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 5.

It is recommended to expand the piloting of private sector development.

The programme initiated a small private sector development, testing an innovative approach. Instead of providing cash grants, the programme in close collaboration with local authorities provide equipment to small businesses to scale-up their operations and provide access to microfinance institutions via the Business Women Association. For each initiative, an MOU is signed between the UN Joint Programme and the beneficiary, which include a business plan to describe the business venture, the equipment that is provided, and business indicators to measure the performance of the business. Once, the beneficiary complies/meets the target indicators, the UN joint programme officially transfers the equipment/machinery ownership to the beneficiary and notifies the local government office (Khakimyat). So far, 9 small business projects got the support from the programme, which has resulted in the creation of about 30 jobs.  It is recommended that the programme expand this pilot, including the promotion of technological and innovative entrepreneurship, which is also a priority of the Government (2018 is the year of innovative and technological entrepreneurship). Then, lessons learned and best practices should be identified for replicating the model once the MPHSTF will be established

6

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 6.

If there is a remaining budget as of May 2019, it is recommended that the timeline of the programme be extended.

The total level of disbursement is behind when compared with the overall implementation timeline (39% vs. 67%). From an objective point of view, 37% of the budget for objective 1 has been spent so far but only 18% for objective 2, including a budget of over USD 300,000 left for supporting the establishment of the MPHSTF (objective 2). If there is a remaining budget as of May 2019, it is recommended that the timeline of the programme be extended, using this time to consolidate achievements of the programme; particularly the start-up phase of establishing the MPHSTF.

7

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 7.

It is recommended to review the M&E system in place and reduce the number of indicators and targets to simplify the monitoring and reporting functions.

The extensive M&E system in place has been producing good progress reports. However, too much information is collected with some redundancies. The entire reporting mechanism produces good but extensive progress reports. It is recommended that the M&E function be streamlined and focus mostly on collecting information that is used to draft the annual progress reports. In particular, it is recommended to reduce the number of indicators and targets to simplify the monitoring and reporting function without changing the current quality of reporting progress.

8

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 8.

It is recommended to expand the financial section in progress reports to include the full financial status of the programme.

Financial information is mostly provided by donor. There is no consolidated financial summary presenting the total financing of the programme in one place. It is recommended to expand the section on “financial status” in the annual progress reports to report this consolidated financial information presenting actual disbursements against the overall budget. All this information exists internally, it is a matter of reporting it to all through progress reports and show how cost-effective is this programme.

1. Recommendation:

It is recommended to expand the awareness and promotion of the human security approach and the establishment of the MPHSTF in Karakalpakstan

The programme has already conducted numerous activities to raise awareness and knowledge and train local community leaders and local authorities in Karakalpakstan on the human security approach. In addition, the programme has also supported activities to demonstrate this approach through the implementation of the social-infrastructure projects in some communities. As we are approaching the launch of the MPHSTF as the main financial instrument to finance and invest in the development of the region, it is recommended to expand the promotion of this approach throughout the republic of Karakalpakstan using concrete examples from social infrastructure projects supported by the programme. The focus should be on what is a MPHSTF, what it will do and how it will work. The more aware all Karakalpak communities will be about this approach, the better chance this financial mechanism will work.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21]

fully agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Develop different awareness raising materials (e.g. a short animation video clip, Brochure, infographics, etc. about human security approach and MPHSTF) and distribute/showcase at the level of communities in order to raise local awareness.
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/04 Not Initiated
1.2 Conduct more training at grassroots level and also to the further regional leaders through the Presidential Academy on Human Security Concept, the structure and role of the MPHSTF in funding and investing for the development of the region with demonstration of practical examples of the UN Joint Progamme.
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/03 Not Initiated
2. Recommendation:

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 2.

It is recommended to increase the promotion of the MPHSTF to the international donor community.

As the programme is expected to be established by the end of 2018, it is recommended to increase the promotion with the international donor community. The programme has already done a lot, has a lot of materials, and has a good network in place to reach out this community. Reinforcing the communications to this network of donors is recommended in order to maximize the chance of potential donors pledging their support to this initiative as early as possible.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21]

fully agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Conduct High level event (side event) by the Government of Uzbekistan at the UN HQ with the participation of member-states and international donors and finance institutions to present MPHSTF for Aral Sea region
[Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2019/01/10]
UN JP Team 2019/01 Overdue-Initiated Concept of the event is developed and agreed by inputs of the UN HSU, UNDP MPTF, UNDP CO and Government of Uzbekistan. The exact date of the event is to be identified by the Uzb mission to UN
2.2 Develop resource mobilization strategy/plan of the MPHSTF for Aral Sea region
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/05 Not Initiated
2.3 Continuous promotion of the MPHSTF and conduct regular negotiations with donors, both in-country and abroad, to mobilize resources to the Fund
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/05 Not Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 3.

It is recommended to add to the risk log the risk “lack of interest from international donors in participating and financing the MPHSTF”.

The review conducted for this evaluation reveals that one missing risk is the potential for a lack of interest from the international donor community to participate and finance the MPHSTF. To fully succeed in sustaining its achievements over the medium and long term, particularly the sustainability of the MPHSTF, the programme needs the involvement of other donors. The current plan is to officially establish the trust fund by the end of 2018. The partners of the programme, including the government, need pledges from other donors to support the overall strategy for an integrated development strategy of the Aral Sea region financed by a MPHSTF. It is important to monitor this risk as part of risk management of the programme.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21]

fully agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 The potential risk of the lack of interest from the international donor community to participate and finance the MPTF will be incorporated into the Fund’s Risk Ranking Matrix with indication of the risk mitigation measures.
[Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2019/01/10]
UN JP Team 2019/01 Overdue-Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 4.

