As international institutions mobilize to meet the ambitious milestones of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Independent Evaluation Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS remind us of the need to conduct systematic reviews of development activities to ensure their efficacy.
With the importance of monitoring and evaluation in mind, the UNDP organized the fifth National Evaluation Capacities (NEC) Conference, and called upon the African Legal support Facility (ALSF) to organize and deliver a workshop on performance indicators to the attending African government delegates.
The NEC Conference, which took place from 16-20 October, was co-hosted by the Government of Turkey and the UNDP on the theme, ‘People, Planet, and Progress in the SDG Era.’ The four-day event provided a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore emerging challenges, share new best practices, and to develop partnerships with the aim of strengthening national evaluation systems. In addition to exchanging and cataloguing the lessons learned since the last biennial Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2015, the Conference focused on evaluation and monitoring in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The ALSF was called upon to deliver a French-language workshop, entitled “Enhancing the use of evaluation by policymakers in government,” on October 16, 2017 on the margins of the NEC Conference. As opposed to the 20 originally-expected attendees, 48 delegates eventually joined the workshop, an indication of the salience of strong monitoring and evaluation techniques to the attainment of the SDGs.
The ALSF’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer and workshop’s facilitator, Debazou Yantio presented the contemporary approach to the use of evaluation metrics. He also shared competing perspectives with participants concerning the varying conceptualizations of evaluation-use and influence, the link between research and policy, the stages of public policymaking, and the barriers and drivers of evaluation influence and use.
Yantio also advised the participants on how to develop a policy influence plan, which is necessary to increase the likelihood that their assessments will be used by the target audience: Government decision-makers.
To highlight this need, Yantio presided over hands-on group exercises which encouraged participants to explore a two-pronged approach to designing context-specific strategies which, in turn, would enhance the use of evaluation by policy-makers in government. The attending evaluators were invited to consider all aspects of their role in project development, and to plan and implement their evaluations with an open mind, remaining cognizant of the characteristic obstacles and drivers to evaluation influence.
The organizers of the NEC Conference—namely, the Independent Evaluation Office of the UNDP—generously invited the ALSF to establish an exhibition stand in order to disseminate the Facility’s promotional products, and to generate greater awareness of the ALSF’s mission and mandate. This exhibition booth provided a unique opportunity to reach out and present the work of the Facility, underscoring the benefits of strong legal capacities and comprehensive evaluation techniques to the African delegates and global development partners in attendance.
The UNDP Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) has been organizing biennial National Evaluation Capacity (NEC) Conferences since the inaugural 2009 event held in Morocco. Subsequent conferences have been held in South Africa (2011), Brazil (2013), and Thailand (2015). This year’s NEC Conference is being supported not only by the UNDP IEO, but by the European Evaluation Society (EES) and the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe.