Is something still missing from the global evaluation agenda 2016-2020?

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My warm thanks to all who contributed to the first round of discussion on the Global Evaluation Agenda 2016-2020! The dates of the 2nd EvalPartners Global Forum have now been set. The global evaluation community will review and endorse its 2016-2020 agenda in Nepal on 23-25 November 2015. This makes possible another round of exchanges about for our Society’s contribution to that agenda.

We have already reached the conclusion that all Voluntary Organisations for Professional Evaluation (VOPEs) – including EES – will have to tackle a more complex and comprehensive agenda.  In particular you have stressed the need for more dynamic advocacy for the evaluation discipline; greater emphasis on gender- and equity responsive evaluation; more systematic outreach to decision makers; promotion of individual evaluator capabilities through peer review, education and training; and an enhanced role for the evaluation function in  national governments, European bodies and international institutions.

Two more policy emphases might be added to this list: 1) environmental sustainability; and 2) private sector evaluation. Fortunately EES Thematic Working Groups have been exploring both issues. I would invite all EES members to engage in a debate about how best to integrate these priorities in the Global Evaluation Agenda 2016-2020.

Shaping a strong and relevant vision is one thing. Implementing it is another. How will VOPEs in general and EES in particular mobilize the energies and resources required to tackle a more ambitious agenda? What approaches do you recommend for eliciting the volunteers and raising the funds needed to address priority challenges? How can we better share, exchange, learn and work together? What kinds of partnerships should we construct?  I would greatly value your ideas about how we can turn our joint vision into reality.

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The Global Agenda 2016-2020, well defined, represents a well thought long term agenda for evaluation. The key priorities for evaluation i.e., independence, capacity building and quality, partnerships and equity are well laid out within four main sections. Of course there are some improvements to be done. For example, the remark by Henrik Gudmundsson on the contradiction of “independent evaluation reporting to President or PM” is most accurate, and though I am a fervent supporter of the value of “equity focused and gender responsive”, the fivefold repetition in the agenda seems a bit overwhelming. I would certainly add here “environmental sustainability” a few times as well. As Riitta underlined, this is a missing element of the agenda, and a most important one in view of the increasing degradation of natural resources and its impact on human and animal beings. And I also agree with Riitta when it comes to the private sector. As I noted in one of our Connections issues, “I am convinced that private sector evaluation will play a major part in the evaluation scene in a world of constrained fiscal resources. Better evaluation of the risks associated with complex financial instruments and activities managed for quick returns has become imperative.” Private sector evaluation along with corporate social responsibility have become an increasingly important evaluation field, and while most development institutions have taken this into account, it still needs to be recognized and taken into account in all evaluation addresses. Our EES thematic working groups on Private Sector Evaluation and on Evaluating Sustainable Development have active working programmes aiming at increasing the share of these major sectors in evaluation deliberations. The implementation of this ambitious Global Agenda will no doubt be a very complex process and will require the coordination of a myriad of actions disseminated around the world under the aegis of international development and financial institutions and with the involvement of multinational corporations. Let’s hope that an inclusive and potent roadmap emerges from 2nd EvalPartners Global Forum in Nepal, but it is yet a long way to go and needs the contribution of all of us!!