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Staying on track with the Sustainable Development Goals – What evaluation can teach us

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Staying on track with the Sustainable Development Goals – What evaluation can teach us
TWEET THIS The international community needs to take a holistic look at the SDGs to create positive synergies rather than negative tradeoffs Country ownership is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Meeting the SDGs requires realistic national medium and long-term targets and programs. The international community will need to take a holistic look at the SDGs to ensure Show MoreTWEET THIS The international community needs to take a holistic look at the SDGs to create positive synergies rather than negative tradeoffs Country ownership is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Meeting the SDGs requires realistic national medium and long-term targets and programs. The international community will need to take a holistic look at the SDGs to ensure we achieve them in ways that create positive synergies rather than negative tradeoffs. This is a challenging task, not just for the number of targets, but also because some of them necessitate thoughtful decisions to make the right tradeoffs. When the global development community gathers this week for the UN General Assembly, they will have their hands full as they try to get through an extremely ambitious agenda. Over the course of the week, world leaders will cover a range of topics, including advancing sustained economic growth and sustainable development; a special focus on Africa; maintaining international peace and security; promotion of human rights; drug control, crime prevention and combating international terrorism. Alongside the formal agenda, organizers are hosting a series of special week-long events to draw attention to the sustainable development goals and the fight against Climate Change. Watching the buzz leading in to these meetings, it’s been striking to hear strong voices advocating for one issue or another. Take, for example, the debate over which SDG is most important or what targets to track and measure. Should we prioritize poverty eradication over gender equality? Or susatainable energy and climate change over quality education and clean water for all? The reality, as many renowned development experts and evaluators have pointed out is that the international community will need to take a holistic look at the SDGs to ensure was achieve them in ways that create positive synergies rather than negative tradeoffs. This is a challenging task, not just for the number of targets, but also because some of them necessitate thoughtful decisions to make the right tradeoffs. As independent evaluators, we often run into the same issues when evaluating the World Bank Group’s operations. Like the United Nations and the rest of the development community, the WBG's mandate spans many, if not all, of the Sustainable Development Goals. So what have we have learned from evaluating the World Bank Group’s work that might be relevant for the SDGs? In a synthesis paper, Transforming Our World - Aiming to Sustain Development,  prepared at the time the SDGs were launched, we reflected on the lessons learned from the earlier Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the opportunities of the future. Among the many lessons we identified, I would like to highlight three. The importance of building country ownership Creating an environment where countries can learn from each other and tap into the best advice and solutions available globally. The need to develop the right instruments as well as realistic national medium and long-term targets and programs. This includes balancing the constructive tensions between national and sector priorities, institutional capacity building and strong partnerships at all levels. Interested in digging deeper? Below are some of our recent evaluations relating to the different SDGs. SDG 1. No Poverty Supporting Transformational Change for Poverty Reduction and Shared Prosperity World Bank Group Engagement in Small States World Bank Group Engagement in Resource-Rich Developing Countries: The Cases of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Zambia The Poverty Focus of Country Programs World Bank Group Assistance to Low-Income Fragile and Conflict-Affected States   SDG 2. Zero Hunger The World Bank Group and the Global Food Crisis Lessons from Land Administration Projects: A Review of Project Performance Assessments Impact Evaluations in Agriculture Growth and Productivity in Agriculture and Agribusiness   SDG 3. Good Health and Well-being World Bank Group Support to Health Financing Later Impacts of Early Childhood Interventions: A systematic Review Delivering the Millennium Development Goals to Reduce Maternal and Child Mortality Improving Effectiveness and Outcomes for the Poor in Health, Nutrition, and Population World Bank Support to Early Childhood Development SDG 4. Quality Education   World Bank Support to Education Since 2001 Accelerating Growth Skills and Knowledge – An evaluation of the World Bank Group’s support for Higher Education   SDG 5. Gender Equality   Women’s Empowerment in Rural Community-Driven Development Projects Social Safety Nets and Gender: Learning from Impact Evaluations and World Bank Projects SDG 6. Clean Water and Sanitation Global Program Review: Global Water Partnership   SDG 7. Affordable and Clean Energy   World Bank Group Support to Electricity Access World Bank Group Engagement in Resource-Rich Development Countries: The Cases of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Zambia   SDG 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth   Industry Competitiveness and Jobs The Big Business of Small Enterprises – An Evaluation of World Bank Group Support to SMEs Investment Climate Reforms SDG 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure   Capturing Technology for Development Using Knowledge for Better Development Results World Bank Group Support for Innovation and Entrepreneurship SDG 10. Reduced Inequalities   The Poverty Focus of Country Programs World Bank Group Assistance to Low-Income Fragile and Conflict-Affected States SDG 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities   Mobile Metropolises – An IEG Evaluation of the World Bank Group’s Support for Urban Transport (coming soon) Improving Urban Transport: 5 Lessons from Senegal SDG 12. Responsible Consumption and Production Supporting Transformational Change for Poverty Reduction and Shared Prosperity World Bank Group Engagement in Small States SDG 13. Climate Action Climate Change and the World Bank Group: Win-Win Energy Policy Reforms - Phase I Challenge of Low-Carbon Development: Climate Change and World Bank Group - Phase II Lessons from Environmental Policy Lending SDG 14. Life Below Water   Project Performance Assessment Report - Senegal: Integrated Marine and Coastal Resources Management Project and Sustainable Management of Fish Resources Project SDG 15. Life on Land   Growth and Productivity in Agriculture and Agribusiness Managing Forest Resources for Sustainable Development Global Program Review: Forest Carbon Partnership   SDG 16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions World Bank Group Engagement in Small States World Bank Group Engagement in Situations of Fragility, Conflict, and Violence World Bank Group Assistance to Low-Income Fragile and Conflict-Affected States World Bank Country-Level Engagement on Governance and Anticorruption SDG 17. Partnerships for the Goals   Global Program Review: The World Bank's Partnership with the GAVI Alliance Global Program Review: The Global Fund to Fight AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria Global Program Review: Global Water Partnership Global Program Review: Forest Carbon Partnership The World Bank Group’s Partnership with the Global Environment Facility Public-Private Partnerships Public-Private Partnerships in Health

