Management Response

: Policy Division
: 2015 - 2015 , Policy Division (HQ)
: Financing for Gender Equality
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: Policy Division
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The evaluation of UN Women’s programme “Increasing Accountability in Financing for Gender Equality” (F4GE) generated the following outputs: ● A synthesis report of the overall evaluation of the programme; ● Four country case study reports for: Haiti, Jordan, Nepal & Senegal. The evaluation found that the F4GE programme was well-aligned with national gender equality priorities and the mandates of UN Women and the European Commission (EC) “to work together in more than 50 countries worldwide to push for gender equality legislation and planning and budgeting…” (MoU UN Women-EU, p.1). It found the programme achieved results across varied national contexts by utilizing a flexible design approach and building on previous experience in gender responsive planning and budgeting (GRB). Partnerships were identified as essential at all levels and provided opportunities to expand the reach of the programme and its corresponding activities. Specific areas in need of intensified action were identified, with emphasis on strengthening national-level engagement and coordination with donors, including European Union Delegations, as well as improving monitoring systems to measure progress toward outcomes. A final conclusion stated that the potential for current results to be sustained beyond the implementation period existed in all programme countries (p.18-19 Synthesis Report). The evaluation noted “the greatest single sustainability challenge faced by the programme is breaking the barrier between successful delivery of technical support and capacity building on GRB/GE and true institutionalization of the same” (p.58). The report further indicates that in order to strengthen institutionalization toward greater sustainability of results, it is essential that gender equality be high on government agendas, capacities exist to translate gender equality priorities into practical and actionable plans and programmes, and strong advocacy for accountability is in place (cf. p.59). This Synthesis Report provides five recommendations that address the main elements of the aforementioned conclusions, providing additional information and guidance for UN Women’s future programming in the area of F4GE. In summary, the recommendations address: the critical components for development of a new phase of GRB programming (pp. 19-20); the importance of alignment between level of programmatic ambition and ability to deliver (pp. 20-21); the necessity of strong partnerships at all levels (p.20); the need to strengthen relationships with donors, including EUDs, at the local level (pp.21-22); and the importance of monitoring and reporting with a focus on achievement of outcomes (p. 22). This management response addresses the main recommendations highlighted in the evaluation, while making reference to the ways in which the next phase of GRB programming, under the newly developed Flagship Programme Initiative (FPI) on Transformative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, will respond to the specific recommendations. It details specific actions that will be taken to respond to each recommendation.

: Approved
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 1 (pp.74-75): Initiate a new phase of GRB programming (Based on Conclusion 1 and 6) Gender-responsive budgeting and the promotion of gender equality principles in financing is an important topic in the broader context of efforts designed to promote and support the improvement of women’s lives around the world. This is clearly indicated in the stated strategic priorities of donor governments, especially the EC/EU, and the trend towards an increase in gender-earmarked funding. Across the entire portfolio of 16 countries, and especially in the four case study countries, elements for a successful continuity exist. Indeed, as noted in the evaluation’s findings and conclusions, sustaining effort, maintaining momentum and building upon past achievements is a critical success factor. As such, UNW should design a new and updated phase of F4GE to incorporate both GRB and AE goals. This design should engage with the concept of financing for GE, based on the feminist macroeconomics of development and ODA and ensure that a future programme design adjusts the current logical framework and TOC to reflect more clearly the ultimate and higher development goal of women’s access to resources and services and GE. In the design of a new programme, UNW should bring together key actors to help assess the institutional and political components of the programme’s change logic for its work in GRB and develop a nationally specific road map. This will ensure that future programming is appropriate to the particular social and political environment, and identifies the strategic route required to adopt meaningful GRB. This will include a clearer focus on achievable outcomes and articulation of risks, assumptions and mitigating actions. Such routes might include: • When designing future GRB- and FfD-related programming, fund the initial deployment of a gender-and-statistics mission to explore the data capacity and instruments of the national statistics office and design capacity building responses where necessary. • Assessment of country-level capacity for expenditure tracking and assessing the impact of expenditure on poor women and their families. • Review of national accounting processes from local to central level to ensure that quality information is available and to gauge the relationship between allocation and expenditure. • Devising strategies to pursue engagement with the higher management levels of Government, particularly with Ministries of Finance, Planning and high leadership offices. • Identify where the well supported ongoing programming lies for leveraging support for GRB e.g. linking GRB to the major reform processes in public financial management. UNW should also design programming that continues to support capacity development measures and focus in areas identified as country relevant: • In partnership where possible, assist national partners/government in strengthening capacity and accountability for effective monitoring and tracking systems on public spending, to ensure programmes and projects actually benefit women and men, girls and boys equitably. • Capacity development on GE/GRB should be continued with stakeholders and the scope of training expanded for broader coverage to include staff from ministries and more Budget Analysts from gender budgeting departments or units. This would help build a strong and competent core group of staff who can provide technical support on GRB to ministries and local government (if expansion of the programme to take place at local government level). In this regard a capacity development strategy including a ToT plan should be designed for the various training activities involving participation of higher management in the ministries. • A series of short courses on data literacy could then be designed and built into future programmes. • Capacity development activities should be put in place or continued for MPs to strengthen their capacity on gender sensitive policies, GE/GRB and to enhance their important role in the passing of gender sensitive legislation and budget laws. Finally, GRB tends to be focused on the central levels of government but significant opportunities exist where governments are engaged in decentralization. It is at the local level that national policies, plans and budgets get translated to improving women and men’s access to resources and services. These levels may be more amenable to introducing GRP and GRB, and they may have greater numbers of women active in public office – who could become champions of GRB at their local level.
Management Response: UN Women agrees with parts of this recommendation. UN Women is developing a new Flagship Programme Initiative (FPI) on “Transformative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment” that draws upon the evaluation findings, in particular the identified enabling factors, challenges, good practices and lessons learned. The Synthesis Report finds that an efficient use of UN Women’s funding requires “engaging in F4GE programming with countries in which leadership is committed to the program” (cf. Finding 17, pp. 55-54) The FPI under development will continue the participatory and consultative process identified as a good practice of the F4GE programme to ensure national ownership and leadership of the work. Additionally, it will employ a design modality, similar to that used under the F4GE, that allows for sufficient flexibility for adaptation at country level. In response to the critique of the programme’s Theory of Change (ToC), the FPI uses a ToC that draws on the F4GE programme experience and evaluation findings. This ToC was developed by UN Women (2015) and it includes explicit articulation of the high-level development goal to which the FPI aims to contribute. It will be peer reviewed by national and global UN Women staff through a Programme Assessment Committee (PAC) process when the FPI commences. This ToC and corresponding logical framework will be reviewed and adapted to the specific country context in full consultation with national partners. It is necessary to mention that UN Women requested that the evaluation team develop a reconstructed ToC as an evaluation deliverable. The evaluation team produced, in our view, a partial and incomplete ToC based upon its own evaluation findings. While UN Women agrees that an assessment of national statistical capacity is important, other FPIs are working towards this end. Accordingly, the Governance and National Planning (GNP) team will work with the Flagship Programme on gender responsive statistics to support their efforts in this area. Further, as UN Women commences programme implementation in countries adopting the FPI, it will work with decentralization and/or public finance management reform processes, on a case-by-case basis. In regard to the second part of the recommendation, under the new FPI, UN Women will continue to focus on strengthening capacity for government, gender advocates and civil society. Specific capacity strengthening efforts are included in the FPI plan, including a focus on building capacities of government and non-government partners in gender analysis, costing, impact assessments and monitoring and tracking. Additionally, the FPI indicative activities include the production of guidance on tracking gender-responsive revenue raising and allocations. The FPI will continue to support work, in partnership with the OECD and UNDP, on global monitoring of the establishment and implementation of tracking systems. UN Women will focus attention on expanding capacity strengthening to include more government stakeholders, including MPs and parliamentarians, to strengthen gender responsive policy and legal efforts as well as monitoring.
