United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia


The United Nations Economic Commission for Western Asia (ECWA) was established on 9 August 1973 pursuant to the Economic and Social Council resolution 1818 (LV). The purpose of setting up the Commission was to raise the level of economic activity in member countries and strengthen cooperation among them, and to promote the development efforts in the region. In recognition of the social component of its work, the Commission was entrusted with new responsibilities in the social field by virtue of Economic and Social Council resolution 69/1985 of July 1985. Its name therefore became the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). ESCWA is headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon.






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

Evaluation Function



Evaluation at ESCWA is strategic, forward looking, methodologically rigorous, and analytically ambitious, and has three main purposes:

  • Provides a basis for evidence-informed decision-making, strategic planning, and risk management.
  • Is a means to demonstrate accountability to the Secretary-General and member States for performance, in accordance with to ESCWA’s mandate and strategic objectives.
  • Informs and facilitates organizational learning by identifying evidence-based findings, lessons to be learned, and recommendations for action.

While it is a distinct process, evaluation complements monitoring, review, audit, and inspection in the context of the assessment of programme performance. 




Evaluation Unit Name: Strategy, Planning, Accountability, Results and Knowledge Unit

Institutional Set-Up

The SPARK Section is the custodian of the evaluation function. SPARK is structurally located in ESCWA’s Executive Direction and Management function. 

Reporting to the Deputy Executive Secretary for Programme Support, the Chief of the SPARK Section serves as ESCWA’s head of evaluation

Staff (as of 1/10/2016)

  • 1 Chief of Section (P5), working 20% on evaluations
  • 1 Associate Evaluation Officer (P2), working 30% on evaluation

Evaluations conducted or commissioned by the evaluation function in the 2022-23 Biennium

Thematic evaluations conducted by external consultants:

  • ESCWA’s eLearning Portfolio
  • ESCWA Data Strategy




The evaluation function of ESCWA is located in the Strategy, Evaluation and Partnership Section. The Chief of the section is responsible for implementing the Evaluation Policy and  acts as UNEG Head. They report to the Deputy Executive Secretary for Program Support. 


A new Evaluation Policy will be endorsed in 2023 and launched on ESCWA's website.




Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning


The evaluation function prepares a biennial work programme for evaluation which addresses timeliness of evaluations with a view to inform decision-making, identifies priority areas most in need of evaluation based on set criteria, and specifies necessary resources for evaluation. In addition to mandatory final evaluations of Development Account and extra-budgetary projects, the evaluation function evaluates each biennium selected subprogrammes and cross-cutting or thematic topics according to the priorities of the Regional Commission. The work programme is submitted to the Executive Secretary for approval.



Stakeholder involvement and promoting national evaluation capacity development

To enhance the validity and objectivity of the design and implementation of evaluations, the evaluation function makes every effort to identify and involve all relevant stakeholders in evaluations. ESCWA also makes the effort to respect geographical and gender representation, and consults key stakeholders in the design and implementation of the evaluation process to clarify objectives and ensure ownership of results. Two modalities are employed to ensure greater engagement and inclusivity: Steering Groups to include all primary stakeholders, and Reference Groups to include external experts on the subject of evaluation.







Quality Assurance


Quality Assurance takes place at every the stage in the planning, implementation and follow-up of evaluations and is systematically controlled against UNEG norms and standards. Key tools used to ensure the quality in evaluations are the UNEG Quality Checklists for Terms of Reference, Inception Reports and Final Evaluation Reports.






Use of Evaluation


ESCWA evaluations, regardless of their nature, solicit an explicit management response from the subprogramme or activity manager or the Executive Secretary. The management response outlines detailed remarks per recommendation made in the evaluation report, within one month of report submission; and a specific action plan which maps out the steps that will be taken to address any shortcomings related to objectives, modalities, and results of the evaluated activity.

The production of the action plan is coordinated by the evaluation function and agreed to by the Executive Secretary and the Director of the subprogramme or activity manager. Where the evaluation is of a subprogramme, the plan may form a Compact to be signed between the ES and the Director of the subprogramme. In addition, and in coordination with the evaluation function, subprogramme managers produce yearly status reports on the implementation of the Compact action plan for sub-programme evaluations.

The evaluation function produces biennial reports on the findings of all evaluations, synthesizing findings and identifying institution-wide strengths and weaknesses to share with all ESCWA staff. These findings are taken into account by managers in the preparation of the Strategic Framework, the programme budget, and the design of extra-budgetary projects and technical advisory services. The findings also inform the preparation and/or revision of the ESCWA Evaluation Work Plan.






Joint Evaluation


ESCWA organizes its work in line with UNEG norms and standards and attends UNEG's annual meetings to keep abreast with the latest changes in evaluations in the UN system. In addition, ESCWA works closely with OIOS in the UN Secretariat to conduct biennial self-evaluations of the overall performance of its evaluation function (OIOS Evaluation Scorecard). It also works closely with UN Women, which coordinates the implementation of the UN-SWAP in evaluations. Finally, it collaborates with DESA on the evaluation of Development Account projects.






UNEG Members

Iain Gately

Associate Evaluation Officer, UNESCWA

Leszek Barczak

Programme Management Officer, UNESCWA

Stian Holen

Chief of Strategy, Planning, Accountability, Results and Knowledge, UNESCWA

Fact Sheet