What did we learn

Over the period of the strategic framework, UNCDF has captured important lessons from external evaluations.

Overall, UNCDF was judged to be doing a good job in designing and implementing programmes that improved the lives of poor people in LDCs. UNCDF designed interventions relevant to LDC priorities, building good cooperation with other development stakeholders and responding to the needs of the national implementing partners. In terms of impact and sustainability, the review found that UNCDF interventions typically reach last-mile populations.

UNCDF-supported partners were found generally to be making progress in reaching underserved populations in financial inclusion and local development finance. Innovations in digital finance services were helping reach increased numbers of low-income clients, expanding, for example, their access to affordable clean energy or formal savings products. UNCDF support to improve public financial management by local governments typically yielded increased investments in productive infrastructure as well as, where relevant, improved household food security and nutrition.

Reviews have also identified areas for improvement, including the need for UNCDF to more systematically articulate and/or report on expected results beyond those achieved by direct implementing partners alone, so as to capture broader market development results that can drive inclusion at scale. These priorities are now reflected in UNCDF’s new four-year strategic framework (2018-2021).

All UNCDF evaluations can be found at the UNDP Evaluation Resource Center through the following link

Finally, all UNCDF programmes prioritized gender equality and women’s empowerment. External evaluations have found UNCDF programmes to have robust programme design features and strong results in areas of women’s empowerment.

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