Asia Pacific Regional Evaluation Strategy
The Asia Pacific Regional Evaluation Strategy, led by APEA was developed as a follow up to the Eval4Action regional consultation held in the Asia Pacific on 25 June 2020. The strategy followed a highly participatory process where VOPEs, parliamentarians, public officials, evaluators and development partners actively participated in defining the key themes of the strategy and their related actions. It includes eight themes as shown in the Theory of Change below.
The strategy has eight themes.
- Professionalization of evaluation
- Developing partnership for evaluation capacity
- Strengthening community ownership in evaluation
- Promoting young and emerging evaluators
- Strengthening VOPEs
- Engaging parliamentarians for demand and use of evaluation
- Promoting national evaluation policies and systems
- Using evaluation to report on SDGs
The roll out of the strategy will be an opportunity for various stakeholders to come together on a common platform to push forward an evaluation agenda in the region with extended partnership, cooperation and regional solidarity. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to take part in strategy implementation.
Click on each theme to read more about it.
The professionalization of evaluation remains a dominant theme within the sector, as evaluators strive to establish an acknowledged profession such as doctors, accountants, lawyers, and engineers. For such professionals, prescribed competencies, qualifications, standards, principles, and values guarantee a quality of service that in turn, wins public trust. Despite the challenges, there have been some compelling initiatives to build pathways to evaluation professionalism that uphold quality and standards while avoiding the protective and rigid barriers to accreditation and licensing. High expectations of evaluation and its role in measuring progress towards 17 SDGs, has added a sense of urgency to the theme.
The Professionalization of evaluation theme expects to achieve following outcomes.
Enhanced public recognition of the evaluation profession within the Asia-Pacific Region as a service with an altruistic value to citizens.
Strengthened institutional recognition and trust in evaluation that is seen as an essential, influential, integrated and value-added phase in development processes.
A competency framework for evaluators that is developed and widely used for professional development and the recruitment and placement of evaluators.
Recognizing the holistic, multi-dimensional and interlinked nature of the SDGs guided by the principle of ‘Leave No One Behind’ the UN General Assembly and the Global Evaluation Agenda have highlighted the importance of enhancing evaluation capacities at individual, organizational and national level. Strong local, national, and regional partnerships have the potential to enhance capacity building processes through sharing knowledge and experiences. Asia and Pacific countries have many things in common, they also exhibit a diversity of geography, demographics, culture, economic profile, evaluation capacities, and evaluation systems. Within this diversity, we have an opportunity to utilize country strengths as capital for strategic partnerships. The resulting portfolio of evaluators and institutions will become APEA's collective strength in the future.
The anticipated outcomes under Developing partnership for evaluation capacity are;
Enhanced capacity of evaluation professionals, particularly amongst those who are young and emerging
Expanded partnerships between key organizations and institutions in the region for joint contribution to capacity building
Community and citizen ownership in evaluation is recognised as an important priority particularly for marginalised population groups. It empowers them, reduces reliance on external experts, and builds sustainability of interventions by building buy-in to evaluation findings. Involving these groups successfully in the evaluation process requires evaluators to value and understand how communities are organised in terms of social structure and leadership and build an appreciation of local values, priorities and culture.True ownership arises when people participate in the design of the project and its monitoring, evaluation, and analysis of results. Therefore, it is important for evaluation professionals to transform away from being dissociated experts to becoming listeners and letting the power flow to the community. While community ownership is recognised as important, the question of how best to ignite the community’s to engage with evaluation remains.
The anticipated outcomes under Strengthening community ownership in evaluation are;
- An increasing number of communities, particularly the most marginalised, recognise their role in evaluation.
- Policymakers and funding agencies in the region increasingly commission evaluations in which communities are co-actors.
- Citizens and communities progressively develop evaluative thinking and demand action based on evidence.
The global vision for evaluation within EvalAgenda2020 has helped build recognition of evaluation amongst policymakers as a valuable source of evidence for decision making. To fulfill this role and meet rising demand, the evaluation must become a recognised profession sustained by a growing number of young evaluators moving into the sector. While there are expanding opportunities for young and emerging evaluators, numerous challenges hamper young people from entering the evaluation profession. To promote young evaluators, institutions must invest in bringing them into the workforce and onto evaluation teams. Networks amongst young evaluators in the Asia Pacific region also have a role to play in better understanding the characteristics of Young and Emerging Evaluators (YEEs), their needs and aspirations and providing support and learning experiences to help them grow into professionals of the future.
