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Editorial: Returning with New Energy

Welcome to this new edition of the EvalPartners Newsletter, your window to the EvalWorld. This issue is packed with news about key evaluation conferences  that were held over the past few months. Key highlights include EvalColombo2018, the historical parliamentarians global gathering on evaluation, the Asian Evaluation Week and the European Evaluation Society Conference.

EvalColombo2018 was a historical moment for EvalPartners but also to the evaluation profession overall. For the first time ever, a conference about evaluation is inaugurated by the President of the country, the Speaker of the Parliament and the Prime Minister at the same time, not to mention the 250 parliamentarians, VOPE leaders, UN colleagues, representatives of bilateral and multi-lateral agencies, academics, researchers and practitioners.

This broad multi-stakeholder coalition around evaluation is the very DNA of EvalPartners. We see the involvement of parliamentarians and governments as a natural and incremental progression to the pioneering work of EvalPartners in evaluation field building. If we want more demand and use of evaluation, we want parliamentarians and government officials not only advocating for evidence informed policy making, but also the recognition of the added value that evaluation brings to sustainable human development overall, including the SDGs.

Our presence in Sri Lanka was not by any means a coincidence. The "spark" of the Global Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation was ignited by Hon. Kabir Hashim, Minister of Highways and Road Development, Sri Lanka, well before he rose to become one of the most influential policy makers in his country. Together with a group of other visionaries such as EvalPartners mastermind Marco Segone, he dared to dream of an EvalWorld where parliamentarians demand and use evaluation in their daily work. I am delighted that this dream came true is a record time!

In the meantime the work of EvalPartners continues stronger than ever, including P2P grants, new e-learning programs in the pipeline, flagship initiatives on national evaluation systems field building and much more.

Enjoy reading the newsletter!

Ziad Moussa, Co-chair

EvalColombo2018 Held from 17-19 September

EvalColombo2018, the historical first ever parliamentarians global event on evaluation was successfully held from 17-19 September in Colombo. The inauguration if the event was graced by His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka, Hon. Prime Minister and the Hon. Speaker of the Parliament. The event was attended by over 200 international delegates including over 100 parliamentarians from 70 countries. The first day was to share experience on national evaluation policies and systems while the second day was to raise awareness on evaluation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and commitments for strengthening evaluation cultures through the parliament.

The closing session was held at the Parliament of Sri Lanka on 19th Sep where the Colombo Declaration was signed. The Colombo Declaration for which all participants have made commitment to will be the main policy document in the future for parliaments to address evaluation. The Global Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation hopes to follow up with all the countries regarding the Colombo Declaration commitments and all efforts to strengthen parliaments in this regard. 

At the end of the first day, the Hon. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe hosted the delegates at his official residence, the Temple Trees, where the National Evaluation Policy of Sri Lanka
was launched. Joining the few countries in the world that have National Policies on Evaluation, Sri Lanka is the first country in the South Asian region to introduce a National Evaluation

Please find updates of the event on the website.
Day 1: 17 Sep   Launch of the Sri Lanka National Evaluation Policy
Day 2: 18 Sep  Day 3: 19 Sep  Colombo Declaration The final report of the event will be ready soon so that it can be shared widely.

Asian Evaluation Week 2018

The 2018 Asian Evaluation Week (AEW), co-sponsored by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Ministry of Finance Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Institute and ADB's Independent Evaluation Department, was held from 10 to 14 September 2018 in Chengdu, PRC.

The inaugural AEW was held in Xi’an, PRC in September 2016 and the second, themed “Evaluation for Policymaking,” was held in Hangzhou, PRC in September 2017. During these AEWs, participants confirmed the AEW as a highly relevant forum in promoting partnerships and knowledge sharing and advancing the importance of evaluation for policy making in the region.

The theme of the 2018 AEW was “Making Evaluation Work at the Country Level” which recognizes that evaluation is increasingly regarded by countries as critical for public policy from both accountability and learning perspectives. The AEW examined various dimensions of how evaluation is used and can be supported at the country level.

European Evaluation Society Conference 2018

The 13th European Evaluation Society (EES) conference was held in Thessaloniki, Greece from 1-5 October 2018. The theme of the conference was "Evaluation for More Resilient Societies". The overall format of the Conference was identical to previous editions: two days of pre-conference training workshops and three days of main conference. The main conference saw keynotes, paper, panel and poster sessions which co-existed with newer forms of exchange such as fishbowls, a world café, and speed networking. There were activities for emerging evaluators, and space for the EES Thematic Working Groups and for national evaluation societies to interact. Last but not least a social programme helped to foster networking. 

At the crossroads of continents, countries and cultures, and against the current political and economic backdrop, Thessaloniki is the perfect spot to organise a conference on evaluation in turbulent
times. The very word crisis originates in the Greek language, where it means judgment or decision. Hence, evaluation and crisis go
hand in hand. We need good evidence, good judgment and critical thinking, to overcome the crisis. We need evaluation to deal with
crisis. Greece represents the perfect stage to debate how evaluation may help societies in Europe and beyond respond to
the challenges of crises and become more resilient.

