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Independent Country Programme Evaluation: Azerbaijan
Commissioning Unit: Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021
Evaluation Type: ICPE/ADR
Completion Date: 12/2019
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Azerbaijan
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

Strategic positioning and programme design – UNDP should develop its next CPD based on theories of change that, starting from a clear definition of the problem, define its contribution vis-à-vis that of other development partners. The CO should move away from priority-area-based theories of change towards issues-based theories of change, to which different portfolios can contribute and where government and development partner inputs are reflected. This will help reinforce synergies among different portfolios and promote partnerships. To the extent possible, the theories of change should be aligned to the three SDG accelerators. In the formulation of the next CPD, the following elements should be considered:

• In areas where it has had long-standing engagement (such as border management and mine action) the CO should reassess its position by taking into account the maturity of national institutions and its value-added potential. Where the partnership has matured into full national capacity, the CO needs to develop a clearly articulated exit strategy.

• In the area of democratic governance, UNDP should seek to create more depth and consider stronger involvement around public administration reform and human rights, despite challenges related to limited space for work in this area. This will require more advocacy, especially at the political level.

• In the area of SDGs, the CO should continue to provide support to the nationalization of the SDGs (in terms of policy making and financial allocation). It should provide methodological advice to the State Statistics Committee to improve the quality of socio-economic indicators, measure the country’s progress in human and sustainable development, and promote the use of data among national institutions for evidence-based policy making. Opportunities to engage in developing the new National Development Strategy 2020–2030 should be explored.

• In the area of health procurement, the CO should focus not only on the efficient delivery of goods to counterparts, but also on supporting the establishment of robust national procurement systems which are open, transparent and bring savings to the country.

• In the area of skills, employment and business development, UNDP should seek to elevate its work to a more strategic policy level, promoting structural and institutional change, while maintaining its presence at the community level and its focus on vulnerable groups. A stronger partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization in promoting rural development should be sought. • In the area of environment and energy, the CO should consider how to institutionalize capacity building around nationally appropriate mitigation actions and GHG reduction.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/02/27] [Last Updated: 2020/05/12]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. As part of the next CPD (2021-2025) drafting process, the CO will develop the issue-based theories of change, as per the ToC guidance. This will allow the CO to clearly define the problem, UNDP’s contribution vis-à-vis that of other partners. To the extent possible, the theories of change will be aligned to the three SDGs accelerators identified in the MAPS report.
[Added: 2020/04/05]
UNDP CO management team 2020/12 Initiated
2. Recommendation:

Integration – UNDP should ensure further synergies among its areas of intervention. Where feasible, the CO should seek to integrate the management of projects, especially smaller projects, to further increase efficiency and strengthen results.

UNDP should explore options for more efficient structuring of programme activities that allow for better links and synergies between projects operating in similar areas. The CO should establish clear criteria for how projects are clustered and ensure that projects are managed in practice in the same way they are structured on paper (and Atlas). Activities related to VET and employment (working with career centres and SYSLABs) may be linked more closely to each other. Activities targeting self-employment of women through WRCs may also be linked more effectively with activities related to skills development and training through the VET infrastructure. The CO should work to further integrate environment in its VET and employment portfolios, to promote the creation of green jobs. There is potential for linking work in the tourism sector with activities in the area of VET and management of protected zones.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/02/27] [Last Updated: 2020/05/12]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. To ensure better synergies among its areas of interventions, UNDP will explore options for a more efficient structuring of programme activities that allows for better linkages and synergies between projects that operate in similar areas. For that the following actions will be taken: a) Regular quarterly meetings of the programme teams (by thematic areas) will be held; b) Project staff will be invited to the LPAC meetings by the thematic groups; c) The inter-office memo for LPAC structure to be updated accordingly; d) Mapping of the projects and synergies between them by territory completed; e) Area-based approach will be taken as a programmatic principle for the next CPD cycle;
[Added: 2020/04/05]
UNDP CO 2025/12 Not Initiated
3. Recommendation:

Sub-national level – UNDP should reassess its engagement at the sub-national level, aiming to identify opportunities for further integration of activities into a more cohesive framework. To facilitate this process, the CO may consider elaborating jointly with the government a concept for local development based on an area-based approach, linked to the attainment of the SDGs. The CO should assess opportunities for more effective engagement of local governments in project activities as a way to strengthen the sustainability of structures promoted at the local level.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/02/27] [Last Updated: 2020/05/12]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 The present government structure in the country does not allow full engagement at subnational level with the full area-based programme. However, area-based approach will be taken as a principle for the next project cycle.
[Added: 2020/04/05]
UNDP CO 2025/03 Not Initiated
4. Recommendation:

Sustainability – UNDP should pay greater attention to the sustainability of the structures its interventions help create. The CO should elaborate sustainability plans and exit strategies for the structures it establishes, including specific measures that ensure the replication, scale up and institutionalization of piloted activities. Where feasible, UNDP should ground its activities more firmly in market-based mechanisms, such as micro-finance or banking institutions.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/02/27] [Last Updated: 2020/05/12]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1. At the project initiation phase, proper sustainability and exit strategy should be elaborated and be part of the Project Document and its implementation strategy.
[Added: 2020/04/05]
Programme team and M&E Officer 2025/12 Initiated History
4.2. The CO will assess opportunities for more effective engagement of local governments in on-going project activities as a way of strengthening the sustainability of structures promoted at the local level.
[Added: 2020/04/05]
Senior management and programme team 2025/12 Not Initiated
5. Recommendation:

Funding – UNDP should develop a more solid, long-term resource mobilization strategy which articulates funding diversification objectives and identifies appropriate actions and partners. In addition to maintaining its relationship with the EU and GEF, the CO should further pursue cost-sharing opportunities as a crucial aspect of its operations in the country and communicate this clearly to government counterparts. The CO should identify, more systematically, possibilities of funding from international financial institutions and the private sector. This will require a well-articulated plan of engagement that will provide clear guidance for the interactions of staff with partners.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/02/27] [Last Updated: 2020/05/12]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1. The CO will develop a long-term Resource Mobilization Strategy. As part of the new RM Strategy, the CO will explore possibilities of funding from IFIs and the private sector.
[Added: 2020/04/05]
Senior management with M&E officer 2020/12 Initiated
5.2. The CO will further pursue cost-sharing opportunities as a crucial aspect of its operations in the country.
[Added: 2020/04/05]
Senior management and programme team 2025/12 Not Initiated
6. Recommendation:

M&E – UNDP should significantly strengthen its M&E capacities.

• The CO should formulate clear programme outcome-level indicators around issues-based theories of change. These indicators would be tracked through projects. These indicators should, to the extent possible, link to the SDGs and be included in the CPD.

• Each project should include a sound RRF, with indicators at both output and outcome level. Indicator-related information should be included in a dashboard that the UNDP resident representative regularly discusses with programme analysts.

• Tools to track the sustainability of its interventions, such as the absorption of training for national partners or the performance of pilots over time, should be developed.

• M&E capacities should be enhanced through a dedicated staff officer and/or M&E training for programme and project officers. In case resources were not available to fund a dedicated M&E position, the CO should consider hiring M&E officer(s) covering multiple projects and operating within the project implementation units.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/02/27] [Last Updated: 2020/05/12]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.2. Once the M&E Officer in place, s/he will provide regular M&E training for programme and project officers.
[Added: 2020/04/05]
M&E officer 2020/12 Initiated
6.1. M&E capacities will be enhanced through recruiting a dedicated staff member
[Added: 2020/04/05]
Senior management 2019/12 Completed M&E focal point has been appointed by the CO. History
7. Recommendation:

Gender – UNDP should continue strengthening its work around gender and women’s empowerment and develop a gender strategy outlining the CO’s opportunities and approaches, covering both organizational and programmatic aspects.

• At the organizational level, the CO should identify a gender advisor and focal team and provide the necessary training for them. With their support, the CO should identify ways to enhance gender mainstreaming and increase gender expenditure, particularly in its governance and environment portfolios.

• At the programmatic level, the CO should elevate its gender-related work at a higher policy level. In partnership with other UNCT members, UNDP should identify ways to further support the State Committee for Family, Women and Children and other government stakeholders in promoting gender-sensitive policies.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/02/27] [Last Updated: 2020/05/12]

Management Response: Partially Agreed

The CO has become a recognized partner of choice for the Government in the work around gender and empowerment of women. The CO will continue strengthening its work to deliver even better results in this area.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1. The Country Office will develop a gender strategy
[Added: 2020/04/05]
UNDP CO and Gender FP 2021/12 Not Initiated
8. Recommendation:

Evaluation Recommendation 8: Innovation: UNDP should further promote innovation across its portfolio, by using technology and behavioral research to promote ground-level social and environmental change.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/04/05] [Last Updated: 2020/05/12]

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1. AccLab to perform the scan of the existing project portfolios to come up with a plan for innovative solutions per portfolios. The AccLab will ensure practical results that emanate from the innovations initiatives it supports. a) AccLab will come-up with the action plan for UNDP-led inclusivity campaign; b) AccLab will look for an integrated approach to tackle environmental problems, enhance awareness and guarantee the transfer of updated technology and behavioral change in the sphere of environmental protection to Azerbaijan.
[Added: 2020/04/05]
AccLab 2025/12 Initiated History

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