Description:
Management Response Category:
Thematic Area: Governance and planning (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Not applicable
Organizational Priorities: Not applicable
UNEG Criteria: Relevance, Gender equality
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Develop Flagship Programme on Transformative Financing, including a comprehensive Theory of Change and corresponding logframe UNW/GNP Team 2017/05 Completed
Develop guidance note on tax and gender equality UNW/GNP Team 2017/12 Completed In final stages of editing and layout for publishing.
Develop methodology and country-level guidance on the development of systems to track gender equality allocations UNW/GNP Team 2018/03 Completed SDG Indicator 5.c.1 methodology completed and indicator reclassified to Tier II by Inter-Agency Expert Group (IAEG)-SDGs in November 2017.
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 2 (p. 75): Ensure that the implementation period, level of effort, and funding are commensurate with the programme’s objectives (Based on Conclusion 3) As the evaluation has noted, UNW has achieved significant forward movement for GRB with the F4GE programme. One of the most difficult aspects of this evaluation was capturing and digesting the achievement and challenges across the 16 countries. While they were all guided by a global ToC and logical framework, these were adjusted and localised based on the specific needs of the country of implementation. However, even with this localisation, the scope, breadth and aspirations of the F4GE programme were ambitious, and perhaps overly so. This was specifically noted by stakeholders in the country case studies, but is also readily evident from the available documentation of the overall portfolio. The financial allocation and associated level of effort given to projects should realistically reflect the scope of activities and expected results. To achieve this for a future F4GE programme, one of two scenarios should be followed: • Option 1: Expand the volume of resources to extend and embed GRB, and to undertake activities around aid coordination through greater funding commitments. This would allow for more CO level staff (e.g. a programme coordinator for managing activities and a GRB expert for providing technical inputs) and the ability to support more partnerships with CSOs and women’s groups. • Option 2: Reduce either the number of countries of implementation, or the scope of activities pursued. This would bring a focus on quality, impact and sustainability of activities, rather than the pursuit of high levels of outputs. Underscoring both of the options above should be an emphasis on the best practice of under-promising and over-delivering - seeking to truly achieve realistic outcomes and objectives within time and budget allotments. In so doing, UNW will be able to better focus its limited resources and be able to realize externalities (e.g. evidencing how the inclusion of women rises all boats incentives other programmes to learn and implement the practice), network effects (e.g. building the capacity of women’s organizations should, in turn create pressure on government) and leverage points (e.g. becoming a truly powerful influencer at a MOF) will result in the multiplication of their efforts.
Management Response: UN Women agrees with sections of this recommendation. The forthcoming FPI on Transformative Financing will have an implementation modality aligned more closely with the proposed “Option 2”, focusing financial and technical support to fewer countries for a comprehensive set of initiatives over four years, with the aim of deepening the impact of the programmatic work. This approach was selected to enable countries to develop full programme plans and resource these sufficiently. In recognition of the necessity of a ‘long-term’ approach in support of stronger financing for gender equality, the FPI is structured in a way that seeks to enable ongoing, intensified technical support at country level and close collaboration at all levels. UN Women disagrees with the implicit point in this recommendation that by implementing the F4GE programme in 16 countries, quality was sacrificed in the name of ‘achieving a high number of outputs.’ In fact, UN Women asserts that the progress and results achieved under the F4GE programme were continuously monitored for quality and delivery with countries adjusting plans and activities accordingly. UN Women does not agree that the F4GE programme was overly ambitious. While resources in each country were limited, the programme was nimble in responding to strategic opportunities and addressing setbacks. Almost every programme country confronted challenges during the implementation period, including natural disasters, political upheaval and/or change, and/or conflict. UN Women strongly contends that the evaluation did not adequately reflect the results achieved across the full programme portfolio particularly in light of the challenges faced at country level. This is due, in part, to the fact that the evaluation team conducted a partial assessment of the programme portfolio and therefore did not gather sufficient data on all of the country-level results.
