United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) Peer Review of the Evaluation Function of UNICEF (2023)
In common with all UNEG Peer Reviews, this report aims to identify existing good practices and to strengthen further the UNICEF evaluation function.
Purpose and Terms of Reference of Peer Review
In common with all United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) Peer Reviews, this report aims to identify existing good practices and to further strengthen the UNICEF evaluation function. The approach reflects UNEG’s Norms and Standards and seeks to answer the key strategic question posed in the Peer Review Terms of Reference:
"Based on the experience implementing the 2018 Evaluation Policy for UNICEF over the past five years, what aspects of the policy have worked well in practice in optimizing the evaluation function in the organization in accordance with the UNEG norms and standards and should therefore be retained and potentially built on, which aspects have not worked well and should be changed or abandoned, and, in retrospect, what gaps evident in the 2018 policy need to be filled in the 2023 Evaluation Policy?"
UNEG Norms and Standards identify six areas to be addressed: independence; credibility; utility; roles and responsibilities; use of, and follow up on, evaluation; and the enabling environment.
UNICEF’s progress towards delivering the 2018 Evaluation Policy aims is broadly good, with some areas for enhancement. Policies, guidelines, data on evaluation quality, management responses and the existence of a specific funding target for evaluations, are areas of strength in UNICEF’s evaluation function. The number of evaluations has doubled since 2018. The function can produce high-quality, useful and credible evaluations.
The limitations of the evaluation function centre around the wider enabling environment and ensuring accountability and monitoring for roles and responsibilities, including funding and reporting lines, which can limit consistent achievement of independence, credibility and utility. Further risks concern the limitations to the management use of evaluations and the interactions between the evaluation function and other knowledge functions within UNICEF.
The Evaluation Office has responsibilities for addressing some of the limitations but, for its efforts to have maximal effect, it also needs to be empowered and supported by other elements within the enabling environment, including UNICEF leadership and management in other functions.