RE: How are we progressing in SDG evaluation? | Eval Forward

Dear Emilia,

Thanks for raising this important issue.

1.      I have had some opportunities to be involved in the evaluation of some aspects of SDGs in Nepal. I find evaluating specific objectives or targets within the SDGs is a normal process and we can learn from the existing evaluation approaches. Evaluating sustainability at a higher order considering a space-time dimension of certain interventions during or at the end of the intervention may however be a challenging task. With my limited experience, I have encountered some challenges while evaluating SDG-related interventions. I feel it was good to view the scope of interventions at a higher level and consider the whole ecosystem of the selected interventions (as SDGs are intersectoral, collaborative and many more utopian terms), this theoretically appealing concept however posed some noted difficulties in evaluation. Some of them are narrow scope or project-based interventions (short term, thinly spread, too focused on activity delivery, isolated, weak MEAL systems and many more); traditional approaches and mindset of commissioning and managing evaluation (such as lack of system thinking approach & anticipatory views that intervention may lead in future); and operationalizing sustainability evaluation (such as weak intervention design, critical data gap, attribution gap and the limited time allocated to assess the condition for sustainability). In addition, there are substantive evaluation policy gaps, institutional failure and critical capacity gaps to assess sustainability at national and sub-national levels. In addition, I do not see much interest/enthusiasm to carry out ex-post evaluation of programmes even by large donors and development partners.

2.      Carrying out SDG evaluation is still an emerging thinking for many organizations including UN agencies. As SDGs are still new at the sub-national level, demand from the sub-national level is so far low. 

With best regards, 

Ram Chandra Khanal