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Poverty Thematic Evaluation
Commissioning Unit:Cambodia
Evaluation Plan:2016-2018
Evaluation Type: Others
Completion Date:11/2016
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Cambodia
1. Recommendation:

UNDP should compile a policy-support-matrix identifying which partners and agencies are currently providing policy support to RGC and in which sectors. Such a matrix would assist UNDP to identify where gaps in high-level policy support might exist, and where UNDP’s best entry points for future policy support might be, particularly in UNDP’s focal area of poverty reduction and within the framework of the ToC, (e.g. in the national planning ministry; in developing a comprehensive social protection system for the most vulnerable, including those people with a disability; and in non-rice farming systems, including for cassava growers).

 

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/01] [Last Updated: 2017/01/06]

Agreed but requires proper sequencing with Recommendations #6

The mapping of partners and agencies against a policy-support matrix will be invaluable to identifying how UNDP should position itself. However, a few points: (i) this recommendation should be properly sequenced, and in line with the preparation of the next UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the Country Programme Document; ii) The mapping of partners and agencies should follow the articulation of a poverty-oriented policy-support-matrix within the framework of the Theory of Change.

As in other developing countries, it is critical to factor the fact that the existence strategy and policy papers does not necessarily translate into effective implementation of policy tools, the budgeting/roll-out of national programmes, or realization of policy/programme goals.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Articulate the underlying policy-support matrix implied by the poverty-focused Theory of Change.
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Team 2018/12 Completed The Country Programme Document 2019-23 have laid out policy options for addressing chronic poverty and strengthening economic resilience through policy and pilot of social protection scheme and inclusive growth economic policies.
Use the policy-support matrix (i)to map current policy/programme environment; (ii) to identify support from partners and agencies.
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Team 2018/12 Completed The process was done through the preparation of the new CPD. A number of initiatives with the aims of supporting climate resilience and poverty reduction are in place and funded. Two GEF funded projects on strengthening rural livelihoods which support community scale infrastructure and livelihood improvement schemes. Mine clearance to release land as productive asset to remote and marginalized communities remain the focus. Cassava value chain initiative aiming to improve the livelihood of cassava farmers and provide jobs to the sector labor force has received financing from the private sector. Government financing options are being discussed.
2. Recommendation:

UNDP should use proposed policy-support-matrix to identify gaps in poverty reduction policies, and, on the basis of these gaps and within the framework of a ToC, build  a menu of poverty reduction policy interventions; these interventions should be fully interlinked and coordinated within the framework of a ToC, which is itself built of an understanding of the drivers of poverty reduction, such that UNDP’s efforts would be more focused; thus with a clearly defined, comprehensive and focused set of poverty reduction policy interventions to offer.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/01] [Last Updated: 2017/01/06]

Agreed but requires proper sequencing beginning with the review/update of the TOC as reflected in Recommendation #6.

The articulation of a UNDP Cambodia policy-support matrix will be the first priority, as the basis for the proposed menu of poverty reduction interventions – and use the menu to map ongoing government/partners support, potential gaps, advocacies, and opportunities for UNDP policy-based programming (i.e. policy engagement drive opportunities for programming)

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Building on policy support matrix, identify potential areas/entry points for UNDP policy and programme support. These would include: (i) identified gaps in the policy/programme environment; (ii) priority policy/programme areas that encounter institutional bottlenecks
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Team 2018/12 Completed The new CPD identified entry point to offer the government with a model of social protection programme to support the extreme poor aiming to secure fund for piloting the programme.
3. Recommendation:

On the basis of the forgoing menu of policy intervention options, UNDP should engage directly at a high level with RGC to secure ownership and potential co-financing of the programme; this could lead to a cost-sharing framework that would enable UNDP to be more responsive to RGC’s identified needs and less dependent on sourcing external and third-party funding.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/01] [Last Updated: 2017/01/06]

This recommendation would have to consider the lack of institutions that ensure horizontal policy/programme integration.  Instead, UNDP Cambodia will initiate dialogue and engagement the critical RGC ministries/agencies the to secure ownership and potential co-financing of the programme. Focus will be on those ministries that have the capacity, effective authority, and resources to foster horizontal policy/programme coordination across the whole of government.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The selection of the key RGC ministries/agencies that have the capacity, authority and resources to foster horizontal/programme coordination across the whole-of-government, will be done as an integral part of Recommendation #2.
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Team 2018/12 Completed Through mine action programme, government confirmation to co-finance demining activities has been secured. Dialogue concerning government financial contribution to support cassava value chain initiative is on-going. Engaged with the Ministry of economy and Finance for potential piloting of social protection programme.
Opportunities for dialogue will be pursued with the critical ministries/agencies to discuss the possibilities for policy/programme engagement.
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Team 2018/12 Completed Through mine action programme, government confirmation to co finance demining activities has been secured. Dialogue concerning government financial contribution to support cassava value chain initiative is on-going. Engaged with the Ministry of economy and Finance for potential piloting of social protection programme.
Explore the opportunities for a comprehensive government cost-sharing framework.
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Team 2017/12 Completed An analysis of government cost sharing options was completed in 2017.
4. Recommendation:

UNDP should actively seek funding, through direct development partner negotiation, for the poverty reduction programme outlined in the previous recommendations and for a pool of discretionary funds to be directed quickly in support of emerging needs; this could be initiated within the context of the Goal 1 of the SDGs, securing such funding could enable UNDP to invite government to indicate any additional or other emerging policy support needs and reduce UNDP’s need to source third-party and external funding.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/01] [Last Updated: 2017/01/06]

Agreed but will have to consider the reality of declining ODA and earmarked donor funding.

This recommendation will necessarily have to take into consideration in light of declining ODA grants. What might be possible is to mobilize earmarked donor support for specific policy oriented activities within the context of specific projects or emerging policy engagement. This has already been initiated with regard to environmental governance reform. The task is to identify other opportunities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Actively explore opportunities to mobilize support from remaining development partners in priority policy/programme areas where consensus with critical ministries/agencies has been reached.
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Team 2018/12 Completed By end of 2018, three poverty focused initiatives have been formalized/initiated. Through mine action programme, government confirmation to co-finance demining activities has been secured. The first private sector financing to support cassava value chain was approved. Dialogue concerning government financial contribution to support cassava value chain was initiated. Ministry of Economy and Finance was engaged for potential piloting of social protection programme.
5. Recommendation:

With discretionary funding available UNDP should: a)  aim to provide demand driven support to government; care should be taken that projects/programmes are clearly driven by government’s needs and should not be driven simply by available sources of finance or/and donor agendas or preferences; and b) should take a more positive stance in its programming with RGC, in the manner of stating, for example, that: “at the request of government UNDP will mobilise support for policy analysis and development in the critical areas of (for example) SDG integration, trade, investment, social protection etc.; the objectives of UNDP’s support in these areas would be to assist the RGC to reduce multidimensional poverty and inequality, promoting gender empowerment and equity, and to ensure that the most vulnerable, including those living with HIV/AIDS and/or a disability, are supported”.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/01] [Last Updated: 2017/01/06]

Agreed, but the implementation of this recommendation must be conditioned on the challenge posed by declining ODA grants, declining levels of core funding, and the reality of earmarked funding, (e.g. climate change and environment).

In principle, all projects are demand-driven. However, UNDP Cambodia must contend with the challenge that ODA grants, the rise of earmarked funds, and the decline in core-resources. What might be possible is to secure funding for more specific policy/programme opportunities that meet the demand of government and donors.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
As indicated in Recommendation#3, as part of the dialogue, opportunities for policy/programme engagement. with the critical ministries/agencies and donors, will be maximized within the constraints imposed by the financing opportunities.
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Team 2018/12 Completed By end of 2018, three poverty focused initiatives have been formalized/initiated. Through mine action programme, government confirmation to co-finance demining activities has been secured. The first private sector financing to support cassava value chain was approved. Dialogue concerning government financial contribution to support cassava value chain was initiated. Ministry of Economy and Finance was engaged for potential piloting of social protection programme.
6. Recommendation:

UNDP should ensure that if a ToC approach is taken in future that: a) it clearly identifies and documents the understanding, links and transmission mechanisms between the interventions and the desired poverty reduction outcomes along a change pathway, and that it be periodically reviewed and updated; b) that where/when there is consensus with government on elements of the TOC, the updated understanding of the ToC be reflected and directly linked to the identified programmes, throughout the CPAP and CPD; and, c) a small number of targeted and measurable performance indicators directly related to the identified poverty reduction outcomes are included in the M&E framework to measure progress at both the intermediate and final outcome stages of the pathway.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/01] [Last Updated: 2017/01/06]

Agreed. This recommendation is integral to the implementation of Recommendations 2 &1 (in that sequence).

