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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2013 Global: Thematic Synthesis Report on Evaluation of Humanitarian Action

Author: UNICEF Evaluation Office

Executive summary


This synthesis report provides an overview of the state of evaluation of humanitarian action (EHA) within UNICEF from 2008 to 2012. It is intended to inform discussions on humanitarian-related evaluation and, more generally, on humanitarian action. The report summarizes evaluation coverage and quality over this period, major themes emerging from recent exercises, and illustrates how UNICEF has used evaluation to improve its approach to humanitarian action.


The Evaluation Office offers the following recommendations for management’s attention:

(a) The Division of Human Resources, in consultation with the Evaluation Office and EMOPS, should incorporate key EHA elements into its training of country representatives and deputy representatives, and develop a roster of EHA-qualified monitoring and evaluation staff for surge deployments. This includes sensitizing managers to the importance of EHA, scaling the level of evaluation effort to the specific accountability and learning needs at hand, and ensuring adequate EHA capacity;

(b) The Evaluation Office should continue its support for enhancing EHA capacity at decentralized levels. Capacity-building efforts should be targeted to UNICEF regional offices as well as country offices;

(c) EMOPS should follow through on its commitment to embed the humanitarian knowledge management function within the organization. It should consult closely with the Evaluation Office on relevant issues to ensure that evaluation is better integrated into the broad landscape of humanitarian knowledge sources; that fit-for-purpose evaluation is advocated in humanitarian action; that knowledge from evaluations is synthesized and disseminated for maximum uptake; and that adequate capacity is in place to engage fully in evaluations;

(d) The Evaluation Office should develop, for consideration by senior management, a broad-based, strategic and results-oriented approach to addressing evaluation gaps and providing balanced evaluation coverage to meet UNICEF learning and accountability needs. This review has identified significant gaps in rigorous assessment of the results of humanitarian action, as well as in evaluation coverage of Level-1 emergencies and regional emergencies. Action is needed to determine what should be evaluated, when, and with what amount of evaluation effort.

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