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UNDP support to poverty reduction in the least developed countries
Commissioning Unit: Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021
Evaluation Type: Thematic
Completion Date: 12/2018
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
Documents Related to overall Management Response:  
1. Recommendation:

UNDP should consider more consistent engagement in a set of poverty reduction sub-themes. While engaging in different types of programme support, UNDP country programmes should make a distinction been demand-driven services and programmatic engagement, with adequate emphasis on the latter.

At the corporate and country level, over the years, UNDP has engaged in a range of poverty reduction areas and approaches, some of which lacked consistency in prioritization and engagement. In the LDCs, country programmes should seek opportunities for more substantive programmatic engagement on poverty reduction, developing more realistic medium- to long-term frameworks for inclusive growth and employment. UNDP should undertake an analysis of areas that should receive priority for medium- to long-term engagement. Country offices should emphasize more substantive programmatic engagement with scaling potential.

Moving forward, UNDP should clarify its focus on the LDCs, and outline LDC-specific pro-poor solutions, particularly in Africa where poverty reduction has been the slowest. In the coming years, since most of the LDCs will be in Africa, UNDP needs well thought through programme priorities for its engagement in key inclusive growth and sustainable livelihood issues.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/12/20] [Last Updated: 2020/06/27]

UNDP appreciates the complexity of developing a consolidated offer on poverty eradication that can meet the needs of a diverse set of countries such as the LDCs. For UNDP, programming and prioritization on the ground are primarily informed by countries’ demands and directly guided by their national development plans, the 2030 Agenda and the principle of leaving no one behind. Regional and country programmes are always based on comprehensive context analysis, the comparative advantages of UNDP and robust theories of change and are in alignment with the Strategic Plan and the 2030 Agenda. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1 Develop a common narrative to support poverty eradication efforts in LDCs, including guidance, good practices and tools to promote integrated, inclusive policy approaches that better balance environmental concerns with socioeconomic and political priorities
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices 2020/02 Completed UNDP’s 2019 Human Development Report (Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: Inequalities in human development in the 21st century) provides a framework to think about human development based on an enhanced capabilities approach – focusing on the next generation of inequalities that will be affected by climate change and digitalization. UNDP partnered with the World Inequality Lab, which hosts the world inequality database, to develop inequality measurements across countries and over time. UNDP’s Social Protection 2.0 Offer was finalized in 2020 (Beyond Recovery: Towards 2030) and socialized with 67 Country Offices, with special focus on LDCs. UNDP continues to monitor closely the Covid-19 socio-economic impacts on poverty levels in LDCs globally, focusing on the status of vulnerable and marginalized groups. Globally, UNDP engaged in the preparation of 144 UN Socio-economic Impact Assessments supported across 97 countries and five regions and 119 UNCT socio economic response plans supported in 137 countries in collaboration with the broader UN system. Specific country reports on the socio-economic impacts, vulnerability and risks in LDCs have been prepared (Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Yemen). Other impact assessments are underway (more information). More will be done in 2021 to align the priorities of LDCs with the COVID-19 recovery and the 2020 QCPR Resolution, in particular with the efforts under UNDP’s new Strategic Plan (2022-2025) and the new narrative for the next generation Signature Solution 1 on Poverty and Inequality to be released in September 2021. History
1.2 Support LDCs with capacity-building and tools for prioritized Sustainable Development Goal-based planning, budgeting and financing for development, data and statistics for robust monitoring and evaluation, including capacity development of provincial and local governments in Goal-based planning and budgeting
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices 2021/12 Completed UNDP launched a new COVID-19 Data Futures Platform – an open access and interactive platform that pulls data from the UN, non-profits, academia, private sector partners, development partners and countries around the world. The platform is a collection of data, analysis, visualizations, insights, and interactive tools that support strategic decision-making and capacity-building. It enables simulations for users to visualize the impacts of various socio-economic policies and interventions across the globe. During the pandemic, women have lost more jobs, shouldered a greater share of unpaid work, and suffered a surge in domestic violence. UNDP and UN Women’s COVID-19 Global Gender Tracker shows that some countries are including gender as part of their pandemic response efforts, including to tackle gender-based violence (GBV). Digital collaboration platform SparkBlue developed and enhanced, anchoring the integration portfolio, which serves several agencies and member states to conduct strategic consultations, drive learning and insights on connected challenges with multiple stakeholders. To overcome service delivery challenges, the Government of Malawi and UNDP have designed a dashboard that will eventually allow district councils to continually collect data, evaluate data and coordinate service delivery based on real-time information. The dashboard colour codes villages to geographically illustrate communities suffering from multiple off-track SDGs, such as malnutrition, access to clean water, and food insecurity - so called 'hotspots'. As a result of SDG dashboard computations, service delivery can be better targeted and prioritised to the hotspots areas, where people are most at risk of being left behind. The hotpots initiative could also integrate village level aggregated multi-dimensional poverty index (MPI) values for visualisation by the SDG dashboard. History
1.3 Undertake an analysis of multidimensional poverty eradication areas to be prioritized for medium- to long-term engagement for the preparation of UNDAFs and Common Country Assessments in LDCs, to enable country offices to incorporate substantive programmatic engagement in future programmes with potential for scaling-up
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux 2019/12 Completed Capacity of COs and countries enhanced with tools for multidimensional poverty measurement (MPI). The following two publications provide evidence-based conclusions that can inform medium to long-term priorities in LDCs: (1) UNDP and OPHI, University of Oxford (June 2019), Illuminating Inequalities; (2) UNDP and OPHI, University of Oxford (June 2020), Charting pathways out of multidimensional poverty: Achieving the SDGs. Relevant findings in 2020 include: The countries with the fastest reduction in MPI in absolute terms were Sierra Leone, Mauritania and Liberia, followed by Timor-Leste, Guinea and Rwanda. In 14 countries in SSA, the number of multidimensionally poor people increased, even though their MPI value decreased, because of population growth. Simulations based on different scenarios, suggest that progress across 70 developing countries could be set back 3-10 years due to COVID-19. 84.2% of multidimensionally poor people live in rural areas, where they are more vulnerable to environmental shocks. SSA African countries have the highest percentages of people who are multidimensionally poor and deprived in years of schooling (Niger, Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia) and school attendance (South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Mali). In Haiti, with the highest percentage of people who are multidimensionally poor and deprived in years of schooling in Latin American and the Caribbean (22.8%), rural women face more disadvantage than their male counterparts, and the differences by sex are higher (by about 2 years) among the non-poor and vulnerable groups. Environmental deprivations are most acute in Sub-Saharan Africa: at least 53.9% of the population (547 million people) is multidimensionally poor and faces at least one environmental deprivation. Environmental deprivations are also high in South Asia: at least 26.8% of the population (486 million people) is multidimensionally poor and lacks access to at least one of the three environment indicators. There is a strong positive association between employment in agriculture and multidimensional poverty, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural employment may not help reduce poverty in these countries without additional pro-poor policy interventions. History
2. Recommendation:

