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Outcome Evaluation on Xiaokang/MDGs and Gender
Commissioning Unit: China
Evaluation Plan: 2006-2010
Evaluation Type: Outcome
Completion Date: 03/2011
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: China
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
1. Recommendation: UNDP China should adopt a more pro-active position on gender. National execution does not mean that UNDP must be driven by the short-term, ad-hoc needs of government. UNDP needs to champion the case that continuing progress on gender equity is good for economic development and political stability in China. We suggest three concrete steps towards promoting stronger gender outcomes: first, collecting disaggregated data to enable evidence-based discussion of the role of gender, second, identifying a gender-related issue where UNDP can win the support of government and using this to establish a standalone program enabling multiple government ministries and ACWF to work together, and third, reaching agreement with government to earmark a certain percentage of resources specifically for gender equity. Government, with support from UNDP?s Xiaokang indicator program, has already started to collect disaggregated data on gender. This effort needs to be taken to the next level in terms of evidence-based analysis and advocacy. One way to do this might be to make gender the theme of the next China Human Development Report. These reports have proven to be an effective means of using dispassionate discussion of national and international experience to promote convergence between UN and national visions on emerging issues, and that is exactly what is needed here. A flagship standalone program on gender would send a strong signal that gender is a priority for UNDP China. Gender needs to be both mainstreamed and independent. One of the obstacles to action on gender is that while gender issues are relevant to the work of every ministry, there are no gender focal points in any ministry. A flagship program that promoted multi-ministerial, multi-sectoral cooperation on gender could leverage UNDP?s honest-broker advantage to build exactly the kind of critical mass of government officials, experts and CSOs committed to promoting gender equity that UNDP China achieved as one of the sustainable outcomes of its Xiaokang indicator program. It may be advisable to combine both upstream and downstream interventions, as was the case with the Xiaokang program. Strong results at the local level may provide good arguments for wider replication, provincial and county governments may be more receptive to innovative approaches to gender equity, and building sub-national capacity may build a foundation for future efforts. In terms of thematic options for a new standalone gender program, Xiaokang and pro-poor growth already represents a theme where UN and Government of China visions have converged, and seems to us to be the best point of entry. It would be natural to extend the theme of pro-poor growth to give greater emphasis to gender equity. This linkage has the advantage of being cross-cutting (thus allowing for inter-ministry cooperation) but rooted firmly in poverty reduction and social development. Alternatively, climate change is another theme where there is a good convergence of UN and national visions, with considerable potential for an innovative focus on gender. Finally, women?s political participation has already been the subject of a previous project and is now the theme of a new joint program, which could be given a higher profile. Finally, UNDP should consider seeking to develop an understanding with government to earmark a certain percentage of resources for gender. Doing so at the country program level would clearly signal both UNDP?s and the government?s renewed focus on gender equity. At a minimum, we need dedicated funding at the program level so that mainstreaming can be backed up by more than just good intentions. We recognize that earmarking resources for gender may not be easy, given shrinking core resources and the low national priority accorded to gender issues. As such, it may be advisable to first lay the groundwork through evidence-based discussion, for example, through a gender-themed China Human Development Report.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/06/27] [Last Updated: 2011/06/27]

The recommendations are well taken by the UNDP CO. In preparing the UNDP new CPD for China (2011-2015), the recommendations from the outcome evalaiton as well as those of the latest ADR report were taken into account. The UNDP CO, together with its partners, will monitor closely on the progress of the implementation.

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