United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean

United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC or, by its Spanish acronym, CEPAL) is headquartered in Santiago, Chile. ECLAC is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. It was founded with the purpose of contributing to the economic development of Latin America, coordinating actions directed towards this end, and reinforcing economic ties among countries and with other nations of the world. The promotion of the region's social development was later included among its primary objectives. The 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, together with several Asian, European and North American nations that have historical, economic and cultural ties with the region, comprise the 46 member States of ECLAC. Fourteen non-independent territories in the Caribbean are associate members of the Commission. 

The overall purpose of ECLAC is to promote the economic, social and environmentally sustainable development of Latin America and the Caribbean through continuous international cooperation, by undertaking comprehensive research and analysis of development processes and providing relevant normative, operational and technical cooperation services in support of regional development efforts. The Commission's mandate derives from Economic and Social Council resolution 106 (VI), by which the Council established the Commission for the purpose of contributing to and coordinating action towards the economic and social development of the region and strengthening the economic relationships among the countries of the region as well as with other countries of the world. In 1996, by virtue of ECLAC resolution 553(XXVI), the Commission was instructed, inter alia, to collaborate with member States in a comprehensive analysis of development processes geared to the design, monitoring and evaluation of public policies and the resulting provision of operational services in the fields of specialized information, advisory services, training and support for regional and international cooperation and coordination.

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

Evaluation Function

Evaluation is an integral part of the work of ECLAC in all of its substantive areas and has contributed to effective programme planning, design and implementation. As an important accountability mechanism for reporting to United Nations governing bodies, member States, donors, implementing partners and beneficiaries, it has enhanced the Commission’s legitimacy and credibility in supporting economic and social development in the region. Evaluation also contributes to the identification and dissemination of the Commission’s key achievements. It has also helped ECLAC to ensure a results orientation in the activities it undertakes, and to identify the impacts of its interventions. Moreover, it is an important driver of institutional learning, allowing ECLAC to replicate best practices and apply innovative approaches.

ECLAC’s evaluation function is situated within the Programme Planning and Evaluation Unit (PPEU) of the Programme Planning and Operations Division. The PPEU Evaluation Team is composed by a Programme Officer and an Evaluation Assistant, reporting to the Chief of the PPEU, who provides overall guidance. The unit reports to the Director of the PPOD, the Deputy Executive Secretary for Management and Programme Analysis, who, in turn, reports directly to the Executive Secretary of ECLAC. The PPEU Evaluation Team is separate from other management functions in the Division so as to ensure, to the extent possible, independence in the evaluation function.


United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

Programme Planning and Evaluation Unit (PPEU)

 Institutional Set-Up

  • The Programme Planning and Evaluation Unit (PPEU) is part of ECLAC's Programme Planning and Operations Division (PPOD)

 Human Resources:

  • Unit Head: 1
  • Evaluators: 1
  • Support Staff: 1

 Evaluations conducted or commissioned by the unit in 2022

  • 6 evaluations

  Key objectives of evaluation

  • Accountability
  • Managing for results
  • Learning, innovation and organizational change


  • Enhancing participation and quality assurance
  • Institutional learning from evaluations

Evaluation Policy:

Evaluation and Policy Strategy 2017 


To ensure the independence of the evaluation function, it should be fully transparent and free from undue influence. While evaluations at ECLAC are managed by its staff, measures are taken to maximize to the extent possible the independence of the evaluation function. The evaluation function is separate from other management functions within PPOD, to ensure full discretion in the supervision of evaluations. Moreover, ECLAC takes various measures to safeguard the independence of the evaluative process. In this regard, the function of ECLAC staff is limited to setting the ECLAC evaluation policy and guidelines, evaluation planning and monitoring, task management of evaluations and quality assurance. ECLAC contracts its evaluators externally, and their independence from the evaluation subject is considered a prerequisite for their selection. Additionally, ECLAC ensures that evaluators have full access to all relevant information and are provided full freedom to conduct their evaluative work impartially, without the risk of negative effects on their career development and are allowed to freely express their assessment.

Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning

The ECLAC evaluation plan is prepared along with the annual Proposed Programme Budget of ECLAC. This plan indicates the topic, estimated cost and time frame of each evaluation. Evaluations of programmes and projects that are mandated to be evaluated in their project documents are included based on their planned closure dates, while thematic and strategic evaluations are determined by PPOD in consultation with ECLAC substantive divisions and subregional offices, according to need and relevance. In accordance with ST/AI/2021/3, ECLAC will strive to ensure that each one of its subprogrammes is evaluated, in whole or in part, at least once every six years. The evaluation plans submitted as part of the programme budgets are considered to be estimates rather than formal commitments, and adjustments are sometimes made to respond to changing conditions. The annual evaluation plan is reflected in the Proposed Programme Budget for ECLAC to be formally submitted to the General Assembly.

In addition to the human resources assigned to evaluation as part of the Commission’s overall programme of work, ECLAC aims to allocate approximately 2-5% of the total budget of each of its programmes and projects to evaluation. To attain this benchmark, and as stipulated in the Development Account Evaluation Framework, four percent of the total DA budget in a tranche are to be earmarked for the evaluation function. ECLAC will also conducts evaluations of extrabudgetary projects and programmes as requested by donors, provided funds are available for this purpose. Furthermore, and whenever feasible, extrabudgetary projects and programmes over US$200,000 that are not evaluated separately by their respective donors should earmark appropriate resources for M&E functions. Additionally, and subject to the availability of resources, PPOD will carry out ad hoc thematic or strategic evaluations. 

