Kazakhstan Country Programme Outcome Evaluation 2016-2018 Diversification of the economy provides decent work opportunities for the underemployed, youth, and socially vulnerable women and men

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Kazakhstan
Evaluation Type:
Planned End Date:
Completion Date:
Management Response:
Evaluation Budget(US $):


Document Type Language Size Status Downloads
Download document Final ToR CPD Outcome _Diversification of Economy.docx tor English 98.12 KB Posted 388
Download document Final evaluation report _Diversification of Economy.pdf report English 763.60 KB Posted 471
Title Kazakhstan Country Programme Outcome Evaluation 2016-2018 Diversification of the economy provides decent work opportunities for the underemployed, youth, and socially vulnerable women and men
Atlas Project Number: 00094327,00088600,00082793,00081777
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Kazakhstan
Evaluation Type: Outcome
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2018
Planned End Date: 12/2018
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Poverty
  • 2. Governance
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.2 Marginalised groups, particularly the poor, women, people with disabilities and displaced are empowered to gain universal access to basic services and financial and non-financial assets to build productive capacities and benefit from sustainable livelihoods and jobs
SDG Goal
  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
SDG Target
  • 1.2 By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions
  • 1.3 Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable
  • 16.1 Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere
  • 16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all
Evaluation Budget(US $): 80,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 17,920
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Pradeep Sharma
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of National Economy, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection,National Commission on Women rights, others

3.1 Relevance

The relevance of the outcome interventions was assessed against key strategic documents. It was found that the outcome was highly relevant and remained so throughout the implementation of outcome interventions. Details are given below.

3.1.1 Relevance to Nations Strategic Documents
The outcome was directly linked to “Kazakhstan 2050” vision, and goals therein, as well as associated sector plans notably the State Employment Programme for 2020. These documents guided the UN System’s Partnership for Development (2016-2020) and UNDP’s Country Programme Document (2016-2020).

Tag: Relevance Results-Based Management


3.1.2 Relevance to UN / UNDP Strategic Documents
UNDAF (2010-2015) was already operational when Kazakhstan 2050 was launched in December 2012. Partnership Framework for Development (PFD: 2016-2020), the successor to UNDAF was formulated in direct response to the Kazakhstan 2050 vision and to support the country realize that vision. Thus outcome 1.2 of PFD/CPD being evaluated has direct bearing on the Kazakhstan 2050 priorities 1, 2 and 3 which broadly relate to the three strands of sustainable development (social, economic and environmental).

Since the two regional projects (Kyzylorda and Mangystau) precede the PFD (2016- 2020), the evaluator examined their coherence with UNDAF (2010-2015) and found that the outcome in question was well aligned with UNDAF outputs 1.3 (on social services) and 1.4 (on employment for the vulnerable people). The environmental activities under the outcome under evaluation related to UNDAF output 1.5 (sustainable land management), 2.1 (climate change mitigation and adaptation) and 2.3 (energy efficiency).

Tag: Coherence Relevance Results-Based Management Strategic Positioning


3.1.3 Coherence with Agenda 2030

The outcome addressed several Sustainable Development Goals and a report of the MAPS mission found close alignment of national development targets and indicators with those of SDGs [upto 61%]. The MAPS report identifies the following accelerators that could result in rapid progress towards achieving SDGs:

  • Substantial reforms in democratic governance, notably enhancing local decision- making, the rule of law, state accountability, public participation of all, and identity and unity linked to social cohesion and peace;
  • Policies to reduce socially corrosive inequalities, particularly for women, boys and girls, in access to human development opportunities, income and across regions—toenhance social mobility and ease social tensions;
  • Measures to diversify the economy to reduce reliance on natural resource extraction and incentivize the private sector by improving regulations, governance and the business climate;
  • Greening Kazakhstan’s growth path by eliminating subsidies on fossil fuel and water use, and taxing harmful consumption patterns to enhance sustainability and increase fiscal space.

The outcome in question addresses all the four accelerators above.

Two regional projects contributing to this outcome demonstrated how to weave social, economic and environmental strands and apply a “triple win” approach at sub-national level and thus make the interventions sustainable and directly relevant to beneficiaries who expect integrated solutions to their local development problems.

Tag: Coherence Relevance Agenda 2030 Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) SDG Integration


3.1.4 Relevance of Projects to the Outcome

Another perspective on relevance could be to assess if the projects under the outcome in question were relevant to the outcome. Our finding is that even though the two regional projects (Kyzylorda and Mangystau) were already under implementation when the outcome was formulated, and in that sense the projects were brought under this outcome in an ex post sense, yet all the projects are relevant to attainment of outcome 1.2. The two regional projects are most directly linked to the outcome as they demonstrate “triple win” practices on the ground leading to economic diversification,
social inclusion and environmental sustainability.

Two other projects, on social protection and gender equality, effectively supplement the core agenda of economic diversification by helping government meet their international commitments and making development more gender-sensitive and inclusive. The focus on people with disabilities under the social protection project is directly aligned with the outcome focus on vulnerable groups.

Tag: Vulnerable Effectiveness Relevance HIV / AIDS


3.1.5 Relevance to Vulnerable Population Groups / Regions

Most significant of all, an outcome should target the most appropriate population groups identified as vulnerable. In the PFD document following are identified as vulnerable groups: people with disabilities, children and young people, people living with HIV/AIDS, migrants (oralmans), women, and victims of trafficking, refugees and stateless persons. Not all these groups were addressed by UNDP under the outcome in question.

In terms of geographical targeting, the outcome projects targeted two regions in the country with most development indicators worse than the national average. These two projects, jointly implemented with other UN agencies, were piloted to demonstrate inclusive and sustainable development practices on the ground.

