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Development Effectiveness Review of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

This report presents a review of the development effectiveness of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UNDP is the United Nations' global development network, supporting national processes to accelerate the progress of human development, with a view to eradicate poverty.

The purpose of this review is to provide an independent, evidence-based assessment of the development effectiveness of UNDP. The review synthesized 55 evaluations that concentrated on UNDP programming between 2005 and 2011.

Through this review, CIDA learned that:

  • The reviewed evaluations report that UNDP programs are relevant to the development context in which they operate. Factors contributing to success in this area include effective consultation with stakeholders to build consensus on needs and solutions.
  • The reviewed evaluations also indicate that most UNDP programs achieve their development objectives and expected results, although weaknesses remain in some areas. Success was hindered by dispersion of UNDP programming across too many projects, too wide a geographic area or too many institutions.
  • The sustainability of program results and benefits represents a significant challenge to UNDP's development effectiveness. Some programs lacked an explicit phase-out strategy and did not integrate sustainability considerations into program design.
  • Efficiency is another area requiring improvement, with many reviewed evaluations reporting weaknesses in program efficiency. The complexity of UNDP's project administration systems and procedures hinders greater efficiency.
  • UNDP is generally effective in supporting gender equality. However, a lack of systematic gender analysis hindered wider success in this area. In some programs, UNDP mainstreamed gender equality and increased women's participation in governance structures.
  • UNDP effectively supports environmental sustainability. Factors contributing to success in this area include UNDP's effective advocacy for environmental issues and its willingness to invest in environmental research methods and tools.
  • Weaknesses were reported in decentralized systems for evaluation, monitoring and results-based management. A tendency to focus on outputs rather than outcomes limits success in this area. However, UNDP's Evaluation Office produces quality evaluations, including detailed management responses.

Alternate Format

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Development Effectiveness Review of the United Nations Development Programme (PDF, 1.77 MB, 108 pages)
Development Effectiveness Review of the United Nations Development Programme — Highlight Sheet (PDF, 330 Ko, 1 page)