Key actors in national M&E systems

There are a number of key actors within a national M&E system who influence the supply and demand for M&E evidence and the enabling environment. It is important to understand who these actors are and their roles.

This includes key government actors at national, sub-national and local levels, such as finance ministries, planning authorities, line agencies, and the primary government agency or entity driving M&E. It also includes key actors outside government, such as evaluation associations, universities, NGOs and private sector consultants.

Within government, different actors often have responsibility for different M&E functions. Outcome monitoring is often overseen by national statistical offices, which conduct censuses and surveys and focus on national level monitoring of development indicators, such as those set by the SDGs and national development plans. At times, outcome monitoring is supported by parliamentary oversight committees (depending on the form of government).

Implementation monitoring functions are often overseen by central agencies, such as ministries of finance or ministries of planning, and support the implementation monitoring functions, ensuring that the efficiency and, to some extent, the effectiveness of programs and policies are assessed and, ideally, that results are linked to decision-making processes. These agencies are, at times, supported by the work of supreme audit institutions.

Evaluation functions are often established inside a president's/prime minister's office or a ministry of planning or finance, although they can also exist in other centres of government entities. These units aim to understand processes of implementation as well as the changes brought about by government programs.

Key actors within governnment

Key actors outside government

Questions to ask

The following questions draw from the GEI's MESA diagnostic assessment tool:

  • Is there a central body responsible for monitoring and/or evaluation?

  • Are there decentralised bodies responsible for monitoring and/or evaluation?

  • What is the legal basis for these entities?

  • Does the central evaluation unit set standards and provide support for evaluation across the government?

  • What are the roles of different actors at national and subnational levels in the planning, budgeting, and M&E systems (including communities, if relevant)?

  • Are there individual M&E champions at the country's political and senior administrative levels (for example, directors or permanent secretaries)?

  • With respect to parliamentary roles, do laws, regulations, or policies make linkages between (results) monitoring and decision-making in parliament?

  • Do laws, regulations, or policies stipulate linkages between evaluation and decision-making in parliament?

  • Are there research structures in government departments that could be built on – for example, for evaluations?

  • What is parliament's role in the planning, budgeting and M&E systems?

  • What does a power analysis of the main actors reveal?

Global Evaluation Initiative (2022). MESA Guidance Note: Diagnostic Tool for a Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Analysis. Retrieved from

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