Overall Regional Programme Mid-term review

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, RBAP
Evaluation Type:
Outcome
Planned End Date:
12/2020
Completion Date:
01/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
35,000

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Title Overall Regional Programme Mid-term review
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, RBAP
Evaluation Type: Outcome
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 01/2021
Planned End Date: 12/2020
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.1 Capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other international agreements in development plans and budgets, and to analyse progress towards the SDGs, using innovative and data-driven solutions
  • 2. Output 2.6.1 Capacities strengthened to raise awareness on and undertake legal, policy and institutional reforms to fight structural barriers to women’s empowerment
  • 3. Output 3.2.1 National capacities strengthened for reintegration, reconciliation, peaceful management of conflict and prevention of violent extremism in response to national policies and priorities
Evaluation Budget(US $): 35,000
Source of Funding: UNDP TRAC
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 40,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Ian Holland ianrholland@yahoo.com
Shirin Gul sgulsadozai@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Regional initiatives within the RPD, Country Offices and implementing partners
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

Recommendation 1. Strengthen the utilization of the RPD as a tool of strategy and management.

  1. Complete the RRF in the next cycle of RPD, ensuring strong internal coherence between the TOC and RRF. Employ regional metrics to baseline and set targets against. In addition, for regional RRF indicators, there should be a balance between innovation-specific metrics and standardised metrics as well for scale and impact.
  2. Create an annual work plan for RPD implementation consisting of a smaller number of strategic areas, or portfolios, for focused integrated acceleration, results and learning. Translating the RRF into an annual workplan (AWP) of activities for better prioritisation, planning and focus would help improve reporting and attribution. In addition, COs and regional projects could synchronise the annual planning exercise to bring about strategic alignment and coordination of AWPs.
  3. Revisit the RPD AWP and TOC at least annually as a collective exercise. It is a manageable expectation for BRH staff to keep themselves appraised of the regional AWP. The AWP exercise can also provide an opportunity to review the TOC and test the validity of its key assumptions. Employ a more experimental approach to spaces for collaboration, dedicating time for key teams and development partners to come together to reflect, think and co-design.
  4. The COVID-19 pandemic is just one example of the rapidity and severity with which the operating environment of a project can change. It is not enough to make superficial adjustments to outputs and activities in the face of such dramatic and long-lasting changes. During implementation of the next RPD, regular review (and revision as required), of the TOC should be a part of the AWP and M&E process, ensuring projects remain relevant and effective.
2

Recommendation 2. Strengthen the connection between the results reported by the regional projects and COs, and the RPD TOC.

  1. Regional projects must identify clearly the regional public good being sought. The TOC of each regional project must clearly identify the regional ‘public bad’ which it sets out to resolve.
  2. The regional project appraisal committee (RPAC) may be tasked to ensure this is part of approved regional projects.
  3. If in the next RPD planning cycle, UNDP decides to proceed with a standardised TOC and RRF approach to designing projects, which seems to be the default for all five projects reviewed, then it might be useful to develop standardised guidance on the TOC which underscores minimum criteria on elements for inclusion, with guidance as well on identifying desired change, levels of change, change pathways and causal pathways or causal assumptions. This would allow projects to more clearly think through their activities at the strategic level. Most importantly, guidance is required on linking the project TOC with the project RRF in an effective and coherent manner. Online tutorials and sessions on TOC development and integration with the RRF could be introduced for project staff. Guidance on TOCs for regional projects could include a set of guiding questions, leading to the thinking through of the desired change and how to achieve it, innovation based. This will help to better translate the vision of regional projects around experimental space for development solutions (working with the unusual suspects as ecosystem actors, disrupting business as usual, reframing the problem as a solution, etc.). Ideally, project TOCs should be derived from and build upon knowledge of the local or regional context and subject matter, and this should be made explicit in the project TOCs, which would also increase the strategic relevance and effectiveness of interventions.
3

Recommendation 3. Within the frame of designing the next RPD, give further consideration to the TORs of the RPD Advisory Board with a view to making this oversight body more dynamic, engaged and accountable for RPD implementation. Allied to this, give further consideration to establishing portfolio priorities through which to invite partners (donors, Government’s, private sector, civil society, academics) in areas demanding a strategic collaboration and coalition building for region-wide results at the highest level.

