Dear Mustapha, thanks for raising this important topic.
In my opinion monitoring and evaluation are complementary and both are necessary for assessing and correcting the performance of development interventions. The reason why they may seem to be mutually exclusive is that in most cases monitoring is fully embedded in the intervention management with specialists doing monitoring being part of the intervention team while evaluation is often positioned as external and independent and evaluation policies adopted by many major players in the development field include serious safeguards to ensure independence of the evaluation team.
To my knowledge in many less developed countries there is a growing number of M&E departments in national executive agencies, which may be interpreted as a sign that monitoring and evaluation are seen as complimentary. Still at present these M&E departments reportedly focus more on monitoring than evaluation and evaluation they do is often limited to comparing extent of achievement of targets for a set of pre-selected indicators.
I would agree that monitoring is not receiving much attention within evaluation community, but it is positioned as an integral part of Results-Based Management (RBM) and is a part of discussions within RBM community.
I also think that both monitoring and evaluation could benefit if we talked more about complementarity of the two practices. For example, in my experience theories of change, an instrument that emerged from the evaluation practice, are most useful when they are developed during the planning phase of the intervention and serve as the basis for development of its’ monitoring system. And evaluations could be more useful in terms of generating lessons from the intervention practice if evaluation ToRs and evaluation questions were informed by questions that intervention teams have when looking on their monitoring data.
When it comes to SDGs implementation, given the complexity of issues that countries and development partners have to tackle to achieve SDGs and hence the need to use innovative approaches and constant adaptation of interventions, I think that we should be talking about further integration between monitoring and evaluation so that intervention team can commission an evaluation when their monitoring data indicates that the intervention may be getting off track and use results of this evaluation to see if any adaptation is necessary.