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Conference: Measuring what matters in a 'post-truth' society

The Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation organises the 9th annual ‘M&E on the Cutting Edge’ conference on the 6th of April 2017. This conference seeks to get clarity and learn about how to measure what matters, when we are aiming for SDGs yet we seem to live in a ‘post-truth’ society.

6th April 2017
Event City: 
Hof van Wageningen
Event State/Province: 
Event cost: 
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What this conference is about

This conference seeks to get clarity and learn about how to measure what matters, when we are aiming for SDGs yet we seem to live in a ‘post-truth’ society.

Conference questions;

  • Is post-truth really a ‘fact’? How does this influence our choices in evaluative practice?
  • How do we measure what matters, and for who? Decision-makers? Voters? Other stakeholders?
  • What can we do to really get to the heart of what matters?

Who this conference is for

This conference is for people involved in development initiatives, from government, international organisations, civil society, private sector, M&E and academia.


In 2016, Oxford Dictionaries pronounced ‘post-truth’ the word of the year, following the heated and controversial political developments in Europe (Brexit) and the United States (election of President Trump). The dictionary noted that “post-truth is an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’ (Oxford Dictionary, 2016). Evidence becomes contested at every turn: it takes shape according to beliefs and mental models rather than through the testimonies of experts or news agencies. 

In a globalising world of rapid change and incredible complexity, this poses a particular challenge for international sustainable development. International commitment to the SDGs demands endorsement from all layers of society. “Partnership and collaboration across every sector and at every level is vital if we are to meet the 2030 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. We need to find ways to measure progress in ways that have meaning to individuals from local to global, and across every sector. The range of organizations and stakeholders present and the range of initiatives being developed show how the Goals can be used to develop a shared framework” – Jessica Fries, Executive Chairman, A4S. In: Measure What Matters: a Framework for Action (2016).

The need for evaluation and result-based management to show the impacts of development initiatives has increased in the past years. Contribution and attribution of results are increasingly demanded by donors, governments and stakeholders. However, identifying positive change and striving for effective and equitable development processes demands that organisations ask the questions that really matter. This means that we need to ask ourselves: Do we get to the core of what matters to be evaluated? And for whom? And, how can we generate evidence that has meaning for society at large, not just the key players in society?

This conference is about measuring what matters in a post-truth society. The organisers invite you to explore these questions with us, and to join the discussion on how we can contribute to this as evaluators, programme officers and policy makers.


Claire Hutchings, Head of Programme Quality, Oxfam GB

Wendy Asbeek Brusse, Director Policy and Operations Evaluation  (IOB), Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Robert Dijksterhuis, Board Member International Programs RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency)

More information and registration

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