Developing NEC in the SDGs era: four key challenges

Pleased to share with you the latest IIED-EVALSDGs Briefing on Evaluation National Capacities. You can access it on

Developing National Evaluation Capacity (NEC) in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) era brings four dynamic and interrelated challenges. These are: developing a National Evaluation Policy, setting up the institutional processes, securing adequate evaluation capabilities and engaging with partners. The challenges affect both the supply of sound evaluations for development plans and also the demand for their relevant and useful evidence, which in turn informs national policy development. This briefing highlights areas to consider when developing NEC, and is the fifth in a collection of briefings on effective evaluation for the SDGs.

Key policy pointers:

1- There is no single route to developing National Evaluation Capacity (NEC), countries have varying needs and contexts.

2- In developing NEC, four key challenges require serious consideration: developing a National Evaluation Policy, securing adequate evaluation capabilities, embedding evaluation within institutions and engaging with partners.

3- Political championing is crucial for building demand for, as well as supply of, quality evaluations. Equally, engaging stakeholders is indispensable to promote and supply credible, relevant and useful evaluations.

4- National evaluation processes should be aligned with other planning, budgeting and statistics processes to drive the 2030 Agenda.

I strongly advocate for using the same framework in studying NEC from an EFGR perspective. Any thought? Any interest within the network?

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Comment by Kassem El Saddik on January 14, 2017 at 4:13

Dear Laura,

I am glad to read your reaction and tend to agree with your notes. A couple of immediate thought to supplement and complement yours and hoping this will further stimulate discussion within the group:

On point 2, promoting Country 2 Country (C2C) evaluation policy and capacity transfer is a very good strategy, especially among countries of similar development features... Borrowing from the policy transfer literature, evaluation policy and capacity transfer can be an emulation process... Accordingly, I very much support the C2C (drawing on the peer 2 peer process), in which both the relevant government entity and VOPE can gear that process...

On point 3, I concur that the national evaluation community (VOPE) should play a pivotal role in strategically influencing national political figures to be real Eval Champions. To that end, VOPEs should tap into communication experts to help them reach out and communicate what evaluation is...

Let's keep this rolling...

Comment by Laura Gagliardone on January 13, 2017 at 17:45

Dear Kassem, I thank you for sharing such important key points within the EvalSDGs network. I am interested and I am going to provide a few thoughts for your consideration:

1- I agree that there is no single route to the development of NECs. Each country has its own ‘personality’, strengths and weaknesses, so adopting the ‘copy and paste’ solution does not bring any good. Also, usually copying others does not allow countries, institutions, and populations to empower. Perhaps some friendly competitions could be launched at regional/continent level to engage countries and push them to perform better.

2- If some countries do not have sufficient experience to develop quality and effective NECs, perhaps good practices could be shared as guidelines. Also, some Country 2 Country (C2C) activities could be launched as a way for less developed countries to learn from those which have advanced capacity. In this framework, an inventory of all educational institutions, training and business opportunities, and resources could be useful.

3- Usually, communication experts develop Outreach & Communication Strategies for Impact Champions to implement new initiatives. Perhaps evaluators could do the same, either strengthening their communication skills or working with professionals who have experience in communication and advocacy.

4- Different countries might be interested in different SDGs and give some goals priority. For example, I am thinking of the importance of Goal 16 for all countries experiencing conflicts or post-conflict situations. Perhaps a database of priorities by country and by region/continent would help decision makers align policies with the 2030 Agenda taking into consideration the country needs.

Looking forward to continuing serving the UN family and the international community, I thank you for sharing information.

Kind regards, Laura Gagliardone

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