Tag: Vulnerable Relevance Gender Equality Disabilities Social Protection Youth


3.1.6 Coherence with Human Rights

The outcome interventions followed the human rights based approach by promoting inclusive development and, as stated above, by targeting the most vulnerable
population groups and regions, addressing the rights of women and people with disabilities through normative work (helping the government implement CEDAW follow
up recommendations and provisions of CRPD); and operational work (through support to policy formulation – like Family and Gender Policy, and various programmes and projects on the ground). The outcome interventions thus showed strong alignment with international human rights treaties and conventions. But the interventions were somewhat limited in terms of some of the other human rights principles like addressing social accountability and strengthening people’s voice to hold authorities accountable for social services.

Tag: Vulnerable Coherence Human rights Operational Efficiency Disabilities


3.1.7 Strategic Positioning of UNDP

UNDP was not just a relevant partner to the government but a strategic one offering policy advice, regional / global best practice, demonstrating pilots on the ground, technical expertise, and helping government position itself as a regional / global player. Be it advocacy on sensitive human rights issues and implementation of the country’s international commitments (CRPD, CEDAW) or undertaking efficient and transparent procurement of quality health products (under GFATM) or demonstrating “triple win” projects on the ground or working shoulder to shoulder to promote regional positioning of the country (EXPO-2017), UNDP has played a pivotal role as a trusted development partner.

Tag: Procurement Strategic Positioning UNDP management Advocacy


3.1.8 Theory of Change

Finally, there is a clearly articulated theory of change for this outcome, as for other outcomes, that highlight the relevance of outcome in the context of national development challenges and priorities. This was presented at the stakeholder consultations that were held in the run up to the formulation of new CPD (2016-2020).
Yet all the projects under this outcome were already under implementation spanning over two CPDs (2010-2015 and 2016-2020). The outcome and its associated TOC thus appear to have been defined in terms of existing portfolio rather than developing a new one.

Tag: Theory of Change


3.2 Effectiveness
Effectiveness of the outcome was judged by whether or not planned results were achieved and the effect of interventions on legal / policy frameworks in the country,
capacity building and demonstrating innovative approaches. In an outcome evaluation the role of multiple partners is critical to the success. Effectiveness criterion also
assessed the extent to which such partnerships were leveraged to enhance development outcomes.

Tag: Effectiveness Innovation Partnership Policies & Procedures Capacity Building


3.2.1 Were Planned Results Achieved?

During 2016-2018, UNDP implemented a number of projects delivering on the outcome in question. The total financial value of such interventions during 2016-2018 was USD5.86 million. If we consider projects in operation since 2014, the value goes up to USD9.66 million. The effectiveness and ability for individual projects to contribute to the outcome depended on the contents / design of the projects, their scale in terms of resources, the effectiveness of implementation, and the partnerships forged.

While the two regional projects most directly contributed to the outcome, the role of the ones on Capacity Building of Republic Centre for AIDS was more peripheral to the outcome, even though the project itself was effectively implemented. Social protection and the gender equality projects were significant in terms of supporting the government in meeting its international commitments, and also had some on-ground presence. It might be pertinent to mention that the outcome itself was very ambitiously defined. Diversification of an economy is a long-term process and two years time with a few pilots may not generate the critical mass to impact the composition of the economy. However, in terms of promoting inclusive economic development, the projects acquitted themselves very well. As stated earlier, the prime focus of UNDP has been on inclusiveness and to that extent the interventions have been very successful in achieving the results.

Tag: Effectiveness Gender Equality Inclusive economic growth Social Protection Data and Statistics


Output indicator 2.1 [Number of informed policy dialogues conducted at local and national levels on employment and labour-market dynamics] was also achieved with thepolicy dialogues taking place around labour market study, which revealed structural imbalances and made recommendations to increase employment. A dialogue platform on business start-ups also provided entrepreneurs an opportunity to receive support from financial institutions, state, and other donors, and learn about the opportunities for the development of regional cooperation.

Tag: Country Support Platform Promotion of dialogue Trade and Development


Output Indicator 2.2 [Number of targeted vocational education and trainings to match labour market needs for youth/women/persons with disabilities employment] was fully achieved with a number of vocational training programmes organised under the projects. Thirty oralmans were trained in language and business training; rural artisans were trained in artisan development (in felting, design and business development) including in collaboration with UNESCO to preserve cultural heritage and promote livelihoods; young persons with disabilities were trained in computer literacy; a number of small grants were aimed at vocational training to persons with disabilities, including women (such as training in sewing for the visually impaired women); and 16 rural women were trained in hairdressing and manicure and nearly all of them found employment.

Tag: Youth Effectiveness Women's Empowerment Disabilities Jobs and Livelihoods


Output Indicator 3.1 [Number of (youth/ persons with disabilities/women-owned) SMEs that are self-sustainable, with products and services traded at local and regional markets, in three select regions] for some reason covers three regions, the third one being East Kazakhstan even though the East Kazakhstan project closed in 2015, before the new CPD was formulated. Nevertheless, in the two regions that this evaluator examined, there have been a number of activities supporting SMEs owned by women and persons with disabilities. These enterprises were also selling a variety of products (bakery, felt) and services (hairdressing, sewing). However, whether or not these were sustainable could not be assessed, as enough time has not lapsed.

Tag: Effectiveness Women's Empowerment Disabilities Trade and Development


Output Indicator 3.2 [Number of strengthened business development centers providing targeted services for women/youth/persons with disabilities] with focus on business development was met successfully. In Kyzylorda, 29 business projects were supported, 14 online centres set up in 7 regions and 14 rural districts serving local people with business development. The online centres allowed the villagers access to information and business consultations. Business development activities were focused on hard-to- employ vulnerable people like those with disabilities including visually impaired. They were assisted with interest-free loans, market intelligence, information on market opportunities, and other financial and legal matters. UNDP forged partnership with Mangystau Industrial Chamber and supported entrepreneurs with business development consulting, resulting in 84 new jobs created in rural areas. The loans were given for crop production, livestock farming, provision of household services and craftsmanship.

