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Independent Country Programme Evaluation: North Macedonia
Commissioning Unit: Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Completion Date: 12/2019
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: North Macedonia
Documents Related to overall Management Response:  
1. Recommendation:

While the current CPD outcome areas remain largely relevant, the emphasis should be on integrated cross-sectoral interventions promoting balanced, inclusive and sustainable development across the country.

In terms of funding, the current CPD focused on employment, environment and local governance. These issues remain important and closely linked priorities for the country’s development. North Macedonia continues to suffer from low activity levels and high unemployment, which contribute to poverty and exclusion. Slow growth and job shortages are driving more and more people, especially young and educated ones, to seek better living conditions abroad, jeopardizing the country’s economic future. With climate change, already vulnerable local communities are facing an increasing risk of environmental disasters whose costs can hinder their development.

In this context, the priority for future interventions should be to improve people’s income and employment opportunities to raise living standards, targeting firstly the poorest and most vulnerable, within the overall objective of promoting balanced, inclusive and sustainable development. Given the interrelated nature of the country’s challenges, the efforts made during the current period to better integrate UNDP interventions across the various portfolios must be continued and strengthened as well as advice and expertise to improve systems and policies at the national level. This is particularly true in the field of social inclusion where addressing the needs of the most disadvantaged groups require targeted measures that integrate education, social protection and employment aspects.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/10/14] [Last Updated: 2022/01/31]

The recommendation is accepted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Adopt a more rigorous internal approach to ensure that interventions under the forthcoming CPD adhere to the principles of holistic/integrated, balanced, and inclusive development. By opening the project design processes to different UNDP units regardless of their primary focus would enable development of longer-term, complex and transformative interventions seeking to address the key root causes to current sectorial inefficiencies.
[Added: 2020/10/20] [Last Updated: 2022/01/31]
Cross-cutting All portfolios or Lead portfolio Lead by DRR 2021/12 Completed More open design process is promoted in the CO, across all portfolios. For example, in a 2-year complex preparatory process led by UNDP DRR 2 UNDP portfolios, 3 UN agencies, IFI (EBRD) and the Government were engaged, and a holistic and integrated approach was promoted. Namely, recently approved programme by SDG Fund connects the environmental, social, and economic dimension of the air pollution issue and will promote adoption of energy efficient and renewable energy solutions by SMEs and marketable but underserved population (FHH, single parents, remittance recipients, returning migrants, COVID 19 affected employees). History
1.2 Investigate possibilities of improving implementation approaches of selected ongoing projects (at least one per portfolio) by strengthening the cross-sectoral aspects regardless of their thematic focus (for example, social and governance aspects of air pollution). The CO has started to explore portfolio approaches to better address complexity through collaborative narrative across vertical sectors and cross-cutting levers. The CO will focus on design of new options through problem space design and mapping of existing projects and identifying areas for new integrated cross-sectoral interventions.
[Added: 2020/10/20] [Last Updated: 2022/01/31]
Cross-cutting All portfolios or Lead portfolio Lead by DRR 2021/12 Completed Under DRR leadership CO is currently negotiating with SIDA the Framework agreement under which governance and environment portfolios initiatives will be designed and implemented with clearly identified synergies and linkages. CO has applied portfolio approach and identified new area of bio-waste for which portfolio options were developed and are currently being activated. History
2. Recommendation:

The results framework and evaluation practices should be strengthened to better capture programme achievements and better assess contributions to SDG targets.

There is a need to evaluate more frequently the results and impact of completed projects in order to capture and share lessons learned, inform new policy directions and decide on the best ways to implement future projects. More generally, there is a need to strengthen the results framework to better reflect the contribution of the CPD to the SDGs and to improve the design of gender-specific indicators at outcome and output levels.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/10/14] [Last Updated: 2022/01/31]

The recommendation is accepted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Introduce an approach requiring more regular capture and documentation of results and lessons learnt (at least on a yearly level) as well as their incorporation in new projects (to ensure continuity and support sustainability of earlier interventions).
[Added: 2020/10/20]
All programme units 2025/12 Initiated History
2.2 Adopt an approach of SDG-oriented prioritization of indicators in all future RRFs to the extent possible. Alternatively, new indicators should be derived from SDGs based on internal metrics (NOTE: first attempts in this direction have already been made by the UN in the country).
[Added: 2020/10/20]
All programme units 2025/12 Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Support for effective employment policies should continue with a focus on women and young people and complementary measures in the field of social inclusion.

