Supporting stronger monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacity worldwide is a vital part of the mandate of the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG). To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all countries will need robust systems in place to track the progress of policies and determine what is and is not working. IEG supports the development of these systems through the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and the Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR). In FY20, IEG helped build the foundations for a global partnership aimed at scaling up support for evaluation capacity development. FY21 will see the launch of the Global Evaluation Initiative, a global partnership that will leverage CLEAR and IPDET while bringing together donor and partner countries as well as a diverse range of local and international organizations to pool resources and coordinate activities for greater impact.
CLEAR and IPDET
CLEAR is a network of six centers around the world that join global expertise and local knowledge to support the development of M&E capacity, while IPDET aims to train the next generation of evaluation professionals.
In FY20, CLEAR helped deepen the M&E culture in the six regions of the world where its centers are located, and continued to focus on its mission of helping establish the needed legal and regulatory framework, systems, procedures, and skills.
CLEAR also plays a strong advocacy role globally in promoting the use of evidence in policy making. Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, CLEAR convened the second gLOCAL Evaluation Week in a fully virtual format. A total of 256 events were organized by 188 institutions in over 40 countries and 8 regions reaching more than 30,000 participants, including 21 events related to COVID-19, allowing participants to share global and local M&E knowledge and experiences.
In June 2020, IEG—with its partners the Center for Evaluation in Germany and the University of Bern in Switzerland—supported the transition of IPDET to a temporary fully online format in response to COVID-19. The 2020 program capitalizes on the opportunity to reach audiences who traditionally may not be able to attend IPDET in person and emphasizes the relevance and need for evaluation, especially in the COVID-19 context where real-time evaluation is critical for decision-making.
International Cooperation to Enhance Evaluation Practice
With the start of the 10-year countdown to the SDGs, IEG recognized 2020 as a pivotal year for progress on closing the global gaps in M&E capacity. As more governments align their national development strategies with the SDGs, there is a corresponding rise in the demand for support in developing the capacities for evidence-informed policies and systems for tracking progress toward the goals. To meet the scale of the demand, IEG has been working with a diverse range of partners to build a global partnership focused on evaluation capacity development.
In January 2020, IEG and the Independent Evaluation Office of the United Nations Development Programme signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build a foundation for the many collaborations that are the building blocks of the partnership. Over the course of the year, a broad coalition of governments and national and international organizations joined the effort. In June 2020, several donor countries and organizations, including IEG and the Independent Evaluation Office, met for the first time to reach a consensus on the concrete steps toward building the partnership.
The partnership aims to pool resources and increase coordination among national and international initiatives in an inclusive way, while drawing on local and global knowledge, to scale up efforts to build M&E capacities.
Methods Advisory Function
In FY20, IEG’s Methods Advisory Function provided support to evaluation teams on evaluation design and methods, working on several initiatives to broaden the use of evaluation methods to enhance the depth and breadth of analysis. For example, the team supported the use of machine learning in text analytics, geospatial impact evaluation, and causal contribution analysis. The department organized a number of learning events on topics such as theory of change, content analysis of qualitative data, machine learning, and portfolio review and analysis. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions, the Methods Advisory Function proposed a framework for adjusting the scope and methodology of evaluations to ensure the quality and depth of analysis and prepared comprehensive guidance on evaluation methods, which was published in the first quarter of FY21.
The Management Action Record is a key element of the Bank Group’s accountability framework. The Management Action Record supports accountability in following up on IEG evaluation recommendations by enabling meaningful tracking, dialogue, and self-assessment of Bank Group management’s implementation of IEG recommendations.
To contribute to the broader purpose of growing IEG’s value added for the Bank Group’s development effectiveness, IEG and management reformed the Management Action Record in FY20. The reform aims to enhance the relevance and strategic value of IEG recommendations and support management’s implementation of the recommendations. The reform agreement between IEG and management defines the nature of future IEG recommendations, the ways the management progress will be reported and reviewed, and the approach to transitioning most pre-FY20 evaluations into the new Management Action Record system.
In FY20, IEG Academy hosted two all-staff, dedicated Learning Days highlighting the importance of developing cutting-edge skills that are then applied to evaluations. There were machine-learning pilots, along with courses covering a range of topics from developing program theories to writing for impact to emotional intelligence. Over the course of the year, IEG Academy hosted 31 classes and provided on-the-job tools and coaching opportunities. The award-winning IEG Mentoring Program supported 25 mentoring pairs. Furthermore, the IEG Academy team completed the learning needs assessment, which informs the new IEG Academy curriculum.