UNDP should better define for government counterparts the poverty reduction areas where it intends to stake out a strong technical support role; it also needs to detail the substantive tools and solutions it can provide towards sustainable income generation and livelihoods.

The poverty signature solution and emphasis on intersecting dimensions provide a much-needed impetus towards integrated programming. However, poverty reduction is a vast and complex area of support and UNDP needs to be more specific about the solutions with intersecting elements it can provide, and those specific to LDC contexts. Country offices need concrete and simplified integrated signature solutions for implementation and buy-in by governments.

Programme areas such as inclusive business and markets, private finance and impact investments, which enable structural transformation in income generation and employment, require UNDP to retain in-house technical proficiency. UNDP should accelerate the pace of action in these areas to enhance its role and contribution to poverty reduction.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/12/20] [Last Updated: 2020/06/27]

Signature solution 1, keeping people out of poverty, addresses interconnected social, economic and environmental challenges faced by the poor and vulnerable by focusing on determinants of both exiting poverty and falling back into poverty. Sustainable development pathways, inclusive markets, aid for trade, extractive industries and building institutional and national capacities all contribute to these objectives. Chapter V of the management response highlights areas where UNDP expects to play a strong technical support role.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1 Tailored innovative and integrated solutions on poverty eradication developed and applied to LDCs through acceleration labs
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices 2021/12 Completed Accelerator Labs aimed at connecting partners to test new approaches and identify locally sourced solutions at scale across a cohort of 32 Labs in LDCs, and to introduce experimentation into policymaking and public innovation. The following LDCs have a Lab: Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. For example, the Ethiopia Accelerator Lab is using foresight to map out the longer-term social and economic impacts of COVID-19 and their relation to the rural agricultural economy, jobs and incomes, and protecting and restoring MSMEs. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the UNDP Accelerator Lab is building an Atlas of Local Solutions database, which highlights an array of grassroots solutions from citizens and local innovators, from training farmers to use bamboo ovens due to the shortage of electricity to installing portable freezers in canoes to enable fishermen to deliver fresh fish to markets, that can be scaled to meet critical development challenges. In Nepal, the UNDP Accelerator Lab is partnering with the Kathmandu Metropolitan City to pilot the Kathmandu Business Hub (K-Hub) initiative, which serves as a platform to tackle youth unemployment by providing an ecosystem for startups and youth entrepreneurs to accelerate their ideas on business and entrepreneurship to create jobs. In Benin, the UNDP Accelerator Lab is working with market gardeners to test local solutions in agriculture to control crop diseases and increase access to credit and income generation opportunities by creating village savings and credit associations. In South Sudan, the Accelerator Lab is tracking the impact of financial literacy and mobile banking to boost the abilities of local entrepreneurs to weather financial shocks and increase their savings through improved money management skills. 400 women and adolescents from vulnerable groups participated in the training program, which empowers entrepreneurs to start businesses, and will receive a seed-capital micro-grant and form Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) groups. In Mali, the UNDP Accelerator Lab is pioneering the “Bamako without plastic waste” initiative to map solutions and find innovative approaches to managing and recycling plastic waste, while creating market value and jobs to support income generation. History
2.2 Support the development of a “leave no one behind” framework and tools to help United Nations Country Teams implement said framework
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/24]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices 2020/12 Completed UNDP co-authored the UNSDG Operational Guide for UN Country Teams on ‘Leave No One Behind’, which was launched as an interim version in April 2019, and after a subsequent process of country piloting and evaluation, is soon to be endorsed as final. It has informed other key common programming guidelines for the development of UNSDCFs and the first call for proposals of the UN Joint Fund for the SDGs. (Interim guide: https://unsdg.un.org/resources/leaving-no-one-behind-unsdg-operational-guide-un-country-teams-interim-draft). History
2.3 Advance thought leadership on frontier development issues critical for addressing poverty and inequality
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/24]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Human Development Report Office Regional bureaux Country offices 2020/12 Completed The vision paper Beyond Recovery: A leap into the future (https://www.sparkblue.org/system/files?file=2020-06/Beyond%20Recovery%20-%20COVID-19.pdf) lays out the idea that Covid-19 causes tipping points that potentially could define future development trends. This laid the framework for UNDP’s offer 2.0 on Covid-19. In July 2020, UNDP created the ‘Development Futures Series’ (https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/global-policy-network/undp-development-futures-series.html) - high-quality Policy Briefs and Working Papers that explore and envision sustainable, green, fair and just societies guided by the SDGs. The launch report ‘Temporary Basic Income (TBI): Protecting Poor and Vulnerable People in Developing Countries’ was UNDP’s most impactful of the past several years (https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/transitions-series/temporary-basic-income--tbi--for-developing-countries.html). History
3. Recommendation:

UNDP should demonstrate global leadership in the development and use of multidimensional poverty indices.

