Evaluation and the SDGs

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Importance of Evaluation

On 25 September 2015, Member States of the United Nations (UN) adopted 'Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,' and with it 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is intended as "a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity that seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom" and calls for ambitious, universal and transformative action over the next fifteen years, focusing on the shared planet, its people, and their prosperity, peace and partnership.

In contrast to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), evaluation has been fully integrated into this Agenda as part of the review process.

UNODC and the SDGs - the seven most relevant SDGs for UNODC (based on UNODC Annual Report 2014; published in: UNODC Evaluation Handbook, p. 25)

The SDGs entail a review mechanism that will be "rigorous and based on evidence, informed by country-led evaluations and data which is high-quality, accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability and geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts".

High-level Panel Discussion in Vienna, 2015

In this regard, also the Independent Evaluation Section (IES) participated already in 2015 in shaping the global evaluation agenda in relation to the SDGs. In cooperation with the Evaluation Functions of the Vienna-based International Organisations, a high-level panel discussion on "The Use of Evaluation in Evidence-Based Policy Making - Accountability and Learning: Getting to Results and Impact" focused 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.

In addition, besides conducting participatory independent gender-responsive evaluations and presenting aggregate evaluation results to the Executive Director and Member States, IES fully engages in extracting key results and lessons learned to produce evaluation-based knowledge products, strengthening thereby evaluation-based knowledge management and a culture of learning at UNODC. The web-based evaluation management and knowledge sharing application, Unite Evaluations, further ensures aggregate results reporting vis-à-vis the targets of the SDGs and strengthened accountability through improved tracking of recommendations. 

Aggregated evaluation results further support our 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.

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Human Rights and Gender in Evaluating the SDGs

Human rights principles and standards are now 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.

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.

Further details:

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

See also Human Rights & Gender Equality

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