The purpose of the independent evaluation function at the World Bank Group is to assess the performance of the institution's policies, projects, and processes (accountability) and to learn what works in what context (learning).
As the scope of Bank Group operations and its portfolio of products have grown, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) has continued to develop and adapt its approaches to evaluating development effectiveness. These approaches include assessing outcomes against stated objectives, benchmarks, standards, and expectations, or assessing what might have happened in the absence of the project, program, or policy (counterfactual analysis). For example, private sector investment projects are mainly assessed against absolute economic and financial performance criteria and the extent to which they contribute to private sector development. Public sector projects are assessed in relation to their relevance and the efficacy and efficiency with which they achieve their development objectives.
IEG's evaluation approach reflects and is harmonized with internationally accepted evaluation norms and principles, as established by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) (1) , the good practice standards of the ECG (2), and the norms and standards of the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG).
To judge the Bank Group’s performance and identify lessons for improving Bank Group operations, IEG conducts not only project-level evaluations, based on the review of self-evaluation reports prepared by Bank Group staff and supplemented by independent assessments, but also reviews of literature, analytical work, and project documentation; portfolio reviews; country case studies; structured interviews and surveys of staff and stakeholders; and impact evaluations.
1: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), "Principles for Evaluation of Development Assistance", Paris, 1998
2: Good Practice Standards for the Evaluation of Public Sector Operations, 2012 Revised Edition (ECG)
3: UNEG Norms and Standards