Description:
Management Response Category:
Thematic Area: Governance and planning (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Not applicable
Organizational Priorities: Not applicable
UNEG Criteria: Efficiency
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Implement FPI in a smaller set of countries over four year programme period UNW/GNP Team 2017/12 Ongoing It is envisioned FPI implementation will cover a four-year period.
Conduct donor roundtables to mobilize necessary resources for FPI UNW/GNP Team 2017/06 Ongoing Resource mobilization for the FPI has been initiated and is ongoing in 2018.
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 3 (p. 76): Seek to leverage partnerships at all levels to a greater extent (Based on Conclusion 4) GRB is predicated on leveraging other stakeholders to play a part and, as noted in the findings and conclusions, the F4GE programme realised significant success when partnering with others. In the case if ITC/ILO, which was a designated partner and responsible for delivery of specific programme outputs, significant progress was made in enhancing the capacity of EUDs and raising the visibility of GFPs. Focused, tangible achievements were realised through the grant making facility and, the programme relied on numerous local contractors and consultants for delivery of programme activities. UNW should consider broadening and deepening partnerships like the ITC/ILO to be able to focus efforts on its contribution to the dialogue and policy formation around GRB while allowing others to effectively deliver programme outputs. This recommendation is in line with others proposed for UNW’s overall contribution to Women’s Economic Empowerment. While partnerships with international organisations are important, it is equally important to join with actors who are realistically capable of leveraging accountability at the local level, across all sectors. This could be a sweet spot for UNW’s efforts in the GRB space. Not only could UNW support partners to further the GRB agenda individually, it could also use its networking power to ensure related actors are communicating, sharing and moving that agenda forward together. Finally, at the CO staff level, working through partnerships should also allow UNW to continue to deliver more with less. UNW human resources would be able to focus their time managing partners to ensure the achievement of outputs and monitoring overall movement towards outcomes.
Management Response: UN Women agrees that partnerships are essential for successful programming. Building strong and supportive partnerships with governments, civil society and private sector is a key strategic approach of UN Women’s work on GRB and financing for gender equality. Specifically, at country level, the evaluation stated that “the entire programme was predicated on the ability of UNW to partner closely with government partners (especially in central and line ministries), civil society actors and other bodies.” This is turn engendered local ownership and contributed to the development of an enabling environment for gender equality. This point speaks to the unique position of UN Women in leading this work, the established and trusted relationships it has at country level and the importance of UN Women’s convening mandate in building and maintaining such partnerships. In light of all of this, the Transformative Financing FPI was developed with a strong focus on leveraging partnerships at all levels. Specifically, at country level, the FPI seeks to include the continuation and/or establishment of national mechanisms to institutionalize F4GE. As identified by the evaluation, these mechanisms were part of programming in all four case study countries and should be composed of multiple and diverse stakeholders to support greater ownership and institutionalization of the work. The evaluation also highlights the importance of capitalizing on partnership opportunities at country level with other organizations engaged in GRB and/or similar efforts. Within the context of the FPI, UN Women will examine ways to expand partnerships with all stakeholder groups. In recognition of its unique role as ‘convener’, UN Women will continue to explore and strengthen partnerships at global level for greater collaboration on financing for gender equality. UN Women will work closely with partners to raise demand for data on financing gaps and develop policy advocacy in support of stepped up financing for gender equality from all sources. Additionally, UNW will continue its productive partnership with OECD/DAC and UNDP in supporting countries to develop and implement systems to track gender equality allocations. The new phase of this work will be done within the context of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Indicator framework, which includes indicator 5.c.1.
Description:
Management Response Category:
Thematic Area: Governance and planning (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Not applicable
Organizational Priorities: Partnership
UNEG Criteria: Sustainability
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
Within the context of the FPI, ensure each programme country develops and/or strengthens multi-stakeholder groups to address financing gender equality UNW/GNP Team 2017/12 Ongoing
Explore new partnerships in areas including, but not limited to, open and transparent budgets and monitoring gender responsive revenue raising and allocations. UNW/GNP Team and COs 2017/12 Ongoing New partnership with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is being explored.