UNDP has pioneered several indices on human development, inequality and multidimensional poverty. Efforts should be taken to further strengthen the work on indices at global and country levels, given their salience for measuring and reporting progress on the SDGs and advocating transformative principles of equality and human development. A related area, critical for SDG monitoring and reporting, is national statistics; UNDP should consider greater engagement in improving statistical capacities in countries deemed to have low average statistical capacity, especially in Africa.

Fewer countries are publishing national human development reports. UNDP should renew its emphasis on these reports as policy tools on critical SDG themes. Country offices should be provided with adequate guidance on coverage of SDG-related themes and principles.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/12/20] [Last Updated: 2020/06/27]

The Human Development Reports were first published in the late 1980s when it became clear that progress was not defined by income growth alone, but by the ability of people to live the lives they value. Going forward, UNDP will continue to forge closer collaboration with the United Nations system and other partners to strengthen the capacities of national statistical institutions to implement, monitor, track and report on Sustainable Development Goal achievement. For example, UNDP is working with UNICEF and the World Bank to jointly support monitoring and reporting of Goal indicator 1.2.2 on national multidimensional poverty. UNDP has also entered into a series of partnerships with leading institutions to address poverty and inequality.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Roll out the multidimensional poverty index methodology, including a national handbook on multidimensional poverty indices to improve the capacities of LDCs
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Human Development Report Office Bureau for Policy and Programme Support 2020/12 Completed UNDP and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford, launched the Handbook on How to build a national multidimensional poverty index (July 2019), which provides practical guidance for policymakers, statisticians, practitioners and others seeking or engaged in developing a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). The handbook elaborates the benefits of developing an MPI; illustrates the political process of establishing an MPI including generating public awareness and political support needed; describes the technical process of building and analyzing an MPI from start to finish; describes some of the potential uses of a national MPI to guide and monitor policy; provides an option for monitoring SDG Indicator 1.2.2 on multidimensional poverty according to national definitions; and provides examples based on countries’ experiences. The Handbook was rolled-out to countries (available in English, French and Spanish). Information on the launch event during the 2019 High-Level Political Event (HLPF) is available here. A second Handbook on the policy application of MPI is being developed and will be rolled-out in 2022. History
3.2 Develop guidance for a new generation of Human Development Reports, which is aligned with the 2030 Agenda
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Human Development Report Office Regional bureaux Country offices 2019/12 Completed UNDP’s Human Development Report Office has prepared guidance to support countries to: (1) Prepare agile, timely analytical national human development papers to inform debate and decision making. Such policy papers could be considered part of an ongoing human development reporting process where development thinking is considered and discussed through a human-centred lens. (2) Support National Human Development Reporting, building on the 7 tipping points in UNDP’s Beyond Recovery: Towards 2030 response. UNDP’s post COVID response plan aims to help decision makers look beyond immediate recovery and towards 2030 when designing policy. It focuses on seven tipping points in four main areas: governance; protecting people (including social protection; livelihoods and support to MSMEs); the green economy; and digital disruption. (3) Support National Human Development Reporting, building on the COVID-19 socioeconomic assessments led by UNDP. History
3.3 Leverage the community of practice on poverty and inequality to develop capacities required and facilitate training on multidimensional poverty and inequality measures
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices 2020/06 Completed In partnership with Oxford University, a Massive Open-Online Course (MOOC) on how to design a national multidimensional poverty index was developed and rolled out in English with over 3,400 participants across 164 countries (covering all LDCs). The course equipped participants to develop a holistic multidimensional poverty measure that integrates income-based inequalities with deprivations across education, health, housing, sanitation, employment and livelihoods, food security, environment, and other standards to inform the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A second edition, in English, French and Spanish, have started in February 2021 (over 2,300 registrations have been received). The second edition includes a new module focusing on the application of MPI for COVID-19 response and recovery. History
4. Recommendation:

UNDP should increase the pace and thrust of its support to private sector development and impact investment in LDCs. Given the structural constraints in harnessing market opportunities, innovative private sector finance tools should be improvised and promoted in LDC contexts.

UNDP has shown strong commitment in supporting private sector development and impact investment. LDCs require flexible tools that are appropriate for the purpose and can maximize the impact of partnerships in less enabling policy environments. UNDP should take concrete measures to adapt its tested private sector development and impact investment practices to LDC contexts, capacities and regulatory environments.