Tag: Efficiency Gender Equality Monitoring and Evaluation Disabilities Jobs and Livelihoods Micro-credit Social Protection Trade and Development Vulnerable


3.2.2 Coordination
Coordination with the government was good – regular project board meetings were held. At the local level, coordination was more intense and on day-to-day basis UNDP interacted with akims and akimat staff. Within UNDP, different programme units are implementing identical activities (‘green’ technologies also implemented by SDU) or sometimes within same unit different project activities of similar nature (like employment creation for people with disabilities). The consultant could gather only anecdotal evidence that the implementing teams worked in a coordinated manner or collaborated with each other.

Tag: Country Government UNDP Regional Bureaux Coordination


3.2.3 Effectiveness of Partnerships
Most projects under the outcome leveraged government and non-government partnerships, both at national and local levels, in an effective manner. At the national
level, the projects worked with various ministries and commissions. At the local level, key government partners were the akims. Despite the limited presence of civil society in the country, the projects were able to forge partnerships with them as implementers, advocates for rights and clients for capacity building.

The role of private sector in diversified economic development is seminal. There is huge emphasis on private sector-led growth in the country through direct investment and public-private partnerships in Kazakhstan 2050 strategy. However, the activities under the outcome interventions were largely NGO-led and the private sector had somewhat limited role to play. It must be recognized that neither public sector nor civil society alone can provide the kind of impetus that is needed to diversify the economy and create employment. Hence, not working with private sector is seen as a missed opportunity.

However, discussion with UNDP revealed that there is an on-going process to formulate a project (linked to Outcome 1.2) to promote greater involvement of business sector in the achievement of SDGs such as by making them pro-environment and more inclusive in employment, among others. The role of business in sustainable development was highlighted in the Astana Economic Forum (May 2018). Moreover, UNDP chairs a Working Group on Private Sector under the National SDG Architecture, which is an opportunity to influence the outcomes in this area.

Tag: Effectiveness Partnership Private Sector


3.2.4 Integrated Development Solutions

Given the UNDP focus on breaking silos and providing integrated development solutions, this evaluator examined if this approach was indeed adopted during the
outcome implementation. Such an approach presupposes various thematic teams working together and offering interdisciplinary solutions. The evaluator found limited evidence of the potential of various thematic areas working together to derive synergy and enhance development outcomes being realized.

This may in part reflect the compartmentalized way in which the government itself functions and in part indicative of lack of internal incentives to forge synergies (or
UNDP’s own reporting limitation which does not allow a project to be linked to more than one outcome). Different thematic teams (within UNDP), for example, worked on providing employment to people with disabilities, energy efficiency, and ‘green’ technologies – all contributing to the Outcome 1.2 being evaluated - but no common planning or monitoring was evidenced. The consultant held discussions with SDU project staff and indeed found that a number of activities took place in energy and environment area that fed to the outcome in question, including creating employment for vulnerable population groups. Collaboration if any was incidental and not by design.

Tag: Vulnerable Energy Green Economy Integration


3.2.5 Effectiveness of Targeting Vulnerable Groups

The outcome projects have been extremely effective in targeting the most vulnerable groups of population. The activities gave immense focus on rural areas and women, youth, and people with disabilities. Most beneficiaries had multiple vulnerabilities. Specifically on the issue of people with disabilities, the UNDP projects not only provided technical support and worked towards enabling physical access of disabled people to public buildings and transport, but also worked for changing stereotypes and stigma reduction so that people with disabilities are not discriminated against by the society.

Women were similarly targeted significantly and effectively in most interventions under the two regional projects, social protection and gender projects. Under these projects women appeared as entrepreneurs, managers and innovators. Women with disabilities face double discrimination. Under the social protection Project, women were targeted for rehabilitation and employment. The NGO “Shyrak” particularly worked with women with disabilities for stigma reduction and to mainstream them in the society through employment and participation in social-political life.

Although a vulnerable group, the evaluator found no evidence that PLHIV received any assistance, micro grants or small loan for their economic empowerment or for that matter any social protection schemes benefited them under the outcome projects. This is a major omission. Linking HIV positive persons with employment schemes and social protection programme can go a long way in mitigating their vulnerabilities. This is also an issue of protecting their human rights and mainstreaming them in society.

Tag: Vulnerable Effectiveness Women's Empowerment Innovation Civil Societies and NGOs Disabilities Social Protection Youth


3.2.6 Replication and Scaling Up
Some of the outcome interventions have led to further replication or scaling up. The two regional projects in Kyzylorda and Mangystau were said to be replications of the success of a similar project previously implemented in East Kazakhstan. Similarly, discussions with local authorities and project staff revealed that activities like greenhouses, water-saving techniques and energy-efficiency activities in Mangystau and Kyzylorda were being replicated in different other areas within the same region. Approval of the next phase of the social protection project (2018-2020) was also an indicator of its success in previous years.


Tag: Knowledge management Sustainability


3.2.7 Effect on Laws, Regulations and Policies

A solid indictor of whether an intervention was effective or not is to see if it led to formulation of new laws or regulations, or changes in the existing laws. Also, if as a
result of the project activities, new policies were made or existing ones changed, or new institutions created and existing ones strengthened, it is seen as a higher order effect. When viewed in this perspective, the evaluator found that the projects under outcome 1.2 have led to many changes.

Under the social protection project, UNDP not only influenced the law on social protection itself but was given a seat at the high-level Coordination Council, headed by
Deputy Prime Minister, and in that capacity UNDP, in collaboration with other members including those with disabilities, was able to leverage this platform and assist in the formulation of / making changes to the National Plan on People with Disabilities, introducing key changes such as tax concessions, improved accessibility and promoting the involvement of civil society, including people with disabilities themselves. Development of guidelines for medical staff for rehabilitation was another major contribution and makes the project effective.