4

Recommendation 4. In line with LNOB centrality to the 2030 Agenda, and in particular the RPD poverty eradication outcome, the current and next regional programme should seek to capture the impact of the upstream policy work on the lives of people and communities. Moreover, in the final year of the current RPD, BRH should extend stronger support to Government’s SDG implementation strategies, to ensure the ‘farthest’ are actually ‘reached first’. This is a necessary accompaniment for the purposes of demonstrating impact in outcome one of the current RPD to the extensive up-stream policy support provided for SDG planning, financing, budget integration and VNR reporting. 

5

Recommendation 5. UNDP should carry out a review of its strategic regional partnerships with a view to strengthening their long-term durability and joint positions on key issues in ways that further extend their impact and enable greater leverage of each other’s GPNs at the regional and country level. For example:

  1. ESCAP and ADB regarding the production of the annual regional SDG progress report, APF-SD, SDG diagnostics, databases, platforms and VNRs, as well as strengthened collaboration with ESCAP on DRR and the post-COVID-19 resilience agenda;
  2. The EU and OECD with respect to anti-bribery, anti-corruption, integrity, transparency and accountability, including Business and Human Rights;
  3. The EU, UK, SIDA, UNEP and UN Women on matters relating to Climate/SDG finance, should consider expanding to regional networks working on climate finance, the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action and other development partners. Synergies with the World Bank, IMF and other partners which work on core public finance issues will help the sustainability of reforms around climate and SDG finance;
  4. UNOCT, UNODC, the EU and UK on PVE.
6

Recommendation 6. As UNDP transforms into an organisation ready to provide innovative and sustainable solutions for the 21st century, it is important to maintain a balanced portfolio across its constituencies of working with: i) institutions (Governments, private sector etc); ii) communities (often civil society, academic and CBOs etc), and; iii) people (often from LNOB groups). This is important in and of itself, but also allows initiatives to be more effective and responsive to identified needs.

7

Recommendation 7. In the final year of the existing RPD UNDP should reflect on how it wishes to engage in the livelihoods, employment, skills and enterprise sector, given the rapid structural transformation affecting the region. In doing so, with whom best to partner. Similarly, with urbanization being one of the mega-trends affecting the region, UNDP should give further thought as to its positioning and offer in the urban arena. Both areas offer opportunities for UNDP, but require clarity, focus and clear linkages with other parts of the portfolio. UNDP may also wish to revisit its gender strategy for Asia Pacific, including with other key UN coalition actors.

8

Recommendation 8. NCE results of regional significance should be incorporated into the RPD AWP and ROAR.

9

Recommendation 9. To address and reduce areas of duplicative and/or over-lapping reporting, UNDP needs to support better coherence, alignment and results reporting across these various universal development frameworks: i) Agenda 2030/SDGs; ii) Paris/Climate change; iii) Sendai/DRR. This will help demonstrate the value of UN coordination.

10

Recommendation 10. At an appropriate moment in the near future UNDP should give consideration to conducting an internal after-action review into its COVID-19 response to understand how and where it might have performed better in what has clearly been a testing period for the organisation and its staff at all levels and in all capacities. In doing so BRH may wish to revisit and revise its Business Continuity Plan, including contingencies, SOPs and ‘special measures’ which could be invoked in times of crisis. Such a review could include consultations with COs following on from the social/economic assessments that were carried out to identify key issues and themes arising from those studies which might require priority implementation and follow up.

11

Recommendation 11. Many countries are now engaged in fiscal stimulus as a route out of the devastating COVID-19 impact on health, jobs and economies. In the region, there may be US$ 260 billion in investments underway in projects across all sectors. For UNDP and its strategic regional partners this presents an opportunity to support Governments achieve higher levels of risk, resilience, inclusion and sustainability in the design, build and management of these investments. UNDP offer 2.0 identified alternate pathways to achieving desired change by pushing for agendas building on health security, social protection, inclusion and poverty alleviation. There is also an important role for regional projects in this regard, in line with solutions and pathways set out in UNDP Offer 2.0, which may have been less welcome in a business as usual scenario.

