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

Recommendation 1: While future programme and project development should continue to be closely aligned with the UNSDCF and the NDP III, the sub programme approaches to meet outcome goals should be more strategic, focused with realistic funding channels to enable realisation of outcomes and outputs. Equally, UNDP should retain an option to operate outside of the alignment with government and support emerging areas of need outside of those identified in multi-year government development planning.

Programme and project design need to be realistic in the availability of UNDP TRAC resources, government contributions and the availability of donor funding. At the same time project and programme objectives need to be clear in order to articulate to all UNDP’s strategic objectives and its comparative strengths in supporting the government and people of Uganda as well as its value added to all.

A strategic effort should be undertaken by the Office, management and staff to connect and partner with non-government stakeholders throughout its portfolio including other UN agencies, bilateral and multilateral donors, NGOs and CSOs to strengthen interventions. This will require an honest reflection on the work undertaken during the current CPD cycle, identification of success and core areas of past work and a packaging of areas the Office feels it holds a realistic comparative strength within the development landscape of Uganda that it wishes to pursue in the future.

As a priority the Office should undertake a partnership and stakeholder mapping exercise to identify and link its current work and comparative strengths with other non-government organisations active in Uganda. This should primarily be a tool for strengthening UNDP’s work and growing its partnership base to leverage its own and other organisations’ work for greater impact. A secondary objective is to identify possible funding partners to further broaden its financial base and reduce its reliance on TRAC funding for project funds. This will need constant outreach and monitoring from management to ensure goals are met and partnerships built over the period of the next strategic plan.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/17] [Last Updated: 2020/08/16]

Management Agrees and further clarifies as below:

1.The new CPD (2021-2025) has been designed to be very strategic, focused with realistic funding channels explored to enable realisation of outcomes and outputs. It is closely aligned with the UNSDCF and the NDP II. More information is provided in the current CPD 2021-2025.

2. The country office is leveraging on accelerator lab and digital innovations to provide   solutions to complex development challenges.

3. The country office is brokering and building robust partnerships through revising and updating its resource mobilisation strategy and has explored new partnerships in the new country programme 2021-2025.

4. The country office is building and expanding in to emerging areas of work using  Multi-sectoral approach to SDG based development planning.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Leveraging on accelerator lab and digital innovations to provide solutions to complex development challenges.
[Added: 2020/08/16]
Programme Team 2025/12 Initiated This is an on-going intervention throughout the programme life span
Brokering and building robust partnerships.
[Added: 2020/08/16]
Senior management 2025/12 Initiated This is an on-going intervention throughout the programme life span. Its a programme delivery strategy that will inform programming.
Building and expanding in to emerging areas of work: Multi-sectoral approach to SDG based development planning.
[Added: 2020/08/16]
Senior management 2025/12 Initiated This is an on-going intervention throughout the life span of the programme as per the CPD 2021-2025.
Design a more strategic, focused programme approaches to meet outcome goals and enable realization of outcomes and outputs
[Added: 2020/08/16]
Senior management 2020/12 Completed The new CPD (2021-2025) has been designed to be very strategic, focused with realistic funding channels explored to enable realisation of outcomes and outputs. It is closely aligned with the UNSDCF and the NDP II. More information is provided in the current CPD 2021-2025 already attached.
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2: Results frameworks and monitoring systems and approaches should be designed to support decision making and learning, not only for corporate reporting purposes. Programme and project data collection need to be linked to ensure attribution and contribution is clearly supported by evidence.

UNDP’s present monitoring system does not provide easy access to data for programme management and is mainly focused on output monitoring (completion of activities) and less on outcome monitoring (success of interventions in achieving change). This is partly a structural UNDP problem worldwide, but much can be done to improve the system. If the programmes have SMART objectives, the bulk of the monitoring efforts could shift to that level. This would result in less detailed multi-annual plans but more justified annual plans that optimize UNDP’s resources utilisation to achieve its objectives (only fund activities that contribute clearly to the outcome). Annual reports have to become more analytical (what worked, what did not work, what to continue, what to discontinue) and annual plans more flexible building further on successful interventions and responding to the continuously changing context. As a result, UNDP will be able to monitor and steer more on outcome (the impact activities have on changes in performance that fall within UNDP’s control), and less on output (direct activity results). 

Rather than focus on many small activities, UNDP should gradually focus on those activities and partnerships that have the most potential (i.e. are successful and have the largest positive impact on UNDP’s target group), use TRAC funds as seed money and aim to scale them up with donor funds. This means on the other hand the phasing out those activities and partnerships that have less potential. A good monitoring system should provide the key data to take these decisions in an informed way. 

