UNDAF evaluation 2017-2021

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Evaluation Plan:
2017-2022, Montenegro
Evaluation Type:
UNDAF
Planned End Date:
09/2020
Completion Date:
12/2020
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

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Title UNDAF evaluation 2017-2021
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2022, Montenegro
Evaluation Type: UNDAF
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2020
Planned End Date: 09/2020
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Environment & Sustainable Development
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding: UNCT
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 27,667
Joint Programme: Yes
Joint Evaluation: Yes
  • Joint with UN Agencies
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
OLivera Komar Independent Evaluator, Senior Evaluation Expert
Tomislav Novovic Independent Evaluator, Team Leader SERBIA
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: UNCT
Countries: MONTENEGRO
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

Focus new UNDAF on the most critical issues for the achievement of SDGs and EU accession priorities for Montenegro. Ensure strong focus on the inclusion of vulnerable groups and full implementation of “leave no one behind” principle (also addressing the needs of those left furthest behind).

2

It is recommended that UNCT remain flexible and responsive to the needs and priorities of the citizens and authorities in Montenegro and also consider actions in areas where UNCT has been less present);

It is recommended UNCT in Montenegro explore supporting the digital transformation agenda of the GoM in various sectors;

It is recommended for UNCT to support green recovery of the country, especially in the key economic sectors;

It is recommended to work on a systematic and integrated approach to youth programming;

Considering already existing, significant regional development differences, with even more negative perspectives, UN Agencies together with the Government of Montenegro and other stakeholders, should explore options for SDG-focused and area-based development programming within these areas to achieve local tangible results and combat the existing challenges;

It is recommended to explore entry points for a holistic and coordinated approach to address demographic challenges and migration (including sustainable return and reintegration when appropriate);

It is also recommended to strengthen policy capacities in all stages of the policy cycle, linking it with the EU accession priorities and SDGs. Part of these efforts should be to strengthen systems and capacities for monitoring, reporting, and evaluation of public policies. UNCT should work to ensure that policy implementation is based on sound gender sensitive costing, with predictable financing sources. In connection to this, the mechanism for policy coordination should be strengthened.

Also, it is recommended to explore support to the Parliament of Montenegro to implement core functions (including the law-making, analytical and oversight capacities).

It is recommended to support the development of a systemic and holistic system for continued development of capacities of the authorities (all branches of power) to exercise their functions

It is recommended to explore approaches for strengthening the role of non-government actors and civil society, following a two-fold approach by providing technical assistance to CSOs and continuing partnerships

3

It is recommended that UNCT continue to strengthen its normative work, assisting the key governance actors in Montenegro to understand, and implement norms and standards deriving from international charters and agreements. The focus should be to integrate norms and standards in public policies, laws, strategies and development plans but also remain active in the implementation.

It is recommended to strengthen gender mainstreaming and empowerment of women under all UNSDCF outcomes, following gender transformative approach.

4

It is recommended to strengthen membership of the UNSDCF Steering Committee to ensure its strategic involvement and guidance for UNDAF implementation.

It is recommended to expand the number of participants in the UNDAF Results Groups, bringing other partners in to improve planning, implementation and coordination of activities within UNDAF implementation. Intensive joint planning should be strengthened through preparation of Annual Work Plans (WPs), setting the basis for holistic and integrated planning and programming.

5

In the next programming cycle UNCT in Montenegro should invest more efforts to define appropriate qualitative and quantitative indicators to adequately measure progress under outcomes and capture UNCT contribution to this progress.

In parallel, it is recommended to strengthen monitoring processes, and further build on the established results-oriented reporting practice.

It is also important that UN Agencies allocate financial resources to support collection of data under specific indicators, as needed.

Also, it is recommended to plan a mid-term review of new UNSDCF (that should complement regular monitoring)

6

It is recommended to define practical sustainability strategy under all outcomes within new UNSDCF. It is also recommended to perform regular analysis of factors external to interventions (risks and assumptions) that could affect sustainability and propose measures to mitigate their adverse effects.

It is recommended that UN develop a sound, hands-on approach to measure capacity development across all priority areas, linking them with changes and reform needs.

(Linked with Recommendation 5) Part of the monitoring system should include efforts to measure progress and monitor the extent to which newly gained capacities are being utilized (particularly analysis benefits for the poor).

Management Response Documents
1. Recommendation:

Focus new UNDAF on the most critical issues for the achievement of SDGs and EU accession priorities for Montenegro. Ensure strong focus on the inclusion of vulnerable groups and full implementation of “leave no one behind” principle (also addressing the needs of those left furthest behind).