The gender project made significant contribution in the form of the Family and Gender Policy formulation. It also supported the formulation of Action Plan (2017-2019). Under the same project, a new People’s Academy of Green Technologies was established to promote women’s involvement in environment-saving technologies. The study on unpaid work of women and its effect on their employment promises to be a useful contribution that, with proper advocacy, can influence laws and policies.

Tag: Effectiveness Women's Empowerment Innovation Policies & Procedures UNDP Regional Bureaux Disabilities Social Protection Coordination


3.2.8 Innovative Approaches
Introduction of new ways of doing things and promoting innovations is another yardstick by which effectiveness of an intervention should be measured. The evaluator noted that many activities under the outcome have resulted in many innovative ideas and projects. For example, the social protection project contributed the automated information system for assessing needs of people in difficult situations; calculator for measuring degrees of impairment; and online support to parents of the disabled children.

The gender project introduced the concept of gender audit by carrying out gender audit of the Nazarbaev University. Similarly, under the two regional projects, provision of free internet through online centres, facilitation of job search through “Headhunter.com”, the facilities for the elderly available under “Amanat” project, among others, were creative and innovative ideas.

Tag: Effectiveness Innovation


3.2.9 Factors that contributed to Results
UNDP’s positioning in the country as a credible and non-partisan development partner and support by the technical staff that implemented the activities made it possible to achieve the results that were achieved. The fact that two of the most influential projects were joint projects also ensured that there were no delays on the ground, as this would bring down the entire JP. Also, there was adequate learning available from the East Kazakhstan project that helped UNDP hitting the ground running. UNDP’s long-term engagement with the social protection project and gender project was another factor that contributed to the success of that project. The evaluator did not come across any examples of unexpected results either positive or negative.

Tag: Effectiveness Strategic Positioning


3.3 Efficiency

This criterion is about whether or not outcome was achieved at a reasonable cost, if implementation arrangements were appropriate, M&E framework was prepared and
adhered to by staff during monitoring, there were any duplication, core resources were used judiciously and if there were any environmental and social costs.

Tag: Efficiency Monitoring and Evaluation


3.3.1 Administrative Costs
The outcome in an overall sense was implemented in an efficient manner and both financial and human resources were put to most efficient use. Average administrative cost for all five projects together did not exceed 10%. However, in case of the social protection project and the gender project, the management costs were in the range of 20-30%, which appear high even after accounting for the increase in salaries. In comparison, HIV project was much more cost-efficient due largely to procurement of high value medical products.

Tag: Efficiency Human and Financial resources Operational Efficiency


3.3.2 Implementation Arrangements
For each project a PIU was set up led by a project manager and support staff. In addition, these PIUs were supported by a number of experts for specific activities as per work plan. For the two regional projects, in addition, there were UNDP field offices, one in each region, to plan and implement UNDP-specific activities and coordinate with both local authorities (akimats) and participating UN agencies of these two Joint Projects. The PIUs have since been wound up after the closure of projects. This not only led to loss of capacity, it also did not promote national ownership. In fact, the Mid-Term Review of PFD found lack of government ownership of PFD and its processes. The government found PFD as UN-led initiative with low involvement of the government. This could be partly addressed if UNDP followed an alternative strategy of embedding experts / project units in the relevant line ministries (as under the social protection project), working with the government for their programmes. This would have promoted greater national ownership, cost-efficiency and durable national capacities.

Tag: Oversight Project and Programme management UNDP Regional Bureaux


3.3.3 Core Resources
Given the decline in UNDP core resources, most projects were funded out of resources provided by the Government of Kazakhstan. This was assessed as a sign of efficiency and judicious use of core resources. However, the government’s own resources have come under pressure, which led to rejection of many of the good Joint Programme ideas by UN in Kazakhstan. This calls for even more strategic approach to programming to make the interventions scalable and directly linked to government programmes and priorities addressing jointly identified critical gaps. Resource crunch, as also need for development effectiveness, makes UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021 to call for UNDP to support governments through integrated solutions, collaboration with other development partners, and innovating.

Tag: Efficiency


3.3.4 Monitoring and Evaluation / Progress Reporting

The monitoring and evaluation systems for the outcome as well as outputs revealed some shortcomings. The CPD outcome 1.2 was, and it had to be, identical to PFD
outcome 1.2. Both had two outcome indicators that should also have been identical. However, while one indicator in CPD was the same as in PFD [percentage of youth NEET], the second indicator was different. In PFD, it was the number of SMEs scaled up in Kyzylorda, Mangystau and East Kazakhstan but in CPD it was employment among youth with disabilities. Outcome 1.2 of PFD was owned by as many as 11 UN agencies and hence the indicators were designed in a way that each of the agencies had some contribution to make. This led to the indicators being overly ambitious and were not achieved. For UNDP to single out its own contribution to outcome therefore became challenging and had to be culled out of various narrative reports. The outcome indicators and M&E framework thus did not capture UNDP’s contribution which had to be assessed through other sources of information.

Tag: Monitoring and Evaluation Project and Programme management


3.3.5 Social and Environmental Costs

The evaluator did not come across any cases where UNDP activities had had adverse social or environmental effect. On the contrary, all the project activities were centred on promoting environmental sustainability and social-economic development. UNDP firmly believes in “do no harm” principle as also the principle of non-discrimination and as such did not harm any section of the society in either the choice of projects, areas or target groups.