The CO needs to establish indicators that are more under its control; also, there is a need to develop immediate/intermediate outcomes to reflect how the theory of change is being developed. The programme approach needs to define and identify programme baselines, and explain the chain of results that will achieve the expected changes from the available inputs. This will allow setting realistic targets, indicators, and milestones, and to monitor progress and results from all projects. With this, the CO can improve programme and project design, do the follow-up, make strategic decisions, and share results with others. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/17] [Last Updated: 2020/08/16]

Management Agrees,

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strengthening the M & E capacity of the office with additional human resources with clearly defined roles.
[Added: 2020/08/16]
Senior management 2021/03 Overdue-Initiated This intervention will inform the new CPD 2021-2025
Implement the country office evaluation plan, conduct regular training and knowledge sharing sessions with IPs and RPs.
[Added: 2020/08/16]
Management support unit 2025/12 Initiated This is an on-going intervention throughout the programme cycle.
Strengthen support to Ugandan Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and other data providers to ensure availability, dissemination and use of data
[Added: 2020/08/17]
Programme team 2025/12 Initiated This is an on-going intervention throughout the programme cycle that will keep informing programing as depicted in the new CPD 2021-2025.
Implementation of work plans: Demonstrate evidence of development results and responding to continuously changing context.
[Added: 2020/08/17]
Programme Team 2025/12 Initiated This is an on-going intervention throughout the programme cycle.
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: While the present CPD was the first attempt by UNDP Uganda to cluster its IEG related activities under a limited number of programmes, the coming CPD should make the next steps and transfer these programmes to make them more visionary in their outlook and strategic in their contribution to the development process in Uganda.

Specifically, in its work within the Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy and Peace and Security for System Resilience programmes should use the remaining time in 2019/2020 to undertake i) detailed context analysis, ii) stakeholder mapping exercise, iii) develop stronger theories of change and iv) ensure upstream and downstream linkages for interventions, namely: 

- Conduct a detailed context analysis that has a political-economy focus, possibly as part of a wider CCA exercise;

- Analysis of policy implementation constraints in the two sectors.

- Lessons-learnt exercise detailing what has worked in the past and what not, what is the strength of UNDP in each of the sectors?

- Stakeholder mapping:

- Theory of Change development and a related intervention strategy that leads to a stronger more focused and one or two SMART program objectives (most important is to make them measurable and realistic);

Design a programme that ensures strong downstream-upstream linkages and a balanced portfolio of upstream and downstream interventions related to several core themes (such as Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms).

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/17] [Last Updated: 2020/08/17]

Management agrees,

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
In the new CPD, consolidate and articulate all IEG interventions under the strategic pillars defined by a strong theory of change.
[Added: 2020/08/17]
Senior management and programme team 2020/12 Completed The intervention has been addressed in the new CPD 2021-2025. (already attached).
Framing Governance work under one Programme: Developing one governance and security programme which is more visionary in outlook and in line with UNDP’s Integrator function.
[Added: 2020/08/17]
Senior management and programme team 2020/12 Completed The intervention has been addressed under the new CPD 2021-2025 which is awaiting Executive board approval in September 2020
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4: Within the Institutional Effectiveness program, the evaluation recommends a more structural revision of the programme with a greater focus on the strengthening of local governance. 

This will align with the draft strategic direction for NDPIII which indicates that Local Economic Development (LED) will become a priority development instrument for the next 5-year planning period. Local governance is an area of need across Uganda and would also enable UNDP to consolidate several activities under an LG/ LED heading. This would also enable UNDP to cluster interventions and activities under a Local Governance umbrella including activities in SDGs, economic development and livelihoods, resilience, rule of law and access to justice previously planned but often dropped at the local level could be packaged into a specific local governance project. Upstream programme activities can then be linked to downstream activities informing the policy development process. The recent upgrading of the MoLG to a full sector ministry confirms the Government’s refocus on local governance.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/17] [Last Updated: 2020/08/17]

Regarding the revision of the current form of the IE programme, the Country Office does not intend to have one stand-alone IE programme from 2021. Instead, institutional effectiveness would be integrated into all programmes.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Stronger Integration of Local Government into the new Governance and Security programme. A core part of the re-organized governance portfolio would ensure that Local Economic Development (LED) is one of the priority focus for the next 5-year CPD planning period aligned to NDPIII
[Added: 2020/08/17]
Senior management and programme team 2020/12 Completed This intervention has been fully integrated in the new CPD 2021-2025. See the New CPD already attached.
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5: UNDP should develop a separate SDG programme and support the drafting of NDPIII. At the same time UNDP should offer the government a clearly outlined portfolio of support to strengthen the integration of the SDGs. 

