Mid-term Review of the Regional Programme Document 2014-2017

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Evaluation Plan:
2014-2017, RBLAC
Evaluation Type:
Others
Planned End Date:
03/2016
Completion Date:
03/2016
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
23,000

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Title Mid-term Review of the Regional Programme Document 2014-2017
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2014-2017, RBLAC
Evaluation Type: Others
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 03/2016
Planned End Date: 03/2016
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 7.7 Mechanisms in place to generate and share knowledge about development solutions
Evaluation Budget(US $): 23,000
Source of Funding: Regional Programme
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 22,800
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Javier Jahnsen Consultor jajahnsen@gmail.com BOLIVIA
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: RBLAC, RH, Country Offices
Comments:

The present document is a review of the programme and not an evaluation. As stated in the ToRs of the Review: "This review responds to the need to provide inputs about the progress of the Regional Programme for the Mid-term Review (MTR) of the Strategic Plan 2014-17 (SP) as per the commitment made with Executive Board in paragraph 45 of the Plan."

Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

 

MtR Recommendation 1: The RP should use the unique added value of the work on the gender outcome with initiatives that no other region as.  This opportunity could be concreted via extra-regional South-South cooperation focusing on women’s political participation, social protection from a gender perspective and the promotion of gender equality in the world of work.

2

MtR Recommendation 2: The potential of the Regional Human Development Report as an evidence-based policy-informing tool should be maximized. This report should be reflected upon using methods that go beyond presentations with regional and country stakeholders. These methods could include multi-dimensional policy-making workshops using the statistical base of the HDR and the RP’s expertise in policy formulation to create capacities in the completion of a cycle that goes from the identification of a problem to the implementation of a public policy to address it from a multi-dimensional, evidence-based perspective.

MtR Recommendation 5: The SP and the RP are valid for the SDG agenda as they were born in the midst of the negotiations for the Agenda 2030, and were considerably influenced by it.  Given that SDGs are now at the top of the international agenda, the RP should take advantage of this opportunity, especially given that countries have the option to align their national priorities to SDGs. Accordingly, the RP should assist them to define areas that impact countries the most.  There should be a regional vision on the shifting environment, a vision that focuses on the multi-dimensionality of SDGs. UNDP must position itself as an entity with a regional strategy, so that that even if the strategy is tailored to the specific context of countries, it still contributes to regional goals.  

3

MtR Recommendation 3: For improving quality, UNDP needs to organize the management structure of the projects to comply with the new quality standard (e.g. documentation, flows of processes, decision making chains). This should not be an optional process, but a mandatory component of every regional and national intervention that should be linked with the M&E framework that is being proposed to guarantee that assessments like this MTR are able to clearly identify deviations from the norm.  Quality should be a cross-cutting evaluation criterion measured as part of the assessments conducted on the effectiveness and efficiency of projects.  

4

MtR Recommendation 4: In order to continue incorporating and enhancing the application of the regionality principle of the RP, there is a need for an experience-sharing forum focusing on South-South Cooperation. This forum would constitute the perfect opportunity to share experiences gained on citizen security in LAC and other regions, and would also provide space to learn about extractive industries in Africa and the work being conducted in the area of urbanization in Asia. In addition, there is a need to strengthen the link with UNDP’s corporate strategy on South South Cooperation.

5

MtR Recommendation 7: Aside from the M&E function per se, there are other areas in which the RP and the projects it supports should make improvements. First, project update reports should be standardized to allow for a progress quantification that goes beyond financial execution and includes an assessment of programmatic execution (in terms of percentages and variation analyses of what was planned and what was actually executed) as this will provide a more complete picture of performance. 

MtR Recommendation 8: The team in charge of regional M&E should receive additional training to continue strengthening the M&E function within the organization. This function needs to be scaled-up within the organization, to evolve from an ex-post exercise to a more proactive and frequent practice of data collection, analysis and evidence-based decision making, all critical aspects linked to results-based management.

1. Recommendation:

 

MtR Recommendation 1: The RP should use the unique added value of the work on the gender outcome with initiatives that no other region as.  This opportunity could be concreted via extra-regional South-South cooperation focusing on women’s political participation, social protection from a gender perspective and the promotion of gender equality in the world of work.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/09/05]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.3 Coordinated the regional expansion and globalization of the Gender Equality Seal for Public and Private Enterprises beyond Latin America to the Caribbean to Africa, Asia and Europe and the CIS.
[Added: 2018/09/05] [Last Updated: 2018/09/13]
Gender 2019/12 Overdue-Initiated Efforts included joint collaboration with other regional hubs for capacity development and the development of a package of information and capacity building in English as well as visual tools to engage private sector outside LAC region. This has given UNDP a comparative advantage with a “ready-made” initiative that brings together private sector, GEWE and the SDGs. History
1.1 Organization and implementation of the Third Global Forum on Business for Gender Equality co organized with the Governments of Chile and Panama and the City of Knowledge of Panama.
[Added: 2018/09/05]
Gender 2016/11 Completed The Forum brought together 350 participants from 24 countries including 12 outside of the LAC Region. And over 160 senior executives from companies, and a lineup of guest speakers included global leaders on research on gender in business. The next Forum will be held in Chile and co-sponsored by the government in February 2018.
1.2 Development capacities and interchange of knowledge on the implementation of the Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme.
[Added: 2018/09/05]
Gender 2017/12 Completed More than 1,300 business people and government officials were sensitized in Latin America and The Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe and South-East Asia in advocacy events featuring the Gender Seal for private sector.
2. Recommendation:

MtR Recommendation 2: The potential of the Regional Human Development Report as an evidence-based policy-informing tool should be maximized. This report should be reflected upon using methods that go beyond presentations with regional and country stakeholders. These methods could include multi-dimensional policy-making workshops using the statistical base of the HDR and the RP’s expertise in policy formulation to create capacities in the completion of a cycle that goes from the identification of a problem to the implementation of a public policy to address it from a multi-dimensional, evidence-based perspective.

MtR Recommendation 5: The SP and the RP are valid for the SDG agenda as they were born in the midst of the negotiations for the Agenda 2030, and were considerably influenced by it.  Given that SDGs are now at the top of the international agenda, the RP should take advantage of this opportunity, especially given that countries have the option to align their national priorities to SDGs. Accordingly, the RP should assist them to define areas that impact countries the most.  There should be a regional vision on the shifting environment, a vision that focuses on the multi-dimensionality of SDGs. UNDP must position itself as an entity with a regional strategy, so that that even if the strategy is tailored to the specific context of countries, it still contributes to regional goals.  

Management Response: [Added: 2018/09/05]

Implementation action: The 2016 Regional Human Development Report ‘A Multidimensional Progress Agenda for Human Development in Latin America and the Caribbean’, makes the link between the 2030 Agenda and the region and provides RBLAC´s vision to advance SDGs at national level with a multi-dimensional perspective. The launching and dissemination of the RHD reports have position UNDP as a preferred partner to help achieve the sustainable development goals in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The project was conceived from its formulation stage as a practically applicable policy toolkit based on strong evidence. The next phase of the project will be geared towards developing and implementing specific tools for Agenda 2030 implementation. In this regard, a substantive revision of the project will be performed to complete the production and disseminate the innovative tools proposed by the RHD Report, in conjunction with a select number of other tools which would become the UNDP LAC SDG offer to address the multi-dimensional development challenges of middle-income countries (MIC) and small-island developing states (SIDS) –with a particular focus on the well-being of populations that were not able to get out of poverty, and populations that are today at risk of falling back into poverty. These tools, will be embedded in the MAPS framework- in order to land the SDGs within the national priorities, while avoiding fragmentation and preserving an integrated approach.

