South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

United Nations’ Development Project (UNDP) Head Quarters in New York in collaboration with Organization for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) held an International Evaluation Conference on National Evaluation Capacities in Egypt from 20-24 October to deliberate on progress and achievements on National Evaluation Capacity to strengthen and support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

These Goals have been set with the participation of over 150 countries to make the world a happier, enjoyable and prosperous place to live. There are 17 such goals, 169 targets and over 240 indicators.

Projects and programs implemented by the line Ministries have to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Accordingly, the Sri Lankan Budget call and National Planning Department’s project submission requirements specify the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals as an important focus in formulating development programs by line Ministries. The International Conference emphasised the Sustainable Development Goals have given new emphasis to development with the focus on equity, gender, human rights, climate change, environment and peace, justice and good governance and social development in addition to economic growth, said Secretary to the Ministry of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs V. Sivagnanasothy.

Moreover, the Sustainable Development Goals are inter-dependent, inter-connected and inter-linked, and may have synergies and trade-offs. Achievement of one goal can have an adverse impact on other goals. Therefore, the discussion centred on the need for improving the current development evaluation criteria with gender, equity, climate change, environment, human rights and peace and justice. However, the training session conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation Development as a prior conference workshop discussed these aspects at length with partner countries and consensus was reached to retain the existing criteria with improved definitions, with addition of “Policy Conference” as a new criteria. Further, the aspects of gender, equity, human rights, climate change, and environment can be specially covered in the existing criteria through improved definitions, said Sivagnanasothy.

The conference concluded that Evaluation Capacity Building in partner countries with improved evaluation systems will help the Government to understand what projects work well, what doesn’t work, why such projects worked well, and in what context it works well or not.

The conference also endorsed that the policymakers, parliamentarians, planners, and development community should use evaluation as a tool for improved accountability and as a tool for learning. Many developed and developing countries have made efforts to strengthen their evaluation systems to ensure the public investments are result-oriented, productive and have value for money.

Further, evaluation should not only be independent and credible but also utilisation-focused. An effective evaluation system at national level in the line Ministries and sub-national levels in the Provinces and Districts is fundamental to ensure the public investment-based development projects and programs produce desire outcomes and impacts that benefits the target group and public at a large. The need for a good evaluation system is especially important for parliamentary accountability, and to ensure every rupee spent has value for money.

The training program was conducted jointly by Sivagnanasothy and OECD Evaluation Policy Advisor for partner countries Megan Kennedy Chouane. 

The feedback from partner countries confirmed the need for a National Evaluation Policy, Medium-Term Evaluation Plan, institutional arrangements including skills and professional competencies and demand for evaluation from policymakers and Parliamentarians as essential requirement for National Evaluation Capacities.

A good country-led evaluation system is a pre-requisite for sustainable development. The need for training institutions to build skills is necessary to professionalise evaluation. Evaluation helps decision makers with evidenced based decisions as development is becoming so complex with different demand in technical, managerial, economical, engineering, social and political aspects. 

The need for a sound system of evaluation is necessary to improve the quality of development interventions to achieve SDGs. The International Conference emphasised strongly on the need of national evaluation capacities covering institutional, individual and enabling environment to achieve development effectiveness.

UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer and UNDP Resident Representative Robert Juhkam have been supporting the implementation of SDGs and Development Evaluation in Sri Lanka.

The inaugural session of the international conference was graced by Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Moustafa Madbouly, Minister of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform Hala Helmy El Saeed, UNDP Resident Representative (Egypt) Randa Aboul Hosn, and many other partner country representatives and senior government officials.


Updated On: 30 October 2019