Evaluation of the UNDAF Cycles 2011-2015 and 2016-2018

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Evaluation Plan:
2016-2018, Cambodia
Evaluation Type:
UNDAF
Planned End Date:
12/2017
Completion Date:
11/2017
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
100,000

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Title Evaluation of the UNDAF Cycles 2011-2015 and 2016-2018
Atlas Project Number: 00038452
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2018, Cambodia
Evaluation Type: UNDAF
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2017
Planned End Date: 12/2017
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Poverty and MDG
  • 2. Democratic Governance
  • 3. Environment & Sustainable Development
  • 4. Cross-cutting Development Issue
  • 5. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 7.3. National development plans to address poverty and inequality are sustainable and risk resilient
Evaluation Budget(US $): 100,000
Source of Funding: Cost share among UN Agencies
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 10,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: Yes
  • Joint with UN Agencies
  • Joint with UN Agencies in Cambodia
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Jim Freedman Evaluaton Team Leader
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: The Council for the Development of Cambodia, Government agencies/ministries, UN Agencies, Developement Partners, Civil Society
Countries: CAMBODIA
Lessons
1.

Given their separate mandates, their history of autonomy and of bearing responsibility for mobilizing their own resources, UN agencies are understandably disinclined to merge their expertise and human resources with other agencies. They find it difficult to meet the demands of a fully interconnected UN programme in which they are expected to tailor their programme to those of others in a coherent programme.


2.

The United Nations’ effort to play a major role in the political and economic evolution of emerging economies, faces increasing challenges. The UN in Cambodia does not have the leverage it held previously. Its resources are not sufficient for it to exercise the political influence it has previously exercised. Its comparative advantage as an impartial, international arbiter is being overshadowed by the presence of other, stronger actors in the international arena.


3.

The UN’s efforts to set a global agenda for political and economic development is very ambitious; it may find its efforts are not received with the enthusiasm that is needed for this global agenda to be fully adopted in Cambodia.


4.

Government preferences diverge in a number of ways from the UN’s. Justice sector reforms are an example where the UN has been faced with difficult choices. Industrial growth is another. Careful negotiations and innovative approaches for collaborating with the government on these issues are required to satisfy what could be incompatible aspirations.


5.

The UN strengths in Cambodia are in the provision of health and hygiene services, increasing school enrolment, broadening social protection coverage, diversifying the economy and generating an effective climate change response. Since the UN needs now to consolidate its strengths, these are among those programming areas which can provide a foundation for a coherent UNDAF.


6.

It would be useful for the UN in Cambodia to examine the procedures for joint programming to find ways to make it easier for agencies to work together and, when they do, to bring about more effective joint efforts.


Findings
1.

5 Findings

5.1 Relevance

The current UNDAF is very relevant to national needs and priorities. Most programmes and projects are aligned with the National Strategic Development Plan 2014-2018 and the Rectangular Strategy. Outcome areas 1 and 2 are extremely well aligned with the RGC priorities, while Outcome 3 shows a few divergences. UN agencies are perceived as being slightly less relevant in areas of programming that are not aligned with government’s priorities, e.g., human rights. This should not mean, however, that support to these areas should be reduced. The UN influence in Cambodia has decreased over the years due to the emergence of new donors and partners. Despite this, the UN has demonstrated its ability to adapt to changing circumstances. The overall coherence of the UNDAF outputs and outcomes is mixed. Coherence and interconnectedness among components varies across the three outcomes; there is strong coherence in Outcome 2, much less in Outcome 1 and almost none at all in Outcome 3. 


Tag: Coherence Relevance Human rights Public administration reform Policies & Procedures UN Country Team

2.

5.1 Relevance (Continuation)

Finding 1: The alignment of UNDAF outcomes with national development needs and priorities is very high. The RGC is, however, less inclined to endorse human rights and good governance programmes and pushes for more support for economic growth.(continuation)

Overall, the UNDAF did very well with the integration of vulnerable populations across all three outcomes, in line with the principle of the Agenda 2030 of leaving no one behind. However, it does not define who the vulnerable groups are other than being “women, orphans, youth, elderly, migrants, persons with disabilities”, etc. It is important to note that not all women or youth are vulnerable. Different UN agencies may also have distinct definitions of vulnerable populations depending on their mandates. A more precise definition or detailed analysis at the national, regional or community level would be useful to target these groups more effectively. There are important differences between the UNDAF programming preferences and those of the government, particularly with regards to governance and human rights. The UN places a strong emphasis on partnering with civil society; in large numbers of programmes, civil society organizations participate as implementers and advocates, which may not be the same vision of the government, given its Law on NGOs. Differences like this can have an impact on the agency’s activities, as demonstrated by the delaying of the signing of a memorandum of understanding between OHCHR and the Government. Based on interviews and documents reviewed, the evaluation team believes that the relevance of programming in governance and human rights is beyond question. These areas of programming, however, pose unique challenges to UN agencies. The difficulty in garnering government support is a factor in the efficiency of their delivery. It is also a factor in achieving the targets identified in the results matrix and in ensuring continued support for meeting these targets. This should not mean, however, that support to these areas should be reduced because of the difficulty in meeting their goals. On the contrary, it means that continued support is even more important.


Tag: Relevance Human rights Migration Disabilities Agenda 2030 Leaving no one behind Civil Societies and NGOs Vulnerable Women and gilrs Youth

3.

5.1 Relevance (Continuation)

Finding 2: The UN as a government partner is experiencing a weakening of influence and capacity to shape policy in comparison to new donors. Despite that, UN agencies have been able to adapt their programming to the changing context in Cambodia.

UN agencies in Cambodia and elsewhere have experienced significant shifts in the resources mobilized and influence secured with implications for their ability to maintain their capacity to influence policy in critical areas. China and Korea have joined the ranks of development partners in the past decade. In 2007, the body coordinating the provision of Official Development Assistance (ODA), the International Forum for the Reconstruction of Cambodia (ICORC) was restructured and for the first time China was officially included. Since then, China’s Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and ODA have grown rapidly. China is now the largest and perhaps the most influential bilateral donor among the present donor group, followed by Japan and this followed by the joint programme of the European Union (EU) and the 11 members participating in the European Joint Programme. As the aid envelope of the UN diminishes, the foreign aid budgets for China, Japan, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other bilaterals from non-traditional donors are increasing, shifting the balance between contributors. The evaluation team has found it difficult to obtain precise figures since the aid database of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) does not make it easy to extract annual aid contributions. The following table gives the approximate annual aid contributions (of all types) for a selection of contributors.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Relevance Resource mobilization Joint UN Programme Partnership Strategic Positioning Country Government UN Country Team Policy Advisory

4.

5.1 Relevance (Continuation)

Finding 3: There are examples of flexible and adaptive programmes in the present UNDAF and interestingly, these are among those with positive track records.

Three UNDAF programmes are reviewed briefly here as illustrations of how the adaptive approach functions and why it is worth considering in planning subsequent UNDAF components. 

National Funding for Contraceptives – Flexibility in Action

When UNFPA first raised the idea in 2007, ten years ago, that the government should make contraceptives universally available, the government listened but did not respond. Advocacy persisted using every opportunity to remind the government of the importance of public investments in family planning. UNFPA did not hurry the matter but did make clear on a number of occasions that the UN could not fund the provision of contraceptives indefinitely. Meanwhile between 2010 and 2012 as government revenue increased and donor resources diminished, the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) stepped in to provide bridge funding. This allowed the government time to consider their decision once this funding stopped. Meanwhile Thailand and Vietnam began to fund their own programmes. The Ministry of Health came on board but to convince the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), it was necessary to show that it was more advantageous to fund contraceptives than not to. This took time. One step led to another in an incremental process. Transition plans were put in place, the government was frequently advised when funding would stop and what might be the consequences. Important decision-makers were flown to Copenhagen to enable them to learn about the electronic ordering systems and procurement processes available to them. The process that began in 2007 resulted in the MEF creating a specific budget line that allocated a total of USD 100,000 in 2014, USD 200,000 in 2015 and USD 2.2 million in 2016. The process tookten years but in 2017, the government allocated USD 2.6 million that made contraceptives universally available in the country.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Environment Policy Relevance Reproductive Health Donor relations Partnership Country Government UN Country Team Advocacy

5.