In order to support governments regarding national implementation of the SDGs, a regional network of experts will be constituted and made available at their request. This network, composed of UNDP staff, government officials –who will foster south-south cooperation- and consultants, will receive technical virtual trainings and workshops, which will combine theoretical lessons with hands-on practical cases in real time, according to country priorities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
? Perform a substantive revision of the project
[Added: 2018/09/05]
R HDR Project Team 2016/12 Completed Project extended until Dec 2018
? Developing a structured menu of tools and methodologies to help guide policies, and strengthen government capacities to develop and implement policies that incorporate development accelerators for the SDGs.
[Added: 2018/09/05]
R HDR Project Team 2017/12 Completed Tools developed and under implementation: Poverty transitions, RIA, Combos, SIGOB, Micro Fiscal simulations
? Develop training modules and deliver courses for Government officials, UNDP programme officers on the use of tools generated by the project as means to help land SDGs within specific country needs.
[Added: 2018/09/05]
R HDR Project Team 2018/12 Completed Three training modules and virtual training courses on PovRisk, RIA and Combo and Fiscal toolkit were taught, with 248 participants trained (UN Agencies, consultants and staff from academic institutions).
? Create a regional network of experts and associated people trained in the use of tools developed by the project to support governments of the region with their requirements for landing SDGs.
[Added: 2018/09/05]
R HDR Project Team 2018/12 Completed Network of regional experts on one or more of the SDGs tools, of which a group of 25 consultants are qualified to provide services to country offices through the SDG regional Roster
? Provide technical assistance to mainstream, accelerate, and provide policy support on SDGs to Member States timely and effectively, by providing, through the reports’ conclusions and other corporate tools, an SDG entry point for countries according to their specific needs.
[Added: 2018/09/05]
R HDR Project Team 2018/12 Completed Project has promoted dialogue around the SDG Agenda and is providing support to approximately 25+ countries in the region. The level of support varies from country to country.
3. Recommendation:

MtR Recommendation 3: For improving quality, UNDP needs to organize the management structure of the projects to comply with the new quality standard (e.g. documentation, flows of processes, decision making chains). This should not be an optional process, but a mandatory component of every regional and national intervention that should be linked with the M&E framework that is being proposed to guarantee that assessments like this MTR are able to clearly identify deviations from the norm.  Quality should be a cross-cutting evaluation criterion measured as part of the assessments conducted on the effectiveness and efficiency of projects.  

Management Response: [Added: 2018/09/05]

Implementation action:

Management structure of regional projects is clearly established in prodocs and the existing SOPs developed for this programme cycle. Specific arrangements have been stablished for regional projects which lead is delegated to a CO (JCCCP, Carisecure, HIV Global Fund project).

Annual project quality assessments (QA) will be put in place as required corporately to assess to what extent the project conforms to quality parameters required by the organization. QA will be done during the life cycle of the project at decision points: design, implementation and closure. This exercise will provide information to assess the quality of regional programme active project portfolio. In conjunction with regular project monitoring, QA assessments will ensure that at least annually there is a formal focus on key implementation and performance issues outlined across seven quality criteria, and ensure improved development effectiveness and greater accountability for results.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
? Implementation of QA to On-going, new and closing projects
[Added: 2018/09/05]
Regional Programme Coordination Unit 2018/12 Overdue-Initiated 2016 QA completed to all projects (2 new, 7 on-going – 1 closing); 2017 QA completed for 4 new projects, 3/9 ongoing. Process to continue during 1Q 2018
Management Response: [Added: 2018/09/05]

Implementation action: The regional program was not able to implement this recommendation, but instead focused during 2016-2017 on landing regionally the global SSC Strategic action lines, leading 3 activities that strengthened the experience-sharing and the exchange of development solution through SSC.

The first action was the support to the global activity called: SSMart for Sustainable Development Goals system. (2016-2017) http://global-ssmart.org/en. This system enables partners to post their demands, search for solutions, share their solutions and collaborate. To maximize collaborative partnerships, the regional programme provided support to partners in assessing their demands, packaging their solutions and brokering matches between partners seeking solutions and partners sharing solutions.

