Independent Evaluation of UNCDF’s Strategic Framework and Gender Policy and Strategy

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, UNCDF
Evaluation Type:
Thematic
Planned End Date:
06/2021
Completion Date:
09/2021
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
100,000

Share

Document Type Language Size Status Downloads
Download document UNCDF Strategic Framework evaluation_TOR.pdf tor English 893.32 KB Posted 670
Download document UNCDF Strategic Framework Evaluation_Final Report_130921.pdf report English 1921.39 KB Posted 941
Download document UNCDF Strategic Framework Evaluation_Annexes_Final_130921.pdf related-document English 2982.25 KB Posted 812
Title Independent Evaluation of UNCDF’s Strategic Framework and Gender Policy and Strategy
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, UNCDF
Evaluation Type: Thematic
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 09/2021
Planned End Date: 06/2021
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
Evaluation Budget(US $): 100,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 120,000
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Stephen Kester Mr.
Melissa McLean Ms.
Marta Becker Ms.
Michael Collins Mr.
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: GLOBAL
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

For specific recommendations please see below:

2

Employ strategic planning principles in the development of the next Strategic Framework (2022-2025) to agree on a common mission and vision of UNCDF and actionable strategic goals to be achieved.

3

Consider establishing a country-level integrated strategic approach to UNCDF’s programming and operations that focuses on UNCDF’s core strengths and value proposition contextualized to the needs and priorities of LDCs and relevant stakeholders, including donors and partner organisations within the UN development system, including UNDP. Align these country integrated strategies to UNCDF’s regional and global strategies to ensure that the organization’s priorities and initiatives are supported throughout the organization – at HQ, the regional level, and the country level and across individual practices. Structure the accountabilities, reporting lines, individual performance and development plans based on country, regional and global strategies and needs rather than individual practices.

4

Revisit the Integrated Results and Resources Matrix (IRRM) to ensure the selection and design of performance indicators that adopt best practice and reflect corporate and impact development goals based on a single internally aligned UNCDF theory of change. This will help improve the clarity and relevance in the monitoring and reporting of UNCDF’s performance against its mandate.

5

Integrate gender fully into the Strategic Framework and theory of change, with (at least) gender-sensitive outcomes, outputs, indicators, and gender analysis incorporated into risks and assumptions.

6

Conduct a review of the resource mobilization process in order to develop an overarching strategy to achieve its ideal resource to results scenario in core and non-core funding and its one-time capitalization of the LDCIP.

1. Recommendation:

For specific recommendations please see below:

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/15] [Last Updated: 2021/09/15]

Overall response:

In 2021, following a commitment made in its Evaluation Plan 2018 – 2021, UNCDF commissioned an external, independent evaluation of the UNCDF Strategic Framework 2018-2021. The evaluation covered the period from January 2018 to June 2021. UNCDF management would like to thank the evaluators for their thorough analysis of the Strategic Framework (2018-2021), whose findings and recommendations will inform the definition of UNCDF’s next Strategic Framework (2022-2025) at a pivotal time when the least developed countries (LDCs) need funding and investment support linked to development impact to build forward better. UNCDF also welcomes the specific and thorough assessment of organizational and development performance related to gender equality and the empowerment of women, which will be instructive in informing a strengthened focus on this area of work going forward.

UNCDF appreciates the acknowledgement of its unique standing within the UN development system (UNDS) based on its capital mandate and focus on last mile financing in the LDCs. These distinctive features will be further developed and expanded in the course of the next Strategic Framework, where UNCDF’s investment capabilities will be further developed through strengthened strategic engagements with the UNDS and other partners, especially at country level. In this regard and to enhance country-level engagement and responsiveness, efforts are already underway with a strengthened system of UNCDF country relationship managers (CRMs), who will help to further guide and coordinate UNCDF’s engagement with in-country stakeholders in LDCs and position UNCDF’s innovative and blended finance solutions with UN Country Teams and national partners.

UNCDF notes the finding that the“Practice-based approach [to designing the Strategic Framework] limited the organization’s ability to efficiently address the question of how best to deploy its strategic assets”. UNCDF also takes note that a clearer common vision and impact statement would have allowed for further opportunities to conceive and develop more integrated solutions and communicate accordingly. At the same time, it should be noted that the two Practices (LDF and FIPA) evolved their approaches significantly during the period, learning from lessons, adapting to emerging needs and laying strong foundations for future expansion. The emerging investment finance work of the LDC Investment Platform also promises to bring a strong common and cross-cutting element to all UNCDF’s work. Going forward, UNCDF recognizes the need to define a strong common development vision, theory of change and investment thesis, and to apply a multi-faceted and integrated offer to LDCs that fully encompasses the solutions and in-house expertise developed during the implementation of the current Strategic Framework.

A continued and more robust focus on investment and financing support will enhance UNCDF’s unique value proposition embedded in its next Strategic Framework. This will further highlight UNCDF’s unique mandate and last mile LDC focus within the UNDS and the wider international development finance architecture.

