Oberscherli, SwitzerlandOberscherli, Switzerland

Evaluation in the Era of the Agenda 2030

The international development community is in the process to redefine its future mandate and to reposition the required strategies and approaches in the wake of the Agenda 2030. Compared to the era of the MDGs, the task is even more complex as it embraces truly mutual responsibilities between all nations and it builds on multiactor partnerships with shared roles. The compass is a wide basket of goals and indicators, the challenge for each actor is to add value to development partnerships and go beyond his/her common business proposition. The tasks to monitor progress and to track development outcomes will turn even more demanding and will require new tools.

If you are looking for an outside perspective on your endeavor to cope with the Agenda 2030 or your development programmes, strategy or institution, it is my pleasure to support you. Be it for assessing results and effectiveness, to reflect on your strategies,         appraise innovative initiatives or assist you in strengthening the competencies and skills of your teams.

Change happens.   I believe in the necessity of gauging the value added by a development initiative to render account to your target groups, to the funding agencies, to a broader public, but also to your own self. External views may help to deal with different perspectives, to better understand factors of success and failure and to professionally mature and grow.

Development partners share success and failure.   Cooperative partnerships are laboratories for design of change, reforms and transformation of opportunities for people. As learning organizations, they feature evaluation of progress and weaknesses which provide new perspectives for strategy and action.

Where there is money, there are stakes.   Program goals may be framed in best ethical intent to benefit the poor, vulnerable or marginalized peoples. Implementation reality however often reveals fugitive benefits. Independent evaluation helps to provide evidence on planned against effective benefits.

Development results go beyond intended effectiveness.   Unintended, non-targeted effects are often as important as those within the radar of results frameworks in the overall balance of development achievements. Evaluation can contribute to capture the broader landscape of effects of change and to validate program contributions within that.

Assessments and evaluations are meaningful   if these add value to sincere reflection and open minded decision making. Devolutions does not provide accountability services for ready-made management solutions or ex-post justification of change processes. 

                                                                        Martin Sommer
                                                                        Managing Consultant devolutions Ltd.