IEO @UNDP Quarter 1 Newsletter Issue: March 2015 FROM THE DIRECTOR'S DESK With EvalYear upon us there is one question I am repeatedly asked by my

IEO @UNDP Quarter 1 Newsletter Issue: March 2015

With EvalYear upon us there is one question I am repeatedly asked by my staff: ‘isn’t it evaluation year every year for us’? Yes, very true, for an office whose core function is to conduct evaluations and assess UNDP’s contribution, it is EvalYear every year. So what does this year mean to us or to those of you who sleep and breathe evaluations for a living? How do you plan to contribute to this significant year that earned a UN resolution? For us the answer is quite straightforward. We at IEO together possess the evaluative knowledge, expertise and wisdom from lessons, successes and trials so why not share it and empower the next generation? We have summed up our roadmap for EvalYear in an infographic. This journey for IEO will begin with our first stop: The Fletcher School, Tufts University in Boston where I will collaborate with Professor Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church, who teaches an intensive three-part course series on design, monitoring, evaluation and learning in the international community, and also heads Besa. I will be presenting on Future Opportunities & Challenges for Evaluation at UNDP. This presentation will look at emerging trends, practices and challenges for integrating useful, high-quality evaluation, into UNDP programming. Since UNDP operates in complex and dynamic contexts that require equally sophisticated evaluation methods to tease apart useful findings through evaluation this talk will look at burgeoning good practice and challenges within UNDP and the UN system. It will also touch on how this impacts emerging evaluators and what skills and experience they should be seeking to play a role in this field. The event will be webcast live followed by a Q&A. You can follow this and other upcoming events on our website. Should you wish to join this journey do send us a note at and I wish you the best in your EvalYear initiatives.

-- Indran Naidoo, Director, IEO UNDP


Executive Board Session

Evaluation Policy Review

The UNDP Executive Board opened its first session of the year on 26 January 2015. Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP, in her statement affirmed that UNDP is fully committed to robust and independent evaluations which help UNDP improve performance and manage for results. During the session several Board members stated the need for a revised Evaluation Policy and welcomed the UNDP Evaluation Policy review (statements or video). On 30 January 2015 the session on evaluation took place which outlined the Review of the Evaluation Policy, IEO’s response and the management response to the review. Members of the board were in consensus on four key elements of priority for the new UNDP Evaluation Policy: Quality and impartiality of decentralized evaluations, independence of the IEO, Budget for the Evaluation Function and Management Action Tracking. Links: Member statements, Indran’s statement & Associate Administrator's statement.


NEC Conference Planning - Thailand

The National Evaluation Capacity (NEC) conference is part of an IEO strategy to support the development of national evaluation capacity, but distinguishes itself in that it focuses on supporting the governments with which UNDP works across the globe. Indran Naidoo (Director) and Ana Rosa Soares (Conference Manager) visited Bangkok to meet with the Government of Thailand, UNDP Country Office, Regional Hub and partners, to discuss collaborations, preparations and way forward for the Fourth International Conference on NEC. The outcome was the confirmation of interest and support from all partners, along with finalized conference dates: 26 to 30 October, 2015. The conference will take place in Bangkok and will be co-jointly organized in parallel with the Fourth Global Assembly of the International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS). The conference will include two days of joint pre-conference workshops and three days of conferences with joint plenaries, key note addresses, and separate parallel sessions. The theme of the conference will be From Evaluation Principles to Practices to Change People’s Lives.


Assessment of Development Results – Malaysia

The Malaysia ADR stakeholder workshop was held in Kuala Lumpur on 12 February 2015. Indran Naidoo (Director) and Heather Bryant (Evaluation Manager) presented the evaluation findings and recommendations on behalf of IEO and were joined by over 60 participants, including development partners, government stakeholders, regional bureau representative, donors and other UN agencies. Participants discussed emerging priorities and the way forward as the Government of Malaysia finalizes its Eleventh Malaysia Plan. The workshop was opened by Ms. Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, (UNDP Resident Representative) and Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid, (Deputy Director-General, Economic Planning Unit, Government of Malaysia). The Resident Representative highlighted that the evaluation is timely and will illuminate the way forward to feed into the new country programme (speech).The ADR report will be available as the Government of Malaysia finalizes its Eleventh Malaysia Plan and discusses with UNDP the key areas of support for the next five years.


