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O-2: Monitoring and evaluating the SDGs: Challenges and proposed solutions

Part of
Online Sessions
May 16 - 20
Recommended for
Evaluators, Practitioners

workshop pitch


Watch the interview with Eloisa de Villalobos!


In 2015, the UN General Assembly endorsed the Sustainable Development Goals as an important part of the Agenda 2030. For evaluation, this is a significant change and switch of perspective. While development evaluation tends to focus on projects or programs financed by international donor organizations, the evaluation of SDGs will primarily be a national task and a new challenge both for evaluators and national authorities. The main issue is the integrative approach of sustainable development, including different systems (ecology, economy and the social system), different levels of activities (global, regional, national and local level) and different time-spans (short-term, medium-term and long-term). This challenges the existing forms of monitoring and evaluation systems that are merely developed in different policy fields, more or less incompatible and specialized. The workshop introduces key elements of evaluating sustainable development and gives some examples for its implementation in monitoring and evaluation systems.

In doing so, the workshop emphasizes on system integration as a main target and offers some insights into approaches who show interlinkages between SDGs. Moreover, it introduces system thinking and system analysis as important tools for Monitoring and Evaluation of SDGs. While the main message of the Agenda 2030 is “leaving no-one behind”, inclusive approaches are winning more importance in Monitoring and Evaluation systems. Therefore, the second part of this workshop highlights such kinds of multi-level approaches, including marginalized voices like women or indigenous people. Finally, a special focus is set on long-term transitions of systems towards sustainability. This is especially discussed in the field of climate change but also relevant in the economic (e.g. transition to “green economies”) and in the social system (e.g. durable integration into first job markets). Evaluating such long-term transition processes are special challenges, targeted by some new approaches merely from engineering and system analytics.

Finally, the workshop provides some insides into the state of the art of national SDG-reporting. Primarily it is about national monitoring and evaluation systems, spotting on already existing national evaluation policies and practices. While there are some recommendations given by UN organizations, EVALPartners and civil society organizations, evaluation is still poorly integrated into the first proposals of reporting systems. Hence, there are some ideas and first concepts that are discussed with a particular view on perspectives for practical implementations.


The participants …

  • know about key evaluation approaches and practices targeting on sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 2030,
  • understand the specifics of national monitoring and evaluations systems and the importance of system, inclusive and transition thinking for evaluating the SDGs,
  • recognize the important role of evaluation within national SDG reporting and the task of linking evaluation to monitoring and policies,
  • are able to use the recommendations given in this course for developing national SDG reporting systems including monitoring and evaluation in their own countries.

recommended for

  • Monitoring and Evaluation officers in public or private organizations;
  • Young and Emerging Evaluators who want to work in the field of evaluating SDGs;
  • Sustainability experts who want to know more about the potentials of Monitoring and Evaluation.


This is a workshop on beginners’ level.


No previous knowledge about sustainable development, evaluation or the SDGs required. Some involvement in SDG debates within the own organizational and/or national context is helpful but not necessary.