Following on from the New York-organised event last year, the 2014 UN Evaluation Week was held recently in Bangkok bringing together Evaluation Units and Offices from across the UN as well as key regional stakeholders from different Bangkok-based UN agencies. UNCDF was well represented by UNCDF Bangkok Regional Office staff, who also played an important role in helping organize the event.
As last year, the event included the annual Evaluation Practice Exchange (EPE) and the Annual General Meeting of the UN Evaluation Group (UNEG) in which UNCDF plays an active role.
UNEG is a professional network that brings together the units and offices responsible for evaluation in the UN system including the specialized agencies, funds, programmes and affiliated organisations. UNEG currently has 43 such members, and 3 observers.
UNEG aims to strengthen the objectivity, effectiveness and visibility of the evaluation function across the UN system and to advocate the importance of evaluation for learning, decision making and accountability.
As the event this year was organized in Bangkok, the UNCDF Regional Office for the Asia and the Pacific played an important role, being a member of the UN Evaluation Development Group for Asia and the Pacific (UNEDAP) that took the lead in the EPE organization, in partnership with UNEG.
The Evaluation Practice Exchange (EPE)
The aim of the EPE meeting was to strengthen the quality and use of evaluations at the national and regional levels, ensuring accountability to the beneficiaries of UN Programmes and Projects.
The EPE sessions focused on different topics such as:
• lessons learned from UNDAF evaluations at global, regional and country levels;
• decentralized evaluation touching upon the characteristics, functions and pros/cons of this type of evaluation;
• joint evaluation addressing issues as independence, quality, credibility and use as well as the main challenges and lessons learned from global and regional joint UN evaluations;
• impact evaluation focusing on the lessons learned from some UN agencies adopting this type of evaluation;
• gender and human rights in evaluation discussing how to best integrate these two dimensions in evaluation in the UN system.
The discussions also highlighted that 2015 has been declared the “International Year of Evaluation” to underline the importance that evaluation should play in the post-2015 debate and in the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
During the second day of the Evaluation Practice Exchange, a High-Level panel was organized including senior officials, Parliamentarians, Ambassadors and Head of Agencies at the regional level with the aim of deepening the understanding of the importance of evaluation to public policy making also in the context of post-2015 discussions.
The UNEG Annual General Meeting (AGM)
During the final days of the evaluation week, the UNEG AGM took place focusing mainly on the implementation of the UNEG strategy 2014-2019 which was approved at the end of 2013.
The four objectives identified in Strategy are:
• Evaluation functions and products of UN entities meet the UNEG Norms and Standards for evaluation focusing on enhancing professionalization of evaluation, promoting research and development for a more effective and targeted system of evaluation, using knowledge management tools for capacity development and knowledge sharing for UNEG members.
• UN entities and partners use evaluation in support of accountability and programme learning implying that evaluations’ findings, conclusions and recommendations at all levels are regularly considered to design and improve policies, projects and programmes.
• Evaluation informs UN system-wide initiatives and emerging demands in order to enhance the external orientation and visibility of UNEG.
• UNEG benefits from and contributes to an enhanced global evaluation profession in order to maximize its impact with limited resources.
UNCDF will continue to play an active role in UNEG activities as they are rolled out in 2014 and beyond.