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PAR project evaluation
Commissioning Unit: Montenegro
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2022
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 12/2021
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Montenegro
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

It is recommended to explore linkages and synergies with other projects so that this project can be elevated as a programmatic platform. The evaluator recommends that in future programming, UNDP improve the strategic linkages between the project components and partners through designing it in an innovative manner as a “platform project“, where UNDP is gathering strategic partners around the same goal, without being at the centre of the project design. This project design is particularly applicable in complex thematic areas, such as public administration reform, which has multiple stakeholders and multiple development challenges. This offers on the one hand the possibility for donors to access and cover more partners within the same framework and on the other hand facilitates horizontal cooperation among national partners. However, the complexity of partnerships requires both individual tailor-made approaches towards certain project components but also a strategic overview of the entire intervention. There is a risk that although the projects are within the same framework they operate as silos.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/15]

The recommendation is accepted and will be pursued through the new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) and CPD 2022-2026 formulation process. In the new CPD programme cycle (2022-2026), UNDP will focus on designing Public Administration Reform as a ‘’platform project’’.  By mainstreaming of the position of the UNDP as the key partner of Government of Montenegro in the public administration reform sector, UNDP will use the existing momentum to elevate from a stand-alone project to a programmatic platform.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
New CPD/programming developed and validated with national partners
[Added: 2021/12/15] [Last Updated: 2022/10/13]
RR/Team Leaders 2022/10 Completed In both new UNSDCF and CPD (2023-2027), UNDP has designed Public Administration Reform as a ‘’platform project’’. The CPD formulation was explicit: 24. UNDP will support public administration reform to design services that are more people-centred, gender responsive, adaptable and efficient. The primary focus will be on improving inclusive local and national strategic planning, participatory results-based management, and better monitoring and evaluation, with data and evidence at the centre of decision-making on policies. UNDP will support the government in pursuing financial technology solutions to improve the transparency and efficiency of public finance management. The work will be closely coordinated with initiatives implemented by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development through its initiative supporting improved governance and management and the Regional School for Public Administration. History
2. Recommendation:

It is recommended that the project review its strategic direction allowing for some prioritisation of activities, while retaining its ability to be flexible and opportunistic. In order to provide some strategic direction, the evaluator recommends that the future programming use eGovernance as an enabler for programming in the area of public administration reform.

However, using eGovernment as the enabler requires going beyond the IT systems, tools and Infrastructure, because this does not automatically result in the streamlining and re-organization of government functions and transformation of roles and responsibilities. This needs to be part of a larger transformation process that underpin the human resource management, transparency and accountability.

At the same time during the next programmatic cycle a more holistic approach, that aims to balance a focus on internal reform with a concern for the changing relations between public administrations and citizens and business, will be needed. Functional assessments, as a tool of structural reform, need to provide the analytical basis and guide for programming and implementation. That includes identifying: a) redundant functions; b) duplication between and within institutions at central and local levels; c) missing functions as well as the review of the match between the function and the staff engaged in performing.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/15]

The recommendation is accepted and will be pursued through the new programming cycle. The strategic re-focusing will be made in terms of reformulating future outputs and the rationale behind the project, in order to ensure that the outputs are delivered and contribute to higher-level outcomes in a coherent manner, and that the project is successfully implemented.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Both recommendations will be addressed during next CPD programme cycle
[Added: 2021/12/15]
Responsible unit Team Leader and Programme Management 2026/12 Initiated History
3. Recommendation:

The communication between the project and partners should reflect work processes and achieve complementarity and increase programmatic synergies. The evaluator also recommends that project staff take a strategic, solution-orientated approach, which will further position the project and move from the communication of activity results towards communication of the strategic impact of results.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/15]

The recommendation is accepted and will be pursued through the next programming cycle. Communication will be further strengthened, through improving dialogue and the exchange of information, to ensure the quality assurance of the project results. UNDP will be continuously involved in dialogue with the project partners proactively addressing the challenges and limitations. A regular and active exchange with partners, with transparent communication of both positive and negative experiences will lead to sustainable partnership relations. UNDP will go beyond just the communication of results and develop a strategic communication plan to raise the partnership profile.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a strategic communication plan to raise the partnership profile and strengthening communication beyond communicating results
[Added: 2021/12/15]
Responsible unit Team Leader and Programme Management 2026/12 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

In the future special attention should be given to the process of selecting external consultants. The external consultants should be carefully selected with appropriate local and regional expertise and experience so they could provide expertise calibrated to the local context.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/15]

The recommendation is accepted and will be pursued immediately.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure that external experts always provide the needed technical support at the right level
[Added: 2021/12/15]
Responsible unit Programme Management 2027/12 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

UNDP needs to enhance its strategic approach in future programming in addressing partners needs and institutional priorities though adaptive programming, based on the experiences gained during the implementation of the project. This highlighted the need for responsive, flexible, and adaptive implementation based on the changing context and as such, UNDP should consider a move towards even more adaptive programming. This will allow for the shifting of priorities and resources where results are not being achieved. This approach will require strong and measurable system-based indicators and rigorous monitoring, including a regularly updated risk management framework to make adjustments to programming on a regular basis, but will allow for the potential of better results with the same resources. These should be systematically programmed and budgeted to allow for review, reflection and adaptation as required.

The next phase of the project should be looking more at incubating and seeding in the public administration reform sector. This means the project is investing resources in multiple, concurrent small level pilots that may be based on successful approaches from within Montenegro or from external sources with similar contexts, and then to see which are able to be adapted to work in this country and in this political system.

It is also recommended that during incubating and seeding UNDP further explore the cooperation with civil society organisations that could be instrumental in testing certain solutions and providing real time data that could be feed in into the project implementation.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/15]

The recommendation is accepted and will be pursued through the new programming cycle.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Building a higher degree of trust, adequately communicating and managing expectations and limitations, seizing opportunities and creating solutions.
[Added: 2021/12/15]
Responsible unit Team Leader and Programme Management 2023/12 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

In the next programmatic phase, it is strongly recommended that the issues of sustainability and national ownership are looked at in a more comprehensive way from the planning stage. UNDP should strive to synchronise capacity development process with the Government strategic and planning processes. It may be feasible to incorporate the capacity development process at the level of programmes/projects, across the formulation, implementation and review. Approaching capacity development through this process lens provides a rigorous and systematic way of supporting it; improves the consistency, coherence and impact of efforts; and helps promote a common frame of reference for a programmatic response to capacity development and the sustainability prospects.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/15]

The recommendation is accepted and will be pursued through the new programming cycle. The exit strategy will specify the transition arrangements and sustain and/or scale-up results, as relevant. It will describe how national capacities would be strengthened and monitored as relevant.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop the exit strategy
[Added: 2021/12/15]
Responsible unit Team Leader and Programme Management 2023/12 Initiated
7. Recommendation:

It is recommended to use the 2030 Agenda as a cohesive element in exploring and maximizing organic synergies between the project components and partners. This would also contribute to raising the profile of future project activities and results at the national level and assist Montenegro in meeting its international obligations, as well as strengthening UNDP’s strategic position as the key partner.

Management Response: [Added: 2021/12/15]

The recommendation is accepted and will be pursued through the new programming cycle. Particular reference will be made to SDG 16 and in particular targets 16.6 - Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels; and 16.7 - Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels; and their corresponding indicators.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Align future programming more closely to the Agenda 2030
[Added: 2021/12/15]
Responsible unit Team Leader and Programme Management 2023/12 Initiated

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