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Evaluation of UNDP Contribution to Strengthening National Capacities
Commissioning Unit: Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Plan: 2009-2013
Evaluation Type: Thematic
Completion Date: 12/2010
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation: Recommendation 1: UNDP should prioritize implementation of the principles embedded in the strategic plan across all countries.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/01/12] [Last Updated: 2011/04/12]

The principles of capacity development touch upon three main areas: promoting national ownership, promoting holistic and integrated approaches, and learning and measurement of transformation. Some flexibility in policy and procedure is needed if these principles are to apply in the diverse development settings where UNDP contributes. Such steps are being taken. Appropriate changes will be made to the way UNDP approaches programme and project management policies and procedures so that the modalities themselves are better suited to application in diverse operating environments. The learning function will be strengthened. Similarly, the capture of transformative results related to national capacities will be emphasized.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.3 Revise evaluation methodology and guidance to capture and reflect more consistently UNDP?s capacity development contribution to national results
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
EO 2014/06 Overdue-Initiated Bew ADR guidelines, incl. technical note on evaluating capacity development are drafted
1.1 Review UNDP's approach to programme and project management, with a view to improving the organization?s support to nationally led and owned systems and processes
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
BDP, OSG, RBx 2013/12 Completed a)revision of project management approach including the most critical aspects: 1) increasing national engagement at all stages of the programming cycle, 2) increasing the relevance of UNDP's assistance to higher level results and sustaining them, and 3) screening and ensuring environmental and social safeguards. b) The ROAR captures CD in its fourth output profile "Durability of Results" The specific CD question is reflecting the CD measurement framework c)The approved quality assurance system includes "sustainability and National ownership" as one quality criteria and also integrated the CD tracker.
1.4 Review results-based management system to promote stronger tracking and capture of capacity development results
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
BDP, OSG 2012/12 Completed The ROAR includes specific question on 1. whose capacity (organization, institution, system) and what capacity (e.g. planning, policy making, finance, programe/project management, technical / substantive expertise) were strengthened by UNDP support. 2. change in terms of organizations?, institutions or systems performing more effectively and efficiently, in a more consistent and resilient manner, using concrete evidence. b)? The CD Tracker will be integrated into the project level QA system, specifically the quality criterion ?Sustainability and National Ownership?, which includes a question on CD results. c) Guidelines, methodologies, tools support integration of capacity development and results measurement e) CD Tracker Data analysis for 2011 and 2012
1.2 Strengthen support, appraisal and assurance throughout the country programme cycle to ensure capacity development features appropriately in UNDAFs and country programming
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
Regional Service Centers and RBx No due date No deadline established Completed: Review of the use of capacity development facilities (e.g. in Afghanistan, Timor Leste, Kosovo, Georgia) Lessons learned and guidance note published and CD Facility Website launched Ongoing/continous: a) Support, appraisal and assurance functions are provided through the respective review mechanisms b) RBM capacities: - ongoing RBM training including CD - Publication: Innovations in Monitoring and Evaluating Results - Issue Brief: Strengthen National Capacities to manage for results c)A set of quality criteria is further developed and piloted
2. Recommendation: Recommendation 2: Capacity development guidelines should be written to maximize coherence with government processes.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/01/12] [Last Updated: 2011/04/12]

Where the capacity development methodology has been applied over the past few years, in around 60 countries, governments have given positive feedback about the approach and its coherence with national processes. Keeping pace with demand is now the major challenge. The work on national implementation capacities through national systems development and on national aid effectiveness systems also exhibits the successes to date. Current work at the level of UNDAFs and country programmes is intended to make the improvements needed in pre-positioning appropriate guidance and support for national partners. UNDP will redouble its efforts to improve the simplicity and utility of its resources.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Simplify existing guidance to more appropriately align with national systems and processes
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
BDP 2013/12 Completed Completed: Existing CD guidance has been revised Further development of CD guidance is an ongoing matter and includes a move from more traditional paper-document based guidance to web- and app-based approaches, eg. for procurement and the Global Fund management. Examples of newly developed guidance: - CD for Disaster Risk Reduction - Guidance on collaborative capacities -Guidance on adaptive capacities - Guidance on capacity development in post-conflict contexts - Foresighting and Long-term Planning
2.2 Build on existing experiences of Southern networks to intensify peer learning about national and sector strategies, aid effectiveness and national implementation capacities
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