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 4 (pp. 76-77): Establish a meaningful and mutually productive relationship with the EUD and other donors at the national level (Based on Conclusion 2) As noted in the findings and conclusions, the F4GE programme maintained an excellent relationship with donors, especially the EU, and policy makers at the global level. These efforts were instrumental in the inclusion of GE principles in the 2015 FfD conference outcomes and, more generally, in steering the global programme. However, these effective relationships were not enjoyed at the local level, where they would be most likely to generate effect for the programme’s outcomes. In partnership with the EU, UNW should develop a proactive engagement and strategy to generate greater ownership by EU Delegations. This partnership should be formalised with commonly agreed responsibilities and expectations. As starting points, UNW should explore: • The feasibility of establishing a Project Steering Committee with EUDs and national partners to facilitate more formalised joint communications and exchanges on F4GE at a strategic level, and close engagement and support of EUD in collaboration with national partners • The possibilities of UNW participation in existing EU Subcommittees such as Good Governance which has responsibility for gender or in Public Financial Sector Reform processes where the EUD is often active. • How future programme design can learn from good practices generated for F4GE by the ITC/ILO component. • In addition to deepening engagement with the EUD, UNW should apply new strategies for strengthening the capacity and accountability of donors in F4GE. The aim should be to support donor coordination on gender. UNW should collaborate with donors and explore opportunities to engage with donor aid coordination mechanisms and major projects, for example: • Opportunities were clear in particular countries with, for example USAID (GRB), UNICEF (Child Friendly Budgeting), Donor Groups (Public Financial Sector Reform), UN Gender Thematic Groups (GTG), and Donor Gender Coordination Mechanisms. • Explore the feasibility of establishing a multi stakeholder coordination group including donors using the GRB Network as an existing mechanism to engage national partners with donors.
Management Response: UN Women agrees that it is important to develop and maintain strong relationships with donors at the local level in support of stronger programming. However, it also contends that the evaluation did not complete a sufficiently comprehensive review of all the efforts at country level in regard to donor coordination. This was due, mainly to the fact that the evaluation team failed to adequately grasp the programmatic approach and interventions. Further, the evaluation team did not devote adequate time to reviewing the full portfolio of programme countries during the data collection stage. This gap in the data contributed to an incomplete view of the achievements made in countries in strengthening donor coordination and engagement on GRB and financing gender equality. With regard to the first part of the recommendation, UN Women contends that while the specific points are useful, they are not necessarily applicable for all future programming, particularly if not focused on partnerships with EUDs. However, future programming will, as appropriate considering the level of collaboration with the EU, endeavor to strengthen partnerships with EUDs at country level. As with all partnerships, this would be predicated on a shared vision, the development of a clear work plan, including the identification of joint priorities and buy-in by senior staff to ensure high level support for the work. More broadly, the suggestion pertaining to UNW’s potential participation in existing committees on good governance and other related areas will be considered in relation to its engagement with all donors at country level. UN Women agrees that it is important to continue to develop model partnerships like that with ITC/ILO. This partnership was mutually productive and yielded good results at country and global levels. Specifically, it supported efforts in 8 programme countries to integrate gender equality in national and sector programmes and raised awareness about the need for strengthening allocations for gender equality priorities. In some cases, this work also contributed to strengthening the active involvement of gender focal points (GFPs) in the EUDs. At the global level, the partnership facilitated the execution of global workshops on costing, sectoral applications of GRB and programme lessons learned. In terms of the second part of the recommendation, UN Women will continue to develop its work in support of donor coordination on financing gender equality. Several F4GE programme countries made notable progress in strengthening donor coordination and, therefore, the Entity will facilitate cross-country learning for substantive exchange of experiences and lessons in engaging donors. Additionally, under the FPI, emphasis will be placed on strengthening the capacity and knowledge of donors to analyze gender gaps and improve their respective monitoring systems through the integration of gender-sensitive indicators.