UNCDF welcomes the finding that it has achieved success in advancing its focus on gender equality and empowerment of women (GEEW) while fully recognizing the need for further investment to define its particular niche and to strengthen its technical expertise accordingly. In addition to fully mainstreaming gender across all its work and defining a clearer women’s economic empowerment strategy, UNCDF is committed to positioning women’s economic empowerment as a dedicated focus area in its next Strategic Framework, along with select other areas of strategic importance for LDCs (including climate, energy, biodiversity and food system finance).

UNCDF takes note of the conclusion and recommendation for a further enhanced results measurement framework that more fully captures the extent of UNCDF’s transformative support in the last mile in the LDCs in a more consistent way. UNCDF acknowledges and fully concurs with the need to define a stronger IRRM that fully captures the hybrid nature of UNCDF as both a development and a finance entity. In this regard, UNCDF is currently liaising with sister UN entities and other actors within the development finance architecture to inform the next IRRM and an updated results management system to underpin the reporting against the IRRM. Together with the suggestions brought forward by the Evaluation, UNCDF will strive to undertake bold, innovative ways to improve how it measures the impact of its programmes and investments in LDCs over the course of its next Strategic Framework.

UNCDF appreciates the evaluation’s emphasis on more sustained efforts around resource mobilization (RM), especially around the need to fully capitalize LDCIP to allow UNCDF to fully fulfill its capital mandate in the last mile and beyond. Work is underway towards a more integrated organizational focus on RM efforts, including around more strategic coordination of advocacy initiatives at HQ and field levels by establishing a whole-of-organization RM taskforce: this will help ensure UNCDF remains fit-for-purpose to the ever-evolving contexts in which it operates, as well as offers value-for-money to its development partners to sustain and build on progress towards the 2030 Agenda.

UNCDF looks forward to fully operationalizing the findings of the evaluation and further engaging with Member States and partners in defining life-changing capital solutions for the LDCs over the next Strategic Framework.

 

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation:

Employ strategic planning principles in the development of the next Strategic Framework (2022-2025) to agree on a common mission and vision of UNCDF and actionable strategic goals to be achieved.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/15]

Agreed. In defining its next Strategic Framework (2022-2025), UNCDF will ensure full alignment with strategic planning principles, relevant UN rules, regulations, policies and processes, the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 21 December 2020 and the UN Results-Based Management Handbook. This will ensure that UNCDF takes a results-based approach, grounded in a clear theory of change, to define a strategy that is responsive to programme country priorities, and aligned with global agendas, including the Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Agenda 2030. By defining a corporate strategic planning process that involves consultations with a wide set of internal and external stakeholders, UNCDF will create a common vision in its next Strategic Framework that is anchored in the full activation of its capital mandate and that builds upon the lessons learned and decades-long experience of offering development solutions in inclusive finance, digital economies and local development finance.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Define and implement a corporate strategic planning process to design UNCDF's next Strategic Framework (2022 - 2025)
[Added: 2021/09/15] [Last Updated: 2022/01/04]
PPC 2021/12 Completed UNCDF applied an inclusive, whole-of-organization approach and undertook a transparent and consultative process in developing its next Strategic Framework, which is set to be reviewed by the Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS during its first session in January/February 2022. History
3. Recommendation:

Consider establishing a country-level integrated strategic approach to UNCDF’s programming and operations that focuses on UNCDF’s core strengths and value proposition contextualized to the needs and priorities of LDCs and relevant stakeholders, including donors and partner organisations within the UN development system, including UNDP. Align these country integrated strategies to UNCDF’s regional and global strategies to ensure that the organization’s priorities and initiatives are supported throughout the organization – at HQ, the regional level, and the country level and across individual practices. Structure the accountabilities, reporting lines, individual performance and development plans based on country, regional and global strategies and needs rather than individual practices.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/15]

Agreed. UNCDF fully acknowledges the need to more systematically define its country presence and offer, and sees it as a core priority for the next Strategic Framework so as to ensure that its unique capital solutions are fully available to its constituencies and are part of wider UN integrated responses to the unprecedented challenges of the climate crisis and COVID-19. Work is underway to support field staff in positioning UNCDF’s unique offer to LDC governments and partners, including by furthering UNCDF’s involvement and more active engagement in UN country teams’ (UNCT) processes. For instance, UNCDF will strengthen the role of country relationship managers (CRMs) to enhance coordination with UNCTs, strengthen strategic engagement with host governments and ensure a more coherent representation across UNCDF’s areas of work. The CRMs will help contribute to further define an integrated UNCDF country-level programmatic offer in line with the UN reform and wider UN processes (incl. Common Country Analyses (CCAs), United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks (UNSDCFs)).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Define a corporate strategy around UNCDF's contribution to UNCT country-level processes, notably the development of CCAs and UNSDCFs.
[Added: 2021/09/15] [Last Updated: 2022/09/26]
PPC 2022/12 Initiated o Work is underway to develop the strategy, incl. direct engagement with country relationship managers and their relationship with UNCTs as well as drawing on the experiences of those country colleagues that have recently or are currently engaging in the definition of a new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework. History
Define a corporate knowledge management strategy
[Added: 2021/09/15] [Last Updated: 2022/09/26]
PPC 2022/12 Initiated o Work is underway to develop internal capacities and garner inputs to build the foundation of a new knowledge management system that directly responds to the hybrid nature of UNCDF as envisaged in its new Strategic Framework (e.g. define a one-stop-shop for all investment deals under the dual key system, as well as have a snapshot of UNCDF programmatic footprint through Country Investment Offers (CIOs)). History
Define a corporate strategy around UNCDF's country-level representation
[Added: 2021/09/15] [Last Updated: 2022/01/04]
Directorate 2021/12 Completed UNCDF has defined a guidance note on improved country coordination through the country relationship manager (CRM) role to facilitate, among others, UN representation, engagement with key national stakeholders and the donor community; a closer interaction with the UNCDF Senior Management Team (SMT); as well as improved coordination and technical collaboration at country, regional and HQ levels. History
4. Recommendation:

