UNDP support to poverty reduction in the least developed countries

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
Planned End Date:
Completion Date:
Management Response:
Evaluation Budget(US $):


Document Type Language Size Status Downloads
Download document ToR-Povery-LDCs.pdf tor English 1243.30 KB Posted 57
Download document Poverty Reduction of the LDCs evaluation.pdf report English 2841.48 KB Posted 321
Download document Executive Board Paper- dp2019-4.pdf summary English 291.64 KB Posted 91
Download document Poverty Evaluation Brief.pdf related-document English 512.73 KB Posted 96
Download document Illustrated-Summary-PovertyReductionLDCs.pdf summary English 3094.21 KB Posted 49
Title UNDP support to poverty reduction in the least developed countries
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: Thematic
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2018
Planned End Date: 01/2019
Management Response: No
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.2 Marginalised groups, particularly the poor, women, people with disabilities and displaced are empowered to gain universal access to basic services and financial and non-financial assets to build productive capacities and benefit from sustainable livelihoods and jobs
  • 2. Output 2.1.2 Capacities developed for progressive expansion of inclusive social protection systems
Evaluation Budget(US $): 250,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 201,530
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Nyawira Muthui Evaluation Consultant INDIA
S.V Divvaakar Evaluation Consultant
Bruno Makendi Evaluation Consultant
Vincent Lefebvre Evaluation Consultant
Jens Peter Christensen Evaluation Consultant
Cheikh Faye Evaluation Consultant
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: GLOBAL

UNDP should consider more consistent engagement in a set of poverty reduction sub-themes. While engaging in different types of programme support, UNDP country programmes should make a distinction been demand-driven services and programmatic engagement, with adequate emphasis on the latter.

At the corporate and country level, over the years, UNDP has engaged in a range of poverty reduction areas and approaches, some of which lacked consistency in prioritization and engagement. In the LDCs, country programmes should seek opportunities for more substantive programmatic engagement on poverty reduction, developing more realistic medium- to long-term frameworks for inclusive growth and employment. UNDP should undertake an analysis of areas that should receive priority for medium- to long-term engagement. Country offices should emphasize more substantive programmatic engagement with scaling potential.

Moving forward, UNDP should clarify its focus on the LDCs, and outline LDC-specific pro-poor solutions, particularly in Africa where poverty reduction has been the slowest. In the coming years, since most of the LDCs will be in Africa, UNDP needs well thought through programme priorities for its engagement in key inclusive growth and sustainable livelihood issues.


UNDP should better define for government counterparts the poverty reduction areas where it intends to stake out a strong technical support role; it also needs to detail the substantive tools and solutions it can provide towards sustainable income generation and livelihoods.

The poverty signature solution and emphasis on intersecting dimensions provide a much-needed impetus towards integrated programming. However, poverty reduction is a vast and complex area of support and UNDP needs to be more specific about the solutions with intersecting elements it can provide, and those specific to LDC contexts. Country offices need concrete and simplified integrated signature solutions for implementation and buy-in by governments.

Programme areas such as inclusive business and markets, private finance and impact investments, which enable structural transformation in income generation and employment, require UNDP to retain in-house technical proficiency. UNDP should accelerate the pace of action in these areas to enhance its role and contribution to poverty reduction.


UNDP should demonstrate global leadership in the development and use of multidimensional poverty indices.

UNDP has pioneered several indices on human development, inequality and multidimensional poverty. Efforts should be taken to further strengthen the work on indices at global and country levels, given their salience for measuring and reporting progress on the SDGs and advocating transformative principles of equality and human development. A related area, critical for SDG monitoring and reporting, is national statistics; UNDP should consider greater engagement in improving statistical capacities in countries deemed to have low average statistical capacity, especially in Africa.

Fewer countries are publishing national human development reports. UNDP should renew its emphasis on these reports as policy tools on critical SDG themes. Country offices should be provided with adequate guidance on coverage of SDG-related themes and principles.


UNDP should increase the pace and thrust of its support to private sector development and impact investment in LDCs. Given the structural constraints in harnessing market opportunities, innovative private sector finance tools should be improvised and promoted in LDC contexts.