Fourth RELAC Conference - Peru

The Fourth RELAC Conference (Evaluation Network for Latin America and the Caribbean) was held in Lima from 9-13 March 2013, on The future of Evaluation in Latin America. Roberto La Rovere (Evaluation Specialist) attended on behalf of IEO and took part in a panel alongside FAO and IFAD on Country Led Evaluations in the UN system. He also presented on the use of evaluation within the UN system, and on EvalYear and the Post-2015 Global Evaluation Agenda. Key points that came out of the discussions and knowledge sharing interactions were as follows:
* Link between IEO’s Assessment of Development Results (country level evaluations) and the national users, along with the strong role of reciprocal engagement between counterparts was presented.
* The National Evaluation Capacity (NEC) initiative and conference were promoted within the wider context of the EvalYear.
* The use of evaluation brought about discussion on the following: improving quality of recommendations; using knowledge management techniques and tools; improving linkage between conclusions and recommendations; increasing engagement and consultations with stakeholders to avoid “top down” recommendations; keeping in mind the role of beneficiaries when outlining recommendations and dissemination; and lastly, involving consultants in follow-up actions to the evaluations.

UNEG Evaluation Week (EvalWeek)

The UN Evaluation Group (UNEG) held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the Evaluation Practice Exchange (EPE) from 9-13 March. The events brought together UN evaluators from all over the world to discuss the inclusion of evaluation in the post-2015 development agenda and empowerment of nations through evaluation capacity building. The highlight of EvalWeek was the high level event on Bridge to a Better World - Evaluation at the service of the Post-2015 Agenda. The evaluation torch was welcomed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Deborah Rugg (UNEG Chair) and Marco Segone (UNEG Vice Chair). In his speech, Ban Ki-Moon said, "I welcome the designation of 2015 as the International Year of Evaluation -- the same year in which the United Nations marks its 70th anniversary and will take momentous decisions about our future prosperity, safety and well-being. Evaluation everywhere, and at every level, will play a key role in implementing the new development agenda." The event highlighted the UN resolution on national evaluation capacity development and the International Year of Evaluation.


Eminent panelists discussed perspectives from evaluation in the post-2015 framework, country-level evaluation implementation, and foundation-level support. Insights were provided on how building evaluation capacities can empower countries to adopt development policies and programmes that are appropriate, effective and responsive to the needs of their citizens. The panelists included H.E. Peter Thomson (Permanent Representative of Fiji to the UN), Amina J. Mohammed (Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning), Miguel Székely (Director of the Institute for Innovation in Education, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico) and Nancy MacPherson (Managing Director, Evaluation, Rockefeller Foundation). Incase you missed the event, watch it and read the UN Secretary General’s speech. For more information on the AGM and EPE stay tuned for the UNEG conference summary.


Assessment of Development Results – Tanzania

The Tanzania ADR stakeholder workshop was held in Dar es Salaam on 16 March, 2015. Indran Naidoo (Director, IEO) and Fumika Ouchi (Evaluation Manager) joined over 50 participants which included government counterparts, development partners, donors, UN agencies and the Country Office team at the meeting. The objective of the workshop was to discuss key findings and way forward for UNDP’s future engagement in Tanzania, engage with national stakeholders and promote national ownership of the development process. The workshop was opened (speech) by Honorable Ms. Saada Salum (Minister of Finance, Government of Tanzania) and Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez (UNDP Resident Representative). This stakeholder workshop applied the use of an open discussion by all participants on “ways forward,” which was facilitated by Professor Gelase Mutahaba, (University of Dar es Salaam). The use of such a facilitator in the workshop, who was familiar with the work of UNDP, national context, key players, and development issues, was useful in encouraging diverse national counterparts to engage, express and interact with other participants.


UNDP works in more than 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. It's annual budget for 2014-2015 is approximately 10 billion dollars. So what role does evaluation play in this global development network? What does the Independent Evaluation Office do at UNDP? Watch and discover in this featured video!


Assessment of Development Results – Uruguay

According to income thresholds established by the World Bank, Uruguay has reached a high-income country status, with a per capita income of US$13,580, the second highest in South America. The country has recently experienced remarkable growth rates, with an average of 5.6% between 2004 and 2013, and an outstanding 8.9% in 2010 and 6.5% in 2011. The ADR assesses two country programme cycles: The current (2011-2015) and the former (2007-2009) country programmes in order to consider the implementation period of the Delivering as One (DaO) initiative. The evaluation analyses a sample of projects and activities spanning from the cycle before the current, going back in some cases even to 2004, when the country underwent certain political changes. The evaluation is focused on UNDP’s accountability regarding a set of results and on valuing its performance concerning such result. English I Spanish (Evaluation Manager: Roberto La Rovere).