Revisit the Integrated Results and Resources Matrix (IRRM) to ensure the selection and design of performance indicators that adopt best practice and reflect corporate and impact development goals based on a single internally aligned UNCDF theory of change. This will help improve the clarity and relevance in the monitoring and reporting of UNCDF’s performance against its mandate.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/15]

Agreed. UNCDF concurs with the recommendation and is working towards defining an IRRM that fully incorporates and responds to a whole-of-organization vision to unlocking finance in LDCs. By actively consulting and engaging with sister UN agencies and other stakeholders within the wider development finance architecture, UNCDF will strive to define an IRRM that fully embeds the hybrid nature of the organization, including capturing results and impacts of its growing investment portfolio and its contributions to key SDG focus areas. In doing so, it will also seek to improve the coherence and consistency of reporting across the organisation’s results management system which have been highlighted as areas of concern in this and other evaluations.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Design an updated results management system at corporate level, which underpins the IRRM and fully captures UNCDF's development contributions in a more robust and coherent manner.
[Added: 2021/09/15] [Last Updated: 2022/06/23]
Directorate 2021 2022/12 Initiated Finalization of IRRM, including population of baselines, milestones and targets, as well as development of indicator methodological notes, is underway and will be completed Q3. An updated accompanying RM system, aimed at applying a whole-of-organization approach to results management and evidence-based decision making is expected by end Q4. History
Define an IRRM.
[Added: 2021/09/15] [Last Updated: 2022/01/04]
Directorate/PPC 2021/12 Completed The design of UNCDF’s IRRM has been completed and will be presented for review by to UNDP EB during its first session in January/February 2022. History
5. Recommendation:

Integrate gender fully into the Strategic Framework and theory of change, with (at least) gender-sensitive outcomes, outputs, indicators, and gender analysis incorporated into risks and assumptions.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/15]

Agreed. UNCDF will assign women’s economic empowerment as a dedicated focus area in its next Strategic Framework and will also strive to apply full gender sensitivity across the Framework, including allocating necessary resources to boost up

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Re-define and update UNCDF's specific gender and women's economic empowerment strategy
[Added: 2021/09/15] [Last Updated: 2022/06/23]
Gender focal points/PPC 2022/12 Initiated A corporate exercise on systematizing UNCDF’s contribution to women’s economic empowerment is underway, as part of wider organizational efforts to further define key approaches and priorities across all emerging priority areas of the new Strategic Framework History
Develop a UNCDF gender HR strategy
[Added: 2021/09/15] [Last Updated: 2022/09/26]
UNCDF Human Resource Unit 2022/12 Initiated o Work is underway to develop a corporate gender HR strategy to reach gender parity in UNCDF workforce. History
6. Recommendation:

Conduct a review of the resource mobilization process in order to develop an overarching strategy to achieve its ideal resource to results scenario in core and non-core funding and its one-time capitalization of the LDCIP.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/09/15]

Agreed. UNCDF concurs with the need to better coordinate resource mobilization efforts across the organization for enhanced and integrated results, and sees the next Strategic Framework as an opportunity to further deepen existing donor relationships, diversify the donor base and attract non-traditional sources of financing, as described in the Funding Compact and the QCPR. UNCDF will strive to apply a whole-of-organization approach to resource mobilization efforts culminating into partner-specific and localized strategies that fully capture the convening role that UNCDF would like to continue playing for LDCs around sustainable financing for development.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Define a corporate resource mobilisation strategy
[Added: 2021/09/15] [Last Updated: 2022/06/23]
PPC 2022/12 Initiated Recent new staff appointments are joining UNCDF’s resource mobilization task force and will contribute to further revise and define the RM approach towards mobilizing resources against the growth plan embedded in the new Strategic Framework – hence the change in due date. History

Latest Evaluations

Contact us

1 UN Plaza
DC1-20th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel. +1 646 781 4200
Fax. +1 646 781 4213
erc.support@undp.org