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Evaluation of UNDP Partnership with Global Funds and Philanthropic Foundations
Commissioning Unit: Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Plan: 2009-2013
Evaluation Type: Thematic
Completion Date: 08/2012
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
1. Recommendation:

Recommendation 1: In fostering and strengthening partnerships with global funds and philanthropic foundations, UNDP should focus strongly on supporting the prioritization of national development concerns. To the extent possible, over-reliance on any particular funding source should be avoided in order to retain flexibility.

In working with global funds and philanthropic foundations to support national development, UNDP needs to be sensitive to the risk of influencing national development agendas through the availability of funding in earmarked sectors. Though uncommon, there were instances where a side effect of global fund involvement was to draw attention—and counterpart resources— away from the highest national concerns. In such circumstances, UNDP has a vital role as mediator, ensuring that the proposed package of activities meets national interests.

The integrity of UNDP programming in any given thematic area should be safeguarded by avoiding an over-reliance on one particular fund or foundation. Some sectoral programmes are heavily or wholly reliant on specific sources of funding. This makes the programmes vulnerable to closure if the funding stops. It can also focus attention away from areas that may be equally critical but for which funding may be less readily available. While some country offices may have few options, country offices should receive support to identify alternative sources of funding and diversify their funding base.

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/02] [Last Updated: 2020/07/07]

The evaluation found that global and vertical fund projects fit well with national priorities, and that UNDP has an important role as mediator, ensuring that country needs are matched with available funding. UNDP is pleased that the evaluation notes that no evidence was found to support the perception that global and vertical funds were ?imposed? on countries or that UNDP ?pressured? governments are into such projects. UNDP has identified three key elements to support country offices: programming, diversifying the funding base, and identifying alternative funding sources. UNDP shares the concern of over-reliance on one fund (the ?Global Fund? of ?GF?) to address national priorities such as the response to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. In that vein, the HHD Group/Global Fund Partnership Team is prioritizing increased work on the sustainable financing of national responses, particularly to HIV and AIDS, and will work, where possible, as a convenor to facilitate increases in domestic and international financing in countries where UNDP is the interim Principal Recipient (the ?IPR?).

