United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) is a vital interface between global policies and national action in the economic, social and environmental spheres. DESA’s work is rooted in the United Nations Charter and guided by the universal and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other existing mandates. The Department is fully committed to responding to the needs and priorities of the global community.

UN DESA has been helping countries to find common ground on sustainable development, population, social matters, financing for development and many other issues. It supports building national strategies and plans to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UN DESA also plays a key role in assessing progress towards the SDGs through its analytical products, policy advice and technical assistance.


Evaluation Function Snapshot Independence Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning Quality Assurance Use of Evaluation Joint Evaluation

Evaluation Function

The Programme, Monitoring & Evaluation Unit (PMEU) is located in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General. The unit strengthens the work of UN DESA through the internal development, coordination and implementation of a robust programme, monitoring and evaluation framework that enhances the effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and coordination of the Department’s work.

Evaluation plays a key role in improving programme performance, by identifying gaps, lessons learned and strengthening monitoring. PMEU serves as the focal point for evaluations and audits in UN DESA, reviews and updates UN DESA’s evaluation policy in alignment with UNEG Norms and Standards, coordinates the drafting of the proposed programme plan and drafts monitoring reports for decision making in close collaboration with the Department’s respective subprogrammes through the network of Monitoring and Evaluation focal points, and with the support of other Monitoring and Evaluation units in the UN system.


Name: Programme, Evaluation and Monitoring Unit (PMEU)

Human Resources (as of April 2019): Unit Head P5, supported by P4


  • Conduct high-quality evaluations that are useful and credible
  • Increase the implementation of evaluation findings within UN DESA
  • Facilitate monitoring tools for informed decision making for senior managers
  • Enhance coordination and knowledge sharing among M & E focal points

Number of evaluations conducted:

In addition to yearly self-evaluations by each of the 9 subprogrammes of DESA, OIOS conducts evaluations of UN DESA in 2019, 2011 and 2009. As part of the OIOS biennial evaluation report, it also provides an assessment of evaluation capacity and practices for each Secretariat entity in form of an evaluation dashboard/scorecard.

Evaluation Policy:

DESA’s evaluation policy was endorsed in July 2012 as an important step towards enhancing UN DESA’s evaluation function and to ensure its utility, credibility, independence and alignment with UNEG Norms and Standards.  UN DESA evaluation policy was reviewed and updated in 2016, and it will continue to be reviewed and updated every six years, in line with the ongoing guidance from OIOS and UNEG.


The Programme, Monitoring & Evaluation Unit (PMEU), as the central evaluation capacity in UN DESA, is responsible to the Under-Secretary-General, reporting through the Chief of Office of the Under-Secretary-General. PMEU operates independently from other operational and management functions within UN DESA.

Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning

The Programme, Monitoring & Evaluation Unit (PMEU) prepares an annual workplan in consultation with the USG, senior managers, Chief of Office and M & E Focal Points. The workplan ensures the timelines of high-quality evaluations and implementation of its findings, the drafting of monitoring reports for informed decision making and ways to enhance coordination and knowledge sharing among M & E focal points.

Quality Assurance

UN DESA evaluations are conducted based on the UNEG Norms and Standards. Peer reviews or reference groups composed of internal and external experts are also used in the evaluation process.

Use of Evaluation

Evaluation results are discussed and disseminated to M & E Focal Points to ensure that senior managers are informed of the findings and recommendations. Senior managers are requested to ensure that final recommendations are implemented in programme plans and budgets.

Joint Evaluation

The Programme, Monitoring & Evaluation Unit (PMEU)at UN DESA is a member of the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) and works regularly with OIOS in the UN Secretariat. Due to the departmental focus of its evaluation work, PMEU does not currently engage in joint evaluations with other UNEG members.

UNEG Members

Guenther Gross

Senior Programme Management Officer, UN DESA

Programme, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit

Natsuko Kodama

Evaluation Officer, UN DESA

Capacity Development Programme Management Office

William Nickel

Programme Management Officer, UN DESA

Zina Mounla

Chief, Operational Activities Policy Branch, UN DESA

Fact Sheet