Evaluations have contributed to significant institutional changes in IFAD - IOE
Washington DC, 15 November 2022 – “The evaluations of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) have contributed to remarkable institutional changes in IFAD. They have served to promote accountability through measuring and reporting on results. They have also generated lessons and made key recommendations for improving IFAD operations”, stated Indran A. Naidoo, IOE Director, describing the impact that IOE has had in shaping reforms within IFAD. This, during the 2022 Fall meeting of the Evaluation Cooperation Group.
The World Bank Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) hosted the ECG meeting, which took place in Washington DC on 14 – 15 November 2022. The in-person meeting brought together the heads of the evaluation offices of the multilateral development banks and other institutions members of the ECG. IOE was represented by Indran A. Naidoo, IOE Director, who attended in person, and Fabrizio Felloni, IOE Deputy Director, who attended virtually.
Organizations who participated in the event included the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monitory Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In addition, the UN Evaluation Group and the Global Environmental Facility attended as observers.
During the course of a moderated roundtable conversation, on the second day of the gathering, Dr. Naidoo presented examples of transformative and impactful corporate level evaluations (CLEs) that have made a significant contribution to the work of IFAD in recent years. These included the 2016 CLE on IFAD’s Decentralization Experience, which informed the IFAD 2016 Action Plan on Decentralization; the 2018 CLE on IFAD’s financial architecture, which supported reforms of the Debt Sustainability Framework at IFAD and of the Fund’s first credit rating; the 2019 CLE on IFAD’s Engagement in Pro-poor Value Chain Development, which supported the preparation of new Guidelines for Value Chain Development at IFAD; and the 2021 Joint Evaluation on the Collaboration among the United Nations Rome-based Agencies, which supported the preparation of a new Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration between the agencies.
“The purpose of an evaluation office should be to charter processes that ensure that every evaluation leads to multiple levels of conversation and consideration by the stakeholders”, highlighted Dr. Naidoo in his intervention.
The roundtable conversation also zoomed in on the challenges to institutionalize an independent evaluation function, by drawing on the experiences of various institutions. Discussants who joined Dr. Naidoo included Alison Evans, IEG Director General; Ivory Yong-Prötzel, Director of the Inter-American Bank Office of Evaluation and Oversight; José Efrain Deras, Chief of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration Office of Independent Evaluation; and Jan Willem van der Kaaij and Sabine Bernabè, European Investment Bank, Inspector General and Head of Evaluation, respectively.
“Evaluation is often met with resistance, pushback and sometimes excitement, depending on who the evaluand is and what the subject of evaluation is. We need to be quite clear: evaluative work is political. There is always pressure. The evaluands may not always appreciate the perspectives coming in. Therefore, the reason for independence is a critical one. You want a unit, within an organization, that is able to conduct its work without fear, favour or prejudice, that is not under any political or administrative pressure”, underscored Dr. Naidoo in his intervention, elaborating on the critical importance of the independence construct within an evaluation office.
The two-day meeting was organized under three overarching themes, namely ‘building a work programme: striking the right balance’; ‘challenges and opportunities in self-evaluations of private sector operations’; and ‘assessing country programmes’. The event also afforded opportunities for participants to share key trends affecting their institutions, and elaborate on what these means for their evaluation functions.
In this context, Dr. Naidoo explained that IOE has accommodated demands from IFAD’s governing bodies and senior management, during the past two years. This has meant diversifying products, and making high investments in unpacking and repackaging evaluations via the Office’s new website. Recent big-ticket-items include evaluations linked to IFAD’s leadership, such as those on the Fund’s decentralization and knowledge management. The IOE Director also addressed the perennial question of oversight being either learning or accountability, arguing that learning is a by-product of a robust and independent evaluation.
The ECG was established in 1996 to promote a more harmonized approach to evaluation methodology. Members work together on joint and meta-evaluations and discuss such evaluation issues as the independence of evaluation offices in MDBs, evaluability assessment, the results agenda of MDBs, and lessons learning and dissemination. The African Development Bank is the current Chair of the Group.
IFAD served as Chair of the ECG in 2017, and is scheduled to serve as Chair again in 2025.
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- To access all the documentation related to the Fall 2022 ECG meeting, please click here.