Instead of leaving the support open-ended, UNDP should present a concept of private sector development that targets specific gaps in inclusive growth and employment in sectors most prevalent in LDCs, for example, agriculture and agri-based sectors. With the establishment of country-level integrator platforms, UNDP should use a mix of tools – both financial and non-financial – to engage the private sector in poverty reduction. The potential of the private sector needs to be harnessed in crisis contexts as well. Sufficient measures are needed to engage investments to support reconstruction and long-term development, and to create sustainable opportunities for livelihood and employment.
UNDP should partner with financial intermediaries that are expanding their businesses in areas of UNDP support. UNDP should strategize to use its UN integrator role at the country level to facilitate impact investment.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/12/20] [Last Updated: 2020/06/27]

The forthcoming UNDP private sector development and partnerships strategy will drive progress on three strategic priorities: unlocking private finance for the Sustainable Development Goals, aligning business strategies and operations with the Goals and developing policies that foster a green and inclusive economy. The strategy will deploy service offers in areas such as sustainable value chains and inclusive business, gender equality in markets, municipal finance and financial inclusion, and closing the energy gap, which will be tailored to country contexts and advanced in line with the UNDAF and country support platforms.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1 Support the deployment of the “SDG Impact” platform’s tools, products and services, and leverage innovative financing and partnership solutions to mobilize private capital for implementing the Goals
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Finance Hub Regional bureaux Country offices 2021/12 Initiated SDG Impact is a UNDP flagship initiative focusing on generating and leveraging private sector capital in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The following deliverables have been achieved: (1) Three sets of SDG Impact Standards have gone through multiple rounds of feedback and pilots. These are living documents that can be revisited and adjusted as circumstances change. The Standards for Private Equity are final, the Standards for SDG Bond Issuers and the Standards for Enterprises are soon to be finalized. (2) SDG Investor Maps that investors and businesses can use to identify high-impact opportunities in the geographical locations and/or areas of focus they wish to work in. Fifteen Maps are completed with 25 new countries developing SDG Investor Maps in 2021. (3) A third-party assurance framework that will allow private equity funds, bond issuers, and businesses to undergo a voluntary evaluation to assess compliance with the SDG Impact Standards and provide an Impact Seal to qualifying entities. The process of developing the training program for the assessors and the thresholds they will use to assure compliance is well underway. (4) A Comprehensive on-line training in impact measurement and management through our partnership with CASE at Duke University will be available in the summer 2021. The SDG Impact will release a SDG Investor Platform - an online dynamic site designed to share the results of the SDG Investor Maps as well as the UNDP SDG Impact Standards. History
4.3 Launch a global value-chain initiative to accelerate innovative technological solutions focused on increasing productivity and value chains, and access to markets and financial products/financing from the private sector for farmers/rural entrepreneurs/small and medium-sized enterprises
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/19]
Finance Hub Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices 2021/12 Initiated The COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility has been co-established between UNDP, UN Global Compact, International Chamber of Commerce and three strategic partners DHL, Microsoft and PwC, to foster and enhance public-private partnerships at both global and national levels to co-create solutions, revolving around five key solution areas, (1) Empowering SMEs with digital capabilities, (2) Sustainable E-Commerce, (3) Integrating SMEs into sustainable procurement, responsible supply chains and delivery of essential services, (4) boosting access to capital, and (5) Strengthening SMEs through collective action and coordination. The solutions are tailored to the specific needs of countries to support SMEs, particularly to advance green and digital technologies that can propagate resilient business more broadly in the context of COVID-19 (e.g., structuring public-private partnerships to increase access to Smart green infrastructure to support COVID response as well as potential access to regional and international markets). History
4.2 In collaboration with UNCDF, roll out a package of services to support private sector development in LDCs based on the new private sector development and partnership Strategy
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/19]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices Finance Hub 2020/12 Completed As part of the UNDP's Private Sector Development and Partnerships Strategy under Service Line 6, that was approved in 2019, UNDP and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) agreed to collaborate on UNCDF’s Financial Inclusion and Digitization to advance this strategic priority by promoting greater access to financial services including an enabling environment for a market development approach to digital ecosystems. UNCDF served as secretariat of the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals, which culminated in the launch of the Task Force’s report People’s Money in 2020. UNCDF together with UNDP’s SDG Finance Sector Hub developed a joint offer to implement the Task Force recommendations. One example is a new joint initiative to support governments in identifying and linking enabling digital finance policy with the financing of development plans. In 2020, UNCDF and UNDP SDG Finance Sector Hub initiated a pilot in Uganda through the Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) process. Another example is joint collaboration under the SDG Joint Fund where UNCDF financial instruments were leveraged for joint programming with UNDP. In Malawi, UNCDF is partnering with UNDP as lead UN agency, FAO and UNICEF to establish under the SDG Joint Fund Component 2 a 37.5 million USD “BUILD Malawi Window” which will be a specialized structured blended finance vehicle under the overall BUILD Fund. BUILD Malawi will provide long-term debt and/or equity to SMEs that need impact capital, unavailable in Malawi, and that are on track to invest further in inclusive business models. Under Service Offer #6, the Municipal Finance, and the service offer #3, the Private Sector and Gender Equality of the UNDP’s Private Sector Strategy, together with UNDP, UNCDF offered a package of solutions including gender responsive assessments, capacity building and targeted investments. In Bangladesh, UNCDF replenished the credit guarantee fund established with the Bangladesh Bank to support economic recovery of affected women-led SMEs. In Uganda, UNCDF - partnering with UNDP and United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) - completed gender-sensitive local economic assessments in 24 districts and provided support to women’s MSME recoveries. In the United Republic of Tanzania, UNDP together with UNCDF supported the establishment of a guarantee fund to leverage private sector financing for women’s groups in three local government associations. In Senegal, UNCDF continued to support the country’s Strategic Sovereign Investment Fund (FONSIS) through a dedicated women’s economic empowerment fund launched in 2019 to support local women businesses. In 2020, the first women-led SME was selected for financing by the fund. In Bangladesh, UNDCF together with UNDP and UN Women launched a full-fledged country programme to enhance local capacities, reduce the structural barrier for women’s participation in local economies and unlock domestic financing for women-led businesses. Furthermore, UNCDF in partnership with UNDP created a new platform for local development tailored towards women and youth with the national SME promotion agency (ANPGF) in Togo and continued to support similar financing initiatives with the Development Bank in Mali (BDM). This package of services to support private sector development in LDCs is also reflected in the UNDP Corporate Offer on High-Impact MSME Programmatic Interventions for COVID19 Response. History
5. Recommendation:

Further emphasis is needed to enable linkages between UNDP's community-level sustainable livelihood programmes and rural poverty alleviation policies in LDCs. While fulfilling respective funding stream commitments, synergies among various sustainable livelihood interventions under the GEF and GCF in country programmes need to be strengthened. UNDP should take measures to leverage this important area of its work to better inform government policies and programmes.


UNDP should take sufficient measures to build synergies among various initiatives in its environment portfolio to better inform national policy processes. Opportunities to build on these initiatives are immense, and currently underutilized by UNDP. UNDP needs to walk the extra mile to build on these initiatives if it is to engage in public policy processes on sustainable livelihoods.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/12/20] [Last Updated: 2020/06/27]

UNDP recognizes the importance of strengthening its poverty and environmental approaches to sustainable livelihoods, as enshrined in the Strategic Plan. The linkages across the vertical funds and other aspects of the UNDP poverty portfolio will also benefit from the integrated thinking that underpins the Global Policy Network. UNDP acknowledges that the governing instrument of the vertical funds calls for resources to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, thus providing a foundation for better integration with the UNDP poverty eradication focus. UNDP will seek to leverage the support of the vertical funds for sustainable livelihoods and rural development to advance progress in poverty eradication, through the integration of programming results into development plans and strategies at the national and subnational levels. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1 Strengthen the assessment and mapping of the contribution of the UNDP vertical fund portfolio to poverty alleviation using the UNDP results-oriented annual reports and other existing tools
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/24]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support-GEF 2019/12 Completed Using the internal PowerBI Project-based Portfolio Analytics page, UNDP’s portfolio can be filtered by Vertical Funds, LDCs and projects linked to SDG1-No Poverty. Details of the resulting filtered projects are provided further down on the page. Similarly, the PowerBI Results and Resources Analytics page can also filter UNDP’s portfolio in LDCs by Vertical Funds, Signature Solution 1 (Keeping people out of poverty) and IRRF Outputs. In addition, results data tools are continuously being improved in the NCE team’s Project Information Management System (PIMS+) platform. Advanced searches can be carried out of the VF portfolio for projects in LDCs linked to SDG1 and also by using keywords such as livelihoods, income, jobs, etc. as proxies for outcomes/indicators related to poverty alleviation efforts. History
5.2 In at least 20 LDCs, explicitly track alignment and linkages of vertical programming to national poverty reduction efforts and policies, to identify and build synergies between environmental and poverty actions
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/24]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support-GEF Regional bureaux Country offices 2020/12 Completed Using the internal PowerBI Project-based Portfolio Analytics page, UNDP’s portfolio can be filtered by Vertical Funds, LDCs and projects linked to SDG1-No Poverty resulting in a list of projects in 40+ LDCs in 2020. History
6. Recommendation:

Bridging the humanitarian-development divide for more sustainable poverty reduction should be systematically pursued in crisis and post-crisis contexts. UNDP should also pay sufficient attention to intersecting vulnerabilities that can reverse efforts to reduce poverty.

For sustainable poverty reduction dividends, UNDP should systematize the New Way of Working in its post-conflict economic revitalization support to bridge the humanitarian-development divide.

Many post-conflict LDC contexts include fragilities such as droughts, floods and other recurring natural disasters, in addition to conflict, significant regional disparities, poverty and underdevelopment. These intersecting vulnerabilities in the context of multiple crises and fragilities must inform UNDP's poverty reduction and post-conflict programming.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/12/20] [Last Updated: 2020/06/27]