 For example, among the actions under Recommendation#2 is:

Review and updating of the TOC with a focus on articulating the drivers of poverty and vulnerability in Cambodia; and the policy/programme pathways for reducing poverty and building resilience. Moreover, as pointed out earlier, the results of the TOC review and updating are to contribute towards preparation of the UNDAF/CPD and pipeline development

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Review and update the TOC with a focus on (i) articulating the drivers of poverty and vulnerability in Cambodia; (ii) key and critical stakeholders; (iii) and the policy/programme pathways for reducing poverty and building resilience.
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy team 2017/07 Completed TOC was revisited and updated for the new CPD with strong focus on addressing socio, economic and environmental vulnerabilities.
Building on the dialogue, integrate points of consensus with government and donors into the preparation of the UNDAF/CPD and pipeline development.
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/08/10]
Policy and Advocacy team 2018/09 Completed The new CPD 2019-23 was drafted in consultation with the government, DPs and CSO partners. Pipelines are anchored along the areas of priorities.
Align the M&E Framework of the current and future CPAP, CPD accordingly with points of consensus.
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Management Support Unit 2018/12 Completed M&E framework of the new CPD developed in alignment with the new UNDAF and CPD 2019-23 and is supported by clear methodology note and indicator tracking.
7. Recommendation:

UNDP should develop brief, easy-to-understand advocacy materials on the current and future CPAPs and provide these to stakeholders to foster engagement in UNDP’s activities; in future simplify, as far as possible, the documentation for the CPAP to make clearer the links between, any future ToC and the CPAP, UNDAF, UNDP Strategic Plan, and the national development priorities.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/01] [Last Updated: 2017/01/06]

Agreed. UNDP Cambodia recognizes the importance of producing communications and advocacy materials to foster stakeholders’ engagement. Materials have been and/or are being produced.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Articles, Blogs, Infographics on the 4 key issues are regularly published in Cambodia’s English Print Media and on the UNDP website and social media.
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy and Advocacy unit/Programme 2016/12 Completed Articles, blogs, infographic of CPD priorities, key messages published on regularly basis on UNDP website, social media and media outlets. This is to become standard practice.
Videos on the UNDP 2016-2018 Country Programme Document and the 4 key issues (Upgrading Value Chain, Development Finance, Building Resilience and Voice and Participation are being produced
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Unit /Comms team/Programme 2017/04 Completed Video featuring the priorities of CPD 2016-18 was published in CO website.
Communications and Advocacy Strategy for Country Office is being drafted (Technical Briefs on the key issues are included)
[Added: 2017/01/06] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Unit/Comms team 2017/12 Completed
8. Recommendation:

UNDP should provide capacity building in evidence-based policy analysis that is based on a structured use of data and sound principles of mutually reinforcing policy wherever possible; such capacity building should be undertaken across all key economic and social sectors, as well as high-level policy agencies within government; and where appropriate support could also be provided to academic institutions and think-tanks, to support policy development and improve decision-making.

Management Response: [Added: 2016/12/01] [Last Updated: 2017/01/07]

Agree to explore what might be possible as considering the absence of mechanisms for horizontal policy/programme integration.

The implementation of this recommendation should recognize the lack of mechanisms for horizontal integration of policy/programme.

Also, the implementation will depend on extent the RGC accepts support to evidence-based policy. To this end, UNDP Cambodia will explore (i) what might be possible as it engages the critical ministries identified earlier; (ii) the opportunities to work with think tanks, as part of the SDG localization process

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
As part of the dialogue with critical ministries/agencies identify opportunities for joint research to build evidence for policy in high priority areas.
[Added: 2017/01/07] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Team 2018/12 Completed UNDP supported the Council for the Development of Cambodia to conduct Development Finance Assessment in 2017 to support RGC in assessing the state of development finance in Cambodia and identifying potential new sources of finance for national priorities. Climate Public Expenditure studies have been conducted annually. In 2018, UNDP supported RGC in an assessment of climate impact on Cambodia’s economy to call for public actions against climate change.
Advocate for the UNDP support to the Vision 2050 exercise which will guide SDG Localization and subsequent National Strategic Development Plans (NSDPs)
[Added: 2017/01/07] [Last Updated: 2018/12/23]
Policy & Advocacy Team 2018/12 Completed UNDP has been closely engaged by RGC in the process of Vision 2030. SDG localization was finalized and approved by the Council of Ministers in 2018. RGC reiterated requests for UNDP to support Vision 2030 and 2050 processes in the LPAC meeting of Policy and Innovation Hub in Dec 2018.

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