Thessaloniki Statement Signed by P2P Partners

EvalPartners' Peer-to-Peer project: Assessment of the Current State of Democracy, Rights and Governance (DRG) Evaluation in Europe, implemented by seven European countries (Macedonia, Greece, Croatia, Poland, Ukraine, Turkey and Serbia) met in Thessaloniki, Greece in the context of the European Evaluation Society (EES) conference. The project partners held a two day workshop to explore DRG evaluation practices in Europe and future directions of NESE (Network of Evaluation Societies in Europe). 

The key focused areas of the project are “understanding current practices on DRG and creating awareness for DRG in evaluation” and “documenting local solutions for DRG evaluation”. In the scope of the project, “understanding current practices on DRG and creating awareness for DRG in evaluation” is through gathering data by means of focus group studies on current DRG practices across Europe. This is the first step in developing further policies and practices for training and capacity building. “Documenting local solutions” was through sharing of country practices and case studies in the two day workshop. The country studies were presented and as a final output of the project, and all country practices were documented. This is the second step which will be used for dissemination. The Thessaloniki Statement on DRG was signed at the workshop by all partners but also by representatives from EES, NESE, IOCE and other stakeholders. 

#WelcometheYEE Campaign

The EvalYouth network was officially launched in November 2015 in Nepal, Kathmandu during the Second Global Evaluation Forum (GEF II). It was represented by 23 young and emerging evaluators (YEEs) who played an active role during the EvalPartners second global forum, and helped shape the Global Evaluation Agenda 2016-2020 (Agenda 2020 or EvalAgenda). During the GEF, several sessions and activities related to the newly established global EvalYouth network were held and the priorities and implementation strategies of the initiative for the coming two years were identified and agreed upon. Hence, three task forces (TF) emerged, one for each priority, and are being directed by a group of YEE, volunteer-based and with the spirit to contribute to the objectives of the EvalAgenda.

Task Force 1 (TF 1) focuses on increasing the involvement of YEE in VOPE (Voluntary Organization for Professional Evaluation) governance, committees & activities. In order to increase that involvement of YEE in VOPEs. This team prioritized undertaking a baseline globally to determine: 1) the number of YEE involved in a VOPE in their country and region; 2) the extent of their involvement in VOPEs, and 3) the factors that have supported and hindered their involvement.

Building on the results of this survey, TF 1 has now prepared a video campaign to encourage the participation of YEEs in the governing bodies of the VOPEs. The #WelcometheYEE campaign aims to share stories and experiences from VOPE leaders and YEEs in leadership positions in their VOPE in order to motivate YEE and raise awareness amongst VOPE leaders of the added value of including YEE on governance of VOPEs and committees. The campaign targets VOPE leaders and YEEs involved in VOPE governance and activities and aims to promote and encourage YEE leadership in VOPEs through audio-visual testimonies circulated at a global level for and effective outreach.

To start with this series of videos, we invite you to watch the Launch Video and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. If you want to join EvalYouth, send us a message at evalyouth@gmail.com 

Submitted by Task Force 1 Team - EvalYouth

New York City Announces Voluntary Local Review of SDG Progress

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs Penny Abeywardena made the announcement on 1 May 2018. According to the press release on the announcement, New York is the first city in the world to report directly to the UN on the status of its implementation of the SDGs, and its Voluntary Local Review (VLR) will highlight the City’s achievements in sustainability since 2015. The VLR will be presented during the HLPF’s “sessions dedicated to local government engagement.”

The VLR, produced by the Global Vision/ Urban Action programme of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs in close collaboration with relevant NYC agencies, compiles and presents New York City’s existing data and programs. An article by Alexandra Hiniker, NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, indicates that the VLR will look at the City’s progress on a set of key SDGs, and will both reflect on successes and identify areas where New York can learn from others to address remaining challenges.

New EVAL-ForwARD Community of Practice Launched at EvalColombo2018

EVAL-ForwARD is a new Community of Practice designed to contribute to improved evaluation in the agriculture, food security and rural development sectors by enhancing country-level awareness and capacities. Its first public launch took place at EvalColombo 2018 during the side event. They also addressed the  role of evaluation in the public sector and how best to support national capacities. Conference participants had the opportunity to engage in an exchange of ideas on the aims, opportunities and thematic focus of this initiative.

EVAL-ForwARD activities aim to:

-          Facilitate the exchange of evaluation information, practice and knowledge among its members, leading to greater awareness and offering opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences.

-          Promote networking and open up collaborations and synergies.

-          Offer updated resources and information about events, conferences, and training opportunities.

The EVAL-ForwARD Community of Practice is a joint initiative of the Offices of Evaluation of FAO, WFP, IFAD and the CGIAR. Evaluators, development practitioners, officers working in different government departments and researchers are invited to join. To find out more, please visit the website and register For further information please contact: Renata.mirulla@fao.org