Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was established in 1993, after the World Conference on Human Rights. OHCHR has a mandate to promote and protect the human rights of all. As of 31 December 2018, OHCHR had 1,343 staff members in its headquarters in Geneva, the New York Office and 77 field presences. In 2018, the Office's total income was USD 312.7 million.

OHCHR started implementing results-based management in 2006, with the creation of a small specialized section within the Executive Direction and Management Division that integrated evaluation capacity to a limited extent. Since then, OHCHR has progressed rapidly in ensuring that OHCHR has a well-established culture of results.  Results-based planning and performance monitoring have therefore become integral parts of this culture which is supported by the development of innovative online tools accessible by all staff worldwide. This focus on planning and monitoring and the relatively small specialized in-house resources have had an impact in terms of developments in the evaluation capacity and function.  Over the last couple of years, the office has started to focus on the development of a holistic planning, monitoring and evaluation framework that is meaningful and useful for everyone.
Evaluation Function Snapshot Independence Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning Quality Assurance Use of Evaluation Joint Evaluation

Evaluation Function

In OHCHR, evaluations are conducted for three overall purposes:
a.    Evidence-based decision-making for planning, programming, budgeting, implementation and reporting contributing to organisational effectiveness;
b.    Learning by generating information about what works well in OHCHR’s interventions (and conversely what does not), in what context, and why. Such learning is expected to catalyse innovation, adaptability and continuous improvement;
c.    Promoting accountability of OHCHR to stakeholders by objectively verifying programme performance, resources used, and results achieved. 

Evaluation supports OHCHRs in delivering its mandate by:
a.    Fostering an organisational culture of evidence-based-decision making, adaptability and leaning to promote and protect more effectively the enjoyment and full realization, by all people, of all human rights;
b.    Enhancing accountability of OHCHR towards rights-holders, duty-bearers and Member States by providing credible evidence of the achievement of interventions;
c.    Building knowledge and institutional memory by identifying and disseminating good and emerging practices as well as lessons learned;
d.    Contributing to organisational efficiency and effectiveness by demonstrating to what extent OHCHR’s organisational and performance management plans and strategies have been achieved;
e.    Strengthening partnerships and promoting inter-agency cooperation, including through joint evaluations, to streamline the human-rights-based approach in the United Nations System.


Evaluation policy

  • OHCHR Evaluation Policy (under revision in 2023)
  • Evaluation function: Vision, Policy: December 2013

Priority 2022-2023

In 2022-2023, OHCHR is working to achieve its overall goal by focusing on three mid-term results:

  • The evaluation function is a well-developed and utilized component of the RBM approach in UN Human Rights
  • UN Human Rights’ senior management systematically takes decisions on existing and/or planned interventions, as well as on UN Human Rights structures and processes, on the basis of evidence provided by evaluations
  • UN Human Rights strategically uses UN system evaluation resources to improve its relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability

See more.

Human resources

  • Unit Head: Director 1 (F)
  • Evaluators: 4 (two F, two M)

Evaluations produced per year by central unit and by decentralized units (OHCHR Evaluation Plan 2022 - 2023)
10 Evaluations are currently produced by year by central unit: 2 thematic evaluations of global programmes or issues; 8 evaluations of programmes and projects at the regional or country level

Key resources


The Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Service (PPMES) is located in the Executive Direction and Management Office and is independent from the Office’s operations and programme implementation. The Chief of PPMES (D1) is the Head of the Evaluation Function and reports to the Deputy High Commissioner. The function receives budget from the Regular Budget; in addition, projects implemented by the Office are required to set aside an agreed amount for evaluation purposes. Discretion to issue evaluation reports has been delegated to the PPMES Chief.

Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning

As part of the UN Secretariat, OHCHR is asked to prepare an audit and evaluation plan that goes together with the Strategic Framework that is the planning document for all Secretariat entities. In addition to that, PPMES prepares an internal evaluation plan that brings together evaluations, assessments and reviews planned at central and decentralized level, and that includes resources allotted to them. The work programme is submitted for endorsement to the Senior Management Team, and for final approval to the High Commissioner. 

Stakeholders are involved in the conduct of the evaluation and consulted during the design phase of the evaluation, as well as involved in the implementation of recommendations.


Quality Assurance

OHCHR uses the UNEG Norms and Standards for Evaluation in the UN System as quality rules for assessing the evaluation reports. The rules cover the evidence based availability of the evaluation findings and recommendations. They also assess the structure of the evaluation report including methodology and coverage of the ToR. The High Commissioner is accountable to the Secretary-General through her yearly Compact. The Compact contains performance measures on evaluation, the data for which is provided by OIOS through its biennial assessment on Evaluation in the Secretariat.

Use of Evaluation

The senior management team issues a response to the evaluation reports when completed. A detailed response to each recommendation is provided through a management response and action plan matrix. The High Commissioner has final decision-making powers on the response to the recommendations and on the approval of the action plans. Both management and PPMES monitor the implementation of recommendations from the evaluation. Status reports on the implementation of recommendations are sent to senior management in 6 months intervals. Reports on the implementation of OIOS recommendations are published as UN documents.

Evaluation results are disseminated within the organization: results are sent to colleagues who were involved or have a direct interest in the results. For all other staff members, evaluation reports are accessible through intranet and their results summarized in a meta-analysis of findings at the end of each programming cycle. Evaluation reports are made available outside the organization trough the organization's external website and UNEG website.

Joint Evaluation

OHCHR is engaged in joint evaluations with other UN agencies, including those related to the Peace Building Fund. Among others, joint evaluations have been recently conducted with ILO and UN Women.

UNEG Members

Sabas Monroy

Evaluation Officer, OHCHR

Fact Sheet