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Evaluation of UNDP Contribution to Environmental Management for Poverty Reduction: The Poverty-Environment Nexus
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 ensure that practices follow principles. In addition to following policy and advocacy, UNDP needs to learn from good practices and replicate successes.

UNDP should build upon its analytical work and successful programmatic experiences to integrate poverty reduction and environmental management in its operations at the country level. UNDP’s policy and advocacy work on the importance of the poverty-environment nexus should be more systematically incorporated into its programming. This will also require identifying good practices and lessons from operations at the headquarters, regional and country levels and analysing success factors that can be scaled up and replicated. An important part of this work will be enhancing knowledge management across the various units, regions and country offices to ensure that good practices and lessons are disseminated across units and regions.

Management Response: [Added: 2011/01/12] [Last Updated: 2020/07/10]

Ensuring practice follows principles requires working arrangements conducive to cross-practice collaboration. There is already recognition of principles and practice which benefit both poverty reduction and environmental enhancement. The initial focus of UNDP collaboration will be on enhancing development effectiveness by improved knowledge-management processes in the poverty-and-environment area. These improvements will center, inter alia, on: mainstreaming poverty-environment concerns; food security and the environment; crisis vulnerability and recovery; gender-poverty-environment issues; biodiversity and poverty alleviation; local management of natural resources for pro-poor growth; and issues surrounding urban poverty and environmental quality. These efforts will need to learn from current activities such as the GEF Small Grants Programme, other GEF-funded programmes and projects, country programmes developed under the Poverty-Environment Initiative, country programmes addressing poverty-environment linkages, and country programmes that take holistic approaches to development. Such learning will be instrumental in helping UNDP provide greater support to national counterparts so that they can make progress on Millennium Development Goals acceleration and sustainability, as well as in emerging areas such as low-carbon, climate-resilient development and the green economy (including access to energy).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Develop formal working arrangements between poverty and environment practice areas in UNDP to explore practice on MDGs, LCCRD and green economy.
[Added: 2011/04/08] [Last Updated: 2014/02/19]
BDP/EEG/PG 2011/06 Completed A team comprising of PG and EEG colleagues has been established to address this key action. A concept note on working arrangements has been developed which outlines three organizing areas of work: 1) policy perspective, 2) trade-offs and synergies, and 3) promoting good practices and defining emerging trends. In 2012 joint work will focus on the following knowledge products: 1) generating a policy evidence product to distill good practices of integrated policy interventions including case evidence from Rio+20 national consultations and PEI synthesis, 2) developing and improving tools to support sound decision-making for sustainable development, and 3) generating practical evidence product for how PEI can strengthen the multi-dimensional poverty aspects within its programme approach. Specific activities include: - Draft note developed outlining details of collaboration on PEN as well as a joint work plan - Formal letter of collaboration, including resource allocation, between EEG and PG developed and agreed - Development of 3 joint knowledge products as per the formal working agreement and as summarized above. The EEG and PG team are now focusing on the policy issues surrounding green economy and poverty reduction and tools for promoting green economy policies.
1.2. Prepare and disseminate a flagship synthesis report on poverty-environment practice (related to MDGs, LCCRD and green economy) and on how the policy view can add to sustainable development.
[Added: 2011/04/08] [Last Updated: 2014/02/19]
BDP EEG/DGG/Gender Team/PG PEI 2012/12 Completed In light of the Rio+20 discussions UNDP is elaborating a flagship synthesis report. This report is being developed under the auspices of UNDP?s Rio+20 Task Force which is co-chaired by BDP and BERA and includes focal points from all of the Bureaus. The report uses country case studies that describe policy measures, programmes, and efforts that can support a more robust and sustainable human development model. This key action is closely related to Key action 2.1 described below. In addition, specific activities include: - Draft UNDP flagship report for Rio+20. - Conduct network consultation across UNDP - Final flagship report disseminated.
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2: The Poverty-Environment Initiative represents good practice and should be scaled up to provide a model of how UNDP does business at the country level. It should also be used as a model for working together with UNEP and other agencies.

UNDP should formalize the largely successful PEI, scaling it up from a stand-alone programme managed primarily as a part of the environment and sustainable development focus area to a cross-sectoral approach that will inform the organization’s work across the poverty reduction and environment and sustainable development focus areas, especially at the country level. The PEI model should be utilized to develop effective ways of integrating the concerns of poverty reduction and environmental management in UNDP programming. It should also inform other programmes and initiatives, such as climate change adaptation, that integrate poverty reduction and environmental management.