BDP, Regional Service Centers No due date No deadline established This is an integral part of how UNDP seeks to work, and examples are available in the ROAR and elsewhere. Some highlights from 2013: a) Third Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, hosted by the AUC in Addis Ababa (July 2013) was a culmination of UNDP-RSC efforts to strengthen the institutional leadership capacity of the AUC and the NPCA on development effectiveness issues in Africa. These institutions are now accepted as the official African voice on the African position and aspirations on development effectiveness b)Development and launch of an AU/NEPAD Multi-Agency Capacity Development Programme for RECs in response to the AUC-RECs High-level Retreat c)New proposal and instrumentation design for SS&T cooperation, including a new project design and a new cost-sharing agreement was approved d)Advisory support services to COs and counterparts in emerging economies on capacity development for cooperation providers and on knowledge sharing for development,( e.g Peru, China, Turkey Indonesia), incl. facilitating inclusive engagement in global development cooperation dialogue fora (GP, DCF, HLC on SSC, SSC expo) Some highlights from 2012: a) Regional learning event on "CD for sustainable development: Co-creatin of value through partnership" b) Regional South-South Knowledge Fair in Latin America bringing together the cooperation offices and agencies of LAC and the South-South Cooperation experiences developed by the countries in the region c) Production and dissemmination of the 2012 AfHDR in several countries d) Hosting of the African Economic Conference e) In partnerhsip with UNECA substantive guidance in the lead up to Rio+20 as well as follow up. Some highlights in 2011 include: a)UNDP supported, in a cross-bureaux effort, the set up and development of the Africa Union Commission/NEPAD Africa Platform for Development Effectiveness (www.africa-platform.org ). It has become the leading forum for CD and aid effectiveness in Africa. b)Four workshops and peer learning visits were hosted by Tanzania (January 2011), Ghana (April 2011), Mozambique (May 2011) and Rwanda (September 2011). The events allowed establishing robust South-South cooperation and peering learning networks on capacity development for mutual accountability, in the context of aid effectiveness c)In the Asia & Pacific region, UNDP supports the work of the Capacity Development for Development Effectiveness (CDDE) Facility which is a platform supporting countries in the Asia and Pacific region through peer-to-peer learning and capacity development support d)Several learning and experience exchanges have been facilitated, e.g. between civil service institutions in Afghanistan and Thailand; on CD Facilities between Nepal, Timor-Leste, and Afghanistan e)Together with World Bank Institute the E-Institute was launched as a network of e-learning institutes in the ECIS region and facilitates cross-country exchange of experience. f)In May 2012 a regional South-South cooperation fair in Latin America will bring together the cooperation offices and agencies of Latin America and the Caribbean countries and the South-South Cooperation experiences developed by the countries of the region. g)Partnership fostered with Inter-American Network for Public Administration in Latin America
3. Recommendation: Recommendation 3: UNDP should systematically assess good practices and develop knowledge of why these have taken place.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/01/12] [Last Updated: 2011/04/12]

While evidence from experience has been the standard for developing guidance on capacity development, UNDP recognizes the need to understand better the dynamics of change not only within governments and national domains but also within UNDP. Dedicated resources are needed for this work, which also needs to be integrated throughout the new UNDP knowledge management system. The publication series ?Stories of Institutions?, introduced in 2010, will further focus on documenting lessons learned about how best practice has evolved in the maturation of institutions and on UNDP?s gradual withdrawal from certain support functions. Similar initiatives will be launched to capture transformation and leave behind sustainable capacities. Common methods will be promoted for use across the organization and with national partners to learn from good practices and the factors of success.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Develop in-house capacity to analyze factors of success in addressing complex capacity challenges and to share lessons
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
Regional Service Centers, COs, BDP No due date No deadline established Completed: a) CD for sustainable development workshop providing basic set up for more focused CD approach to sustainable development b)As an example the Professional Development Programme designed for the African Adaptation Project strengthened the leadership capacities of key government and UNDP project managers across 20 countries in Africa to address the complex climate change challenges. Through leadership development courses, on-going networking and knowledge exchange, participants improved their problems solving skills, strategic planning and implementation capacity, change management ability in complex environment. On-going: a)In support of the AOC's people capability strategy, professional development initiatives have been launched. In the ECIS region the pilot is ongoing and so far has produced draft conclusions and guidance, which will be integrated in the the overall professional development approach c)CD missions on a regular basis include CD sessions for CO and UNCT staff (2012 examples: Afghanistan, Lao, Bhutan, Sri Lanka; 2013 exapmles: Vietnam, Belize, Timor-Leste, Bahrain, Somalia, Kosovo,Kyrgistan,Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Surinam) d) An innovation toolkit has been designed and tested in collaboration with NESTA addressing amongst other areas complex capacity challenges
3.2 Increase effort to engage with national counterparts to document and report on lessons learned and why success arises in capacity development applications as perceived by national stakeholders.
