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Earth Day 2021: Evaluating the state of evidence in climate action and poverty alleviation


In this piece on Earth Day, Andrea Cristina Ruiz, Policy Manager at J-PAL Global, and Sarah DiCioccio, Digital Communications Associate at J-PAL Global, provide a broad sweep of the M&E initiatives at the intersection of poverty-reduction and climate change mitigation.  As ever, J-PAL can be relied on to supply a familiar account of the special benefits of evidence-based solutions and several examples of this principle in practice are mentioned in the article, including evaluations conducted on agriculture in India and deforestation in Uganda. Despite these successes, the article makes clear that much more can be done to pioneer and assess innovative solutions, scale those that work and apply them in different, real-world contexts.


Building a path for the clean energy transition: Lessons from World Bank support for renewable energy


This blog from the World Bank Independent Evaluation Group’s Andrew Stone and William Stebbins commemorates Earth Day with a long look at the key role of renewable energy in the Clean Energy Transition (CET) necessitated by climate change. To that end, they drill down into the recently released IEG systemic assessment of the World Bank’s support for electricity generation from renewable sources. The World Bank is the single largest contributor to renewable energy in developing countries and so its conclusions carry an implicit assessment on the energy transition across the global south. The report concludes that the practical challenge of integrating renewable sources of energy into national power grids is too often overlooked.  Furthermore, they suggest that this and other obstacles require a more coordinated approach.  Finally, the piece argues that learning initiatives need to be set up or improved to cultivate the skills of those working in the fast-evolving, highly technical sector.


Seventh Comprehensive Evaluation of the GEF (OPS7)


Earth Day also saw the release of the key conclusions of the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) evaluation of its work since 2018, conducted by its independent evaluation office. The report collates 34 evaluations undertaken during that period into a general overview of the GEF’s work and draws out several themes of broader significance: an emphasis on strong and reliable partnership to achieve results on the ground, utilisation of a range of mechanisms to support and push forward those partnerships and a special mention of the largely untapped potential of private sector engagement.  The report also takes account of various institutional issues and process, such as diversity and knowledge management, that most international organisations are also promoting.


Why do we need more real-time evaluation?


On a non-environmental note, Patricia Roger, Better Evaluation’s CEO, argues that Real-time evaluation (RTE) is an idea whose moment has arrived. The rapidly-changing pandemic has provided added impetus to a practice that has accumulated a substantial body of supportive research, methodologies and technologies in recent years.  Real-time evaluation (RTE), which is usually associated with development and humanitarian interventions, aims to provide immediate feedback on project implementation, for the purpose of iteratively improving processes, refining sensitivity and consolidating accountability.