The second action was the support to the South-South Global Thinkers (2016-2017) https://www.ssc-globalthinkers.org/. South-South Global Thinkers is a global coalition of think tank networks that facilitate the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and perspectives from the Global South to inform policy dialogues. Its research agenda focuses on the opportunities and challenges of scaling-up South-South and Triangular Cooperation for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Regional programme facilitated the partnership with one of the most important Think Tank in SSC in LAC, called ILAIPP. (MOU signed in January 2017). ILAIPP already has 17 individual members on the platform and has contributed in 2 publications: https://www.ssc-globalthinkers.org/group/3/knowledge-products and shared their perspectives in at least one online discussion: https://www.ssc-globalthinkers.org/discussions/How-can-South-South-Cooperation-transform-economies-and-help-low-income-countries-to-jumpstart-dynamic-growth

The third action was the creation of the Virtual Centre of Excellence for SSC in Territorial Development in LAC (2016-2017) http://cvis3.cebem.org/,  as part of the global Activity: Saemaul Undong ISNG. Such centers were implemented in 5 countries (Uganda, Ruanda, Lao, Viet Nam, and Bolivia) as a regional action. Its main purpose is brokering successful experiences, methodologies, and lessons learned on territorial development produced by UNDP COs, and national counterparts in LAC, and promote them, through SS&TC. It also intends to facilitate advocacy and policy dialogue on territorial development at regional and local level, and to take the Saemaul experience of Bolivia to other countries in the LAC and other regions. The VCE is an online platform where governments and local institutions present projects on Territorial Development, noting their specific needs, goods, services, information, expertise, and resources to increase exchange and its impact through SSC. 

Key Actions:

5. Recommendation:

MtR Recommendation 7: Aside from the M&E function per se, there are other areas in which the RP and the projects it supports should make improvements. First, project update reports should be standardized to allow for a progress quantification that goes beyond financial execution and includes an assessment of programmatic execution (in terms of percentages and variation analyses of what was planned and what was actually executed) as this will provide a more complete picture of performance. 

MtR Recommendation 8: The team in charge of regional M&E should receive additional training to continue strengthening the M&E function within the organization. This function needs to be scaled-up within the organization, to evolve from an ex-post exercise to a more proactive and frequent practice of data collection, analysis and evidence-based decision making, all critical aspects linked to results-based management.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/09/05]

Management Response: A M&E Plan will be developed to ensure consistent use of indicators, data collection and reporting tools as well as other processes to organize the M&E function of UNDP’s RP for the periods 2016-2017.  The purpose of monitoring is to improve efficiency through the regular review of program performance based on evidence for timely corrective adjustments that contribute to greater program effectiveness. The collection of strategic Information will inform the tracking of program progress, and will enhance decision making for the implementation and coordination of the RP.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
? To disseminate accurate and comprehensive information to key stakeholders
[Added: 2018/09/05]
Regional Programme Coordination Unit 2018/12 Overdue-Initiated Annual progress reports, and ROAR are generated in a timely manner. However, the Unit has not yet implemented other recommended measures to provide more frequent updates about the RPD progress.
? Development of a M&E Plan
[Added: 2018/09/05]
Regional Programme Coordination Unit 2016/03 Completed This was developed as part of the MtR
? To strengthen the standardization and coordination of all mechanisms and instruments to collect information at all levels of RP implementation.
[Added: 2018/09/05]
Regional Programme Coordination Unit 2018/12 Completed Implementation of Programme/ Project Work Plan Output Monitoring as per the established M&E Plan to collect information and track quarterly the progress of projects in the implementation of their planned activities and targets. This is complemented by the monthly tracking of the project´s financial performance.
? To meet the reporting requirements of UNDP
[Added: 2018/09/05]
Regional Programme Coordination Unit 2018/12 Completed Monitoring twice a year of compliance of projects with the UNDP reporting requirements in updating of ATLAS project management, and IATI standards.

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