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Support country offices in formulating integrated environment and energy country programming frameworks.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2014/03/09]
UNDP-GEF; UNDP Montreal Protocol Unit (MLF) 2014/12 Completed UNDP-GEF: The UNDP-GEF team co-led the preparation of the Technical Brief for the Open Working Group on the integration of biodiversity and ecosystems into the SDGs. This paper, which was a collaboration of the CBD Secretariat, World Bank, UNEP, FAO and UNDP, proposes the creation of a standalone SDG for natural resources and ecosystems, in addition to suggesting ways in which biodiversity and ecosystems can and should be integrated into all SDGs. The inclusion of biodiversity and ecosystems in those Goals will be critical to secure future financing for biodiversity and ecosystems work, including for the GEF underscoring the importance to UNDP-GEF EBD in positively influencing the SDG agenda. UNDP-GEF delivered the key note address From NAPAs to NAPs and LEDS, Green LECRDS to NAMAs Frameworks to scale-up, coordinate and mainstream climate action at the the EC-sponsored Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA), to assist country delegations to further define their negotiation positions re climate finance at the Warsaw COP. Angola, Namibia and South Africa signed the world?s first large marine ecosystem legal framework, the Benguela Current Convention, to work together on the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem, one of the richest ecosystems on earth. Representatives of fisheries and environment ministries of 21 States from the Caribbean region have agreed on a common roadmap towards the sustainable management of their shared living marine resources. Chad, Egypt, Libya and Sudan signed a Strategic Action Programme (SAP) that aims to optimize the equitable use of the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System. MLF: Project document before signature follows necessary integration in country development assistance framework/UNDAFs.
1.2. Assist countries in programme implementation; provide support in accessing, combining and sequencing financing.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2018/03/28]
UNDP-GEF; UNDP Montreal Protocol Unit (MLF) 2014/03 Completed UNDP-GEF: Since July 2010, the UNDP-GEF Unit has assisted 146 countries to access USD 1.7 billion in GEF grant money. MLF: Our regional teams provide frequent support to Country Offices to implement MLF programmes. Accessing and sequencing finance efforts took place with the GEF, Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and also with various bilateral donors (Japan, Italy, USA, Australia and Canada). History
1.3. Continue the environment community of practice networks at the regional and global levels.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2018/03/28]
EEG; UNDP-GEF; GEF SGP; UNDP Montreal Protocol Unit (MLF); BDP 2014/03 Completed UNDP-GEF: In 2013, RMB and M&E Training specific to GEF requirements was provided to 5 country offices in South Eastern Africa. Training on economics of adaptation to policy makers from ministries of finance and planning in over 15 countries in Asia and another 12 in Asia was also undertaken this year. MPU staff participates in networks at regional level when feasible, mindful of budgetary constraints. History
1.4. Support country offices in aligning Global Fund grants with national development plans and poverty reduction strategies, promote appropriate public sector reform and anti-corruption initiatives, and foster principles of national ownership, aid effectiveness and sustainability.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2016/02/05]
Global Fund 2014/12 Completed GLOBAL FUND: The new Web-based Capacity Development Toolkit launched in April 2012 provides access to web-based support to national stakeholders and country offices (the "Toolkit"). The main entry point is strengthening national programming and M&E entities and systems for national responses to HIV, TB and malaria, ensuring alignment with national strategies and public sector reform. The principles of the approach are of engagement of stakeholders including vulnerable groups to increase ownership. The largest focus is on strengthening fiduciary management and oversight by supporting national entities to work towards national financial and procurement systems that increasingly comply with national and international standards. Based on the initial roll out of the Toolkit, a further module on Policy and Legal Enabling Environments is currently under development and will be added in 2013 to respond to demand. This will help strengthen National Strategic Plans and further mainstream a Human Rights approach. Beyond the CD Toolkit, the HHD Practice Group is launching a Regional Project on ?Sustainable financing of National HIV Responses and Reducing Cost of Treatment in selected CIS Countries?. Furthermore, as per Grant Agreements with the Global Fund, where relevant, the UNDP Country Office monitors country contributions to health programmes. Recent updates include a commitment from the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to increasing its contribution to antiretroviral treatment to ensure all those who need treatment are covered. Also, in Djibouti, the Government has recently signed an agreement with the CO on domestic contributions to antiretroviral and MDR-TB treatment. In Tajikistan, UNDP is advising the Government on the formulation of a national poverty reduction strategy that will be an important basis for investments in the social sector, both by donors and from the national budget. Finally, with the new Global Fund Funding Model, there are increased opportunities for UNDP to support country-led processes to apply for further Global Fund grants.
2. Recommendation:

Recommendation 2: UNDP should engage more explicitly and consistently with global funds and philanthropic foundations in order to establish common ground and develop mutual approaches to development challenges. In its partnership with global funds and philanthropic foundations, UNDP should place more explicit emphasis on the central importance of mainstreaming a human development perspective and developing national capacities.

UNDP needs to continually demonstrate to global funds and philanthropic foundations that it is a relevant partner. In addition to maintaining a country presence and the ability to deliver programmes and projects, relevance is a function of the value that UNDP adds in contributing international expertise, sharing lessons learned from across the world and building synergies with broader efforts. 

This is important to both global funds and philanthropic foundations, particularly as the latter are sensitive about being treated by UNDP as equal partners in development. The philanthropic foundations thus stress the importance of building long-term relationships of trust that are motivated by mutual principles and common objectives, rather than the regular transfer of resources from the foundations to UNDP. 

UNDP should also make more concerted efforts to ensure that its partnership with philanthropic foundations falls within its programmatic mandate, adheres to human development principles and represents value for money. 

As specified in its Strategic Plan, the UNDP human development agenda requires a multidimensional and inclusive approach to development. The programmatic focus of partnership with global funds and philanthropic foundations has often been more one-dimensional, in line with the narrow sector- or issue-specific objectives of particular partners. While UNDP has made progress in advocating stronger linkages with a broader human development perspective— particularly in working with global funds on health and environment-related issues—and in securing its partners’ commitment to related objectives,  UNDP should be explicit in its requirement to foster cross-linkages that encourage the inclusion of gender equality, capacity development, environmental sustainability and civil society participation, etc. In order to facilitate such cross-linkages, it may be necessary for UNDP to provide a level of counterpart funding that will strengthen its internal capacity to advocate and contribute expertise on related issues.

