Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Paraguay

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Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
ICPE/ADR
Planned End Date:
12/2018
Completion Date:
12/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
77,148

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Title Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Paraguay
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2018
Planned End Date: 12/2018
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 1.3. Solutions developed at national and sub-national levels for sustainable management of natural resources, ecosystem services, chemicals and waste
  • 2. Output 1.4. Scaled up action on climate change adaptation and mitigation across sectors which is funded and implemented
Evaluation Budget(US $): 77,148
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 58,600
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Henry Moriya Evaluation Consultant
Jorge Vargas Evaluation Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: GLOBAL
Lessons
Findings
1.

Finding 1. UNDP has closely supported the Environment Secretariat in its institutional strengthening efforts. Through its environmental portfolio, UNDP has continued to support the development of a legislative and institutional climate change framework, important instruments to meet the country’s international commitment to the UN Convention on Climate Change. However, institutional weaknesses in the country remain a challenge to the effective dissemination and implementation of these strategies and action plans at both national and subnational levels.


Tag: Climate Change Adaptation Environment Policy Effectiveness Global Environment Facility fund UN Agencies Indigenous people Poverty Reduction Coordination Policy Advisory

2.

Finding 2. UNDP has successfully facilitated processes to raise awareness of the link between poverty reduction, sustainable production and the environment. Through the establishment of tripartite dialogue platforms for Paraguay’s main value chains (soy and beef), UNDP helped to establish abuilding block for effective agreements towards more environmentally sustainable and socially responsible production models. The private sector, Government and civil society organizations now converge in a neutral space of trust for dialogue on sensitive issues. This pilot experience is now being replicated in another area, though the effectiveness and impact has not yet been validated. 


Tag: Poverty Reduction Partnership Green Economy Effectiveness Impact Civil Societies and NGOs Private Sector Advocacy

3.

Finding 3. UNDP made relevant contributions to the improvement of targeting instruments and standardized criteria for social protection programmes. While it has effectively provided management services and tools to measure and target the poor, sustainable improvements to the outreach and services of the Government’s social programmes did not materialize during this programme cycle. 


Tag: Water resources Effectiveness Impact Project and Programme management Cash Transfers Poverty Reduction Social Protection Coordination Technical Support

4.

Finding 4. No interventions to promote inclusive and sustainable energy efficiency solutions and universal access to energy sources were implemented during the evaluation period. Due to high staff workload and programme implementation demands, no resources were mobilized for this purpose.


Tag: Vulnerable Energy Effectiveness Technical Support

5.

Finding 5. UNDP made significant contributions to one of the five expected outputs of the democratic governance portfolio: increasing civil society participation and influence in democratic processes, particularly by women, and facilitating consensus building through sustainable tripartite dialogue platforms. It was partly effective in improving citizens’ access to justice and had limited or no interventions focused on strengthening the Superior Court of Electoral Justice or Congress or improving anticorruption measures across sectors.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Gender Equality Women's Empowerment Anti-corruption Justice system Business Model Project and Programme management Promotion of dialogue Advocacy Coordination

6.

Finding 6. The support provided for the implementation of the SDGs in Paraguay, an area in which UNDP has a comparative advantage, has led to important advancements: the inclusion of the SDGs in the National Development Plan; the establishment of an interinstitutional commission for the SDGs; the adoption of the SIGOB and SIMORE Plus systems to monitor progress towards the SDG goals; and increasing private sector pro-SDG engagement. These efforts, if continued, have a high potential for impact.


Tag: SDG Integration SDG monitoring and reporting Effectiveness Impact Private Sector Technical Support

7.

Finding 7. UNDP has continued to effectively promote an institutional shift from emergency response to disaster risk reduction. There was an assertive strategy to focus its limited resources on strengthening the National Emergency Secretariat and the National System for Risk and Disaster Management. The scope of these contributions is limited, due to resource constraints and changes in the political environment. The systems and mechanisms set up with UNDP support have not managed to systematically reach the community level, and the capacity of decentralized governments is still insufficient.


Tag: Local Governance Disaster Risk Reduction Resource mobilization Effectiveness Efficiency UN Agencies Technical Support

8.

