Independent CountryProgramme Evaluation: Bhutan

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2014-2017, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
ICPE/ADR
Planned End Date:
12/2017
Completion Date:
12/2017
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
120,000

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Download document Bhutan-ICPE Annexes.pdf tor English 1057.48 KB Posted 137
Download document ICPE_Bhutan_Full Report.pdf report English 2077.67 KB Posted 248
Download document ICPE Bhutan - Evaluation Brief.pdf summary English 86.66 KB Posted 109
Title Independent CountryProgramme Evaluation: Bhutan
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2014-2017, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2017
Planned End Date: 12/2017
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.1. National and sub-national systems and institutions enabled to achieve structural transformation of productive capacities that are sustainable and employment - and livelihoods- intensive
  • 2. Output 1.3. Solutions developed at national and sub-national levels for sustainable management of natural resources, ecosystem services, chemicals and waste
  • 3. Output 2.1. Parliaments, constitution making bodies and electoral institutions enabled to perform core functions for improved accountability, participation and representation, including for peaceful transitions
  • 4. Output 3.1. Core functions of government enabled (in post conflict situations) to ensure national ownership of recovery and development processes
  • 5. Output 4.1. Country led measures accelerated to advance women's economic empowerment
Evaluation Budget(US $): 120,000
Source of Funding: UNDP
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 120,000
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Thaveeporn Vasavakul Independent Evaluators
Ugen P. Norbu Independent Evaluators
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: BHUTAN
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

Strategic Positioning: Given the graduation to MIC status, Bhutan Country Office will need to strengthen its strategy to better support Bhutan deal with development challenges ahead.

2

Sustainable development: UNDP should reconsider the rapid urbanization and consequently growing environmental and social vulnerabilities in its work to address environmental, climate change, and disaster risks, livelihood and employment issues in urban areas. The approach should be comprehensive, increasingly making connections between rural livelihoods and urban systems, including through supporting job creation opportunities.

3

Democratic governance: UNDP should develop a theory of change for immediate- and medium-term governance outcomes to more sustainably contribute to democratic institutional strengthening

4

Gender equality and women’s empowerment: Given the challenge to fund gender equality and women’s empowerment initiatives, when going beyond the expected gender mainstreaming, UNDP should focus its limited resources mostly towards more sustainable upstream contributions. If and when working downstream, UNDP should focus on capacity development in the areas of decision-making and economic development.

5

Funding: UNDP needs to create incentives to ensure the implementation of its new resource mobilization strategy. 

6

Human and Financial Management: UNDP should continue to invest in internal training and mentoring and encourage backstopping roles within and across teams to help improves work and life balance, as well as secondments and in-detail assignments to better prepare staff to deliver more policy advisory services.

7

Coordination: UNDP is uniquely well-positioned to continue to help lead the UN Coordination in Bhutan and the integration among the UN agencies of SDG advocacy, prioritizing the GNH concept and objectives while advancing Sustainable Development Goals focusing on leaving no-one behind. However, this will require implementing the UN Secretary General’s recommendations on repositioning the Un System to improve coordination and to develop a clear Theory of Change for a more focused programmatic approach to Delivering as One  [including with] improved attention to Results Based Management…. a strategy to better leverage financing for development… and improve[d] communications within agencies.

Management Response Documents
1. Recommendation:

Strategic Positioning: Given the graduation to MIC status, Bhutan Country Office will need to strengthen its strategy to better support Bhutan deal with development challenges ahead.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/25] [Last Updated: 2018/10/09]

Agreed. As Bhutan progress towards LDC graduation, the Country Office will continue to enhance its capacity for upstream policy work, effective and efficient downstream implementation support, and diversified development finance mechanisms to ensure strategic support to the Royal Government, with a clear theory of change for investing its limited resources, using them where possible to leverage additional resources, and a focus in the next CPD and UNDAF on leaving no-one behind.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 In collaboration with the UNCT and nonresident agencies, develop a strategic approach to support the smooth transition of Bhutan from LDC to non-LDC status in the coming UN Sustainable Development Partnership Framework cycle (2019 – 2023). 1.2 Develop the new UNSDPF and CPD cycle grounded in leaving no-one behind, with a clear theory of change. 1.3 Develop the capacity of UNDP Bhutan and of our development partners in Bhutan (governmental and non-governmental) on diversified approaches to development finance, in line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, with a programmatic focus on development finance approaches and innovations in the current and new CPD.
[Added: 2018/10/09]
Resident Representative and Deputy Resident Representative 2018/09 Overdue-Initiated On-going
2. Recommendation:

