Embedding evaluation in national plans and policies to foster transformative development

This IIED Briefing Paper argues that meaningful evaluation of progress towards achieving sustainable development extends beyond supporting voluntary national reviews, and that for the full potential of evaluation to be realised, evaluation processes must be embedded in national policies and strategies.

The information provided was supplied by Prabha Khosla. 

Authors and their affiliation

Thomas Schwandt is emeritus professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA and editor emeritus of the American Journal of Evaluation.

Stefano D’Errico is the monitoring evaluation and learning lead at IIED.

Zenda Ofir is an independent evaluation specialist, former president of the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA), IDEAS vice-president and honorary professor at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

Dorothy Lucks is co-chair of EVALSDGs, IOCE board secretary, EvalPartners Executive Committee member and executive director of SDF Global.

Kassem El-Saddick is vice-chair of EVALSDGs and a member of the Evaluators Middle East and North Africa network (EvalMENA).

Key features

This IIED Briefing paper argues that while voluntary national reviews (VNRs) are an important tool for demonstrating how far countries are progressing toward realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); they represent just one approach to evaluation in the 2030 Agenda. The paper contends that for the full potential of evaluation to be realised, evaluation processes must be embedded in national policies and strategies, and that embedding evaluation at the national and local level can be an important tool for fostering country-level transformative development.

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

I plan to use it in a Webinar that I am doing on SDG Goal 11; to encourage the Women’s Major Group at the UN to lobby for evaluations of national policies and plans as related to the implementation of Agenda 2030; and for my writing on women’s rights, gender equality and the SDGs. It's also useful because it provides a clear example of how a contribution claim can be formulated as a process and each of its steps linked to specific pieces of evidence. This is not presented only in theory, but as it was applied to a specific evaluation of policy influence.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

I would recommend this briefing sheet to evaluators as it is important to recognize that the accountability to Agenda 2030 requires more than NVRs and that evaluation can provide a more robust approach to accountability to inclusive implementation.


Schwandt, T., D’Errico, S., Ofir,Z., Lucks, D., El-Saddick, K. (2018) Embedding evaluations in national plans and policies to Foster transformative development. IIED Briefing. May 2018.