12

Recommendation 12. Continue to pursue the current close and networked juxtaposition of policy advisory services and regional project teams, since they create synergies and support the strong curation of regional networks. There appears to be good value added from teams being able to work in integrated ways. Where possible, look to create more favourable contractual conditions for regional project staff. Furthermore, based on positive recent experiences of deployed GPN colleagues to country offices, continue to experiment with extension of the GPN in this way where is makes good sense to do so.

13

Recommendation 13. In the near term, UNDP needs to make better use of a business plan for COs which would facilitate better management of both the demand and supply of BRH resources to COs. This would enable a more strategic, sequenced and timely response to COs. In addition, it could be derived and/or linked to the AWP process set out in recommendation 1(b) above.

14

Recommendation 14. Learning must be closely tied in with M&E and with monitoring and tracking of NextGenUNDP work under innovation and sensemaking. In this regard, within the current and next RPD cycle, UNDP should:

  1. Continue to work on integration, innovation, sensemaking and systems thinking across COs in the region with special attention paid to learning generated along the way to know what works and what does not work. In addition, a review of the back-office systems supporting innovation is recommended from the perspective of what fits and what does not fit. This will help locate gaps and propose solutions to align the system well to portfolio management as opposed to project management that these systems (ATLAS etc) are currently set up for.
  2. Approach acceleration and innovation from a scale and impact lens. Track innovations in projects from proof of concept to impact at scale. Introduce monitoring tools that speak to scale and impact within innovation, at programme and project level. (e.g early outcome harvesting designed for regional projects and for portfolio sensemaking).
  3. Adopt a stronger orientation towards results and impact, rather than results reporting being regarded as a compliance issue. Creating spaces for conscious learning and regarding learning as a systematic team-based pursuit will help the organisation. Investment will be required in M&E systems geared towards learning. Without such an investment, whatever learning in terms of what works, and what does not, remains implicit learning. Some upfront investment is required to make this learning explicit, regular and accessible across the organisation through learning sessions and learning products by the MEL team.
  4. Develop systems to capture and share learning from on-going and concluded projects. These lessons should be used at the programme level to inform new interventions and strengthen on-going ones. For example, thematic evaluations, outcome harvesting, participatory workshops for stories of change with contribution analysis, process and TOC case studies and case studies capturing UNDP access and influence should be made part of the M&E cache for the new RPD.
1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1. Strengthen the utilization of the RPD as a tool of strategy and management.

  1. Complete the RRF in the next cycle of RPD, ensuring strong internal coherence between the TOC and RRF. Employ regional metrics to baseline and set targets against. In addition, for regional RRF indicators, there should be a balance between innovation-specific metrics and standardised metrics as well for scale and impact.
  2. Create an annual work plan for RPD implementation consisting of a smaller number of strategic areas, or portfolios, for focused integrated acceleration, results and learning. Translating the RRF into an annual workplan (AWP) of activities for better prioritisation, planning and focus would help improve reporting and attribution. In addition, COs and regional projects could synchronise the annual planning exercise to bring about strategic alignment and coordination of AWPs.
  3. Revisit the RPD AWP and TOC at least annually as a collective exercise. It is a manageable expectation for BRH staff to keep themselves appraised of the regional AWP. The AWP exercise can also provide an opportunity to review the TOC and test the validity of its key assumptions. Employ a more experimental approach to spaces for collaboration, dedicating time for key teams and development partners to come together to reflect, think and co-design.
  4. The COVID-19 pandemic is just one example of the rapidity and severity with which the operating environment of a project can change. It is not enough to make superficial adjustments to outputs and activities in the face of such dramatic and long-lasting changes. During implementation of the next RPD, regular review (and revision as required), of the TOC should be a part of the AWP and M&E process, ensuring projects remain relevant and effective.
Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13]

Agree. RBAP (HQ) and BRH teams will work closely together to ensure a robust and regionally relevant TOC and RRF for the next RPD, which will be reviewed annually as part of the RBAP/BRH wide IWP exercise, so that this can also serve as a basis for evaluations and learning to loop back to design.