UNDP has shown strong commitment in supporting private sector development and impact investment. LDCs require flexible tools that are appropriate for the purpose and can maximize the impact of partnerships in less enabling policy environments. UNDP should take concrete measures to adapt its tested private sector development and impact investment practices to LDC contexts, capacities and regulatory environments.

Instead of leaving the support open-ended, UNDP should present a concept of private sector development that targets specific gaps in inclusive growth and employment in sectors most prevalent in LDCs, for example, agriculture and agri-based sectors. With the establishment of country-level integrator platforms, UNDP should use a mix of tools – both financial and non-financial – to engage the private sector in poverty reduction. The potential of the private sector needs to be harnessed in crisis contexts as well. Sufficient measures are needed to engage investments to support reconstruction and long-term development, and to create sustainable opportunities for livelihood and employment.
UNDP should partner with financial intermediaries that are expanding their businesses in areas of UNDP support. UNDP should strategize to use its UN integrator role at the country level to facilitate impact investment.


Further emphasis is needed to enable linkages between UNDP's community-level sustainable livelihood programmes and rural poverty alleviation policies in LDCs. While fulfilling respective funding stream commitments, synergies among various sustainable livelihood interventions under the GEF and GCF in country programmes need to be strengthened. UNDP should take measures to leverage this important area of its work to better inform government policies and programmes.

UNDP should take sufficient measures to build synergies among various initiatives in its environment portfolio to better inform national policy processes. Opportunities to build on these initiatives are immense, and currently underutilized by UNDP. UNDP needs to walk the extra mile to build on these initiatives if it is to engage in public policy processes on sustainable livelihoods.


Bridging the humanitarian-development divide for more sustainable poverty reduction should be systematically pursued in crisis and post-crisis contexts. UNDP should also pay sufficient attention to intersecting vulnerabilities that can reverse efforts to reduce poverty.

For sustainable poverty reduction dividends, UNDP should systematize the New Way of Working in its post-conflict economic revitalization support to bridge the humanitarian-development divide.

Many post-conflict LDC contexts include fragilities such as droughts, floods and other recurring natural disasters, in addition to conflict, significant regional disparities, poverty and underdevelopment. These intersecting vulnerabilities in the context of multiple crises and fragilities must inform UNDP's poverty reduction and post-conflict programming.


Partnerships for poverty reduction at the global and country level should be pursued as a strategic programming option. UNDP should expand promising partnerships with UN and other development agencies that substantively and practically enhance its poverty-related programming in LDCs, especially to scale up pilot and community-level initiatives.

Across UNDP programme areas are examples of partnerships with UN agencies at the global and country levels, at times guided by a formal agreement. However, there is considerable scope for strengthening programmatic partnerships with UN agencies, in areas such as value chain support and food security. In productive capacity areas and value chain work, it is critical to partner: unless all areas of the value chain (production to marketing) are covered, the outcomes for sustainable income generation will be limited.

UNDP should proactively seek programmatic partnerships with bilateral donors in areas where it can complement their poverty reduction support. Similarly, where possible, UNDP should expand its efforts to forge partnerships with the World Bank and regional banks in areas such as sustainable livelihoods and employment.


UNDP should pay further attention to strengthening gender-responsive poverty reduction policy processes. More dedicated resources and commitment to GEWE are needed in the LDCs.
Considering UNDP's programme engagement across key development areas, GEWE should be prioritized, irrespective of initiatives by specialized agencies. Given the emphasis on mainstreaming, UNDP should have well clarified sectoral strategies for enhancing women’s productive capacities and livelihoods to ensure GEWE is not exaggeratedly subsumed under a mainstreaming approach.


UNDP should take steps to improve its programming on youth employment and empowerment.

Considering the burgeoning youth population across LDCs, UNDP should consider a more strategic approach to mainstreaming youth employment issues in its poverty reduction support. As part of its signature solutions, UNDP should consider support to LDCs to address youth employment comprehensively. Youth employment should be considered as a strand of private sector engagement.

Management response not available

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