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

UNDP should intensify its engagement at the subnational level and expand its capacity development support to provincial and local governments.

As one of the long-time development partners in Nepal, UNDP has a competitive advantage in playing a critical and highly visible role to support the government’s efforts to institutionalize federalism. It should continue to place substantial focus on supporting federal and subnational governments in building strong public institutions. UNDP’s core involvement in the country’s flagship programme (Provincial and Local Governance Support Programme) and its strategic local presence through its four field offices accord UNDP an opportunity to play a substantive role in this task.

UNDP should continue supporting institutional capacity development of provincial and local governments and assist them with effectively managing budget allocation. Capacity development support to subnational governments should aim to improve equity, delivery, transparency and accountability in subnational governance based on documented best practices from Nepal and other countries through South-South exchange and cooperation. Strengthening the PCGGs for benchmarking and adapting good practices and providing implementation support to provincial and local governments would be integral to this approach. In the process, the PCGGs would be able to develop good practice case studies for training and implementation support. PLGSP-TA can also be a platform for UNDP to enhance sectoral capacity development support, potentially in the areas of microenterprise development, green recovery and resilience, and increase synergy between the governance portfolio and other thematic areas.

UNDP should actively engage the Ministry of Finance, potentially together with other UN agencies, to discuss the challenges brought by the International Development Cooperation Policy, including subnational-level cost-sharing and future development cooperation initiatives in governance areas that were not identified by the Policy as priorities (e.g., human rights, access to justice, parliament support, elections, etc.). UNDP should further clarify the roles and expectations of the NIM modality with federal and provincial counterparts and help with the cultural shift towards national ownership and cost-sharing for development programmes.

UNDP should further leverage its field presence and credibility to proactively seek opportunities and mobilize resources from donors as well as the government (federal, provincial and local) for subnational-level programmes. UNDP should use the provincial programme documents to clearly articulate UNDP strength and programme offerings that address the specific needs of priority provinces and vulnerable groups and use them as points of reference for dialogue with subnational governments and the Ministry of Finance.

UNDP should carry out a thorough review of the function of the field offices and the constraints that exist for them to effectively fulfil their mandates. UNDP should also establish a results-oriented annual work plan for field offices and further clarify field offices’ roles both internally with field-based projects and the Kathmandu office and externally with counterparts and stakeholders.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/04/11] [Last Updated: 2022/05/06]

Accepted.  Management wishes to highlight that since 2019, to coincide with the introduction of provincial and local level governments, UNDP significantly increased the scope, reach, and financial investment in its engagement at sub-national level on many fronts to respond effectively to demand and the prevailing direction of the devolution vision in the country. As well as investment in a network of field offices to maintain physical presence at the province level, CO engagement is exemplified through programme implementation (e.g. PLGSP, MEDPA TA, CMDP, VCDP, A2J, PSP, and STLR), policy, and engagement activities.  Key examples include:

  • PLGSP, a dedicated capacity building technical assistance engagement through which local level capacity is being built.
  • The ongoing pandemic and related response provided an additional opportunity to partner with province and local government to support health systems and socio-economic recovery.
  • Technical support provided to Gandaki and Karnali Province governments for the development of project documents in the area of tourism recovery and agriculture value chain.
  • Production of 7 province-based SDG baseline reports.
  • Working with female deputy mayors to build a network of SDG advocates.

Over the years, therefore, UNDP has been influential in building institutional, functional and technical capacities of provincial and local governments for planning and monitoring, strengthening health system response and socio-economic recovery to COVID-19 pandemic, developing joint programme with provincial governments, women empowerment and disaster preparedness and resilience building.

 

Building on these existing investments, UNDP will continue strengthen in the new CPD its sub-national level partnerships and engagement in close consultation with the Government of Nepal, and contingent on the Government’s prevailing vision on development cooperation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Support to customize and implement the capacity development plan for local level elected representatives and officials.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2023/12 Initiated
1.2 Design and implement initiatives in selected provinces and local governments to build capacities for resilient infrastructure
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/12 Initiated
1.3 Secure clear guidance from the Ministry of Finance on their preferred cooperation modality for UNDP’s effective engagement to build capacities at sub-national level.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/09 Overdue-Not Initiated
1.4 Develop provincial engagement strategies for field offices.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/12 Not Initiated
2. Recommendation:

UNDP’s inclusive economic growth and resilience portfolios should seek a balance between interventions for the immediate response to crisis and transitioning, and systematic support that leads to mid-to long-term development impact.

