EvalColombo2018 Responsible Parliaments: Embracing Evaluation for Agenda 2030


In this guest blog, GPFE Secretariat members, Ada Ocampo and Asela Kalugampitiya, give us an overview of some of the highlights of the recent EvalColombo2018 event, a three-day forum hosted by that ran from 17th to 19th of September 2018 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to promote demand and use of evaluation by parliamentarians through dialogue and exchange, generate innovative approaches to tackling them at a global level. 

The Global Parliamentarians Forum For Evaluation (GPFE), was launched in 2015 under the umbrella of EvalPartners, in the frame of the II EvalPartners Global Forum held in Kathmandu.  Since its inception, the GPFE has led several initiatives aimed at positioning evaluation in the 2030 Agenda, advocating for National Evaluation Policies and Systems; and reinforcing the importance of evidence-based decision making.

EvalColombo2018 was organized by GPFE, Sri Lanka Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Parliament, Sri Lanka Evaluation Association and EvalPartners. The event brought together over 200 delegates from 70 countries including over 100 Members of Parliament. The participants also represent international agencies, evaluation professional associations (VOPEs), civil society organisations and other stakeholders.

The event was opened by HE, Maithripala Sirisena, the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, The Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, Hon. Karu Jayasuriya, The chair of the Global Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation, Hon Kabir Hashim as well as by a representative of UNICEF’s Evaluation Office and representatives of other Organizations.

Highlights of the event include the official launch of the Sri Lanka National Evaluation Policy and the first GPFE Awards Ceremony hosted by the Prime Minister of the Country at his Official Residence.

Hon. Kabir Hashim, Chair of the GPFE, among other things, stated:

“Our vision is that evaluation becomes so embedded in good governance that no policy maker or manager will dare hold an important meeting or reach an important decision without having reviewed relevant evaluation information.”

The results of EvalColombo2018 cannot be greater, parliamentarians and parliaments from all over the world committed to become advocates for better enabling environments for evaluation at the national levels and to hold governments accountable for the use of evidence for policy and decision making.

EvalColombo2018 provided a unique opportunity for a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the relevance of embracing evaluation for agenda 2030. Parliamentarians joined by government officials, evaluation networks’ representatives and development partners actively participated in regional dialogues leading to joint regional commitments. 

EvalColombo2018 concluded with the unanimous endorsement of the Colombo Declaration at the Parliament of Sri Lanka. An abridged version of the highlights of the Declaration include:

  1. Recognition by all participants that decision-making for development must be informed by evidence and that well-conducted evaluations are a valuable source of such evidence.

  2. Parliamentarians as representatives of citizens, custodians of parliamentary oversight and lawmakers, can play a leading role in creating an enabling environment for evaluation.

  3. To ensure such enabling environments, parliamentarians acknowledge the need to facilitate the establishment of National Evaluation Policies and Systems; as well as the allocation of budget for evaluations.

  4. Parliamentarians recognize of the need to evaluate their own institutional performance to build coherence and capture synergies for achieving SDGs while national policies are developed.

  5. Parliamentarians acknowledge that building of collaboration and trust between all development stakeholders but particularly between evaluation professionals, as producers of evaluative knowledge and parliamentarians as users of that knowledge, is essential to guide development efforts to success.

The commitments of the Colombo Declaration will be followed up by the Global Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation together in collaboration with other partners.