A Regional Programme Management Unit has been established to address challenges around the strategic coherence between the RPD and regional projects and the new structure and procedures, some of which are already being implemented, will be fully operation by 2021.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Consolidation of PMU: A Regional Programme Management Unit has been established, with a Programme Coordinator, and a dedicated Programme Analyst, M&E Analyst, Implementation and Management Analyst.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
PMU Programme Coordinator 2021/09 Initiated Recruitment for Analyst posts initiated in November 2020
CO and RBAP IWP processes will feed into each other to ensure coherence and alignment
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Hub Manager and COSQA with PMU 2021/03 Overdue-Initiated
RPD AWPs including budget allocations will be developed and reviewed at least annually, including the RPD TOC review.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Hub Manager with PMU 2021/06 Overdue-Initiated
New RPD TOC and RRF development will consider indicators for standardized and innovation indicators, applying Foresight and sensemaking methodologies.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
PMU with with GPN, RBM 2021/12 Not Initiated
New RPD TOC and RRF development will consider indicators for standardized and innovation indicators, applying Foresight and sensemaking methodologies.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
PMU with with GPN, RBM 2021/12 Not Initiated
RBM and innovation & SDGi team to create learning experiments for a smaller group of regional projects.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
RBM, Innovation teams 2021/08 Overdue-Not Initiated
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2. Strengthen the connection between the results reported by the regional projects and COs, and the RPD TOC.

  1. Regional projects must identify clearly the regional public good being sought. The TOC of each regional project must clearly identify the regional ‘public bad’ which it sets out to resolve.
  2. The regional project appraisal committee (RPAC) may be tasked to ensure this is part of approved regional projects.
  3. If in the next RPD planning cycle, UNDP decides to proceed with a standardised TOC and RRF approach to designing projects, which seems to be the default for all five projects reviewed, then it might be useful to develop standardised guidance on the TOC which underscores minimum criteria on elements for inclusion, with guidance as well on identifying desired change, levels of change, change pathways and causal pathways or causal assumptions. This would allow projects to more clearly think through their activities at the strategic level. Most importantly, guidance is required on linking the project TOC with the project RRF in an effective and coherent manner. Online tutorials and sessions on TOC development and integration with the RRF could be introduced for project staff. Guidance on TOCs for regional projects could include a set of guiding questions, leading to the thinking through of the desired change and how to achieve it, innovation based. This will help to better translate the vision of regional projects around experimental space for development solutions (working with the unusual suspects as ecosystem actors, disrupting business as usual, reframing the problem as a solution, etc.). Ideally, project TOCs should be derived from and build upon knowledge of the local or regional context and subject matter, and this should be made explicit in the project TOCs, which would also increase the strategic relevance and effectiveness of interventions.
Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13] [Last Updated: 2021/02/18]

Agree. Regional Project TOCs will be made more robust as part of the design process, including ensuring that project TOCs are linked with and nested within the RPD TOC. Project TOC development is already reflected in the updated regional programming and RPAC SOPs and capacity building will be provided where needed, and any learning or design processes, auch as sensemaking etc, will feed into this as well, as/when applicable.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Regional Project TOCs and RRFs will continue to be strengthened as key part of the design process, including linkages to the RPD, and will be reviewed in PrePac and RPAC with BRH and CO consultations. To ensure that this is done early on and collaboratively, this has been specified in the Regional programming SOP.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
PMU/Programme Coordinator with RBM and GPN 2021/06 Overdue-Initiated A PMU was set up to strengthen Regional Project design, monitoring and reporting and new processes will be fully implemented.
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3. Within the frame of designing the next RPD, give further consideration to the TORs of the RPD Advisory Board with a view to making this oversight body more dynamic, engaged and accountable for RPD implementation. Allied to this, give further consideration to establishing portfolio priorities through which to invite partners (donors, Government’s, private sector, civil society, academics) in areas demanding a strategic collaboration and coalition building for region-wide results at the highest level.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13]