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2020/12/24]

The recommendation is accepted.

Montenegro has recorded some progress in achieving SDG targets, however, still significant challenges remain for ensuring gender equality, climate action, peace, justice, and strong institutions. The institutional capacity of Montenegro to coordinate and monitor implementation of sustainable development goals (SDG) was sub-optimal. Even though SDG agenda provides wider framework for overall socio-economic development, the focus have been almost completely on achieving EU acquis goals. The complementarity between the SDGs and the EU accession process is apparent. Namely, a recent analysis revealed links between SDG targets with the chapters of the Acquis. Sixty-five percent, nearly two-thirds of the SDG targets (109 of 169 targets) have a strong link with the chapters of the acquis – in meeting the requirements of the acquis, Montenegro will be closer to achieving the SDG. The crucial chapters, those that have the greatest impact on achievement of the 2030 Agenda in Montenegro are chapter 27 on the environment, chapter 23 on justice and fundamental rights and chapter 19 on social policy and employment. While complementarity is evident in the above areas,  it remained more limited for reduced inequalities (32%), education (38%), hunger and poverty (52%), and gender equality (54%). At the same time, these are some of the core areas of UNCT work.

The development context of Montenegro has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Montenegro took swift and decisive actions to prevent the spread of the virus; however, strong containment measures put the brakes on an economy that was growing steadily in the preceding months. With tourism accounting for nearly twenty per cent of its economy, it is expected that the country will face substantial economic contraction (according to the recent IMF estimation, nearly 9 per cent drop in 2020). It is expected that these changes and challenges will impede the country in its efforts to meet the targets under SDGs.

Thus, UNCT in Montenegro has acknowledged the adverse effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, also recognizing some of the emerging needs such as the inclusion of vulnerable groups and full implementation of "leave no one behind" principle (also addressing the needs of those left furthest behind).  Also, the Roadmap for preparation of the 2021-2025 Cooperation Framework (adopted in July 2020) recommended considering (nationalized) SDGs for the next programming cycle. UNCT identified "accelerator" platforms that contain directions to remove bottlenecks to development results across multiple SDGs. It should be complemented by the analysis of Groups Left Behind in Montenegro and the Common Country Assessment (CCA). The CCA will take place during the second half of 2020 and together with other documents will form the updated analytical basis upon which the discussion and consultations surrounding the next Cooperation Framework will take place. The visualization/prioritization exercise will be facilitated and supported through an external expert and include the Theory of Change as the basis of the Framework's preparation. The Roadmap foresees two validation exercises with direct beneficiaries, the national and international stakeholders in Montenegro, ensuring full alignment with the actual needs and priorities under the SDGs.

 

 

 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Carry out the analysis of the SDG “accelerator” platforms/areas, and other diagnostic documents (e.g. Unravelling Connections, report on groups left behind; assessments of gender mainstreaming and other sectorial reviews documents)
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2021/09/02]
RC Office/ UNCT 2021/09 Completed The action has been completed. History
Prepare the Common Country Assessment for Montenegro, focused on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on the achievement of SDGs, assessing gender mainstreaming needs and following the principle of “leave no one behind”
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2021/09/02]
RC Office/ UNCT 2021/09 Completed The action has been completed. History
Once the strategic priorities for the next UNSDCF have been defined, set targets and produce a Theory of Change outlining how the desired change is expected to happen in the context of Montenegro
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2022/06/01]
RC Office/ UNCT/ Government of Montenegro and other stakeholders 2022/05 Completed Theory of change produced and UNSDCF sent to Government for endorsement History
2. Recommendation:

It is recommended that UNCT remain flexible and responsive to the needs and priorities of the citizens and authorities in Montenegro and also consider actions in areas where UNCT has been less present);

It is recommended UNCT in Montenegro explore supporting the digital transformation agenda of the GoM in various sectors;

It is recommended for UNCT to support green recovery of the country, especially in the key economic sectors;

It is recommended to work on a systematic and integrated approach to youth programming;

Considering already existing, significant regional development differences, with even more negative perspectives, UN Agencies together with the Government of Montenegro and other stakeholders, should explore options for SDG-focused and area-based development programming within these areas to achieve local tangible results and combat the existing challenges;

It is recommended to explore entry points for a holistic and coordinated approach to address demographic challenges and migration (including sustainable return and reintegration when appropriate);

It is also recommended to strengthen policy capacities in all stages of the policy cycle, linking it with the EU accession priorities and SDGs. Part of these efforts should be to strengthen systems and capacities for monitoring, reporting, and evaluation of public policies. UNCT should work to ensure that policy implementation is based on sound gender sensitive costing, with predictable financing sources. In connection to this, the mechanism for policy coordination should be strengthened.