Sustainable development: UNDP should reconsider the rapid urbanization and consequently growing environmental and social vulnerabilities in its work to address environmental, climate change, and disaster risks, livelihood and employment issues in urban areas. The approach should be comprehensive, increasingly making connections between rural livelihoods and urban systems, including through supporting job creation opportunities.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/25] [Last Updated: 2018/10/09]

Agreed. UNDP will work towards a more comprehensive understanding of rural-urban migration in Bhutan and its impact on development, and will apply this learning in its programming. Distinct results have been achieved in the urban space and are planned in the pipeline, including on disaster risk reduction, climate adaptation, greening public transport and industry, entrepreneurship, and agricultural value chains and ecotourism investment to support job opportunities and resilient livelihoods, as referenced in the ICPE. These results and planned investments will benefit from a more complete theory of change around UNDP’s urban interventions, including to better understand urban poverty to help ensure noone is left behind. At the same time, given agriculture provides livelihoods for 60% of Bhutan’s population, that farmers are the ‘least happy’ in Bhutan (2015 Gross National Happiness survey), that more women are employed in farming than men (source), and women are overall ‘less happy’ than men in Bhutan, UNDP will work to improve the livelihood resilience of and opportunities for poor farmers, particularly women, while at the same time supporting the enabling environment for the creation of new employment opportunities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Research rural-urban migration in Bhutan and its impact on development 2.2 Develop and implement a programmatic pipeline related to Bhutan’s economic development policy ‘jewels’, with a focus on livelihood resilience, income generation and the enabling environment for job creation, with special attention to poor and vulnerable groups. 2.3 Collaborate with and work through CSOs to advance grass-root engagement and to help ensure no-one is left behind.
[Added: 2018/10/09]
Environment and Livelihoods Portfolio Manager 2019/12 Initiated In progress
3. Recommendation:

Democratic governance: UNDP should develop a theory of change for immediate- and medium-term governance outcomes to more sustainably contribute to democratic institutional strengthening

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/25] [Last Updated: 2018/10/09]

Agreed. UNDP will develop a Theory of Change for its governance work to immediately inform the new CPD and UNSDPF’s development, including to understand UNDP’s potential role in Bhutan’s decentralization process, in supporting civic oversight of the implementation of Bhutan’s Five Year Plans, and in mainstreaming and monitoring SDG achievement.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Conduct ToC training for all staff 3.2 Develop a ToC for governance-related interventions in the next CPD and UNSDPF. 3.3 Programmatically support SDG mainstreaming in the development of the 12th Five Year Plan, considering inclusive planning, data, and advocacy/outreach.
[Added: 2018/10/09]
Environment and Livelihoods Portfolio Manager 2019/12 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Gender equality and women’s empowerment: Given the challenge to fund gender equality and women’s empowerment initiatives, when going beyond the expected gender mainstreaming, UNDP should focus its limited resources mostly towards more sustainable upstream contributions. If and when working downstream, UNDP should focus on capacity development in the areas of decision-making and economic development.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/25] [Last Updated: 2018/10/09]

Agreed. In addition to continuing the strong gender mainstreaming focus in UNDP’s environment and livelihoods work, UNDP will focus on upstream policy interventions and support as requested by the Government, while at the same time continuing capacity development on women’s equality and empowerment (funding permitting), until such a time as Bhutan’s performance against gender markers demonstrates improvement. For this to happen, in addition to focusing on women’s livelihood resilience, focusing on both understanding and tackling gender-based violence will be imperative.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Support the development of the Gender Equality Policy and, as requested, its subsequent implementation during the next CPD 4.2 Support the generation of better data on violence against women to inform subsequent upstream interventions. 4.3 Ensure no less than gender marker ‘2’ for all projects in the pipeline. 4.4 Continue strong gender mainstreaming with disaggregated results in all green financed projects (GEF, GCF, etc).
[Added: 2018/10/09]
Environment and Livelihoods Portfolio Manager 2019/12 Initiated Quality Assurance process will be fully applied.
5. Recommendation:

Funding: UNDP needs to create incentives to ensure the implementation of its new resource mobilization strategy. 