Agree. The overall BRH and RPD governance structure is under review to ensure greater linkages between strategic level discussions at the Advisory Board, project specific boards and thematic collaborations.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
A governance structure with clear linkages between the BRH/RPD Advisory Board and Project Boards (where applicable) will be reconsidered for BRH, possibly with sub- /thematic groups. The Advisory Board will meet to review the AB TOR and membership and consider any amendments which may be necessary to strengthen implementation of the MTR management responses and its oversight role.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
Deputy Regional Director with Advisory Board 2021/06 Overdue-Initiated
BRH and RPD Advisory Board to promote the use of system and portfolio approaches for the formulation and implementation of the next RPD, including UNDP’s work on Social Innovation Platforms at subnational/local level (referred by the MTR as a good example for SDG localization/LNOB).
[Added: 2021/01/13]
Advisory Board 2021/12 Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4. In line with LNOB centrality to the 2030 Agenda, and in particular the RPD poverty eradication outcome, the current and next regional programme should seek to capture the impact of the upstream policy work on the lives of people and communities. Moreover, in the final year of the current RPD, BRH should extend stronger support to Government’s SDG implementation strategies, to ensure the ‘farthest’ are actually ‘reached first’. This is a necessary accompaniment for the purposes of demonstrating impact in outcome one of the current RPD to the extensive up-stream policy support provided for SDG planning, financing, budget integration and VNR reporting. 

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13]

Agree. The impact of upstream policy work of SPP and RBAP including the Economist Network and the region’s focus on LNOB and inequalities will be captured in a series of policy briefs and the upcoming Regional HDR. This is expected to strengthen linkages from reginal projects and initiatives to policy, while exploring how to measure UNDP’s regional contribution of policy change.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
10 policy papers and Regional HDR will focus on impact of BRH policy work with focus on LNOB
[Added: 2021/01/13]
Gender Advisor on gender equality, diversity and inclusion Regional Advisor on Economic Recovery and Human Mobility 2021/12 Initiated
Linkages between policy work, programming In partnerships with SPP and economist network will be strengthened, and will be reflected in the new RPD and project design.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Hub Manager 2021/12 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5. UNDP should carry out a review of its strategic regional partnerships with a view to strengthening their long-term durability and joint positions on key issues in ways that further extend their impact and enable greater leverage of each other’s GPNs at the regional and country level. For example:

  1. ESCAP and ADB regarding the production of the annual regional SDG progress report, APF-SD, SDG diagnostics, databases, platforms and VNRs, as well as strengthened collaboration with ESCAP on DRR and the post-COVID-19 resilience agenda;
  2. The EU and OECD with respect to anti-bribery, anti-corruption, integrity, transparency and accountability, including Business and Human Rights;
  3. The EU, UK, SIDA, UNEP and UN Women on matters relating to Climate/SDG finance, should consider expanding to regional networks working on climate finance, the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action and other development partners. Synergies with the World Bank, IMF and other partners which work on core public finance issues will help the sustainability of reforms around climate and SDG finance;
  4. UNOCT, UNODC, the EU and UK on PVE.
Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13] [Last Updated: 2021/02/18]

Agree. A coherent Partnership and Resource Mobilisation approach will be developed for the new RPD and BRH, including analysis of long-term durability and joint positioning on strategic issues with donors and regional partners. UNDP BRH will also endeavor to engage more proactively in the Issue Based Coalitions with other UN agencies at regional level to position key strategic issues on the wider agenda.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Engage with other UN agencies through Issue Based Coalitions, UNEDAP and other joint teams under the leadership of the DCO; UNDP membership in UN bodies to be updated in Q1
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Manager with GPN and PMU 2021/03 Overdue-Initiated
A Partnerships and RM strategy will be developed as part of the next RPD and for BRH for a more coherent programming approach
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Manager with GPN 2021/09 Not Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6. As UNDP transforms into an organisation ready to provide innovative and sustainable solutions for the 21st century, it is important to maintain a balanced portfolio across its constituencies of working with: i) institutions (Governments, private sector etc); ii) communities (often civil society, academic and CBOs etc), and; iii) people (often from LNOB groups). This is important in and of itself, but also allows initiatives to be more effective and responsive to identified needs.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13]