5.1 Relevance (Continuation)

Finding 3: There are examples of flexible and adaptive programmes in the present UNDAF and interestingly, these are among those with positive track records.(continuation)

School Gardens for Better Nutrition – Inviting Convergence

FAO’s programme with the Council for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MOEYS) guides primary school teachers to engage their students in planting gardens as part of the curriculum. A body of evidence shows that involving students in growing food is an effective way to improve nutrition, it encourages them to eat more nutritious foods and has a ripple effect in their families where what they learn in school has an effect on the food provided in the households. School gardens can contribute to improving dietary and nutritional wellbeing of children, and impact in an indirect way, future generations. The initiative designs a manual, trains teachers and trains a large number of trainers with the hope that these trainers will introduce the programme as widely as feasible.20 It supports expanded gardens in the school with the intention of making these expanded gardens a permanent fixture. When choosing the 30 pilot schools, moreover, FAO deliberately included 20 schools that were also schools where WFP maintained a school feeding programme, providing meals for students. 


Tag: Relevance UN Agencies Education Capacity Building Youth

6.

Coherence of the Design

Finding 4: The UNDAF overall presents a unified approach but coherence in the design of the framework as whole is not robust. Outcome 2 is the most internally coherent component, while the programmes undertaken in Outcomes 1 and 3 have less connection to each other.

Coherence and interconnectedness among components varies across the three outcomes; there is strong coherence in Outcome 2, much less in Outcome 1 and almost none at all in Outcome 3. Overall there is limited coherence across the UNDAF as a whole. Instead of piecing the components of an UNDAF programme together according to a logical strategy agreed in advance, a strategy was elaborated after the fact.

The result is a programme whose coherence is fortuitous. There is the appearance of a unified approach and in one of the outcomes, there appears to be a well-structured strategy. The strategy needs improvement, marked by an overall plan with interconnected elements. There are challenges in engaging all agencies to ensure their programmes reinforce each other within the UNDAF as a whole, and there needs to be more emphasis on collaboration. There is bound to be some common ground since all UN agencies have at least the common goal of protecting against vulnerability, improving public services and reducing deprivation. Outcome 2 has a coherence that inheres in the closely linked mandates of the agencies involved. Here the three themes - improving schools, providing critical health services and building a social protection framework - easily interconnect. Better run schools are inclined to assist deprived children, and this attention to deprived children provides opportunities to protect against malnutrition. These interventions are favourable to expanding the coverage of social protection to include children of poor families in schools.


Tag: Coherence Relevance Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management Theory of Change

7.

Theory of Change

Finding 5: The current implicit theory of change underlying the UNDAF is not robust. Developing a more accurate theory of change in line with the requirements set out of the 2017 revised UNDAF guidance will require UN agencies to be selective about which key areas they should focus on.

As described in previous findings, the overall coherence of the UNDAF lacks robustness. This probably explains why the same could be said about the implicit theory of change. The 2016-2018 UNDAF did not require the development of a TOC. The theory of change incorporates a great diversity of initiatives that have little connection to each other rather than providing a tight, more accurate strategy for achieving key objectives. It is important for the UNDAF process to not only judge what elements are essential for the outcomes selected to be realized but also to not select those elements which may be relevant yet not so essential. 2017 updated guidelines for developing the UNDAF make developing a theory of change one of the top priorities in how to proceed. UNDAF planners are urged to develop theories of change as indispensable exercises in designing both the UNDAF as a whole as well as its separate outcomes to show “how it is assumed that UNDAF strategic priorities will support achievement of national priorities and the SDGs.


Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Relevance Results-Based Management Theory of Change UN Country Team

8.

5.2 Effectiveness

In terms of results achievement, this section shows areas where there have been real successes and areas where success has been elusive. Most of the programmes in Outcome 1 all have the potential of lifting targeted populations out of poverty or preventing them from slipping back into poverty. Their impact on poverty is, however, difficult to demonstrate; this is due, in part, to these programmes’ reliance on national level data rather than on data relevant to these programmes. Their effectiveness has been limited by the difficulty of diversifying the economy, improving market chains, overcoming key constraints such as declining commodity prices and limited access to growth-related education opportunities to increase work force capacity. The results achieved in Outcome 2 are more impressive than the other outcomes in part because of the interconnectedness of the sectors, in part because of the agencies involved, and in part because of the government support and capacity to deliver services with efficiency. A certain level of achievement can be seen in Outcome 3 and it deserves to be the foundation for further commitments. But Outcome 3 also has programmes with modest achievements. 


Tag: Environment Policy Effectiveness Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Results-Based Management Jobs and Livelihoods Poverty Reduction Data and Statistics Vulnerable

9.

5.2 Effectiveness (continuation)

Programme Relevant Data

Finding 6: The current results framework provides 33 general and broad indicators that can only directly assess the results of 12 UN programmes. The indicators are of limited relevance to the actual socio-economic impact of the interventions.

A more cohesively constructed UNDAF based on a robust theory of change will demand differences in how the UNDAF functions, not the least of which is a greater demand for reliable and relevant data. Having data is consequently an essential step toward strengthening the UN system as a whole, and toward the kind of evidence based reflection that leads to programme clarification and improvement. 


Tag: Coherence Effectiveness Partnership Results-Based Management Theory of Change Data and Statistics

10.

5.2 Effectiveness - Programme Relevant Data (continuation)

Finding 7: Relevant data for assessing results at the outcome level is not consistently available, limiting the UN’s capacity to assess results in a number of instances.

Challenges relating to having programme relevant information extends beyond the present UNDAF. It will also be a concern as the next UNDAF incorporates the SDGs. The Mainstreaming, Accelerator and Policy Support (MAPS) mission has devoted a section of its recent report to the need for a more thoughtful approach to the UN’s use of data in Cambodia. It inquired into the extent available data is capable of keeping track of the targets proposed for the SDG and interestingly, it concluded that only a modest proportion (31%) of the data required to measure the SDG targets are available in the country. Cambodia’s National Institute of Statistics (NIS) does collect basic information in the Cambodia Socio-Economic Survey and does collect demographic data in the Demography and Health Survey. There are censuses at regular intervals. Some data on a limited number of common indicators are clearly available. But – and this is particularly relevant for meeting the SDG data requirements – there is a need for a more concerted effort to improve data collection in the country. The report proposed that a National Strategy for Development of Statistics be elaborated in order to direct the efforts of the subgroup within the Technical Working Group for Planning and Poverty Reduction, known as Data for Development.


Tag: Project and Programme management Quality Assurance Results-Based Management Theory of Change Country Government UN Country Team Data and Statistics Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) SDG monitoring and reporting

11.

5.2 Effectiveness - (continuation)

Achievement of Results

Finding 8: The performance of the UNDAF as a whole is mixed. Outcome 2 is on track to achieving its targets, while the performance of Outcome 1 is moderate, and the performance of Outcome 3 is low.