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
BDP No due date No deadline established Completed: a)Spearheaded by UNDP under the umbrella of the Learning Network for Capacity Development, cases on capacity development and sustainable results b)In preparation for the HLF in Busan UNDP engaged significantly with national counterparts to showcase, promote and share successful nationally owned CD approaches. Evidence to that is given in e.g. 8 case studies on southern led CD initiatives in Africa On-going: This is a wider challenge for the development community - making the what, how and why available in simple language and format. As UNDP's results reporting is strengthening capacity development results and lessons feature more broadly across the organization.
3.3 Invest in and sustain series on ?Stories of Institutions?, including throughout UNDP units and national partners, using common methodology. Explore other streams of similar documentation
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
BDP No due date No deadline established In 2012 the Global Center for Public Services Excellence has been launched and its research function is taking this forward Examples of previous stories: a)Collection of new stories of institutions, including case studies on ? High Performing Institutions that Promote Human Development?, b) case studies on Public Private Partnership c) Eight case studies on supporting transformational change available at http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/poverty-reduction/supporting_transformationalchange.html With the merger of the Capacity Development group and the Knowledge Management Group, a choice was made for more dynamic and decentralized form of knowledge capturing and sharing, connecting communities of practice with non-traditional expertise in online networks and communities. This also fits in the new UNDP Knowledge Management strategy
4. Recommendation: Recommendation 4: UNDP should develop the capacities and competencies of its staff and managers in country offices to identify opportunities to integrate capacity development into their programme and projects.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/01/12] [Last Updated: 2011/04/12]

This recommendation gets to the very heart of the UNDP operating model. It speaks to the need for quality leadership at country level (?informed judgment?), the quality of staff (?competencies?), the need for responsiveness on the ground (?flexibility?) and an entrepreneurial outlook to seize upon opportunities (?business orientation?). UNDP is committed to continuing to be responsive and flexible while also integrating capacity development more systematically into its work. The strengthening of the learning function, simplification of guidance and capture of transformative results initiatives detailed above serve to strengthen this response. It also involves continued investment in orienting staff on what it means to be a capacity development organization and how this should be reflected in programmatic interventions. This was done last in 2007 and was shown to have very useful impact. The recently produced ?Capacity Development Primer? has been well received by national partners. In combination, these point to the need to also extend capacity development learning to counterparts in government so there is a shared understanding of capacity development actions and the alignment of actions towards that end.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Ensure capacity development learning and strategic orientation are integrated into relevant learning platforms for all managers and staff
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
BDP, BoM 2013/12 Completed a)The UNDP Onboarding tool includes CD as well as presents the new Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity Group b)"Batawali" -an online case study on CD is available on the LMS c)Integration of CD clinic in PPO course d)Virtual course on CD in LAC e) Panama Diploma Course on CD for Smart Institutions ? a new approach towards knowledge sharing and organizational learning, more tailored to the new SP, is taking root and emphasizes distributed knowledge and learning, shifting away from a centralized, concentrated approach to learning.. The materials of the CD learning package can be made available in contextualized environments. Ongoing: a) Finalisation of CD for CD learning packages and roll out
4.2 Formulate and include capacity development competencies in human resource systems and job profiles, and highlight their importance in performance assessment
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
BDP, BoM 2013/12 Completed ? UNDP?s Core Competencies have been developed in the context of a revised organizational Competency Framework. ? Capacity development has been embedded into the People Management competency domain (core competency), as a manager?s responsibility to substantively expand the team members? capacity. ? The new performance management system, PMD, requires the assessment of the staff member?s development and sets a direct link between staff development needs and the competency and knowledge required to deliver results. ? It also allows for managers to be assessed in their capacity development efforts. ? Furthermore, work is underway to embed the Competency Framework into the recruitment process through e-Recruit. ? A next step is to embed it also into job descriptions.