Also, it is recommended to explore support to the Parliament of Montenegro to implement core functions (including the law-making, analytical and oversight capacities).

It is recommended to support the development of a systemic and holistic system for continued development of capacities of the authorities (all branches of power) to exercise their functions

It is recommended to explore approaches for strengthening the role of non-government actors and civil society, following a two-fold approach by providing technical assistance to CSOs and continuing partnerships

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2020/12/24]

These recommendations are noted. 

The UNCT will consider the priority areas for future work alongside the priorities that emerge from the Common Country Assessment. 

Montenegro is facing significant regional development differences, as the northern region has been facing a plethora of problems in different governance, socio-economic and demographic spheres, remaining behind to the rest of the country. UNCT has recognized that a joint and SDG-based, comprehensive area-based development initiative could be a way forward to address these challenges.

In the recent year, Montenegro has invested efforts to define specific procedures for policy planning at the national and sub-national levels. Still, in spite of the efforts, policy making and implementation capacities remain weak; as well as coordination of policies across the Government. The extensive experience of the UNCT in different policy areas could be beneficial for the Government of Montenegro, especially when it comes to implementation of the new methodology of evidence-based policymaking which was produced by the Government with the assistance of UN. The new methodology is ambitious and ensures that the policy planning is conducted in uniform manner, based on high quality context and baseline analysis and including measurable goals and indicators of progress. However, public administration, both on the national and especially local level would benefit from support in terms of strengthening capacities, especially for monitoring, reporting and evaluation of public policies.

While, the Government had committed to ensuring gender equality and to gender mainstream policies, the results are still lacking. One of the preconditions in increasing practical consequences of this commitment would be quantifying the lack of gender equality and women’s and estimating the sum of financial or non-financial resources needed for implementation of the national commitments with regards to gender equality. 

Also, part of the broader public administration reform could include strengthening of the policy  coordination (across the Government and in the specific areas of implementation), and systemic development of capacities by supporting the continuous human resources development in all branches of the Government.

The population in Montenegro is ageing, while out-migration especially of young people, remained a notable contributing factor. This is affecting all spheres of society, from the provision of public services such as health care and social welfare and decline in economic activities. UNCT recognizes the need to address drivers of emigration, with a particular focus on young people. UNCT will also work on the implementation of family and youth policies, striving to enhance the human capital in Montenegro, in line with country SDG Framework.

Concerning young people, UNCT will remain active to enhance the participation of young people in local decisions and social changes. Past and ongoing UNCT initiatives relating to youth will be fine-tuned to better respond to youth needs. UNCT in Montenegro will develop a long-term, comprehensive, joint vision and programming relating to youth.

Establishment of democratic, open and inclusive society in Montenegro would require active involvement of civil society organizations and non-governmental actors. Although CSOs have been involved in the implementation of UNDAF 2017-2021, this involvement was limited and in some specific areas. UNCT will explore opportunities to work on strengthening capacities of the CSOs in the core areas of their functioning (corresponding to the UNDAF priorities), while also involving them more enthusiastically in the implementation of activities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Prepare a comprehensive Common Country Assessment for Montenegro, focused on groups left behind, also considering recommended areas for programming and exploring new and emerging areas issues.
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2021/09/02]
UN Agencies 2021/09 Completed The key action has been completed. Common Country Assessment for Montenegro has been prepared. https://montenegro.un.org/en/124464-un-common-country-analysis-montenegro-2021 History
Carry out in-depth analysis of root causes and problems in the identified priority areas for programming and develop a brief strategic approach for UNCT entry points and engagement in these areas
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2021/09/02]
UN Agencies 2021/09 Completed The key action has been completed as part of the CCA. https://montenegro.un.org/en/124464-un-common-country-analysis-montenegro-2021 History
Consider and design project fiches for possible joint initiatives in the (new and emerging) priority areas of interventions
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2022/10/16]
UN Agencies/ RC Office 2022/10 Completed No joint proposals with secured funding, but joint programming/ joint work on different analytical pieces and policy papers is ongoing History
3. Recommendation:

It is recommended that UNCT continue to strengthen its normative work, assisting the key governance actors in Montenegro to understand, and implement norms and standards deriving from international charters and agreements. The focus should be to integrate norms and standards in public policies, laws, strategies and development plans but also remain active in the implementation.

