United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The mission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. UNESCO focuses, in particular, on two global priorities: Africa and Gender Equality. UNESCO has 1734 staff members and is headquartered in Paris. The Organisation's approved budget for the 2016 - 2017 period is approximately 1 USD billion, compulsory (regular programme) and voluntary (extrabudgetary) contributions combined.







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

Evaluation Function

The UNESCO Evaluation Office (EVS) is housed in the Internal Oversight Services (IOS) which consists of internal audit, evaluation and investigation. The purpose and role of EVS is to enable UNESCO to meet its mandate by providing credible and evidence-based information to feed into decision-making processes on managing for results. EVS is operating under the UNESCO Evaluation Policy adopted in 2015 and the UNEG Norms and Standards for Evaluation in the UN System. UNESCO carries out evaluations in the following categories: corporate which include evaluations of policies, strategies, global priorities and organizational performance; programme evaluations; and evaluations of decentralized bodies (field offices, institutes and centres).

UNESCO's Evaluation Office has five staff members and an operational budget of USD 182 000 from the Regular Programme budget for the 2016-2017 period.

The focus areas / priorities of EVS in its current work plan include: evaluations of UNESCO's major programmes; quality assurance activities and backstopping of decentralized evaluations including monitoring the quality of evaluation of UNESCO's extrabudgetary activities. 

Promoting a culture of evaluation in-house

EVS works closely with the audit function of IOS to ensure that both evaluation and audit functions complement each other, drawing on their specialist skill sets, in undertaking certain activities together and in exchanging data.


Evaluation Policy:

Human Resources

  • Director: F
  • Evaluators: 5 F=3, M=2
  • Support staff: Total: 1 (F)
  • Decentralised evaluation staff: 5 M&E officers in field

Evaluations produced:

  • In 2015, EVS produced 5 corporate evaluations.










The evaluation function in UNESCO reports directly to the Director-General. The IOS Director has the authority to sign off on and distribute evaluation reports to the governing body and/or Director-General without prior clearance from other parties within or outside the Organisation. The IOS Director also has control over evaluation expenditure.

Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning

Each quadrennium, IOS and relevant parts of UNESCO identify programmes and activities for evaluation and develop an evaluation plan. This plan, guided by UNESCO's Evaluation Policy and Executive Board, contains evaluations of all the regular budget evaluations and selected extra budgetary evaluations.

As part of UNESCO's quadrennial Programme and Budget document, the quadrennial Evaluation Plan is eventually approved by the General Conference who determines the policies and main lines of work of UNESCO.

IOS reports regularly to the Executive Board on evaluation activities, primarily in the form of an Annual Report and a summary report on evaluations completed during the programme period.



Stakeholder involvement and promoting national evaluation capacity development

Peer reviews or reference groups used in the evaluation process are composed of external experts.






Quality Assurance

IOS provides quality assurance to its evaluation processes and products in a variety of ways.  Evaluation Reference Groups are established at the outset of evaluations for the purpose of reviewing deliverables and enhancing recommendation follow-up and use.  IOS provides methodological tools and guidelines for programme staff to assist in their efforts to manage decentralized evaluations. IOS conducts meta-evaluation of the quality of extrabudgetary funded evaluation reports.  Self-assessment of the evaluation function is provided for in UNESCO evaluation policy.  Lastly, UNESCO's Oversight Advisory Committee convenes regularly to review the work of IOS serving in an advisory capacity to the Director-General of UNESCO on internal oversight matters related to the Organization's operation.


Use of Evaluation

The Executive Board, the Evaluation Office, evaluation reference groups and UNESCO sectors, field offices, institutes and centres are responsible for ensuring effective and efficient reporting, and evaluation follow-up. The Internal Oversight Service ensures management responds and follows-up on evaluations, through:

  i.  The dissemination of evaluation findings and lessons in appropriate formats for targeted audiences and ensure the transparency of, and public access to, evaluation reports for those evaluations listed in the Evaluation Plan;

  ii.  Support in the setting up of frameworks and standards for monitoring in the context of UNESCO's results-based management system to facilitate the evaluation of programmes and activities;

  iii.  The provision of training to develop the necessary skills and knowledge required to carry out self-evaluation and to facilitate external evaluations. Evaluation reference groups ensure that management follows-up on the key recommendations and lessons to improve programme design and delivery; and

  iv.  Convening periodic meetings with UNESCO sectors, field offices, institutes and centres to discuss how evaluations findings and recommendations have been used to improve policy, strategy, and programme / project design and delivery.

UNESCO sectors, field offices and institutes and centres are tasked with:

  i.  Preparing management responses to all evaluations, indicating the feasibility of implementing recommendations and actions to address those recommendations that can be implemented;

  ii.  Ensuring appropriate and timely implementation of the agreed evaluation recommendations; and

  iii.  The dissemination of evaluation findings and lessons in appropriate formats for targeted audiences and ensure the transparency of, and public access to, evaluation reports.

Joint Evaluation

UNESCO's Evaluation Office collaborates with other UN agencies to ensure that evaluation in UNESCO remains consistent with, and contributes to, United Nations policy and reforms, including supporting and participating in joint evaluations. UNESCO participates in the UNEG to advance the theory, practice, quality and usefulness of evaluation.

UNEG Members

Ahmedou Ould Abdallahi

Associate Evaluation Officer, UNESCO

Caspar Merkle

Principal Evaluation Specialist, UNESCO

Claudia Ibarguen

Head of Evaluation Office, UNESCO

Ekaterina Sediakina

Associate Evaluation Specialist, UNESCO

Internal Oversight Service, Evaluation Section

Getrude Ndungu

Associate Evaluation Specialist, UNESCO

Ina Salas Casasola

Principal Evaluation Officer, UNESCO

Martina Rathner

Principal Evaluation Specialist, UNESCO

Taipei Dlamini

Associate Evaluator, UNESCO

IOS Evaluation Office

Fact Sheet