5. Recommendation: Recommendation 5: UNDP should ensure that capacity development at regional and headquarters levels is not treated as a practice area.
Management Response: [Added: 2011/01/12] [Last Updated: 2011/04/12]

UNDP agrees with the finding that it should retain the present expertise in capacity development at headquarters and regional levels. UNDP further agrees that mainstreaming is the priority, and a strong custodial function is expected to decrease any proliferation of guidance or confusion over the capacity development approach being promoted by UNDP. At the regional level, capacity development services are already made available to countries (via country offices) for advocacy, policy and planning, as well as programming and project design. This may be further complemented through orientation of country-based advisors/specialists to identify and convey the opportunities in the programme and project cycle through which UNDP extends support to countries. Capacity development dialogue will be undertaken at regional and country levels to develop a shared understanding of where the opportunities lie for making transformative change, and therefore where resources are placed for leveraging such transformation. The TRAC2 allocation process will be reviewed to strengthen capacity development support to national partners through country programmes. To realize these ambitions, UNDP will establish a senior management review arrangement to ensure the capacity development agenda is mainstreamed, as was done for gender. Capacity development is not treated as a practice area in UNDP, but rather as a cross-cutting feature of its work. As with gender, empirical evidence suggests that mainstreaming requires dedicated hubs of technical expertise, quality assurance and support.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Continue mainstreaming of capacity development through programming arrangements, incentives, results capture and clarity of staff expectations
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
COs, RBx, BDP 2013/12 Completed a)In the context of the MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF), UNDP works with governments to identify capacity bottlenecks in off-track MDGs. The resulting national action plans are developing local solutions to address the identified bottlenecks, and to build partnership around the priority. Complete for MAF pilot countries Initiated for additional MAF countries Update of countries end of 2013: Countries with adopted MDG Action Plans: Benin, CAR, Mauretania, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Armenia, Moldova, Cambodia,Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, Tuvalu, Botswana, Chad, El Salvador, Kyrgystan, Lesotho, Mali, Nigeria, Tajikistan, Tonga b)See 1.1 and 1.4 above on revision of programming procedures c)Integration of CD into the project level QA system ensures that it is part of the regular programming process. Roles and responsibilities of senior management and project staff are clearly defined in the QA system to ensure all projects meet quality standards. Moreover, as ratings for each quality criterion including ?Sustainability and National Ownership? will be tracked and monitored and appear on the scorecard in the corporate online system, this will act as accountability and incentive mechanism.
5.2 Ensure sustainable financing arrangements to maintain critical capacities for the required capacity development functions in UNDP
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
BoM, BDP 2013/12 Completed a) The integrated resource mobilization strategy as well as well as the integrated budget management provide the framework and opportunity to situate and establish mechanisms that enable the organization to maintain a critical mass for the CD functions at all levels within UNDP. b) Capacity Development is an integral part of the IRRF of the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan
5.3 Institute senior management arrangements for mainstreaming capacity development, as was done for gender
[Added: 2011/04/12] [Last Updated: 2014/02/21]
BDP, ExO 2013/12 No Longer Applicable The analysis of the CD tracker and the ROAR data provides a structured opportunity to facilitate senior management oversight. Rather than a separate oversight mechanism parallel to the Gender Strategy Implementation Group, attention to CD may be systematically included in the regular management interfaces (OPG and EG). As mentioned in 5.1 above, roles and responsibilities of senior management are clearly defined in the QA system to ensure all projects meet quality criteria ?Sustainability and National Ownership?.

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