Agree. The balance of various constituencies within UNDP’s overall portfolio and specific projects will be strengthened during project design as well as during RPD development and implementation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
New RPD development will include an analysis of stakeholders and constituencies at different levels.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Manager with PMU, GPN 2021/12 Initiated
BRH PrePAC and RPAC process to continue to integrate gender and other LNOB components in the design of projects and interventions
[Added: 2021/01/13]
PMU with GPN, RBM 2021/12 Initiated Incorporated in the regional SOPs
Undertake analysis of beneficiary markers across different regional and country office projects for lessons learned
[Added: 2021/01/13]
RBM Unit with GPN / PMU 2021/04 Overdue-Not Initiated Findings to be considered in new RPD development
7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7. In the final year of the existing RPD UNDP should reflect on how it wishes to engage in the livelihoods, employment, skills and enterprise sector, given the rapid structural transformation affecting the region. In doing so, with whom best to partner. Similarly, with urbanization being one of the mega-trends affecting the region, UNDP should give further thought as to its positioning and offer in the urban arena. Both areas offer opportunities for UNDP, but require clarity, focus and clear linkages with other parts of the portfolio. UNDP may also wish to revisit its gender strategy for Asia Pacific, including with other key UN coalition actors.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13] [Last Updated: 2021/02/18]

Agree. 3 strategies for engagement will be developed on (1) livelihoods, employment, economic inclusion, nature based and green/blue economy solutions and enterprise sector; (2) UNDP’s positioning and offer in the urban arena in the Asia-Pacific, and (3) UNDP’s Asia-Pacific Gender Equality Strategy that charts a course to a transformative development paradigm, leveraging the depth and width of UNDP’s integrated portfolio in the region. These strategies will also inform the new RPD development. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Development of 3 Strategies:(1) livelihoods, employment, enterprise sector; (2) UNDP’s positioning and offer in the urban arena in the Asia-Pacific, and (3) A-P Gender Equality Strategy.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
(1) Prosperity TL (2) Governance TL (3) Gender Advisor 2021/12 Not Initiated 1a) Economic inclusion of Migrant and Displaced population in green/blue economic recovery in two countries 1b) Tailored economic recovery support to countries affected by crisis, conflict and climate change, with a focus on urban centres (2) Urban Resilience framework developed and piloted in 3 COs (3) Initial discussion started in Nov 2020.
8. Recommendation:

Recommendation 8. NCE results of regional significance should be incorporated into the RPD AWP and ROAR.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13]

Partially agree. Regional NCE results will be more systematically captured in the RBAP ROAR and IWP. Since most of the VF portfolio is implemented and reported at country level, double-counting and duplicate reporting is being avoided. Some of the regional advisory contributions BRH has made to the country level which are of significance at the regional level will be better captured in the ROAR.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Incorporate regional NCE results into 2020 ROAR (and future ROARs) and relevant regional plans/IWP.
[Added: 2021/01/13] [Last Updated: 2021/03/23]
NCE TL 2021/03 Completed NCE regional results were captured more broadly in the 2020 Regional ROAR while CO specific results are reported in more detail in CO ROARs. NCE priorities for 2021 are identified in the 2021 RBAP IWP. History
Development of a robust strategy for climate change including Climate Promise which will be captured at regional level.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
NCE TL 2021/12 Not Initiated
9. Recommendation:

Recommendation 9. To address and reduce areas of duplicative and/or over-lapping reporting, UNDP needs to support better coherence, alignment and results reporting across these various universal development frameworks: i) Agenda 2030/SDGs; ii) Paris/Climate change; iii) Sendai/DRR. This will help demonstrate the value of UN coordination.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13]

Partially agree. Stronger linkages between disaster and climate resilience and SDGs are already being incorporated into planning and design of new projects and some of them certainly contribute to reducing the burdens on countries due to duplicative and overlapping reporting requirements. An example includes the regional-level support on data/risk statistics according to the SFDRR data glossary which also connects well into SDG and Climate Action global agreements. BRH will strive towards more coherent programming in general.

Under the UN’s coordinated Issue Based Coalitions (IBC), BRH will lead the development of a coherent, strategic response to adaptation, mitigation and resilience approaches.

