Evaluation and the SDGs

SDGs and the Importance of Evaluation

The vital role that evaluation plays in the success of interventions is becoming increasingly apparent.

The United Nations Secretary-General Guterres has stressed that to be fully accountable, "we need a culture of evaluation, independent and real-time evaluation with full transparency"

Moreover, evaluation is at the heart of the 2030 Sustainable Agenda, which highlights that the follow-up and review processes for the development goals will be informed by country-led evaluations and by data that accessible, timely, reliable and of high quality.

Ultimately, the information obtained through evaluations and the processes for gathering it serve four main purposes: accountability, organizational learning, knowledge generation and opportunities for dialogue. See also Evaluation Handbook

As per UNGA Resolution A/RES/69/237 and the 2030 Agenda, the UN system is mandated to contribute to international efforts for achieving the SDGs through strengthening national evaluation capacity (NEC). 

UN reforms to both programming and management further demand increased accountability and evaluation at all levels, with special emphasis on evaluating results at the strategic level, including UNSDCF, reflecting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


IES already participated in 2015 in shaping the Global Evaluation Agenda in relation to the SDGs. In cooperation with evaluation functions of the Vienna-based International Organizations, a High-level panel discussion on "The Use of Evaluation in Evidence-Based Policy Making - Accountability and Learning: Getting to Results and Impact" was organized, with a focus on how to bridge the gap between the policy makers and the evaluation community and how to ensure the use of the highest quality, equity-focused and gender-responsive evaluations.

Besides conducting participatory, independent, inclusive, gender-responsive evaluations and presenting aggregate evaluation results to UNODC's Executive Director and Member States, IES fully engages in extracting key results and lessons learned to produce innovative evaluation-based knowledge products, such as the web-based evaluation knowledge management tool Unite Evaluations and Meta-Syntheses of evaluation results. Unite Evaluations ensures aggregate results reporting vis-à-vis the targets of the SDGs

Aggregated evaluation results support stakeholders and Member States to make informed decisions in the response to drugs, crime and terrorism, contributing to UNODC and partner countries'  accountability and evaluation-based decision-making, being in line with UN reforms and the SDGs.


Human rights principles and standards are strongly reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs are the result of the most consultative and inclusive process in the history of the UN.

Grounded in international human rights law, the agenda offers critical opportunities to further advance the realization of human rights for all people everywhere, without discrimination. Human rights, social justice and gender equality approaches are as well at the forefront of the Global Evaluation Agenda. Evaluation has a critical role to play in assessing these dimensions and showing what works and why.

In concrete terms, IES has fully revised its Evaluation norms and standards to ensure that universally recognized values and principles of human rights and gender equality are integrated into all stages of each evaluation. It is the responsibility of evaluators as well as evaluation managers to ensure that these values are respected, addressed and promoted.  See also Human Rights and Gender Equality.

Moreover, IES has mainstreamed the assessment of UNODC's contribution to achieving the SDGs as well as human rights and gender into the whole evaluation cycle - starting from the ToR with a gender sensitive methodology when conducting an evaluation up to identifying recommendations, lessons learned and best practices in relation to human rights, gender and the SDGs.

Other Resources:

OHCHR: Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/MDG/Pages/The2030Agenda.aspx

UNWOMEN: Why gender-responsive evaluation matters for the SDGs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW08qXAZn-E&feature=youtu.be