Finding 8. Gender mainstreaming in the UNDP Paraguay programme has been weak due to resource constraints and insufficient efforts allocated for this purpose. Projects reflect a low gender marker with no systematic integration of gender issues in their design and implementation. A gender equality strategy and action plan are still not in place to address this situation. 


Tag: Capacity Building Gender Mainstreaming Knowledge management Monitoring and Evaluation Effectiveness Relevance

9.

Finding 9. Despite weak gender mainstreaming, UNDP made a notable contribution to the promotion of women’s empowerment and participation in political decision-making processes, a result with the potential of becoming gender transformative. Indirect contributions to increasing women’s access to social benefits and productive opportunities were also found. 


Tag: Inclusive economic growth Social Protection Gender Equality Gender transformation Women's Empowerment Effectiveness Relevance Technical Support

10.

Finding 10. The UNDP programme responds to Paraguay’s National Development Plan 2030 and its priorities. In its implementation, the programme lacked a clear theory of change and consistent results framework, both crucial to ensure a programmatic approach. Similarly, M&E and knowledge management were weak, and the logical framework lacked well-defined and realistic outputs and outcome level indicators.


Tag: Agriculture Disaster Risk Reduction Effectiveness Relevance Business Model Monitoring and Evaluation Programme/Project Design Results-Based Management South-South Cooperation Agenda 2030

11.

Finding 11. UNDP successfully cooperated with the Government of Paraguay, positioning itself as a reliable and credible provider of development support services. A close relationship was also established with private sector actors, who valued the UNDP role as an impartial and respected broker and convener. On the other hand, association with civil society organizations and academia was limited. 


Tag: Local Governance Partnership Strategic Positioning Effectiveness Efficiency Country Government Private Sector UN Agencies Coordination

12.

Finding 12. Coordination between UN agencies has yet to be improved. Insufficient attention has been given to achieving synergy and integration with other UN agencies. There is an opportunity to take stock of joint initiatives with successful collaboration experiences and use those lessons to improve coordination within the UN.


Tag: Human rights Gender Equality Integration UN Agencies UN Country Team Technical Support

13.

Finding 13. UNDP has not been successful in coordinating and working closely with development cooperation partners and donors. Conversely, its relationship and links with the donor community have declined over the years, hampering its strategic position and visibility, particularly in the area of democratic governance. 


Tag: Local Governance Partnership Coherence Effectiveness Donor Coordination

14.

Finding 14. The sustainability of UNDP contributions to results is moderate; some initiatives have been nationally owned and are therefore sustainable, while others have not been integrated into national policies or programmes. Most of the projects did not have clearly articulated exit strategies or sufficient time and resources to install the necessary capacities to ensure continuity.


Tag: Local Governance Women's Empowerment SDG Integration Effectiveness Efficiency Sustainability Country Government Technical Support

Recommendations
1

Recommendation 1. UNDP should reposition itself as a leading agency in democratic governance. For this, given its reduced core resources, UNDP should strategically focus its interventions on substantive upstream engagement and policy advisory support for the Government to achieve its desired structural transformation. Similarly, interventions should focus on fostering active civil society participation and engagement with the Government, particularly for the SDG implementation process.

2

Recommendation 2. UNDP should continue to support the Environment Secretariat and the institutions that compose the Social Protection System in their institutional strengthening efforts. A strategy outlining the capacity development needs of the different institutions and areas of support to be provided by UNDP should be developed under this framework. Building from its global knowledge and networks, UNDP should continue to offer tools and instruments that enhance the targeting, coverage and quality of social services, and should focus engagement with SEAM on consolidating ongoing capacity development efforts, institutionalizing practices and ensuring adequate transfer of knowledge.

3

Recommendation 3. UNDP should reinforce its disaster risk reduction programme to consolidate the paradigm shift from emergency response to disaster risk reduction; and support the Government in expanding the National System for Risk and Disaster Management at subnational level. To ensure the necessary political support and resources, UNDP should strengthen its engagement and advocacy strategy to raise awareness at a high political level and pursue additional funding from GEF, the European Union and the Green Climate Fund.

