High quality evaluations are critical to strengthen programs and results

Statement delivered by Marcos Neto, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP's Bureau for Policy and Programme Support at the 2024 Evaluation Session of the Executive Board at UN HQ, New York

June 4, 2024
Marcos Neto - Evaluation 2
Photo: UNDP

Your Excellency, Ambassador,  

Distinguished members of the Executive Board,  

On behalf of UNDP management, I would like to thank Director Isabelle Mercier and her team at the Independent Evaluation Office for the insightful Annual Report on Evaluation (ARE) for 2023.  

UNDP values findings reflected in the ARE 2023, synthesizing lessons from the three thematic evaluations, ten ICPEs and, three reflection series produced by IEO during the year that helped with lessons learned to strengthen our programs and results. 

UNDP is pleased to take note of the overall positive trends in the areas of social protection, access to justice, integrated development solutions for more resilient systems and communities, efforts in knowledge transfer to partners and communities, and more importantly, women’s political and economic empowerment. 

I would like to inform Distinguished board members that UNDP is incorporating lessons from the evaluations in its programs and projects as well as addressing issues and challenges highlighted.  

For example, by building synergies across six signature solutions, UNDP is steadily moving towards its moonshot of lifting one hundred million people out of multidimensional poverty by 2025. 

On financing SDGs, UNDP’s Sustainable Finance Hub portfolio of work has grown to include taxation, budgeting, debt, insurance, and private finance that has resulted in aligning approximately $200 billion behind the SDGs, a step towards the 2025 moonshot of $1 trillion. 

Distinguished delegates,

In accordance with the 2018 Executive Board decision (2018/1) on IEO achieving full evaluation coverage of country programs, UNDP acknowledges IEO’s support in conducting 17 Independent Country Programme Evaluations (ICPEs) and supporting seven offices in conducting Decentralized Country Program Evaluations (DCPEs) for a total of 29 CPDs approved by the Executive Board in 2023.  

UNDP therefore requests the IEO to ensure a full coverage of ICPEs to inform  the design of new country programs derived from and aligned to with UN cooperation framework. 

On Decentralized Evaluations, in line with our commitment to transition to integrated approaches that prioritize systems thinking in our programmes and projects, UNDP increasingly prioritizes strategic evaluations such as impact, thematic, program, outcome and portfolio evaluations which enable us to assess the contribution of not just one project but a broader array of interventions contributing to development impact.  I am pleased to report to the board, compared to 2023, strategic evaluations increased from 7 percent to 21 percent.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,  

UNDP recognizes that high quality evaluations are critical for an organization’s learning. A five-year analysis of the quality ratings of decentralized evaluations in UNDP shows a positive trend, with 40 percent of evaluations rated as satisfactory in 2023 compared to 24 percent in 2018.  In addition, evaluations rated as unsatisfactory reached zero percent during the year.  

This positive trend was made possible by Regional Bureaux’s efforts in strengthening quality assurance systems at regional and country levels, including capacity development/evaluation certification of monitoring and evaluation focal points and program staff managing decentralized evaluations in close collaboration with IEO, and BPPS. Corporately we have prioritized the expansion of the evaluation roster to source high quality expertise to conduct decentralized evaluations. 

I am also pleased to report that UNDP has progressively strengthened its systems for tracking the uptake of decentralized evaluations. In 2023, the implementation rate of management actions for decentralized evaluations stood at 95 per cent including actions both completed and those ongoing.  

The institutionalization of performance metrics on decentralized evaluations demonstrates our commitment to high quality evaluations that offer robust learnings which in turn inform high quality programmes.  

I would like to add that UNDP’s investment in decentralized  evaluation function totaled $36.7 million, approximately 0.75 percent of UNDP’s overall program expenditure, inching the organization closer to its evaluation policy target of 1 percent.


In conclusion, for 2024, with your support, UNDP will focus on three key priorities.   

  • One - effective evaluation planning with stronger emphasis on strategic evaluations like impact, thematic, program, outcome, portfolio, and joint evaluations. This will require support from our partners to transition from project facing to outcome focused evaluations.  
  • Two - improve the evaluation quality through targeted actions addressing bottlenecks at the country level. 
  • Three - update of UNDP’s Results Based Management guidelines that takes an integrated approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning.  

I thank you again for the opportunity to introduce UNDP’s management commentaries on the Annual Report on Evaluation.  

With this, I hand give the floor back to you, respected Chair.​