The UNDAF is a framework but its success or failure depends largely on the success or failures of specific interventions. The extent to which results were achieved or on track to being achieved is inextricably linked to the overall performance of the framework. The evaluation team, in agreement with the RCO and EMG, chose to conduct an assessment of outcomes of the two UNDAF cycles under review based on a review of 23 programmes or projects to illustrate the results achieved. This assessment provides a partial basis for the performance assessments given for each outcome. Information from these reviews is supplemented by UNDAF reporting, interviews and in some instances, site visits. Complete reviews of these programmes are provided in Appendix XI where there are descriptions, additional evidence and observations relevant to the critical concerns of this evaluation. 

Under Outcome 1, achievements are not uniformly positive. In a few critical instances, programmes in this outcome have not achieved the targets specified in the UNDAF results matrix. Some of these targets may have been overly ambitious. Agricultural production is not growing as fast as anticipated despite efforts by the government to increase production. Changes in crop yields as a result of the programmes in Outcome 1 are apparently not tracked leaving this assessment to rely on national level statistics. The experience with expanding export levels of selected commodities has not been fully successful because of the numerous factors that influence export levels even though the foundation for expanding exports of selected commodities has nevertheless been laid. Projects to reduce deforestation and to engage the government more fully in responding to climate change have made substantial gains even though the needed collaboration among government institutions continues to be lacking.


Tag: Agriculture Drinking water supply Effectiveness Health Sector HIV / AIDS Project and Programme management Results-Based Management Poverty Reduction

12.

5.2 Effectiveness -Achievement of Results (continuation)

Finding 8: The performance of the UNDAF as a whole is mixed. Outcome 2 is on track to achieving its targets, while the performance of Outcome 1 is moderate, and the performance of Outcome 3 is low.

Achievement of results is uneven under Outcome 3. There are some clear successes and the arbitration council is one of them. Its case load has increased year by year and it now serves an indispensable role in employer to worker relations within the garment industry. The devolution of responsibility for delivering public sector services in a few select ministries is underway, evidenced by the modest increase in percentages of national current revenues transferred to provinces, districts and communes. Achievements are less in other areas. For various reasons, and despite serious efforts, the number of pre-trial detainees held in prison has increased instead of diminished as hoped. The programme to empower women leaders has had mixed results when measured by the indicators and targets chosen for the results matrix; the proportion of women elected to commune councils declined between 2012 and 2017 while the proportion of women elected to national parliament increased. Results achievement is significantly less in this Outcome 3 as compared with others. While this is partially to be expected since achieving results in good governance can be more difficult than in the less political sectors, the level of effectiveness in this Outcome is notably.The RCO in collaboration with the UN agencies are diligent in producing reports on the achievement of results. For the most part, the reports give a broad and positive picture rather than a picture that realistically shows the dynamics of implementation and achievement of targets. For readers, this yields mainly an inventory of achievements with lessindication of what obstacles had to be overcome. An effective and full assessment of the challenges is necessary to identify necessary inputs, resources, approaches and corrective measures required. Currently, there are few suggestions for how programming and partnerships with the government could be improved, and how, as a group, the UN agencies as a group could collaborate among themselves in specific interventions to make them more effective. This poses a limitation on the effectiveness of the reporting process.


Tag: Effectiveness Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Women's Empowerment Women and gilrs

13.

5.2 Effectiveness(continuation)

Partnerships

Finding 9: There are examples of successful partnerships with non-traditional partners at the agency-level, but partnerships between agencies, such as joint UN programming, have so far shown limited success.

Partnerships under the UNDAF may take different forms, and may involve relationships between UN agencies, government, or NGOs among others. The UNDAF is perceived as a platform to leverage partnerships, in particular to reduce duplication of efforts and leverage funding. The Partnership and Resource Mobilization Strategy (PRMS) was developed by the UNCT in 2016 as a guide to the UNDAF to nurture and forge innovative relationships. In the context of decreasing core resources, the PRMS looked into new types of partnerships with non-traditional partners/donors from the private sector, emerging donor countries, or South-South cooperation.Partnerships with donors vary greatly across UN agencies. The improved development status of Cambodia requires UN agencies to reposition themselves to attract new sources of funding. Emerging donors (China, Korea or India) demand partnerships that are different from traditional donors. These new donors have shown more interest in investment projects with private sector than in technical cooperation projects with government or NGOs, or in supporting the UNDAF. The UN as a whole is currently exploring new avenuesfor funding with non-traditional donors such as foundations or the private sectors, but with limited success so far.31 The successes that have been realized are mostly at the agency or programme level. 


Tag: Effectiveness Joint UN Programme Partnership UN Agencies UN Country Team Civil Societies and NGOs National Institutions

14.

Finding 10: The UN has developed into a trusted source of expertise and partner for the Government in critical areas.

Relationships with the RGC have changed significantly over recent years. With economic development proceeding rapidly, the UN has focused more on upstream interventions to advance the capacity of government partners through improved service delivery and policy. The central government has shown interest in continuing and further developing its partnership with UN agencies. However, it appears clear that the UN is often perceived as a competitor in accessing funding since the government would much rather receive direct budget support. On a more positive note, the government generally trusts the UN as a source of expertise and partner in critical areas. UNICEF is frequently called upon by the government for advice and is described as a “private advisor.” Indeed, 77 per cent of respondents to the online survey with UN staff indicated that they had a “good” relationship with central government, with 20 per centstating that it was “fair”. The majority (77 per cent) also agreed that the UNDAF had increased the capacity of UN agencies to engage with the government on critical UN matters. See Figure 5.1 for more details regarding the perceptions of stakeholders with regards to partnerships, captured through the online survey with UN staff. The fact that UN agencies are well respected by the government has allowed them to act as a bridge in certain situations between the government and civil society organizations. 


Tag: Effectiveness Communication Knowledge management Partnership Policies & Procedures Strategic Positioning Country Government UN Country Team

15.

5.3 Efficiency

Many programmes have been delivered in a cost-effective manner. However, most UN agencies are experiencing drastic cuts in funding and are either following the money or discontinuing programmes altogether. Declining success in mobilizing resources among agencies has a direct impact on the funds available for UNDAF outcomes. For four of the five outcomes in the previous UNDAF, there were significant funding gaps between the planned budgets and the actual expenditures. At the present time, almost 70 per cent of the funds required to implement the present UNDAF as planned are yet to be mobilized. Most UN agency representatives believe the UNDAF is worth the effort, but many indicated that it did little to serve the specific interests of their respective agencies. Smaller agencies tend to perceive UNDAF processes as a burden.

Finding 11: The efficiency of the UNDAF varies across outcome areas. Resource utilization, management and availability of resources have all affected efficiency

Many of the programmes and projects in Outcome 1 have been delivered in a cost-effective manner. Others, however, have had to overcome difficulties in delivering results. Expanding export levels for silk, rice, marine fisheries products and cassava in a region with highly competitive and expanding economies is risky and has not had anticipated results, in part because of difficulties in mobilizing key stakeholders. Mobilizing Cambodian institutions to have an effective and common response to climate change has also experienced delays in the past – the UN REDD programme for example – in large part due to less than expected collaboration among key ministries as well as blocked initiatives to prevent land use changes and illegal logging. While these impediments are not strictly due to resource utilization, management and availability of resources has been a factor. As the National Institute of Statistics remains a small, modestly equipped organization and as funding is not sufficient, the next population census is delayed as the Ministry of Planning looks for funding alternatives to the UN


Tag: Efficiency Gender Equality Gender Mainstreaming Gender-Based Violence Operational Efficiency Partnership UN Country Team

16.

