The five-year plan is dead, long live the five-year plan!
Interesting discussion taking place on the XCEval mailing list. Deborah Rugg, UNEG Chair and OIOS IED Director, posted selective highlights of final resolution 67/226, adopted by the General Assembly on 21.12.12 on results-based management (RM) and evaluation.
Bob Williams pointed out the irony that this doesn’t seem to take into account a recent, major evaluation of RBM (summary) which didn’t trash RBM as such, but noted some serious forces in the system which almost doom it to fail, e.g. not relaxing other, already strenuous reporting requirements.
Personally my heart sank the most at the glassy-eyed Stalinism of “clear and robust results frameworks that demonstrate complete results chains that establish expected results at the output, outcome and impact levels”, not qualified by any mention of flexibility, revision, adaptation or learning.
Here is the summary of the Resolution:
F. Results-based management
164. Affirms the importance of results-based management as an essential element of accountability that can contribute to improved development outcomes and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the internationally agreed development goals;
167. Recognizes progress in improving transparency, and calls for further efforts to ensure coherence and complementarity in the oversight functions, audit and evaluations across the United Nations development system;
170. Requests the United Nations development system to promote the development of clear and robust results frameworks that demonstrate complete results chains that establish expected results at the output, outcome and impact levels and include measurable indicators with baselines, milestones and targets for monitoring, and in this regard requests the United Nations funds and programmes, and encourages the specialized agencies, to consult Member States during the production of results frameworks of their respective strategic plans, and report annually on implementation from 2014;
G. Evaluation of operational activities for development
173. Emphasizes the importance for organizations of the United Nations development system of having independent, credible and useful evaluation functions, with sufficient resources, and promoting a culture of evaluation that ensures the active use of evaluation findings and recommendations in policy development and improving the functioning of the organizations;
174. Calls upon members of the United Nations development system to further increase institutional and organizational capacity for the evaluation of operational activities for development and to increase training and skills-upgrading in results-based management, monitoring and evaluation methods, as well as to ensure the effective utilization of findings, recommendations and lessons learned in programming and operational decision-making, and requests the funds and programmes and the specialized agencies to develop evaluation plans that are aligned with new strategic plans and are an integrated part of monitoring systems;
176. Reaffirms the need to strengthen independent and impartial system-wide evaluation of operational activities for development;
177. Notes, in this regard, the findings and recommendations of the independent review commissioned by the Secretary-General in response to General Assembly resolution 64/289 on a comprehensive review of the existing institutional framework for the system-wide evaluation of operational activities for development of the United Nations system, and in this regard reaffirms that further strengthening of system-wide evaluation within the United Nations development system should be based on utilizing and enhancing existing mechanisms;
178. Encourages the enhanced coordination and exchange of experience among the United Nations entities engaged in system-wide evaluation of operational activities for development, namely, the Joint Inspection Unit, the United Nations Evaluation Group, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Office of Internal Oversight Services and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs;
179. Notes that the Joint Inspection Unit is the only entity within the United Nations system with a specific mandate for independent system-wide evaluation, and acknowledges the reforms initiated by the Unit;
180. Also notes the development of the norms and standards for evaluation by the United Nations Evaluation Group as a professional network, and encourages the use of these norms and standards in the evaluation functions of United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies, as well as in system-wide evaluations of operational activities for development;
181. Requests the Secretary-General to establish an interim coordination mechanism for system-wide evaluation of operational activities for development of the United Nations system composed of the Joint Inspection Unit, the United Nations Evaluation Group, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Office of Internal Oversight Services, and also requests the Secretary-General, through the interim coordination mechanism, to develop a policy for independent system-wide evaluation of operational activities for development of the United Nations system, including submitting a proposal for pilot system-wide evaluations, for discussion at the operational activities segment of the Economic and Social Council in 2013;