Key learnings from discussions on evaluating SDGs with a equity & gender lens

Here are the key points of what was shared at high level meeting in New York on framework to evaluate SDGs with a equity & gender lens
Learning comes thanks to Andrea Cook, Maria Bustelo, Michael Bamberger, Florence Etta, Rosario Cardenas and Thomas Schwandt
  • Process of change is not linear, it is very complex.
  • Challenge will be to measure vulnerability
  • With evaluation we need to be critical and beyond just woman's integration.
  • Voice of LGBT, indigenous, migrants, refugee (An old indigenous woman is amongst the most discriminated)
  • How are going to evaluate sustainability?
  • Complexity in Evaluation- complexity is not a way of life
  • Not missing out on unintended outcomes
  • Setting boundaries in evaluation
  • Broad based nature of Evalgender+ diverse actors so many people are trying to push - Parliamentarians, evaluators, CSO, UN, academia, Statisticians 
  • We all stakeholders need to take ownership of evaluation of SDGs.
  • No one left behind is very important but  a huge challenge
  • Participatory practices are key so that evaluation process is transformative process
  • Capacities who will do and what as different stakeholders need training and where will the money come from
  • Qualitative tools are important which are culturally sensitive
  • Setting up communication channels between different stakeholders on evaluation
  • Collaboration is key point for amplifying impact evaluators will have in evaluating SDGs.
  • Evaluation is social critique about challenging expectations, to recognise that evaluation needs critical thinking 
  • Evaluation is social enterprise - institutionalisation of evaluation in government policy and programme
  • Democratise evaluation : whose perspectives count, who is in, who is out
  • Every evaluation is a political act. Indicators are political and choice of indicators is political
  • 2030 is a social contract between right holders and policy makers; This needs expertise in promoting the contract.
Photo credit: Jane Mwangi, UNICEF, New York office

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Comment by Elisabetta Micaro on April 21, 2016 at 20:33

Thanks a lot to Rituu and others to put together this summary. I wasn't there so it is wonderful to have access to key points of the discussions. I see some of those are unlearned lessons (yet very important!). I like the emphasis on evaluation as a political act and the idea of evaluation as a transformative process. We all need to work further on this to make sure evaluation becomes a relevant and effective tool to support change of power relations. 




Comment by susmita mukherjee on March 31, 2016 at 16:18

Thanks Rituu for sharing the summary. Hope you had a wonderful meeting there.



Comment by Svetlana Negroustoueva on March 29, 2016 at 8:27

Thanks Rituu for a good summary. I wanted to complement with a few citations from such presenters as people as Maria Bustello (former president of EES), Thomas Shwandt (AEA), Andrea Cooke (UNFPA) and Colin Kirk (UNICEF). I also wanted to include some summary learnings: to me it was a really rare opportunity when evaluation and gender really came together, both in the expertise in the audience and in convictions expressed from the stage or in the working groups.  


“Transformative power of feminist approaches to evaluation, economics. ..Now the focus should be on those behind and at the bottom, rather than aggregates.” (AC)


 “ Evaluators need to be activists, need to turn the wheel from evidence to policy and back. Need to work in solidarity, in the community working with program implementers, in a political side. (CK)


“ Evaluation can challenge what SDGs don’t intend to challenge. Lets empower ourselves as to say what is good and bad” (MB)


To the pleasure and a strong encouragement for this community, one of the key principles of feminist evaluation was pronounced from the stage “Evaluation is political activity: thus it has the power to identify: what questions, what consequences are intended and not; and who is in and out (whether from the evaluation participants or commissioners.”


-          Cases have more power than averages especially in the context of gender equality/social equity: evaluators have necessary to dig for cases. Cases have more power. However, the power of statistics to show where averages are, and identify quintiles for focus and samples for case studies, should not be underestimated.


-          Complexity of the issues calls for pluralism of approaches, evaluators need capacities and desires to embrace methodological sophistication. There is a recognized value of using adaptive approaches, which are more important and necessary than ever before: adaptive to national contexts, as well as global and regional realities.


-          Data become evidence when they are used in an argument. Evaluators can make claims using the data, with authority, based on merit.


-          Indicators are political instruments: they affect goal setting and, thus, program implementation. Notably, indicator frameworks rest on phenomena understanding of what they intend to measure within the contexts in which programs are implemented.