5.3 Efficiency (continuation)

Resource Adequacy

Finding 12: Most UN agencies are experiencing drastic cuts in funding and are either following the money or discontinuing programmes altogether

It is difficult to draw a straight line between trends in funding for UN programmes and the consequence these trends have for the effectiveness and efficiency of their programming, but they are connected. Nor is it clear how a group of agencies ought best to respond with new approaches to development financing; there are alternative sources of funding and novel notions for making up for the reduction in donor funding with contracts with the private and public sector but even with these, it seems inevitable that the trend ofreduced resources and their broad consequences for UN agencies will continue in Cambodia. Some examples specific to agencies will illustrate the scope of the challenge. 

UNDP: For the three fiscal years between 2014 and 2016, the resources available for programming dropped from USD 30,830,000 to USD 23,100,000, a reduction of 25 per cent. Staff complement has dropped from 124 to 88, a reduction of 29 per cent. While there is a diversity of views on what have been the consequences of reducing programming and staff by almost a third, one clear consequence has been to move programming away from direct poverty reduction – economic diversification and support for gender equality – and toward climate change programming. UNDP has moved to where funds are more available. It is impressive how the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance, a pooled fund that supports small innovative ventures, has been able to direct funds toward programmes where poverty reduction and climate policy can be twinned but there is little doubt that the reduction has significantly diluted the focus UNDP has previously maintained on poverty alleviation interventions. 


Tag: Efficiency Operational Efficiency UN Agencies

17.

5.3 Efficiency - Resource Adequacy (continuation)

Finding 12: Most UN agencies are experiencing drastic cuts in funding and are either following the money or discontinuing programmes altogether

There are exceptions to this pattern. The Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) responded to the trend three years ago and proceeded to mobilize funds both locally and internationally. This has been successful and the OHCHR has maintained a core complement of 38 staff with a budget that has remained more or less constant at approximately USD 3 million per year. For the UN, there can be both supply and demand side responses to diminishing resources. A supply side response would seek to benefit from previously untapped funding sources. It is not easy to determine whether new sources of funding – private sector, government contracts, mobilization campaigns – will make up for the cuts in conventional sources. One can therefore count on funding reductions as a permanent state of affairs. If indeed there are some successes in development funding, agencies can continue to supply development services in their areas of expertise, only less than before. 


Tag: Efficiency Resource mobilization Operational Efficiency Partnership UN Agencies

18.

5.3 Efficiency(continuation)

Resources: Human and Financial

Finding 13: The coherence and rationale of the UNDAF is limited by the absence of a dedicated budget line or full-time capacity.

The suggestion, offered in this section, that assembling and managing a very different UNDAF requires a full-time capacity should not be interpreted to mean that the present Resident Coordinator is not giving full attention to the UNDAF. On the contrary. The present Resident Coordinator is deeply committed to a more coherent UNDAF that contributes to a unified UN programme. The suggestion here is that the existing commitment of the present RCO would benefit greatly from having a dedicated staff member to manage this complex task. There is no budget line for formulating and managing the UNDAF. When there is a need for funds, as when there is an evaluation or when a new UNDAF is being planned and costs are anticipated (developing a theory of change, planning workshops etc.), the RCO circulates a budget among the agencies and asks them to chip in. Sometimes the costs are shared equally and sometimes the larger agencies are asked to contribute more, as needs arise. For this evaluation, the UNCT and the RCO, along with interested parties, assembled a budget of USD 100,000 and decided that since all 23 agencies were equally affected they should share the costs equally. The majority of agencies went along although many of them did so reluctantly. A few refused and as a result, the resulting budget for the evaluation was less than the one planned. Now that a new UNDAF is being planned and there is once again a need for funds, a similar process is underway; a budget of USD 64,500 has been drafted and circulated, and again it is decided by the UNCT and the RCO that the costs should be shared equally, and the process is underway to raise funds from the agencies to meet the requirements.  


Tag: Efficiency Human and Financial resources UN Agencies UN Country Team Coordination

19.

Perceptions of the Value of the UNDAF

Finding 14: Most agency representatives believe the UNDAF is worth the effort, but many indicated that it did little to serve the specific interests of their respective agencies

The evaluation team administered a brief survey to a ranking member of each of 19 agencies. A score was assigned to each question by the evaluator, not the respondent, since it was necessary to take into consideration the full discussion on the question. The results for all the agencies are given in Table 5.2. 

There are a number of conclusions. Firstly, despite the negativity discussed below, most felt that the process was worth the effort. This finding is supported by the responses to the online UN staff survey, in which 66 per cent said that the value of the UNDAF process outweighs the effort required to administer it. Most of the respondents felt the UNDAF did little to serve their interests and one fifth of those responding to the survey believed that the process did not outweigh the effort required. Only one or two felt that it helped in articulating and achieving their goals, a few more felt it helped identify areas of synergy with other agencies, but none of those asked felt it helped, to any significant degree, in their relationships with donors or government. Overall, respondents felt that the UNDAF process contributed to their programming either “not at all” or “very little”. Similar findings were seen in the results to the online survey with UN staff 


Tag: Effectiveness Impact Joint UN Programme UN Agencies

20.

Coordination and Collaboration

Finding 15: There are currently few incentives for agencies to initiate joint programmes. There are no overarching rationale steering agencies towards combining their unique contributions toward identifying and achieving a specific common goal

The coordination of agencies and national partners as well as civil society is an important element in achieving a pressing objective, i.e. to find ways of linking the efforts of agencies and their partners in a common development enterprise. The United Nations Development Assistance Framework Guide devotes an important section to joint programming and the development of joint workplans as part of agency participation in the UNDAF. Joint programming is a means to achieving the ultimate concern of the UNDAF to link the accumulated knowledge and delivery experience for agencies and partners in a network to achieve development goals. Joint programmes are furthermore regarded to be accelerators in the SDG process since a combination of agencies is able to address a number of SDGs through a single programme.45 The 2011-2015 and 2016-2018 UNDAFs have together had two formally structured joint programmes with a third in the planning stage. These are given in Table 5.4. 


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Joint UN Programme Partnership UN Agencies Coordination Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) Civil Societies and NGOs

21.

Coordination and Collaboration

Finding 15: There are currently few incentives for agencies to initiate joint programmes. There are no overarching rationale steering agencies towards combining their unique contributions toward identifying and achieving a specific common goal

For there to be joint programmes, however, agencies need to ask themselves during every planning exercise whether programming alliances with other agencies might be feasible; at present, they do not. The data suggests a number of reasons: Absence of a Rationale: Agencies do not agree on how their unique contributions can effectively combine with others to achieve the objectives the UN seeks to achieve. There is the 2030 Agenda ideal: no one left behind. It is widely pronounced and a broadly accepted ideal. But as applied to Cambodia, there needs to be a clear articulation of how this is defined and what it means for the initiatives required to achieve it. Presumably a first step is the reduction of multidimensional poverty in a way that is broadly inclusive. Once this is agreed, the most efficient strategy for achieving inclusive poverty reduction can be identified. Agencies can then find their niche and can focus on occupying this niche and not others. This rationale is lacking at present. Authority Preservation: Consulted agencies stakeholders reported that agencies are inclined to carve out domains of programming in order to position themselves better for funding and prominence. The consequence is perceived competition for funding and the desire to present their organization as uniquely positioned to implement proposals. They do this even if boundaries between mandates end up overlapping. Agencies will claim domains, and understandably so, even if it means that two or three similar programmes are undertaken by different agencies. Similar programming in environment protection by both UNDP and UNEP is a case in point. Agencies may well shy away from opportunities to engage jointly with other agencies in interests of protecting or expanding the areas which their country programmes cover. 


Tag: Efficiency Joint UN Programme Effectiveness Partnership UN Agencies Coordination

22.