It is recommended to strengthen gender mainstreaming and empowerment of women under all UNSDCF outcomes, following gender transformative approach.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/24]

The recommendation is accepted.

UN Agencies with normative mandate have been integrating international norms and standards into Montenegro’s legislation, policies and development plans, being responsive, flexible, and adaptive, capable to communicating initiatives and responses and establishing partnerships. To ensure that no-one is left behind, it is planned to continue and expand normative work focusing on the priority areas of UNDAF (UNSDCF).

Also, UNCT will work to expand gender mainstreaming programming and enhance equality-related policies and practices under all UNSDCF outcomes. UNCT will also explore opportunities to follow twin-track approach under the next UNSDCF, with a specific gender outcome and mainstreaming gender under all outcomes.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support establishment of mechanisms and platforms for monitoring, reporting and the implementation of the commitments of Montenegro, under the international conventions and treaties it signed and ratified.
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2022/10/16]
UN Agencies/ Government of Montenegro 2022/10 Completed The national human rights tracking database was set up with assistance of OHCHR in 2019, and it features all recent recommendations from the UN human rights mechanisms to the country. However, overall, the use of the system requires strengthening in terms of data entry. This is not prioritized by the Government as of now. The country does not have a national mechanism for reporting and follow up, to increase the level and timeliness of engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms and to strengthen implementation of human rights obligations, despite supporting a 2018 UPR recommendation to do set up such a mechanism. History
Develop UNCT Country Gender Equality Profile as part of the preparation process of UNSDCF 2022- 2026
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2022/10/16]
UN RC Office/ UN Women/ UN Agencies 2022/10 Completed UNCT UN-SWAP Gender Equality Scorecard Assessment 2022 - attached History
Analyse Gender Equality SWAP recommendations and prepare actions to address shortcomings in the next UNSDCF
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2022/10/16]
UN RC Office/ UN Women/ UN Agencies 2022/10 Completed UNCT UN-SWAP Gender Equality Scorecard Assessment 2022 - attached History
Implement gender mainstreaming activities under all UNDAF-UNSDCF outcomes, as not all of them have been properly mainstreamed.
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2022/10/16]
UN RC Office/ UN Women/ UN Agencies 2022/10 Completed Gender mainstreaming guidelines - attached History
4. Recommendation:

It is recommended to strengthen membership of the UNSDCF Steering Committee to ensure its strategic involvement and guidance for UNDAF implementation.

It is recommended to expand the number of participants in the UNDAF Results Groups, bringing other partners in to improve planning, implementation and coordination of activities within UNDAF implementation. Intensive joint planning should be strengthened through preparation of Annual Work Plans (WPs), setting the basis for holistic and integrated planning and programming.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/24]

The recommendation is accepted.

UNDAF Steering Committee has been the essential mechanism to involve high-level national partners, provide strategic guidance and coordinate development interventions during the entire period of UNDAF implementation. The SC remained an active forum for greater involvement of the high-level national partners to genuinely drive development efforts, ensuring at the same time strong national leadership, promoting partnership and boosting ownership. The Results Groups have been preparing plans and reporting on progress timely, with the involvement of the GoM and UN Agencies. For the next cycle, it will be considered to expand its membership. Also, UNCT will work to ensure the active involvement of the members in the planning and implementation of interventions. UNCT will work to put in place integrated and joint planning starting with the preparation of annual Work Plans (WPs), to joint projects and programmes.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Analyse possible modalities and options for the membership and functioning of the SC during the next programming cycle and implement those deemed to be effective.
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2022/10/16]
UN RC Office/ UNCT 2022/10 Completed Finalized, proposal developed through Concept note on UNSDCF implementation arrangements History
Explore possibilities to extend the role of the SC as the coordination mechanism for SDGs in Montenegro
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2022/10/16]
UN RC Office/ UNCT/ GoM/ national stakeholders 2022/10 Completed Finalized, proposal developed through Concept note on UNSDCF implementation arrangements History
Discuss opportunities and expand the members and enhance the planning and implementation functions of the Results Groups (e.g. involving representatives of the CSOs, think-tanks and academia if appropriate)
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2022/10/16]
UN RC Office/ UNCT/ national stakeholders 2022/10 Completed Finalized, proposal developed through Concept note on UNSDCF implementation arrangements History
5. Recommendation:

In the next programming cycle UNCT in Montenegro should invest more efforts to define appropriate qualitative and quantitative indicators to adequately measure progress under outcomes and capture UNCT contribution to this progress.