The PEI approach should also be used as a model for collaboration with other agencies. Lessons from both substantive and organizational cooperation between UNDP and UNEP under the PEI should be analysed and used to inform future collaboration with other members of the United Nations family.

Management Response: [Added: 2011/01/12] [Last Updated: 2020/07/10]

The PEI has been specifically designed for framing the poverty-environment situation and for mainstreaming these issues into national development processes of countries, as articulated in the overarching programme document ?Mainstreaming Environment for Poverty Reduction and Pro-poor Growth: Proposal for Scaling-up the Poverty Environment Initiative? (April 2007). The PEI programme is due to finish at the end of 2012, and UNDP recognizes that the PEI contains examples of good practices that it would be good to mainstream to promote sustainable development. UNDP will endeavor to: (a) capture and systematize the lessons learned from the PEI; (b) mainstream this information as part of the 2008-2013 Strategic Plan; and (c) prepare a longer-term model for poverty-and-environment practice with UNEP and other agencies. Given that PEI primarily addresses the needs of least developed countries, an analysis will be conducted on how to adapt the integrated poverty-environment approach to other country typologies, including middle-income countries.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Prepare a detailed report on country experience in relation to mainstreaming poverty-environment issues.
[Added: 2011/04/08] [Last Updated: 2014/02/19]
BDP/EEG/PG PEI 2012/03 Completed The objective of this action is to produce a report which will propose a policy and practice perspective for UNDP with a clear focus on integrating poverty reduction and environment-related issues within the framework of multi-dimensional poverty and human development. It will provide the basis for a guidance note on poverty-environment programming at the country level (see Action 3.3 below). Specific activities include: - Phase 1: A systematic review of past and recent literature on the poverty-environment nexus and the implications it has for development programming in terms of new analysis and emerging issues. - Phase 2: Document the lessons learnt from PEI from the perspective of programming within UNDP through a series of case studies. - Phase 3: analytical synthesis report based on the information previously collected from academic literature knowledge and practice as detailed in phases I and II.
. Develop a strategy for continuing working arrangements between UNDP-UNEP and other agencies on poverty-and-environment practice after the expiration of the PEI. Specific focus will be on how country-level programming can be supported with improved technical-guidance facility.
[Added: 2011/04/08] [Last Updated: 2014/02/19]
BDP 2012/12 Completed Following meetings of the PEI Joint Management Board and PEI Donor Steering Group there was widespread agreement that the PEI should continue from 2013 to 2017. Next steps include: - The preparation of next phase concept note - Develop a revised project framework document. The PEI joint management board has decided to develop a full project document for the next phase which will need to be developed in accord UNDP and UNEP internal policies and procedures and approval processes.
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: UNDP should provide guidelines and create verifiable indicators to further integrate poverty reduction and environmental protection into other UNDP operations. It must also invest in developing staff capacity.

UNDP should develop guidelines on how to integrate poverty reduction and environmental management goals into programming at global, regional and country levels. However, such guidelines will only be effective if staff understand the rationale for and importance of such integration and have appropriate incentives to work towards it. Therefore, UNDP must develop the substantive capacities of its staff in the regional bureaux and country offices to analyse povertyenvironment linkages and integrate them into programming where appropriate. Furthermore, verifiable indicators should be developed tomonitor and evaluate poverty and environment integration in programmes.

Management Response: [Added: 2011/01/12] [Last Updated: 2020/07/10]

