United Nations Development Program Administrator Helen Clark unveiled her agency’s revised evaluation policy to help ensure that UNDP-backed programs achieve their intended outcomes.
The revised policy will bolster UNDP’s evaluation function “particularly at the decentralized level,” according to Clark.
“It further codifies what we expect and need from evaluations, as well as the roles and responsibilities of us all, including the Board, in using evaluations to make UNDP’s work as effective as possible,” Clark said Jan. 31 during the UNDP board’s first regular session in 2011.
The revised evaluation policy is pending the approval of UNDP’s executive board. As part of the new policy’s implementation, some 45 country program documents, which will be submitted to the UNDP board this year, will each include an evaluation plan, “which is costed, and a refined results framework [to] help ensure that our programs are more focused on the outcomes to be achieved,” Clark said.
Clark also noted that the agency’s evaluation office conducted five major thematic evaluations following a request by the UNDP board. The findings of these evaluations, as well as the management responses, will be presented later this week.
“These evaluations have prompted important debate inside UNDP, which will help guide our work in the future. Some of the issues raised are specific to the subject area, while others are more general in nature,” she said.
Clark added: “In a number of cases, action had already been taken by the time the formal evaluation made its recommendations. In other cases, management may not entirely agree with the findings. Evaluation, like management, is not infallible.”
UNDP, Clark said, will also see reduced core resources, prompting lower program and management budgets for 2010 and 2011.
“We have curtailed core programme and management expenditure, by reprioritizing program activities in consultation with stakeholders, and using other available resources where possible, including cost sharing, trust funds, and extra-budgetary resources,” she explained.
To further reduce the agency’s expenditure, a transitional expenditure control mechanism has been established to ensure that “our operational balances stay within our set margins,” according to Clark.
“Areas of particular focus include costs related to travel and those associated with the frequent turnover of staff between posts,” she said. “We need to remove duplication in functions where it exists, better align responsibilities across bureaux, and rebalance functions between headquarters and country offices.”
In this light, Clark said she has commissioned a review of the UNDP business model.
The review will examine reforms needed to establish clear corporate policies, as well as employ incentives to encourage “transformational change at the country level,” Clark said.
While U.S. Representative to the U.N. Economic and Social Council Rick Barton welcomed Clark’s agenda for reforming UNDP’s management, he called for “greater access to audit information,” which he said would “vault UNDP to the forefront of multilateral transparency and accountability.”