4

Recommendation 4. Given its proximity to a wide range of partners, UNDP should foster greater alliances and linkages within and across its different areas of intervention for more integrated approaches and solutions. It should also expand the use of South-South cooperation modalities to benefit Paraguay’s development needs and results.

5

Recommendation 5. UNDP should strengthen its gender mainstreaming capacity to improve the programme’s gender-related results. As part of these efforts, the gender strategy and action plan should be finalized and implemented, allocating sufficient time and resources to ensure the systematic integration of gender issues and strategies into programme design and implementation.

6

Recommendation 6. UNDP should improve its strategic planning and results-based management to enhance its contribution to development results, particularly in the SDG framework. For this, a clear theory of change for the overall programme and each programmatic area, and a consistent results framework with realistic indicators, should be developed.

1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1. UNDP should reposition itself as a leading agency in democratic governance. For this, given its reduced core resources, UNDP should strategically focus its interventions on substantive upstream engagement and policy advisory support for the Government to achieve its desired structural transformation. Similarly, interventions should focus on fostering active civil society participation and engagement with the Government, particularly for the SDG implementation process.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/03/26] [Last Updated: 2020/06/11]

Democratic governance is one of the main thematic areas for UNDP globally. In Paraguay, the country office (CO) is closely monitoring emerging needs in this area at both national and local levels, chiefly through discussions with the new Government and the upcoming strategic programme planning exercises, both interagency (UNDAF) and UNDP-specific (CPD). Progress in this line of work will depend on the Government’s needs and availability of funds. As to SDG implementation, it is worth highlighting that: • Since 2016, the CO has assisted the national SDG Interinstitutional Commission in fulfilling its mandate of coordinating the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda (see http://comisionods.mre.gov. py/). It is foreseen that this assistance will continue and will be embedded in the new CPD. Additionally, the CO will continue to support the Commission Secretariat, its learning programme and the alignment between UNDP CO Paraguay projects and the 2030 Agenda. • UNDP has worked directly with the government transition team to determine the top priorities and initiatives of the new Government and align them with the SDGs. • UNDP has already taken actions to widely disseminate information on the SDGs, promoting open dialogue with all stakeholders.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Actively participate in the UNDAF process.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2019/09 Overdue-Initiated
Explore with counterparts the opportunities for UNDP support in democratic governance, building upon existing and new partnerships.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO, with SIGOB / Regional Bureau / BPPS 2020/01 Overdue-Initiated
Guarantee support to the SDG Commission in fulfilling its mandate.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2024/12 Initiated
Guarantee the participation of government counterparts in the CPD design process.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2020/01 Overdue-Not Initiated
Guarantee the participation of civil society in the CPD design process.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2020/01 Overdue-Not Initiated
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2. UNDP should continue to support the Environment Secretariat and the institutions that compose the Social Protection System in their institutional strengthening efforts. A strategy outlining the capacity development needs of the different institutions and areas of support to be provided by UNDP should be developed under this framework. Building from its global knowledge and networks, UNDP should continue to offer tools and instruments that enhance the targeting, coverage and quality of social services, and should focus engagement with SEAM on consolidating ongoing capacity development efforts, institutionalizing practices and ensuring adequate transfer of knowledge.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/03/26] [Last Updated: 2020/06/11]

UNDP, at the request of the new Government that took office in August, will continue to provide assistance on environmental and social protection issues. These thematic areas will be included in the new CPD, which is planned to be completed by December 2019/January 2020. UNDP CO Paraguay will also continue to support the Paraguayan State to access international funding pools for new projects in the environmental area. The strategy mentioned in the recommendation will be designed within the CPD framework. The innovations offered by UNDP, within the wider UN system reform, will be at the service of government counterparts in these thematic areas, as well as all areas agreed upon with the Paraguayan State, with the perspective of offering useful and efficient services, oriented towards achieving the SDGs in the country.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Guarantee the participation of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development and of other institutions that are part of the Social Protection System in the CPD design process.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2020/01 Overdue-Initiated
Provide counterparts with information on UNDP assistance opportunities in social services issues.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2024/12 Initiated
Support to Paraguayan State facilitating access to funding opportunities for projects of the environmental area with donors like GEF, FCPF and others.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2024/12 Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3. UNDP should reinforce its disaster risk reduction programme to consolidate the paradigm shift from emergency response to disaster risk reduction; and support the Government in expanding the National System for Risk and Disaster Management at subnational level. To ensure the necessary political support and resources, UNDP should strengthen its engagement and advocacy strategy to raise awareness at a high political level and pursue additional funding from GEF, the European Union and the Green Climate Fund.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/03/26] [Last Updated: 2020/06/11]