Assessment of Development Results – Algeria

This is the first ADR assessment of UNDP’s contribution to Algeria. ADRs generally cover two country programme cycles. However, as a result of the terrorist attack on UNDP premises in December 2007 and its consequences, the ADR for Algeria looked at the period from 2009 to 2013. The aim of the evaluation is to identify progress made towards achieving the expected results in the programme cycles in question; analyse how UNDP Algeria is positioned, particularly in the post-terrorist attack context, to provide added value to the efforts made by the country in terms of development; and present the conclusions and the recommendations that will feed into the new programming frameworks of UNDP and the next country programme, scheduled to start in 2015. English I French (Evaluation Manager: Roberto La Rovere).

juha paper

IEO Occasional Paper Series: A Realist Review of Climate Change Adaptation Programme

Programme Evaluations – Methodological Implications and Programmatic Findings

Evaluating the effectiveness of climate change adaptation interventions has proven to be a difficult task. In an effort to shed light on the subject, this paper presents the methodology and results of a realist review of a set of climate change adaptation (CCA) programmes and their evaluations commissioned by the UNDP. This paper analyses CCA programmes in nine countries: Armenia, Egypt, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, the Philippines, Tanzania, Turkey and Zimbabwe. Together with their respective host governments, these programmes were implemented by either UNDP or various UN partner agencies and have already been evaluated. The authors have used a realist approach and conducted a meta-analysis of the programmes’ evaluation reports. The paper is written by Takaaki Miyaguchi (Associate Professor, College of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University) and Juha I. Uitto (Director, Independent Evaluation Office, Global Environment Facility). Read or watch Takaaki present the paper.

uneg pub

Evidence Changes Lives: Realizing Evaluation's Potential to Inform the Global Sustainable Development Goals

With 2015 already in full swing, evaluation will play a key role during the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. In this publication, UNEG collects stories, interviews, success stories and examples of how evaluation makes a difference. The report highlights the critical role of assessment in enhancing the UN's effectiveness, cultivating change and empowering nations. The report focuses on topics ranging from gender equality, improving public accountability, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and protecting civilians in conflict zones. "Evaluation is about improving the quality of life of citizens, on the ground. It’s about measuring whether what has been promised has been delivered" said our IEO Director in the interview included in the report. Read the report for insights, interviews and more!

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Assessment of Development Results – Malaysia

This is the first ADR assessment of UNDP’s contribution to Malaysia. The evaluation covers the period of programming between 2008 and 2014, and examines this country office’s contribution to development results in Malaysia by assessing its programmatic areas. Malaysia is an upper middle-income country that is aiming to attain high-income country status by the end of this decade, in line with Malaysia’s Vision 2020, which has been guiding development policy since 1991. The next five years leading up to Vision 2020 will be crucial for Malaysia, as Malaysia ramps up its trajectory to achieve its objectives. The conclusions and recommendations of the ADR will serve as the starting point. This evaluation is due in May 2015. (Evaluation Manager: Heather Bryant)

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Annual Report on Evaluation - 2014

The report assesses the progress made by the IEO and the evaluation units of the associated fund and programme, UNCDF and UNV, in fulfilling the evaluation function outlined in the UNDP evaluation policy.This is the second year that a full version of the annual report was prepared, in addition to the Executive Board paper. It provides a more detailed description of the evaluation and related activities carried out in 2014. The report is due in June 2015. (Project Manager: Fumika Ouchi)

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Evaluation of the Contribution of UNDP Global and Regional HDRs to the Public Policy Processes

UNDP launched its first global Human Development Report (HDR) in 1990 to raise awareness and generate debate on public issues and concerns. This evaluation was the first such evaluation carried out by IEO to assess the global and regional HDRs’ contributions to public policy processes. In approving the evaluation, the UNDP Executive Board recognized the important contribution of HDRs to public debate and public policy. The objectives of the evaluation are to: (i) guide UNDP in refining its intellectual contribution to development though the HDRs, and; (ii) hold UNDP accountable for the use of its human and financial resources in preparing and disseminating the HDRs. The report is due in June 2015. (Evaluation Manager: Vijayalakshmi Vadivelu)

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Evaluation of the Role of UNDP in Supporting National Achievement of the MDGs

At its 2013 second regular session, the UNDP Executive Board requested that IEO carry out a thematic evaluation of the “role of UNDP in supporting national achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”. The Board noted the strategic importance of MDGs and the potential to extract lessons learned for the post-2015 global development agenda. The objectives of the evaluation are to (i) assess the results achieved by UNDP in supporting national achievement of the MDGs (ii) identify the factors that affected UNDP contribution and performance, including: strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities, and the decisions, strategies and approaches that worked and did not; and (iii) provide strategic recommendations for fine tuning the institutional strategy of support to the post-2015 agenda. The report is due in June 2015. (Evaluation Manager: Olivier Cossee)

At UNDP, evaluation is critical in helping countries achieve the simultaneous eradication of poverty and significant reduction of inequalities and exclusion.

The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reports to the UNDP Executive Board. The IEO is governed by the organization's Evaluation Policy and the UNDP Executive Board is the custodian of the policy. The core function of the IEO is to conduct two types of independent evaluations: thematic and programmatic. The IEO also prepares the Annual Report on Evaluation, sets standards and guidelines on evaluation, monitors compliance on evaluation and shares lessons for improved programming. IEO hosts and supports the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) Secretariat and actively participates in UNEG to strengthen coherence, quality and innovation of evaluation across the UN system. Visit our website at for more information.

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