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An evaluation is an assessment, conducted as systematically and impartially as possible, of an activity, project, programme, strategy, policy, topic, theme, sector, operational area or institutional performance. It analyses the level of achievement of both expected and unexpected results by examining the results chain, processes, contextual factors and causality using appropriate criteria such as relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. An evaluation should provide credible, useful evidence-based information that enables the timely incorporation of its findings, recommendations and lessons into the decision-making processes of organizations and stakeholders. (UNEG Norms and Standards for Evaluation 2016)


The Strategy, Planning, Accountability, Results and Knowledge Section (SPARK) implements the ESCWA Evaluation Policy and reports to the Deputy Executive Secretary, who in turn reports to the Executive Secretary. A report summarizing key evaluations, plans and  recommendations for future action is presented to ESCWA’s inter-governmental Ministerial Commission at its biennial session. 



The evaluation work plan establishes priority areas in need of assessment based on set criteria and the resources required. The Executive Secretary has the last word on the plan.

Quality assurance takes place throughout the planning, implementation and follow-up of evaluations and is checked against UNEG standards, such as its quality checklists for evaluation terms of reference and reports. 

Every effort is made to involve all relevant stakeholders in evaluations. Two modalities are employed to ensure engagement and participation: steering groups to include all primary stakeholders and reference groups to include external experts on the subject of evaluation. 


Evaluations contribute to an organization-wide culture of continuous learning by distilling lessons learned and identifying strengths and weaknesses.

Evaluation reports require a response from the subprogramme or activity manager, or the Executive Secretary, within one month of submission. Management is expected to reply in detail to each recommendation made in the evaluation report and to set forth steps that will be taken to address shortcomings related to objectives, modalities and results of the evaluated activity.

Biennial reports on the findings of all evaluations, available to all ESCWA staff, synthesize findings and identify institution-wide strengths and weaknesses. Those findings are taken into account in the preparation of the subsequent strategic framework and programme budgetand the design of extra-budgetary projects and technical advisory services.

ESCWA Evaluation Briefs