About WHO

How the Evaluation Office works

WHO/TDR/Julio Takayama

The work of the Evaluation Office is guided by the evaluation policy and biennial evaluation work-plans.

Three principal criteria need to be satisfied in order for our evaluation function and products to be considered of high quality:

  • Independence of evaluations and evaluation systems. The evaluation process should be impartial and independent in its function from the processes of policy making, delivering and managing our programmatic and administrative work.
  • Credibility of evaluations. This depends on the expertise and independence of evaluators and the degree of transparency of the evaluation process.
  • Utility of evaluations. To have an impact on decision-making, evaluation findings must be perceived as relevant and useful and be presented in a clear and concise way. Findings must contribute to organizational learning and performance improvement.

Conducting evaluations: The Evaluation Office manages, commissions or conducts corporate/centralized evaluations. Corporate evaluations are of high strategic relevance for WHO and are linked to priorities of the General Programme of Work. They can also focus on specific programme areas, can be thematic, that is focusing on horizontal themes, such as specific ways of working, or can also be office-specific evaluations, focusing on the functions, roles and commitments of a particular WHO office.

Providing quality assurance and technical backstopping: Decentralized evaluations are managed, commissioned or conducted outside the central Evaluation Office. These decentralized evaluations are initiated by HQ clusters, regional offices or country offices, and could be programme evaluations; thematic evaluations; regional office or country office-specific evaluations. It is important to note that these will only be considered as independent evaluations if they meet all of the criteria, including being undertaken by persons/evaluators not directly linked to the design and/or delivery of the programme or activity.

Coherence and harmonization across the organization is achieved through adherence to guidance provided in the “WHO Evaluation Practice Handbook”

Tracking Management Response: A management response system determines the next steps after an evaluation is completed, and is a vital tool for promoting the effectiveness of evaluations. A management response system can be understood as a way of “linking evaluation findings to future activities”. The Evaluation Office helps owners of decentralized evaluations to track and report the implementation of recommendations established by specific evaluations. Tracking and reporting can be done regularly as part of the Annual Report on Evaluation.

Organizational Learning: Learning and performance improvement is a key outcome of evaluation work. This helps establish effective feedback loops from evaluation to policy and decision-makers, operational staff and other stakeholders which are critical if evaluation lessons are to be learnt and findings implemented into policy. Learning should also contribute towards a culture where evaluation is integral to the planning, design and implementation of policies and programmes. Findings and evidence generated through evaluation should also be part of the Organization’s broader knowledge management efforts.

Communicating evaluation work: An important additional route to strengthen the culture of learning, and increase transparency and stakeholder ownership is to communicate evaluation work and findings effectively. Communication of evaluation results in a timely and effective manner can influence the views not only of staff but also of Member States (delegates, parliaments, decision-makers), the broader donor community and other stakeholders. It contributes towards transparency and building confidence and trust in the work of the Organization.

The UN Evaluation Group

The United Nations Evaluation Group(UNEG) is an interagency professional network that brings together the evaluation units of the UN system, including UN departments, specialized agencies, funds and programmes, and affiliated organizations. It currently has 46 such members and observers. The UNEG's current operational strategies are outlined in the UNEG Principles of Working Together and UNEG Strategy 2014-2019. The WHO Evaluation Office is member of UNEG