Terms of Reference: EvalPartners Paper on Evaluation and Public Policy-making

1. Background Information

EvalPartners is a global movement that seeks to shape the international agenda for evaluation by encouraging the evaluation profession to take a more global approach in addressing world problems and creating a platform for evaluation capacity development. EvalPartners harnessed the global advocacy and outreach efforts from the 2015 International Year for Evaluation (EvalYear 2015) by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly. During EvalYear 2015, 100+ events were held worldwide to promote evaluation and contribute to the development of a “Global Evaluation Agenda 2016 – 2020” (EvalAgenda’2020).

EvalPartners actively works to implement the EvalAgenda 2020 with various stakeholders including Voluntary Organizations for Professional Evaluation (VOPEs) through the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE); with Parliamentarians through the Global Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation (GPFE) and other stakeholders through a series of EvalPartners networks and other initiatives. EvalAgenda 2020 is of paramount importance within the context of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. The Agenda recognizes that evaluation often makes major contributions to government and communities, it largely works behind the scenes and consequently its potential for major impact is under-recognised. Decision-makers often do not sufficiently rely on the evidence that evaluations generate to assist in making better, more inclusive decisions. For this reason, EvalPartners, at the Third Global Forum for Evaluation in Bishkek during April 2017 identified two flagship programs to drive forward the EvalAgenda2020 as shown below. The Flagships will strengthen existing EvalPartners networks (EvalGender+, EVALSDGs, EvalIndigenous, EvalYouth and the GPFE) to add value to their activities as well as lead to new and innovative initiatives, particularly to ensure that the progress towards the SDGs is reviewed and accelerated through national evaluation systems.

2. Scope of the Position Paper

“Evidence Matters” has been interpreted differently within EvalPartners since the inception of the Flagship programs. Attempts to clarify the notion and the purpose associated with it were limited. Given the recent attention on evidence to inform political discourse, discussion and debate, leading to decisions and policies, and the emerging debate triggered by the “Post-truth” concept (defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief,” Oxford Dictionary 2016), and within a globalized world in which any piece of information spreads out like fire in the bushes reaching millions of people in no time thanks to social media, threatening sometimes the political stability, the need to ensure the quality and use of information in informing discussions and decision-making becomes of utmost importance.

Evidence matters in order to minimize risks and inform policy and political processes. Evidence definitely matters to better serve the development-politics-policy nexus. Legislatures can invoke policies to address them, but to what extent ministries act upon them remains to be answered. Evaluation is expected to address these issues, yet how?

EvalPartners has for long engaged to promote and support evaluation in various national and regional initiatives through the VOPEs and the networks (EvalSDGs, EvalGender+, EvalIndigenous, EvalYouth and the Global Parliamentarian Forum for Evaluation). In the last 2 years, EvalPartners has executed under the Flagship program many country-based interventions designed to strengthen the National Evaluation Policies and Systems (NES) in a dozen countries (spread all over the globe). Such interventions entailed reinforcing and supporting inclusive multi-stakeholders’ partnerships to develop national development roadmaps, establish robust National Evaluation Systems and support inclusive voluntary national reviews (VNRs) that incorporate evaluative evidence into the national SDG related policies and programs.

In addition, EvalPartners has launched in 2019 its Flagship Program “Evidence Matters” with the objective to contribute toward broadening the base of “uses” and “users” of evaluation, maximizing innovative approaches to evaluate the SDGs and increasing demand for evaluation, and to reconfirm the commitment to Evaluation Year 2015.

3. Purpose of Position Paper

The position paper will describe and analyze how evaluation can shape the political discourse and debate and influence policy- and decision-making. It is envisioned that the paper will support EvalPartners and the wider evaluation community in positioning itself and its efforts to promote an evaluation agenda that encourages country actors to use quality evidence to inform political discussions, leading to policies and decisions, going forward in the post-truth era. The paper will explore the Evaluation paradigms with a focus on transformative change to unpack the evaluation-development-politics-policies nexus. In addition to reviewing the latest theoretical frameworks and literature on the subject, the paper will capture the efforts and results achieved through the evaluation communities’ efforts and particularly EvalPartners’ initiatives and programs, including the flagship program and networks. The paper will include examples of success stories and good practices, as well as lessons from unsuccessful efforts that can be informative for transformative change. The paper will highlight the importance for decision makers and policy makers to demand, promote generation and use of evidence for evidence informed policy making.

The paper should provide policy and action-oriented recommendations that could guide future EvalPartners’ plans to support country actors in influencing decision-making.

The paper will also inform the content of the Evidence Matters Campaign which EvalPartners launched in July 2019.

4. Approach/ Methodology

The paper will involve a desktop review of the existing theoretical frameworks and literature, as well as primary data collection through interviews with key stakeholders and thought leaders in the evaluation community.

5. Deliverables

1. Research plan articulating the theoretical approach, an illustrative outline, key data collection tools, and workplan (timeframe) for subsequent deliverables

2. Draft Paper

3. Validation workshop with key stakeholders (virtual or in person)

4. Final Paper

6. Timeframe and Budget

The research should be developed and finalized within 2 months from the commission date. The research will be predominantly home-based with an approximate level of effort of 20 days over a period of two months.

The selected consultant will be paid at an appropriate level. Consultants are expected to provide a daily rate budget for this assignment.

7. Researcher/ consultant profile and qualifications

S/he should have a proven track record in research into use of evidence, evaluation and engagement in regional and global evaluation networks, the use of evidence in public policy; a Masters degree (PhD is preferred) in a relevant subject area (e.g. political science, public policy, evaluation, social and development disciplines); illustrative examples of work similar to this assignment should also be submitted.

8. Application process and requirements

Interested applicants should submit an application consisting of:

– A two page research proposal outlining the proposed approach and methodology

– Resume/ CV of the researcher and list of relevant/ related papers/ reviews conducted within the last 5 years

– A writing sample of a paper or report most similar to that proposed for this assignment. Applications/ proposals should be submitted to kelsaddik@gmail.com and Lynn@ioce.net no later than June 02, 2020. The selected applicant will be notified by June 30, 2020 and should be able to start immediately. For any questions or further information regarding this assignment, please contact Kassem El Saddik, kelsaddik@gmail.com