Environment, climate change and assessment - towards a holistic view

This blog by Juha Uitto, Director of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the Global Environment Facility, points out that evaluation needs to take a new, holistic perspective to address serious environmental problems.

These problems include climate change, diminishing biodiversity, pollution, waste, and increasing zoonoses – the transfer of viruses from animals to humans.

A new perspective for evaluation

Evaluation needs a new perspective that takes into account the environmental, political, social and economic context within which programs operate rather than focusing only on the stated goals of a program.

Evaluation of all interventions, not just environmental programs, should:

  • Firstly “outline its object holistically. Every intervention takes place in a larger context, and that context affects the success of the intervention in many ways.”
  • Secondly “take into account both human and natural systems in the evaluation. It is impossible to achieve sustainable development if we focus on one while forgetting the other. If the natural systems break down, we can also forget about social and economic development, because they are very much based on natural resources and a stable environment.”

The blog provides a succinct rationale for why this change in perspective is urgently needed and the role of evaluation in curbing climate change and environmental destruction.


Published Originally in the 2021 Annual Report on Evaluation (PDF) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.