As part of developing a rationale for monitoring and evaluation plan, reflect on your earlier experience with any kind of evaluation: what worked for you, what did not (Exercise 1)? What are the constraints you have in your organization regarding evaluation (Exercise 2)?
See Exercise 8.3.1 ab
The idea of monitoring and evaluation typically brings about more apprehension than applause. Negative associations, ranging from the trouble of an extra budget line to the fear of inadequacy, lead to people not using evaluation results, not learning from them and thus not seeing their value in improving a process. Further reasons for disregarding evaluation, especially in the IEA process, lies in mistaking outputs (i.e., products such as the IEA report) for outcomes (i.e., improved policies for environment and development), and in seeing little added value in evaluation as long as a tangible, credible and legitimate state-of-the-art report gets published on time. No wonder that monitoring and evaluation are often cut out of the work plan and the budget.
Given that, why does it remain important to pay attention to monitoring and evaluation? Monitoring and evaluating the IEA process attracts attention when you want to make sure your process gets used, especially in policy improvement. Figure 2 illustrates how improvements in policy making procedures, policies and in the state of the environment can be driven through monitoring and learning.
|Figure 2: IEA as a Capacity
Development Process Linked to
In this context, the IEA process is regarded a capacity development mechanism for periodic policy revision and improvement. This approach acknowledges that information itself is not enough; dedicated mechanisms (see impact strategies, Module 3) are needed to facilitate the uptake of IEA information by policy reviews. Moreover, it recognizes that institutional improvement can only happen with concurrent improvements in both individual capacities (e.g., policy-makers’ understanding of environmental issues) and organizational capacities (e.g., higher level of efficiency and the ability for organizational learning).
From this view of institutional improvement, it might be easier to recognize that developing internal capacities in monitoring and evaluation, the purpose of Module 8, adds value to and remains an essential component of the IEA process.