Continuously reviewing our operations enables us to assess the effectiveness of our work, learn from experience and improve the development of policies, strategies, programmes and projects.
What's new: reports, news and publications
UNHCR's Evaluation Policy, 2022, provides for the building of a stronger, evidence-informed, quality evaluation system in the organization based on the principles of impartiality, credibility and utility. The policy provides the framework for a whole-of-organization approach, supporting regionalization and decentralization, and strengthening results-based management.
The collective global response to the COVID-19 pandemic fell short in protecting the rights of refugees despite extraordinary efforts by local actors and the international community, according to a major international report released today.
Evaluating UNHCR's Repatriation Programmes
Evaluating UNHCR's Engagement with Development Actors
Evaluation of UNHCR's Level-3 emergency response to cyclone Idai
What we do
UNHCR’s Evaluation Office provides evaluative evidence so we can obtain an impartial reflection on our performance and results, generate lessons from experience and find ways to improve. The overall purpose of any evaluation is to contribute to both learning and accountability and inform our strategic choices.
With our evaluations, we seek answers to questions such as: Have the right things been undertaken? Are we doing them on a scale that will make a difference in the lives of persons of concern? How well have things been done and how do we know this? What results have been achieved? Are there better ways of achieving them? To what extent can a certain result be attributed to a specific intervention?
The Evaluation Office is independent of the management functions and reports directly to the High Commissioner.
How we work
All evaluations are conducted as a partnership between the UNHCR Evaluation Office and the concerned Bureau, Office and/or Division, who play a critical role in a successful evaluation process. Evaluations are scoped and defined jointly between the Evaluation Office and concerned Bureaux, Divisions and country offices, and need to be carried out by external consultants. UNHCR Staff with specific thematic and operational expertise may join an evaluation team in an advisory capacity, to give technical advice and/or quality assurance.
Evaluations can broadly be classified into two categories:
- Centralized evaluations: commissioned, funded and managed by the Evaluation Office. Senior Executive Team members will be requested to oversee the management response to the evaluation.
- Decentralized evaluations: proposed and initiated by offices, bureaux and divisions; co-managed with the Evaluation Office; can be undertaken jointly with partners. Concerned representative/bureau/division directors will prepare management responses.
How are evaluation topics selected?
The Evaluation Office facilitates an annual process of consultation with headquarters and field-based colleagues to develop an annual work-plan. Whereas topics for centralized evaluations are set at the beginning of each year, suggestions for decentralized evaluation topics (put forward by bureaux, operations or divisions) can be shared with the Evaluation Office throughout the year. See the Evaluation Workplan 2023-24.
Other reviews and briefs
- UNHCR's Approach to Accountability to Affected People (AAP)
- COVID-19 Evaluative Evidence Brief No. 2
- COVID-19 Evaluative Evidence Brief No. 1
- UNHCR's approach to evaluating the COVID-19 response for refugees and other persons of concern
- Evaluation Brief – Synthesis of evidence from evaluations of UNHCR's cash-based interventions
- Evaluation Brief – COVID-19
Previous Evaluation Office annual reports