Inception Report: System-Wide Evaluation of the UNDS Response to COVID-19
There is a clear dual recognition of both the challenge faced by the UNDS as it responded, and continues to respond, to the socio-economic effects of the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic and the essential role played by the reform process in enabling and, potentially, accelerating that response.
The key objective of the immediate UNDS response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been to support countries and societies in addressing the socio-economic fallout of the crisis, especially for the most vulnerable. To that end, and in line with ongoing reform, the UNDS was to leverage the full breadth of the system’s capacities and draw on the strength of multilateral norms and values for an integrated package of support. Formulated under the global UN Framework and tailored to national priorities in the form of country-specific Socio-Economic Response Plans (SERPs), the UNDS response had a dual purpose: while focused on stemming the immediate impact of the pandemic, UNDS support also seeks to define entry points for a better recovery, oriented towards sustainable development as formulated in the 2030 Agenda. Key UN norms and values such as human rights, gender equality, inclusion [including persons with disabilities, and leaving no one behind (LNOB)] were to form an integral part of the UNDS response.
The UNDS response has been taking place in a highly dynamic and complex setting, which the evaluation also needs to recognize and account for: the uncertainty of the pandemic’s course, its unprecedented economic and social disruption, and the uneven and inequitable vaccine response have all required continuous adaptation. While it was clear early on that the pandemic would set back efforts to progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the extent of these setbacks is still emerging.