5.4 Roles and responsibilities in evaluation

The UNDP evaluation policy outlines the roles and responsibilities of key constituents of the organization in evaluation. Programme units and the UNDP Evaluation Office in Headquarters carry out different types of evaluations in order to objectively assess UNDP contributions to development results.

Senior managers of the programme units are responsible for commissioning decentralized evaluations in the programmatic areas for which they are responsible and using the information in

managing for results. In order to enhance the impartiality and objectivity of decentralized evaluations, the programme units hire external experts and institutions to carry out an evaluation. Decentralized evaluations help ensure that UNDP remains accountable to the relevant programme country and its people and is responsible for contributing to development results in the most relevant and efficient way.

In programme units, there has been an increase in the number of dedicated M&E specialists who contribute to the enhanced quality of the monitoring and evaluation function at the decentralized level. As successful evaluation requires the involvement of all stakeholders, this function entails close communication and coordination with all involved in various stages and aspects of results-based programme management, including UNDP country office management, programme and project officers, national counterparts, partners, UN organizations, regional bureaux and the Evaluation Office. At the individual project and programme level, the primary responsibility for planning for monitoring and evaluation and implementation rests with the implementers and UNDP programme officers. M&E specialists are expected to provide those responsible for monitoring and evaluation planning, implementation and follow up with technical guidance, and support to enhance the quality of their work. In terms of evaluation, to enhance its independence and technical rigour, it is advised that the M&E specialists manage the evaluation in close consultation with programme staff who are responsible for the subject of evaluation.

Due to different organizational and programme structures at the decentralized level, organizational relationships cannot be generalized and prescribed to all programme units. However, it is recommended that the M&E specialists report to senior management on evaluation-related matters in order to ensure effective coherence, coordination and independence of the function.

UNDP M&E officers, programme officers, partners, stakeholders and evaluators all play different roles in the evaluation process. Their respective roles and responsibilities are described in relevant sections of Chapter 6.

In the case of independent evaluations conducted by the Evaluation Office, programme units concerned (for example, a country office subject to an ADR or the case study of a thematic evaluation) are expected to play certain roles such as providing necessary documentation, arranging meetings, supporting logistics and providing feedback on the draft evaluation report.
As the custodian of the evaluation function, the UNDP Evaluation Office conducts independent evaluations (see Section 5.3); sets standards and guidelines; manages the systems for quality assurance and evaluation planning and use, such as the ERC (see Box 30); and develops products to support organizational learning, knowledge management and evaluation capacity development. The Evaluation Office also participates in the UNEG, which works to strengthen the objectivity, effectiveness and visibility of the evaluation function across the UN system. The Evaluation Office hosts and supports the UNEG Secretariat.

Box 30. Evaluation Resource Centre (ERC)

The ERC, available online at erc.undp.org, is the UNDP information management system to support management accountability for evaluation. It provides timely data on the status of evaluations in the evaluation plans, management responses and follow-up. The Evaluation Office reports on evaluation practices and compliance, using the data in the ERC in its Annual Report on Evaluation to the Executive Board. Regional bureaux and other oversight units also use the ERC data. ERC is a public website.

Detailed roles and responsibilities of key actors in decentralized evaluations are outlined in Table 23.

Table 23. Roles and responsibilities in decentralized evaluations

Who: Actors and Accountability

What: Roles and Responsibilities


Senior Management of Programme Units

  • UNDP contribution towards national goals 
  • Progress, problems and trends in the achievement of UNDAF level and programme results
  • Patterns and efficiency of resource use
  • Use of evaluative knowledge for learning and accountability
  • Ensure the development of an evaluation plan (see Chapter 3)
  • Promote joint evaluation work with the UN system and other partners
  • Ensure evaluability of UNDP initiatives, clear and comprehensive results frameworks are in place, and effective monitoring is implemented
  • Safeguard the independence of the evaluation exercise and ensure quality of evaluations
  • Prepare a management response to all evaluations and ensure the implementation of committed actions in the management response


Planning and monitoring

Commissioning of evaluation

Post-evaluation and follow-up

Heads of Thematic Units and Programme Officers/Project Staff
Heads of Thematic Units:

  • UNDP portfolio of programmes and projects in a thematic area—UNDP contribution to particular outcomes within a programme

Programme Officers or Project Staff:

  • Progress towards and achievement of outputs and outcomes
  • Problems and issues related to implementation
  • Practical project-level collaboration with and monitoring of partners contribution, as well as resource mobilization
  • Participate and involve relevant stakeholders in developing an evaluation plan
  • Ensure evaluabilityof UNDP initiatives in a given thematic or results area
  • Facilitate and ensure the preparation and implementation of relevant management responses
  • Facilitate and ensure knowledge sharing and use of sectoral or thematic evaluative information in programming

Planning and monitoring
Post-evaluation and follow-up

M&E Specialists/Advisers and Regional Evaluation Advisers

  • Coherent M&E framework and systems in place and implemented at the programme and project levels
  • Enhanced quality of planning, monitoring and evaluation


  • Support programme evaluability by facilitating the development of a coherent results framework and a monitoring system, and providing programme and project staff with tools, guidance and training
  • Support evaluation planning and upload and maintain the evaluation plan in ERC
  • Provide guidance in drafting evaluation ToR, selecting evaluators, mapping stakeholders, reviewing draft evaluation reports, identifying evaluation questions and methodologies
  • Facilitate the preparation of timely management responses to all evaluations
  • Ensure management response tracking through ERC and support M&E capacity development and knowledge sharing


Planning and ongoing


Post-evaluation and follow-up

Stakeholders and Partners

  • Actively participate in the development of the evaluation plan for UNDP
  • Participate, as relevant, in evaluations as a member of the reference group

implementation and follow-up

Oversight Units:
Regional Bureaux and the Executive Office

  • Regional bureaux: provide oversight to ensure that the relevant country offices fulfil the requirements as outlined above43
  • The Executive Office provides oversight for evaluations carried out by the regional bureaux and other corporate units such as BDP, BCPR and Partnership Bureau

Planning, monitoring, implementation and  follow-up

Evaluation Office

  • Provide norms, standards, guidelines and tools to support the quality enhancement of evaluations
  • Maintain and improve management systems for evaluation, known as the ERC
  • Report on the performance of the evaluation function to the Executive Board in its Annual Report