5.4 Sustainability

The institutionalization of UN programmes or initiatives plays a significant role in the sustainability of results. Many programmes are now part of government responsibilities, while other are not due to a variety of factors (e.g., lack of funding or commitment). The emphasis on capacity development has had notable results. However, the lack of internal logic in the UNDAF programmes makes it easy for the RGC to pick and choose areas it wishes to support or own. 

Finding 16: Prospects for sustainability of results by outcome areas are mixed. Many programmes and initiatives have been institutionalized and are part of ongoing government responsibilities, while other experience delays and lack of funding

The sustainability of programmes under Outcome 1 is mixed. The programme to build better factories by increasing wages and working conditions is institutionalized in thriving work unions and here the gains are durable. The same can be said for the climate change response programmes where a significant programme feature is strengthening institutions; at present the environment programmes are housed in the Ministry of Environment and operate under its authority. The sustainability of programmes to augment economic diversification appears to have less prospects for sustainability. The present support to export growth and market chains (i.e. cassava, milled rice and marine fisheries) is modest. The same goes for UN’s support for vocational education. More needs to be done for the UN’s contribution to economic diversification to have sustainable consequences. There is finally the question of how and whether support to the National Institute of Statistics will continue. At present, this appears doubtful.


Tag: Sustainability Resource mobilization Gender-Based Violence Local Governance Non-Communicable Diseases Reproductive Health Project and Programme management Country Government

23.

5.4 Sustainability (continuation)

Finding 17: The UNDAF’s emphasis on building government capacity has had notable results in areas like improving the quality of schools, climate change and contraceptives.

UN Agencies are committed to a close collaboration with the government and the UNDAF is a reflection of this collaboration. The UNDAF, on most matters, is aligned with the government. A Joint Annual Review of the UNDAF is conducted every year with the government and though many of the points raised do not go into real depth, reporting together is a strong sign of their collaboration. The UNDAF through its various programmes strongly encourages the government to assume responsibility for those programmes it finances and does so with a strong emphasis on building capacity within government ministries for this purpose. This is an admirable feature of UNDAF implementation in Cambodia and it has had notable results. In its support to improve the quality of schools, the Capacity Development Partnership Fund, administered by UNICEF, supports education reform by supporting education departments at national and sub-national levels. UNDP’s support for climate change programmes is now based out of the Ministry of Environment where it works under the National Sustainable Development Council. UNFPA has turned over all contraceptives purchasing and policy formation to the Ministry of Health. The government has indeed assumed administrative and financial responsibility over a large number of programmes that have been initiated under the auspices of the UNDAF. Increasingly, UNDAF components are providing policy and capacity building support in lieu of field level project implementation. 


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Climate change governance Sustainability Non-Communicable Diseases Reproductive Health Sanitation Country Government Education Institutional Strengthening

Recommendations
1

10 Recommendations

Interviews, data sources and documentation all suggested challenges and concerns about what makes programmes (or projects) achieve (or not) their objectives. The evaluation team took special notice of these challenges and concerns and solicited more information at every possible opportunity. Potential responses to these challenges were always part of any conversation. These potential responses to challenges have been formulated, drafted, redrafted and validated many times over with stakeholders and other interlocutors, including the EMG, the reference group, the PMT and the UNCT more broadly. 

Recommendation 1: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT should explore ways to assure full-time capacity with a dedicated budget to manage the UNDAF process, to guide its development and maintenance, to promote areas of coordination and joint programming, to ensure all agencies have an appropriate role, reconcile differences and usher in a new sense of common purpose.

One of the liabilities of the present UNDAF process is that it aims to bring about a complex collaboration among a large number of actors without an adequate budget or full-time capacity within the Office of the Resident Coordinator. The UNDAF process is unlikely to achieve its objective without at least an adequate budget. This is not to suggest that the present Resident Coordinator is not giving full attention to the UNDAF. On the contrary, the present Resident Coordinator is deeply committed to a more coherent UNDAF that contributes to a unified UN programme. The recommendation here is that the existing commitment of the present RCO would benefit greatly from having dedicated staff members to manage this complex task.

The management of the upcoming UNDAF should follow a very different set of principles and practices from the previous ones. There are solid reasons for this. The previous UNDAFs have done little to coordinate the contributions of different agencies; this coordination is now a necessity as UN country teams are obliged to show, through greater coordination, that they are making the most efficient use of declining resources and influence. The Secretary General, the United Nations Development Group and the UN system as a whole are acutely aware of the need, not only to change the way country teams are governed, but also to give the UNDAF a very different and key role in this change. Its new role involves very resolutely bringing the efforts and resources of different agencies together in a qualitatively different kind of coordination to support the Agenda 2030 and to strengthen the position of the UN in the affairs of states globally. 

2

Recommendation 2: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT should assume responsibility for building the next UNDAF on a credible and well-reasoned theory of change, undertaken in tandem with the Common Country Assessment, informed by widely accepted understandings of conditions of inclusive growth documented in the development literature.

It is crucial that the theory of change be informed by the Common Country Assessment as well as other steps recommended in the UNDAF guidance documents. It is also crucial that the conditions of a theory of change be adhered to rigorously. It should be understood from the beginning that this involves a directed, as much as a consultative exercise and may be as exclusive as it is inclusive in selecting and connecting separate agency contributions. It is helpful to think of the following three phases in conceiving of an informed UNDAF based on the SDGs: 

First. Decide on areas of intervention shown to have a close correlation with poverty reduction. Emphasis should be on better methods of prioritizing urgent deprivations in the country as shown in CCA and based on mandates, comparative advantages and resources landscape, decide on what the UN can do best together to make a difference on peoples’ lives in Cambodia. Among the more useful sources is The Chronic Poverty Report62 and here three such areas of intervention are proposed: – Social Protection Programmes, even in rudimentary form, assist vulnerable households getting out of poverty and provide protection for those at risk of slipping back in. – Pro-poor Economic Growth, especially support to productive agriculture including rural infrastructure and modest capital resources for creating employment has an impact on reducing the number of poor households. – Education adds to the capacity of other measures to assist in escaping poverty especially if it is well funded and specifically includes vocational training.

Second. Identify those Sustainable Development Goals that correspond to these chosen areas of intervention. In most instances, these are development accelerators because of their close linkage with other indicators. These linkages will point to those areas of intervention that should, in principle, be targeted for simultaneous intervention. It is possible to map a set of accelerator SDGs, areas of intervention and those closely linked SDGs, other areas of intervention, likely to interact positively with them.

Third. Invite agencies to identify where they match or fit with this mapping of linked SDGs. Here is a starting point for sketching out a theory of change, based on SDGs that guide agencies in finding their role in the UNDAF design. Some agencies will have on-going programmes which are particularly congruent with these; others will be inspired to develop programmes that they know fit uniquely into this mapping of accelerators and collateral SDGs.

3

Recommendation 3: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT, in collaborating with agencies, should follow the numerous directives already in place for utilizing the UNDAF to place Agenda 2030 at the centre of UN activities in Cambodia to develop the 2019-2023 UNDAF.

To this end, it is advisable to select SDGs as UNDAF outcomes and sub-outcomes. This will give the SDGs the prominence the UN System wants them to have and, simultaneously, orient the UN programming in Cambodia fully towards Agenda 2030. 

4

Recommendation 4: The UNCT, the RCO and the PMT should take advantage of emerging opportunities for joint programming. These should be the stepping stones for a more coordinated UNDAF.

Based on consulted stakeholders and documents reviewed, it is worthwhile to indicate programming areas which are likely to lend themselves well to joint initiatives:

(i) Addressing the needs of rapidly growing urban environments especially the needs of rural migrants; and (ii) Supporting income generation possibilities in rural areas with the promise of enhancing rural family incomes and strengthening rural economies. These both offer the possibility of joint, interconnected contributions of a number of agencies and, in doing so, ensuring that these initiatives simultaneously grow economies while protecting vulnerable populations. 

5

Recommendation 5: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT should be particularly cognizant of the considerable commitments the UNDAF requires of all agencies, large and small. Every effort should be made to ensure that the process is an inclusive one, sensitive to the considerable differences among agencies in size, endowments and expertise.

Agencies should contribute in a manner that is commensurate with their endowments and the obligations they bear, to the extent possible, should be commensurate with the benefits they are likely to receive. It is recommended that agencies identify the areas they want to be involved in. It may not be reasonable for one agency to be involved in all the different UNDAF processes. It is suggested that steps be taken to ensure that colleagues from different agencies trust each other when they cannot participate in decision-making or attend meetings. Additional communication and sharing on ongoing processes may be required to develop this culture of trust.

6

Recommendation 6: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT along with collaborating agencies should assume a more constructive, realistic and critical approach to results reporting.

The present reporting practices need to address challenges faced, the consequences of these challenges and how these challenges might be addressed, and what corrective measures should be taken for improvements in the management or formulation of programmes. A more analytical and, where appropriate, critical approach to reporting has the merit of both accounting for and strengthening programming. 

7

Recommendation 7: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT should vet the UNDAF and its results matrices to ensure that extra care is taken to propose performance indicators, targets and data collection procedures that are pertinent to programme impact where it is taking place.

Oversight is required to develop meaningful and informative indicators and targets that measure quality (e.g., standards), timeliness (e.g., dates), and the degree of achievement. Indicators should not be formulated as “completed activities” (e.g., “people trained”) and should not be binary (e.g., yes/no), unless they are complemented by good qualitative information. High level indicators, macro-indicators and nationwide data sets continue to be relevant but cannot replace data that renders account of program/project level impact.

8

Recommendation 8: The UNCT, the RCO, participating agencies and the PMT should be particularly attentive to achieving a reasonable balance between supporting economic growth on the one hand, and protecting specific vulnerable populations on the other.

Where should the UN focus its resources and expertise in Cambodia? What changes should be made to the programmes of the past two UNDAF cycles? This is not something that the evaluation team is able to answer definitively. A recent World Bank diagnostic of development challenges in Cambodia that has engaged large number of experts over an extended prior of time has ventured priorities which will help guide UN programming in the next UNDAF. Three provisional conclusions can, nevertheless be drawn. 

1) UN Agencies should be particularly attentive to achieving a reasonable balance between supporting economic growth on the one hand and protecting vulnerable populations on the other. The UN presently risks erring too far on the side of protecting the vulnerable. Support to trade, economic diversification and building small and medium enterprises are all likely to contribute as much to reducing extreme poverty as programmes focused primarily on providing services for specific vulnerable populations. 2) A pressing area of need is support for rural industries and households in producing, processing and marketing of commodities. Focusing on economic diversification with a focus on rural areas expands on an area of support where the UN has already some experience and which receives considerable support from the government. 3) At the same time, it is important to recognize that Cambodia’s cities will continue to grow. It is inevitable that population will continue to move from rural to urban areas posing challenges to the capacity of urban areas to serve growing populations. At present, although there appears considerable interests and capacity within the UN system to provide support for services to increasing numbers of urban residents, there is very little offered in these areas. Prospects for doing so would be a profitable area for the UN to explore. 

 

9

Recommendation 9: The UNCT in collaboration with the RCO should build on past programming successes. It is important to meet the challenges posed in the programming areas of governance with programming initiatives that recognize the obstacles and yet that meet these obstacles with renewed attention.

There have been successful areas of programming in the past two UNDAF cycles and areas where successful programming has been elusive. Health, education and social protection initiatives have experienced marked success. Climate change response programming has been able to address key issues in environmental protection. Governance programming including deconcentration of public services, court reform and support for an independent judiciary has made real contributions but meeting targets has been elusive.

1. Recommendation:

10 Recommendations

Interviews, data sources and documentation all suggested challenges and concerns about what makes programmes (or projects) achieve (or not) their objectives. The evaluation team took special notice of these challenges and concerns and solicited more information at every possible opportunity. Potential responses to these challenges were always part of any conversation. These potential responses to challenges have been formulated, drafted, redrafted and validated many times over with stakeholders and other interlocutors, including the EMG, the reference group, the PMT and the UNCT more broadly. 

Recommendation 1: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT should explore ways to assure full-time capacity with a dedicated budget to manage the UNDAF process, to guide its development and maintenance, to promote areas of coordination and joint programming, to ensure all agencies have an appropriate role, reconcile differences and usher in a new sense of common purpose.

One of the liabilities of the present UNDAF process is that it aims to bring about a complex collaboration among a large number of actors without an adequate budget or full-time capacity within the Office of the Resident Coordinator. The UNDAF process is unlikely to achieve its objective without at least an adequate budget. This is not to suggest that the present Resident Coordinator is not giving full attention to the UNDAF. On the contrary, the present Resident Coordinator is deeply committed to a more coherent UNDAF that contributes to a unified UN programme. The recommendation here is that the existing commitment of the present RCO would benefit greatly from having dedicated staff members to manage this complex task.

The management of the upcoming UNDAF should follow a very different set of principles and practices from the previous ones. There are solid reasons for this. The previous UNDAFs have done little to coordinate the contributions of different agencies; this coordination is now a necessity as UN country teams are obliged to show, through greater coordination, that they are making the most efficient use of declining resources and influence. The Secretary General, the United Nations Development Group and the UN system as a whole are acutely aware of the need, not only to change the way country teams are governed, but also to give the UNDAF a very different and key role in this change. Its new role involves very resolutely bringing the efforts and resources of different agencies together in a qualitatively different kind of coordination to support the Agenda 2030 and to strengthen the position of the UN in the affairs of states globally. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2021/01/19]

The UNCT agrees with the recommendation to prioritise capacity for managing the UNDAF process. However, in view of the current financial contribution to UNDAF, it will be challenging for UNCT to mobilize full/required resource for the UNDAF process. Enhancing resource for UNDAF will be pursued through the existing RCO and the PMT as much as possible. While anticipating results from a reform of the UN Development System on resource for strengthening RC Offices capacity, the UNCT has explored cost-share formula to support UNDAF coordination as per the UNCT workplan.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2- UNCT to ensure all agreed UNDAF processes are sufficiently resourced, as per the UNCT workplan.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/11/07]
UNCT 2018/03 Completed RCO took the lead and UNDP supported in its role as UNCT member. The Common Budgetary Framework has developed, reflects an estimation of the total resource requirement for the UN system in Cambodia to deliver the commitments outlined in the UNDAF 2019- 2023. All agencies have carefully analysed spending from the previous programming cycle and have provided resource mobilization targets considered to be realistic within the five-year implementation period of the UNDAF. Under new UNDAF 2019- 2023, an UNDAF financing strategy will be developed to map out a resource mobilization plan to help address the UNDAF funding gap. This will be done through allocating existing resources effectively and achieving greater impact by accessing additional resources. History
1- RCO to review assignment of roles and focal responsibility to maximize capacity dedicated to UNDAF management.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/11/07]
RCO/ RC 2018/03 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Key action is not relevant to UNDP]
History
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT should assume responsibility for building the next UNDAF on a credible and well-reasoned theory of change, undertaken in tandem with the Common Country Assessment, informed by widely accepted understandings of conditions of inclusive growth documented in the development literature.

