The consultative process carried out by EvalPartners aims to identify key priorities for evaluation for a Global Agenda geared to achieving progress towards a more equitable world. Strong support has been voiced for evaluation independence, quality, capacity building and partnerships. While progress in all these areas has been significant there is still a lot to do.
I wish to stress 3 points:
- The first one is about professionalization – an item already incorporated in the draft agenda. It is linked to the need to enhance evaluation quality across the board. The evaluation community has gained in strength and influence through the definition of common norms and standards. Evaluation guidelines and evaluators’ capabilities frameworks now need to be harmonised, a process that should be facilitated by regional and global evaluation association and networks. In parallel, the discipline would gain a lot by the establishment of a system of designation or credentialising. This would be a logical next step in the professionalization of our discipline. This is what other related disciplines (e.g. auditing), have done and this has helped them gain legitimacy, autonomy and independence. Short of credentialing evaluation associations may opt to set up legitimate peer review mechanisms focused on self improvement and acquisition of the right experience and knowledge. Towards this end the European Evaluation Society has launched a Voluntary Evaluator Peer Review pilot in parallel with a similar scheme sponsored by the United Kingdom Evaluation Society.
- The second point is related to environmental sustainability – a crucial issue for the planet’s survival. Pope Francis in his recent encyclical has called for radical changes in politics, economics and lifestyles so as to reverse current environmental degradation trends. A revolution in values is needed. Since evaluation is first and foremost concerned with value it is high time to revisit evaluative criteria and methods to ensure that the environmental dimension is factored in when public, private and civil society interventions are assessed.
- Finally I wish to make reference to the Greek crisis. It has raised fundamental questions and triggered fulsome debates about economic and social policy making in a world of increasingly integrated economics and fragmented politics. It has also raised fresh questions about the role of evaluation in the international space. Evidently global, regional, national policy makers dropped the ball. So did the rating agencies, the auditors and the statisticians. But what about the evaluation community? Why did it not raise the flag? What are the implications for evaluation governance? How should evaluation be shaped to strengthen democratic processes in Europe and beyond?