It must be pointed out that with the completion of all projects under Outcome 1.2, there were no projects left (except social protection 2018-2020) for the remaining period of CPD that could contribute to this outcome. This is not a reflection on programme planning but ground reality of overall lack of donor interest in this upper middle-income country. Yet, the evaluator informally learned that a number of project ideas are in the offing and, if materialised, will partially go towards contributing to outcome 1.2

The overall assessment is that, with a couple of exceptions, the outcome projects were implemented in an efficient manner and both financial and human resources were put to most efficient use. Core resources were put to most catalytic use. Monitoring and reporting were generally good but could do with further strengthening with due attention given to how the indicators are formulated. Instead of PIUs, efforts should be made to embed project staff within the ministries / local governments.

Tag: Environmental impact assessment Efficiency


3.4 Sustainability

Sustainability looks at if the activities under the outcome will continue after the projects come to an end and if necessary conditions for that to happen exist.

Tag: Sustainability


3.4.1 National and Community Ownership

The outcome projects showed strong national ownership with the government making bulk of the financial contribution to the outcome and getting actively involved in the implementation and monitoring of activities. Local governments also made financial contribution through cost-sharing arrangements, replicated some initiatives and took keen interest in the activities. Communities, as direct beneficiaries of the activities under various projects, showed strong commitment and ownership. This is a good sign for long-term sustainability of the outcome. Close alignment of the outcome interventions with the national priorities and introduction of innovative methods and systems were further seen as a sign that activities under outcome projects would be continued beyond the life of the relevant projects.

A large part of the UNDP work related to the formulation of new laws or changes in the existing ones – notably under the social protection and gender projects. These contributions have since been embedded in the national laws and policies making UNDP contributions sustainable. Strong analytics as in the form of the National HDR and proposed strategy therein also boosts UNDP’s case for the package of activities it is implementing, notably under the two area-based projects.


Tag: Local Governance Ownership Policies & Procedures Sustainability


3.4.2 Capacity Development

The projects contributed to capacity development of national and local institutions, civil society organizations and communities which provided strong foundation for the activities to sustain beyond the life of the projects. The two regional projects that demonstrated economic, social and environmental practices were multi dimensional and multi-thematic in nature requiring support from a multiplicity of ministries and departments and other stakeholders. Through its implementation, inter-ministerial coordination improved notably at the akimat level. Capacity development gains of local authorities in planning, budgeting and implementation were also significant and even during the implementation of the projects, they replicated on their own many initiatives –a sure sign of capacity development.

At the national level, UNDP was able to strengthen capacity of the Department of Social Protection in the implementation of the international convention on people with disabilities in accordance with international standards. The capacity of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs was similarly enhanced through support to formulation of Action plan to implement CEDAW in letter and spirit.

Tag: Knowledge management Procurement Capacity Building


3.4.3 Knowledge Management

The projects acquit themselves very well in knowledge management, a key contributor to sustainability. A number of knowledge products and documents have been prepared to support implementing national partners in their local development efforts. The labour market study and the study on unpaid work and its impact on women’s employment, the guidelines for medical staff on rehabilitation of the disabled, are first-of-its-kind knowledge products of great practical import.

The projects also made good contribution to innovative approaches such as automated information system for assessing the needs of people in difficult situations, the
calculator for assessing the degree of impairment, online support to parents of children with disabilities, among others, which will contribute to durable results. Also, since social protection is a legal entitlement, and the government is committed to offer social protection services at par with international standards, the activities in this area and support to government is likely to sustain. This would be evident from the fact that the government has recently approved the next phase of the social protection project (2018-2020).

Tag: Communication Innovation Knowledge management


3.4.4 Exit Strategy
The projects did not have an exit strategy or a sustainability plan. Project documents were all silent on how the activities will sustain after the projects are closed. This is because the UNDP project format does not expect this information. It is more of a format issue and not a comment on the efforts made by UNDP to sustain activities.

Tag: Results-Based Management


3.4.5 Potential Impact
Impact of any development intervention is generally felt in the long-term after the projects have long concluded. Making an assessment of impact is fraught with several methodological issues but a few pointers of potential impact can certainly be mentioned. Collectively the projects have improved the business climate for the vulnerable groups of population who in the past were excluded from such interventions. The projects under the outcome have thus given hope to the people with disabilities, women and youth of a better future. All the interventions together have created hundreds of jobs, provided direct benefits to excluded groups, and mainstreamed sustainable natural resource management and energy efficiency in local development. The most significant impact is seen in terms of social inclusion which has become part of the national ethos and legal right. The package of interventions has demonstrated how to operationalize the principle of “leave no one behind” in practice.

Tag: Impact Gender Equality Disabilities Jobs and Livelihoods Youth Leaving no one behind


3.5 Gender Equality

Gender equality remains high priority for Kazakhstan as women remain under- represented in public life, face wage gaps, domestic violence and lower economic
participation. It is pertinent to mention that women as target groups in UNDP interventions largely appear as change agents and not as victims. They are entrepreneurs, producers, innovators and managers. Their managing of small grants and participation in EXPO 2017 was a positive showcasing of their strengths as innovators and ‘green’ entrepreneurs.

UNDP played a significant normative and operational role in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. It assisted the government in complying with CEDAW and implementing the recommendations of the UN Committee’s Concluding Comments to Kazakhstan’s Report on CEDAW. In its operational role, UNDP helped government formulate the Family and Gender Law 2017 and plans to help in preparing the associated Action Plan. UNDP study on “unpaid work” and its impact on women’s employment is an important contribution that unravels complex gender relations in Kazakhstan and should be used as an advocacy tool.

Tag: Gender Equality Women's Empowerment


3.6 Human Rights Based Approach

The projects under outcome 1.2 acquit themselves very well on human rights based approach to development. The projects not only pass the test of non-discrimination, they adopt positive discrimination in favour of vulnerable groups particularly women and people with disabilities. Almost all projects promoted participation principle. The social protection project in particular worked with active participation of people with disabilities who were both target groups as well as change agents contributing to policy discussions in the Coordination Council meetings. Women have similarly been the focus of almost all projects appearing as entrepreneurs, innovators, producers and change agents. Their visibility in the projects was very high. Thus the outcome projects did exceptionally well on the inclusiveness.