The challenges of the labour market call for a wider range of employment measures. While the unemployment rate has fallen from 32 percent in 2010 to 15.5 percent in the first half of 2019, the downward trend obscures the low participation rates, especially among women, and the large informal economy that mainly employs low-skilled workers. Youth unemployment remains excessive. The vocational education and training and adult education systems are not dynamic and responsive enough to close the gap between labour market supply and demand. In this context, UNDP should provide additional support with the design and testing/evaluation of new employment measures to better meet the needs of hard-to-employ groups, with a focus on young people and women. Efforts to improve the relevance of the educational offer should also be intensified to help address the growing skills mismatch.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/10/14] [Last Updated: 2022/01/31]

The recommendation is accepted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Focus on youth and women is already part of the ongoing employment programme. Relevant and demanded skills will be secured through better skills needs anticipation, testing of innovative approach for overcoming skills gaps and working directly with the private sector to refine both formal and informal vocational training, so that young people develop the skills that companies need. With establishment of the youth resource center in the Polog region activities are slightly focused on digital tools and innovation, as primary area of interest to youth, as well as building partnership with the private sector to support the process of gaining required skills. Successful models will give us the basis for expansion of the programme to the other regions, pending donors interest.
[Added: 2020/10/20]
Social Inclusion Programme Unit 2022/12 Initiated
3.2 Through dedicated programme on building capacities of national partners and service providers, issues related to activation of young persons with disabilities will be further explored.
[Added: 2020/10/20] [Last Updated: 2022/01/31]
Social Inclusion Prgoramme Unit 2025/12 Initiated This action is part of the ongoing employment programme. During 2022/2023, through a policy level initiative an enabling legal environment will be created for social contracting of service providers for provision of employment services directed towards labour market inclusion of hard to employ people including persons with disabilities. UNDP will continue in 2022 with offering opportunities for self-employment of persons with disabilities. OPDs will also be capacitated to become stronger agents of change for implementation of the CRPD. In addition, capacity building initiatives will continue to be implemented for further strengthening of national partners’ and service providers’ capacities. History
3.3 Additional analysis will be undertaken to better understand barriers for activation of women on the labour market. Specific focus will be given to formalization of care services and support capacity building of service providers to tackle the issue of care economy.
[Added: 2020/10/20]
Social Inclusion Programme Unit 2022/12 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

UNDP should scale up subnational interventions, encouraging inter-municipal cooperation and reinforcing the role of regional planning in the context of EU integration.

Given its strong relationships with local stakeholders across the country and responding to needs from different perspectives, UNDP is well-positioned to continue supporting subnational governments in the decentralization process, promoting the principles of partnership and project-based management and helping local authorities become drivers of change in cooperation with civil society and other local actors.

Efforts to introduce e-governance and innovation into local governance should be intensified to improve service delivery and combat corruption, examining all aspects of local policies and service delivery from a technological, regulatory and/or administrative perspective and testing new approaches in pilot municipalities before replicating them on a larger scale.

UNDP should encourage municipalities to pool their resources and capacities to address more efficiently common development challenges. In the environment sector, this could mean working to promote greater synergies between local economic development and nature protection. To that end, UNDP should consider working with the Government to establish a Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme in the country, learning from successful SGP programmes in neighbouring countries (e.g. Albania, Armenia, Romania).

North Macedonia has established regional centres to promote the natural and economic potential of its eight planning regions. UNDP could provide support, for example, by mobilizing stakeholders in the development of strategic projects, at the level of several municipalities or even the entire planning region, to target funding from the EU and international financial institutions.

Finally, UNDP should support capacity development at the national level to link with local governments, channelling funding for new services and showcasing the most effective programmes.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/10/14] [Last Updated: 2022/01/31]

The recommendation is accepted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 The CO will document lessons learned of successful sub-national interventions that have yielded high impact and will use these for evidence-based policy making on inter-municipal cooperation and regional planning. The CO has plan to upgrade the portfolio with interventions on inter-municipal cooperation and integrated and inclusive local and regional planning in the context of EU integration. The interventions will be aimed at providing support of the National Inter-Municipal Commission and at promoting the mechanism in the work of the line ministries in order to ensure more effective implementation of their decentralized functions. Further emphasis will be put on resource mobilization for promotion of inter-municipal cooperation and scalability of already tested models to other municipalities and regions.
[Added: 2020/10/20] [Last Updated: 2022/01/31]
Governance Unit in cooperation with other programme units 2025/12 Initiated This action remains valid, and is ongoing. The CO have planned activities for this and years to come. In this regard, completion date should be changed from 2021 to Dec 2025. The newly established strategic partnership with the Bureau for Regional Development enabled targeted interventions through inter-municipal cooperation aimed at improving of service provision and digital solutions for building resilient municipalities as part of the COVID-19 recovery measures. Innovative inter-municipal models of cooperation were piloted to introduce forward-looking service delivery and leverage opportunities for digitalization using the LNOB principle. In 2022 and years to come until 2025, UNDP will continue to support replication and establishment of new inter-municipal partnerships. In this regard, completion date should be changed from 2021 to Dec 2025. History
4.2 The CO is already implementing projects that are aimed at supporting further decentralization through policy and advice and expertise in the light of the preparation of the new Programme for sustainable local development and decentralization 2021-2026 where regional development and inter-municipal cooperation have been identified as strategic priority areas. The CO will continue to support national counterparts in re-conceptualizing the diversity of approaches to inter-municipal collective action considering especially the planned transfer of additional competencies from the central to the local level.
[Added: 2020/10/20]
Governance Unit 2025/12 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

UNDP should continue to focus its environment portfolio on climate change and disaster risk reduction, with greater emphasis placed on helping the Government address the causes of air pollution.

