Rome, 27 October 2022 – Can methodological innovations – such as the use of artificial intelligence – boost the impact of evaluations in ways that are both practical and useful? The Artificial Intelligence for Development Analytics (AIDA) platform [here] is doing just that; improving the speed, accuracy and relevance of evaluative results. Oscar A. Garcia, Director of the Independent Evaluation Office of UNDP (IEO), shared insights on the use and impact of AIDA during a one-day briefing session hosted by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), on 20 October 2022.
Representatives from the evaluation offices of the three Rome-based UN agencies joined the hybrid session, in-person and virtually. Oscar Garcia, formerly IOE Director, explained that a powerful set of machine-learning and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms have created a tool at the cutting edge of technology for development. What is truly ground-breaking about AIDA is its capacity to intelligently search and make sense of unstructured data from over 6,000 UNDP evaluation reports. AIDA can analyse this wealth of information right down to the paragraph level, pulling out precisely what is needed from vast swathes of information in seconds.
Today, AIDA is helping evaluators expand their evidence-base by searching existing data in a smarter, more efficient and innovative way. By virtue of its granular search capacity, AIDA finds pieces of evidence that would not be found using conventional desk research. Thus, the platform enables evaluators to manage and analyse data more accurately, faster and smartly.
AIDA has already proven successful in facilitating both inductive and deductive analysis approaches. Through the inductive approach, the system has facilitated the identification of emerging insights from an evidence base. Through the deductive approach, the system has facilitated the identification of evidence supporting previous statements.
In addition to discussing the present applications and potential future ramifications of AIDA, Oscar Garcia also addressed other salient areas of work in which IEO is currently engaging, including the 7th National Evaluation Capacities series conference (NEC) and the UN Evaluation Group (UNEG). The IEO Director explained that the NEC conference – jointly organized by IEO and the Global Evaluation Initiative (GEI) in Turin, Italy, between 25-28 October 2022 – would focus upon ‘Resilient National Evaluation Systems for Sustainable Development’, following the upheaval and socio-economic fragility brought by the global pandemic.
With regard to UNEG, meeting participants discussed key areas of work vis-à-vis the Sustainable Development Goals, including the need to synthesize existing evaluative data on what has worked and not, why and where; the need to provide insights and analysis towards the key barriers and enablers to accelerate SDG achievements; the need to identify evidence gaps for future evaluations; and the need to provide policy recommendations to achieve the goals in the last five years before 2030.
Access the Artificial Intelligence for Development Analytics (AIDA) platform [here]
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