Quality Assurance

ECLAC uses several means to ensure the highest standards of quality in its evaluations:

(a) Guidelines and methodological data collection tools: All ECLAC evaluations are carried out in accordance with evaluation guidelines developed by PPEU. These guidelines outline the evaluation process, key evaluation criteria and questions, as well as the format and content of deliverables, including the TORs, inception report, presentation of preliminary findings, the report of the evaluation and the follow-up action plan.

(b) Evaluator competencies: ECLAC follows a defined set of criteria for the experience and qualifications required in the selection of the evaluator.

(c) Review of evaluation deliverables: The task manager provides continuous guidance and feedback to the evaluator throughout the evaluation process and reviews all evaluation deliverables, including the inception report, methodological data collection tools, presentations to implementing partners, and the draft and final evaluation report. ECLAC programme managers in the respective substantive divisions also provide continuous feedback to the task manager and evaluator.

(d) Evaluation Reference Group (ERG): An ERG, composed of a representative of each programme implementing partner, is a formal panel set up to provide feedback on the evaluation's preliminary finding and review the draft evaluation report. Comments by all panel members are consolidated by PPEU and submitted to the evaluator, who addresses them in the revision process as well as through a response template.

Use of Evaluation

a)  Dissemination of evaluations

Once each evaluation report has been finalized, a formal meeting to present the evaluation to the directors, unit chiefs, programme officers and planning and monitoring focal points of the Divisions involved in the implementation of the project or programme is held. During the meeting, the evaluator presents the main findings resulting from the evaluation of the programme or project activities, lessons learned, best practices and recommendations to improve the implementation of such types of activities. All evaluation reports are then uploaded to the ECLAC website. Moreover, evaluation results are summarized in the report on the activities of the Commission, in the Proposed Programme Budget, as well as during strategic planning meetings with substantive divisions and offices away from headquarters. 

b)  Follow-up

As a result of every evaluation conducted by ECLAC, a wide range of findings, lessons learned, best practices and recommendations are identified. The Programme Planning and Evaluation Unit (PPEU) of the Programme Planning and Operations Division (PPOD) is responsible for following-up on the implementation of actions in response to evaluation recommendations, coordinating and supervising the activities carried out by the different substantive ECLAC Divisions. 

Following completion and distribution of the evaluation, PPEU convenes a meeting with all substantive divisions involved in implementing the programme to formulate a management response and identify key follow-up actions for each evaluation recommendation. All participating divisions are then asked to report yearly on their implementation of those actions for a period of two years. PPEU concludes the process at the end of the cycle, and participating divisions are urged to incorporate relevant activities of the process into their respective work programmes.

ECLAC communicates information on the evaluation follow-up process within the Commission in various ways. Actions being taken as part of ECLAC follow-up processes, and the respective outcomes are summarized in the annual report on the activities of the Commission. In the case of programmes or projects being implemented in partnership with an external donor, follow-up action plans are shared with the relevant counterpart at both the beginning and the end of the process. Furthermore, ECLAC places great weight on the importance of institutionalizing the results of evaluation follow-up processes within the Commission as a whole. To this end, the outcomes of these processes are discussed with all divisions at their annual strategic planning meetings and are taken into account in the preparation of the ECLAC annual programme of work.

Joint Evaluation

ECLAC endeavours to work in close coordination with programme managers and other implementing partners throughout the evaluation process. In addition, it seeks to strengthen ties with other United Nations regional commissions and the UN Evaluation Group (UNEG). Wherever possible, opportunities are sought to collaborate with other United Nations agencies in the implementation, coordination and knowledge-sharing on evaluations.

a)  United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG)

ECLAC is a member of UNEG, adhering to its norms and standards for the carrying out of the evaluation function.

b)  United Nations evaluation networks

Issues related to the implementation of the evaluation function within the United Nations Regional Commissions are discussed during annual meetings of the Chiefs of Programme Planning from all five regional commissions.  In 2012, the regional commissions established an interregional M&E focal points network with the purpose of ensuring effective communication and information-sharing on M&E use and practice.

Moreover, ECLAC is a member of the Development Account Evaluation Network, which serves to enhance the sharing of resources and experience in evaluation of Development Account projects, and its alignment, where possible, with practices, norms and standards of the United Nations Department of Management, UNEG and OIOS. ECLAC also participates in the Business Transformation and Accountability Division (BTAD) Evaluation Community of Practice, and several other networks that bring together experts throughout the United Nations system to conduct webinars and online discussions on various topics of interest within the practice of evaluation.

 c) Global and regional evaluation networks

In addition to its current participation in evaluation networks across the United Nations, ECLAC also strives to widen its cooperation on evaluation to further networks and associations outside the United Nations system, both in the Latin America and Caribbean region and globally.


UNEG Members

Anne-Sophie Samjee


Programme, Planning and Evaluation Unit

Fact Sheet