Human Rights and Gender Equality


All evaluations of the United Nations system, including UNODC, are guided by the principles of human rights, gender equality and leaving no one behind. Gender-sensitive evaluation methods and gender-sensitive data collection techniques are therefore essential in order to identify key gender issues, address marginalized, hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations, as well as to define strategies for developing appropriate data bases for better gender analysis in future project planning.

UNODC Evaluation Policy and Handbook further require mainstreaming of gender in all evaluations and in particular to consider to what extent UNODC's interventions have integrated a gender perspective and addressed issues such as power relations and social transformation, equal inclusion and participation, as well as the empowerment of women.

In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, there is a potential risk when conducting evaluations of bias against under-represented groups in the selection of respondents as a result of convenience sampling due to travel restrictions and shifting institutional priorities. IES has therefore identified potential measures that can be taken to mitigate these risks. This includes e.g. selecting respondents in an inclusive manner, disaggregating data by individual characteristics and phasing out and adjust data collection planning in order to ensure that under-represented groups will be included. The  Guidance Note for Managers and Evaluators during the COVID-19 crisis as developed by IES provides further guidance. Read more about Evaluation and COVID-19.

IES maintains identified good practices for gender responsive evaluations at UNODC, having mainstreamed gender equality in all evaluation processes, guidelines, templates and evaluation-based knowledge products. This includes Evaluation Gender Mainstreaming Guidance for Managers and Evaluators with concrete actions to include gender in UNODC evaluations as well as ways to address identified challenges in implementing gender related evaluation recommendations. 

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.

One further best practice is the hiring of gender experts for strategic evaluations, including the In-depth Evaluation of the Global Maritime Programme (GMCP). The gender expert guides the evaluation team in mainstreaming gender and human rights throughout the wole evaluation process, as well as reviews and revises IES' current gender-related guidance to even further tailor such to difference audiences, ensuring that the guidance is useful to stakeholder s and that all UNDOC evaluation reports are gender-responsive.

Moreover, there is an increase in gender-related recommendations from 2% (2011-2014) to 15% (2017-2018). One example that can be highlighted is the evaluation of the Sustainable Livelihoods and Development in Myanmar Sub-Programme, resulting in the recruitment of both a national and international gender experts for the Country Programme. Another example is the evaluation of the Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism (GPML) in 2017. As a direct consequence, GPML implemented the evaluation recommendation to further strengthen gender equality in its work. This includes an event on Empowering Women Leader to share best practices in the international Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism community. GPML further hired a gender expert to strengthen gender mainstreaming, assess training materials and mentor activities and related workshops.

Gender parity has further been reached in the use of female evaluators and gender experts for In-depth evaluations. Female representation in the evaluation process as key stakeholders has also increased, due to systematic follow up to the recording of gender-disaggregated data as well as outreach to female stakeholders.

The UN Gender SWAP Evaluation Performance Indicators are further integrated in the annual external independent quality assessments of all published UNODC evaluation reports, showing that Gender Equality "met the requirements" in all UNODC evaluations. See more on the UN System-wide Action Plan (UN-SWAP) on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.


The most recent efforts of IES include the development of Guidance Briefs on gender mainstreaming in evaluation together with external gender experts and with input from the UNODC Gender Team. These are targeted to programme managers, evaluation team members as well as IES staff. These guidance briefs provide concrete actions to include gender in evaluations as well as ways to address identified challenges in moving towards transformative change for gender equality. 

Project/program managersEvaluation Gender Mainstreaming Guidance; 2-page info-graphic sheet

Evaluators: Evaluation Gender Mainstreaming Guidance; 2-page info-graphic sheet

Further Guidance:

UNODC Evaluation Handbook

Gender-Responsive Evaluations at UNODC Guiding Document

UNOV/UNODC's Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (2018-2021)

Click above to watch a 2-minute video on gender-responsive evaluations at UNODC.


Gender Mainstreaming: The process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women's as well as men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres, so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is gender equality.

Gender Equality: An overarching and long-term development goal. Gender mainstreaming is not a goal in itself but a set of context-specific, strategic approaches as well and technical and institutional processes adopted to achieve gender equality. Achieving this goal requires systematic and purposeful integration of gender at all stages of the project cycle from strategic planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all UNODC programmes and projects.


Human rights, social justice and gender equality approaches are not only an essential aspect of the 2030 Agenda, but also 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 line with Evaluation Norms and Standards of the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG), all UNODC independent evaluations contain a dedicated section on human rights and the whole evaluation process needs to fully incorporate human rights considerations. UNODC evaluations assess to what extent interventions were guided by human rights standards and principles. All evaluation teams are further required to have human rights and gender knowledge.

All evaluations further include human rights as an evaluation criterion. In some cases, when resources are available, human rights experts are part of the team. All evaluation teams should have basic human rights and gender knowledge and IES provides guidance on incorporating these criteria throughout the process.