Ask the Experts: Early Lessons from the World Bank Group’s Country Engagement Model

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Ask the Experts: Early Lessons from the World Bank Group’s Country Engagement Model
Join our panel of experts to explore the World Bank Group’s experience with implementing its new country engagement model. Join our panel of experts to explore the World Bank Group’s experience with implementing its new country engagement model.

Evaluation for Policy-making: Are We There Yet?

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Evaluation for Policy-making: Are We There Yet?
Done well, evaluation can and should be a tool for informing policy as one of the core pillars of the evidence-based policy-making agenda.Done well, evaluation can and should be a tool for informing policy as one of the core pillars of the evidence-based policy-making agenda.

Turkey CLR Review FY12-16

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Turkey is an upper middle income country with a GNI per capita of USD 9,950 dollars in current US dollars (2015).The government set out its objectives in the Ninth Development Plan for 2007-13 and the 2012-14 Medium-Term Program. Four priorities stood out: (i) pursue sound macroeconomic and structural fiscal policies to maintain stability and reduce vulnerabilities, (ii) improve the investment Show MoreTurkey is an upper middle income country with a GNI per capita of USD 9,950 dollars in current US dollars (2015).The government set out its objectives in the Ninth Development Plan for 2007-13 and the 2012-14 Medium-Term Program. Four priorities stood out: (i) pursue sound macroeconomic and structural fiscal policies to maintain stability and reduce vulnerabilities, (ii) improve the investment climate and labor market to increase competitiveness and create jobs, especially for women and youth, (iii) reform education, health service provision, and social welfare to increase productivity and promote equal opportunity, and (iv) continue reforms of energy and water sectors, and invest in increasing energy efficiency. In support of the government's objectives, the WBG Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) pursued reforms in three areas for enhancing competitiveness and employment, improving equity and public services, and deepening sustainable development. The CPS was extended by one year to include FY16, in part to allow the CPS period to be aligned with the political cycle, as parliamentary elections were scheduled for mid-2015.The CPS supported the government's priorities and was adjusted during the PLR to reflect changing priorities, although the adjustment was not robust enough to reflect economic vulnerabilities. The program areas were selective, but program objectives were unfocused owing to their many dimensions, which diminished the program's impact. Development policy operations and project lending were complemented by economic and sector work and technical assistance; however, the non-lending portfolio was spread thinly over many areas.In Focus Area 1, there was limited progress in increasing domestic savings and enhancing external resilience while progress was mixed on the investment and business climate objective. The objective on sustaining macroeconomic stability, domestic savings, strengthen exports and external resilience had multiple dimensions not reflected in the two outcome indicators that covered a narrow range of the objective. Corporate governance was improved through more extensive firm audits, and enhanced reporting and disclosure requirements. In Focus Area II performance was adequate, with some progress on gender equality and a more inclusive labor market, and evidence of improved equity in the provision of health services. While work remains to be done in health to improve client satisfaction, broad measures of health outcomes show progress in improving health outcomes during the program period. In Focus Area III, good progress was made in increasing the supply of energy and use of renewable energy, mixed progress on improving the sustainability of Turkish cities, and limited achievements in strengthening environmental management and adaptation to climate change.

