The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was established in 1977 and it functions as an international financial institution and as a specialized agency of the United Nations system. Its unique mandate is to contribute towards rural poverty reduction in developing countries by supporting projects and programmes specifically designed to introduce, expand or improve food production systems and to strengthen related policies and institutions within the framework of national priorities and strategies. IFAD’s main instruments for delivery are loan-funded projects and programmes, although it does have a small grant-financing window as well. IFAD is also increasingly involved in non-lending activities, such as policy dialogue, partnership-building and knowledge management.
Independent Evaluation at IFAD
The independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) conducts independent evaluations of IFAD-financed policies, strategies and operations to promote accountability and learning. The main purpose is to contribute to improving IFAD’s and its partners’ performance in supporting rural transformation in developing Member countries.
It is since 2003, when IFAD's Executive Board approved the Evaluation Policy, that IOE is fully independent from Management and operates under the direct supervision of the Board of Executive Directors. In May 2011, the Excecutive Board approved the Revised Evaluation Policy, providing further clarification and guidance on the purpose and role of independent evaluation at IFAD.
IOE’s independent evaluations assess the impact of IFAD-funded activities in tackling poverty alleviation in rural areas. In identifying key insights and recommendations drawn from evaluation findings, IOE is also concerned, in accordance with IFAD’s disclosure policy, with communicating and sharing IFAD’s knowledge and experience of rural and agricultural development with a wider audience. IOE's coherent evaluation approach is enshrined in the Evaluation Manual on methodology and processes published in 2009 and revised in 2015.
Last but not least, IOE is the only independent evaluation office among the United Nations specialized agencies, programmes and funds that is also a member of the Evaluation Cooperation Group of multilateral development banks.