It is crucial that the theory of change be informed by the Common Country Assessment as well as other steps recommended in the UNDAF guidance documents. It is also crucial that the conditions of a theory of change be adhered to rigorously. It should be understood from the beginning that this involves a directed, as much as a consultative exercise and may be as exclusive as it is inclusive in selecting and connecting separate agency contributions. It is helpful to think of the following three phases in conceiving of an informed UNDAF based on the SDGs: 

First. Decide on areas of intervention shown to have a close correlation with poverty reduction. Emphasis should be on better methods of prioritizing urgent deprivations in the country as shown in CCA and based on mandates, comparative advantages and resources landscape, decide on what the UN can do best together to make a difference on peoples’ lives in Cambodia. Among the more useful sources is The Chronic Poverty Report62 and here three such areas of intervention are proposed: – Social Protection Programmes, even in rudimentary form, assist vulnerable households getting out of poverty and provide protection for those at risk of slipping back in. – Pro-poor Economic Growth, especially support to productive agriculture including rural infrastructure and modest capital resources for creating employment has an impact on reducing the number of poor households. – Education adds to the capacity of other measures to assist in escaping poverty especially if it is well funded and specifically includes vocational training.

Second. Identify those Sustainable Development Goals that correspond to these chosen areas of intervention. In most instances, these are development accelerators because of their close linkage with other indicators. These linkages will point to those areas of intervention that should, in principle, be targeted for simultaneous intervention. It is possible to map a set of accelerator SDGs, areas of intervention and those closely linked SDGs, other areas of intervention, likely to interact positively with them.

Third. Invite agencies to identify where they match or fit with this mapping of linked SDGs. Here is a starting point for sketching out a theory of change, based on SDGs that guide agencies in finding their role in the UNDAF design. Some agencies will have on-going programmes which are particularly congruent with these; others will be inspired to develop programmes that they know fit uniquely into this mapping of accelerators and collateral SDGs.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2021/01/19]

The UNCT agrees with the recommendation. A theory of change exercise is planned for January 2018, based on a Common Country Assessment (CCA). The CCA is based on a joint Vulnerability Analysis undertaken by the UNCT to clarify areas where there are gaps in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs and where the UN can provide support.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1- Development of a well-reasoned theory of change to be informed by the Common Country Assessment. The development of the theory of change includes: a. Decide on areas of intervention shown to have a close correlation with poverty reduction. b. Identify those Sustainable Development Goals that correspond to these chosen areas of intervention. c. Invite agencies to identify where they match or fit with this mapping of linked SDGs.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/07/09]
RCO/PMT 2018/06 Completed Based on the strategic priorities agreed at multi-stakeholder strategic prioritization workshop in January 2018, five high-level UNDAF outcome statements have been developed for UNDAF 2018 – 2023: 1) Expanding social opportunities; 2) Expanding economic opportunities; 3) Sustainable living; 4) Managing urbanization; and 5) Participation and accountability. UNDAF Result Groups have also been established, one for each of the five outcomes to develop a Theory of Change (TOC) and a results framework for each strategic outcome. This work includes the selection of indicators and targets for intermediate outcomes, budget formulation and a discussion on the data sources for monitoring the progress and timeline. The result framework and theory of change of each outcome is being finalised to integrate into the full UNDAF document. The new UNDAF lists the SDGs which correspond to the UNDAF Outcomes. History
2- Completion of Common Country Assessment informed by a Vulnerability analysis to support the Theory of Change exercise.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/07/09]
RCO/PMT/UNCT 2018/03 Completed CCA is finalized. As of part of the development of result matrix and writing up of theory of change, each result group has closely consulted within UN agencies and stakeholders. Technical consultations with government and civil society organizations were facilitated to review the draft result framework of each outcome. History
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT, in collaborating with agencies, should follow the numerous directives already in place for utilizing the UNDAF to place Agenda 2030 at the centre of UN activities in Cambodia to develop the 2019-2023 UNDAF.

To this end, it is advisable to select SDGs as UNDAF outcomes and sub-outcomes. This will give the SDGs the prominence the UN System wants them to have and, simultaneously, orient the UN programming in Cambodia fully towards Agenda 2030. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2021/01/19]

The UNCT agreed with the recommendation. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs are integrated in the conceptual framework for the formulation of the UNDAF 2019-2023.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1- Integrate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs in the conceptual framework for the Common Country Assessment
[Added: 2018/02/28]
RCO/PMT/UNCT 2018/01 Completed The draft CCA reflects the SDGs are part of the conceptual framework.
2- 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs integrated in the formulation of the UNDAF 2019-2023 results.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/11/07]
RCO/PMT/UNCT 2018/09 Completed The UNDAF 2019-2023 puts the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs at the core. The UNDAF 2019-2023 is structured into four focus areas, shaped by the central themes of the SDGs (People, Planet, Prosperity and Peace), with five related UNDAF outcomes and the fifth outcome is focused on “Managing Urbanisation” as a cross-cutting guiding principle. Each UNDAF outcome lists the SDGs which correspond to the outcome. History
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4: The UNCT, the RCO and the PMT should take advantage of emerging opportunities for joint programming. These should be the stepping stones for a more coordinated UNDAF.

Based on consulted stakeholders and documents reviewed, it is worthwhile to indicate programming areas which are likely to lend themselves well to joint initiatives:

(i) Addressing the needs of rapidly growing urban environments especially the needs of rural migrants; and (ii) Supporting income generation possibilities in rural areas with the promise of enhancing rural family incomes and strengthening rural economies. These both offer the possibility of joint, interconnected contributions of a number of agencies and, in doing so, ensuring that these initiatives simultaneously grow economies while protecting vulnerable populations. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2021/01/19]

The UNCT agrees with the recommendation and will be guided by the reform of the UN Development System.  Designing greater programme coherence will be an essential part of the UNDAF formulation process.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1- Clarify joint programming strategy for the UNDAF 2019-2023 (scope, participation, resource mobilisation, etc.)
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/12/10]
RCO/PMT 2018/09 Completed UNCT has used the UNDAF 2019-2023 process to facilitate joint programming through 4 key “accelerators” or prioritised programme areas that can trigger a positive multiplier effects across the SDGs: Social Protection, Nutrition, Empowering Youth and Enhancing national statistical infrastructure and building data producer and user capacities History
2- UNCT/PMT to identify opportunities for joint programmes around areas of SDG acceleration as part of the UNDAF result framework formulation and then consider possibility to develop joint funding proposals.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/12/10]
RCO/PMT/UNCT 2018/09 Completed UNCT has used the UNDAF 2019-2023 process to facilitate joint programming through 4 key “accelerators” or prioritised programme areas that can trigger a positive multiplier effects across the SDGs: Social Protection, Nutrition, Empowering Youth and Enhancing national statistical infrastructure and building data producer and user capacities History
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT should be particularly cognizant of the considerable commitments the UNDAF requires of all agencies, large and small. Every effort should be made to ensure that the process is an inclusive one, sensitive to the considerable differences among agencies in size, endowments and expertise.

