EVAL-ForwARD first public launch took place at EvalColombo 2018. What are the expectations of the broader evaluation community?
More than 200 evaluation experts, development partners and parliamentarians representing 70 countries from around the world convened at the EvalColombo 2018 forum in Sri Lanka, from 17 to 19 September, to discuss the benefits and challenges of using evaluation evidence in government policymaking.
EvalColombo was jointly organized by the Global Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation (GPFE), EvalPartners and the Sri Lanka Evaluation Association. The conference focused on the role played by parliamentarians in promoting the use of evaluation and in driving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. The discussions brought up many issues to address if we wish to pave the way for a greater and better use of evaluation evidence in policy decision-making.
It is important to recognize that evaluation competes with other sources of knowledge and needs to be well equipped to do so, both in terms of sound content and user-friendly formats of reports and findings. This calls for increased efforts to strengthen capacities for evaluation, addressing both the supply and the demand for evaluation evidence. Evaluation needs to engage more with policy cycles and political contexts to contribute to good governance and promote evidence-based policies.
The global 2030 Agenda calls on governments to be in the driving seat when it comes to their development decisions. However, evaluation and evaluative thinking have limited space in country efforts and reporting, limiting the opportunities to improve understanding of what works, and why, in progress towards the SDGs.
At EvalColombo, countries highlighted different levels and settings with regard to the use of evaluation in policy decision-making and shared their challenges and achievements. Finally, the signature of the Colombo Declaration at the Sri Lankan Parliament sealed the participants’ commitment in promoting National Evaluation Policies and Systems in their countries.
EvalColombo 2018 also marked EVAL-ForwARD’s first public launch. As an initiative aimed at offering opportunities to strengthen capacities in countries with respect to evaluation in agriculture, food security and rural development, EVAL-ForwARD is aligned with the ambitions of EvalColombo in moving forward the evaluation agenda at the global and country levels.
At the EVAL-ForwARD pre-conference event held on 16 September, delegates learned about the aims of this emerging community of practice (CoP) and engaged in discussion with the Directors of Evaluation of FAO, WFP and IFAD, the three Agencies that are promoting this initiative.
The expectations raised are that this community should help to address challenges and find collective solutions for progress in agriculture, food security and rural development and for inclusive, sustainable transformation in rural areas. Knowledge sharing among a growing number of members will help to make good evaluation practices in these complex areas more visible and accessible.
The Sustainable Development Goal n. 2 – Ending Hunger, is at the core of EVAL-ForwARD’s mandate. Guidance on evaluating SDG2 and on understanding the interlinkages and trade-offs between the goal of ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture and the other SDGs is essential.
We asked a few participants to share their views on the scope of EVAL-ForwARD an on what the CoP can bring to Evaluation. Listen to the recordings on the right side of this page.