Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Analysis (MESA)


The Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Analysis (MESA) is a diagnostic tool developed by the Global Evaluation Initiative (GEI). The objective of a MESA is to enable countries to assess the current capacity of their national M&E systems, identify gaps, and inform potential capacity-development strategies to strengthen these systems.

A MESA is not an end in itself but a tool for gathering, structuring, and analysing information to inform improvements to country M&E systems. Conducting a MESA involves intensive consultation and data collection in collaboration with national partners to develop a clear understanding of planning, budgeting, monitoring, reporting and evaluation systems and current practices related to using evidence in policy and decision-making to inform potential evaluation capacity development strategies. The MESA is designed to be flexible and tailored to individual contexts.

The MESA tool is designed for a wide range of users, such as governments, M&E practitioners, and policymakers, offering relevant examples of good practices and high-functioning M&E systems globally. The tool offers guiding questions to understand potential areas for strengthening national M&E capacities.

The tool may be used in different ways: to guide an initial desk review before or during the preliminary stages of engagement with a partner government, to conduct an initial assessment, or to undertake a longer-term, more in-depth analysis. The MESA can be used to analyse entire M&E systems or only some system elements; it can be customised for countries and subnational units or line ministries.

The MESA tool is designed to lead to a report that will not only serve as a guide for preparing a capacity-development strategy but can also be used as a baseline of the country's M&E situation, against which progress can be measured over time. Keeping with World Bank principles, such reports are regarded as a public good and may be made available in the public domain.

A flowchart of the MESA framework. This is explained in the text below.

Framework for the MESA analysis

The framework for the analysis makes up the bulk of the guidance and is organized around five key parts:

  • Background to the country and its current status in relation to M&E: To understand the current M&E situation and possibilities for improvement, it is important to have essential background information on the country, such as socioeconomic variables, the government structure, and the political and cultural environment. It is also important to understand current levels of interest in M&E and motivation for strengthening the country’s M&E system.

  • Overview of the country’s overall public sector management capacity with focus on planning, budgeting and M&E systems: This includes analysis of the legal and policy basis for these systems, the roles of key actors, how the planning and budgeting systems function, the key characteristics of the country’s M&E system, the status of statistical and administrative data; resources available for M&E,how M&E results are communicated, and the extent to which equity, gender, climate change and environmental sustainability considerations are integrated into these systems.

  • Monitoring and reporting systems: A more in-depth analysis explores monitoring and reporting mechanisms at national level, in line ministries and/or sub-national levels, the role played by parliament and civil society, the systems and incentives for acting on monitoring information, and how monitoring information is used.

  • Evaluation systems: This section provides a more in-depth look into the country’s evaluation systems and practices at national, line ministry and/or sub-national levels, including government capacity to manage, commission and undertake evaluations, capacities to manage and coordinate an evaluation system, systems and incentives to use, and actual use of evaluation findings by government, parliament, civil society and media.

  • Findings, conclusions and recommendations: A MESA concludes with an analysis of what is working well, and less well, in the national M&E system, with recommendations for capacity development interventions that can trigger wider system change and improve development outcomes.


Discussion Papers


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

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