16 May 2017 - In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, the following exchange takes place between Alice and the Cheshire Cat.
Asked where she would like to go, Alice says, "I don't much care where," to which the Cat replies, "Then it doesn't matter which way you go."
Knowing where you are going, understanding why one road is better than another is essential for success in any number of meaningful pursuits.
At UNODC, evaluation and understanding are fundamental to the delivery of tailored projects and programmes globally that support vulnerable people and communities.
This is why evaluation's role is so important within its overall efforts. Evaluation shines a bright light on activities. It shows what works, highlights what doesn't, points to what needs fixing.
For every international organization, rigorous evaluation has evolved from being one function of many into a sign of transparency and a display of commitment to learning, improving and empowering people.
Evaluation delivers a powerful message that constant change is both necessary and positive.
To reinforce this message, the UN has formed a UN Evaluation Group (UNEG), bringing together evaluation experts from organizations all over the world to share experiences and improve best practices.
The group is meeting in Vienna during UN Evaluation Week.
To promote the event, Katharina Kayser head of UNODC's Independent Evaluation Unit talked about the importance of evaluating projects and programmes to the institutional health of every organization.
Discussing the UN's approach to evaluation, Ms. Kayser stressed that it provided strong reassurance to member states about "what is and what is not working", but it also aided managers in understanding how they should tailor projects and programmes.
Asked about how evaluation can be used in helping to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Ms. Kayser said, "The General Assembly has issued a resolution on building national evaluation capacity. So, this means that all the member states, universally, need to pursue accountability vis-à-vis the targets of the SDGs."
She explained that this meant the "United Nations is supporting member states to develop accountable public bodies that are in a position to measure, whether or not we are reaching the targets of the SDGs."
Describing her work, Ms. Kayser said, "At UNODC, we aim at evaluating all projects and programmes, at least every four years. That allow us to understand what works in the area of counter terrorism, for example, or addressing challenges on human trafficking or smuggling of migrants, just to give you a few examples."
UNEG Week runs from 15-19 May at the Vienna International Centre and is open to international organizations, governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the private sector, philanthropic organizations, the evaluation community and other actors.