14-point checklist for effective monitoring and evaluation within the UN

14-point checklist for effective monitoring and evaluation within the UN

How to harmonize project evaluation across the development sector

14-point checklist for effective monitoring and evaluation within the UN

How can we harmonize project evaluation across the development sector? In the past years, The United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) has worked to address this challenge. This interagency network shares guidelines and insights to promote effective monitoring and evaluation across the UN system.

The network has put forward 12 norms for effective and consistent monitoring and evaluation across agencies. While these norms mattered before the pandemic, they are even more critical post-COVID. If we want to ensure a sustainable and people-centred recovery, we must pay special attention to monitoring and evaluation in the “new normal.”

Before you evaluate your next project, take a look at these UNEG norms:​​​​​​

1. Internationally agreed principles, goals, and targets

Your evaluation should uphold practices, principles, and values to which the United Nations is committed, especially the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

2. Utility

​​​​​The importance of evaluation is highlighted by its impact on decision-making processes, organisational learning, accountability and empowering stakeholders.

3. Credibility

You should have evaluations that are backed by ethics, professionalism and cultural competency. Transparent evaluations boost results that inform your decision-making process and build trust with donors, partners, and stakeholders.

4. Independence

Independence impacts credibility. Your evaluations should mirror your behavioural and organisational independence, creating an environment for evaluators to give you the best possible results.

5. Impartiality

Your evaluation should be impartial, to produce results that are objective, unbiased, and credible. It is highly valued by donors, partners and stakeholders because it underpins valid results.

6. Ethics

Your evaluations should satisfy ethical standards. Ethics is about the respect for the people the evaluator deals with and is conscious of human rights and gender equality.

7. Transparency

Adopt a transparent approach in your evaluation. This builds trust and confidence with stakeholders and enhances the credibility of your evaluation.

8. Human rights and gender equality

Evaluations should integrate, look at and promote universal principles like human rights and gender equality.

9. National evaluation capacities

In line with SDG 17, national monitoring evaluation capacities should be strengthened everywhere. Build the capacity strengthening into your systems of M&E.

10. Professionalism

Your evaluations should be carried out with professionalism. This focuses on key aspects such as adherence to ethics and set norms, utilisation of evaluation competencies, education and training. Professionalism enhances credibility.

11. Enabling environment

Evaluation needs an enabling environment that values evaluation as the basis for accountability, evidence-based decision-making, and learning. This recognises evaluation as a key function for achieving results and ensuring public accountability. 

12. Evaluation policy

As a rule of thumb for your project or organisation, establish an explicit evaluation policy. This highlights the importance of evaluation within your project or organisation.

13. Responsibility for the evaluation function

You are responsible for appointing a professionally competent head of evaluation and for fostering an enabling environment. This allows the head of evaluation to plan, design, manage and conduct evaluation activities in alignment with the UNEG Norms and Standards for Evaluation.

14. Evaluation use and follow up

Your project or organisation should use evaluation findings and recommendations involving all stakeholders. Evaluation results and recommendations should form part of the backbone of your organisation’s policies and programmes.