Capacity development is focused on project-level activities. However, an overarching approach aimed at enabling national partner independence in line with United Nations commitments needs to be prioritized in partnership arrangements. A more systematized approach is necessary as it will enable offices to identify opportunities for capacity development, to better track progress, and to better explain to other stakeholders what it is doing. Capacity development should be a key deliverable in all global fund and philanthropic foundation projects with clear benchmarks that can be monitored and evaluated.

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/02] [Last Updated: 2020/07/07]

The evaluation recognizes that project-based capacity development activities are commonplace. The global and vertical funds prioritize capacity development and have developed monitoring and reporting tools to measure progress. Within the constraints imposed by the independent mandate of each global fund, UNDP will promote cross-linkages between environmental sustainability, gender equality, capacity development, and civil society participation. The expanded role of UNDP in ensuring greater policy and programmatic input in Global Fund policy circles, including as part of the UNAIDS delegation to the Global Fund board, demonstrates the added value of UNDP as a partner beyond the implementation of the grants. UNDP supported the Global Fund board and Secretariat in developing the Global Fund strategy, (2012-2016), and has become a trusted partner to the Global Fund in addressing development challenges linked to the three epidemics. This work will continue: cross-cluster and cross-practice collaborations have been prioritized and will be bolstered in 2012 and beyond. As noted above, the increasing investment in enshrining capacity development and overall systems-strengthening within Global Fund grants where UNDP is the IPR is already serving to facilitate the longer-term capacitating of national entities in programme implementation. The significant progress on capacity development and the links between UNDP Global Fund work and its broader in-country human development work is well illustrated throughout the evaluation report. However, the report accurately shows that standard UNDP reporting does not adequately reflect all the progress in this area. In refining the ROAR, UNDP will strive for a more consistent, stronger way to capture these synergies and capacity development progress at the country level.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Monitor and report on progress in project-level capacity development (including via the UNDP capacity development tracker) by global and vertical fund projects.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2018/04/20]
UNDP-GEF, UNDP Montreal Protocol Unit (MLF), CDG, gender team 2014/03 Completed UNDP-GEF:Completed 2013 monitoring exercise of 328 GEF/LDCF/SCCF financed projects. Compiling data and results to include in UNDP-GEF Annual Reports conducted in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017. MLF: All projects contain an important element related to capacity development. This is even more so through the MLF institutional strengthening projects and national level training components of the projects. History
2.2 Monitor and report on progress in project-level gender equity (including via the UNDP gender marker) by global and vertical fund projects.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2018/04/20]
UNDP-GEF, UNDP Montreal Protocol Unit (MLF), CDG, gender team 2016/02 Completed UNDP-GEF:Completed 2013 monitoring exercise of 328 GEF/LDCF/SCCF financed projects. Compiling data and results to include in UNDP-GEF Annual Report planned for publication in May 2014. Annual reports prepared in 2015, 2016, 2017.UNDP. GEF Gender Policy approved in 2017. UNDP-GEF Gender Focal Point is working closely with the GEF Secretariat to further mainstream gender into UNDP supported GEF financed projects. The MPU team has a designated Gender Focal Point. MPU reports on gender results through UNDP's gender rating system, the Gender Marker. History
2.3 Refine the ROAR to enable reporting on the synergies between the work of the global and vertical funds and the broader human development agenda of UNDP.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2016/02/05]
OSG, BDP, regional bureaus 2014/12 Completed
2.4 Launch and disseminate the BDP/HIV, Health and Development Group Group-CDG ?capacity development toolkit to strengthen national entities to implement national disease responses for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria?.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2014/03/07]
Global Fund, CDG, regional bureaus 2014/12 Completed GLOBAL FUND: The Web-based Capacity Development Toolkit was launched in April 2012, utilizing a wide-reaching dissemination strategy, including established networks, Teamworks, webinars and several ?launch? meetings with regional bureaux and through social media The Toolkit provides guidance, resources and tools to strengthen government agencies and CSOs to manage programs, effectively mitigate risks and enable a smooth transition to national entities of the Principal Recipient role when circumstances permit. The toolkit includes guidance on: program management; sub-recipient management; financial management; risk management; procurement and supply chain management; and monitoring and evaluation. It uses UNDP?s 5 step capacity development approach with the goal of strengthening performance through better institutional arrangements; systems and procedures; and information and knowledge management. The toolkit was developed by a matrixed team from the BDP Partnership Team and KICG, based on a more comprehensive approach in Haiti, Zambia and Zimbabwe and was reviewed by country offices and regional bureaux. With more people in developing countries now accessing the internet using mobile phones rather than computers, the mobile version of the Capacity Development Toolkit was launched in December to more effectively reach end users. Finally, based on the initial roll out of the Toolkit a further module on Policy and Legal Enabling Environments was added by HHD Group in 2013 to respond to demand. This module will help strengthen National Strategic Plans and further mainstream human rights and gender sensitive approaches.
2.5 Monitor and report on progress in project-level capacity development by UNDP-managed Global Fund grants.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2016/02/05]
Global Fund, OSG, regional bureaus 2014/12 Completed GLOBAL FUND: All new Capacity Development Plans produced following the approach in the Capacity Development Toolkit create a baseline during the assessment process. The resulting prioritized Plans have measurable Capacity Development Indicators to enable these to be evaluated on completion. The Transition Plan uses a system of measurable milestones, firstly for strengthening systems and secondly for measuring levels of compliance.
3. Recommendation:

