UNODC Evaluation Handbook


Fully revised UNODC Evaluation Handbook published

  UNODC Evaluation Handbook    

"Evaluation Handbook - Guidance for designing, conducting and using independent evaluation at UNODC"

Download the full Handbook here: UNODC Evaluation Handbook



The Evaluation Handbook is organized into three parts for ease of use:

Part A (chapters one, two and three) provides the overall context for evaluation.

Download chapters 1-3 here

Part B (chapters four, five and six) guides programme/project managers and evaluators through UNODC's evaluation process.

Download chapters 4-6 here

Part C (chapter seven) is a practical guide providing advice and tools for carrying out high quality, credible and useful evaluations.

Download chapter 7 here

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Member States, the Secretary-General and the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have placed increased emphasis both on accountability and on the need to draw lessons from UNODC interventions, in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness. UNODC needs to prove that concrete results have been achieved, which, in times of financial constraints, has become an even higher political priority. Based on credible, objective, valid, evidence-based information, evaluation is a powerful tool that can make programmes and projects, and therefore UNODC itself, more effective and efficient. Thus, as an agent of change, evaluation strives towards strengthening the leading role of UNODC in countering crime, drugs and terrorism.

The present handbook is at the core of the mandate of the Independent Evaluation Unit (IEU) of UNODC, as it guides all stakeholders throughout the evaluation process, and is part of further normative innovations such as the web-based evaluation function and e-learning modules. This handbook is placed in the context of "Unite Evaluation", a web-based application facilitating not only all steps through a systematic online process, but also generating high-level aggregate information, thereby meeting the demand for data at the synthesis level.

Furthermore, this handbook is based on the principles of the 2030 agenda and the Strategic Development Goals, complementing the investments IEU is making in this regard, participating actively in the building of national evaluation capacity and national evaluation systems. UNODC e-learning modules are made available in order to build capacity and awareness of the public good evaluation constitutes.

UNODC adopts an approach to evaluation that encourages the wider participation and consultation of internal and external stakeholders during the planning, design and conducting of evaluations and their subsequent follow-up. At the same time, the Office strives to maintain strict impartiality and independence in the framing of conclusions and
recommendations. Moreover, the UNODC evaluation function implements the norms and standards of the United Nations Evaluation Group and focuses particularly on a genderresponsive evaluation process in order to further gender equality and the empowerment of women and other marginalized or discriminated groups-adhering to the principle of leaving no one behind.

Furthermore, this evaluation handbook responds to the demands of Member States for a strengthened evaluation function within UNODC and I hope that its publication will help our partners and us to strengthen evaluation culture within UNODC with the aim of ultimately accounting for the Office's achievements in countering crime, drugs and terrorism.

I would like to express my deep appreciation to the consultants who have worked on the evaluation handbook together with IEU colleagues and the gender experts who have reviewed this handbook in order to ensure gender mainstreaming throughout the publication and at all steps of the UNODC evaluation process.

Katharina Kayser, Chief, Independent Evaluation Unit, UNODC

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About this Handbook

Evaluation matters. It matters because, when done well, evaluation
supports informed decision-making, accountability and learning-ultimately improving the work of the United Nations office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Ten million people are estimated to be incarcerated in prisons across the globe. Some of these individuals face prison conditions, including overcrowding, that can contribute to HIV transmission through drug use, needle sharing, tattooing, unprotected sex and other risky behaviours. Prisoners' welfare is sometimes overlooked in these challenging conditions and HIV prevention and care programmes remain rare in some countries. UNODC has provided HIV treatment, care and support interventions for prisoners, prison workers and injection drug users since 2002. In 2014, a comprehensive evaluation of the 34 projects within the UNODC global HIV programme1 recommended expanding the focus to support prisoners' general health. By following this recommendation, HIV programme managers added more countries to the programme and held the first global consultation on HIV in prisons in order to further identify problems and solutions.
The work of the HIV programme shows the strong link between evaluation and supporting individuals in a vulnerable position. It also highlights one of the key aspects of evaluation, which is to bring change and improve the delivery of solutions on the ground.

Evaluation is key for a healthy organization that learns from its actions and pushes for innovation in order to serve those we work to benefit. At UNODC, the evaluation function provides for evidence-based information that is credible, reliable and useful to serve four main purposes: accountability, organizational learning, inclusive dialogue and knowledge generation. Furthermore, the evaluation function contributes to developing UNODC capacities in terms of innovation and organizational change, providing building blocks to a learning organization.

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Who is the Handbook for

This revised and updated UNODC Evaluation Handbook has been designed as a userfriendly resource to inspire and guide UNODC stakeholders to promote evaluation and support good evaluation practice. The primary audience is UNODC staff who manage evaluations or are involved in evaluation processes, and international development evaluators who conduct evaluations of UNODC programmes, projects (also referred to as "interventions") as well as of UNODC policies.
Furthermore, it is a practical guide for everyone involved in the evaluation process. This includes counterparts who are interested in evaluation and who want to use and learn from evaluations, particularly core learning partners. It may also be useful for donors and other representatives from Member States who want to learn more about how evaluation is undertaken at UNODC and about good evaluation practice more generally.

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Why an Evaluation Handbook

The Evaluation Handbook aims to support UNODC in making evaluation processes, learning and accountability a central part of UNODC programme and project delivery. In addition to providing practical guidance, this Handbook aspires to encourage evaluation at UNODC by highlighting numerous examples of how good evaluation practice has been put to use across the organization's thematic areas.

On a day-to-day practical level, the Handbook is intended to help users:

  • Better understand the purposes and benefits of evaluation
  • Be equipped to plan for and manage evaluations
  • Be able to judge the quality of evaluation methods and reports
  • Actively utilize evaluation recommendations for following up on evaluation findings and planning future interventions

This edition supersedes the 2011 Evaluation Handbook. It has been revised to better respond to the needs and demands of UNODC. The new version complements the new UNODC evaluation policy and takes into account the rapidly changing organizational structure of UNODC, as well as evolving international evaluation standards. Revisions have
also been made to other normative evaluation tools, such as the templates and guidelines for terms of reference, inception and evaluation reports, in order to ensure a coherent and consistent approach for all of UNODC evaluation guidance.

This version of the Handbook is intended to be a more structured, comprehensive Evaluation Handbook that users can easily refer to in their work. In addition to its direct application to evaluation processes, it also aims to:

  • Promote evidence-based decision-making through evaluative thinking, a more resultsoriented culture and an environment of continuous learning and transparency among UNODC staff, senior management, Member States and donors
  • Provide timely, relevant and quality evaluation guidance to UNODC staff, senior management, Member States and donors, ultimately enhancing ownership of evaluation processes
  • Support change and innovation, in particular the United Nations move towards an integrated programming approach, which seeks synergies and harmonization at the regional and thematic levels
  • Promote greater coordination and cohesion, internally and externally with other aid partners.
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Evaluation Handbook

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Overview evaluation reports
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Other Organizations Evaluation Reports
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Evaluation Policy
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Evaluation and the SDGs

Human Rights and Gender in evaluations
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Chapter 1: Defining Core Concepts


Chapter 2: Planning an Evaluation at the Design Stage


Chapter 3: Managing an Evaluation


Chapter 4: Undertaking an Evaluation


Chapter 5: Using the Evaluation




Chapter 6: Recapitulating Evaluation Processes Step by Step