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Evaluation and voluntary national reviews

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This presentation on evaluation and voluntary national reviews, was given by Stefano D’Errico, monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning manager, at the International Institute for Environment and Development on 13 July 2017.

The presentation took place at a seminar organised jointly by EVALSDGs and Unicef.

D’Errico also presented these findings from a review of 22 voluntary national reviews – national status reports on efforts to implement follow up and review frameworks for the Sustainable Development goals - in a webinar. Watch the video of the presentaion and discussion after slide 18.

More details: https://www.iied.org/evaluations-reviews-assessments-are-key-embedding-sdgs

Published in: Environment
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Evaluation and voluntary national reviews

  1. 1. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 1 Author name Date Stefano D’Errico Evaluation and voluntary national teviews Joint webinar: EVALSDGs - Unicef Stefano D’Errico Thursday, 13 July 2017, 9-10.30am EST
  2. 2. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 2 VNRs and evaluation  The 6th IIED briefing paper on evaluation and VNRs has been co-authored by 11 evaluation experts and led by Benoit Simon  The paper has analysed all 22 reviews submitted to the HLPF in 2016  The full series can be downloaded at: https://www.iied.org/effective-evaluation- for-sustainable-development-goals The 6th EVALSDGs paper: an international collaboration
  3. 3. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 3 Voluntary national reviews  Every country has to present a voluntary national review once every four years to the High Level Political  However the VNR to the HLPF is only one piece of the jigsaw  Agenda 2030 encourages all countries to conduct regular reviews, assessments and evaluations to accelerate implementation of the SDGs Voluntary national reviews, one piece of the jigsaw
  4. 4. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 4 Voluntary national reviews  The real change will happen only when reviews will be used locally to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs  Eventually, this means understanding national politics as much as fuelling movements for social and environmental action  Ultimately for evaluators this means brokering the values, views and needs of different stakeholders while new knowledge is generated Source: https://grassrootsfund.org/groups/gala-global- awareness-local-action Voluntary national reviews, the other pieces of the jigsaw
  5. 5. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 5 Evaluators and VNRs As evaluators, we can serve Agenda 2030 by facilitating the co-generation of judgements of value. These must be based on varied sources of rigorous evidence. Equally, they must be based on processes that enable different stakeholders to interpret data and unpack the complexity of the real world The role of evaluators in VNRs
  6. 6. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 6 Evaluators have a responsibility to challenge monopolies of problem definition, of issue formulation, of data control, of information utilisation. For example, the interaction of the SDGs often implies clashes between conservation policies and economic growth. Evaluators must mediate different interests in the processes of value definition The role of evaluators in VNRs Evaluators and VNRs
  7. 7. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 7 Agenda 2030 and complexity Agenda 2030 is a massive step forward because it recognises the inter-relationships between human, economic development and the environment. However, in its complexity, it can become a huge burden for national governments Digesting complexity
  8. 8. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 8 Digesting complexity We need to find ways to digest the agenda by developing simple messages around its key principles: - Country ownership - Universality - Sustainability - Partnerships, and - No one left behind Agenda 2030 and complexity
  9. 9. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 9 Findings of EVALSDGs – IIED Briefing paper Evaluation: a missed opportunity in the first set of voluntary national reviews
  10. 10. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 10 Country ownership  22 pioneer countries presented reports on their respective VNR at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), and a further 44 countries are presenting their VNRs this year  16 of the first 22 countries have already established a governance system for M&E at a government level. In 8 countries, inter- ministerial agencies coordinate exchanges between ministries A few countries are taking ownership
  11. 11. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 11 Universality  However, some important states, including Australia, Canada, Russia, South Africa, UK and the USA, have not yet announced any plans for reporting on their VNRs  Some developed countries see Agenda 2030 mostly as related to their overseas development assistance Agenda 2030 is everybody’s concern! Though not yet…
  12. 12. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 12 Sustainability Very few of the 22 reporting countries are considering developing a specific M&E system for SDGs. Many are relying on systems already put in place for the MDGs. Three situations:  Countries adapting the framework of the MDGs  Countries with advanced frameworks on sustainable development, and  Countries starting from scratch Adapting M&E systems without forgetting sustainability
  13. 13. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 13 Partnerships Partnerships to oversee the agenda at national level Many of the 22 countries have implemented Special Committees to consult, guide or oversee their SDGs national processes. These institutions often include civil society organisations and people from the private sector
  14. 14. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 14 No one left behind  Many countries noted that they lack data and need to improve their statistical system  The more data get disaggregated the more it becomes unreliable  Only 2 countries reported use of qualitative data  The answer to understand progresses on equity and equality, cannot come only from numbers and survey data Which data to understand equity and equality? Made by Andrew, a Facebook user in Canada
  15. 15. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 15 Use of evaluation and M&E in VNRs Most of the reviews lack detail about how evaluation could be used to inform the reporting processes In almost all national reports, it was not entirely clear how the proposed M&E system would support implementation of the 2030 agenda. There appears to be very little awareness about just what evaluation is and how it could be used to support the 2030 agenda
  16. 16. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 16 Recommendations 1. The evaluation community should convince senior politicians that evaluation is useful, and thus that national evaluation policies for the 2030 Agenda should be designed 2. VNRs should make clear that macro indicators have limits. VNRs should also be clear on evaluation’s role as an essential complement to indicators when judging the effects of policies and attributing these to implemented measures 3. VNRs should complement the focus on quantitative indicators with more qualitative methodologies. This is an opportunity to include different data sources and tools for analysing and reporting progress
  17. 17. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 17 Recommendations 4. Countries should organise evaluation processes using a four-year pattern that fits the HLPF’s thematic cycle and focusing on three main aspects: a) Assessing causes and effects in complex and interdependent systems by looking at what has changed, for whom, how and why b) Paying attention to vulnerable populations and environments c) Assessing the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders through a ‘co-responsibility lens’, i.e. taking an approach that expects sustainable development strategies to be co-designed and co-implemented by all stakeholders (public, private, NGOs and citizens)
  18. 18. Stefano D’Errico July 2017 18 Recommendations 5. There should be a standard requirement for all countries to explain in their VNR what role their M&E system plays in reviewing progress towards the SDGs. UNEG could help develop this. 6. As the SDGS are strongly interlinked, it is crucial to both avoid counterproductive interactions between different objectives and targets (ie ensure internal coherence), and to reinforce synergies between stakeholders (external coherence). VNRs should strongly focus on building an interlinked picture at national and local levels..

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