Improving air quality in the main cities in North Macedonia will feature high on the Government’s agenda. Given UNDP’s track record in this area, it is recommended that the country office use data from the study of Household Heating to plan and implement innovative pilot projects to experiment possible measures to reduce the use of plastic and cheap coal for heating purposes by low-income families in Skopje’s suburbs. As the issue has a strong social dimension, it is also recommended that the UNDP environment and social inclusion sectors work in close cooperation.

Although the Government is showing greater commitment to promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewables, climate change still does not rank high in the country’s priorities. In this context, UNDP should support the Government with public awareness campaigns to shift the knowledge of ecological threats from a narrow group of experts and policymakers to the broader public and to encourage behavioural changes needed to fight climate change. Efforts to build institutional and technical capacity of national authorities for measuring and reporting on emissions, mitigation and adaptation activities in line with the Paris Agreement should be pursued in the next CPD.

Given that a large part of North Macedonia still lacks a multisectoral approach to disaster reduction, UNDP should continue to work on DRR, building on the achievements of the current period to promote integrated disaster risk reduction systems addressing all forms of risks, moving away from purely reactive interventions. The emphasis should be on the establishment and integration of effective prevention and response systems, taking into account the different needs of the population, particularly those most at risk of exclusion (the elderly, women, people with disabilities), including by integrating a gender perspective into DRR interventions to promote the equitable participation of men and women in environmental risk management and disaster prevention.

 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/10/14] [Last Updated: 2022/01/31]

The recommendation is accepted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 To-date, the CO’s interventions in climate change and DRR were focused on policy advice and provision of technical expertise, with ongoing several projects on central and local levels. The CO has a plan to expand the portfolio with interventions on climate change adaptation and promotion on climate change mitigation thorough introduction of new technologies and creation of green jobs.
[Added: 2020/10/20]
Energy, Environment and DRR Unit in collaboration with other programme units 2025/12 Initiated
5.2 The CO is already implementing one project aimed at supporting the government in addressing the causes of air pollution in the capital city through demonstration of a multi-pronged intervention and establishing a fully functional platform that brings all traditional and non-traditional partners to work together to address the issue. The results and lessons learned of this project will be analyzed and used to shape the future resource mobilization and strategic positioning of UNDP in the area of air pollution.
[Added: 2020/10/20]
Energy, Enviornment and DRR Unit in collaboration with other programme units 2025/12 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

UNDP should seek opportunities to build on its strategic positioning in North Macedonia to further harmonize EU accession and SDG priorities.

UNDP is well-positioned to deepen its support to North Macedonia on the twin priorities of EU accession and SDG implementation, especially with the EU approximation and negotiation process underway. The EU is the main international donor in the country, and the Government has prioritized approximation of national laws, rules and procedures with the EU acquis.

For example, in the area of disaster management, UNDP support has been instrumental in dealing with the immediate consequences of the 2015 flash floods and facilitating the recovery process. Still, some project results are at risk in the absence of effective national policies to maintain water and sanitation infrastructure and enforce controls. Building on the expertise it has accumulated in recent years in this field, UNDP can play an important role at national and subnational levels helping to advance the country’s level of compliance with the EU Flood Directive, which in turn can help to achieve targets within SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation).

Management Response: [Added: 2020/10/14] [Last Updated: 2022/01/31]

The recommendation is accepted.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 The CO will continue to provide active support to the country in implementation of reforms in prospect of EU integration agenda and the 2030 Agenda. The CO is already implementing a project aiming at equipping the government with policy recommendations and options that will enable the country to maximize the benefits of EU accession. The lessons learned from this project will be used to shape future resource mobilization and strategic positioning of UNDP in the area of EU accession.
[Added: 2020/10/20]
All programme units 2025/12 Initiated
6.2 The CO has plan to further expand the portfolio in public finance management reform and to support the authorities to integrate the 2030 Agenda in budget allocations in line with the country’s EU accession agenda. The CO is working on several actions to support incorporation and alignment with SDGs of several strategic national planning documents that will contribute to further UNDP positioning and resource mobilization.
[Added: 2020/10/20]
All programme units 2025/12 Initiated

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