The COVID-19-related policies and support will continue to be a significant demand in the forthcoming country programme cycle to address the adverse impact on health standards (both physical and mental), livelihoods, fiscal health, social protection and social safety nets, and businesses (particularly of the micro variety and in the informal sector), among others. This is coupled with emerging needs from the continuous transition of the country to a federalist state. Therefore, UNDP’s country programme will still need to maintain a considerable level of flexibility to support the government in this dynamic and evolving context. Nevertheless, as Nepal embarks on the recovery process and continues its development path toward LDC graduation and SDG achievement, UNDP needs to consolidate and re-focus its portfolio, determine its niche and orient itself toward areas where it can make the most mid-to long-term development impact.

Inclusive economic growth will continue to remain the government’s high priority. During and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of employment and livelihoods particularly for the disadvantaged and vulnerable population is most likely to feature prominently. UNDP’s support for poverty reduction therefore will continue to be relevant, but consolidation of the portfolio is necessary and will help streamline UNDP support and make it more strategic, focused and impact-oriented. Wherever possible, it should seek medium- to longer-term engagement, further establish linkages with national programmes/policies and strengthen its programmatic approach for collaboration with the private sector, UN agencies and bilateral and IFI partners on the basis of good working relations established in this and previous programme cycles and common areas of interest.

UNDP should expand its support to transform local-level practice to a more comprehensive and holistic approach to resilience. With the increasing risks of natural and climate-change-induced disasters, the portfolio should focus on ecosystems management by integrating climate change adaptation/mitigation, energy and disaster issues and seek longer-term partnerships for green recovery and resilience. UNDP should continue working closely with MoHA/NDRRMA at the national level and support the DRM decentralization in close coordination with the subnational governments.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/04/11] [Last Updated: 2022/05/06]

Partially Accepted - UNDP management wishes to highlight the long-standing attention to striking a fair balance between immediate and short-term results and long-term development impacts across its inclusive growth and environment and resilience portfolios. Investment on post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction and COVID-19 response and recovery were guided by emerging country’s priorities. However, they contributed to Nepal’s long-term recovery and resilience building goals and achievements to SDGs. Investments made by UNDP to develop micro-enterprise development and off-grid renewable energy models are now institutionalized within national system across the country contributing to achievements of national goals of poverty alleviation and promotion of clean energy. Further, UNDP’s policy work through the National Planning Commission (NPC) for inclusive economic growth and human development through advocacy, research and technical support has contributed to making Nepal’s development plans and programs more inclusive in the long-term.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.2 Pilot at least one set of programme activities in select municipalities to strengthen synergy between inclusive growth and resilience portfolios
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/12 Initiated
2.1 Facilitate discussion with NDRRMA and other agencies to secure concurrence on short-term and long-term goals for resilience building in the next CPD.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/09 Overdue-Not Initiated
2.3 Elaborate mid-to long term development priorities for Inclusive Economic Growth in next CPD
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/09 Overdue-Not Initiated
3. Recommendation:

UNDP should review its experience with policy, financial and institutional constraints and socio-cultural barriers in the human rights and justice domains in consultation with relevant stakeholders and explore avenues for strengthening implementation. UNDP may consider further support for criminal justice reform for the protection of women and vulnerable minorities, transparency and accountability.

UNDP should take stock of the some of the diverse interventions introduced by A2J and conduct systematic evidence-based reviews of free legal aid and the judicial committees in cooperation with relevant stakeholders to assess what is likely or unlikely to work under realistic assumptions. UNDP should also assess how best to proceed with support for the National Human Rights Commission and the Election Commission of Nepal.