However, it is important to acknowledge that the fragmentation in reporting largely stems from the fact that these frameworks themselves are built on three different international conventions/agreements and the designation of national focal point agencies (as stipulated in these conventions/agreements), and addressing and reducing all such duplication is beyond the immediate focus of the RPD.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2021 AWPs/IWP, new RPD and projects will strengthen programmatic linkages between Resilience, climate action and mitigation.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
NCE TL 2021/12 Initiated
Proactive participation/leadership in the IBC for the development of a coherent, strategic response to adaptation, mitigation and resilience approaches.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
NCE TL 2021/12 Not Initiated
10. Recommendation:

Recommendation 10. At an appropriate moment in the near future UNDP should give consideration to conducting an internal after-action review into its COVID-19 response to understand how and where it might have performed better in what has clearly been a testing period for the organisation and its staff at all levels and in all capacities. In doing so BRH may wish to revisit and revise its Business Continuity Plan, including contingencies, SOPs and ‘special measures’ which could be invoked in times of crisis. Such a review could include consultations with COs following on from the social/economic assessments that were carried out to identify key issues and themes arising from those studies which might require priority implementation and follow up.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13] [Last Updated: 2021/02/18]

Agree. BRH has conducted an internal COVID-19 After Action Review and will analyse findings to inform programming and BCP/SOPs related to regional programming where applicable. A business continuity plan for elemsnts specifically related to the regional programme will be developed in light of the findings and lessons learned. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Conduct an internal after-action review into BRH’s COVID-19 response
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Manager 2020/11 Completed
Review BRH’s BCP in light of regional programming and identify any areas requiring revision, if any.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Manager With CB and DRR Advisor 2021/12 Not Initiated
11. Recommendation:

Recommendation 11. Many countries are now engaged in fiscal stimulus as a route out of the devastating COVID-19 impact on health, jobs and economies. In the region, there may be US$ 260 billion in investments underway in projects across all sectors. For UNDP and its strategic regional partners this presents an opportunity to support Governments achieve higher levels of risk, resilience, inclusion and sustainability in the design, build and management of these investments. UNDP offer 2.0 identified alternate pathways to achieving desired change by pushing for agendas building on health security, social protection, inclusion and poverty alleviation. There is also an important role for regional projects in this regard, in line with solutions and pathways set out in UNDP Offer 2.0, which may have been less welcome in a business as usual scenario.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13]

Agree. Strengthen BRH and RP support to Governments in line with UNDP’s Offer 2.0, based on the BRH COVID-19 After Action Review’s findings regarding the consistency of RFFs and investments countries have made, cost-sharing funding made available to COs under the RFF.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Analyze and circulate findings from the BRH COVID-19 After Action Review which can be incorporated into CO programmes/projects and Regional Projects as applicable to strengthen contribution towards UNDP Offer 2.0.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Manager with GPN & COSQA and PMU 2021/03 Overdue-Not Initiated
12. Recommendation:

Recommendation 12. Continue to pursue the current close and networked juxtaposition of policy advisory services and regional project teams, since they create synergies and support the strong curation of regional networks. There appears to be good value added from teams being able to work in integrated ways. Where possible, look to create more favourable contractual conditions for regional project staff. Furthermore, based on positive recent experiences of deployed GPN colleagues to country offices, continue to experiment with extension of the GPN in this way where is makes good sense to do so.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13] [Last Updated: 2021/02/18]

Agree. Linkages between policy advisory service and regional projects will continue to be strengthened during planning/design, implementation, monitoring and reporting. Once globally the UNDP BMS new contract types become available, BRH project contracts will be reviewed accordingly in line with UNDP rules and guidelines.In line with the recommendation and building on the good practices identified by the review, BRH will intensify the deployment of GPN staff to COs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Linkages between policy advisory service and regional projects will continue to be strengthened during planning/design, implementation, monitoring and reporting through joint participation in design stage consultations, PrePacs, RPAC and regular exchanges.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
PMU and GPN 2021/12 Initiated
Continued investment in placing relevant regional programme assets and capacities (HR and financial) in CO as/where appropriate.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Manager 2021/12 Initiated
BRH project contracts will be reviewed in line with BMS contract types and rules, once these become available.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Manager 2021/12 Not Initiated
13. Recommendation:

Recommendation 13. In the near term, UNDP needs to make better use of a business plan for COs which would facilitate better management of both the demand and supply of BRH resources to COs. This would enable a more strategic, sequenced and timely response to COs. In addition, it could be derived and/or linked to the AWP process set out in recommendation 1(b) above.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13]

Agree. CO and BRH IWP/COBP discussions will be aligned to strengthen linkages between supply and demand, including stronger linkages to STARS and AWPs for improved coherence of BRH support to COs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
CO and BRH IWP/COBPs will be aligned to strengthen linkages between supply and demand, including stronger linkages between STARS and AWPs.
[Added: 2021/01/13] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
BRH Manager with GPN and COSQA 2021/03 Completed 2021 COBP processes were coordinated between CO, GPN and COSQA to ensure synergies between CO and regional priorities. Country specific Compacts were developed, linking regional and country priorities which are also being prioritized in STARS. History
14. Recommendation:

Recommendation 14. Learning must be closely tied in with M&E and with monitoring and tracking of NextGenUNDP work under innovation and sensemaking. In this regard, within the current and next RPD cycle, UNDP should:

  1. Continue to work on integration, innovation, sensemaking and systems thinking across COs in the region with special attention paid to learning generated along the way to know what works and what does not work. In addition, a review of the back-office systems supporting innovation is recommended from the perspective of what fits and what does not fit. This will help locate gaps and propose solutions to align the system well to portfolio management as opposed to project management that these systems (ATLAS etc) are currently set up for.
  2. Approach acceleration and innovation from a scale and impact lens. Track innovations in projects from proof of concept to impact at scale. Introduce monitoring tools that speak to scale and impact within innovation, at programme and project level. (e.g early outcome harvesting designed for regional projects and for portfolio sensemaking).
  3. Adopt a stronger orientation towards results and impact, rather than results reporting being regarded as a compliance issue. Creating spaces for conscious learning and regarding learning as a systematic team-based pursuit will help the organisation. Investment will be required in M&E systems geared towards learning. Without such an investment, whatever learning in terms of what works, and what does not, remains implicit learning. Some upfront investment is required to make this learning explicit, regular and accessible across the organisation through learning sessions and learning products by the MEL team.
  4. Develop systems to capture and share learning from on-going and concluded projects. These lessons should be used at the programme level to inform new interventions and strengthen on-going ones. For example, thematic evaluations, outcome harvesting, participatory workshops for stories of change with contribution analysis, process and TOC case studies and case studies capturing UNDP access and influence should be made part of the M&E cache for the new RPD.
Management Response: [Added: 2021/01/13]

Agree. BRH will strengthen efforts to continue its work on integration across COs and the region and ensure that learning is captured throughout the process to allow for course adjustments where necessary as well as capture opportunities for scale and impact. For regional project design will be strengthened with more robust M&E and learning made explicit from the outset through TOC. Results reporting capturing projects’ contributions to higher results will also be strengthened through the newly established PMU.  Resources will be invested to create an experimental space/system to share learnings across teams and countries and be made available widely to be used for programming and decision making.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Foresight and sensemaking will continue to be applied for CO CPDs and BRH and be part of 2021 AWPs/IWPs and 2022 AWP development.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
RBM & Innovation team 2021/12 Initiated As reflected in 2021 IWP/ AWP and 2022 AWP development (Dec 2021)
Innovation and RBM team to work together to measure the results from innovation across the Regional Bureau in 2020 reporting and 2021 planning
[Added: 2021/01/13]
RBM & Innovation team 2021/06 Overdue-Initiated
Regional Projects and Programme will be strengthened in terms of designing and reporting for results through robust RRFs, TOC, case-studies, in line with the regional programming SOPs and learning from Evaluations systematically incorporated into design.
[Added: 2021/01/13]
PMU, with RBM, Innovation & SDGi teams 2021/12 Initiated Refer also to recommendation #1
A learning strategy and space will be developed, with innovative monitoring tools for BRH to capture lessons from CO and Regional Projects, and identifying areas for possible investment in monitoring, learning and innovation and initiatives at the Hub and for the COs, including working with UNEDAP
[Added: 2021/01/13]
BRH Manager: with GPN, PMU, RBM, Innovation, SDGi teams 2021/07 Overdue-Not Initiated

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