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/25] [Last Updated: 2018/10/09]

Agreed. Given UNDP Bhutan is embarking on a new programme cycle, under development in 2017/2018, the Country Office will first lead a UN assessment the development finance landscape in Bhutan to further understand how the UN’s next cycle of engagement in Bhutan could best be financed and implemented. This analysis will help to better contextualize and situate the CO’s resource mobilization strategy in a broader implementation framework, considering diversified means of generating finance, minimizing future expenditure, and maximizing the efficiency of current finances. Resource mobilization and pipeline development targets will be established as a marker of performance; high performance will be incentivized; and capacity development support to partners on development finance will be programmed.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Develop a Development Finance Assessment for new UNDAF with a focus on new financing modalities in the next UNDAF, with direct relevance for the UNDP CPD, including on Government Cost Sharing. 5.2 Develop the capacity of Government and other national partners on development financing in line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, with the DFA as a supporting guide. 5.3 Develop the capacity of UNDP staff on innovative financing, private sector engagement, resource mobilization, and subsequently include related indicators in staff’s performance agreements.
[Added: 2018/10/09]
Operations and Quality Assurance Portfolio Manager, Environment and Livelihoods Portfolio Manager, and Deputy Resident Representative 2019/12 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Human and Financial Management: UNDP should continue to invest in internal training and mentoring and encourage backstopping roles within and across teams to help improves work and life balance, as well as secondments and in-detail assignments to better prepare staff to deliver more policy advisory services.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/25] [Last Updated: 2018/10/09]

Agreed. The CO will ensure that formalized backstopping arrangements are in place for all staff, supported by a clear Internal Control Frameworks (ICF). Secondments and in-detail assignments will be pursued as finances, workload, opportunity, and institutional rationale advise. In the 2016 Global Staff Survey results, many of earlier staff concerns (from the 2014 survey) were seen to be addressed. This year, the Bhutan CO ranked consistently in the top three (or higher) performing offices in Asia Pacific against 15 out of 16 indices, including on staff ‘Growth and Development’, where the office ranks 2nd. On the 16th indices – work life balance – UNDP Bhutan ranks 8th in the region, with an improvement of 27 points in this area since 2014 marking the second highest improvement in the region on worklife balance. Management and staff will commit to continuing this strong performance, including by developing and implementing a companion General Staff Survey action plan focusing on areas where the office can continue to grow. The office will also produce an annual learning plan.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Formalize staff twinning arrangements in line with 2016 Audit results. 6.2 Revise ICF to support work life balance and in line with 2016 Audit results. 6.3 Develop and implement an action plan in response to the 2016 General Staff Survey results. 6.4 When practical and efficient, and where there is a competitive advantage, UNDP will seek out the services of specialized UN agencies instead of hiring consultants. 6.5 Develop and implement an annual learning plan for the office, reflected in staff performance agreements
[Added: 2018/10/09]
Environment and Livelihoods Portfolio Manager, Governance and Advocacy Portfolio Manager a.i. and Operations and Quality Assurance Portfolio Manager 2019/12 Initiated Where delivery and partnership constraints permit.
7. Recommendation:

Coordination: UNDP is uniquely well-positioned to continue to help lead the UN Coordination in Bhutan and the integration among the UN agencies of SDG advocacy, prioritizing the GNH concept and objectives while advancing Sustainable Development Goals focusing on leaving no-one behind. However, this will require implementing the UN Secretary General’s recommendations on repositioning the Un System to improve coordination and to develop a clear Theory of Change for a more focused programmatic approach to Delivering as One  [including with] improved attention to Results Based Management…. a strategy to better leverage financing for development… and improve[d] communications within agencies.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/25] [Last Updated: 2018/10/09]

Agreed. UNDP stands ready to support implementation of the SG’s recommendations on UN reform at the appropriate time. This will include determining UNDP Bhutan’s role on SDG integration, on development finance and resource mobilization, and on business operations – and our relationship in the context of reform with other resident and non-resident UN agencies in each of these areas. The new CPD and UNDAF to be finalized in 2018 will incorporate this approach.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1 Support/lead country-level implementation of the SG’s recommendations on UN Reform. 7.2 With the Royal Government, lead a collaborative approach to develop Bhutan’s first SDG National Report and its Voluntary National Review to the High Level Political forum 7.3 Leverage the DFA findings and recommendations to determine the financing for development approach for the next CPD and UNDAF. 7.4 Establish a clear M&E system in the CO, with improved connections between UNDAF and CPD reporting for increased efficiency. 7.5 Strengthen staff capacity on results based management.
[Added: 2018/10/09]
Resident Representative and Deputy Resident Representative; Operations and Quality Assurance, Portfolio Manager 2019/12 Initiated

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