United Nations Institute for Training and Research

United Nations Institute for Training and Research

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations. Established in 1965 pursuant to a United Nations General Assembly resolution, UNITAR aims to strengthen the effectiveness of the United Nations through appropriate training and research. UNITAR’s mission is to develop the individual, organizational and institutional capacities of countries and other United Nations stakeholders through high quality learning solutions and related knowledge products and services to enhance global decision-making and to support country-level action for overcoming global challenges. 

The 2018-2021 strategic framework defines UNITAR’s objectives including: Promote peace and just and inclusive societies, promote people’s wellbeing and support equitable representation of countries in global decision-making fora, support the conservation, restoration and safeguarding of our planet for present and future generations, promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth and promote the indivisible and integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda. Approximately two thirds of UNITAR’s programming relate to learning outcomes. The Institute’s present 2018-2019 biennium budget is $57.3 million, which is mobilized entirely through voluntary contributions (most of which are earmarked).


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

Evaluation Function

The evaluation function is performed at the central and decentralized levels, and is guided by the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Policy Framework and a set of guidance documents and tools.

The Planning, Performance Monitoring, and Evaluation Unit is the custodian of the evaluation function. The section works to strengthen the Institute’s accountability framework, programme effectiveness and efficiency and organizational learning. In addition to performing corporate monitoring and reporting functions, the unit undertakes three to four independent evaluations yearly. An independent evaluation is a mandated requirement for all projects budgeted at $1.5 million and above.

Parallel to the central unit and in accordance with the policy framework, all UNITAR programmes and offices undertake project and activity level evaluations. The Evaluation Unit provides guidance and support to UNITAR programmes.



Evaluation Policy

The current M&E Policy Framework was revised in 2017 and is the key UNITAR reference point for monitoring and evaluation undertakings. The framework includes references to UNEG guiding norms, principles and standards, criteria and categories, as well as evaluation and reporting requirements.


Increasing the number and regularity of independent evaluations

Strengthening the decentralized evaluation and learning functions

Human Resources devoted to the evaluation function (reference 2018)

Central unit: 1.5 (full time)*

Decentralized level: (10 part time, variable)

Evaluations produced/planned (reference 2018)

Central unit: 4

Decentralized level: Variable. Most project/activity completion reports include an evaluation component.

Key resources

M&E Policy Framework

UNITAR Results website, including M&E Policy Framework: http://www.unitar.org/our-results

UNITAR Evaluation Report Repository: https://www.unitar.org/evaluation-reports


The Planning, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Unit is located within the Office of the Executive Director and is structurally and functionally independent from programme management. The unit formulates annual corporate evaluation plans within the established budgetary appropriations in due consultation with the Executive Director and Management and conducts and/or manages other independent evaluations. In due consultation with the Executive Director and Management, the PPME issues and discloses final evaluation reports without prior clearance from other UNITAR Management or functions. In managing mandated, independent project evaluations, the Unit may access the expenditure account within the ledger account of the relevant project and raise obligations for expenditure. This builds the foundations of UNITAR’s evaluation function’s independence and ability to better support learning and accountability.


Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning

At the central level, evaluations are planned in conjunction with the biennial programme budget and results framework, with the specific subjects of evaluations selected on the basis of strategic priorities. At the decentralized level, evaluations are built into the work planning of the Institute’s programme and offices and are implemented as part of the project cycle.

All projects budgeted at $1.5 million and above shall be subject to an independent evaluation.

As recognized by the UNEG Norms and Standards for Evaluation and General Assembly resolution 69/237 of 14 December 2014, building national evaluation capacities at the country level is important for development activities, and the PPME will contribute to such efforts upon request and in accordance with the principle of national ownership.

First contributions have been made amongst others through Programmes such as the Executive Leadership Programme in Evaluation and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Evaluation is an important function in both national and international public service. The M&E policy framework recognizes the importance of strengthening evaluation capacities within UNITAR for an enhanced decentralized evaluation function, and the Planning, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Section and the Human Resources Section should collaborate towards this objective through training and other appropriate means.

Quality Assurance

The M&E Policy Framework is supported by a set of guidance documents. The Planning, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Unit also undertakes a quality at entry review of projects and samples self-evaluation reports for peer reviews. With regard to programming events related to learning outcomes, the Institute’s Quality Assurance Framework includes one standard (Standard 10: Evaluation and Follow-up) related to evaluation and follow-up on evaluation recommendations.


Use of Evaluation

Use of evaluation is ensured through programme follow-up to recommendations and lessons learned. All independent evaluations require a management response and timeframe for action on recommendations.

While centralized and decentralized evaluations should include recommendations and lessons-learned, the use of evaluations is at the present time limited (apart from recommendations). Efforts underway to strengthen evaluation use through improved knowledge management and organizational learning practices.


Joint Evaluation

UNEG Members

Brook Boyer

Head of Planning, Performance and Results Section, UNITAR

Claudia Croci


Katinka Koke

Associate Programme Officer, Planning Performance and Results Section (PPRS), UNITAR

Fact Sheet