Recommendation 3: UNDP should focus on the role that partnership with global funds can play in securing development support to programme countries, particularly in the context of the rapidly changing international development cooperation architecture. UNDP needs stronger central coordination of information and knowledge management functions in order to facilitate a more strategic approach to partnership with global funds.

 Although each global fund reviewed has a corresponding support unit within the Bureau for Development Policy, there is no overarching function that oversees all UNDP work with global funds, and there is limited coordination among the respective units—or between them and regional bureaux and other policy bureaux and units. Identifying or developing such a function would place senior UNDP management in a better position to engage with the global funds in a more strategic manner. Considering the importance of the partnerships to UNDP, particularly from the perspective of resource mobilization, a more integrated and less piecemeal approach is advisable, particularly during a period when donor relations are undergoing rapid change. 

A central coordinating function is likely to enable a more strategic role in engaging with other development actors (particularly United Nations organizations) in connection with the partnership with global funds. At the country level, some relationships have been plagued by competition between United Nations agencies, although rules of engagement are often defined more clearly at headquarters level and respective responsibilities are delineated more readily. However, there is an overarching role to be played in coordinating corporate-level cooperation with United Nations agencies across different partnerships with global funds in particular—a role that goes beyond the responsibilities of the partnership-specific coordination units at headquarters.

While UNDP’s three-tier structure has proven relatively effective in delivering services to programme countries in line with the expectations of global funds, there are internal fault lines that constrain the exchange of lessons learned across the UNDP system. The quality of information is mixed and some regional offices offer better support than others. It is clear there are resource challenges at the regional level, but there are also difficulties in transferring lessons learned across regions and between UNDP units working with different partners. UNDP should explore ways in which to strengthen the management of knowledge emanating from, and pertaining to, different partnerships across the organization.  

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/02] [Last Updated: 2020/07/07]

