The evaluation function plays a major role in UN-Habitat’s current management system, and a highly independent entity, the Evaluation Unit, was specially created to fulfill this role. Established in January 2012, the unit was split from the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit. This move was part of the then on-going reform process to streamline UN-Habitat’s operations and to establish better mechanisms for performance monitoring, evaluation, and reporting. Accountable only to the Executive Director, the Evaluation Unit is now clearly separated from the project planning and management functions of the organization. The aim of the Evaluation Unit is mainly to assess UN-Habitat’s achievements in an impartial way, but it also promotes and supports transparency and accountability. UN-Habitat strongly believes that reinforced evaluation leads to better evidence-based decisions, enhanced programme design, and improved overall performance and organizational learning. On an operational level, the unit is responsible for coordinating all of UN-Habitat’s evaluation activities, and for improving the reporting systems. The unit develops policies and guidelines on evaluation, and produces the biennial evaluation plan. It conducts evaluation exercises and maintains a tracking system to follow-up on strategic and mandatory project assessments. Furthermore, the unit contributes to enhancing knowledge management and capacity building, as well as collaborating with the wider UN system on evaluation matters.

UN-Habitat’s evaluation guidelines are based on five main criteria:

  1. Relevance: Every intervention, programme, or project must be in line with UN-Habitat’s general strategy and main objectives. In addition, all initiatives must match the needs of the beneficiaries and must be consistent with national and local policies and priorities.
  2. Effectiveness: Initiatives must show intended results and produce tangible outcomes, with costs of any intervention justifying the results (cost-effectiveness assessment).
  3. Efficiency: Any initiative must make sound and economic use of resources – such as funds, expertise, and time – to produce the desired outputs.
  4. Impact: All changes caused by a development intervention – be they positive or negative, direct or indirect, intended or unintended – will be evaluated, taking into account social, economic, environmental, and other development indicators.
  5. Sustainability: All interventions must continue to deliver benefits for an extended period of time, even after donor funding or external support is withdrawn. Interventions also need to be sustainable at environmental, financial, social, and cultural levels.

Read our complete evaluation policy.  

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