IDEAS, UNDP Issue Book on Evaluation for 2030 Agenda
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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IDEAS in collaboration with UNDP published the book ‘Evaluation for Agenda 2030: Providing Evidence on Progress and Sustainability.’ The authors discuss evaluation as one of the tools to understand and report on progress toward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs.

Edited by Rob van den Berg and Susan Tamondong (IDEAS), and Indran Naidoo (UNDP), the book is a collaboration of 38 authors, 26 of whom are from the Global South.

6 December 2017: The International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS) in collaboration with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) published a book that discusses evaluation as one of the tools to understand and report on progress toward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs.

The book titled, ‘Evaluation for Agenda 2030: Providing Evidence on Progress and Sustainability,’ includes elements explored during two evaluation conferences organized in parallel by UNDP and IDEA in Bangkok, Thailand, in October 2015. It also follows the issuance, in October 2015, of a declaration and principles on national evaluation capacity for the SDGs, which outline options for supporting national evaluation capacity on the SDGs.

As noted by the editors, Rob van den Berg and Susan Tamondong (IDEAS), and Indran Naidoo (UNDP), the book is a collaboration of 38 authors, 26 of whom are from the Global South. Its 22 chapters address: capacities and capabilities for evaluation of progress toward the SDGs; monitoring and evaluation in regions; safeguards and resettlement; and ‘toward sustainability of impact.’ It was published on 6 December 2017.

In its introductory part, the publication highlights how evaluation contributes to key issues such as inclusive societies, reducing the carbon footprint of our economies, and gender and equity. It provides an overview of the main challenges with which evaluators are confronted when evaluating sustainable development, and underscores the need for rigorous frameworks for evaluation, and for innovation and further development of methods. It also discusses the importance of participatory evaluation.

On capacities and capabilities, the book draws on lessons from implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to inform how the SDGs should be evaluated, and discusses capacity that countries need to develop and enable their monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems. It outlines the barriers and obstacles faced by “young and emerging evaluators” to find their place in the global and national evaluation communities.

In many regions, evaluation is becoming increasingly relevant to countries’ development priorities.

On regional perspectives, the book underscores that evaluation is becoming increasingly relevant to countries’ development priorities in many regions of the world. It highlights the challenges that the small island developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean and Pacific regions face to develop national capacities for evaluation of sustainable development, including limited human and institutional capacities, as well as the low prioritization of evaluation in government policies. It notes the call for greater accountability of governments in regions such as the Middle East, where events like the Arab Spring initiated a new paradigm on the role of evaluation that promotes national capacities and national M&E systems. In those regions, local professionals are valued and supported, and contribute to the development of their countries and the region through evaluations, the authors write.

On safeguards and resettlement, the book explores the negative impacts of development displacement. It discusses the role of evaluation in preventing negative impacts, and compares international policy perspectives and evaluation outcomes in Asian countries regarding how livelihoods are affected, addressed, and evaluated.

In a section on ‘Towards Sustainability of Impact,’ the book examines, inter alia, the evaluation of new partnerships and new forms of private sector involvement, such as social and environmental impact investing. It discusses tools such as the Participatory Impact Assessment and Learning Approach (PIALA), a systemic theory-based and participatory mixed method for addressing the challenges of “impact evaluation” in complex development contexts. It also synthesizes findings from various sources to identify gaps in evidence on education and climate change and environment interventions, and discusses how future evaluations might address “wicked problems” that evaluators encounter when aiming to bridge those gaps.

IDEAS is a professional evaluation association that focuses on international sustainable development. It seeks to promote the evaluation profession, foster capacity development, and improve and advance theories, methods and use of evidence. [Publication: Evaluation for Agenda 2030: Providing Evidence on Progress and Sustainability] [Declaration and Principles on National Evaluation Capacity for the SDGs]

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