UNDP recognizes that the root causes of many crises lie in endemic acute poverty for which there needs to be a concurrent coordinated and multi-faceted response. UNDP works closely with humanitarian, peace and national partners to jointly identify medium-term collective outcomes that have an impact on protracted humanitarian challenges including poverty indicators. This important area of work is reflected in the creation of the new Global Policy Network, which brings together the organization’s development and crisis capacities.  UNDP, along with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, also provides joint secretariat support to the Joint Steering Committee to Advance Humanitarian and Development Collaboration, chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General, and for which the Administrator and the Emergency Relief Coordinator serve as vice-chairs. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1 Contribute and lead on policy development and guidance for the humanitarian-development-peace nexus and the New Way of Working approach, particularly related to the mandate and the Sustainable Development Goals
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Crisis Bureau Regional bureaux Country offices 2019/12 Completed Additional details: A few key progresses that we have achieved toward collective outcomes through partnership: Advocacy and support to foster the inclusion of refugees and IDPs into national planning and service delivery has advanced, as we have heard from the Honourable Minister of Uganda and also as observed in the Syria, Sudan and Somalia Situations. In Yemen, we collaborate with the World Bank to respond to the humanitarian crisis through empowering local capacities for service delivery and livelihoods. Together with the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and other partners, UNDP is scaling up capacities for conflict-sensitive assessments, data and analysis to inform strategic, multi-year development planning and programming. In order to accelerate and scale up the progress thus far, UNDP decided to commit at the Global Refugee Forum to the following integrated solutions in 40 countries with displacement situations: Ensure tailored development, prevention and peacebuilding approaches in 20 countries to address root causes of forced displacement; Strengthen refugee solutions in 20 countries through support to preparing and responding to refugee inflows; Rule of Law institutions, access to justice, and safety, security and human rights protection systems; and Promote decent work and self-reliance of refugees in 20 countries, leveraging on UNDP’s digital transformation agenda to build tomorrow’s skills today. Working with partners, UNDP will contribute in reducing the protracted displacement trend by half by 2030, in line with the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit commitment, in at least 30 countries. The Joint UN Development Programme (UNDP) - UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention is a signature cross-pillar initiative that aims to enhance UN support to national stakeholders on conflict prevention and sustaining peace. Since its inception in 2004, the Programme has engaged in more than 60 countries and provided catalytic support to UN Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams to advance the UN Secretary-General’s conflict prevention agenda. The Joint Programme is widely recognized for providing thought leadership on conflict prevention, and is considered a unique example of how the political and development pillars of the UN can successfully work together in pursuit of the prevention of violent conflict. Through the MAPS (Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support) – a UN development system’s common approach to support member states in implementing the SDGs – UNDP has supported 20 fragile and conflict affected settings and 13 Small Island Developing States. Drawing on the full capacity of the UN development system, MAPS support includes integrated data analyses, forecasting, capacity building, advocacy and awareness-raising and support to planning and programming priorities. History
6.2 Increase advocacy, including through events, with Governments, to increase domestic investment and international development assistance in fragile and crisis-affected LDCs to better finance humanitarian-development-peace nexus challenges in countries
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Crisis Bureau Regional bureaux Country offices 2021/12 Completed Financing the Nexus: Gaps and Opportunities from a Field Perspective (July 2019) is a study by UNDP, FAO, and the Norwegian Refugee Council. The study contributes to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) humanitarian financing priorities of improving “aid effectiveness through more effective humanitarian development funding flows and mechanisms”. It has two goals: to document the extent to which predictable, multi-year flexible financing is available at the programme level; and to understand the extent to which funding matches Collective Outcomes or the financial requirements of interoperable humanitarian and development plans. Time for Hard Choices (September 2019) is a report about the choices that governments, leaders, investors and citizens need to make about when and how to fund a multilateral approach to address today’s most stubborn and urgent global development challenges– climate change, health, migration, armed conflict and inequality. The case for a multilateral approach needs to be based on evidence that shows effectiveness and impact in addressing these challenges. The Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund is a global partnership (which includes UNDP in its Funding Board) that aims to re-energize action and stimulate funding for women’s participation, leadership and empowerment in situations of conflict and humanitarian crises around the world. It galvanizes support from across the globe to support the efforts of women working on the frontlines of the world’s most intractable conflicts. From Jordan to Burundi, the Solomon Islands to Colombia, the Fund aims to amplify the voices of women and support their vital work to prevent conflict, respond to crises, and accelerate peace in their communities. With the support of partners, the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office has designed and is operating a new generation of pooled funds that are bridging the humanitarian-development financing divide. These flexible instruments are demonstrating that well-designed pooled funds can quickly pivot when faced with rapidly changing conditions on the ground. They combine, blend and sequence development, peace and humanitarian funding streams. They improve cost-efficiency, transparency and collective outcomes not only by pooling resources and delivery systems, but also by sharing, and thereby reducing, the risks that often arise in highly volatile and unpredictable settings. History
6.3 Co-lead the field testing of the United Nations common guidance on resilience for joint approaches across humanitarian, development and peacebuilding efforts
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/19]
Crisis Bureau Regional bureaux Country offices United Nations agencies 2020/06 Completed 1. Field-testing was part of the finalization process. The lessons learnt and comments/information collected from South Sudan, Syria 3RP and Ethiopia helped inform the draft to move towards its finalization. These were implemented in 2019 and the Guidance was finalized in 2020 and submitted to the attention of the Deputy Secretary General. 2. In 2021, the Guidance is expected to be rolled-out based on final documentation and the training package. History
7. Recommendation:

Partnerships for poverty reduction at the global and country level should be pursued as a strategic programming option. UNDP should expand promising partnerships with UN and other development agencies that substantively and practically enhance its poverty-related programming in LDCs, especially to scale up pilot and community-level initiatives.

Across UNDP programme areas are examples of partnerships with UN agencies at the global and country levels, at times guided by a formal agreement. However, there is considerable scope for strengthening programmatic partnerships with UN agencies, in areas such as value chain support and food security. In productive capacity areas and value chain work, it is critical to partner: unless all areas of the value chain (production to marketing) are covered, the outcomes for sustainable income generation will be limited.

UNDP should proactively seek programmatic partnerships with bilateral donors in areas where it can complement their poverty reduction support. Similarly, where possible, UNDP should expand its efforts to forge partnerships with the World Bank and regional banks in areas such as sustainable livelihoods and employment.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/12/20] [Last Updated: 2020/06/27]