One of the main issues associated with the poverty-and-environment debate is the need for better quantitative understanding of how the two fields are linked, treated and monitored so as to achieve positive results. There are difficulties in providing common indicators because the existing range of economic, geographic and thematic indicators tend to incorporate different methods of measurement. These various indicators and methods have been developed by several agencies and institutions, including UNDP and UNEP through the PEI. This wide range of information needs to be further refined and made applicable to country programming. UNDP will make additional efforts to develop quantitative frameworks for understanding poverty-and-environment practice in various contexts. In addition, there are verifiable indicators that can be developed from existing UNDP programmes and projects. For example, in 2010, more than 280 UNDP projects financed by the Global Environment Facility (not including the Small Grants Programme) monitored and reported on progress made against a limited number of poverty-environment indicators. Further, a quality review of the terminal evaluations for more than 30 UNDP projects financed by the GEF will examine poverty-environment nexus issues in the design, implementation and results of these projects. Should these initial steps prove useful, they could form the basis for the development of guidelines and training in knowledge management and as regards the reporting of poverty-and-environment outcomes.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Prepare guidance and on-line training package for country offices on how to support national counterparts in integrating, monitoring and evaluating poverty-environment considerations
[Added: 2011/04/08] [Last Updated: 2014/02/19]
BDP/EEG/PG 2012/07 Overdue-Initiated As a follow-up to the lessons learnt exercise on PEI (Action 2.1) the approach will be to write a second edition of the Handbook for Mainstreaming Poverty Environment linkages into Development Planning. This will include a number of technical annexes which build on governance and the institutional context analysis, economic tools for mainstreaming and integrating the poverty dimensions. This activity will commence in the second half of 2012 following completion of Action 2.1 described above and will be conducted jointly with UNEP. A guidance has been prepared and awaiting publication.
Undertake a quality review of more than 30 project terminal evaluations of UNDP projects which were financed by the GEF and undertaken in 2010. Objective is to examine poverty-environment nexus issues in the design, implementation and results of these projects.
[Added: 2011/04/08] [Last Updated: 2014/02/19]
BDP/EEG 2012/02 Completed Activity is completed by the UNDP Evaluation Office (rather than BDP/EEG) on an annual basis. This is a requirement of the GEF Evaluation Office. Many quality issues are examined, including the poverty-environment nexus. Specific activities include: - In 2011, 64 project terminal evaluations were reviewed - In 2012, 59 project terminal evaluation reports were being reviewed. These include a review of the poverty-environment nexus - UNDP EO and UNDP-GEF decided together that 64 project terminal evaluations (20%) of total portfolio under implementation in 2011 was sufficient for project learning but was not a significant sample size to distill higher level learning. This will be done in 2012 as the 2011 and 2012 project terminal evaluations combined will be large enough (about 120) to analyse higher level learning.
In association with other practices develop guidelines on indicator sets that can be applied to assist in measuring sustainable development in the context of poverty-and-environment considerations.
[Added: 2011/04/08] [Last Updated: 2014/02/19]
BDP/EEG/PG/CDG/DGG Gender Team regional bureaux country offices PEI 2012/03 Completed As part of the assessment of PEI case study countries, all indicator sets developed will be analyzed in collaboration with other practices to determine their suitability as PEN indicators. This work is being conducted as part of Action 2.1 (Phases 2 and 3 described above). Indicators sets are based on national planning needs and are driven by national contexts. Indicators developed in various PEI countries have been gathered and collated. Many will be included in the revised Poverty-Environment Mainstreaming Handbook (see 3.3)
Continue UNDP?s mainstreaming service-delivery model, ensuring that the UNDAF process integrates the environment while focusing on the MDGs. This will be achieved by: (a) continued staff training on UNDG guidance and integrating environment into UNDAFs; (b) promoting technical review of UNDAFs and inclusion of poverty-environment dimensions in MDGs.
[Added: 2011/04/08] [Last Updated: 2014/02/19]
BDP/EEG/PG regional bureaux country offices 2012/02 Completed a) In 2009 and 2010, BCPR and BDP contributed to the elaboration of the UNDG guidelines for mainstreaming DRR, Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change (ES/CC) into CCA UNDAFs. These guidelines provide tools for UN Country Teams to prepare coherent UNDAFs across these three related areas. The UNDG Task Team on Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Rio+20 delivered three regional integrated workshops on mainstreaming environmental sustainability, climate change and disaster risk reduction into UNDAFs in June and July of 2011. The workshops? objective was to develop capacities of UNCTs staff members rolling out their UNDAF in 2011 and 2012. The events were delivered through collaboration between the UNDG Task Team member agencies, including UNDP and UNEP, and the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI), UNSSC, UNITAR, UNESCO, and UNISDR. UNDP contributed by sharing the cost of the lead consultant to develop the training package and facilitate two of the workshops, providing a full-time staff to the coordination of the three events and through secretarial and support work. b) Various mechanisms are in place to support and review UNDAFs to promote the inclusion of poverty-environment nexus dimensions as well as integration into MDG planning. The consultations on Post 2015 development agenda are bringing new emphasis to the links between environment and development. UNDP is a co-lead on the environmental sustainability thematic consultation. The links to environmental sustainability and poverty reduction in MDGs is a key area under review.
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4: UNDP must overcome the functional silos that prevent cooperation and integration between focus areas. Analysis of poverty and environment priorities should be incorporated into governance and crisis prevention and recovery, as well as gender support activities, and vice versa.

UNDP should encourage cross-practice cooperation, recognizing that achieving desired results often requires integration and joint programming between focus areas. The design of country programmes should include a systematic analysis to help identify areas where integrating environmental management with the poverty reduction, democratic governance and crisis prevention and recovery focus areas would be important for achieving development results. This analysis should comprise one aspect of UNDP’s proposed environmental assessment screening process, and it can be a useful tool when UNDP develops new environmental and social safeguard policies. It should be required that programmes be designed to address the integration in cases where the importance of such linkages has been established.

