Statement on UNDP internal evaluation of its Strategic Plan

16 May 2013

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conducts regular, comprehensive evaluations of its activities as a cornerstone of its continuous process of learning and performance management. 
 
As an organization with global reach working in over 170 countries and territories, and with constantly changing and complex challenges, UNDP counts on its Evaluation Office to help the organization identify those areas where we are successfully helping countries to meet their development objectives, as well as those areas where improvement is needed.
 
These evaluations are independent and directly accountable to the Executive Board, with the capacity to critically assess the organization’s work.  UNDP’s commitment to transparency and accountability also applies to our evaluation policy, making evaluations publicly available online at: http://undp.org/evaluation.
 
The Evaluation Office has recently conducted an evaluation of UNDP’s 2008-13 Strategic Plan, which noted that UNDP is a stronger organization than it was when the last plan was developed.  “UNDP is likely to have made, or make, a significant contribution to the intended outcomes in most of its country programmes and across all four focus areas, ” the report said.
 
It also concluded that UNDP has been increasingly successful in aligning its work to the four broad focus areas and becoming a stronger results-based organization. Accountability has been strengthened by the progress UNDP has made during the present Strategic Plan period in terms of the evidence base supporting its performance monitoring and the transparency of its operations and programmes.
 
The evaluation also identifies a number of important challenges in UNDP's work and business model. 
 
As a standard procedure, UNDP presents its management response and makes it publicly available together with the evaluation report. In the response, UNDP also identifies the measures that it commits to put in place to address the challenges agreed upon.
 
UNDP has already taken concrete steps to address many of the evaluation’s conclusions and recommendations, even before the final evaluation was released, since a number of them were identified in the Strategic Plan Mid-Term Review and incorporated in the Agenda for Organizational Change, launched afterwards.  
 
One conclusion worth emphasizing is the challenge of operating in a development financing environment that favours short-term, earmarked funding over long-term, non-earmarked funding which is more conducive to focusing on complex long-term objectives. 
 
The evaluation's frankness on this issue will contribute to the constructive dialogue that UNDP maintains with its many stakeholders.   This relates also with the evaluation’s observation regarding the difficult trade-offs that can arise from pressures to meet the expectations of a range of partners and the tension between the need to demonstrate quick results and the sustainability of the interventions directed to long-term transformational change in deeply entrenched patterns of poverty.
 
UNDP welcomes this close scrutiny of its operations and results, and the learning which results from it. It is part of the organization’s commitment to enhancing development effectiveness, increasing transparency, supporting accountability and improving learning and knowledge within UNDP and among its partners.
 
As is clear from the management response, UNDP has embraced the recommendations of this Strategic Plan evaluation and is committed to reflecting those recommendations in both the spirit and substance of its work over the coming years.
 
The complete evaluation report will be made public, as per UNDP’s commitment to openness and transparency, by 24 May.