The UNDP vertical fund units are located within relevant UNDP thematic policy units so as to promote cross-linkages and synergies in thematic programming. However, UNDP vertical funds face an increasing number of similar operational issues ? including environmental and social safeguards, fiduciary management, direct access, downward pressure on implementing fees, and difficulty in attracting, training and retaining highly specialized technical staff ? linked to their common implementation service model. A greater operational coordination between fund units could lead to efficiencies and the harmonization of various operational systems. As noted above, the UNDP-Global Fund Partnership is monitored by a high-level central coordinating body, the Organizational Performance Group (the ?OPG?), led by the Associate Administrator. The OPG brings all relevant parts of the organization together to agree on strategic directions for the partnership, including follow-up and actions to be taken by all concerned. Given the success of this business model in monitoring and driving Global Fund country implementation and strategic priorities for UNDP, it is suggested that the OPG could be the central coordination body for the other global funds as well, namely GEF and MLF, and that the OPG could complete the reviews sequentially. This would ensure and facilitate the systematic exchange of information and lessons across all the global funds managed by UNDP. It would also ensure greater support for diversification of funding (recommendation 1) and synergies in policy and programmatic work (recommendation 2) across the UNDP portfolio.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Continue to engage with regional bureaus in global and vertical fund programming.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2018/04/20]
UNDP-GEF; Global Fund 2014/03 Completed UNDP-GEF: Since late 2011, regular bi-annual meetings have been held between UNDP-GEF Unit and Regional Bureaus on programming and implementation issues. Two such meetings were held in 2012. Regional newsletter reporting on progress on the annual business plans for UNDP- GEF are prepared and shared every six months with RBx. GLOBAL FUND: The UNDP Global Fund Partnership team meets with Regional Bureaux twice a year to conduct the OPG Risk Management Consultations, as preparation for OPG reviews of the UNDP-Global Fund Partnership. These consultations provide updates to the Regional Bureaux on Global Fund policy and any major developments impacting the partnership, as well as focusing on countries that need particular attention. In addition, the Partnership team confers with Regional Bureaux on a regular basis throughout the year, regarding mission planning, risk countries, key achievements, updates on specific countries, or urgent Global Fund matters that impact on the partnership. For example, this includes discussing requests for particular UNDP Country Offices to take on the Principal Recipient role. Finally, all BTORS are shared with the relevant Regional Bureau. Regional Bureaux are also providing support to COs serving as Principal Recipient, including on the importance of CO senior management leadership, hands-on engagement and oversight of Global Fund grants. In addition, Regional Bureaux are ensuring that Principal Recipient activities must be seen as an integral part of Country Programmes and operations. History
3.2 Create a regular coordination mechanism between various UNDP global and vertical fund units and UNDP OPG.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2018/04/20]
Executive Office, UNDP-GEF, Global Fund, UNDP Montreal Protocol Unit (MLF), BDP 2014/03 Completed UNDP-GEF, MLF: Two meetings held 2013. Meetings held regularly. History
3.3 Increase knowledge management, learning and communication on the programming and results of UNDP global and vertical fund units.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2018/03/28]
UNDP-GEF; UNDP Montreal Protocol Unit (MLF), Global Fund 2014/03 Completed UNDP-GEF: In 2013, two newsletters per region were circulated on GEF/LDCF/SCCF and Adaptation Fund programming and results. A country performance dashboard of key risks of GEF financed projects in each region was included. Derisking Renewable Energy Investment(DREI) was presented by UNDP externally 31 times in 2013, covering a variety of fora and audiences (policymakers, donors, development partners, private sector, etc.) The DREI reports theory of change - about reducing investment risks, thereby reducing financing costs, and making energy more affordable - has been well received and recognized by many actors such as such as OECD, EIB, IRENA, IEA, and UNFCCC and has been incorporated in two significant multilateral reports: the OECD paper on green investment to the G20 (October 2013); and the UN System Task Team report on Financing for sustainable development as part of the post-2015 SDG agenda. UNDP, in collaboration with the UNFCCC Secretariat and the UNDP-Riso Center jointly prepared Guidance for NAMA Design: Building on Country Experiences launched at COP-19 in Warsaw and become the de facto official NAMA Guidance document UNDP and the International Energy Agency produced a policy document Modernising Building Energy Codes. In addition, the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) Study on Sustainable Charcoal in Uganda was produced. MLF: Allocation of one staff at MPU to improve KM, learning and communication of results. Increased interaction at regional level to ensure strategic approaches and better coordination. Distribution of knowledge products and increased consultation with Bureaux have been carried out in 2013 and consultations are planned to continue as needed. History
4. Recommendation:

Recommendation 4: Building on ongoing Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy initiatives, UNDP should develop a partnership strategy to engage with philanthropic foundations. Such a strategy should be built on a clear assessment of potential partners; on their motivations and goals; on potential benefits to UNDP programme countries; on UNDP value-added in engaging with such partners; and the opportunities and risks of doing so.

