United Nations Development Programme approved a new 2009 version of the ‘Handbook on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating for Development Results’ which 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 Handbook from 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.
The updated Handbook marks 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.
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 www.undp.org/eo/handbook.
This Handbook is a joint product of the Bureau for Development Policy, Evaluation Office and Operation Support Group.