Financing the recovery: a formative evaluation of UNDP’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and financing the SDGs – Global
The world has been deeply shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. It struck just as world leaders were calling for a decade of delivery to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and the impact on development progress cannot be overstated. The scale is only just beginning, but it is already clear that poverty has increased – with an estimated 250 million more people pushed into extreme poverty – malnutrition is on the rise and incomes and employment have been hit hard in the whole world.
This is not the first time that UNDP has proven to be a key partner in times of crisis. The scale of the crisis was surprising, as every country in the world was grappling with the rapid spread of the virus. UNDP provided agile support for preparedness and response measures in the months following the start. UNDP also rose to the challenges the pandemic posed to the delivery of traditional assistance and embraced innovation.
This included the development of socio-economic impact assessments, which helped governments and partners determine how and where the impact would be greatest, and how to respond.
We have all suffered during the pandemic, but we have not suffered in the same way. Inequalities have widened, not least because the usual fiscal and financial tools have failed to mitigate the impact on employment, social protection, education, production and health care. While wealthier countries have been able to put in place safety nets for businesses and employees, many low- and middle-income countries have struggled to provide this level of support. These financial disparities, especially access to funding for responses and stimulus packages, will also hamper recovery and deepen inequalities.
This formative evaluation examines how UNDP can support SDG financing to help governments meet their commitments, recognizing that many of UNDP’s SDG financing tools are still in their infancy and the pandemic is not yet over. finished. We looked at UNDP’s existing mechanisms to support financing for the SDGs, as well as its extensive toolkit. The evaluation used the current funding architecture and global opportunities as a lens through which to examine whether UNDP approaches met the needs of countries as they emerge from the pandemic.
The evaluation provides UNDP with specific recommendations as it implements its Strategic Plan 2022-2025 and the bold “moonshot” to promote alignment of $1 trillion in investments with the SDGs. Recommendations include a strategic roadmap and consolidating UNDP’s many offerings and tools to realign resources with demand and needs. The assessment also provides important considerations for UNDP regional hubs and country offices on how to engage with governments and the private sector to support the SDG financing goal. Tracks include integrated national financing frameworks, domestic resource mobilization, sovereign bond financing and climate finance.
Dealing with the fallout from the pandemic and halting the slide back into poverty for millions of people will occupy the global consciousness for some time to come. We find ourselves in unpredictable times, but we cannot lose sight of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the needs of vulnerable communities who too often bear the brunt of crises. There can be no sustainable development without peace and there can be no peace without sustainable development. Both will need bolder and clearer funding avenues for either to succeed.
Oscar A. Garcia
Independent Evaluation Office, UNDP