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 Evaluation Policy and a set of guidance documents and tools.The Planning, Performance Monitoring, and Evaluation Unit is the custodian of the evaluation function. The unit works to strengthen the Institute’s accountability framework, programme effectiveness and efficiency and organizational learning. In addition to performing central monitoring and reporting functions, the unit undertakes three to eight independent evaluations yearly. An independent evaluation is a mandated requirement for all projects budgeted at $1.5 million and above. The Unit also evaluates strategies, funding instruments and undertakes cluster evaluations.

Parallel to the central unit and in accordance with the policy, 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 Evaluation Policy was revised in 2021 following a UNEG peer review and is the key UNITAR reference point for  evaluation. The Policy includes references to UNEG guiding norms, principles and standards, criteria and categories, as well as evaluation and reporting requirements.


Strengthening the decentralized evaluation and learning functions

Increasing the use of independent evaluation findings and lessons learned

Increasing the recommendation implementation rate

Strengthening evaluation quality

Maintaining the independence of the unit 

Human Resources devoted to the evaluation function (reference 2023)

Central unit: 2 (full time)*

Decentralized level: (20 part time, variable)

Evaluations produced/planned (reference 2023)

Central unit: 8

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

Key resources

Evaluation Policy

UNITAR Evaluation website, including Evaluation Policy- and Evaluation Report Repository:  Evaluation | UNITAR


The Planning, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Unit is located under the Division for Strategic Planning and Performance 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.

An Evaluation Advisory Board advises UNITAR on the conduct, use and follow-up on evaluation as a tool to support the Institute’s governance and oversight functions.  

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. In addition to project evaluations, the Unit also evaluates strategies, funding instruments or undertakes cluster evaluation. 

The Evaluation Poicy recognizes the importance of strengthening evaluation capacities within UNITAR for an enhanced decentralized evaluation function, and the Planning, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Unit contributes by organizing brownbag sessions on evaluation related topics with the purpose of contributing to organizational learning and promoting the evaluation culture and by providing a module focused on evaluation as part of the Foundation Course on Training Development administered by the Quality Assurance Committee.

Quality Assurance

The Evaluation Policy is supported by a set of guidance documents. Evaluation reports are reviewed using a quality assurance assessment tool, based on UNEG guidance. Management responses are also reviewed according using an assessment tool. 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. A lessons learned paper series and a dedicated survey to management about use of lessons learned to inform future programming is administered to strengthen the use of evaluation findings and lessons.

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