Co-creation of the first regional evaluation strategy in the Asia Pacific to accelerate the progress towards the achievement of the SDGs
In alignment with UNSG’s Decade of Action, UNFPA Evaluation Office, EvalYouth Global Network and the Global Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation co-lead the Decade of EVALUATION for Action (Eval4Action) campaign. In 2020, Eval4Action initiated a series of regional consultations that strengthened multi-stakeholder partnerships and helped regions to prioritize evaluation advocacy. The first regional consultation was held in the Asia Pacific, that led to the co-creation of the first ever Asia Pacific Regional Evaluation Strategy to advance the SDGs. The development of the strategy was a result of a highly participatory and inclusive process. The strategy was rolled out in December 2020.
The implementation of the Agenda 2030 requires robust monitoring and evaluation systems at the country level. This is a challenge as many countries do not have the necessary evaluation capacity and systems in place. In response to this situation, the Eval4Action campaign was launched in 2020 to promote influential evaluation in order to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. The campaign seeks to bring widespread recognition to evaluation as being critical to achieve the SDGs. It also seeks to generate institutional and individual commitments and actions for influential evaluation. Translating the vision of Eval4Action, the Regional Evaluation Strategy frames key strategies and pathways to promote influential evaluation in the Asia Pacific, in order to support the achievement of the SDGs in the region by 2030.
The follow up and review mechanisms highlighted in the Agenda 2030 are critical to ensure achievement of the SDGs. Use of evaluative evidence can course correct policies to maximize development results and to ensure no one is left behind. Strong evaluation systems can provide timely evidence to measure development results in the context of the SDGs. In this respect, the Regional Evaluation Strategy serves as a critical tool that contributes to the successful implementation of the SDGs in the region, as it focuses on foundational elements that can develop robust national evaluation systems.
The Eval4Action consultation held in Asia Pacific in June 2020 was led by the Asia Pacific Evaluation Association, EvalYouth Asia and the Parliamentarians Forum for Development Evaluation–South Asia. The consultation was instrumental in kick starting the process of developing the Regional Evaluation Strategy. The inputs received at the consultation were used by voluntary stakeholders to develop the strategy together with a wider group in an inclusive way. The strategy is framed around 8 themes including professionalization of evaluation, building partnerships, capacity building, community ownership, Young and Emerging Evaluators (YEEs), Voluntary Organization for Professional Evaluations, engaging parliamentarians, National Evaluation Policies and Systems (NEPS) and use of evaluation to report on the SDGs. The strategy was launched in December 2020 as part of EvalVision Asia. The implementation of the strategy is underway with support of volunteers. As part of the strategy rollout, a competency framework for evaluators and a pathway to assess the competencies were developed. EvalYouth national chapters were launched in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, India, Bhutan and Pakistan. A training module on career development in monitoring and evaluation for YEEs was also developed. In addition, a guide on the use of evaluation for implementation, monitoring and reporting of the SDGs was rolled-out. A Regional Dialogue on NEPS was held with participation of 20 countries in the region. The implementation of the strategy continues to be underway. The strategy or a part of it can be implemented by any interested entity as it belongs to the region and not to a specific organization.
The co-creation of a regional evaluation strategy is a key achievement as it will serve as an important tool to enhance evaluation in the region. The multi-stakeholder partnerships built through the Eval4Action consultation and the strategy development process has created a foundation for strong evaluation network in the region. The resources and the advocacy initiatives undertaken as part of the strategy roll out are contributing to improving the professionalization of evaluation, enhancing knowledge and practical use of evaluation in the region. The resources are already in use by national evaluation associations and other stakeholders. For e.g. the Sri Lanka Evaluation Association has started the professionalization of evaluation process in the country using the competency framework and assessment pathway developed under the strategy. National partners have started to work on national evaluation policies and systems which will lead to the development of strong evaluation system.
The UN resolution A/RES/69/237 Evaluation Capacity Building for the Achievement of Development Results at Country Level passed in December 2014 and the 2030 Agenda emphasize need for a strong evaluation culture to promote the SDGs. Further, the Decade of Action is a strong enabling factor as it provides a foundation and springboard to advocate for influential evaluation in the context of the SDGs. The constraints include securing further commitments from development partners and the government to build national evaluation systems. To sustain this momentum, long term advocacy is needed that is led by multi-stakeholder partnerships.
The design of the regional evaluation strategy and its implementation has been led by a group of voluntary professionals. UNFPA regional office in the Asia Pacific provided support to develop the key resources resulting from the strategy. The regional partners are able to continue the implementation of the strategy with minimum support. The Eval4Action campaign is cross-fertilizing the lessons learned from the strategy development process to other regions. The practice and the strategy development process can be easily replicated in other regions. The Middle East and North Africa region has already started to develop their regional strategy with support from UNFPA regional office in MENA.
The preparation for the Asia Pacific consultation began in May 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, hence all meetings were conducted virtually. The online nature of the campaign made the consultation and the strategy development process that followed, highly inclusive. Asia has the largest population among all regions with high poverty levels in many countries. Due to COVID-19, the situation of vulnerable populations has become even worse. To ensure equitable and sustainable recovery from the pandemic, investments in strengthening influential evaluation is essential to ensure that those furthest behind are reached first. In this context, the regional evaluation strategy and its implementation is key to support the implementation of the SDGs in the region.
SDGS & Targets
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Deliverables & Timeline
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The activity covered Asia Pacific region