UNDP: Universities should enhance national capacity for SDGs monitoring and evaluation


From 21 to 27 October, UNDP held a week-long Regional SDG Forum in Bangkok. The Forum features a aknowledge exchange on implementing 2030 agenda, a conference on youth engagement in SDG implementation, monitoring and evaluation system on SDGs, and also a meeting on finance for development that focused on how countries can mobilize the required financing for the envisioned transformation to sustainability. The regional training on developing national evaluation capacities to support the 2030 agenda was also part of the Regional SDG Forum.

We interview Ms Wandira Larasati, a researcher from UNPAD’s SDG center who attended the workshop and ask to share her experience.

Q: Who attended the workshop? Are they only government representatives?

A: The delegates came from various countries mostly from Asia-Pacific with some delegates from African countries ranging from government officials and university-based research institutions that focus on SDGs implementation.

Q: Why was UNPAD SDG’s center representative invited to the workshop?

A: SDGs Center UNPAD is a university-based research institution that has main objective to support Indonesia achieving SDGs in 2030 which with its independence could give a clearer view on monitoring and evaluating the progress of SDGs, specifically in Indonesia. The M&E system needs a comprehensive framework that also includes the independent evaluators that supposedly come from the independent research institutions such as university-based research institution. The universities are also expected to play the role as the provider of developing national evaluation capacities to ensure the method and result of the evaluations are conducted properly.

Q: What are the main objectives of the workshop?

A: The main objectives of the workshop are: to strengthen the awareness of the importance of the country-led evaluations, the review, and the follow-up of the 2030 agenda; to discuss and to exchange experiences regarding the methods or approaches, as well as a setting-up frameworks that might be appropriate for supporting policy choices related to 2030 agenda; and also to set a peer-to-peer network to continue the experience sharing and learning process beyond the workshop regarding SDGs, especially in relation to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system.

Q: Is this an initiative to standardize M&E of SDGs across countries? Are there roles for country specificities?

A: The workshop focused on strengthening the awareness of the importance M&E system for SDGs and it didn’t specifically set up standardization for M&E system across countries since every country has its own specificities and characteristics, including the system of M&E for their own development program. Instead, the workshop tried to mainstream the M&E system that certain countries have not yet had as well as trying to mainstream the 2030 agenda to countries’ priorities.

Q: Were best practices of M&E from other countries also shared in the workshop? Can you give some examples?

A: The examples of M&E system from Nepal and Philippines were shared during the workshop. Nepal has succeeded building the M&E system by making use of institutionalization of the evaluation system with theory of change. It focuses on creating the enabling environment, capacity building, and promoting the demand, as well as doing collaboration with several independent evaluations. However, Nepal has still challenges on the demand for evaluations. Meanwhile, Philippines has also built the system for M&E, by legalizing the NEPF (National Evaluation Policy Framework) that was signed on July 2015 and it’s meant to conduct of evaluations in the public sector in support of good governance, transparency, accountability and evidence-based decision-making. This NEPF covers all programs, projects, policies from the government.

Q: Do they expect you to share the knowledge you learn when you are back to Indonesia? Do you think you should?

A: The knowledge and discussion shared during the workshop are expected not only to be shared but also applied in Indonesia. However, Indonesia has actually had the M&E system conducted by Bappenas, although it still merely applies for government’s program, local or national, and not for SDGs in specific. It would be challenging for Indonesia to apply such system since, unless the president has made the decree about SDGs including the M&E system involved.

Q: What part of the workshop that you find the most rewarding from your personal point of view?

A: I benefit a lot from this workshop because it gave me a comprehensive understanding about the practice of monitoring and evaluation system for government’s programs or projects related to development, as well as SDGs, that would enhance my skills in the area of applied development economics.