policy development

Evaluation and Studies Section

The Evaluation and Studies Section (ESS) is responsible for planning and implementing evaluations, which have two primary purposes in OCHA: as a learning tool to improve response and as an accountability tool to measure performance and effectiveness. ESS ensures that OCHA’s evaluations – both OCHA-specific and inter-agency – meet professional quality standards and are carried out in a transparent, rigorous and independent manner. The Section also provides in-house technical support to evaluation exercises undertaken by OCHA’s branches and field offices.

ESS engages in a range of evaluation activities including independent external evaluations and real-time evaluations
– which are undertaken while the emergency response is being implemented to allow for the correction of ongoing
activities. One of the Section’s focus activities in 2008 will be to support the external evaluations of the effectiveness
of the application of humanitarian reform tools such as the cluster approach and the Central Emergency Response Fund.

Additionally, ESS coordinates and prioritizes the PDSB studies agenda in support of the broad dissemination of high quality research for maximum impact on policy. It will develop this work in 2008 by establishing a research and policy forum with academic institutes, organizing brown bag lunches with guest presentations and fostering discussion
within OCHA about research priorities.

A key challenge that the Section continues to face in 2008 will be increasing the sense of ownership over the results of evaluations by those being evaluated, which requires a fundamental shift in organizational culture to see evaluations as a useful learning exercise aimed at improving collective performance in the interest of beneficiaries. The Emergency Relief Coordinator and other senior managers must take responsibility for the implementation of evaluation recommendations, and dedicate the required capacity to the monitoring role of ESS. The successful uptake of recommendations requires targeted communication of the findings of evaluations to all stakeholders; this is especially important in inter-agency evaluations where ESS plays a coordination role (for example, the implementation of the Tsunami Evaluation Coalition recommendations). ESS will support the Emergency Relief Coordinator in monitoring the progress made in implementing these recommendations.

Key Objectives, Outputs and Indicators

A predictable and needs-based humanitarian financing system
Outputs Indicators
External Evaluation of the CERF (phase 2) finalized. Evaluation completed and findings communicated to stakeholders.

Improved coordination structures at country, regional and international levels
Outputs Indicators
Inter-agency real-time evaluations implemented in appropriate situations. External Evaluation of the implementation of the Cluster Approach (phase 2) finalized. Tsunami Evaluation Coalition recommendations continued to be implemented. Number of inter-agency real-time evaluations completed and communicated to stakeholders. Input provided on Tsunami Evaluation coalition utilization (collection and reflection on implementation status of recommendations) to 2008 ECOSOC report.

A common approach to needs assessments and impact evaluation
Outputs Indicators
A strategy for system-wide impact assessments and evaluations (including of cluster leads) developed and promoted. Mapping process defined. Agreed approach to impact assessments established.