The role of the IEA is two-fold, to both commission and manage evaluations, as well as support and provide leadership for an enhanced evaluation culture throughout CGIAR.

Evaluations commissioned, and managed, by the IEA will cover all parts of the reformed CGIAR system, including CRPs and other institutions such as the Consortium. A ‘system-wide evaluation’ is commissioned every ten years. This structure of multi-level evaluations provides guidance and information to improve the performance of the CRPs and the CGIAR as a whole so that CGIAR research can effectively contribute to the System’s goals.

Enhancing and strengthening the culture and capacity of evaluations and evaluators in the CGIAR is another fundamental role of IEA. IEA will provide leadership on evaluation and evaluation management across the CGIAR, through establishing evaluation standards and guidelines and by supporting an Evaluation Community of Practice.

Independent external evaluations

The IEA undertakes evaluations of the CGIAR system, its institutions, CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs), policies and pertinent cross-cutting themes and issues.

These evaluations aim to:

  • Provide accountability by assessing key evaluation criteria
  • Support decision making by providing evidence based findings
  • Contribute to institutional learning by generating lessons learned

Development of a harmonized evaluation system and building a Community of Practice

The IEA is also responsible for providing quality assurance and leadership of evaluation activities in the CGIAR. The IEA aims to harmonize evaluation in the CGIAR by developing standards and guidance and thus setting the framework for evaluation practices in the CGIAR.

The IEA is committed to facilitate the dissemination of findings and lessons learned and to ensure that they are followed up upon. Only when evaluation findings are used for decision making and are integrated into program formulation and strategy, evaluations fulfill their purpose.

One key component of the evaluation system is the establishment of the Evaluation Community of Practice (EcoP), which serves as a platform for evaluation capacity building, knowledge sharing and joint learning.

Evaluating CGIAR – from then to now

There is a long history of evaluation in the CGIAR, with the main responsibility residing with the former Science Council (now the Independent Science and Partnership Council) which organized the independent external review of CGIAR Centers. Individual Centers and donors commissioned reviews and evaluations, and a periodic independent review of CGIAR as a whole was undertaken approximately every ten years. The last of the independent reviews completed in 2008 contributed to the development of the present institutional structure of CGIAR.

The current structure for evaluations in CGIAR is presented in the CGIAR Evaluation Policy and reflects the new structure and design of CGIAR. It lays out a system of multi-level evaluations which aim to provide information and guidance to improve the performance of the CRPs and CGIAR as a whole.