There is ample evidence that evaluations can play a key role in shaping policy and thematic priorities and improving the performance of operations and results on the ground. In particular, when it comes to multilateral development institutions, influential evaluations are those that contribute to significant change and reform for better development effectiveness.
In an article published in the March 2015 issue of "Evaluation Matters", a quarterly knowledge publication by the African Development Bank, Oscar A. Garcia, Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) reviews some influential evaluations based on their instrumental use and provides an example of a strategic evaluation based on its use for advocacy purposes.
"In IFAD", Garcia says, "the most influential type of evaluations are the corporate-level evaluations (CLEs) done by IOE. CLEs include evaluations of IFAD policies, strategies, operations and business processes. Over time, they have provoked far-reaching and systemic institutional change and transformation, contributing to better development effectiveness and results on the ground". These evaluations include the CLE on IFAD's Direct Supervision Pilot Programme (DSPP, 2004/5) and the CLE on the Field Presence Pilot Programme (FPPP, 2006/7), which ultimately led to the introduction of direct supervision of projects and the establishment of IFAD country offices, one of the most far-reaching reforms which IFAD underwent since its establishment in 1977.
Moving beyond IFAD's experience, Garcia recalled the independent joint evaluation of the implementation of the Paris Declaration, conducted in 2011, which can be considered a very good example of an influential evaluation, based on its strategic use as an advocacy tool.