The philanthropic sector, an integral part of the evolving aid architecture, has become very important not only in terms of funding, but also in terms of contributing to the development debate. In some instances, philanthropic foundations have joined governing bodies of global funds, thereby becoming important partners in development. UNDP cannot ignore the vast amounts of funding being channelled each year through the philanthropic sector, particularly in circumstances where, given global financial crises, bilateral recourses for development may be at risk. 

Though partnership with philanthropic foundations is overseen by the Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, none of the current partnerships between UNDP and philanthropic foundations can be considered strategic. In order to make the most of potential opportunities for constructive engagement with philanthropic foundations, UNDP should undertake a thorough review of existing partnership experiences and potential partnership opportunities.

Subject to the outcome of such a review, UNDP may consider making more concerted investments in building longer-term relationships that are based on mutual trust and mutual interest in addressing critical developmental concerns in programme countries. Even if the potential financial contributions appear to be relatively small, UNDP would be negligent in its responsibilities to its Member States if it did not engage with such foundations in a more proactive and sustained manner. UNDP could conceivably make an important contribution as a facilitator between philanthropic foundations and a range of partners in programme countries; moreover, depending on the nature of partnerships forged in the future, the potential for supporting the mobilization of significant amounts of resources for development should not be discounted.

UNDP should explore different models of collaboration with philanthropic foundations—such as mobilizing the collective support of foundations for particular issues, and engaging in partnerships with foundations in collaboration with United Nations partners involved in similar areas. 

UNDP should also strengthen its information management and reporting system for philanthropic foundations, with a view to improving its understanding of partnership trends with regard to such foundations.

Currently, obtaining consistent and comparable data on partnership with such entities is difficult. Existing accounting and data collection systems do not facilitate easy access to and analysis of related data. No central monitoring and evaluation systems are in place to track existing partnerships. This weakens UNDP’s ability to fully understand partnership trends with regard to philanthropic foundations or make evidencebased adjustments to its policies.

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/02] [Last Updated: 2020/07/07]

The new strategy for the UNDP engagement with philanthropic foundations aims to reposition the organization vis-à-vis the new developments in the philanthropic sector, and to embrace the new partnering opportunities. It focuses on the strategic collaboration for finding common solutions to development, and emphasizes mainstreaming sustainable human development. The strategy recognizes a wide range of cash and non-cash resources and assets that foundations offer and recognizes the new value proposition of foundations in international development. It outlines new collaboration models where foundations are positioned as development partners rather than donors, and offers space for working together in policy discussions, advocacy and problem analysis. Finally, it recognizes foundations as a source of valuable development knowledge.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP is developing a corporate strategy for engagement with philanthropic foundations.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2016/02/05]
BERA, with inputs from all bureaus 2014/12 Completed The strategy was developed with inputs from within UNDP as well as external foundations partners and is currently under implementation in line with the 3 years action plan. The strategy was adopted by the EG in July 2012 and currently implemented as per the adopted Action Plan.
5. Recommendation:

Recommendation 5: UNDP has a particular responsibility to find solutions to operational and procedural bottlenecks, including issues relating to transparency and oversight, that hamper relationships with global funds and philanthropic foundations. In order to minimize discord stemming from differences in bureaucratic cultures and expectations, UNDP should develop a communication strategy that clarifies what it can and cannot do.

UNDP administrative capacity is both a strength and weakness. Its global administrative capacity is often the reason why it is chosen to take on the role of implementing agency, as UNDP capacity assures donors that funds will be properly handled. It can also be a liability: donors, implementing partners and even UNDP staff, complain about the impacts on operations caused by bureaucratic hindrances. UNDP needs to address these complaints and find ways of drawing on best practices.

UNDP should conduct a comprehensive review of its rules, procedures and practices relating to partnership with global funds and philanthropic foundations. The review should provide the basis for engaging in comprehensive, crosscutting dialogues to strengthen partnerships and increasing efficiencies. Though UNDP faces its own administrative challenges, there are areas where it can draw on its experience, particularlyin collaboration with other fund recipients, in order to avoid repeating past mistakes. It should also lead to developing a partnership framework for global funds and philanthropic foundations, clearly defining programmatic objectives and the operational environment. 

