Magdy Martínez-Solimán: Management response to the evaluation of the Strategic Plan, Global programme and Regional programmes, 2014-2017

Sep 6, 2017

Ambassador Ib Petersen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations and President of the Executive Board,

Distinguished Members of the Executive Board,

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to present today UNDP’s Management Response to the Evaluation of the Strategic Plan, Global programme and Regional programmes.

On behalf of UNDP senior management, I would like to thank Director Indran Naidoo and the evaluation task team for the remarkable effort made in the conduct of this broad exercise and for the thorough set of recommendations given to us at a time the new Strategic Plan is being formulated.

I would like to note at the outset that UNDP management agrees overall with the evaluation findings, conclusions and recommendations and finds the report substantive, relevant, and timely.

We also note and appreciate in particular the comprehensive approach to data and evidence collection underpinning this evaluation.

I would like to briefly flag what we see as some of the critical overarching findings and conclusions that are particularly relevant in informing our work going forward.

UNDP will soon complete the work that was mandated by the current Strategic Plan and Global and Regional programmes.

UNDP’s performance during those 4 years is described as follows, along three key issues: stronger alignment, better quality programming and effective engagement with partners, which helped the organization to advance delivery despite the increasingly constrained resource environment.

In short, we worked in a less dispersed and ad hoc manner; focused more; in a more disciplined way; with deeper impact, more in partnerships; and with higher financial effectiveness in a tighter fiscal framework.

UNDP focused in particular on SDG implementation and worked with the UNDS on the MAPS approach, supporting over 100 Member States with mainstreaming acceleration and policy in these initial years of Agenda 2030.

UNDP also adopted social and environmental standards ahead of the rest of the United Nations system, leading to early accreditation to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).  UNDP has been a key implementing partner of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with $3.13 billion grant investment which UNDP helped to disburse in 143 countries.

As reflected in the evaluation, UNDP’s contribution to poverty reduction remained central to all programmes and projects, including through close engagement with civil society.  

UNDP is pleased to receive solid recognition of its contribution to effective governance and State-society engagement, including through support to improved public administration, citizens' participation, accountability, rule of law, national human rights institutions, electoral systems, peacebuilding and basic service delivery.

We also very much welcome the evaluation's conclusion that consolidation of support to conflict prevention, governance and peacebuilding under one unit has enabled a more integrated and holistic approach to building peace and preventing conflict.

This work is now completely separated from a functional perspective from climate vulnerability, disaster risk reduction and prevention of catastrophic events.

Referring to the areas reviewed in the evaluation regarding UNDP’s cross-cutting programming principles and approaches that enable sustainable impact, we agree that while UNDP's work on Gender equality and women's empowerment has been extensive, mainstreaming and financial targeting challenges still persist.  We recognize that, while contributions were made to building institutional processes to prevent sexual and gender-based violence, the level of support is still not sufficient.

Regarding South-South and triangular cooperation: we welcome the evaluation finding that the newly adopted South-South Cooperation (SSC) strategy filled a fundamental policy gap and agree that challenges remain in mainstreaming, prioritization, and effective use of SSC in the pursuit of the 2030 Agenda. UNDP’s financial and operational support to and collaboration with UNOSCC were well noted.

The evaluation also found promising our efforts to build partnerships for development with the private sector. Over the last years, UNDP enforced its due diligence policy and risk assessment process to safeguard integrity and enable meaningful engagement in public-private partnerships.

Regarding UNDP's global and regional programmes: we note that the evaluation recognizes their effective role in positioning UNDP as a development thought leader through global and regional dialogues, development research and policy consultations and in seizing opportunities to strengthen the organization’s long-term relevance and competitiveness.  Credit goes in this regard to our Regional Bureaux, Regional Centres, Member States and their regional organizations for their partnership.

Management would also like to thank the IEO for reviewing the performance of the five regional programmes together, as this has produced findings that are useful both to individual regional bureaux and to UNDP at the corporate level.

Again, all these findings and conclusions are relevant and UNDP agrees with them overall. 

Turning to RECOMMENDATIONS, in the interest of time, let me respond grouping them around key topics they relate to. 

UNDP agrees with recommendations 1, 2 and 3 advising UNDP to pursue integrated approaches to development and preserve a global reach, resources and programming to “leave no one behind”.

In response, UNDP will continue to expand support to national partners in integrating and implementing the SDGs within national development plans and in the voluntary national reviews and reports.

UNDP will assist Member States in developing their integrated national financing frameworks linking planning, budgeting, partnerships and resource mobilization in line with the Addis Ababa Agenda for Action and other global instruments and continue assisting localization of the SDGs through the UNDG MAPS approach.

With respect to future thematic engagement, UNDP management agrees with recommendation 4 to promote climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction linkages, and recommendation 7 to continue to refine the roles and scope of service of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) and the Crisis Response Unit (CRU).

UNDP takes note of recommendations 5 and 6 on promoting democratic governance reforms and Goal 16- related intergovernmental agreements on peacebuilding and State-building.

In response to requests from national governments, UNDP will identify entry points and realign programmatic support in democratic governance taking a development approach to conflict prevention. UNDP will continue to engage in international networks on fragility, peacebuilding and state-building; apply core government function diagnostic frameworks in fragile and conflict-affected countries. And UNDP will commit to strengthen the coherence of its crisis prevention, response and recovery and revisit its approach to early recovery coordination in light of the QCPR and the new ways of working.

Our RESPONSE on GENDER

UNDP agrees with recommendation 8 on strengthening the implementation of its gender policies, taking measures to ensure adequate funding to mainstream gender across all programming areas.

UNDP will place emphasis on strengthening partnerships with UN-Women and other technical partners to deliver gender results across all programming areas.

SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION

UNDP agrees with recommendation 9 on taking a more systematic approach to South-South cooperation, selecting specific areas and partners for expanded cooperation, in particular with the UN Development System and hosting the UN Office for South-South cooperation.

On GLOBAL AND REGIONAL Programmes

UNDP takes note of recommendations 10 and 12 related to treating the global programme as a service line and reassessing the roles and sustainability of regional hubs. UNDP agrees with recommendation 13 to develop its regional programmes as frameworks, outlining the regional issues to be addressed and approaches to be followed.

To this end, UNDP will further clarify the relevance and role of programmatic instruments including the global and regional programmes in line with the new Strategic Plan. UNDP will also explore the idea of converting the current global programme into a service line as one of the options going forward.

On STRATEGIC AND CORPORATE matters

UNDP agrees with recommendations 11, 14, 15 and 16 to determine its specialties within its core areas of work, promote a results culture that encourages innovation and critical reflection and learning, increase the involvement of OHR in strategic decision-making, and transition from political budgeting to a more risk- and results-based budgeting process.

I would like to conclude by again thanking the IEO for conducting a thorough and useful evaluation, the result of which will help design the Strategic Plan that shall guide our work over the next four years. We are confident that through the key actions we committed to in the Management Response, UNDP will continue to improve its effectiveness and meet the expectations of all partners.

Thank you.

UNDP Around the world