And last by not the least, plea from politicians: “For politicians and MPs data are less important: rather focus should be on systems for analysis and data presentation. MPs are the link between CSO and politicians” (especially important in the context of SDG discussions). The way how evidence enters political discourse needs further exploration and strategies. Evidence-informed policy making is still an aspiration, but should be an action point for evaluators and MPs.

Comment by Awuor Ponge on March 19, 2016 at 9:34

Thank you so much Rituu for sharing this. What we missed in New York, we surely have got in this.  Didn't even follow it online as I was in an internet NILL zone. You represented us well. We are Happy!

Comment by Paloma Lafuente Gómez on March 18, 2016 at 23:08

Thank you very much for the details and conclusions, Rituu.

It is a useful roadmap!

Comment by Mary Nderitu on March 18, 2016 at 12:45

Thanks Rituu, the discussants also talked about statistics and true data in informing policy engagement, as a basis in programming and as a reference point since there are many varied datas from different agencies to a particular geographic location.

Comment by Silvia Salinas Mulder on March 18, 2016 at 10:17

Thanks Rituu and also thanks Sarah, we worked in the same direction, I just wanted to post a Spanish translation....Great we are building language bridges, that help to build other bridges so that NONE IS LEFT BEHIND!!!

Gracias Rituu y también gracias Sarah, trabajamos en la misma dirección, yo justamente iba a colbar una traducción al español....Excelente que estemos construyendo puentes de idioma, que ayudan a construir otros puentes, para que NADIE SE QUEDE ATRÁS!!!

Comment by Sarah Zapata Pimentel on March 18, 2016 at 8:33

Aqui les va en español.

Comment by Sarah Zapata Pimentel on March 18, 2016 at 8:31

Estos son los puntos clave de lo que compartieron en la reunión de alto nivel realizada del 15 al 17 de Marzo, 2016; en Nueva York el marco del foro para evaluar los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenibles con un enfoque de equidad y género.
Resumen preparado gracias a: Andrea Cook, María Bustelo , Michael Bamberger , Florencia Etta , Rosario Cárdenas y Thomas Schwandt

- Proceso de cambio no es lineal , es muy complejo .
Desafío consistirá en medir la vulnerabilidad
Con la evaluación tenemos que ser críticos e ir más allá de la integración, no solo de la mujer, sino también, la voz de los Homosexuales , indígenas , migrantes , refugiados ( Una mujer indígena de edad está entre las más discriminadas)
¿Cómo se va a evaluar la sostenibilidad?
La complejidad en Evaluación- complejidad no es nuevo... es una forma de vida
No omitir consecuencias no deseados
Delimitar fronteras en la evaluación
Ampliar los involucrados en Evalgender, muchas personas están tratando de motivar sobre evaluación a- Los parlamentarios, los evaluadores, las OSC, la ONU, el mundo académico, Estadísticos, entre otros.
Todos los stakeholders, o interesados debemos tomar parte en la evaluación de los ODS.
No dejar a nadie detrás es muy importante, pero un gran desafío
Acciones participativas son fundamentales para que el proceso de evaluación sea un proceso de transformación
Capacidades que hay que agregar y cuales actores necesitan mas formación y donde provienen los recursos.
Las herramientas cualitativas son importantes, ademas son culturalmente sensibles
La creación de canales de comunicación entre las diferentes partes interesadas en la evaluación
La colaboración es punto clave para la amplificación de los evaluadores de impacto tendrá en la evaluación de los ODS.
La evaluación es crítica social sobre las expectativas desafiantes, para reconocer que la evaluación necesita el pensamiento crítico
La evaluación es la empresa social - institucionalización de la evaluación en las políticas y en los programas de gobierno
Democratizar evaluación: qué perspectivas cuentan, que está dentro, que está fuera
Cada evaluación es un acto político. Los indicadores son política y la elección de los indicadores es política
2030 es un contrato social entre los titulares de derechos y los responsables políticos; Esto tiene experiencia en la promoción del contrato.

Comment by Beryl Leach on March 18, 2016 at 5:31

Dear Rituu:

Huge thanks for such a helpful and thorough summary.  I'm very glad that you could be there and for your tireless commitment to information sharing.  I read this list as a call to action.

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