Peru: Rural Electrification Project (PPAR)

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Peru has been one of the Latin America and the Caribbean Region’s fastest-growing economies. It grew an average 6.2 percent between 2004 and 2013. Moderate poverty was more than halved from 58 percent to 22 percent of the population between 2004 and 2015. Extreme poverty, which is mainly rural, also fell from 16 percent to 4 percent during that period. Although urban inequality declined Show MorePeru has been one of the Latin America and the Caribbean Region’s fastest-growing economies. It grew an average 6.2 percent between 2004 and 2013. Moderate poverty was more than halved from 58 percent to 22 percent of the population between 2004 and 2015. Extreme poverty, which is mainly rural, also fell from 16 percent to 4 percent during that period. Although urban inequality declined substantially, rural inequality was reduced only modestly. To avoid a reversal of its achievements, the government needs to raise the quality of basic services, expand access to markets for the poor and vulnerable, and close infrastructure gaps to facilitate access to markets and services—all of which underscores the high priority of addressing rural electricity needs. The reform of Peru’s electricity sector in 1992 separated the generation, transmission, distribution, and regulatory functions. Based on an efficient enterprise model, the reforms introduced cost-recovery tariffs, and generation and transmission were privatized. A new regulatory body was created, and private companies are now in charge of electricity distribution in Lima and other urban centers. In rural areas, about 20 public electricity distribution companies (EDCs) provide electricity service. Most of the EDCs have performed well operationally and financially, with losses of less than 12 percent and payment rates above 95 percent. In 2005, when the first Rural Electrification Project (REP I) was appraised, Peru had a rural electrification rate of 30 percent—one of the lowest in the Region. According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, more than 300,000 isolated households in rural areas could be reached only through renewable energy technologies, specifically individual solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Prior to REP I, service providers allocated negligible funding to meet this off-grid demand through renewable energy. The scarcity of rural electricity—coupled with the broader lack of access to infrastructure—have perpetuated the cycle of low quality of life, poor education and medical care, and limited opportunities for economic development in Peru’s rural areas. Ratings for this project were as follows: outcome was satisfactory, risk to development outcome was negligible, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Borrower performance was satisfactory. Lessons from this project included: i) The promotion of productive uses of electricity needs consistent and adequate levels of technical assistance and investment support, without which their sustainability is put at risk. (ii) Achieving the financial sustainability of solar photovoltaic systems remains a challenge that the government and electricity distribution companies need to address. (iii) To reach “the last mile” of rural electrification while ensuring sustainability, the government and the EDCs need to take specific actions.

World Bank Group Engagement in Upper-Middle-Income Countries: Evidence from IEG Evaluations

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This report synthesizes existing evaluative evidence on the outcomes and lessons learned from the World Bank Group’s partnership with upper-middle income countries. The report focuses mainly on IEG evaluations produced in 2007-16, including relevant thematic, corporate, and country evaluations, along with select project evaluations. This report synthesizes existing evaluative evidence on the outcomes and lessons learned from the World Bank Group’s partnership with upper-middle income countries. The report focuses mainly on IEG evaluations produced in 2007-16, including relevant thematic, corporate, and country evaluations, along with select project evaluations.

Making Water and Sanitation Services More Sustainable - 3 Lessons from Zambia

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A water kiosk in Chipata
This brief captures the lessons from evaluating the World Bank’s Zambia Water Sector Performance Improvement Project (2006-2010). This brief captures the lessons from evaluating the World Bank’s Zambia Water Sector Performance Improvement Project (2006-2010).

Building Resilience through Disaster Risk Management-3 Lessons from Colombia

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Colombian family whose home floods every year creating hazardous living conditions.
This brief captures the lessons learned from evaluating the World Bank’s Bank’s Colombia Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan.This brief captures the lessons learned from evaluating the World Bank’s Bank’s Colombia Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan.

Conversations: Is Off-Grid Electrification the Key to Sustainable Energy for All?

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Conversations: Is Off-Grid Electrification the Key to Sustainable Energy for All?
Highlights of an expert discussion about the commercial viability and potential of off-grid technologies.Highlights of an expert discussion about the commercial viability and potential of off-grid technologies.

Technology and Evaluation: The Evaluator’s Perspective

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Technology and Evaluation: The Evaluator’s Perspective
A reflection on the exponential growth of opportunities to collect, analyze, and visualize data provided by the evolution of information and communications technology (ICT).A reflection on the exponential growth of opportunities to collect, analyze, and visualize data provided by the evolution of information and communications technology (ICT).