The anticipated outcomes under Promoting young and emerging evaluators are;
Increased supply of professional evaluators with in-depth knowledge of the local context
Increased engagement of young and emerging evaluators in VOPEs, evaluation organizations, teams, and commissions
Expanded availability and accessibility of capacity building/career development courses to build knowledge, attitude, skills and practice of YEEs
VOPEs are professional associations established by evaluation practitioners that operate variously at national, international, and regional levels. VOPEs that become directly involved in the development of national and subnational evaluation policies also benefit not only members but also society. The Asia Pacific region with over 40 countries contains 20 VOPEs, however, not all are active. Despite committed and dedicated staff, many VOPEs in the region face challenges in keeping operations dynamic and sustainable. Many VOPEs face challenges in maintaining rotating and transparent governance structures, and in some countries where there is more than one VOPE, synergy and coordination may suffer. While there has been substantial learning to date amongst VOPEs, it will be important to understand better their needs to inform ongoing action this area. It will be important too to support VOPEs to learn from the evaluation of their own activities.
The anticipated outcomes under Strengthening VOPEs are;
VOPEs together with other actors such as government, parliament, civil society anddevelopment partners are actively engaged in institutionalising evaluation at the national level
Evaluation profession is recognized in the region with clear competency and practice framework.
Parliamentarians have a unique role acting both as a source of demand for quality evaluations for oversight and in creating an enabling environment for evaluations through enacting policies into law.Raising awareness amongst parliamentarians about the usefulness of evaluation as well as building their capacity to source and interpret evaluation evidence is a potential cornerstone for the decade of action in the region.Parliamentarians are in an advantageous position to push the government to use quality evidence when engaging in national policy decision making, and to resist temptations to ignore it or politicise its use. Parliamentarians however, are notoriously challenging to engage. Getting them on board requires a strategy that is informed by an understanding of what incentivises them and effectively demonstrates how evaluation can support their constitutional role, enhance their standing with constituents, and build their professional reputation. The institutionalising of evaluation within parliaments requires internal advocacy to raise awareness amongst Parliamentarians.
The anticipated outcomes under Engaging parliamentarians for demand and use of evaluation are;
Enhanced engagement of parliamentarians to demand and use evaluation
Increase in the number of countries embarking on the development of National Evaluation Policies and Systems
Increased demand for programme-based evaluation by stakeholders including citizens, parliamentarians and policy makers
National Evaluation Policies provide both roadmaps and procedures to strengthen the demand for evaluation use. They are instruments through which to promote, implement, and manage National Evaluation Systems.To achieve the SDG goals in the Decade for Action within the Asia Pacific Region, it is important that evaluation evidence is systematically used to inform public policymaking processes and improve public service delivery. Therefore, national evaluation systems are integral to support the demand and use of evidence in decision making at all levels; their promotion should form a key component of any action plan. To better understand the challenge, a mapping of countries that have developed evaluation policies and M&E systems can act as a valuable starting point to inform strategy in this area. It will also be important to understand the local mechanisms that influence policy decision-making and how evaluations might be supported to feature in it more prominently.
The anticipated outcomes under Promoting national evaluation policies and systems are;
Increased awareness of the role of National Evaluation Policies in measuring performance and strengthening public service delivery.
An improved policy environment for evaluation and NEPS in the region
The Sustainable Development Report 2020, which details levels of achievement across countries towards the Sustainable Development Goals, also underlines the critical role of strong national evaluation systems. Evaluations have the potential to reveal what solutions work, what could be done better to ensure that “Leave No One Behind”, paving the way for sustainable actions that achieve the global goals on time.While several stakeholders, including UN agencies and civil society actors are supporting country-owned, country-led evaluations emphasising their use in influencing policies, there is a risk that a lack of robust NES and capacity might slow down or even derail momentum toward achieving SDGs.During the decade of action, government, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, and the private sector in the Asia Pacific region must coordinate and collaborate. The micro, meso and macro-level social and economic indicator chains must be sufficiently defined so that evaluations can report SDGs across all levels. It will also be important to align and map project and program goals with the SDGs to ensure that we can quantify their positive impact. Above all, the evaluation and reporting process must be consolidated at all levels and become inclusive of all stakeholders.
The anticipated outcomes under Using evaluation to report on SDGs are;
Governments, non-governmental organizations, VOPEs, and the private sector increasingly use coherent evaluations to report on progress towards SDGs, formulate policy, develop programmes, and enhance international relations.
VOPEs increasingly participate with government, non-governmental and private sector organizations to develop self-financing virtual training courses on evaluations and SDG reporting.
Growing evidence that NEPs and NES are contributing to improved FUR and VNR