38th INTEVAL annual meeting elevates wisdom on evaluation
Jun 1, 2023
Authors enhance availability and access to knowledge.
IFAD cherishes the independence of the function which it holds sacred.
Rome, 1 June 2023 – Availability and access to scholarly and programmatic wisdom on evaluation made important strides forward between 29 – 31 May 2023, as the members of the International Research Group for Policy and Program Evaluation (INTEVAL) met for their 38th annual meeting. During the event, IFAD senior management reaffirmed the pivotal importance of evaluation, which it holds sacred, and underscored that it cherishes the independence of the function.
“Our commitment to growing the discipline of evaluation by advancing knowledge remains sounder than ever. We have produced a truly remarkable body of work over the years. Now, we must redouble our efforts to ensure that people around the world have access to our publications in an equitable manner”, underscored Ray Rist, INTEVAL Chair and former IPDET Director.
Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) hosted the 38th INTEVAL annual meeting, which took place at IFAD headquarters, in Rome. Over 50 members participated in the three-day hybrid gathering, with almost 40 attending in person. Dr Indran A. Naidoo and Fabrizio Felloni, respectively IOE Director and Deputy Director, participated in the event. Authors of recently published volumes presented their works to the meeting, during which proposals for future books were discussed. The event also featured a seminar titled ‘Reflections on evaluating complex organizations’. Recognizing the prestige of the occasion, IFAD senior management addressed the meeting, offering noteworthy inputs and providing important stimulus to the discussions.
“It’s an absolute honour and delight to have you here at IFAD, in Rome. IOE is very privileged to host this event. We are sure that you will have great deliberations”, affirmed Dr Naidoo in his opening remarks.
INTEVAL is a multidisciplinary constellation of world-renown expert evaluation leaders and distinguished authors. The group’s members address the key strategic issues that define the evolution of the evaluation function, shaping the international debate, and advancing the discipline within the context of the everchanging global landscape. Every year, for the past 38 years, INTEVAL affiliates have met in different countries across the globe. The group’s first meeting took place in Brussels, back in 1986, while the most recent gathering unfolded against the prestigious backdrop of Wilton Park, in the United Kingdom. Over the years, renown universities, research centres, national entities and international agencies have hosted the INTEVAL annual meetings, which have benefitted from the generous funding of multiple donor institutions.
“INTEVAL has become a very strong and dynamic group. Evaluation is critical because it helps us to hold a mirror to ourselves. One of the key things that IFAD benefits from is cherishing the overall independence of evaluation and ensuring that this function is held in a sacred way. For this reason, I see IOE as a very important ally and partner in the work that we do” – stated Jyotsna Puri, IFAD Associate Vice-President, speaking on behalf of the IFAD President, Alvaro Lario.
The starting point for the deliberations of this year’s INTEVAL meeting was the recognition that more needs to be done to ensure greater reach of the books produced by the group. Authors discussed the implications and opportunities of open access publishing, alongside the untapped potential of a systematic approach to outreach. In this regard, Dr Alexander Voccia, Coordinator of IOE’s Evaluation Communication Unit, presented the Office’s experience in developing and implementing an impactful communication strategy. In his session, Dr Voccia explained the multi-pronged approach that has enabled the proliferation of a suite of innovative products, over the past two years. Furthermore, in the context of innovation, Gladys Morales Guevara, Senior Officer in IFAD’s Change Delivery and Innovation Unit (CDI), illustrated the work being carried out by CDI. The presentation included the recent collaboration with IOE that resulted in the Innovation Talk on ‘evaluation through the lens of brain science’.
The core of the three-day event were the discussions on the recently published, forthcoming and proposed potential books. As co-editors of the most recent addition to INTEVAL’s landmark series, Dr Naidoo, Ray Rist and Pearl Eliadis, Associate Professor at McGill University, presented the book titled ‘Policy Evaluation in the Era of COVID-19’. The book presents a sophisticated synthesis of institutional, national and disciplinary perspectives to explore both the shortcomings of evaluation but also the innovations and successes.
The book presentation was followed by a touching moment, when Ray Rist announced the special issue of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation focusing on the contributions of John Mayne, a former INTEVAL member who recently passed away.
The event even featured a seminar titled ‘reflection on evaluating complex organizations’, presented by Frans Leeuw, Professor Emeritus at Maastricht University, and Per Bastøe, Evaluation Director of NORAD. Building on the INTEVAL book ‘Evaluating the complex’, published in 2011, the session focused on common approaches to designing evaluations of international public organizations. In this regard, the authors explained the importance of managing expectations, building credibility in the process by involving stakeholders in all phases of the process, embracing quality in all aspects of the work, being truthful to the evidence gathered, and finding the best way to pitch recommendations.
Looking ahead, esteemed members of the group considered a range of topics for further publication. To date, the INTEVAL group has published 31 books on various evaluation themes, including through Routledge. The next INTEVAL meeting will take place in The Hague, on 27 – 29 May 2024.
For further information, please contact Alexander Voccia [here]
To access the book ‘Policy Evaluation in the Era of COVID-19’, please click here. To access the related book review, please click here.
To access the full meeting report, please click here.
To access the special issue of Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation focusing on the contributions of John Mayne, please click here.
To access the Innovation Talk on ‘evaluation through the lens of brain science’, please click here.
To access the IOE communication strategy presentation, please click here.