In parallel, it is recommended to strengthen monitoring processes, and further build on the established results-oriented reporting practice.

It is also important that UN Agencies allocate financial resources to support collection of data under specific indicators, as needed.

Also, it is recommended to plan a mid-term review of new UNSDCF (that should complement regular monitoring)

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2020/12/24]

The recommendation is accepted.

UNCT agrees with the recommendation to strengthen results framework and introduce well-balanced combination of qualitative and quantitative indicators to capture progress under outcomes and UNCT contribution to this progress. UNCT will start this process with the preparation of a sound intervention logic and well-elaborated results chain within the Results Framework. Preparation of the Theory of change (mentioned in the previous paragraphs) should also serve to define results framework.

Also, UNCT agrees with the need to strengthen monitoring practice and define monitoring protocols and tools. The improved reporting practice and focus on results-reporting as with the 2019 UNDAF Annual Report will continue.

Mid-term UNDAF review will be considered as possible option, serving to fine tune the intervention logic and adjust implementation process.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Define qualitative and quantitative indicators under each element of the results chain, capturing UNCT results and contribution to the progress, as well as sources of information and means of verification
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2022/10/16]
UNCT/ RCO/ M&E Group 2023/06 Initiated Results framework finalized, the only remaining element are output indicators, to be included at the level of Joint Work Plan in Q1 of 2023 History
Prepare and carry out a mid-term UNSDCF evaluation and follow up on recommendations
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2021/09/02]
UNCT/ RCO/ M&E Group 2024/12 Initiated Tbd as per the schedule History
For the new UNSDCF prepare the results framework with a sound intervention logic including chain of results that adequately capture UN work (outcomes and outputs)
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2022/10/16]
UNCT 2022/10 Completed Finalized. United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework Montenegro 2023-2027 - attached History
6. Recommendation:

It is recommended to define practical sustainability strategy under all outcomes within new UNSDCF. It is also recommended to perform regular analysis of factors external to interventions (risks and assumptions) that could affect sustainability and propose measures to mitigate their adverse effects.

It is recommended that UN develop a sound, hands-on approach to measure capacity development across all priority areas, linking them with changes and reform needs.

(Linked with Recommendation 5) Part of the monitoring system should include efforts to measure progress and monitor the extent to which newly gained capacities are being utilized (particularly analysis benefits for the poor).

Management Response: [Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2020/12/24]

The recommendation is accepted.

UNCT recognize the need to focus more on sustainability, also regularly analysing assumptions and risks regarding sustainability.

Capacity development and transfer of knowledge remain essential tools for the achievement of development gains under UNDAF. UNCT is dedicated to follow a longer-term and needs-based capacity development approach; institutional capacity development and policy support will continue to be at the front and centre of the UN work, with ever-strong focus on critical capacities for achieving the SDGs and characterized by effective engagement of socio-economic stakeholders.

At the same time, UNCT agrees that is critically important to define “capacity for what, capacity for whom and capacity for why” and adopt indicators that will adequately capture the effects and changes deriving from capacity development assistance

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Analyse, discuss with the national partners and adopt approaches to ensure sustainability of results- this should be integral part of the new Cooperation Framework 2022-2026
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2021/09/02]
UN RC Office/ UNCT 2023/12 Initiated History
Carry out capacity development needs assessments in different areas under next UNSDCF outcomes and deliver needs-based technical support
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2021/09/02]
UNCT 2023/12 Initiated History
Continue with development of institutional and policy capacities, focusing the interventions on the achievements of SDGs
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2021/09/02]
UNCT 2023/12 Initiated History
Consider opportunities to define and put in place a system to measure impact of capacity development initiatives (delivered within the scope of the new UNSDCF) and put in place a comprehensive system
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2021/09/02]
UNCT/ UN RCO 2023/12 Initiated History
Provide capacity development support to the CSOs in Montenegro with the objective to enhance their organizational and technical capacities and ensure sound delivery of services (e.g. to facilitate productive dialogue between citizens and governments, as well as to play a watchdog role in policy design and delivery, including for the SDGs.)
[Added: 2020/12/24] [Last Updated: 2021/09/02]
UNCT 2023/12 Initiated Done on a regular basis, but with the more strategic approach to be defined in the next CF History

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