Paraguay’s CO maintains a good relationship with the National Emergency Secretariat, national rector for disaster and risk reduction. Likewise, together with humanitarian partners, this thematic area is constantly present in the CO’s work, in response to emerging needs. As mentioned earlier, the CPD design process will be the adequate stage where local and national needs will be registered, as well as UNDP’s commitments in each area. The CO is expecting to adapt and update its resource mobilization strategy once its 2020-2025 CPD is approved, so that the strategy is closely linked with the plan developed with the Paraguayan State and aligned with corporate mechanisms. This recommendation will be taken into consideration during the design process.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Guarantee the participation of the National Emergency Secretariat and other risk reduction institutions in the CPD design process.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2020/01 Overdue-Initiated
Consider the recommendation made when designing the resource mobilization strategy.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2020/01 Overdue-Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4. Given its proximity to a wide range of partners, UNDP should foster greater alliances and linkages within and across its different areas of intervention for more integrated approaches and solutions. It should also expand the use of South-South cooperation modalities to benefit Paraguay’s development needs and results.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/03/26] [Last Updated: 2020/06/11]

Building upon and strengthening partnerships will be a recurrent theme in the next cycle of programming, within the context of the wider UN system reform that acknowledges the need for integration and collaboration to achieve sustainable solutions. We believe we can improve in terms of recording and giving visibility to our partnership initiatives, including South-South cooperation and other impact initiatives.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Seek to adopt a more multidimensional approach between governance, poverty reduction and resilience.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2020/01 Overdue-Initiated
Increase partnership initiatives and their visibility, including South-South cooperation and others, through social networks and other means.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2024/12 Not Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5. UNDP should strengthen its gender mainstreaming capacity to improve the programme’s gender-related results. As part of these efforts, the gender strategy and action plan should be finalized and implemented, allocating sufficient time and resources to ensure the systematic integration of gender issues and strategies into programme design and implementation.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/03/26] [Last Updated: 2020/06/11]

UNDP Paraguay has already taken action with regard to this recommendation, chiefly at the institutional level, as evidenced by the creation of the Gender Working Group and progress made towards achieving the Gender Seal. At the national level, the planning processes (UNDAF, CPD) will allow the CO to seek the integration of a gender perspective systematically into its programme; simultaneously, the office will design its Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan, always taking into account national needs and expectations.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Obtain the Gender Seal.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2019/12 Overdue-Initiated
Establish gender results and indicators in the CPD.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2020/01 Overdue-Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6. UNDP should improve its strategic planning and results-based management to enhance its contribution to development results, particularly in the SDG framework. For this, a clear theory of change for the overall programme and each programmatic area, and a consistent results framework with realistic indicators, should be developed.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/03/26] [Last Updated: 2020/06/11]

As part of the programme and project management reform, UNDP has taken important steps to clarify the definition of concepts and the adoption of instruments linked to the programme design process. The CO expects to benefit from this reform context and will involve the entire local team in the elaboration of the CPD, a process that now requires a theory of change. With respect to the programme areas and their respective theories of change, the CO depends on the UNDAF design process, considering that it will take the effects stipulated in this instrument as verbatim. Since it is in the CO´s utmost interest to have a final instrument that facilitates accountability vis-à-vis stakeholders, it is guaranteed that this recommendation will be fully addressed.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Guarantee that the CPD is based on a theory of change.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2020/01 Overdue-Not Initiated
Guarantee that the CPD has impact measurement instruments that are sufficiently adequate and defined.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2020/01 Overdue-Not Initiated
Guarantee the fulfillment of the CPD’s monitoring and evaluation plan.
[Added: 2019/03/26]
CO 2024/12 Not Initiated

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