"Building Together the Evaluation of Tomorrow" - Regional Colloquium on the Evaluation of Public Policies

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“Innovation must be at the heart of evaluation and evaluation must be responsive to the citizen …”  It was through these words that Mr. Lionel Zinsou, the Benin’s Prime Minister delivered the solemn opening of the regional conference on evaluation of public policies which was held at the Congress Palace of Cotonou from July 7-9, 2015. This initiative of Government of Benin, strongly supported by CLEAR Francophone and Anglophone Africa centers, UNDP, UNICEF and 3IE, is part of the international agenda for the celebration of EvalYear in Benin. 

Held under the theme "Building together the evaluation of tomorrow", the conference aimed to establish a framework for dialogue and reflection between states and main institutional partners for the development of national evaluation systems. Moreover, and more specifically, it addressed issues related to evaluation focused on equity, gender, sustainable human development and impact evaluation.
By the end of the various panels, the main recommendations made were:

  • Concerning "the issues and challenges for better contribution to the development of national evaluation systems," it was suggested to establish a regional framework for cooperation to support evaluation ; to finance and use evaluation's results for better public policies ;
  • From the perspective of "future actions and partnerships for the development of evaluation capabilities," it will require to increase the partnership with CLEAR and 3iE to strengthen impact evaluation capacities of national actors and networks and create synergies with researchers and implementing agents to produce more credible evaluation results ;
  • There is need to build an offer of qualifying and diploma training in order to accelerate the process of "professionalization of evaluation in Africa"; develop cooperation, partnerships, exchanges between universities and undertake a survey on existing training programs to harmonize their curricula ;
  • It is necessary to establish common standards at the WAEMU to harmonize the tools and the practice of impact evaluation; publish evaluation results so that recommendations of these studies be effectively useful for decision makers. (Look general report of the conference for more details.)

The conference has been preceded by a technical workshop on “Francophone dialogue on evaluation” on July 7, 2015. The workshop was mainly organized to address two fundamental questions: a) what are the priority challenges to be faced to ensure better evaluation practice by countries? What priority actions to be implemented in countries over the next 12 months? b) What kind of support is needed by Francophone countries to develop evaluation? What should be the practical arrangements for this support?

The results of the group work provided a synthesis and a roadmap for countries, but also for CLEAR FA and AA centers who, through this support, laid the first milestones of future joint projects for the emergence of a strong evaluative culture in Africa.

The conference was attended by senior officials of the public administration of many french and english speaking countries in Africa including: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger , Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau. Various regional institutions were also represented, including OADB, WAEMU, UN WOMEN, UNICEF, UNDP, IOCE, SenEval, 3IE, etc.

| by: Amos Menard

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