Over the last three years, UNDP Uganda has carried out some commendable work on SDG localisation in Uganda. However, the work may have benefited from a more secure financial and strategic base. Over the last few years this work was carried out by the Strategic Policy Unit, drawing activity funds from a variety of different programmes. Work needs to be done during the coming years to retain the momentum. To ensure that the SDGs are properly integrated into the next NDPIII design and strategic framework, implementation at both national and local levels, and supported by monitoring mechanisms. An integrated and comprehensive programme at both national and local level would justify these individual activities becoming a separate programme with its own budget. The advantage would be that SDG support planning will change from ad-hoc inputs to more long-term technical support, thereby defining UNDP’s role and adding more visibility which might in turn attract additional external funding. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/17] [Last Updated: 2020/08/17]

Regarding the enhancement of the SDG Integrator role of UNDP, all programming work under the new CPD will be undertaken using the lense of SGD integration as opposed to a stand-alone SDG programme.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
CO regular support to the SDG Secretariat, including support to the development of website and dashboard which brings all the work on SDGs together.
[Added: 2020/08/17]
programme team 2025/12 Initiated This will be an on-going support throughout the programme life span
Establishment of the SPEED4SDGs Group to ensure a coherent, integrated and coordinated approach to SDG support.
[Added: 2020/08/17]
Programme team 2021/12 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

Recommendation 6: The next phase of the SIED strategy should be focused on implementation working downstream with local communities and districts. UNDP should adopt a coherent strategy in terms of achieving environmental impacts and setting targets in relation to natural resources management, energy production and consumption, and biodiversity conservation.

The initial approaches to local-level implementation are considered a success that should be studied and leveraged; not only the tangible local-level NRM impacts, but also working together with local authorities and strengthening their capacities, is an institutional niche UNDP can use to add value to Uganda’s sustainable development. 

UNDP needs to move forward from piloting to full-fledged implementation in the field. This means ensuring the alignment between monitoring, evaluation, knowledge management, and communication to effectively achieve results in terms of natural resources management, and that beyond policy making, implementation needs specific targets, metrics, milestones, projects in the field, and strategies to improve wetland and forest coverage and biodiversity conservation.

UNDP’s upstream and downstream approach relies heavily on piloting new initiatives to be scaled up and to formulate public policies. Given the budget cuts, pilot projects are too small and scattered in nature to create meaningful impact at the local level in terms of natural resources management. It is essential to concentrate resources in one area and showcase successes of ecosystem-based options to mitigation/adaptation to climate change, which can be scaled out to other areas. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/17] [Last Updated: 2020/08/17]

Management Agrees

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a fully fledged Inclusive Business Ecosystem Programme, which targets vulnerable sectors, actors and groups.
[Added: 2020/08/17]
Programme team 2023/12 Initiated This is an on-going activity. The intervention is in the new CPD.
Establishing a Youth4Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation Facility in partnership with the private sector.
[Added: 2020/08/17]
Programme team 2023/12 Initiated The intervention is an on-going activity from the current to the new CPD 2021-2025
Focus on strengthening downstream engagement with sub-national actors including district and community level stakeholders in the new CPD 2021 – 2025.
[Added: 2020/08/17]
Senior management and Programme team 2020/12 Completed The intervention has been fully integrated in the new CPD 2021-2025. Refer to CPD copy already attached.
7. Recommendation:

Recommendation 7: UNDP should adjust its theory of change to further mainstream gender in the programme, specifically focusing its efforts towards addressing structural barriers and root causes of gender inequalities in the country.

UNDP can go beyond targeting to include men and women in initiatives. It can design projects which respond to the different barriers to fulfil the needs of men and women and equitable distribution of benefits, resources, status and rights, and address the root causes of inequalities and discrimination, contributing more to changes in norms, cultural values and power structures. This includes targeting key issues of behaviour change and enabling environment, such as ensuring women can own land both by legal right and in practice. UNDP should reinforce the gender capacities of the country office staff andpartners and have a broadly participatory process to adapt its theory of change specifically for mainstreaming a gender focus on initiatives for long term behaviour change for transformational results.

While the country gender assessment notes disconnect between Uganda’s legal framework and implementation, government capacity building has focused primarily on the Parliament and Ministries, while planned district-level activities have been scaled down dramatically. Women’s right to land access, among other issues, are not sufficiently protected or enforced at the local level. Strengthening women’s legal rights and local enforcement capacity (i.e. access to land, marriage laws, and domestic violence) at the district level could present an opportunity. The CO will have to carefully consider how its limited resources can have the most catalytic impact as it may not be possible to implement a comprehensive programme in 127 districts. 

Management Response: [Added: 2020/06/17] [Last Updated: 2020/08/17]

Management agrees,

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Strengthen Strategic partnerships with Ministry of Gender and UN-WOMEN.
[Added: 2020/08/17]
Programme team 2025/12 Initiated This will be an on-going activity throughout the programme life span
Mainstream gender in the draft CPD 2021-2025. Have a stand-alone outcome focusing on gender and women empowerment as one of the four focus outcome areas.
[Added: 2020/08/17]
Senior management 2020/12 Completed The intervention has been integrated in the new CPD 2021-2025
Recruitment of a senior gender advisor.
[Added: 2020/08/17]
senior management 2020/09 Completed The activity is completed as the gender advisor has been recruited.

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