This 2009 version of theHandbook on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating for Development Results’aims to support UNDP in becoming more results-oriented and to improve its focus on development changes and real improvements in people’s lives. It replaces and updates the previous Handbookfrom 2002. It was a breakthrough in driving the effective application of the results-based management approach in programming and performance management.

The Handbook recognizes that planning, monitoring and evaluation require a focus on nationally owned development priorities and results, and should reflect the guiding principles of national ownership, capacity development and human development. Globally, there has been a significant shift away from the project approach in favour of programme and national approaches. All partners and members of the Executive Board expect UNDP to demonstrate tangible results in development cooperation. UNDP also faces intensified calls for accountability to citizens for how resources are used, what results are achieved, and how effective these results are in bringing about progress in human development.

In June 2006, a UNDP Evaluation Policy was approved by the Executive Board. In 2007, an independent evaluation of the adoption and use of results-based management in UNDP found that UNDP continued to demonstrate a weak results culture despite notable progress on some fronts. The evaluation recommended that UNDP improve its capacities to manage for outcome-level change. This Handbook, therefore, complements the programme and operations policies and procedures by providing practical guidance on how to plan, monitor and evaluate for development results. The Handbook cannot, on its own, foster a culture of results in UNDP or among its partners. However, together with other initiatives, we hope it will make a significant difference.

This updated Handbookmarks a departure from the previous publication. First, recognizing that results planning is a prerequisite for effective programme design, monitoring and evaluation, the revised Handbook integrates planning, monitoring and evaluation in a single guide. Second, the Handbook reflects the requirements and guiding principles of the evaluation policy, including national ownership, which is now mainstreamed throughout the cycle of planning, monitoring and evaluation. Third, the revised Handbook includes a comprehensive chapter on evaluation design for quality assurance to guide UNDP staff and evaluators in ensuring professional standards of quality in evaluation. There will be on-line training and regional workshops to support the application of the Handbookacross the organization at all levels.

While the primary audience for the Handbook is UNDP staff, we hope that it will contribute to the efforts of all our partners who, like UNDP, strive towards greater development effectiveness. To facilitate wider dissemination of the publication, in addition to the printed version of this Handbook, the document is available on the UNDP website at

This Handbook is a joint product of the Bureau for Development Policy, Evaluation Office and Operation Support Group. We would like to thank colleagues in these units who helped conceive, draft and refine the Handbook over a number of iterations. Special thanks go to the core authors of the Handbook: Asoka Kasturiarachchi and Thomas Eriksson of the Bureau for Development Policy, Stephen Rodriques of the Operation Support Group, and Azusa Kubota of the Evaluation Office, who also marshaled the process as the Task Manager for the Handbook. Nurul Alam of the Evaluation Office provided overall quality assurance and guidance throughout the process.

The revision of the Handbook benefited from the commitment of many individuals, who provided substantive and technical inputs to the various drafts. In December 2008, a review workshop was held in New York where a number of UNDP country office senior managers, programme officers, monitoring and evaluation specialists and representatives from the Headquarters units and regional bureaux helped refine the draft. Heather Bryant, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer from the UNDP Nepal country office, deserves special mention. Thanks also go to Enid Marshall for support on evaluation methodology and Jessica Murray for substantive editorial support. Comments and feedback solicited from UNDP colleagues through the knowledge network discussions were also extremely helpful, and we are grateful to the many contributors and to Florencia Tateossian, the EvalNet facilitator.

Last, but not least, we would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions and administrative assistance of the Evaluation Office staff, Anish Pradhan and Concepcion Cole, the copy editing of Margo Alderton, and the design and format of the Handbook by Julia Ptaszunik.

  Saraswathi Menon
  Evaluation Office

Judith Karl
Operations Support Group

Kanni Wignaraja
Director, Capacity Development Group
Bureau for Development Policy