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IV-e: Evaluation in the UN

Part of
Session Four
July 23 - 24
Recommended for
Evaluators, Practitioners

“We need a culture of evaluation, independent and real-time evaluation with full transparency.”

— António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

“The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development raises the bar for global
development. This has profound implications for the evaluation functions of United Nations
agencies and for the United Nations evaluation system as a whole.”

—Preamble, UN Evaluation Group Norms and Standards for Evaluation


This workshop focuses on how the Independent Evalaution Office of UNDP, one of the largest evaluation offices in the United Nations (UN) system, approaches evaluation, the kinds of questions it asks, the data it collects, and the reports it writes.

The workshop begins with a brief overview of how UN values and the UN Norms and Standards for evaluation shape practice in the UNDP Independent Evaluation Office (IEO), with an emphasis on independence, credibility and utility. The heart of the workshop examines how evaluations are carried out in practice, including design and methods, analytical tools, the use of theories of change, dealing with real-world challenges, and the quality of evidence. A dedicated session looks at the integration of gender equality and human rights perspectives, before discussing reporting and communicating evaluation findings. Real examples and practical exercises are used throughout. The workshop ends with an opportunity to discuss what the UNDP looks for when hiring evaluators.


At the end of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Improve their knowledge and skills in the design, management and implementation of UN evaluations;
  • More confidently apply for evaluation consultancies in the UN;
  • Follow the UN norms and standards for evaluation of results;
  • Use a gender responsive approach to evaluation;
  • Recognize the most-used types of evaluation designs and methodologies in the UN;
  • Understand the difference between a logframe and a Theory of change and its use in evaluation;
  • Move evaluands away from «evaluaphobia» to recognize the value in cooperating with evaluators.
  • Write palatable, evidence-based evalaution findings, conclusions and recommendation;
  • Identify learning from the evaluation accountability prism for programme improvement;
  • Promote evaluation credibility, independence and utility for evidence and human-rights based decision making;

recommended for

This course is recommended to professionals working for the UN or interested in conducting evaluations for or of the UN and its programmes and projects. The workshop is intended to provide essential knowledge to professionals who are at the early to early phases of their career in evaluation. More experienced evaluators may find the empirical examples helpful. Although they may be familiar with some or several of the principles of evaluation, the workshop will offer tips on how to understand the UN and address some of the challenges related to assessing the UN’s contributions to development results. Evaluation commissioners and policy makers may find the workshop helpful to assess the quality of UN interventions and evaluations in itself.


This is an introductory to mid-level course. Some previous knowledge of social science research methods and evaluation fundamentals will be helpful. No advanced training in statistical or statistical software is required.


  • Must have completed graduate level studies that included research methods, as this is often a requirement to be commissioned as an evaluator for the UN;
  • Must have knowledge of evaluation fundamentals, ideally acquired through the IPDET core course.