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About Monitoring and Evaluation

What is monitoring and evaluation?
Monitoring and evaluation provides us with a method for learning from experience, analysing capability, planning and allocating resources, and demonstrating results as part of accountability to stakeholders. Monitoring and evaluation are standard parts of any good policy or risk management process. They provide a ‘feedback loop’ within these processes, allowing comparisons between actual and desired states. This enables ongoing analysis, and refinement of decisions and implementations processes, to improve outcomes.

Though often referred to together, monitoring and evaluation involve distinctly different aims and processes:

Monitoring is a continual process that aims to provide management and stakeholders of an ongoing intervention with early indications of compliance with responsibilities, and progress, or lack thereof, in the achievement of results.

Evaluation is about measuring effectiveness. It compares what is happening against what was intended (goals, objectives and targets) and interpreting the reasons for any differences.

Monitoring and evaluation contribute to the organisational and global body of knowledge about what works, what does not work and why. Knowledge gained through monitoring and evaluation should be a core part of organisational learning. Monitoring and evaluation provide information and facts that, when accepted, become knowledge that promotes learning.

The main objectives of monitoring and evaluation are thus to:
  • enhance organisational learning and development
  • ensure informed decision-making and planning
  • support substantive accountability, and
  • build capacity and capability
These objectives are linked together in a continuous process. Learning from experience results in more informed decision-making; better decisions lead to greater accountability to stakeholders; all three elements working together make a positive contribution to overall effectiveness.


Useful links, resources and background materials
Handbook on Monitoring and Evaluation for ResultsUNDP
Comprehensive introduction to monitoring and evaluation, including creating monitoring and evaluation frameworks, conducting monitoring and evaluation, and using monitoring and evaluation information. UNDP encourages nations to develop strong and coherent monitoring and evaluation frameworks that promote learning and performance measurement.

Building Government Monitoring and Evaluation SystemsIEG
The Independent Evaluation Group is an independent unit within the World Bank. It aims to provide an objective basis for assessing development programs, and to provide accountability in the achievement of objectives. This website contains extensive information on conducting evaluations, and developing evaluation systems. The three reports below are particularly useful:
How to Build M&E Systems to Support Better Government (report)
Monitoring and Evaluation, Tools Methods and Approaches (report)
Institutionalising M&E Systems (report)

Monitoring and Evaluation Policies and ProceduresGEF (opens PDF document)
Background to monitoring and evaluation methodologies, and an outline of how they are used by the Global Environment Facility to monitor policies and procedures.

Monitoring and Evaluation News
A news service focussing on developments in monitoring and evaluation methods.

UK Government - Capabilities Programme - National Capabilities Survey 2008
The survey is part of the UK Government's programme to make the country more resilient to disruptive events. Conducted every other year, it provides an up to date picture of preparedness, and helps plan improvements.

US Capability Assessment for Readiness (opens PDF document)
The US-CAR examines operational readiness and capabilities of the Federal/State emergency management authorities to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters. The assessment comprises a hierarchy of performance assessment criteria based on 13 emergency management functional categories.

Indicators of Progress: Guidance on Measuring the Reduction of Disaster Risks and Implementation of the Hyogo Framework for ActionISDR
This document is a supporting document to the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters. It is intended to assist national, regional and local bodies in setting priorities for policies, plans and programmes for disaster risk reduction, while regularly monitoring and reviewing achievements against indicators.

Assessment of the Capacity and Capability of the Auckland Region CDEM GroupKestrel Group, for Auckland CDEM Group
Provides an assessment of the (2006) emergency management capacity and capability of the Auckland region. Based on an independently developed rating methodology. Assesses readiness and response capability.

Learning from Evaluative Activity – Enhancing Performance through Outcome-focussed ManagementNew Zealand State Services Commission
This paper provides guidance on how, when and where to use evaluative products to improve management decisions. It emphasises planning and prioritising evaluative activity, monitoring results, and building evaluative thinking into management practice.

Doing the Right Things and Doing Them Right – Improving Evaluative Activity in the New Zealand State SectorNew Zealand State Services Commission
Report on initiatives required to enhance the evaluation environment and encourage more effective evaluation in the State sector.

National Evaluation Standards for Australia and New Zealand: Many Questions but Few AnswersDoug Fraser
Discusses the opportunities and challenges for building evaluation systems in Australia and New Zealand.

Monitoring as an integral part of management and policy makingNew Zealand Landcare Research
Outlines reasons for implementing monitoring and evaluation programmes and makes an argument for monitoring and evaluation programmes as an ongoing process within the context of adaptive management.

Mainstreaming evaluation or building evaluation capability? Three Key ElementsPaul Duigan
Discusses mainstreaming evaluation processes in New Zealand, different methodologies, and how to implement them.

Related documents
DGL 09/09 CDEM Group Plan Review