Description:
Management Response Category:
Thematic Area: Governance and planning (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Advocacy
Organizational Priorities: Partnership
UNEG Criteria: Sustainability, Impact
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
As part of the FPI, identify existing donor committees/sub-committees that could be useful for addressing financing for gender equality UNW/COs 2017/12 Ongoing The FPI will be implemented over a 4-year period and review of these opportunities will be done during the full period.
Support south-south exchange between countries with more experience in strengthening donor coordination and countries that need to build capacity in this area UNW/Regional Offices 2018/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
Through the FPI, strengthen the capacity of donors to conduct high quality gender analysis and apply the findings to their plans and programmes and strengthen gender responsiveness of their monitoring systems UNW/COs 2018/12 Overdue-Not Initiated
Recommendation: RECOMMENDATION 5 (p. 77): Emphasise programme monitoring and reporting towards outcomes (Based on Conclusion 5) The evaluation found a wealth of documentation related to the implementation of the F4GE programme and this documentation was related to both standard and required reporting processes. However, reporting was focused on the achievement of outputs, rather than monitoring and reporting on desired outcomes. A shift from output to outcome monitoring and reporting will benefit a future programme in numerous ways, but two in particular for the F4GE: • Most importantly, a focus on outcomes will require UNW coordinators and partners to follow outputs to understand their uptake and ultimate impact on behaviour change. This will move reporting from “what happened” to “so what?” and should, ultimately provide UNW with an even better platform for highlighting its achievements and success. • Focusing monitoring and reporting on outcomes will also directly impact decision making by coordinators at the CO level. Rather than necessarily emphasising quantity of outputs, this shift would bring a focus on quality, depth, impact and sustainability. Finally, a future programme would benefit from a clearer link between monitoring and evaluation activities and programme adjustments for greater success. In so doing, UNW would make clear the strategic importance of monitoring and reporting to achieving the programme goal.
Management Response: UN Women agrees with this recommendation. As noted by the evaluation, UN Women followed standard monitoring and reporting procedures, which produced information necessary for internal accountability and donor reporting. However, it is clear that additional data focused on the outputs of programme activities would have enabled a stronger understanding of the specific results achieved. While in agreement with the recommendation overall, it is important to note that measuring behavior change is a long-term process. Many of the F4GE programme countries only just embarked on this area of work. Therefore, it was not always possible to capture information on the full effects of programme activities in terms of shifts in knowledge, attitudes and behavior. Within the context of the FPI, the GNP team will strengthen programme monitoring systems to ensure that country-level reporting is less activity/input based and more fully output and outcome focused. This process will ensure more comprehensive learning and strengthen ongoing monitoring and mid-term and final evaluation processes. As programme implementation commences, ‘output and outcome-based’ monitoring training will be provided to all programme countries. This may be conducted through virtual workshops to support capacity development in monitoring and reporting and strengthen the capacity of country-level colleagues in reporting output-level data. Further, the GNP team will consult with UN Women’s Planning, Programme and Guidance Unit for peer review of all monitoring tools to ensure that they are sufficiently output and outcome based. The effectiveness of the monitoring tools will be reviewed at the mid-term point of FPI implementation to assess how well they are capturing output data and necessary adjustments will be made.
Description:
Management Response Category:
Thematic Area: Governance and planning (SPs before 2018)
Operating Principles: Internal coordination and communication
Organizational Priorities: Culture of results/RBM
UNEG Criteria: Efficiency
Key Actions
Responsible Deadline Status Comments
As part of the FPI, develop comprehensive monitoring and reporting framework with a clear focus on output and outcome-level data UNW/GNP Team 2017/06 Completed FPI document includes a global logframe that will support countries in developing their national logical frameworks and monitoring programme implementation
Prepare guidance on output and outcome-focused monitoring and reporting and provide training to country-level staff UNW/GNP Team 2017/08 Overdue-Not Initiated
Conduct review of monitoring tools and processes at mid-point of the FPI implementation to adjust as needed UNW/GNP Team 2018/12 Overdue-Not Initiated