UNDP will capitalize on its existing partnerships at the country, regional and global levels to deliver an integrated package of poverty solutions which are country- relevant. Along with ILO, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Food Programme, UNDP is a core founding member of the Joint Fund for the 2030 Agenda, an inter-agency pooled funding mechanism to support the acceleration of Sustainable Development Goal achievement at the country level. UNDP has been collaborating with UNEP in the Poverty-Environment Initiative and the Partnership for Action on Green Economy to provide an integrated approach to exploring the relationship between poverty and the environment, with an emphasis on LDCs. IFIs are also important partners for UNDP, which is currently working with 15 institutions. Following the launch of the new United Nations-World Bank Strategic Partnership Framework for the 2030 Agenda in May 2018, UNDP and the World Bank are partnering on several joint initiatives.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1. Deepen and expand partnerships with leading academic networks and world-class experts on the measurement and analysis of poverty and inequality (see also recommendation 3)
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Country offices 2020/12 Completed UNDP is partnership with World Inequality Lab (which manages the largest dataset on income inequality) and the LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg to advance pioneering new measures of development, which are informing the publication of UNDP’s flagship report on human development. UNDP is also advancing its partnership with University of London (SOAS), Department of Development Studies, to advance evidence-based discussions to inform development interventions towards a universal basic income. UNDP continues also to collaborate with the University of Oxford, in particular with the Blavatnik School of Government to track data on equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and with the Oxfod Poverty and Human Development Initiative to advance work on multidimensional poverty. History
7.2 Leverage existing and new corporate initiatives supporting Sustainable Development Goal integration to source policy expertise more systematically and effectively from across the United Nations system and other partners to meet the needs of LDCs by capitalizing on the country acceleration labs
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices 2019/12 Completed UNDP’s Community of Practice o Poverty and Inequality is the largest knowledge network of experts and practitioners within UNDP. The COP provides knowledge and technical support for developing the next cadre of experts, strengthening innovative and integrative programme and policy design, and strengthening organizational capacity to accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda. It supports learning and specialization to develop a community of practitioners capable of integrating multidimensional poverty and inequality methodologies and approaches into their practice areas. It promotes and encourages the application of innovative tools (such as multidimensional vulnerability assessments) to better tackle the complex challenge of deprivation and exclusion and the vulnerabilities that drive people back into poverty. The COP has helped to leverage UNDP’s experience and expertise across the organization to position UNDP as the technical lead at all levels on poverty and inequality programme and policy debate by harnessing the collective intelligence of the Global Policy Network (GPN). History
8. Recommendation:

UNDP should pay further attention to strengthening gender-responsive poverty reduction policy processes. More dedicated resources and commitment to GEWE are needed in the LDCs.
Considering UNDP's programme engagement across key development areas, GEWE should be prioritized, irrespective of initiatives by specialized agencies. Given the emphasis on mainstreaming, UNDP should have well clarified sectoral strategies for enhancing women’s productive capacities and livelihoods to ensure GEWE is not exaggeratedly subsumed under a mainstreaming approach.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/12/20] [Last Updated: 2020/06/27]

The gender equality strategy, 2018–2021 will help UNDP to ensure that its support for eradicating poverty includes a focus on gender inequality.  New programming guidance has been developed to support countries in crises to better integrate gender equality into their programming by focusing on how to prevent and respond to gender-based violence ; promote participation and leadership of women and women’s organizations in conflict prevention and recovery; promote transformative livelihoods and economic recovery to advance gender equality; ensure women’s access to justice, security and human rights;  keep gender equality at the core of disaster risk reduction and recovery; enhance women’s agency in peace processes and political institutions; and transform Governments to deliver for women.  This is complemented by regional initiatives, such as the gender equality and women’s empowerment regional project in Africa that supports countries facing humanitarian crises and natural disasters, and country-level initiatives like the Gender Equality Seal through which UNDP is building country office capacities in gender-sensitive programming and partnerships for poverty eradication.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1 Roll out the programme on inclusive and equitable local development in LDCs with a focus on investments for women’s economic empowerment
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/21]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices UNCDF UN-Women 2021/12 Initiated In 2021, UNDP and UNCDF will finalize, secure resources and roll out phase II of the joint project on Inclusive and Equitable Local Development (IELD) with a focus on investments for women’s economic empowerment and PwD. Although there are competing demands and scarce funds that may make resource mobilization difficult, UNDP is already moving on to scale up the IELD package. Indeed, the package of tools of IELD is already been offered to COs, and together with UCLG, UNDP is finalizing a Handbook for economic recovery post-COVID based on the IELD approach that is going to be co-implemented with UCLG and UNCDF. History
8.2 Roll out guidance on gender and recovery and strengthen programming in crises and recovery contexts through a gender lens
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices 2021/12 Completed UNDP released a Guidance Note on Women Peace and Human Security (WPS): A Guidance Note on Parliamentary Engagement During and Post-Covid-19 in November 2020. The guidance note looks at how parliaments can promote WPS-aligned pandemic response and recovery and, in the long term, exercise stewardship over a collective vision for inclusive human security. It identifies ways in which development partners can support parliaments in promoting women’s participation and leadership both during the crisis and beyond, on the path towards 2030. The Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund is a global partnership (which includes UNDP in its Funding Board) that aims to re-energize action and stimulate funding for women’s participation, leadership and empowerment in situations of conflict and humanitarian crises around the world. It galvanizes support from across the globe to support the efforts of women working on the frontlines of the world’s most intractable conflicts. From Jordan to Burundi, the Solomon Islands to Colombia, the Fund aims to amplify the voices of women and support their vital work to prevent conflict, respond to crises, and accelerate peace in their communities. UNDP and UNWOMEN launched the COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker. The Tracker monitors responses taken by governments worldwide to tackle the pandemic, and highlights those that have integrated a gender lens. It captures two types of government responses: the women’s participation in COVID-19 task forces and national policy measures taken by governments. It analyzes which of the policy measures address women’s economic and social security, including unpaid care work, the labour market and violence against women. The Tracker can provide guidance for policymakers and evidence for advocates to ensure a gender-sensitive COVID-19 policy response. Protecting Women's Livelihoods in Times of Pandemic: Temporary Basic Income and the Road to Gender Equality is a policy brief that is part of UNDP's Development Future Series, and examines the most at-risk elements of women's income-generation capacity, presents the possibilities and estimated costs of a temporary basic income (TBI) for women's economic security across the developing world, and discusses options for long-term commitments of economic protection and gender equality. The Gender Diversity and Inclusion for a Fair Business Environment (March 2021) report is the outcome of a research conducted across five of the ASEAN countries participating in the project: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. It provides a snapshot of catalytic factors to foster gender equal leadership across three domains. Firstly, it explores how social norms shape gender roles and stereotypes that can limit women’s leadership prospects. Secondly, it identifies catalysts for an enabling environment, including laws and regulatory measures, and the role of coalitions and advocates. Finally, it highlights the role of companies and their organizational policies and practices in promoting gender equal leadership. Gender Disaster Management and the Private Sector (February 2021) presents the importance of gender in the private sector and disaster management, and the connections between them. Developed as a starting point to a new thematic area for the Connecting Business initiative (CBi), this document maps and analyses the existing resources and previous interventions available on the theme and presents a number of case studies. It also includes a special chapter discussing the consequences of COVID-19. History
8.3 Strengthen gender in climate action through support to NDC strategies and actions
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/29]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices 2020/12 Completed UNDP, UN Women, UNEP, and DPPA have published a joint report on Gender, Climate and Security: Sustaining inclusive peace on the frontlines of climate change (June 2020). Grounded in a series of case studies (including from Chad, Sierra Leone, and Sudan) from research and programming experience, the report offers a comprehensive framework for understanding how gender, climate and security are inextricably linked. The report assesses entry points for integrated action across existing global agendas and suggests concrete recommendations for how policymakers, development practitioners and donors can advance three inter-related goals: peace and security, climate action and gender equality. History
9. Recommendation:

UNDP should take steps to improve its programming on youth employment and empowerment.

Considering the burgeoning youth population across LDCs, UNDP should consider a more strategic approach to mainstreaming youth employment issues in its poverty reduction support. As part of its signature solutions, UNDP should consider support to LDCs to address youth employment comprehensively. Youth employment should be considered as a strand of private sector engagement.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/12/20] [Last Updated: 2020/06/27]

UNDP is committed to scaling up its programming on youth employment and empowerment.  Its focus is to facilitate youth engagement in areas of economic, social and political activities, and to enhance institutional capacities (public and private) to interact with and create conditions for youth empowerment and employment for poverty reduction. UNDP is currently successfully implementing three regional programmes (Youth Co:Lab in Asia and the Pacific, Youth Connekt in Africa and the Arab States regional youth leadership programme), which it will continue to build on.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
9.1 Scale up regional initiatives that promote entrepreneurship, empowerment and civic participation to create an enabling ecosystem for youth leadership and entrepreneurship
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/21]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices 2020/12 Completed History
9.2 In partnership with ILO, the International Telecommunications Union and UNCDF, support digital innovation initiatives for the economic empowerment of youth
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/21]
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Regional bureaux Country offices 2020/12 Completed UNDP and ILO are joining forces to kick start youth empowerment/digitalization initiatives in 6 countries in response to the COVID-19 impact: South Africa - Digital skills for enhanced job opportunities for youth; Guinea – Decent jobs for youth, women and people with disabilities; Senegal - Social protection, youth employment and green recovery: Partnership with PAGE (Partnership of Action on Green Economy); Pakistan - Livelihoods protection and youth employment programme: North Macedonia - Digitalization and Future Job Skills; Panama – Vulnerable youth entrepreneurs in MSMEs in urban and suburban areas: leverages the future of work and builds on current initiatives such as UNDP’s “En marcha digital” to generate employment and promote innovation and decent work. History
9.3 Support youth participation and contribution in country accelerator labs in LDCs
[Added: 2019/04/29] [Last Updated: 2021/03/21]
Regional bureaux Country offices Bureau for Policy and Programme Support 2020/12 Completed Examples: • Currently, 92 UNDP Accelerator Labs worldwide are bringing new talent and skills into UNDP. The Lab Network addresses a wide range of developing challenges covering all 17 SDGs, aggregated in 263 different thematic areas such as waste management, health, protecting the environment, digital transformation, and education. The Accelerator Lab Network adds a new way to work within UNDP that consists of identifying key learning questions and a roadmap of activities (e.g., experiments, explorations, mapping grassroot solutions and partnerships) to understand sustainable development challenges better and generate learnings faster. In the second cohort of Labs (of which Panama is one), 31% of new recruits bring experience from the Private Sector and Entrepreneurship and 80% are new to the UN System, and youth employment and entrepreneurship is a key focus area. • Mali: o In December 2020, as part of the support to the transition process in Mali, the UNDP Accelerator Lab organized a series of two hackathons, called #anwkhathons, to promote youth innovative digital solutions in the area of governance, and green economy. About 100 young women and men participated in the activity, which included: coaching of young people to enable them pitch their innovative idea, and financial grant to selected 6 innovative solutions to enable them grow their business idea. o The Accelerator Lab has also contributed to youth empowerment in Mali, through the partnership built with Donilab, a Malian start up, active in the area of youth entrepreneurship and youth empowerment. Discussions have been engaged on the possibility to work with Donilab through the UNDP-TEF entrepreneurship programme being implemented in Mali – with a particular interest for Donilab’s expertise in facilitation of training on financial education and green economy (programme called Donigreen). o As part of the support UNDP Mali has provided in response to COVID-19, the Accelerator Lab has supported the Tuwindi Foundation, a Malian youth foundation promoting tech solutions, for the creation of an app to monitor COVID-19 infections and diffuse prevention messages. The app, called ASSA, was successfully launched in April 2020. • Nepal: o The Accelerator Lab Nepal was launched on the 1st of August 2019 with an ambition to address the pressing challenges related to unplanned urbanization and youth unemployment, partnering with the Kathmandu Business hub. • Ethiopia: o UNDP, through its Goh accelerator lab, partnered with ICE Addis, a leading innovation lab in Ethiopia, to provide a platform for university students from across Ethiopia to come together for a bootcamp and brainstorm on possible solutions to tackle the issue of youth unemployment. The lab team developed a Mapping of the innovation ecosystem. History

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