Management Response: [Added: 2011/01/12] [Last Updated: 2020/07/10]

A number of actions will build on the successful poverty-environment nexus approach to enhance UNDP?s multi-dimensional response to development challenges. These include: (a) expanding the nexus view both to include relevant crisis-prevention and recovery issues, particularly those related to disaster risk reduction, and to take gender issues into consideration; (b) rolling out UNDP?s environmental safeguards into country programmes and projects; (c) continuing the development of social safeguards for UNDP programmes and projects; and (d) advocating poverty-environment practice within regional cluster meetings and community of practice meetings.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Integrate the poverty-environment perspective and the MDG sustainability framework in the contexts of disaster risk reduction and post-crisis recovery.
[Added: 2011/04/08] [Last Updated: 2014/02/19]
BDP/EEG/PG BCPR 2012/06 Completed This is a broad action area related to strengthening collaboration between BCPR and BDP (EEG and PG) and ensuring UNDP?s work in DRR and post-crisis recovery are sustainable and integrate the PEN. Some examples of results and initiatives in this regard are the following: - See Comments under Key Action 3.4 related to guidance and capacity development related to mainstreaming climate change, environmental sustainability and DRR into UNDAFs. - As highlighted above, some examples from the Asia-Pacific region of the way new UNDAFs have reflected the PEN in the MDG framework and in the context of DRR at Outcome levels are in India, Pakistan, PNG, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Samoa, Myanmar. A strategy to guide country offices on the DRR and climate risk management (CRM) measures indicated for specific country situations based on assessed level of risk and country DRR/CRM capacity has been drafted. The document is undergoing a process of consultation and iterations. - A joint project between BDP and DRRT/BCPR on climate risk management (CRM), entitled CRM Technical Assistance Support Programme, is finalizing risk assessments in a series of countries which will now be fed into existing policy and programming processes. Several launch workshops are planned for 2012 to present the finalized assessment and to encourage dialogue on how best to use this data to inform development plans and policies. The AAP concluded at the end of 2012 and the final evaluation is being conducted and due for completion in March 2012 and results will be used to influence policy approaches to climate risks and development challenges.
Roll out environmental safeguards in UNDP programming.
[Added: 2011/04/08] [Last Updated: 2014/02/19]
BDP/EEG RSC country offices 2011/12 Completed In 2008 EEG initiated a process to incorporate environmental safeguards into UNDP?s POPP. This has evolved to be an integrated environmental and social screening procedure for UNDP projects. This screening procedure provides a safeguard measure that will be a mandatory requirement for proposed projects greater than USD$500,000. This new procedure provides an accountability mechanism to help ensure that UNDP projects take an integrated approach to supporting countries achieve sustainable and equitable human development. Specific activities include: - Initial endorsement by OPG for phased roll-out of screening procedure - Establishment of a Steering Group with focal points from each Bureau to provide strategic oversight to the further development of environmental and social safeguards and the roll-out process - Ground-truthing phase conducted to trial the new procedure on a set of example projects, working with a set of COs. Feedback from countries resulted in further strengthening of social elements in the procedure (including gender). - OPG approval of a phased roll-out of the new environmental and social screening procedure - Integration of new screening procedure in UNDP?s POPP - In 2012 outreach, advocacy was undertaken through the preparation and delivery of 2 webinars. In addition, outreach has occurred through presentations to 3 Regional Bureaus. Activities are ongoing. - - Conduct review of 1st year of implementation and revise procedure and long-term plan for support. - On line web based tools developed and help desk established to assist country level capacities.
Continue to collaborate with relevant communities of practice to harmonize the approach to developing an integrated environmental and social safeguards framework.
[Added: 2011/04/08] [Last Updated: 2014/02/19]
BDP/EEG regional bureaux, country offices RSCs EMG 2012/07 Completed UNDP?s new environmental and social screening procedure is the first step in developing an integrated environmental and social safeguards policy framework for UNDP. This work is closely tied to the overall process to revise UNDP?s programme and project management policies and procedures, being led by CDG. Specific activities to ensure a collaborative and cross-practice approach include: - Steering Group with focal points from each RBx to provide strategic oversight and guidance (see comments under 4.2) - Convene a cross-practice working group to lead the development of an integrated environmental and social safeguards policy framework. - Develop a draft integrated policy framework and conduct a network consultation with relevant communities of practice. UNDP has established a cross-practice team in BDP to assist in promoting quality programming including integration of environmental and social quality standards across the organization.

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