United Nations Capital Development Fund
United Nations Capital Development Fund
UNCDF has a unique financial mandate within the UN system. It provides investment capital and technical support to both the public and the private sector. The ability to provide capital financing - in the forms of grants, soft loans and credit enhancement – and the technical expertise in preparing portfolios of sustainable and resilient capacity building and infrastructure projects, is intended to complement to the mandates of other UN agencies. This also positions UNCDF as an early stage investor to de-risk opportunities that can later be scaled up by institutional financial partners and increasingly by philanthropic foundations and private sector investors. UNCDF is the only UN agency mandated to focus primarily on the least developed countries (LDCs), currently supporting 33 out of the 48 LDCs, with country level programmes, as well as regional and global programmes. UNCDF is also working in 6 Southern non- LDCs.
UNCDF works in two particular development sectors: inclusive finance and local development finance:
- UNCDF’s work on inclusive finance seeks to develop inclusive financial systems and ensure that a range of financial products is available to all segments of society, at a reasonable cost, and on a sustainable basis. UNCDF supports a wide range of providers (e.g. microfinance institutions, banks, cooperatives, money transfer companies) and a variety of financial products and services (e.g. savings, credit, insurance, payments, and remittances). UNCDF also supports newer delivery channels (e.g. mobile phone networks) that offer tremendous potential for scale.
- UNCDF’s work on local development finance aims at ensuring that people in all regions and locations benefit from growth. This means dealing with the specific local challenges of, for example peri-urban areas and remote rural locations. It means re-investing domestic resources back into local economies and services through inter-alia, fiscal decentralization, climate finance and project finance. UNCDF focuses its efforts towards strengthening public financial management and local revenue, improving the quality of public and private investments and promoting innovations at the local level.
According to UNCDF's Evaluation Policy (chapter VI of the evaluation policy of UNDP), the Evaluation Unit (EU) is the custodian of the evaluation function in UNCDF. Institutionally, the Head of Unit reports directly to the Executive Secretary. Evaluations in UNCDF are managed centrally with support - where appropriate - from Regional Offices.
The Unit currently has two full-time staff members: one Head and one evaluation officer. An additional Evaluation Officer post is vacant awaiting funding
Priority tasks for UNCDF's Evaluation Unit include managing an active evaluation function aimed at meeting both learning and accountability objectives and ensuring that evaluation principles are embedded throughout the project cycle, for example at project design and in project monitoring and reporting. Other areas of work include ensuring appropriate follow up to evaluations through the management response system, developing the rigor and range of evaluation tools that are available to the Unit as well as contributing to UNCDF policy and strategy development from an evaluability perspective In support of this, the Unit takes part in the approval process of new projects ensuring that key 'evaluability' principles are respected already at the design stage. In addition, the Unit has assisted programme colleagues to develop project monitoring tools that focus on development results and support a culture of self-evaluation.
o In 2011, UNDP revised its evaluation policy which also covers UNCDF. The policy can be accessed through the UNEG website or UNDP website.
o Overseeing an active and up-to-date evaluation function in support of learning and accountability objectives
o Ensuring UNCDF programmes and projects apply evaluation principles throughout the project cycle
o Keeping evaluation tools and methods up to date in line with best practice elsewhere
Human Resources (2014)
o Director/UNEG Head: M
o Evaluators : Total=1; M=1 (not including director)
Expenditure (2014 – including staff costs of one Evaluation Specialist and one Evaluation Officer):
o $ 580,000
Evaluations produced/commissioned in 2014:
During 2014, UNCDF completed one final evaluation assessing the performance of a support programme to decentralization, deconcentration and local economic development in Benin and began three others:
- “Final evaluation of the YouthStart programme supporting the development of youth financial services in eight African countries;”
- “Mid-term evaluation of the expansion phase of the MicroLead programme supporting the introduction of savings-led models in the least developed countries;”
- “Thematic evaluation of the performance of the UNCDF Local Development Fund mechanism in the least-developed countries of Africa and Asia since 2005.”
o Homepage: http://uncdf.org/en/evaluations-assessments
The Evaluation Unit reports directly to the Executive Secretary. The Unit has an annual budget earmarked for evaluation, which is managed by the Head of the Evaluation Unit.
Evaluators are required to sign the UNEG Code of Conduct for evaluation to avoid and manage conflicts of interest and to ensure that all team members perform their functions in line with the highest standards of integrity as required by the Charter of the United Nations. Mechanisms are in place that allow evaluators to report discreetly on cases of wrongdoing.
Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning
As per the Evaluation Policy of UNCDF, the Evaluation Unit has the responsibility to prepare a biennial Evaluation Plan and budget which is submitted to the Executive Secretary for approval. The Plan is drawn up in a consultative manner with colleagues in UNCDF's two Programme Areas.
Stakeholder involvement and promoting national evaluation capacity development
Evaluations in UNCDF are intended to be participatory in nature and often involve key national and development partner stakeholders in the design, implementation, and follow-up of the evaluation process. UNCDF also tries where possible to work with national consultants. In 2014, of a total of 4 evaluators hired, 3 were from the countries of projects being evaluated.
Quality assurance is one of the priorities of the Unit with view to generating credible and useful evaluation products. Evaluations are designed and managed according to a theory-based approach, incorporating standard results chains and accompanying evaluation matrices for UNCDF's two practice areas of inclusive finance and local development finance. This helps set minimum standards for external evaluators and allows easier comparison of evaluation results across the portfolio. Regarding data collection and analysis, the Unit employs a mixed-method approach using both qualitative and quantitative tools with the goal of externally validating internally-produced results and providing higher-level analysis of interventions' relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, likely impact and sustainability, as per UNEG guidance. The Unit also makes use of UNEG quality standards in applying templates for Terms of Reference and inception and final reports.
Use of Evaluation
UNCDF Evaluation reports are published externally and are available via the UNCDF website as well as UNDP's Evaluation Resource Center. Evaluations are published alongside management responses which are tracked regularly by programme colleagues under the supervision of UNCDF's Deputy Executive Secretary.
Evaluation findings are reported systematically to senior decision-makers via HQ-level debriefings chaired by the Executive Secretary and also via short synthesis reports prepared regularly by the Evaluation Unit. Evaluation findings are also disseminated at the national level via country-level debriefings. Programme units are expected to incorporate evaluation findings and results into new programme formulation.
Many of UNCDF's projects are jointly designed and implemented with UNDP and other UN partners. UNCDF pays close attention to the results of UNDP country- and thematic-level evaluations and ensures that key UN partners are closely involved in the evaluation process where appropriate.