In time, strengthening the justice sector through one or more institutions (the judiciary, OAG and the police), with a focus on criminal justice and the protection of women and vulnerable (including sexual) minorities, could be a good prospect. The establishment of provincial ombudsman institutions for wide-ranging accountability in support of service delivery could be another possibility. When circumstances warrant, these options could be developed as pilots and leveraged for large-scale national and international funding, for which there have been precedents in the region.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/04/11] [Last Updated: 2022/05/06]

Accepted: In its next CPD, UNDP Nepal will consider providing additional institutional support to the constitutional bodies appointed to work on human rights oversight and on the criminal justice system. UNDP Nepal is already in the process of introducing a more deliberate focus on introducing targeted support for criminal justice system reform through the new Access to Justice Project II, which envisages capacity support measures for the Prosecutor’s and Office of the Attorney General to established and strengthen victim help desks and forensic lab.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Provide technical guidelines, logistical, and advisory support to establish the Secretariat of the Legal Aid Board as per the integrated legal aid policy adopted by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs in Nepal.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/12 Initiated
3.3 UNDP will continue to work closely with the NHRC as a key partner to support their role in monitoring human rights in line with their mandate.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/12 Initiated
3.2 Design a mechanism to support the Office of the Attorney General to strengthen coordination, dialogue, and interaction between police, prosecutors and courts.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2023/12 Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

UNDP should ensure that SDG localization and GESI mainstreaming continue to be at the core of its interventions.

UNDP’s country programme should maintain an ongoing strong focus on evidence-based policymaking, particularly with reference to securing reliable data and information. UNDP should continue its support for SDG localization and monitoring and strengthen capacity, especially of the provincial and local governments in these areas. UNDP should provide additional support for the analytics and uptake of the Aid Management Information System (AMIS).

UNDP should further integrate GESI into its programming, especially within its resilience, disaster risk reduction and climate change portfolio. The first step would be to organize regular and actionable GESI focal team meetings with adequate representation from the programme team. UNDP should provide adequate GESI training to the field staff and strengthen its results-based management (RBM) systems to better measure how the programme is contributing to GESI.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/04/11] [Last Updated: 2022/05/06]

Accepted. Building on the achievement so far, UNDP will continue to engage with sub-national governments for SDGs localization through capacity building in planning, financing and tracking. This will be reflected in the next CPD’s Theory of Change.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Train UNDP CO, programme/projects and field office staff on GESI and Social and Environment Safeguards (SES) and institutionalize a system of regular tracking the progress
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/12 Initiated
4.2 Provide technical support to selected local governments in reorienting public finance for SDGs based budgeting through – i) development of resource book and ii) technical support to prepare SDGs based MTEF coding of annual budget.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2023/06 Initiated
4.3 Strengthen capacity of the provincial assemblies to integrate SDGs and GESI principles into new legislations.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/12 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

UNDP should establish theories of change and improve M&E systems for its portfolios and projects. Sound sustainability planning is needed to maintain focus on sustaining intervention  benefits.

UNDP needs to develop theories of change (ToCs) for its programmes and portfolios with comprehensive analysis of risk and assumptions, particularly with respect to scalability and sustainability, and their mitigation measures. The ToCs should be continuously revisited and updated based on periodic political economy analysis. In conjunction with Recommendation 1 above, UNDP should also conduct systematic provincial-level political economy analyses to inform risks, planning, monitoring, implementation processes and mechanisms to strengthen the potential for sustainability, as part of provincial planning.

UNDP should also develop systematic monitoring systems at the project and programme levels based on the ToC, with appropriate indicators at different steps of the impact pathway. UNDP should improve field monitoring and reporting capacity and data quality and conduct more analysis at the outcome level for synthesized learning. UNDP should also clarify and strengthen the information flow between field project teams, field offices, the Kathmandu programme team, and the CO M&E focal point.

UNDP should continue piloting and demonstrating innovative approaches but needs to articulate a path where capacity and benefits from UNDP support can be sustained and, wherever possible, scaled up. It would be useful to develop sustainability plans with robust conceptual and empirical approaches that are applied consistently across projects. The discussion and planning with partners and stakeholders on project sustainability should start early and leave sufficient time for necessary mechanisms to be embedded in partner institutions as well as, where applicable, for new phases of interventions to be approved by the government.

Management Response: [Added: 2022/04/11] [Last Updated: 2022/05/06]

Accepted. Regarding the establishment of theories of change for project, Management maintains that the POPP does not prescribe a Theory of Change at project level, but rather a linkage to the overarching Programme level TOC. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Sustain the effort to improve CO planning and monitoring systems and enhance this by training programme staff on the development of Theories of Change and RBM as part of POPP training.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/12 Initiated History
5.3 Ensure sustainability/exit plans are prepared and vetted by project executive boards.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/12 Initiated
5.2 Initiate third party monitoring to improve data consistency, quality, attributions and contributions to impact.
[Added: 2022/05/06]
UNDP CO 2022/12 Not Initiated

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