Social accountability in service delivery is becoming an increasingly important component of reform agenda. This appears prominently in the Kazakhstan 2050 vision
statement as well. However, no activities were seen that would promote collective voice of the citizens and empower them to hold public officials accountable for service delivery.

Overall, the interventions under Outcome 1.2 of CPD and PFD were very relevant and well aligned to national priorities and people’s needs. UNDP made significant
contribution to the outcome through normative and policy support, piloting content-rich, innovative, “triple win” initiatives on the ground and advocacy. UNDP helped strengthen enabling legal and policy environment for including the most vulnerable (especially women and people with disabilities) in development programmes, contributed to understanding labour markets, effect of unpaid work on women’s employment, and positioned social protection as a potent means to mitigate vulnerabilities.

Tag: Vulnerable Effectiveness Human rights Social Protection


The knowledge and experience that UNDP has gathered by implementing three joint regional development projects should be documented and turned into a regional development model to be applied elsewhere in Kazakhstan (and the region).


UNDP should not underestimate the strength of non-project interventions to bring about change by using knowledge products and through micro-macro linkages.


UNDP should work towards improving efficiency of activities by (a) embedding project staff in the implementing ministries / local authorities (b) using micro-grants sparingly and (c) keeping project management costs reasonable.


Partnership with private sector should be forged to add impetus to economic diversification goal and promote “business for SDGs”.


UNDP should scale up social protection project to also include People Living with HIV and link them with social protection services as a means to mitigate vulnerabilities, reduce stigma and create enabling environment for people infected and affected by HIV to live with dignity.


Gender reporting should be strengthened to accurately reflect UNDP’s contribution to gender equality and women’s empowerment.



Local governance should be strengthened to promote local development. UNDP has an opportunity to share its vast regional / global experience to promote clear vision of decentralization, building capacities of local akimats for service delivery, strengthening social accountability and promoting people’s participation in local decision-making.



UNDP should invest time and resources to cultivate the results culture and strengthen monitoring and evaluation of activities.


Communications and advocacy for development should be strengthened


1. Recommendation:

The knowledge and experience that UNDP has gathered by implementing three joint regional development projects should be documented and turned into a regional development model to be applied elsewhere in Kazakhstan (and the region).

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/12/06]

The country office accepts the recommendation.

At this stage the GoK prioritized to focus UNDP support on nationwide initiatives which followed by successful commencement of several sectoral initiatives for 2018-2020. UNDP country office agreed with the Government the so-called “service line” approach, having issue-based nation-wide versus territory-based interventions. However, the models and instruments piloted within the 3 said regional joint programmes informed the design of these sectoral initiative. Moreover, the UNDP flagship initiative on PVE currently implemented in 2 Kazakhstan oblasts builds upon successes of 3 regional projects.

 In response the national priorities UNDP country office is shifting from the joint programmes model to joint programming model which allows to capitalize on distinctive competitive advantages of UN agencies while keeping transactions costs to the minimum.

For example, in the framework of UNDP project in the area of social protection funded by the Government, UNDP has engaged UNWOMEN to the implementation of certain activities in order to strengthen the gender equality aspect through a joint work. Likewise, various UN Agencies have been consulted and engaged at the project development stages for such development areas as, for example, PVE and women, Local Self-Governance, Disaster Risk Reduction, eco-tourism development,  NCDs, others.


Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Further ensure of deployment of the regional programmes best practices into the design of new and implementation of the current projects
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2020/01/02]
GLD Unit, CO staff 2020/12 Completed CO ensured that the best practices of the regional porgrammes are deplyed into the design of the new projects. History
2. Recommendation:

UNDP should not underestimate the strength of non-project interventions to bring about change by using knowledge products and through micro-macro linkages.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/12/06]

The country office accepts the recommendation.

We are in full agreement that the field work should inform of policy advice, advocacy and knowledge products. In connection with this UNDP pays special attention to developing of flagship knowledge products on critical development issues on both national and subnational levels. This will help open new dialogue with the national partners and adequately equip UNDP with tools for mobilization the resources for critical development issues and national priorities initiatives.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Open new discussion around the development issues raised in the 2018 NHDR and other knowledge products
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2020/07/05]
GLD and SDU Units 2020/06 Completed he CO conducted a series of events where the issues of inequalities, SDG 11 with focus on sustainable urbanization, gender dimension of human development and implication of covid on human development were discussed. This included a large roundtable at the lead national university with participation of the Director of HDRO, and a series of meetings with national counterparts in all regions of Kazakhstan where the Global 2019 HDR and 2019 NHDR were presented, Another presentation of the HDR is agreed to be held in the Parliament of Kazakhstan in September 2020. In addition, a number of newspaper articles and interviews have been given to the lead news publishers, where the issues raised in the NHDR and other UNDP knowledge products we presented and discussed. History
3. Recommendation:

UNDP should work towards improving efficiency of activities by (a) embedding project staff in the implementing ministries / local authorities (b) using micro-grants sparingly and (c) keeping project management costs reasonable.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/12/06]

The country office partially accepts the recommendation.

The country office has been constantly working to improve the efficiency of the projects.

UNDP Kazakhstan has already started embedding the project staff for instance project experts in the linear ministries. Some ministries prefer close contact and some more remote with regular interactions. So, UNDP adopted flexible approach which reflects the needs of national partners and best interest of UNDP and purpose of the specific development interventions.


