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

Report Cover Image
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

Share

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 2014-2017)
  • 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
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: Yes
  • Joint with UN Agencies
  • Joint with UN Agencies in Cambodia
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Jim Freedman Evaluaton Team Leader freedman@uwo.ca
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.

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 Royal Government of Cambodia 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.


2.

In terms of design, 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. In addition, the current implicit theory of change underlying the UNDAF is not sufficiently 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 more selective about which key areas they should focus on.


3.

In terms of effectiveness and results achievement, there are 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 effectiveness has however 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.


4.

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.


5.

The attention paid to UN programming principles such as gender equality and environmental sustainability is mostly programme or project-specific. For instance, the UNDAF results framework and Consolidated Annual Work Plans do not contain disaggregated indicators tracking beneficiaries by men or women. Impact on women and girls, and gender sensitivity generally, is direct in more than half of the programmes examined for the report. Women and girls are not direct programme beneficiaries across the board, as many of the programmes oriented toward economic growth or law for example are unlikely to have a direct impact on women. Accepting gender as a cross-cutting theme clearly does not mean that there is gender sensitivity in all sector and all outcomes equally. It does mean that the UNDAF has succeeded in according priority to ensuring programmes are gender sensitive.


6.

There are examples of successful partnerships with non-traditional partners and the UN is considered a trusted source of expertise and partner for the Government in critical areas. At the agency-level however, partnerships between UN agencies, such as joint UN programming, have so far shown limited success. Joint programmes are few in number and agencies are not readily inclined to work closely in tandem and, in any event, it is difficult given quite different corporate cultures.


7.

In terms of efficiency, there are many examples of programmes that 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.


8.

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 Royal Government of Cambodia to pick and choose areas it wishes to support or own.


Recommendations
1

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

1. Recommendation:

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.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2018/02/28]

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
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- 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
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.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2018/02/28]

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.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2018/02/28]

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.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2018/02/28]

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.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2018/02/28]

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
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
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
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.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2018/02/28]

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.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2018/02/28]

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.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2018/02/28]

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.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/06] [Last Updated: 2018/02/28]

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

Latest Evaluations

Contact us

220 East 42nd Street
20th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel. +1 646 781 4200
Fax. +1 646 781 4213
erc.support@undp.org