Independent Review of the One Plan (2012-2016) between the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the United Nations in Viet Nam

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The One Plan (2012-2016) was co-signed between the Government of Viet Nam and 17 UN agencies in March 2012 and is meant to act as the main programmatic and operational framework for delivering UN support to the Government of Viet Nam. The One Plan is a direct result of the incorporation of the Delivering as One (DaO), initiated in Viet Nam in early 2006, which stressed efficiency and effectiveness of the United Nations System as a key goal of the reform and requested the funds and programmes and specialized agencies to implement “joint offices”. The DaO initiative in Vietnam is built on five pillars: one plan, one budget, one leader, one house and one set of management practices - put in place in order to capitalize from the strengths and comparative advantages of the different UN agencies and to increase the UN system’s ability to achieve results in a more efficient and coherent manner, through coordinated programming and reduced transaction costs (both financial and otherwise) for both governments and the UN system.

This review was commissioned by the One Plan Steering Committee (OPSC) in Viet Nam and planned for the second half of 2015, with over one full year left for implementation, to allow for lessons learned to feed into the planning and design of the new One Plan. Its intended users include members of the One Plan tripartite structure, mainly the Government of Viet Nam, the UN Country Team (UNCT) and donors that have supported or are interested in supporting the One Plan initiative in the country.

The object of this review was the strategies proposed within the One Plan as a tool to contribute to agreed national goals. As such, the review assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall strategies, documenting results and likelihood of sustainability, including ownership, against the goals as presented in the One Plan Document and; recognizing that Vietnam is a flagship country for the DaO Initiative. Team also assessed the efficiency of the proposed One Plan coordination and management structures put in place.

The review found that (as of the time of the exercise), 83 per cent of planned activities/outputs were reported as achieved. Given that much of the data provided is from the end of 2014 with two years left of implementation remaining, there is every reason to assume the UN will be able to deliver most of the activities/outputs of the One Plan within the expected timeframe. However, the monitoring and reporting system currently in place does not allow for assessment of if or how completion of activities translates into the achievement of outcomes. This is due to a weak M&E system with mostly output level indicators and the lack of an underlying theory of change that could help measure progress. The team also observed the system in place lacks means for reflection on lessons learned and challenges to better understand the underlying factors that explain what did work and why, which would enable it to replicate and scale successful experiences. Nevertheless, the review concludes there are clear signs that the coordinated One Plan approach, with the use of the UN’s comparative advantages, has the potential to significantly strengthen the work of the UN in Viet Nam.

The draft report was presented to the One Plan Steering Committe in December 2015, before the review was finalised and published in early 2016. The Management Response, agreed between the Government and UN Country Team in Viet Nam, contains key actions that are being implemented in response to the Review’s recommendations.

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