National M&E policies

National policies that refer explicitly to M&E

National monitoring and evaluation policies are the set of rules or principles that a country uses to guide its decisions and actions with respect to monitoring and evaluation across government.

A policy is usually less detailed than a strategy, plan or guidance and usually involves high-level organisational approval. Sometimes, these are set out in one or more formal policy documents, such as an 'M&E  Policy'; sometimes, they are stated in legislation or other documents.

National policies might only cover national governments or extend to sub-national and local governments.

In addition, there may be other national and sub-national policies that are relevant to evaluation and organisational policies about M&E specifically or other relevant organisational policies.

A national M&E policy or evaluation policy might address the following issues:

  • Definitions and conceptual framework: for example,  how monitoring and evaluation are understood and distinguished from each other
  • Goals: the overall rationale for M&E and their intended uses – for example, whether they are primarily focused on accountability to the community or informing management decisions to improve implementation 
  • Evaluative criteria: what values will be used to interpret data evaluatively – for example, whether monitoring data will be compared to internally set targets, targets developed as part of a National Development Plan, or internationally agreed standards.
  • Roles and participation: who will be involved in which processes and their roles and responsibilities – for example, who will  be responsible for data quality in monitoring systems or for providing public reporting of indicators
  • What will be covered by M&E: for example, whether all programs will be expected to conduct and use M&E in decision-making
  • Management of resources: how staff time and budget will be allocated to support M&E– for example, whether there is resource allocation beyond creating M&E officer positions
  • Processes and methods: whether certain methods and processes are required or preferred – for example, requiring SMART indicators or quantitative data for monitoring systems
  • Reporting and supporting use: what processes will be put in place to support, document and report on use – for example, creating a reporting dashboard
  • Review and quality assurance: what processes will be put in place to monitor and evaluate M&E – for example, requiring expert review of locally developed indicators before they are approved as official indicators
  • Capacity strengthening: what resources and opportunities will be provided to increase the skills, motivations and incentives for doing and using M&E – for example, covering the use of monitoring data in professional development  for program managers 


Ministry of National Development Planning, Zambia (2019)

National Monitoring and Evaluation Policy: Results-oriented, evidence-based, integrated and well-coordinated Government-wide Monitoring and Evaluation System for improved development results. 

 This 19 page document explains the policy's context, particularly its role in supporting the successful implementation of the 5-year National Development Plan. The policy sets out the vision for M&E, the overall objectives, and six specific objectives, each with implementation measures to achieve the objective.

The policy includes seven guiding principles – evidence-based decision-making and learning, accountability, transparency, managing for results, value for money, participatory and inclusive, ethics and integrity. The policy describes the implementation framework for the policy, covering institutional arrangements for government and non-government actors. The policy ends with the legal framework for legislation relating to monitoring and evaluation, resource mobilisation and financing, and monitoring and evaluation of the policy. 



Discussion Papers

Hart, N.R. and Mark, M.M., 2022. Evaluation policy: An introduction. New Directions for Evaluation, 2022(173), pp.9-16.

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