It is recommended to conduct a study of existing policy and legislative frameworks to identify gaps and barriers, which could hamper the implementation of a human security approach.

The government is fully committed to the establishment of the MPHSTF, which will apply the principles of human security. The programme has been demonstrating the benefits of such an approach through social infrastructure projects responding to local communities needs and priorities. A model is emerging for the development of Karakalpakstan. However, to replicate this approach in other parts of the country, there is the need to know how compatible this approach is vis-à-vis the policy and the legislative frameworks in place in Uzbekistan. It is recommended that this programme conduct a study of these frameworks, assess their compatibility with the implementation of the concept of human security and identify any gaps and barriers, which would hamper the scaling-up of such an approach.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21]

fully agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Conduct a research on study of existing policy and legislative frameworks and identify gaps and barriers that may hamper implementation of the HS approach
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/04 Not Initiated
4.2 On the basis of developed recommendations, work out a new training module and conduct training on HS approach at national and regional levels
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/05 Not Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 5.

It is recommended to expand the piloting of private sector development.

The programme initiated a small private sector development, testing an innovative approach. Instead of providing cash grants, the programme in close collaboration with local authorities provide equipment to small businesses to scale-up their operations and provide access to microfinance institutions via the Business Women Association. For each initiative, an MOU is signed between the UN Joint Programme and the beneficiary, which include a business plan to describe the business venture, the equipment that is provided, and business indicators to measure the performance of the business. Once, the beneficiary complies/meets the target indicators, the UN joint programme officially transfers the equipment/machinery ownership to the beneficiary and notifies the local government office (Khakimyat). So far, 9 small business projects got the support from the programme, which has resulted in the creation of about 30 jobs.  It is recommended that the programme expand this pilot, including the promotion of technological and innovative entrepreneurship, which is also a priority of the Government (2018 is the year of innovative and technological entrepreneurship). Then, lessons learned and best practices should be identified for replicating the model once the MPHSTF will be established

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21]

fully agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The programme supported 3 technological innovative business projects namely, food (vegetables and fruits) storage, shoe manufacturing shop and milk processing shop, that expected to function by the end of 2018. In the next year 2019, it is envisioned to create at least 2 technological innovative projects in agriculture, production and service delivery.
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/04 Not Initiated
5.2 The project best-practices on this area will be also promoted through the MPHSTF for possible funding by other donors
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/05 Not Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 6.

If there is a remaining budget as of May 2019, it is recommended that the timeline of the programme be extended.

The total level of disbursement is behind when compared with the overall implementation timeline (39% vs. 67%). From an objective point of view, 37% of the budget for objective 1 has been spent so far but only 18% for objective 2, including a budget of over USD 300,000 left for supporting the establishment of the MPHSTF (objective 2). If there is a remaining budget as of May 2019, it is recommended that the timeline of the programme be extended, using this time to consolidate achievements of the programme; particularly the start-up phase of establishing the MPHSTF.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21]

fully agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 The programme extension topic will be brought for discussion and approval in an upcoming UN JP Board Meeting to be hold at the end of the year.
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/01 Initiated OL to MOE has been sent to organize the board meeting on December 14, 2018 and one of the topics for discussion is review the possibility of the programme extension.
6.2 Based on the UN JP Board Meeting decision, respective agreements will be made with UNTFHS; the Programme budget will be adjusted for the following periods as per the extension time-frames.
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/02 Not Initiated
7. Recommendation:

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 7.

It is recommended to review the M&E system in place and reduce the number of indicators and targets to simplify the monitoring and reporting functions.

The extensive M&E system in place has been producing good progress reports. However, too much information is collected with some redundancies. The entire reporting mechanism produces good but extensive progress reports. It is recommended that the M&E function be streamlined and focus mostly on collecting information that is used to draft the annual progress reports. In particular, it is recommended to reduce the number of indicators and targets to simplify the monitoring and reporting function without changing the current quality of reporting progress.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2018/11/21]

Partially agree/ Given the fact that adjusting the M&E indicators approved by all partners including the Gov’t and Donor, it is proposed to keep reporting on the already set indicators.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 The UN JP management will apply RBM tools in developing annual progress reports, make it straight to point and less extensive without changing the UNTFHS and UNDP reporting guidelines and template
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/04 Not Initiated
8. Recommendation:

Mid-term Evaluation recommendation 8.

It is recommended to expand the financial section in progress reports to include the full financial status of the programme.

Financial information is mostly provided by donor. There is no consolidated financial summary presenting the total financing of the programme in one place. It is recommended to expand the section on “financial status” in the annual progress reports to report this consolidated financial information presenting actual disbursements against the overall budget. All this information exists internally, it is a matter of reporting it to all through progress reports and show how cost-effective is this programme.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21]

Partially agree. UN JP will be develop the consolidated financial report based on the main Donor’s template (Results Monitoring table), where all activities of the all donors will be included and financial status report provided.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1 UN JP will be developing the consolidated financial report based on the main Donor’s template (Results Monitoring table), where all activities of the all donors will be included and financial status report provided.
[Added: 2018/11/21]
UN JP Team 2019/05 Not Initiated The consolidated finance report has been prepared and submitted in the process of budget revision in the context of the second annual progress report submission to HSU in October 2018. The consolidated report (Results Monitoring table) includes additional funds from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Coca Cola Foundation and the UNDP Funding Window. Overall, the total budget of the Programme has increased for $ 520,000.

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