Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is an essential management function to assess if progress is made in achieving the expected results of ESCAP programmes and projects, identify bottlenecks in implementation and make necessary adjustments, promote accountability of results and support continuous learning and improvement. M&E is part of the secretariat’s obligation to achieve high-quality results in a timely and cost-effective manner and fully deliver on all mandates approved by the United Nations intergovernmental bodies. The Executive Secretary of ESCAP assumes a critical leadership role in ensuring an empowered M&E function with sufficient resources to carry out effective monitoring and evaluation activities to enrich strategic planning, improve organisational learning and strengthen accountability. The Strategy and Programme Management Division at ESCAP supports the Executive Secretary in this role and coordinates the implementation of an effective M&E in ESCAP's work programme. This section provides an overview of ESCAP's M&E work and access to all ESCAP evaluation reports.
The present document serves as the third edition of the ESCAP Monitoring and Evaluation Policy and Guidelines. It describes the overall mandate for conducting M&E at ESCAP, establishes the institutional structure and the associated roles and responsibilities, and details the requirements for the management, conduct and use of M&E. It reflects the latest monitoring and evaluation requirements in the UN Secretariat, including:
• The Administrative Instruction (AI) on Evaluation in the United Nations Secretariat (ST/AI/2021/3) issued in August 2021.
• The change in the UN Secretariat programme planning from a biennial to an annual period beginning with the programme budget for 2020 and associated changes in the monitoring requirements.
• The new requirement to integrate disability inclusion in all phases of the evaluation process.
• The development of new monitoring tools, including the Programme Monitoring Tool, the ESCAP Programmatic Dashboard and the Senior Management Dashboard.
This evaluation provides ESCAP management with information to help make strategic decisions regarding programme direction for the subregional offices of ESCAP. The evaluation covers the period (2016-2021). The evaluation found that SROs have had a positive impact on building subregional networks, understanding subregional issues, transferring knowledge, and engaging subregional leaders via high-level forums, inter-governmental platforms, and other subregional dialogues. SRO stakeholders highlighted a continuing regional demand for a broad range of subregional initiatives, suggesting continuing relevance, particularly on priority subregional issues (e.g., SDGs, finance, disability, trade, environment & climate change). Efficiency improves when SRO work programmes are aligned with ESCAP substantive divisions, and the resources of ESCAP regional institutions are used to support capacity building and knowledge production. There were some positive examples of efficient cooperation with substantive divisions and with UNCTS, but evidence was also provided of inefficient tension and duplication of effort. The evaluation offers five recommendations: 1. sharpen the focus of SRO's mandate, 2) raise SRO's visibility in the subregions, 3) reinforce results-based strategic planning, 4) rationalise resources and budgeting and 5) strengthen SRO capacity, including in gender mainstreaming.
ESCAP management identified the subprogramme on Trade, Investment, and Innovation as a priority topic for strategic evaluation to guide efforts to improve the performance and effectiveness of the subprogramme. Overall, the evaluation found the subprogramme's work highly relevant to ESCAP member States and achieved significant results in the areas of trade, investment, business and innovation. The subprogramme was found to have done well in terms of external partnerships. However, collaboration opportunities internally within the division and with other ESCAP divisions were found insufficient. The evaluation offers five recommendations: 1. Develop a strategy to assess its portfolio of products and services, 2. The Investment Section needs to find its competitive advantage, 3) Develop a strategy to revitalize/sunset its networks, 4) strengthen its M&E system and 5) enhance its visibility.