As for the micro grants scheme, UNDP has made the global launch of the new programme and project management (PPM) methods in June 2018. The roll-out of the new PPM has included a number of new tools including to engage with partners in new and diverse ways. CO delivered the training on new PPM to the programme and project staff. CO has started working to apply new tools in the projects programmatic and operational activities such as Innovation Challenge tool, responsible party agreements, etc. ensuring the efficiency and sustainability of the result.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Gradual shift to closer interaction with the national partners where deems reasonable in agreement with the national partners
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2020/12/28]
GLD Unit 2020/12 Completed UNDP proactively engaged in key national policy dialogues. As a result, UNDP contributed to strategic thinking in the country in key development areas. More specifically UNDP supported the with the review of the Strategic Development Plan 2025, Concept of Public Administration Reform 2025 and other important policies. UNDP acted quickly to support the Government to mitigate the negative effects of the Covid-19 and related restrictive measures. This included close work with partners across the Government on both national and subnational level, including Presidential Administration, Ministry of Digital Development, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and Civil Service Agency. New CPD 2021-2025 was broadly discussed with all key stakeholders in the country and tightly aligned with the national development priorities, and emerging needs on post-Covid-19 recovery. UNDP continued the practice of embedding its project staff with the national partners, e.g. UNDP Senior Social Policy advisor worked at the premises of the Ministry of Digital Development helping launch the Cross-governmental centre for reengineering of public services. As mentioned by the Minister at the ceremony of signing of the Statement of Intent, this joint UNDP-Govt initiative will positively benefit millions of Kazakhstanis. History
To continue the implementation of new policy instruments
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2020/12/28]
RMA, SDU and GLD Units 2020/12 Completed UNDP commenced and staffed the Acceleration Lab to work on frontier development challenges of the day. UNDP also supported innovative solutions to enable effective teleworking arrangements during lockdowns. UNDP agreed to work together with the Ministry of Digital Development to work together on advancement of the digitalization initiatives of the Ministry in terms of increasing the availability of digital services (infrastructure), human development, and improving the G2C / G2B sphere through digitalization / establishment of a Centre for business process reengineering under the auspices of the Ministry to simplify and streamline business processes in key ministries and ensure smooth and uninterrupted service delivery to people by providing technical and methodological support / commencement of a change management programme for IT personnel from various public agencies to equip them with knowledge and skills on change and transformation management / development of business plans packages for potential investors to provide fast and uninterrupted internet connectivity in remote villages and implementation of digital solutions in the area of social protection of population. History
4. Recommendation:

Partnership with private sector should be forged to add impetus to economic diversification goal and promote “business for SDGs”.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/12/06]

The country office accepts the recommendation.The country office realizes the importance of mobilization untapped potential of private sector.

UNDP Kazakhstan is developing a strategy of private sector engagement into SDG nationalization. A series of dialogue with business sector (fully private and quasi-governmental) have been conducted in 2018, with the goal to enable these actors to become transformative partners in implementing SDGs. The strategy will aim to position UNDP as a partner of choice for private sector in SDG implementation, while maximizing the impact of the business sector on sustainable development.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To elaborate the strategy and action plan and commence new initiatives on the private sector engagement in implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2020/01/02]
SDU and GLD Units 2019/12 Completed At the start of 2019 CO has started the dediacted SDG project aimed to create a national platform for all stakeholders to nationalize, implement and monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). by strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of National Economy of Kazakhstan (MNE) as the responsible authority and secretariat for the coordinating and monitoring of the implementation of the SDGs. The project will also assist the National Statistics Committee of Kazakhstan in the provision of statistical reporting on the SDGs and the Economic Research Institute under the MNE to perform duties. The project will include the following four major components: 1) improving coordination mechanisms and supporting SDG reporting; 2) capacity development for SDGs mainstreaming into the national development programs and financial plans; 3) setting up SDGs database and boosting national statistical capacity and 4) establishing a dialogue on SDG financing. The project will offer a platform for other UN agencies and societal stakeholders to support the project partners and sectoral ministries in SDGs implementation within their competence. History
5. Recommendation:

UNDP should scale up social protection project to also include People Living with HIV and link them with social protection services as a means to mitigate vulnerabilities, reduce stigma and create enabling environment for people infected and affected by HIV to live with dignity.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/12/06]

As part of this work UNDP will make sure that the interest of this specific group is adequately addressed.

The country office partially accepts the recommendation. UNDP Kazakhstan supports the efforts of the Government to improve quality and accessibility of special social services for vulnerable people

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Initiate and promote national dialogue on advancing the rights of PLHIV
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2020/07/05]
GLD Unit 2020/06 Completed UNDP CO is supporting the work of the CCM, ensuring the equal participation of the PLHIV and representatives of the key populations in the CCM, its decision making as well as in interaction with the constituencies. A representative of the community of people living with HIV is included in the CCM to inform decision-makers about the needs and requirements of the group for medical and social services and stigma and discrimination issues. This composition of the CCM has been approved by Decree of the Prime Minister, May 05, 2020. UNDP CO is under the CCM Project launched the Country Dialogue on the preparation of new proposal on HIV for $7,197,500 to receive funding from the Global Fund. Three Modules in the proposal are dedicated to the PLHIV community: 1) Treatment, care and support for people living with HIV, including migrants with HIV; 2) Reducing barriers related to human rights to health and gender inequality; 3) Strengthening community systems. A representative of PLHIV is a member of CCM working group on proposal development. Report on the status of people living with socially significant diseases in the penitentiary sector has been presented at the CCM meeting by the National Preventive Mechanism. As a result, the Memorandum of Understanding will be developed between MoH, NPM and MIA. History
6. Recommendation:

Gender reporting should be strengthened to accurately reflect UNDP’s contribution to gender equality and women’s empowerment.


Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/12/06]

The country office accepts the recommendation

UNDP will ensure that all programmes will apply a human rights-based approach and gender mainstreaming throughout this country programme cycle, thus capacity development of programme managers/staff on gender tools, including the use of sex-disaggregated data in screening of the programme outcomes needs to take place and will become a part of the new CO Gender Equality Strategy.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Gender mainstreaming in programme and projects will be ensured in 2019 and reflected in the CO’s Gender Action Plan for 2019. Reporting of gender equality results will be strengthened by building a stronger process of planning, monitoring and evaluating gender related indicators.
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2020/01/02]
ARR/Gender Focal Point, Gender task Force, Gender Specialist. 2019/12 Completed Gender mainstreaming in programme and projects is reflected in the CO’s Gender Action Plan for 2019. The gender planning, monitoring and reporting is reflected in CO SOP on Project Management. History
7. Recommendation:

Local governance should be strengthened to promote local development. UNDP has an opportunity to share its vast regional / global experience to promote clear vision of decentralization, building capacities of local akimats for service delivery, strengthening social accountability and promoting people’s participation in local decision-making.


Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/12/06]

The country office  accepts the recommendation.

In recent years UNDP has been involved in local self-governance reforms on both a policy formulation and implementation levels. For instance, to support the roll out of the reform UNDP provided hands on training to over 2,500 governors (2017-2018) and staff of their apparatus to make sure they are adequately equipped with necessary knowledge and skills to implement the reform on the ground. In turn, the feedback received from the trainees was used to inform further changes and adjustments in the local self - governance reform vision.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Consolidate knowledge base and expertise into the practical easy- to use guides for local authorities to facilitate reform implementation
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2020/01/06]
GLD Unit 2019/12 Completed The United Nations Development Program in Kazakhstan, in partnership with the Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as with the participation of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan held 14 regional capacity building workshops and seminars were implemented in all regions of Kazakhstan, covering 1,000 local akims and their personnel, 38 or every 5th local district in the country. The trainings discussed issues related to the implementation of intergovernmental relations and the budget process, the management of communal property of local self-government, the procedure for public procurement and the imposition of administrative fines. Based on conducted seminars, Academy of Public Administration produced a series of video-lessons to be utilized for training/retraining of Civil Servants on local level on regular basis, which contain practical-oriented cases (illustrative examples with calculations, an algorithm of actions, etc.). In addition, comprehensive resource book was produced, which encompass all aspects / issues / successful solutions in Local Self-Governance Reform. History
Analytical note to be developed and brought to the attention of MNE on the ways to accelerate self- governance reforms
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2020/01/06]
GLD Unit 2019/12 Completed Analytical reports were prepared by two national experts. The work of experts was aimed at developing proposals and recommendations for improving the system of local government and self-government taking into account international best practices, as well as at developing proposals and recommendations for improving the system of local government and self-government, taking into account the implementation of the fourth level of the budget and municipal property in the Republic. History
8. Recommendation:

UNDP should invest time and resources to cultivate the results culture and strengthen monitoring and evaluation of activities.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/12/06]

The country office partially accepts the recommendation.

UNDP Kazakhstan has been continuously working to enhance the monitoring system and RBM and will ensure the improvement of planning and reporting (internally and outside UNDP) both on the programme and projects outcome level. Programme and projects staff are duly informed and trained on the reporting tools and how to make best use of it. Anyhow the country office sees the place for the improvement of M&E system in the office.

Regarding the evaluation of outcomes and outputs, the country office fully observes CPD evaluation plan to ensure outcomes and projects are evaluated on time in line with UNDP and the donor requirements e.g. GEF, EU. Even if it’s not requirement of the donor, the CO always evaluates a large-scale thematic project where funding allows to plan the evaluation. With this there are small with a tight budget for the implementation only. Thus, the CO should balance the efficiency of the operational costs and effectiveness.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Reinforcement of M&E and RBM in the country office Standard Operating Procedures for the project management through the design, implementation and closure stages
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2019/12/01]
M&E Associate 2019/12 Completed CO has developed and launched the SOPs on the project implementation cycle reinforced based on the PPM reforms and POPP. SOP adequately articulates the role and the procedures for M&E and RBM use in the project management. ? History
Maintenance of the practice of M&E trainings for the projects staff for M&E programming and implementation in the projects.
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2019/12/01]
M&E Associate 2019/12 Completed CO has developed and launched the SOPs on the project implementation cycle reinforced based on the PPM reforms and POPP. SOP adequately articulates the role and the procedures for M&E and RBM use in the project management. ? History
Introduce and maintain the exchange of the best M&E and RBM practices among the programme and projects i.e.project document development, report writing, presentation of the project results to the national partners
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2019/12/01]
M&E Associate 2019/12 Completed CO reinforced the knowledge sharing practice in M&E and RBM in CO through the presentations of the projects best practices at all staff meetings as well as the Units meetings. CO regularly circulates the best samples of the reports and presentations among the projects for a wide use History
9. Recommendation:

Communications and advocacy for development should be strengthened


Management Response: [Added: 2018/11/21] [Last Updated: 2020/12/06]

The country office accepts the recommendation.

UNDP Kazakhstan has been actively communicating the project success stories inside and outside UNDP using various mass media tools.

Anyhow the country office sees the need to strengthen communications and advocacy for development initiatives.UNDP will take the best use of new PPM which puts partnerships, resource mobilization, and communications at the center of UNDP programming efforts  to work with new partners and mobilize financing

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To elaborate and implement Partnerships and Communications Strategy and Action Plan (PCAP)
[Added: 2018/12/26] [Last Updated: 2019/12/01]
Communications Officer 2019/12 Completed CO has started to work at the Partnerships and Communications Strategy and Action Plan (PCAP) for the new CPD cycle 2021-2025 which is due to be submitted in mid of 2021 History

Latest Evaluations

Contact us

1 UN Plaza
DC1-20th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel. +1 646 781 4200
Fax. +1 646 781 4213