Agencies should contribute in a manner that is commensurate with their endowments and the obligations they bear, to the extent possible, should be commensurate with the benefits they are likely to receive. It is recommended that agencies identify the areas they want to be involved in. It may not be reasonable for one agency to be involved in all the different UNDAF processes. It is suggested that steps be taken to ensure that colleagues from different agencies trust each other when they cannot participate in decision-making or attend meetings. Additional communication and sharing on ongoing processes may be required to develop this culture of trust.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2021/01/19]

The UNCT agrees with the recommendation, with the understanding that the success of the UNDAF depends also on the commitment of all participating agencies to the principle of mutual accountability for coherence and results. The UNDAF is a joint commitment of the UNCT to support the SDGs and national priorities, strategically and in line with the comparative advantage of the UN.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2- UNDAF coordination and management processes will be further simplified and agencies will be asked to indicate in which processes they wish to be involved. Communication flows will be improved, including better sharing information on the progress to promote collaboration among agencies.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/12/10]
RCO/UNCT 2018/12 Completed UNDAF results groups launched in line with UNDAF guidelines. Five results groups, one for each of the five UNDAF outcomes, are established to lead and guide the UNDAF formulation and implementation, using Joint Annual Work Plans. The UNDAF results groups are comprised of individual agency programme staff contributing to each of the five outcomes. Each results group is co-chaired by two heads of agencies. History
1- Update the cost-sharing arrangement for the UNCT Cambodia in light of the evolving size of agencies, resident and non-resident.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/11/07]
RCO/UNCT 2018/09 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Not related to UNDP.]
Formula of cost- share to be discussed and approved by UNCT History
3- Update the UNCT Code of Conduct with resident and non-resident agencies
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/11/07]
RCO/UNCT 2018/06 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Not related to UNDP. ]
History
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT along with collaborating agencies should assume a more constructive, realistic and critical approach to results reporting.

The present reporting practices need to address challenges faced, the consequences of these challenges and how these challenges might be addressed, and what corrective measures should be taken for improvements in the management or formulation of programmes. A more analytical and, where appropriate, critical approach to reporting has the merit of both accounting for and strengthening programming. 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2021/01/19]

The UNCT agrees with the recommendation and this will be initiated for full implementation in the new UNDAF cycle 2019-2023.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1- Revise the UNDAF reporting format for 2019-2023 in line with new UNDAF guidelines.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/12/10]
RCO/PMT 2018/12 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Not applicable to UNDP]
History
2- Revise the format of the UNDAF reporting in the Joint Annual Review Meeting with the Government to foster more policy dialogue.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/11/07]
RCO/PMT/UNCT 2018/09 No Longer Applicable [Justification: Not related to UNDP.]
History
7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7: The UNCT and the RCO in consultation with the PMT should vet the UNDAF and its results matrices to ensure that extra care is taken to propose performance indicators, targets and data collection procedures that are pertinent to programme impact where it is taking place.

Oversight is required to develop meaningful and informative indicators and targets that measure quality (e.g., standards), timeliness (e.g., dates), and the degree of achievement. Indicators should not be formulated as “completed activities” (e.g., “people trained”) and should not be binary (e.g., yes/no), unless they are complemented by good qualitative information. High level indicators, macro-indicators and nationwide data sets continue to be relevant but cannot replace data that renders account of program/project level impact.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2021/01/19]

The UNCT agrees with the recommendation.  The UNDAF outcomes will be formulated such that key results can be attributed to cooperation with the UN system, with a corresponding M&E framework.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1- Formulate the UNDAF result matrix with indicators and targets of different level (SDGs, outcome and intermediate outcome) to permit performance monitoring and evaluation of impact. The UNDAF result matrix shall demonstrate a causal logic relationship from input to results based on Theory of Change.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/07/09]
M&E/PMT 2018/06 Completed As part of the development of new UNDAF, the UN system developed a ‘theory of change’ for each of the five outcomes. This exercise resulted in the formulation of results chains, describing the relationship between lower- and higher-level results that the UN is seeking to achieve. It also identified the preconditions, risks and assumptions that lie between different levels of change. The Theory of Change of each UNDAF outcome proposes pathways leading to three distinct areas of change: 3 intermediate outcomes within the result framework (outcome, inter-mediate outcomes, indicators, baselines, means of verification and common budgetary framework). History
8. Recommendation:

Recommendation 8: The UNCT, the RCO, participating agencies and the PMT should be particularly attentive to achieving a reasonable balance between supporting economic growth on the one hand, and protecting specific vulnerable populations on the other.

Where should the UN focus its resources and expertise in Cambodia? What changes should be made to the programmes of the past two UNDAF cycles? This is not something that the evaluation team is able to answer definitively. A recent World Bank diagnostic of development challenges in Cambodia that has engaged large number of experts over an extended prior of time has ventured priorities which will help guide UN programming in the next UNDAF. Three provisional conclusions can, nevertheless be drawn. 

1) UN Agencies should be particularly attentive to achieving a reasonable balance between supporting economic growth on the one hand and protecting vulnerable populations on the other. The UN presently risks erring too far on the side of protecting the vulnerable. Support to trade, economic diversification and building small and medium enterprises are all likely to contribute as much to reducing extreme poverty as programmes focused primarily on providing services for specific vulnerable populations. 2) A pressing area of need is support for rural industries and households in producing, processing and marketing of commodities. Focusing on economic diversification with a focus on rural areas expands on an area of support where the UN has already some experience and which receives considerable support from the government. 3) At the same time, it is important to recognize that Cambodia’s cities will continue to grow. It is inevitable that population will continue to move from rural to urban areas posing challenges to the capacity of urban areas to serve growing populations. At present, although there appears considerable interests and capacity within the UN system to provide support for services to increasing numbers of urban residents, there is very little offered in these areas. Prospects for doing so would be a profitable area for the UN to explore. 

 

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2021/01/19]

The UNCT agrees with the recommendation. This is embedded in the Common Country Assessment based on a joint vulnerability analysis.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1- The Common Country Assessment reflects a balance between support to economic growth and the needs of vulnerable populations.
[Added: 2018/02/28]
RCO/PMT/UNCT 2018/03 Completed The CCA takes national priorities into consideration and integrates a vulnerability analysis.
2- The UNDAF results matrix reflects a balance between support to economic growth and the needs of vulnerable populations.
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/11/07]
RCO/PMT/UNCT 2018/09 Completed The UNDAF 2019-2023 is structured into four focus areas, shaped by the central themes of the SDGs (People, Planet, Prosperity and Peace), with five related UNDAF outcomes. The fifth outcome is focused on “Managing Urbanisation” as a cross-cutting guiding principle. The outcome 1 focuses on expanding social opportunities while outcome 2 focuses on expanding economic opportunities - with particular attention on marginalized and vulnerable populations. History
9. Recommendation:

Recommendation 9: The UNCT in collaboration with the RCO should build on past programming successes. It is important to meet the challenges posed in the programming areas of governance with programming initiatives that recognize the obstacles and yet that meet these obstacles with renewed attention.

There have been successful areas of programming in the past two UNDAF cycles and areas where successful programming has been elusive. Health, education and social protection initiatives have experienced marked success. Climate change response programming has been able to address key issues in environmental protection. Governance programming including deconcentration of public services, court reform and support for an independent judiciary has made real contributions but meeting targets has been elusive.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2021/01/19]

The UNCT agrees with the recommendation. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1- Ensure the TOC exercise includes governance components
[Added: 2018/02/28]
RCO/PMT/Result Groups 2018/06 Completed One of the pillars of the CCA and of the theory of change addresses governance issues.
2- Ensure the formulation of UNDAF 2019-2023 key results reflect a coordinated / coherent approach to governance
[Added: 2018/02/28] [Last Updated: 2018/07/09]
RCO/PMT/Result Groups 2018/06 Completed One of the pillars of the CCA and of the theory of change addresses governance issues. Outcome 4 of the new UNDAF focuses on Participation and Accountability “By 2023, women and men, including the underrepresented, marginalized and vulnerable, benefit from more transparent and accountable legislative and governance frameworks that ensure meaningful and informed participation in economic and social development and political processes.” History

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