Following the 2011 UNDP Executive Board decision to share audit reports with some global funds, UNDP should continue to review and take forward its processes for financial transparency and auditing in relation to non-core funds, large scale global funds in particular. Full disclosure should be the norm, whether it refers to information at the country level or principles upheld by the central organization.

UNDP overhead charges should be better explained and justified. There are some aspects that would benefit from further attention by UNDP, including ensuring that the differences in administrative fees charged to the various global funds have a rational basis, enabling a redistribution of costs between country offices depending on the level of work required and needing to better explain its cost structure to external stakeholders.  

In some cases, there is a strong sense by UNDP that overhead charges are insufficient to cover the actual costs of services rendered. UNDP should consider conducting a comprehensive assessment of the financial cost of partnerships with different global funds and philanthropic foundations. The assessment should focus on strengthening the UNDP position to negotiate overhead charges in the future and to demonstrate its level of counterpart funding. UNDP should also engage with its partners in more innovative ways in order to ensure that its work supporting programme country development is better recognized and understood.

Monitoring and evaluation of projects implemented through partnerships with global funds and philanthropic foundations should receive adequate attention, as partnerships can only mature when there is mutual learning. UNDP should also apply lessons learned from monitoring and evaluation of partnership with global funds and philanthropic foundations to other areas of its work. Engaging with global funds in particular has strengthened UNDP monitoring and evaluation capacities in related programme areas. UNDP should consider how these systems can be applied across the organization. An additional concern, however, is to ensure that monitoring and evaluation systems geared towards analysing project results can also capture contributions to achieving broader human development outcomes.

Management Response: [Added: 2012/08/02] [Last Updated: 2020/07/07]

The evaluation suggests that cross-linkages at the project-level remain mixed and that some opportunities for an integrated approach to sustainable development may be missed. The new environmental and social safeguard screening procedure adopted by UNDP late 2011 should help to address some of these concerns, as it supports the identification of cross-linkages early in the project design phase. As the new procedure is incorporated into the UNDP POPP, UNDP must ensure that it becomes the centrepiece for a new streamlined UNDP policy framework rather than an additional programming burden. The UNDP Evaluation Office has finalized guidance on project terminal evaluations that aligns with the requirements of global and vertical funds, notably GEF. The adoption and implementation of the guidance should address the concern that global and vertical fund project evaluations are not routinely uploaded to the ERC. As noted in the evaluation, the UNDP Executive Board decided in June 2011 to share audit reports with some global and vertical funds. These include GEF and will likely include the Adaptation Fund. The initiative was well received by the global and vertical funds.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 In the context of the UNDP agenda for organizational change, continue to strengthen partnerships across policy and regional bureaus, including the different funds, to promote cross learning; strengthen monitoring and evaluation and quality assurance; identify synergies and efficiencies; streamline reporting procedures; and clarify accountability ? all with a view to reducing confusion and burden at the country office level.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2018/03/28]
UNDP-GEF, Global Fund, UNDP Montreal Protocol Unit (MLF), BDP, OSG, regional bureaus 2016/02 Completed UNDP-GEF: The GEF EO overall performance study (OPS5) issued late 2013 reported that UNDP supported GEF financed projects have improved their M&E implementation ratings considerably since 2008 from 58% to 75% rated moderately satisfactory or higher and are currently outperforming projects supported by UNEP and the World Bank. History
5.2 UNDP Executive Board to provide audit statements to GEF Council on a regular basis.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2014/03/09]
EB Secretariat and OPG 2014/12 Completed This key action has been addressed in the 2011/23 EB decision responding to the emerging demand for greater information disclosure of internal audit reports.
5.3. Develop and implement a new UNDP policy framework incorporating the environmental and social safeguards policy.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2016/02/05]
BDP/EEG 2014/12 Completed UNDP's Social and Environmental Standards (SES) were approved by UNDP's Organizational Performance Group in June 2014 and became effective starting January 1, 2015.
54. Ensure that UNDP policies and procedures comply with the grievance and compliance elements of the GEF environmental and social safeguards policy.
[Added: 2013/03/19] [Last Updated: 2016/02/05]
UNDP-GEF, BDP, OAI 2014/12 Completed Compliance framework being led by OAI. OAI Charter was revised in 2013 to include environmental and social compliance.

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