Evaluation report: System-Wide Evaluation of the UNDS Socio-economic Response to COVID-19
The evaluation concluded that on-going UN development system (UNDS) reforms have supported a coherent and effective UNDS response to socio-economic impacts of the crisis. There has been a focus on vulnerable groups, including women, refugees, youth, older people, people with disabilities and migrant workers. However, ensuring a strong focus on a more equitable and environmentally sustainable recovery, including action to address climate change, has been a challenge for UN country teams (UNCTs).
The evaluation assessed the UN development system’s (UNDS) socio-economic response to COVID19 and analysed how UNDS reforms have enabled and/or constrained that response. It also assessed how well the UNDS response has integrated action on the core UN values of Human Rights, Gender Equality, Inclusion (including persons with disabilities) and Leave No-One Behind. Finally, the evaluation identified barriers and recommend changes to help the UNDS to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and the realization of Agenda 2030.
The evaluation found that throughout the pandemic, UNDS reform actions aimed at strengthening the role of the empowered and independent Resident Coordinator have helped to support collaborative planning processes for a coherent response.
Overall progress in the reforms was crucial to enabling a coherent UNDS response at country level. However, impediments remain to joint action and a coherent UNCT approach to an equitable and environmentally sustainable recovery arising from the competitive environment for resource mobilization and ongoing issues of selective accountability. There are also continuing challenges in achieving full coherence and coordination between UNCTs and international financial institutions (IFIs) at country level.
The evaluation concluded that pooled funding mechanisms have provided a valuable mechanism for engaging in new areas of programming and collaborative partnerships by UNCT entities at country level. Challenges remain in relation to the levels of funding provided to pooled funds.
The evaluation concluded that the UNDS response at country level has been characterized by a strong commitment to Gender Equality, Human Rights, Leaving No-one Behind and Inclusion (including for persons with disabilities). Then again ensuring a strong focus on a more equitable and environmentally sustainable recovery, including action to address climate change, has been a challenge for UNCTs. This is partly because host government priorities were often focused on the immediate response phase and the need to promote employment and strengthen social protection.
The development Evaluation Unit of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland provided financial support and expertise to the System-Wide Evaluation of the UNDS Socio-economic Response to COVID-19.